Friday, December 30
President Bush defends spying on its citizens as critical move to saving American lives. He said some of the 11 September hijackers inside the US had communicated with associates outside before the attacks - but the US had not known that until it was too late.
The New York Times reported earlier in December that Mr Bush had signed a secret presidential order following the attacks on 11 September 2001 and thus it allowed the National Security Agency to track international telephone calls and e-mails of hundreds of people, without referral to the courts.
This is of course all absurd. If I were to be a terrorist, I would find ample ways to get my messages through to my collaborators. There are so many ways to evade any kind of control or spying that these new measures of Bush are just a useless fart that blows into the face of good willed citizen.
Let me give you just one example of how to evade government spying, and it is a pretty lame one as is, there are more sophisticated ways...
1. Take a nude picture of a woman, blow it up in Photo Shop or whatever else you use
2. Scribble a message on "her" nipples
3. Shrink the picture and post it on any old porn site
4. Let your culprits know where to look for the info by informing them through a public phone payed by a phone card
5. Get feedback on a blog that is mundane in nature, let's say: collecting post-stamps
6. Access the blog in a public library or even better on a private wireless network with your laptop
7. Change communication channels and methods regularly
Bottom line, there is no way that ANY agency is able to filter out the bad stuff, even if it were legal.
Since it is not legal anyway - impeach the bastard who is responsible for this, he has no right to snoop around!
OK, enough ranting for today
Vidar and Melissa
(son and lover)
I don't have to work.I don't have to do nothing
but eat, drink, stay black, and die.
This little old furnished room's
so small I can't whip a cat
without getting fur in my mouth
and my landlady's so old
her features is all run together
and God knows she sure can overcharge -
Which is why I reckon I does
have to work after all.
by Langston Hughes
Iraq's largest oil refinery has been shut down following death threats to tanker drivers, jeopardising supplies of electricity across northern Iraq.
The oil ministry said the shutdown at Baiji was costing $20m a day.
The ministry said it hoped the refinery, which has been out of action since the weekend, would be back up and running within days.
"Efforts are being made to convince the drivers to return to work," a spokesman said.
The Baiji refinery normally produces 8.5m litres (2.2m gallons) of petrol per day, along with 7.5m litres of diesel.
Oil distribution has been further disrupted by storms that have prevented exports being shipped from the Basra terminal in the south, Reuters said.
Although billions of dollars have been spent on infrastructure since Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled, fuel and electricity production have not reached the levels maintained before the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Elsewhere in Iraq, about 12 Shia Muslims were killed by insurgents after apparently failing to heed warnings that they should move out of their homes in the mainly Sunni town of Latifiya, about 30km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, officials said.
The victims were reported to be members of the same extended family.
However there were differing reports of the incident and who was involved. "A number of gunmen broke into three houses in Latifiya at dawn on Thursday, took 12 males aged between 20 to 40 and put them into a minivan owned by one of the victims, and machine-gunned them," Iraqi Army Capt Ibrahim Abdullah told Associated Press.
The AFP news agency said 14 people were killed, some of them women.
Reuters said the killings took place inside a house, where intruders slit the throats of 11 men and women.
Also on Thursday, a suicide bomber killed four police officers and wounded five at a checkpoint near the interior ministry in Baghdad, officials said.
The attacker was dressed in a police uniform and blew himself up as police cars were entering the ministry, a police source said.
Meanwhile, a web statement attributed to the militant group al-Qaeda in Iraq said it was holding five Sudanese hostages.
The group said it had "arrested five employees of the Sudanese embassy in Baghdad, including diplomats".
It said the Sudanese government had "48 hours to clearly announce it is breaking off diplomatic relations with the [Iraqi] government... Otherwise the government must assume responsibility for sacrificing its diplomats".
(source BBC and Reuters)
You know very well my thoughts on this. To put it in a nutshell again: The US has no case to win in Iraq, instead merely chooses the path to bleed to death. So, kiss the empire and democracy goodbye as we knew it! Human folly has no borders.
Does the sacrifice of 30,000 civilian deaths in Iraq (and god knows how many military personels on both sides) bring justice to this mess? Saddam gradualy looks like a saint to me. What are we (the US) gonna say after 100,000 are dead - victory!
Thursday, December 29
To President Bush at the start of the first Gulf War
This thin-lipped king with his helmeted head
Remembers the quirky fits of light
That temper the cobra. No, the temper of the dove
Does not fit him; and nothing in the world
Can bring him to bless. He will not feed,
Nourish or help; and his rabbity hand
Lifted in the fading light of the hemlocks
Waves to them, gestures to the young to die.
I was intrigued by the first Gulf War in it's insecurity of it's initial mission.
After all, Saddam, by invading Kuwait, was to certaine vital access in the Gulf to have his oil shipped out because Kuwaities denied access to ports.
Well, he might have been a brutal dictator, an asshole and a murderer - that still does not give the US a "green card" to invade Iraq a second time around.
The second "gulf war" will be the end of the US as we know it.
Friday, December 23
I just hope people will become more peaceful and stop acting like savages, that is my wish for this season.
Well, so - the girls are back, save and sound, making breakfast with bacon & eggs. Some of your vegetarians might puke, but it is not about your eating preferences really. It is about feeling at home where you happen to be. Got to get a Christmas tree today and let the girls decorate it. It will be marvelous!
My joy is where others can be joyful.
Wednesday, December 21
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after he or she grows up.
If your plan is for one year - plant rice.
If your plan is for hundred years, educate children!
No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you can do is run for public office.
Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
Tuesday, December 20
So, Julia the fine sculptress finally concluded her stone here and is leaving with it to find a place in the "Big Apple", Brooklyn is her first choice right now. The Vermont marble turned out to be an exquisite sculpture.
Her presence and also Lawson's earlier was a blessing. The picture of the previous post describes them both while giving attention to my now missing dog. Ahhh...
Tomorrow I'll be picking up my daughter and the exchange student from JFK - that will be grand and I am looking forward to it. Having three females under my roof will be interesting but also a bit hectic....
And then there is Christmas, an other hectic time. Must learn to live with all of this.
Monday, December 19
Been home now for a few days, combed the woods, searched for tracks, talked to all the neighbors, informed the warden - the animal clinics and so on ... but alas, no trace of my dog Sunrise. Very strange indeed. That dog stayed around the house all the time, never left his turf. All I can think of now is that a stranger picked him up, lured him away. There are crazy people out there who would do such a thing. But why?
I miss him dearly! It is astonishing to notice how fond we grow to our domesticated animal friends. The bond we weave goes beyond rational explanations. Perhaps animals are just "themselves", staying within the boundaries of their particular nature - not like humans, often pretending and casting an image of what they are not, trying to fool their surrounding with shadow images of their own insecurities.
Do we like pets because they never lie?
A brave male student knitted his pony, then attempted to ride it to NYC. He made it back alright, but his adventures are still unknown to us.
For now I took my own transportation means at hand and left the College behind until an other course awaits me in February. Fair the well 'til then...
Thursday, December 15
It is amazing what these students can do. Some of them have hardly done anything in clay or worked in an other three-dimensional medium. The course at Sunbridge is ending tomorrow and three weeks seemed to have past like three days. Time flies, when you are having a good time.
To all of you: EXCELLENT WORK!!!
Tuesday, December 13
Tookie the former head of a violent gang in West-LA now faces death, not by his opponents in the street, but sanctioned by US law. Arnold, the former body-builder and movie cartoon figure from films like "Exterminator" has the chance as governor of California to either pardon or to exterminate him. But you know, it's not that easy. Tookie had a revelation and transformed his previous anger into constructive energy to help people in troubled areas to fight violence with peaceful means. His series of eight books against gang-violence is now even used in elementary schools across the US to educate young people about the dangers of gang activities. For this work he has received an award from President Bush, and he has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times! But it doesn't matter if Tookie has redeemed himself from his past gang activities and now is a pioneer in the work of turning youth away from destructive gang life, what matters is that the United States is still stuck with medieval practices of hanging the guilty by the rope, or by modern methods using the syringe loaded with deadly poison.
It is Monday evening and I just visited the BBC news website. There it says quoting Arnold:
"After studying the evidence, searching the history, listening to the arguments and wrestling with the profound consequences, I could find no justification for granting clemency," Mr Schwarzenegger said.
So what that means, is that "Tookie" Stanley Williams will be executed tomorrow (Tuesday Dec. 13, 2005)
Besides the profound issue around the question of capital punishment that goes beyond the boundaries of California .... Arnold just wrote his own death sentence!!! (of course politically). He will now not be voted in to an other term in office.
"Oahil boee back" is what we knew from him in the past. But the old Austrian saying from his home-country: "Geht's alle scheissen" might fit his present attitude perfectly.
Saturday, December 10
Who is to say that winter starts at a fixed given date?
The picture on the right is taken in my neck of the woods, the picture on the left describes a brave soul in Sunbridge to create "Snowhenge."
I feel like that beast, chewing on some dried out grass while being covered with little hexagon shaped frozen flakes.
"Snow day" at the College on Friday made me come home earlier than planed. Was good, got a lot of "exercise" shoveling snow.
On the political front there is not much to report. In Canada Clinton attacked a central plank of the Bush administration's resistance to targets for cutting emissions - that it would harm the US economy. If the US "had a serious, disciplined effort to apply on a large scale existing clean energy and energy conservation technologies... we could meet and surpass the Kyoto targets easily in a way that would strengthen, not weaken, our economies," he said.
Global warming and melting ice, he suggested, could lead to a future climate conference in Canada being held on "a raft somewhere".
Yeah, very funny - but ah, we should take it to heart. In the mean time the conference in Montreal came to the conclusion "that we all should talk more" in the coming years. Good one- sounds like: Play me this song over and over again until we drown. "What's love got to do with it ... uhhps, "what's talk got to do with it ... it's just a second hand emotion"...
Talk on for years to come. Sweet, it will produce, no change whatsoever.
"Elections" are coming up in Iraq in a few days, let's see how that will play out. I predict: Nothing at all!
Saddam already stated he wouldn't mind to get executed and hanged - there I'll predict that he will be seen by people, even his foes, as a martyr for the cause towards the creation of a truly independent Iraq. We'll see...
On the homefront, the US is still struggeling to explain and justify secret detention facilities abroad, run by the CIA. There is this example of this lousy informant who got captured by the US in Afghanistan, brought to Jordan to be tortured - and as a result gave some bogus info about Iraq to ease his pain ... Turned out that this guy was a key "inteligence info" for the Bush administration to justify the war on Iraq.
Ok,I could give you some explanations why I think this is happening under our eyes while nobody can do anything about it. I will spare you with this, but belive me I am sort of outraged by the present developments.
Be good, Lukas.
Friday, December 9
Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
(pictures are from the students who put up a self-written play about the conquistadores, describing the invasion of the Spaniards flooding South America with the intent to capture the gold and convert every living soul to live by the rules of the catholic church)
Wednesday, December 7
Monday, December 5
Sometimes I really wish I had my camera around all the time.
Went to this Irish pub in New Jersey (one of these places where you still can have a Guinness and contemplate while having a smoke)...
Anyhow, I met this lady - a wonderful woman. She was sipping her Martini and as I left, she was determent to hold my hands. Oh, how I loved that - since I was adoring HER hands for quite a while before. I wished so much that I could have taken a picture of her, and especially her hands.
It turns out that she will celebrate her 106th birthday next April - no kidding, her 60 year old daughter was there to and confirmed it, so did the bartender who knows her quite well.
I need to take some pictures of her, and talk to her some more. She was absolutely adorable, bright, and totally present.
Imagine all the things you can look back to if you were born in 1900 and your memory and mind is still acute.
Saturday, December 3
The students are not aiming to "become an artists" or such, therefore it seems more important to have everyone experience the joy of fulfillment and also the limitations of that what is viable in the visual arts in such a short time.
To form a human head in clay. or any other material for that matter, is quite a challenge. It makes us aware of how and where the sense organs live. What are the eyes, they go out and in. Receiving and casting. What is the mouth, breathing in and speaking out - and so on...