Lakey on spontaneous nonviolence

Here's a note from nonviolent activist George Lakey about the Palestinian tactic of nonviolently stopping Israeli aircraft from bombing Palestinian leaders and activists (reported ).  Matt Guynn posted it:

It's a great example of NV defense, though, innovative, and the kind of thing which, if I advocated as a US'er to some Palestinians I've known they would laugh it off as ridiculous because it wouldn't deter the IDF.

I love these spontaneous things that people come up with in the midst of struggle, even people basically committed to violent struggle, when they realize that (once again) nonviolent means are often more powerful than violent means.

Can we impeach Bush yet?

We know from the Downing Street Memo that Bush was looking for an excuse to invade Iraq.  Here is more evidence:

Bush Ignored Intelligence on Iraqi Weapons, Says Ex-CIA Officer

By Dan Glaister
The Guardian UK

Monday 24 April 2006

A former leading CIA official said yesterday that the White House deliberately
  ignored intelligence that showed that there were no weapons of mass destruction
  in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

Tyler Drumheller, who was once the highest-ranking CIA officer in Europe, told
  CBS’s 60 Minutes programme that the White House shifted its focus to regime
  change in the months before the invasion.

"The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking
  for intelligence to fit into the policy," Mr Drumheller said.

Meanwhile a leaked Pentagon document showed that Donald Rumsfeld, the defence
  secretary, is pressing ahead with plans to reshape the armed forces despite
  recent criticism of his stewardship from several retired military officers.
  Plans approved last month by Mr Rumsfeld and leaked to the Washington Post revealed
  the increasing use of special forces and an increased role for the military
  in areas that have been the domain of the CIA.

Mr Drumheller, who had a senior role in the run-up to the war, told 60 Minutes
  that the CIA provided the White House with information from Iraq’s then foreign
  minister, Naji Sabri, who had reportedly made a deal with the US.

"[The source] told us that there were no active weapons of mass destruction
  programmes," Mr Drumheller said. He said that the then-CIA director, George
  Tenet, passed the information on to George Bush, Dick Cheney, the vice-president,
  and other senior officials, who were initially excited. But that changed, he

"The [White House] group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq
  war came back and said they were no longer interested. And we said ‘Well, what
  about the intel?’ And they said ‘Well, this isn’t about intel anymore. This
  is about regime change.’"

Mr Drumheller said the decision to invade Iraq would be remembered as a grave
  mistake. "It just sticks in my craw every time I hear them say it’s an
  intelligence failure … This was a policy failure … I think, over time, people
  will look back on this and see this is going to be one of the great, I think,
  policy mistakes of all time," he said.

A Force More Powerful Game Available

A FORCE MORE POWERFUL – The Game of NONVIOLENT Strategy is now available.

It is a computer game that allows people to try their hand at defeating dictators, military occupiers, and
corrupt rulers–not with laser rays and AK47s–but with a non-military strategy
and nonviolent weapons.

It is only $19.95 plus shipping/handling.

It looks really cool and will be quite a useful tool for teaching nonviolent strategy.

Now if it had a US scenario.

State of North Pole Sea Ice

Mom and I got to talking about climate change and I pointed out that the area of the North Pole sea ice is receeding.  She was skeptical of the rate of decrease, so I decided to go looking.  NOAA’s Arctic Change site has some good facts and pictures.  2002-2005 has seen near record minimums for the amount of North Pole sea ice.

While the melting of the the sea ice would certainly open up shipping lanes between Canada and Russia, it could result in the extinction of polar bears as the Sunday Times and Wall Street Journal reported in December 2005 and the Washington Post reported in 2004, among problems.

The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report has some useful information.

The Big Chill in the Northeast

The 12/19/05 USA Today has an article entitled The Big Chill about what could happen if there is a winter fuel crisis.  Here are some telling quotes about the North East US, where I live (emphasis are mine):

While the Big Chill will hit low-income households the hardest, no one
may be immune if the weather turns foul. New England and perhaps all of
the Northeast, including New York City, are a special worry. Gas
companies grant big price breaks to customers year-round if they agree
to have their service cut when supplies are short. Chances are great
these discount customers will be shut down this winter, and they
include manufacturers, some schools and hospitals, and, ominously,
about 77 percent of New England’s gas-fired electric power generation,
which requires large quantities of fuel

The curtailment of "interruptible" customers will trigger a double
squeeze on consumers throughout the Northeast. First, costs for home
heating oil will skyrocket, as scores of power plants and other
interruptible gas customers switch fuels and make a grab for all the
oil on the market. Even though heating oil is a major fuel source in
the Northeast, there are no oil pipelines from refineries into New
England, which relies on deliveries by tanker or barge. And in recent
years, the oil industry–following the U.S. industrial trend–has been
keeping inventories low to promote efficiency. Tim Irving, executive
director of Heat, U.S.A., a company that buys heating oil in bulk for
northeastern homes, recalls that in the most recent severe cold snap,
January 2004, the industry simply could not ship in sufficient
supplies. "The just-in-time inventory system, when put together with
the utility policy of having interruptible gas customers, creates a
very volatile situation where literally in a week, New York harbor went
dry [of heating oil shipments] because utility customers went on line
Irving says. "Your middle American ends up paying more to support this

Electricity could also be effected:

The second threat is a severe electricity shortage in the
Northeast–with possible brownouts or blackouts. Deregulated
natural-gas-fired power generators, under no legal obligation to serve
customers as the old monopoly electric companies were, can simply stop
generating power. Some plants will be interruptible customers with no
backup fuel source. But in other cases, power plants that have firm
natural gas contracts will stop generating electricity anyway and sell
their fuel at enormous profit. That is precisely what happened during
the three-day January 2004 cold snap, when more than 25 percent of New
England’s generating capacity went off line and the reserve margin was
near zero.
  The market weathered that storm, but ISO New England, the
organization responsible for managing the electric grid, says that even
under normal weather conditions, electricity demand this winter most
likely will set a new record surpassing that of the perilous 2004 cold
snap. The grid operator has taken steps to head off a shortage,
spearheading a public-relations campaign to urge New Englanders to
conserve electricity, attempting to work out agreements with big
customers to curtail demand, and asking the Coast Guard to station
ice-breaking barges in locations that will assure fuel oil deliveries
can make it downriver to electric plants. But Connecticut Attorney
General Richard Blumenthal says as long as power generators are allowed
to shut down and sell natural gas during a weather crisis, there is a
risk of the kind of market chaos, as well as manipulation, that roiled
California in 2000 and 2001. "The result could be a calamity," he says.

Thanks to The Oil Drum for pointing this article out.

Greenland and Glacier Melting

The Oil Drum has an interesting article on Greenland and the physics of ice melting.  It notes:

A "flat to gradually sloping icecap covers all but a narrow,
mountainous, barren, rocky coast". The ice sheet covers about 80% of
the land, and contains about 2.5 million cubic kilometers of ice. If
all that ice were to melt, it would increase global sea level by about 7m, or 23 feet.

There is a great deal of information here about the ice at the poles and it is well worth the read.

One of the maps it provides is an EPA map of the Eastern Sea board/Gulf coast that shows the portions of the US east coast that would be inundated by 1.5m and 3.5m of sea level rise.  As it notes:

3.5m would be reached halfway through a Greenland icesheet collapse. As
you can see, the total area isn’t that large, but it includes a pretty
large fraction of many of the east coast’s coastal cities. That would
be expensive.

It got me to thinking about where would Massachusetts and New England fare in a sea level rise.  To get an idea I found a set of EPA maps.  According to Google Earth, my house is at about 45 feet above sea level.  However, by the maps, some high value areas of Boston would be flooded or at least would be more vulnerable to hurricanes.  Food for thought.

The musings of Jamie O'Keefe: pirate party activist, geek, father and gamer.