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July 31, 2010
John Wilcock - January 5, 2008

 

The column of lasting insignificance
 
       


also posted:



2011
November 26 2011
November 19, 2011
November 12, 2011
November 5, 2011
October 29, 2011
October 22, 2011
October 15, 2011
October 8, 2011
October 1, 2011
September 24, 2011
September 17, 2011
September 10, 2011
September 4, 2011
August 27, 2011
August 20, 2011
August 13, 2011
August 6, 2011
July 30, 2011
July 23, 2011
July 16, 2011
July 9, 2011
July 2, 2011
June 25, 2011
June 18, 2011
June 11, 2011
June 4, 2011
May 28, 2011
May 21, 2011
May 14, 2011
May 7, 2011
April 30, 2011
April 23, 2011
April 16, 2011
April 9, 2011
April 2, 2011
March 26, 2011
March 19, 2011
March 12, 2011
March 5, 2011
February 26, 2011
February 19, 2011
February 12, 2011
February 5, 2011
February 5, 2011
January 29, 2011
January 22, 2011
January 15, 2011
January 6, 2011

2010
December 25, 2010
December 18, 2010
December 11, 2010
December 4, 2010
November 27, 2010
November 20, 2010
November 13, 2010
November 6, 2010
October 30, 2010
October 23, 2010
October 16, 2010
October 9, 2010
October 2, 2010
September 25, 2010
September 18, 2010
September 11, 2010
September 4, 2010
August 28, 2010
August 21, 2010
August 14, 2010
August 7, 2010
July 31, 2010
July 24, 2010
July 17, 2010
July 10, 2010
July 3, 2010
June 26, 2010
June 19, 2010
June 12, 2010
June 5, 2010
May 29, 2010
May 22, 2010
May 15, 2010
May 8, 2010
May 1, 2010
April 24, 2010
April 17, 2010
April 10, 2010
April 3, 2010
March 27, 2010
March 20, 2010
March 13, 2010
March 6, 2010
February 27, 2010
February 20, 2010
February 13, 2010
February 6, 2010
January 30, 2010
January 23, 2010
January 16, 2010
January 9, 2010
January 2, 2010

2009
December 26, 2009
December 19, 2009
December 12, 2009
December 5, 2009
November 28, 2009
November 21, 2009
November 14, 2009
November 7, 2009
October 31, 2009
October 24, 2009
October 17, 2009
October 10, 2009
October 3, 2009
September 26, 2009
September 19, 2009
September 12, 2009
September 5, 2009
August 29, 2009
August 22, 2009
August 15, 2009
August 8, 2009
August 1, 2009
July 25, 2009
July 18, 2009
July 11, 2009
July 4, 2009
June 27, 2009
June 20, 2009
June 13, 2009
June 6, 2009
May 30, 2009
May 23, 2009
May 16, 2009
May 9, 2009
May 2, 2009
April 25, 2009
April 18, 2009
April 11, 2009
April 4, 2009
March 28, 2009
March 21, 2009
March 14, 2009
March 7, 2009
February 28, 2009
February 21, 2009
February 14, 2009
February 7, 2009
January 31, 2009
January 24, 2009
January 17, 2009
January 3, 2009

2008
December 27, 2008
December 20, 2008
December 13, 2008
December 6, 2008
November 29, 2008
November 22, 2008
November 15, 2008
November 8, 2008
November 5, 2008
November 1, 2008
October 25, 2008
October 18, 2008
October 11, 2008
October 4, 2008
September 27, 2008
September 20, 2008
September 13, 2008
September 6, 2008
August 30, 2008
August 23, 2008
August 16, 2008
August 9, 2008
August 2, 2008
July 26, 2008
July 19, 2008
July 12, 2008
July 5, 2008
June 28, 2008
June 21, 2008
June 14, 2008
June 7, 2008
May 31, 2008
May 24, 2008
May 17, 2008
May 10, 2008
May 3, 2008
April 26, 2008
April 19, 2008
April 12, 2008
April 5, 2008
March 29, 2008
March 22, 2008
March 15, 2008
March 8, 2008
March 1, 2008
February 23, 2008
February 16, 2008
February 9, 2008
February 2, 2008
January 26, 2008
January 19, 2008
January 12, 2008
January 5, 2008

2007
December 29, 2007
December 22, 2007
December 15, 2007
December 8, 2007
December 1, 2007
November 24, 2007
November 17, 2007
November 10, 2007
November 3, 2007
October 27, 2007
October 20, 2007
October 13, 2007
October 6, 2007
September 29, 2007
September 22, 2007
September 15, 2007
September 8, 2007
September 1, 2007
August 25, 2007
August 18, 2007
August 11, 2007
August 4, 2007
July 28, 2007
July 21, 2007
July 14, 2007
July 7, 2007
June 30, 2007
June 23, 2007
June 16, 2007
June 9, 2007
June 2, 2007
May 19, 2007
May 12, 2007
May 5, 2007
April 28, 2007
April 21, 2007
April 14, 2007
April 7, 2007
March 31, 2007
March 24, 2007
March 17, 2007
March 10, 2007
March 3, 2007
February 24, 2007
February 17, 2007
February 10, 2007
February 3, 2007
January 20, 2007
January 13, 2007
January 6, 2007

2006
December 30, 2006
December 23, 2006
December 16, 2006
December 9, 2006
December 2, 2006
November 25, 2006
November 18, 2006
November 11, 2006
November 4, 2006
October 28, 2006
October 21, 2006
October 14, 2006
October 7, 2006
September 30, 2006
September 23, 2006
September 16, 2006
September 9, 2006
September 2, 2006
August 26, 2006
August 19, 2006
August 12, 2006
August 5, 2006
July 29, 2006
July 22, 2006
July 15, 2006

 

 


July 31, 2010

John Wilcock
the column of lasting insignificance

“It’s hard to escape comparing the US attitude to the Viet Cong with their attitude to the Taliban. In both cases, the US is supporting a corrupt and incompetent government that is at worst hated, and at best ignored, by the majority of the population”
--letter in the Guardian

THE MAN BEHIND WikiLeaks is a 30-something Australian named Julian Assange, reports Mother Jones and he lives “like a man on the lam” who never uses the same phone number twice. From posting documents reporting high-level corruption in Kenya and the Guantanamo Bay prison camp operating manuals to Sarah Palin’s hacked emails and Wesley Snipes’ tax returns, the site is “a place where anyone can anonymously submit sensitive or secret materials to be disseminated and downloaded around the globe”. It gets away with it, says the mag, because its primary server is in Sweden. Assange began as a member of a hacker collective called the International Subversives as a teenager in Melbourne. “WikiLeaks does not pass judgment on the authenticity of documents: the site explains. “That’s up to the readers, editors and communities to do”.

A MAJOR MISTAKE of U.S. foreign policy—the way we are treating Iran—is the substance of the book Reset: Iran, Turkey and America’s Future which claims that the current theocratic regime will not always be in power and bubbling beneath it is “the democracy for which so many of them yearn”. Author Stephen Kinzer is hopeful that, even if belatedly, America is beginning to see the advantages of having Iran as an ally rather than an adversary. “It can do more than any other country to assure long-term peace In Iraq….can help stabilize Afghanistan…can tame militant groups like Hamas and Hezbolla…can improve relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world…stable and secure, no longer in need of a scapegoat, it might stop threatening Israel…an enemy of al-Qaeda, it would cooperate in crushing it”.
        Iran has 10 per cent of the worlds’s oil reserves and 16 per cent of its natural gas, Kinzer writes, and if the U.S. does not exploit and buy it, Russia and China will, thus increasing their strategic leverage in the region. Recognition of Iran as an important power with legitimate security interests are the reason why successive American presidents have rejected compromise, the book maintains, willfully ignoring the reality that Iran is already a regional power. “The United States may wish that this were not the case, but self-delusion is an unsound basis for foreign policy”.

EROTIC EAR-CLEANING is a new craze in Tokyo where 100 new salons staffed by attractive young ladies in maids’ uniforms have opened already this year. “My clients just lie down with their head on my lap and close their eyes and you can see their stress disappear” says a salon operator quoted in The Week. “The ear is a very sensitive place and when someone is cleaning it, you feel loved”.


End the Impossible War

THE FAMOUS TWELVE STEPS—“the cornerstone of addiction treatment” —are at the heart of Alcoholics Anonymous in which as many as 23 million Americans are currently grappling with severe alcohol or drug abuse says Wiredin a revealing story about AA’s founder, a failed stockbroker named Bill Wilson. “In my 20 years of treating addicts I’ve never seen anything that comes close to the 12 steps” says addiction specialist Drew Pinsky. “In my world, if someone says they don’t want to do (them) I know they aren’t going to get better”. The steps, which begin with asking members to admit their powerlessness over alcohol, were designed to induce an immense commitment, explains the mag, because Wilson wanted his system to be every bit as habit-forming as booze. And its effectiveness may derive from the power of the group. “The more deeply AA members commit to the group, rather than just the program, the better they fare”.

We have been having a meeting for the passed 7 months which ended 2 days ago with the secretary to the UNITED NATIONS. This email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$ 250,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) This includes every foriegn contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc –email from Nigeria.

BACK IN THE HIPPY ERA, England’s Glastonbury music festival was the epitome of youthful rebellion, filled with pot smoke, drunkenness and free love. It’s still Europe’s biggest but when it celebrated its 40th birthday last month, writes Brendan O’Neill, its 170,000 revelers had become “a tightly regimented gathering of middle-class masochists who don’t mind being bossed around by nosey cops and kill-joy greens”. The graying of Glastonbury (“a massive, authoritarian pigpen”) has now become too expensive for youngsters and suffers from middle-aged music and too many do-gooders. “When attendees are not being spied on or entrapped” O’Neill writes in the Spectator, “ they’re being lectured about everything from safe sex to health safety…and young people don’t like being hectored by has-been hippies”.

AFTER ANALYZING questionnaires sent to civil servants 20 years ago and then checking out their subsequent lives, researchers at London’s University College concluded that people who were bored, tended to die at a much younger age than those who weren’t. Boredom, they suggested, makes people more prone to harmful behavior such as excessive drinking and drug abuse.

THE BILLIONAIRES CLUB is probably the most suitable name for the group headed by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates whose declared aim is to get the 400 Americans on the Forbes super rich list to pledge at least 50% of their wealth to charity. In a cover story, Fortune estimates that in a recent year those 400 had an income of $138 billion but their charitable contributions stalled at a mere 11 per cent, “a huge gap” between what the Gateses and Buffett think would be appropriate. A box listing some of the sympathetic billionaires who have attended the dinners at which the plan has been discussed includes Oprah Winfrey, George Soros, Ted Turner and David Rockefeller. Conspicuous by his absence is the notoriously ungenerous Rupert Murdoch.

WHY ON EARTH does Japan—“a civilized, highly educated nation and a leader in environmental protection “—fight so hard to  protect its right to hunt whales, a custom that began only since the end of WW2? That’s the question asked by Rome’s La Repubblica which says that most Japanese don’t even like whale meat but have come to believe mistakenly that hunting whales is an ancient tradition and when the campaign to ban it began, reacted as if their very identity was threatened.

THE DECLINE AND near-disappearance of the book review is due less to economic forces than to cultural ones charges the Nation’s literary editor John Palettella who accuses newspapers of an “anti-intellectual ethos”. True, a paper’s book review section (that of the New York Times is about the only one left) loses money, but so do other sections such as Metro or Sports. But it’s the Book Review that gets pinched or killed, primarily, he suggests, because an editorial “lack of interest in ideas that are not utterly topical”. Advertising—or lack of it—is of course at the root of the problem. “The cost of a single full page ad in a large newspaper exceeds the promotional budget for most books”.

THERE MAY BE as many of 100 million infected computers in the world estimates the Economist whose recent cover story, Cyberwar, warned of “the threat from the internet” as machines are linked together to form malevolent botnets. Most of the danger this country faces, comes from hard-to-identify enemy hackers who first try to penetrate networks and then disrupt or manipulate them. “If military targeting information could be attacked, for example, ballistic missiles would be useless…The thought of an enemy lurking in battle-fighting systems alarms the top brass”.

THE WILCOCK WEB: So many Albanians moved into Serbia’s Kosovo province that now the UN has endorsed their takeover. Will the same thing happen when Mexicans become the majority in California?….Now we’re building complexes in Afghanistan too complicated for locals to operate, so we’re also overpaying contractors to run them….Individual taxpayers should be given a receipt by the IRS showing exactly how their contribution was being spent suggests Democracy magazine’s Ethan Porter…. In Malaysia’s version of The Apprentice ( Iman Muda ) contestants vie for a job at a mosque where their first task is to bathe and bury a body.... Lady Gaga’s backstage requirements include “non-smelly, non-sweaty cheese and a jar of honey…... Elections won’t become fair until each candidate is restricted to spending the same amount of money…...”No one party can fool all of the people all of the time” said Bob Hope. “That’s why we have two parties”….Still undergoing modifications in a German shipyard is billionaire Roman Abramovich’s $600m super yacht because (says The Week) “engine vibrations make his crystal glasses rattle”…. Critics of the BBC’s new gay adaptation of Conan Doyle’s  famous  detective series are pissed off at what they are referring to as “Sherlock Homo”….. The new electric motorcycle from San Francisco’s Mission Motors can reach 150mph—and costs $69,000….... F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is about to become a video game  ….”An animal kept solely for profit is an exploited animal” declares Audubon in a feature pointing to the growing trend of photographers who own or rent animals for  fraudulently tagged “wildlife” pictures…...Once a cheap Coney Island treat, lobster rolls ($14 and up) are newly popular in Manhattan…. And crescent-shaped French fries are on the way….With dual lenses and sensors to record separate images for each eye, the new DXG camcorder  ($600) captures  videotape that can be played (and watched without glasses) on any 3-D television set…. Mashed potato wrestling is a feature of South Dakota’s annual Clark Potato Day on July 31…..Among the prizes in Popular Science’s annual Invention Awards are a box which sucks drops of water from warm, humid air, and a hearing device that’s connected to the teeth….With a lengthy name, Schorschbrau Schorsch Bock; unprecedented potency (43 proof); and a lofty price ($120 per bottle), Germany’s Georg Tscheuschner has brewed the world’s strongest beer….And back in Sarah Palin’s hometown of Wasila, Toby Foster has built Alaska’s first distillery in a disused hangar where he’s producing 15,000 bottles each month of Permafrost Vodka ($22+) from local potatoes and water crushed from glacier ice…. Driving somebody’s car across country for just the gasoline costs is still possible via autodriveaway.com…. With the closing of the Canadian factory that makes what has become America’s most ubiquitous police car, Ford’s Crown Victoria, the most likely successors are the 140mph Dodge Charger or the new rear-wheel drive Chevrolet Caprice….“There is no such source of error as the pursuit of absolute truth” —Samuel  Butler     (1835-1902)

7/24/10

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