Friday, March 31, 2006

behind closed doors

From "War Plan--Red," a United States plan for war with the British Empire. The plan was first approved at the cabinet level in 1930. The United States is "Blue," Canada is "Crimson," and the United Kingdom is "red."

The most probable cause of war between RED and BLUE is the constantly increasing BLUE economic penetration into regions formerly dominated by RED trade, to such an extent eventually to menace RED standards of living. The RED race is essentially homogenous, more or less phlegmatic, but determined and persistent when once committed to a policy, and is noted for its ability to fight to a finish.

While CRIMSON provides the RED Empire with advantageous bases at such widely separated points as to invite an initial dispersion of BLUE armed forces, CRIMSON itself occupies an extremely weak position with respect to BLUE. While its territory is of great extent, all well-developed parts thereof lie close to the BLUE bborder; hence, they are especially vulnerable to attack from BLUE.


(A) To initiate, at the earliest practicable date, operations designed to sparate CRIMSON from RED. This will include:
--an expedition against Halifax and the Montreal-Quebec area.
--immediate air operations on as large a scale as practicable.
--the establishment of the United States Fleet in the Western North Atlantic to destroy all RED naval forces in that area and to control sea communications between RED and CRIMSON.
(B) To seize RED bases in the western North Atlantic, the West Indies, and the Caribbean Sea.
(C) To make all necessary preparations for the use of chemical warfare from the outbreak of war.
The use of chemical warfare, including the use of toxic agents, is authorized.

-from Harpers, April 2006

Makes me wonder what Cheney and Rove talk about behind closed doors.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

coke's latest pr move

Protest over Coca Cola sponsorship of World Water Forum

The fourth World Water Forum (Mexico City, March 16-22) aims to bring together politicians, water management professionals and NGOs to aid cooperation for "better living standards for people all over the world and a more responsible social behavior towards water issues in-line with the pursuit of sustainable development." Coca Cola's sponsorship of the upcoming World Water Forum, the global summit aiming to improve access to freshwater worldwide, is out of line with the event's stated objective say activists. The Indian Resource Center NGO says that Coca Cola is sponsoring the event as a "publicity maneuver" to whitewash over its record of wasteful water use and pollution. Globally, the company's water use ratio is 2.7 to 1 on average - meaning 63% of the water it takes from the ground is discharged as waste.

See: and more on the World Water Forum at:

Thursday, March 09, 2006

abuses in Colombia: the real thing

Can you imagine a company that makes fizzy sugar water employs anti-union death squads in Colombia to prevent workers from organizing?

Yet, the Campaign for Labor Rights has compiled some damning reports of exactly that.

As the situation in Columbia grows worse, Coke is trying to end-run the demands for justice. They have hired two people who have connections with the International Labor Organization (ILO), one who was an employer representative; the other is a labor representative. Now the company has enlisted the international federation for its company union, the International Union of Food and Allied Workers - IUF, to ask the ILO to investigate the labor situation at Coke in Columbia.

Two things are interesting here. First, despite numerous assassinations of labor activists in Columbia, the ILO has repeatedly refused to launch a general investigation in the country's labor rights situation. Secondly, word has already filtered out of management meetings with workers at Coca-Cola FEMSA to decide which workers will be allowed to meet with any investigators, and which will not. This marks the fourth effort by Coke to set up a controlled "investigation."

The first was their own law firm, the second was by CalSafety (a notoriously discredited company that monitors codes of conduct), the third was with students and university administrators that Coke dumped when they insisted that Coke not be a member of the investigatory team, and now the ILO. Few companies go to such extremes to avoid doing the right thing.

Some universities are concerned enough to ban that corrosive liquid from their campuses. You can read the statement from the University of Michigan if you wish.

For a comprehensive Corporate Profile Report, called "Inside the Real Think" you can see the Polaris Institute's October 2005 publication.

Though your dentist may come after me for saying this, there may be some good reasons for switching to tap!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

their words ~ on mountain top removal

MARIA GUNNOE, 37, Bob White, West Virginia

"With mountaintop removal, the species we are losing is the human species—just because we're hillbillies. Hillbillies are the last people you can make fun of—it's acceptable. We do have educations. We do have lives. There's going to be an uprising here; the coal industry has turned us into activists. I try not to hate, I really do. There's a part of me that feels sorry for them. There's a part of me that would be standing with my foot on their throat and I wouldn't feel sorry for them."

JACKIE BROWNING, 56, Horse Creek, West Virginia

Browning was poisoned by chemicals used at a coal preparation plant. "I thought I was going to lose my mind. I tingled from my groin to my feet, my mouth burned—I felt like I ate a hot coal. I had diarrhea for four years and a severe sore throat for seven months." Browning claims that a Massey representative monitored his medical examination. "Massey is rock bottom. They're cruel people."

Read more in Antrim Caskey's portrait - "We Live It Every Day" Great photos of faces and quotes from West Virginians impacted by mountaintop removal.

carving the earth's flesh

Not since the glaciers pushed toward these ridgelines a million years ago have the Appalachian Mountains been as threatened as they are today. But the coal-extraction process decimating this landscape, known as mountaintop removal, has generated little press beyond the region. The problem, in many ways, is one of perspective. From interstates and lowlands, where most communities are clustered, one simply doesn't see what is happening up there. Only from the air can you fully grasp the magnitude of the devastation. If you were to board, say, a small prop plane at Zeb Mountain, Tennessee, and follow the spine of the Appalachian Mountains up through Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, you would be struck not by the beauty of a densely forested range older than the Himalayas, but rather by inescapable images of ecological violence.

On Thursday, I will fly in a small plane in eastern Kentucky to view the results of our insatiable need for electricity and all the comfort, power, and riches it brings.

The top paragraph is from Erik Reeces article in the new Orion Magazine, which you can see here along with photos of the region by Antrim Caskey. Reece's LOST MOUNTAIN: Radical Strip Mining and the Devastation of Appalachia just came out last month.

Demands on Appalachian coal, millions of tons of which sit beneath the forested mountains of this impoverished part of the country -- poor largely because of this extractive industry -- grow greater every day with the expansion of the economies of China and India, and the rise in oil prices.

What is the answer? Insatiable desire (need?) versus ravaged lands and lives? Who wins may, in part, be up to you and me. Great, huh?