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My sources intercepted a final dispatch sent by Moammar Gaddafi to his friend and fellow war criminal Dick Cheney right before the rebels caught up with him:

Dear Dick,

It looks as if the sand fleas will feast on me after all, and I suppose this is a good thing, under the circumstances. My Amazons have deserted me. I’m down to my last pinch of pharmaceutical meth, and sub-Saharan crank does not cut it, any more than this third-rate kif from Timbuktu…

More here.

Sins of the father

Abdulrahman Awlaki is the kid in the middle.

In this case, Anwar Awlaki’s 16-year old son:

Two weeks after the U.S. killed American citizen Anwar Awlaki with a drone strike in Yemen — far from any battlefield and with no due process — it did the same to his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, ending the teenager’s life on Friday along with his 17-year-old cousin and seven other people. News reports, based on government sources, originally claimed that Awlaki’s son was 21 years old and an Al Qaeda fighter (needless to say, as Terrorist often means: “anyone killed by the U.S.”), but a birth certificate published by The Washington Post proved that he was born only 16 years ago in Denver. As The New Yorker‘s Amy Davidson wrote: “Looking at his birth certificate, one wonders what those assertions say either about the the quality of the government’s evidence — or the honesty of its claims — and about our own capacity for self-deception.” The boy’s grandfather said that he and his cousin were at a barbecue and preparing to eat when the U.S. attacked them by air and ended their lives. There are two points worth making about this:

1) It is unknown whether the U.S. targeted the teenager or whether he was merely “collateral damage.” The reason that’s unknown is because the Obama administration refuses to tell us. Said the Post: “The officials would not discuss the attack in any detail, including who the target was.” So here we have yet again one of the most consequential acts a government can take — killing one of its own citizens, in this case a teenage boy — and the government refuses even to talk about what it did, why it did it, what its justification is, what evidence it possesses, or what principles it has embraced in general for such actions. Indeed, it refuses even to admit it did this, since it refuses even to admit that it has a drone program at all and that it is engaged in military action in Yemen. It’s just all shrouded in total secrecy.

Of course, the same thing happened with the killing of Awlaki himself. The Executive Branch decided it has the authority to target U.S. citizens for death without due process, but told nobody (until it was leaked) andrefuses to identify the principles that guide these decisions. It then concluded in a secret legal memo that Awlaki specifically could be killed, but refuses to disclose what it ruled or in which principles this ruling was grounded. And although the Obama administration repeatedly accused Awlaki of having an “operational role” in Terrorist plots, it has — as Davidson put it — “so far kept the evidence for that to itself.”

Who runs the world

Via Howie Klein. Please go read the rest:

An analysis of the relationships between 43,000 transnational corporations has identified a relatively small group of companies, mainly banks, with disproportionate power over the global economy.

…The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere. But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world’s transnational corporations (TNCs).

…The work, to be published in PloS One, revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships (see image). Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What’s more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world’s large blue chip and manufacturing firms– the “real” economy– representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies– all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity– that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and TheGoldman Sachs Group.

Troops out of Iraq

By the end of the year. But of course, private contractors are going to remain. Meanwhile, Aghanistan!

Hah

Eric Cantor cancels his talk at Wharton. What a coward!

Keeping it local

This is fascinating. I’d love to see projects like this replicated, because the day will come in our lifetimes when we run low on water:

From the outside, the homes look like any conventional home in any other development – except for solar panels mounted on each roof. Each home is required to include a minimum two kilowatt solar electrical generator.

“Six of the 10 homes are net contributors to the (electricity) grid,” resident Aaron Miller said during a recent community open house.

The centerpiece of the community is on a hill above the northern end of the housing cluster. From a distance, it looks like a greenhouse, and indeed there are plants growing within. It is a manmade indoor wetland, and it does what natural wetlands do: treats wastewater.

Water from three wells and a spring is used for drinking, cooking and washing. Resulting “gray water,” drained from sinks and washing machines, is recycled as flush water.

Each home is served by a grinder pump that moves the flush water uphill to a cascading system of three septic tanks, in which solids settle out, “just like a normal septic system,” Miller explained. The solids are periodically pumped off, also like a normal septic system.

But the water, instead of draining into a sand mound or a nearby stream, is pumped into the 2,100 square foot indoor wetland. There, an assortment of plants and bacteria feed on the non-humanly useable elements. Some of the treated-by-nature water is recycled back to the homes to be reused as flush water. What is not needed in the homes is pumped to a drip-irrigation field, where it feeds wild grasses and flowers, and filters through the ground back to the water table.

“We’re keeping it local instead of going into the watershed and into the ocean,” Miller said.

The divided brain

A new book, explained:

Dept. of Irony

I keep seeing Walmart people in the news talking about their healthcare benefits. Kiss them goodbye, people!

This one came to mind when I saw Eric Idle on Scorsese’s documentary about George Harrison.

Honestly?

Fuck Steve “Enlightenment” Jobs. Yeah, it’s easy to build a factory in China because you have slave wages, people killing themselves because it’s such an awful place to work, and you get to dump all kinds of poison into the water and air supply. What’s not to like?

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