Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Obama's children will not get vaccine


So it is just announced Obama's kids got the vaccine. I ask: if they were at risk 20 days ago, how did they recover from 'being at risk' in such a short time?

Well, what do you know? Obama's daughters will not be getting the swine flu vaccine. Hmmm.
I wonder why not? If it's safe for everyone else's children, why not his?

First Daughters Not Vaccinated Against H1N1

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Story of Stuff

Part of my purpose in continuing this blog is to bring to readers bits of news and interesting perspectives which people might ordinarily not have time to find.

The video below is quite easy to watch: yet terribly profound. I asked the question of myself some years ago: Who am I without my Stuff? The answer is my journey.

I highly recommend this article on 'Enoughism' along with its links to those who are interested in this question for themselves in today's collapsing consumer culture.

This video below draws the big picture...with a crayon no less. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How much profit is fair for prescription drugs?

How much does the average citizen pay for prescribed drugs? What % mark-up is fair for the societies who depend on prescriptions for their daily health?

Research and development costs on patented drugs must be reimbursed. But beyond that, is the sky the limit for the prices on prescription drugs?

Who do pharmaceutical companies serve primarily? Is it their stockholders; or is it the people who consume the drugs? These are questions we should be asking in terms of corporate social responsibility of the major pharma corporations.

Take a look at this mark up list for prescription drugs and see how you feel about it.

Don't get mad. Just do some reading and decide how much is fair for corporate profits in the pharmaceutical industry. Then talk about it to your neighbours and friends, write your Congressman (though I doubt that will help), organise a boycott; just do something even it is only entertaining how outraged you are by these corporate practices.

Decide whether people's health or corporate profits are the goal of a healthy society.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bill Moyers - Kaptur: Cleaning up the gov't aka Wall Street

I have been a fan of Bill Moyers for decades: he is truly an artist in presenting today's crises in depth and with plain talking clarity. The interview below is with Marcy Kaptur (Dem. Ohio), the outspoken critic from the Heartland who advocates that people evicted not leave their homes, and Simon Johnson. How do the banksters view the tradegies of economic collapse affecting the American people? The answer might shock you. A thoroughly engrossing expose of the banker culture.

Are we fooked? Have a laugh

Better have a laugh while we still have our sense of humours left.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Delightful genius in the midst of Chaos

This video speaks for itself. When the chaos of today has drained my soul of hope, such genius as this woman has - makes my soul smile.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dollar losing reserve currency status - Engdahl

Anyone with even a watchful (not necessarily expert) eye on the dollar over the past year and a half, could predict its fall as the world reserve currency. At first the idea seemed absurd and impossible: now the prediction is 99% certain.

Update October 8, 2009

I just can't believe that if a lay person like myself can glean this castrophe lying in wait for the US , that experts such as Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, Timothy Geithner and Obama could possibly not have figure it out by now. They MUST know.

And if they do know, they are surely preparing for this bomb to hit.
  • At the last G20 conference in Pittsburgh, the US ceded economic control to the IMF.
  • Northcom has estabished a disturbing presence acting in the role of the National Guard.
  • Swine flu has been declared an epidemic effectively activating Directive 51.
And these are only a few of the indicators inside the US: the international pressures which guarantee thedollar losing reserve currency status in recent months are overwhelming.

I wonder what the economic catastrophe will look like in human cost to Americans? It won't be pretty and may very well resemble the economic collapse in Russia in the early 1990's.

If the Big Dogs do know what is coming, it means they are lying like the devil now in redirecting the focus of media attention to 'heathcare' and 'birthers'. I hear alot of clamour about such things; but no on is discussing the consequences of this monumentous change just around the Main Street corner.

Of course, for many other countries this change will mean increased prosperity and economic growth.

The article below by F. William Engdahl neatly explains why the dollar will fall. Americans truly have no hand in their own destiny now - the are up the creek without a paddle - they just don't know it yet. (Could be all the hyper-control freak-indoctrination that passes as education now in the US.)

The next decade will bring changes to civilisation which we could hardly have imagined. What the human cost will be is a question I am almost afraid to ask.

Will the Dollar get an “Arab oil shock”?

by F. William Engdahl
October 7, 2009

Arab oil producing nations and the some world’s largest oil consumers including China and Japan are reliably reported to be secretly planning a long-term exit from pricing their oil trade in dollars. If true, it would spell the death knell for the dollar as world reserve currency, and for the USA as “the” global economic power.

Ever since Washington tore up the Bretton Woods treaty in August 1971 and went onto a “dollar paper reserve system” instead of a dollar backed by gold, the United States, as the world’s most powerful military power, has been able to dictate financial terms to the world. Nations like Japan and later China, dependent on US export markets, would dutifully invest their trade surplus dollars into US Government debt, in effect financing wars such as Iraq or Afghanistan they opposed. They saw no choice. Arab oil producing countries, under US military pressure, were forced to sell oil only in dollars, a direct prop to the dollar when the US economy was in terminal decline. That may be rapidly about to come to an end.

According to a leaked report from Arab Gulf oil producers, there have been a series of secret meetings in recent months between the major Arab oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, and reportedly also Russia, together with the leading oil consumer countries including two of the three largest oil import countries—China and Japan.

Their project is to quietly create the basis to end a 65-year long “iron rule” of selling oil only in US dollars. Following the 400% oil price shock of 1973, which was deliberately blamed by US media on “greedy Arab Shiekhs,” a senior US Treasury official made a secret trip to Riyadh to tell the Saudis in blunt terms that if they wanted US military defense against potential Israeli attack, that OPEC must privately agree never to sell oil in currencies other than the US dollar. That “petrodollar” system allowed the US to run staggering trade deficits and remain the world reserve currency, the heart of its ability to dominate and control world financial markets, until the crisis of the sub-prime real estate securitization in August 2007.

The participants in the oil pricing project reportedly envision using a basket of currencies reflecting producer-consumer trade relations, one backed by gold as a solid backbone. It would not initially be a new currency as some have surmised, but rather an arrangement that would eliminate the risks of pricing oil sales in fluctuating and likely depreciating dollars.

Iran announced recently that in the future it would sell its oil for euros not dollars. According to these reports, the basket of currencies would include a mix of yen, euros, Chinese yuan, gold. Brazil would reportedly join as both a producer and consumer country.

The secret plan was first reported by Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk, in the UK Independent.

I have confirmed from very senior and well-informed Gulf sources that the talks are in fact real. The oil producing countries have been fed up for years about having to price their oil in dollars or face US reprisals. They are steadily losing as the dollar depreciates against other currencies and against gold. As most Gulf Arab oil countries depend on imports for much of their economy, dollar pricing de facto introduces serious inflation into their economies as well. Most of their trade is with the EU or other countries outside the US, but now that trade must be mediated through a sinking currency, the dollar.

Following the US declaration of the War on Terror by the Bush Administration after September 11, 2001 most leading Arab oil producing countries privately saw US policy as being aggressively aimed at them. The un-justifiable US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 merely confirmed that as well as subsequent US threats against Iran.

Initially various governments involved in the leaked plan have publicly denied vehemently such a plan. That in no way invalidates that such moves are afoot. The participating countries are well aware that the United States as a wounded tiger can be far more dangerous. The leak of the plans in the world media, whether every detail reported by Fisk is true or not, feeds what is an inevitable decline in the dollar as a reliable reserve currency for world commerce.

What is not clear is what the potential response of Germany and France, the two pivot powers within the EU will be. If they decide to cast their lot with oil producing and consuming countries, they open their doors to vast new trade and investment potentials from the countries of Eurasia. If they cringe from that and decide to remain with the British Pound and US dollar, they will inevitably sink along as the dollar Titanic sinks.

With that decline of the US dollar goes the lessening of the political power of the United States as sole economic and financial superpower. We face very turbulent waters ahead and gold not surprisingly is gaining in this uncertainty.

Copyright © 2009 F. William Engdahl
Editorial Archive

*F. William Engdahl is author of Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation ( He also authored A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order (Pluto Press). His newest book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order (Third Millennium Press) is now in print and will be available by mid-June. He may be contacted over his website,

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SWAT teams ransack senior's home for orchids

You won't believe this story!

Criminalizing everyone

Monday, October 5, 2009
By Brian W. Walsh

"You don't need to know. You can't know." That's what Kathy Norris, a 60-year-old grandmother of eight, was told when she tried to ask court officials why, the day before, federal agents had subjected her home to a furious search.

The agents who spent half a day ransacking Mrs. Norris' longtime home in Spring, Texas, answered no questions while they emptied file cabinets, pulled books off shelves, rifled through drawers and closets, and threw the contents on the floor.

[To view a portion of what chaos this is, check this video out.]

The six agents, wearing SWAT gear and carrying weapons, were with - get this- the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Kathy and George Norris lived under the specter of a covert government investigation for almost six months before the government unsealed a secret indictment and revealed why the Fish and Wildlife Service had treated their family home as if it were a training base for suspected terrorists. Orchids.

That's right. Orchids.

By March 2004, federal prosecutors were well on their way to turning 66-year-old retiree George Norris into an inmate in a federal penitentiary - based on his home-based business of cultivating, importing and selling orchids.

Mrs. Norris testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee on crime this summer. The hearing's topic: the rapid and dangerous expansion of federal criminal law, an expansion that is often unprincipled and highly partisan.

Chairman Robert C. Scott, Virginia Democrat, and ranking member Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, conducted a truly bipartisan hearing (a D.C. rarity this year).

These two leaders have begun giving voice to the increasing number of experts who worry about "overcriminalization." Astronomical numbers of federal criminal laws lack specifics, can apply to almost anyone and fail to protect innocents by requiring substantial proof that an accused person acted with actual criminal intent.

Mr. Norris ended up spending almost two years in prison because he didn't have the proper paperwork for some of the many orchids he imported. The orchids were all legal - but Mr. Norris and the overseas shippers who had packaged the flowers had failed to properly navigate the many, often irrational, paperwork requirements the U.S. imposed when it implemented an arcane international treaty's new restrictions on trade in flowers and other flora.

The judge who sentenced Mr. Norris had some advice for him and his wife: "Life sometimes presents us with lemons." Their job was, yes, to "turn lemons into lemonade."

The judge apparently failed to appreciate how difficult it is to run a successful lemonade stand when you're an elderly diabetic with coronary complications, arthritis and Parkinson's disease serving time in a federal penitentiary. If only Mr. Norris had been a Libyan terrorist, maybe some European official at least would have weighed in on his behalf to secure a health-based mercy release.

Krister Evertson, another victim of overcriminalization, told Congress, "What I have experienced in these past years is something that should scare you and all Americans." He's right. Evertson, a small-time entrepreneur and inventor, faced two separate federal prosecutions stemming from his work trying to develop clean-energy fuel cells.

The feds prosecuted Mr. Evertson the first time for failing to put a federally mandated sticker on an otherwise lawful UPS package in which he shipped some of his supplies. A jury acquitted him, so the feds brought new charges. This time they claimed he technically had "abandoned" his fuel-cell materials - something he had no intention of doing - while defending himself against the first charges. Mr. Evertson, too, spent almost two years in federal prison.

As George Washington University law professor Stephen Saltzburg testified at the House hearing, cases like these "illustrate about as well as you can illustrate the overreach of federal criminal law." The Cato Institute's Timothy Lynch, an expert on overcriminalization, called for "a clean line between lawful conduct and unlawful conduct." A person should not be deemed a criminal unless that person "crossed over that line knowing what he or she was doing." Seems like common sense, but apparently it isn't to some federal officials.

Former U.S. Attorney General Richard Thornburgh's testimony captured the essence of the problems that worry so many criminal-law experts. "Those of us concerned about this subject," he testified, "share a common goal - to have criminal statutes that punish actual criminal acts and [that] do not seek to criminalize conduct that is better dealt with by the seeking of regulatory and civil remedies." Only when the conduct is sufficiently wrongful and severe, Mr. Thornburgh said, does it warrant the "stigma, public condemnation and potential deprivation of liberty that go along with [the criminal] sanction."

The Norrises' nightmare began with the search in October 2003. It didn't end until Mr. Norris was released from federal supervision in December 2008. His wife testified, however, that even after he came home, the man she had married was still gone. He was by then 71 years old. Unsurprisingly, serving two years as a federal convict - in addition to the years it took to defend unsuccessfully against the charges - had taken a severe toll on him mentally, emotionally and physically.

These are repressive consequences for an elderly man who made mistakes in a small business. The feds should be ashamed, and Mr. Evertson is right that everyone else should be scared. Far too many federal laws are far too broad.

Mr. Scott and Mr. Gohmert have set the stage for more hearings on why this places far too many Americans at risk of unjust punishment. Members of both parties in Congress should follow their lead.

Brian W. Walsh is senior legal research fellow in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

US cedes economic control to IMF

This is the news you didn't hear about from the G20 that will change the way the world operates. This is the big step toward the NWO, the one that crosses the threshold of the way it was, and the way it will be in the future.

Whether the news is good or bad depends on one's point of view entirely: good for some, bad for others. Remember the IMF has imposed conditions of economic reforms on countries in the past that literally resulted in the death of millions in third world economies. On the other hand, the US fiscal policy will now be controlled by the IMF. One might almost guess that the consequences of the Federal Reserve's deplorably duplicitous decisions of monetary policy and how it affects common people, will now be blamed on the IMF instead of those who caused the economic collapse in the first place.

Do NOT underestimate the consequences of this unreported event at the recent G20. Those who fail to appreciate the monumental importance of this event are destined to grope in the darkness of reforms which will change the standard of living of millions: this time in the West. There is a very good reason the media did not report this event to US citizens.

The real import of the US ceding control to the IMF is yet to be disclosed.


UN calls for new reserve currency

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Scott Ritter - More crap on Iran from Obama

The following short video features Scott Ritter of the IAEA (1991-1998) detailing the position of the IAEA on Iran's capability to produce nuclear weapons and the so called 'discovery' of a new Iranian facility to produce plutonium.

Read Scott Ritter's article here

Video - C-Span - Scott Ritter

Here is another video from Scott Ritter on the wisdom of bombing Iran.

Iran was a democracy before US intervention reinstating the Shah.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Irish YES voters - Meet your new president

Thanks to the party in power now in Ireland, Fianna Fail and its scare mongering campaign on Lisbon, we will all be represented by the English, again. All you YES voters, be proud, you have returned Ireland to the control of Great Britain.

First Order of Business for Post-Lisbon EU:
Appoint War Criminal As President

Major media outlets from the BBC in Britain to RTE in Ireland are now reporting that the Yes side scored a resounding victory in Ireland's vote Friday on the EU Lisbon Treaty. With the treaty's ratification, the obstacles preventing the total federalization of the EU superstate are now removed.

As the Daily Mail reported earlier this week, one of the first orders of business for the post-Lisbon EU will be to appoint Tony Blair as the first President of the European Union. This move has been fully expected ever since Tony Blair's highly suspect conversion to Catholocism two years ago. Of course, the many laudatory pieces (and even the adversarial ones) we are likely to read about Mr. Blair in the coming weeks will signally fail to mention that he has been accused of numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity including:

- Continuing economic sanctions imposed on Iraq from 1990 until its invasion at the hands of his government in 2003 that resulted in the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children.

- Conspiracy to join with another power in a war of aggression (the supreme international war crime).

- High treason in manufacturing a case for war (including the infamous Downing Street Memo).

- Participating in a political and military coalition with the U.S. in Iraq that deployed contravened weapons like white phosphorus.

Of course, the Irish electorate has not only allowed Blair to become the President of the EU. According to the National Platform EU Research and Information Centre, which has compiled a list of 13 Facts About the Lisbon Treaty, they have also created a self-amending treaty that will no longer allow national vetoes on key issues like tax harmonization, crime, transport, energy and public health and services. As the head of the National Platform Anthony Coughlan explained in a pre-vote interview on the significance of the treaty: "It [Lisbon] would establish a kind of European Federation which would in effect have all the powers of a traditional state. And this new EU Federation would then sign treaties with other states in all areas of its powers and would have its own voice at the United Nations and its own foreign minister and its own diplomatic service and so on." Listen to the interview in the audio player below:

Now that the EU has "won" by forcing the Irish public to vote on the Lisbon Treaty until they got it "right," liberty-minded people the world over will have the uncomfortable experience of watching the expansion of this vast new tyrannical superstate headed by unaccountable bureaucrats. Of course, given that the EU has been frustrated in its attempts to undermine national sovereignty again and again and again when the people are actually given a chance to have their say, we can only hope that the entire EU enterprise has been so discredited now that the political opposition to this rising EU Federation will continue to rise.

The coming weeks and months will be the most critical for the creation of this pumped-up regional superpower. One can only hope that the European citizenry will redouble their efforts to stop the inevitable power grabs before it is solidified because the consequences for the entire world if this Nazi-inspired and Bilderberg organized regional monstrosity is created are simply too ghastly to contemplate.

El Baradei's comments on Israel

I am pretty disgusted with the US rhetoric over Iran. Who does not see through this shite? Are the same ones who believed Sadam had WMDs now believing this pulp fiction about Iran?

David Kelly is dead, no doubt from his activities with the IAEA in confronting Tony Blair's lies from Downing Street to justify the invasion of Iraq. I wonder if El Baradei will be the next to 'commit suicide'.

The propaganda that emanates from western media is unforgivable and pathetically transparent.

ElBaradei says nuclear Israel number
one threat to Mideast: report


Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said Sunday that "Israel is number one threat to Middle East" with its nuclear arms, the official IRNA news agency reported.

At a joint press conference with Iran's Atomic Energy Organization chief Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran, ElBaradei brought Israel under spotlight and said that the Tel Aviv regime has refused to allow inspections into its nuclear installations for 30years, the report said.

"Israel is the number one threat to the Middle East given the nuclear arms it possesses," ElBaradei was quoted as saying.

Israel is widely assumed to have nuclear capabilities, although it refuses to confirm or deny the allegation.

"This (possession of nuclear arms) was the cause for some proper measures to gain access to its (Israel's) power plants ... and the U.S. president has done some positive measures for the inspections to happen," said ElBaradei.

ElBaradei arrived in Iran Saturday for talks with Iranian officials over Tehran's nuclear program.

Leaders of the United States, France and Britain have condemned Iran's alleged deception to the international community involving covert activities in its new underground nuclear site.

Last month, Iran confirmed that it is building a new nuclear fuel enrichment plant near its northwestern city of Qom. In reaction, the IAEA asked Tehran to provide detailed information and access to the new nuclear facility as soon as possible.

On Sunday, ElBaradei said the UN nuclear watchdog would inspect Iran's new uranium plant near Qom on Oct. 25.

17 September 2009 | With respect to a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

US dictatorship - Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal: ‘We’ll have a dictatorship soon in the US’

September 30, 2009

The grand old man of letters Gore Vidal claims America is ‘rotting away’ — and don’t expect Barack Obama to save it
Gore Vidal

A conversation with Gore Vidal unfolds at his pace. He answers questions imperiously, occasionally playfully, with a piercing, lethal dryness. He is 83 and in a wheelchair (a result of hypothermia suffered in the war, his left knee is made of titanium). But he can walk (“Of course I can”) and after a recent performance of Mother Courage at London’s National Theatre he stood to deliver an anti-war speech to the audience.

How was his friend Fiona Shaw in the title role? “Very good.” Where did they meet? Silence. The US? “Well, it wasn’t Russia.” What’s he writing at the moment? “It’s a little boring to talk about. Most writers seem to do little else but talk about themselves and their work, in majestic terms.” He means self-glorifying? “You’ve stumbled on the phrase,” he says, regally enough. “Continue to use it.”

Vidal is sitting in the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, where he has been coming to stay for 60 years. He is wearing a brown suit jacket, brown jumper, tracksuit bottoms; his white hair twirled into a Tintin-esque quiff and with his hooded eyes, delicate yet craggy features and arch expression, he looks like Quentin Crisp, but accessorised with a low, lugubrious growl rather than camp lisp.

He points to an apartment opposite the hotel where Churchill stayed during the Second World War, as Downing Street was “getting hammered by the Nazis. The crowds would cheer him from the street, he knew great PR.” In a flash, this memory reminds you of the swathe of history Vidal has experienced with great intimacy: he was friends with JFK, fought in the war, his father Gene, an Olympic decathlete and aeronautics teacher, founded TWA among other airlines and had a relationship with Amelia Earhart. (Vidal first flew and landed a plane when he was 10.) He was a screenwriter for MGM in the dying days of the studio system, toyed with being a politician, he has written 24 novels and is hailed as one of the world’s greatest essayists.

He has crossed every boundary, I say. “Crashed many barriers,” he corrects me.

Last year he famously switched allegiance from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama during the Democratic nomination process for president. Now, he reveals, he regrets his change of heart. How’s Obama doing? “Dreadfully. I was hopeful. He was the most intelligent person we’ve had in that position for a long time. But he’s inexperienced. He has a total inability to understand military matters. He’s acting as if Afghanistan is the magic talisman: solve that and you solve terrorism.” America should leave Afghanistan, he says. “We’ve failed in every other aspect of our effort of conquering the Middle East or whatever you want to call it.” The “War on Terror” was “made up”, Vidal says. “The whole thing was PR, just like ‘weapons of mass destruction’. It has wrecked the airline business, which my father founded in the 1930s. He’d be cutting his wrists. Now when you fly you’re both scared to death and bored to death, a most disagreeable combination.”

His voice strengthens. “One thing I have hated all my life are LIARS [he says that with bristling anger] and I live in a nation of them. It was not always the case. I don’t demand honour, that can be lies too. I don’t say there was a golden age, but there was an age of general intelligence. We had a watchdog, the media.” The media is too supine? “Would that it was. They’re busy preparing us for an Iranian war.” He retains some optimism about Obama “because he doesn’t lie. We know the fool from Arizona [as he calls John McCain] is a liar. We never got the real story of how McCain crashed his plane [in 1967 near Hanoi, North Vietnam] and was held captive.”

Vidal originally became pro-Obama because he grew up in “a black city” (meaning Washington), as well as being impressed by Obama’s intelligence. “But he believes the generals. Even Bush knew the way to win a general was to give him another star. Obama believes the Republican Party is a party when in fact it’s a mindset, like Hitler Youth, based on hatred — religious hatred, racial hatred. When you foreigners hear the word ‘conservative’ you think of kindly old men hunting foxes. They’re not, they’re fascists.”

Another notable Obama mis-step has been on healthcare reform. “He f***ed it up. I don’t know how because the country wanted it. We’ll never see it happen.” As for his wider vision: “Maybe he doesn’t have one, not to imply he is a fraud. He loves quoting Lincoln and there’s a great Lincoln quote from a letter he wrote to one of his generals in the South after the Civil War. ‘I am President of the United States. I have full overall power and never forget it, because I will exercise it’. That’s what Obama needs — a bit of Lincoln’s chill.” Has he met Obama? “No,” he says quietly, “I’ve had my time with presidents.” Vidal raises his fingers to signify a gun and mutters: “Bang bang.” He is referring to the possibility of Obama being assassinated. “Just a mysterious lone gunman lurking in the shadows of the capital,” he says in a wry, dreamy way.

Vidal now believes, as he did originally, Clinton would be the better president. “Hillary knows more about the world and what to do with the generals. History has proven when the girls get involved, they’re good at it. Elizabeth I knew Raleigh would be a good man to give a ship to.”The Republicans will win the next election, Vidal believes; though for him there is little difference between the parties. “Remember the coup d’etat of 2000 when the Supreme Court fixed the selection, not election, of the stupidest man in the country, Mr Bush.”

Vidal says forcefully that he wished he’d never moved back to the US to live in Hollywood, from his clifftop home in Ravello, Italy, in 2000. His partner of 53 years, Howard Austen, who died in 2003, collated a lifetime’s-span of pictures of Vidal, for a new book out this autumn, Gore Vidal: Snapshots in History’s Glare (an oddly clunky title). The cover shows what a beautiful young man Vidal was, although his stare is as hawkish as it is today.

He observes presidential office-holders balefully. “The only one I knew well was Kennedy, but he didn’t impress me as a good president. It’s like asking, ‘What do I think of my brother?’ It’s complicated. I’d known him all my life and I liked him to the end, but he wrecked his chances with the Bay of Pigs and Suez crises, and because everyone was so keen to elect Bobby once Jack had gone, lies started to be told about him — that he was the greatest and the King of Camelot.”

Today religious mania has infected the political bloodstream and America has become corrosively isolationist, he says. “Ask an American what they know about Sweden and they’d say ‘They live well but they’re all alcoholics’. In fact a Scandinavian system could have benefited us many times over.” Instead, America has “no intellectual class” and is “rotting away at a funereal pace. We’ll have a military dictatorship fairly soon, on the basis that nobody else can hold everything together. Obama would have been better off focusing on educating the American people. His problem is being over-educated. He doesn’t realise how dim-witted and ignorant his audience is. Benjamin Franklin said that the system would fail because of the corruption of the people and that happened under Bush.”

Vidal adds menacingly: “Don’t ever make the mistake with people like me thinking we are looking for heroes. There aren’t any and if there were, they would be killed immediately. I’m never surprised by bad behaviour. I expect it.”

While materially comfortable, Vidal’s was not a happy childhood. Of his actress and socialite mother Nina, he says: “Give her a glass of vodka and she was as tame as could be. Growing up is going to be difficult if the one person you hate is your mother. I felt trapped. I was close to my grandparents and my father was a saint.” His parents’ many remarriages means that even today he hasn’t met all his step-siblings.

He wrote his first novel, Williwaw, at 19. In 1948, he was blacklisted by the media after writing The City and the Pillar, one of the earliest novels to deal graphically with homosexual desire. “You’ll be amazed to know it is still going strong,” he says. The “JT” it is dedicated to is James “Jimmy” Trimble, Vidal’s first love and, he once said, the love of his life. “That was a slight exaggeration. I said it because there wasn’t any other. In the new book there are wonderful pictures of him from our schooldays. He was a great athlete.” Here his voice softens, and he looks emotional, briefly. “We were both abandoned in our dormitory at St Alban’s [boarding school]. He was killed at the Battle of Iwo Jima [in 1945] because of bad G2 [intelligence].”

Vidal says Trimble’s death didn’t affect him. “No, I was in danger of dying too. A dead man can’t grieve a dead man.” Has love been important to him? “Don’t make the error that schoolteacher idiots make by thinking that gay men’s relationships are like heterosexual ones. They’re not.” He “wouldn’t begin to comment” on how they are different.

In 1956 he was hired by MGM, collaborated on the screenplay for Ben Hur and continued to write novels, most notoriously Myra Breckenridge about a transsexual. It is his satires, essays and memoirs — Live From Golgotha, Palimpsest and most recently, Point to Point Navigation — which have fully rounded our vision of this thorny contrarian, whose originality springs simply, and naturally, from having deliberately unfixed allegiances and an enduring belief in an American republic and railing sadness at how that ideal has been corrupted.

Vidal became a supportive correspondent of Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 killing 168 people. The huge loss of life, indeed McVeigh’s act of mass murder, goes unmentioned by Vidal. “He was a true patriot, a Constitution man,” Vidal claims. “And I was torn, my grandfather [the Democrat Senator Thomas Gore] had bought Oklahoma into the Union.” McVeigh claimed he had done it as a protest against tyrannical government. The writer Edmund White took the correspondence as the basis for a play, Terre Haute (the jail McVeigh was incarcerated in before he was executed in 2001), imagining an encounter between the bomber and Vidal charged with desire.

“He’s a filthy, low writer,” Vidal says of White. “He likes to attack his betters, which means he has a big field to go after.” Had he wanted to meet McVeigh? “I am not in the business of meeting people,” Vidal says. “That play implies I am madly in love with McVeigh. I looked at his [White’s] writing and all he writes about is being a fag and how it’s the greatest thing on Earth. He thinks I’m another queen and I’m not. I’m more interested in the Constitution and McVeigh than the loving tryst he saw. It was vulgar fag-ism.”

Vidal says that he hates labels and has said he believes in homosexual acts rather than homosexual people. He claims his relationship with Austen was platonic (though they reputedly met at a legendary New York bath-house). He was once quoted as saying that he’d had sex with a 1,000 men by the time he was 25. It must have been a little strange for Austen, Vidal’s life companion, to source those pictures of Trimble, his first, perhaps only, love.

Vidal puts on a scornful, campy voice. “People ask [of he and Austen], ‘How did you live together so long?’ The only rule was no sex. They can’t believe that. That was when I realised I was dealing with a public too stupid by half. They can’t tell the difference between ‘The Sun rose in the East’ and ‘The Sun is made of yeast’.” Was sex important to Vidal? “It must have been yes.”

He is single now. “I’m not into partnerships,” he says dismissively. I don’t even know what it means.” He “couldn’t care less” about gay marriage. “Does anyone care what Americans think? They’re the worst-educated people in the First World. They don’t have any thoughts, they have emotional responses, which good advertisers know how to provoke.” You could have been the first gay president, I say. “No, I would have married and had nine children,” he replies quickly and seriously. “I don’t believe in these exclusive terms.”

Impaired mobility doesn’t bother him — he “rose like a miracle” on stage at the National — and he doesn’t dwell on mortality either. “Either you accept there is such a thing or you’re so dumb that you can’t grasp it.” Is he in good health? “No, of course not. I’m diabetic. It’s odd, I’ve never been fat and I don’t like candy, which most Americans are hooked on.”

There is a trace of thwarted ambition about him. “I would have liked to have been president, but I never had the money. I was a friend of the throne. The only time I envied Jack was when Joe [Kennedy, JFK’s father] was buying him his Senate seat, then the presidency. He didn’t know how lucky he was. Here’s a story I’ve never told. In 1960, after he had spent so much on the presidential campaign, Joe took all nine children to Palm Beach to lecture them. He was really angry. He said, ‘All you read about the Kennedy fortune is untrue. It’s non-existent. We’ve spent so much getting Jack elected and not one of you is living within your income’. They all sat there, shame-faced. Jack was whistling. He used to tap his teeth: they were big teeth, like a xylophone. Joe turned to Jack and he says, ‘Mr President, what’s the solution?’ Jack said, ‘The solution is simple. You all gotta work harder’.” Vidal guffaws heartily.

Hollywood living proved less fun. “If there was a social whirl, you can be sure I would not be part of it.” He does a fabulous impression of Katharine Hepburn complaining about playing the matriarch in Suddenly Last Summer, which he wrote. “I hate this script,” he recalls Hepburn saying . “I’m far too healthy a person to know people like this.” Vidal snorts. “She had Parkinson’s. She shook like a leper in the wind.”

I ask what he wants to do next. “My usual answer to ‘What am I proudest of?’ is my novels, but really I am most proud that, despite enormous temptation, I have never killed anybody and you don’t know how tempted I have been.”

That wasn’t my question, I say. “Well, given that I’m proudest that I haven’t killed anybody, I might be saving something up for someone.” A perfect line: we both laugh.

Is he happy? “What a question,” he sighs and then smiles mischievously. “I’ll respond with a quote from Aeschylus: ‘Call no man happy till he is dead’.”

IAEA Chief - No nukes in Iran

I am just wondering if Elbaradei will be found dead in the woods next, with his wrists slashed. RIP David tried to tell the truth.

Iran not after nuclear weapons,
says IAEA chief

Wed, 30 Sep 2009

IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei says he does not believe that Iran has a military nuclear program, adding that the lack of evidence to the contrary supports his belief.

Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei talking to the Indian TV channel CNN-IBN, September 30.
"I do not think... Iran has an on-going nuclear weapons program. Whether they have done some weaponization studies, as was claimed by the US and others, this is one of the issues that are still outstanding," ElBaradei told the Indian TV news channel CNN-IBN.

"But I have not seen any credible evidence to suggest that Iran has an on-going nuclear program today. I hope that they are not having one," he added during the Wednesday interview.
The outgoing director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) also touched on Iran's construction of the Fordu nuclear facility. Elbaradei said that he talked to the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, who informed him that the facility was far from complete.

"There are no centrifuges in the facility, there is no nuclear material, it is simply still just ready in term of cables and construction," the IAEA chief quoted Salehi as saying.

Elbaradei also pointed out that the IAEA should conduct an inspection of the facility "as soon as possible."

"Through that [inspection], again, [we can] provide assurance to the international community, that this facility is meant to be a facility devoted for peaceful purposes."

ElBaradei also commented on the impending talks between Iran and the P5+1 (Permanent member of the Security Council plus Germany) in Geneva, and expressed hope that the meeting would "usher in a comprehensive, meaningful dialogue."

"Recently, [Iran has] asked the Agency for assistance in getting fuel for its existing research reactor and asked the Agency to see whether we can be of help," he said, expressing optimism about a possible deal between Iran and the West.

"I was quite pleased to see that there is a very large amount of goodwill on the part of the suppliers to provide fuel for Iran for its research reactor in Teheran. The world is keen, is ready to help Iran to make full use of nuclear energy for nuclear purposes."

Earlier in the month, Iran wrote a letter to the UN nuclear watchdog, saying that it was constructing a second plant for uranium enrichment.

The Agency received Iran's letter 18 months prior to the date set for the plant to enter operational phase. That is one year before Iran was officially obliged to do so, based on the IAEA document INFCIRC/153.

IAEA to get visit schedule
for Iran's new nuclear facility

September 29 (RIA Novosti)

The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) has said the Islamic Republic will provide inspectors from the international nuclear watchdog with a timetable of visits to a new nuclear site.

Tehran revealed last week that it was building a second uranium enrichment plant. The news was met by indignation from the West which suspects Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

Ali Akbar Salehi told Press TV late on Monday that the site is being built in line with IAEA regulations, adding that Iran had taken "all the precautionary steps to safeguard its nuclear facilities."

Iran has said on a number of occasions that it only needs nuclear power to generate electricity.

Salehi said his country has no plans to develop nuclear weapons, adding that the nuclear program is peaceful and that having an atomic weapon is "against our ethics and religion."

"It is against our tenets, it is against our religion to produce, use, hold or have nuclear weapons or arsenal, how can we more clearly state our position, since 1974 we have been saying this," he was cited by Press TV as saying.

Update 7/10/09 Leaked Iran paper exposes IAEA rift


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Small bits of the thread of life we weave together into the fabric of ourselves, in the hope we will make sense of our existence, individual and collective.

On this page, is the cloak I have fashioned from my fabric to warm myself in a universe which often makes little sense.

Inside my cloak, it is warm enough to face the blistering cold winds of the insane world in which I find myself.

If you find some a bit of 'the good stuff' here, it has been my pleasure.