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I think the tide is finally turning. The press, the populace and even some governments are starting to say enough is enough. We will not stand for it any longer. Here is some of what's happened in the past 24 hours.

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Who is the biggest jerk in Bushco?

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| 45 votes | Vote | Results

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Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 03:31 AM PST

Escape from the Gestapo

by Chris Kulczycki

When I was a boy of 12 or so, a tall thin man came to our house. He was a friend of my father's, and a Pole, perhaps a diplomat, well bred, cultured, educated; I could tell from his refined accent and impeccably tailored suit. We still thought in those terms back then.

Like many of my father's friends he had a scarred face and that old world dignity rarely encountered on this side of the Atlantic. I had met such men before. They would kiss my mother's hand and click their heels softly, not brashly like the German officers on television, but in a way that conveyed respect and grace. But this man was different; he commanded my father's respect like no one I'd ever seen. My father had dined with Kennedy and Johnson, but he never spoke of them as he did of Jan Karski. They were mere presidents; Karski was a hero.

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Here in Annapolis, it snowed here last night. My six-year-old son jumped into our bed at 4am to tell us how beautiful it is. He can't wait to go sledding and have a snowball fight with me. We built a snowman after dinner yesterday.

In Iraq, or in some CIA prison it's a good bet that some innocent man is being tortured. He may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time; perhaps he was just born into the wrong family. Perhaps he also has a six-year-old son. What could he be thinking?

As many of us here try to keep the issue of torture alive in the blogosphere, the question of the causes of torture must arise. Why do seemingly normal people inflict pain on others? Do we train our soldiers to be cruel, or do the cruel become soldiers, or are we all cruel? Do our leaders really have so little regard for humanity, or do they believe that the end justifies the means? Is this a subject that no one wants to read about; are we in denial?

The title of this post is a quote from a Guardian by Professor Joanna Bourke; more of that article is quoted later.

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Do you believe that any average 18-year-old could have tortured these prisoners?

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| 469 votes | Vote | Results

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Why does the press ignore conclusive hard evidence of widespread torture and murder? As we strive to keep pressure on our governments and media we cannot allow them to do this, to ignore the obvious.

On October 25, 05 the American Civil Liberties Union released an analysis of new and previously released autopsies obtained under the freedom of information act and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated. The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions. According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides.

A article by Peter Phillips takes the corporate media to task for failing to cover this story, "at least 95percent of the daily papers in the US didn't bother to pick up the story".

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The criminality and kleptocracy of the Bush administration never ceases to amaze. The sheer gall of these people is almost beyond comprehension. Not only do they consider themselves above international law, they blackmail others to avoid prosecution. Case in point: IdiotSavant over at European Tribune posted this diary from No Right Turn, New Zealand's liberal blog.

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Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 05:58 AM PST

WSJ Slams Hybrid Cars

by Chris Kulczycki

Why do conservatives hate conservation? First there was the report commissioned by the US Chamber of Commerce that recommended a special fee on hybrid and alternative-fueled vehicles because they don't use enough gas (Here's the link). Now the Wall Street Journal publishes a fake letter from Toyota slamming the Prius.

Contrary to any loose statements made by our marketing partners in the environmental community and media, petroleum not consumed by Prius owners is not "saved." It does not remain in the ground. It is consumed by someone else. Greenhouse pollutants are released. Also, please note that the warranty and owner's manual say nothing about reducing America's dependence on foreign oil. This is not an oversight. The Prius is an "oil-dependent" vehicle. It runs on gasoline, supplied by the same world market that fuels other vehicles.

So let's get this straight, saving gas is stupid because someone else will just use it.

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I often write about energy. This is about the energy of outrage. It's renewable, and I want you to have some too.

There isn't enough outrage about torture, not to my estimation. After all, we only see a few stories about it every month. It's not like it's happening in our country. And the stock market is up, gas prices are falling, the Republicans are on the ropes, and its Christmas shopping season. Perhaps if we saw all those headlines at once...

So I tried the new Guardian search engine this morning. I put in three keywords: torture, Iraq, and US. The results included exactly 911 articles. Is that karma or what? I went through every one of those 911 Guardian articles and selected the highlights. The results are below the fold.

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Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 03:37 AM PST

Green Vehicle News

by Chris Kulczycki

Despite the recent retreat in oil prices, anyone who keeps up with energy news knows they'll soon be up again. And companies all over the world are rushing to develop new fuel-efficient vehicles. It's been about a month since I last wrote about electric and hybrid cars and a lot has happened since. New battery technology has been announced; the first diesel-hybrid passenger car will soon enter production; a new electric car is available in the US for $9000; Virgin Air wants to use renewable jet fuel, and Toyota is developing a brand new hybrid system as well as a plug in hybrid. Then there is the new fuel-cell bicycle...

Zoom below the fold to see it all.

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A group of developing countries is going to make a radical and ballsy proposal at the United Nations Summit on Climate Change, which opens today in Montreal. The  "Rainforest Coalition" plans to tell the developed world that if they want to see the rainforests survive, they better pay up. That's right, the Rainforest Coalition is planning to hold the rainforests hostage; it's payola time, or out come the chainsaws and lighters. And I, for one, can't blame them.

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Is it fair of the Rainforest Coalition to demand payment?

7%2 votes
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| 28 votes | Vote | Results

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Today's diary is a little different. It's a list of simple statistics and facts. Draw your own conclusions.

Estimated cost to feed all the world's hungry and give them basic health care: $13 billion above current expenditure. (UN Development Program 1998)

Total estimated cost of Iraq war: about $700 billion (Institute for Policy Studies)

The $204.4 billion appropriated thus far for the war in Iraq could have purchased any of the following desperately needed services in our country:

·    46,458,805 uninsured people receiving health care
·    3,545,016 elementary school teachers
·    27,093, 73 Head Start places for children
·    1,841,833 affordable housing units
·    24,072 new elementary schools
·    39,665,748 scholarships for university students
·    3,204,265 port container inspectors. (Institute for Policy Studies)

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According to AME info, a respected Middle Eastern economic news site:
It was an incredible revelation last week that the second largest oil field in the world is exhausted and past its peak output. Yet that is what the Kuwait Oil Company revealed about its Burgan field.

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Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 03:36 AM PST

Cowabunga Dudes, Energy's Up

by Chris Kulczycki

Excuse the bad surf lingo. But this is about wave energy, not tidal energy; that was last week. Who doesn't love to watch waves crash against a rocky coast or roll up a perfect beach? And who doesn't love the feeling of a heeling sailboat bashing to windward in a steep chop, other than the guy blowing his cookies over the transom?

Waves are formed by wind's friction over the surface of the water. They can travel incredible distances. That huge roller in Huntington Beach may have started as a ripple off the Hawaiian coast. Waves are pure energy moving through the water, energy that could be turned into electricity. Anywhere there are waves; there is free sustainable power. All we have to do is figure out how to capture it. Thanks to recent research that's starting to happen.

The map below shows annual average wave power in kilowatts per metre of crest width for various sites around the world. Any area over 15kW per metre can generate power at competitive prices.

Dive below the fold for more,

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