Thursday, March 15, 2012

An apology?

According to the New York Times Afghans aren’t angered by the recent “alleged” murder of 16 Afghans at the hands of an American soldier.


KABUL, Afghanistan — The mullah was astounded and a little angered to be asked why the accidental burning of Korans last month could provoke violence nationwide, while an intentional mass murder that included nine children last Sunday did not.

“How can you compare the dishonoring of the Holy Koran with the martyrdom of innocent civilians?” said an incredulous Mullah Khaliq Dad, a member of the council of religious leaders who investigated the Koran burnings. “The whole goal of our life is religion.”

That many Americans are just as surprised that what appears to be the massacre of 16 people at the hands of an American soldier has not led to mass protests or revenge killings speaks volumes about a fundamental disconnect with their Afghan partners, one that has undermined a longstanding objective to win the hearts and minds of the population. After more than 10 years, many deaths and billions of dollars invested, Americans still fail to grasp the Afghans’ basic values. Faith is paramount and a death can be compensated with blood money.

That the mullah was astounded and a little angered is subjective not objective and is a matter of opinion. Still this is an old trick where you find one person with a particular view that jibes with whatever propaganda you are spreading which in this case would be Afghans are religious fanatics. Yet with just a quick search on the net we find a totally different story coming from the Guardian and is in fact reported one day prior to the NYT story and with the vast resources available to a media giant such as the Times omitting the protest reported on Tuesday in a Wednesday article had to be purposeful in order to slant the news though in this case it is more like an outright lie.


Around 2,000 students in the Afghan city of Jalalabad join a protest on Tuesday against the US-led military campaign in their country …

And keep in mind we don’t really know what is going on in Afghanistan having to rely on the likes of the NYT and the Guardian and the rest of the media which never questions anything the government says. We simply don’t know yet compare what we do possibly know which is that there were 2,000 Afghans involved in a protest and were outraged by the murders and compare that to what the NYT implies. It seems clear that the NYT is trying to portray Afghans in a poor light. They are fanatics, crazy, and accept “blood money”, they aren’t like us “normal” and “sane” Americans that shoot small children and laugh while doing so as some reports say happened in the murder spree. Then the NYT tells us that Obama apologized when in fact the quote they use is not an apology by any stretch of the imagination.

“The statement coming from President Obama, saying the killing of Afghan children felt the same as if they were American children, was reported widely by the local press,” Mr. Humayoon said. “Previously you would have a bland apology.”

It may be a statement of empathy but it is clearly not an apology not even a bland one. An apology would be something more like “We are truly sorry and apologize for the people who died as a result of American violence.” True apologies usually contain the words apologize and sorry. To imply that all Afghans are not moved by the death of small children and others because of the opinions of one Mullah is like saying all Americans are crazy because of what one American may have said. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to believe that Afghanistan may be just as diverse in its population as most other nations are.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Dennis Kucinich Raises His Retirement Age by Two Years

ufo pic

I'll admit I will miss Dennis Kucinich in the congress, fighting the good fight, or at least playing a character on television who does. OK, that sounds churlish, like I'm edging towards saying "don't let the screen door hit you..."

Oh, you know.

If you don't know, let me be clear: Yes, while Dennis Kucinich does have an inspiring background story, truly raising himself up from humble beginnings, ultimately it wasn't enough. While he did some good things in public life, like fighting for the municipal electric system in Cleveland and voting against the Iraq war in 2002, and against the initial ACA legislation in 2009, ultimately he buckled two years ago in 2010 on the final vote on ACA in March of 2010, surrendering his consent to the poison pill of the individual mandate that he knew was still in the contract he signed. Hell, even Arthur Silber praised Kucinich in the fall of 2009 for standing up against the individual mandate, but of course standing up doesn't count for much when you subsequently sit down, and Dennis sat when Barry and Nancy told him to.

Undoubtedly there are other pressures we don't even see. I'm not even making fun of his alleged belief in UFOs, I couldn't care less about that. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the peculiarity of his pledging his Iowa delegates to Obama in January of 2008, and not been so moonstruck.(I note that presently Ron Paul is making similar gestures of deference towards Romney.)

One imagines Kucinich's vote was important because his liberal cred had value, so that on the evening news you could see a story about how a prominent liberal stalwart, etc, etc. (They monetize darn near everything nowadays!)

Next case.

I am wizened and grizzled, and I know better than you, because my cynicism gleams in the darkness. No, that's not true either, and far too many bloggers adopt that pose because it makes them feel powerful. Snark aside, I genuinely liked Kucinich, and when he buckled I was greatly disappointed. To be fair I still like him, and wonder if presently a career like his is the best that can be hoped for from people in public life. If so, this only reinforces the sense that one is better to stay away from politics whenever possible.

Kaptur beats Kucinich in Ohio Democrats' battle, will face 'Joe the Plumber'

CLEVELAND -- Veteran U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur defeated Rep. Dennis Kucinich on Tuesday in a closely watched Democratic battle in a newly drawn congressional district linking Toledo and Cleveland along the Lake Erie shoreline.

She will face Samuel Wurzelbacher, who became known as "Joe the Plumber" for expressing working-class concerns about taxes to then-candidate Barack Obama during a stop in the region in 2008.

The redrawing of the 9th District meant at least one of the Democrats' political careers representing Northern Ohio in Congress would end Tuesday night.

Kucinich conceded defeat shortly after midnight, accusing Kaptur of running "a campaign lacking integrity, filled with false truths."

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Sunday, March 04, 2012

The rise of liberalism

Having once considered myself a liberal I can claim at least some small amount of insight into how they think, or don’t think, which might be more appropriate. The far right is and has been committing political suicide which is no great loss to humanity. The largest threat to humanity or at least that part of humanity that still retains some elements of humanity such as those “primitives” that dwell in third world nations are American liberals.

Why American liberals? Because American liberals live in the most powerful nation on the planet both in monetary influence and militarily. Liberals now support president Obama who shall once again rule for another four years as a tyrant barring some unforeseen catastrophe to his re-election campaign. I will not bore you with what Obama has done and is doing since this has been repeated thousands of times and would be pointless. The fact remains that despite Obama’s horrid record on the environment, human rights, war, and the rest, liberals will support him once again in the coming election.

The biggest threat to humanity these days are not much different than those in the past which would be mass starvation, pollution of our environment which not only stems from industry but our wars that pollute the land, sea, and air, destroy natural habitats on a grand scale, and promote the continued reliance on fossil fuels such as coal and oil as well as nuclear power (which also keeps our nuclear weapons on track), and the machinations of the US in its bid to retain its monopoly over the world economy which though good for corporate America and corporate Europe has devastated the third world nations that are far too poor to compete in any meaningful way with western powers. Liberals support all of this whether they admit it or not or just outright lie about it to themselves and each other.

The worst aspect of liberalism as it exists today is that they will not hear one word of criticism for the political monsters that they support with few if any reservations. Bring up the mountains of bodies resulting from campaigns such as the recent one in Libya (another essentially destroyed nation like Iraq) and most liberals will turn a deaf ear to you. They simply will not listen to you at all. Liberals are tribal in nature and you are either a faithful member of the tribe or you are not, and if not you are considered to be either a fool or some kind of monster from the bowels of hell. Liberals bear a tribal hate for conservatives even for the few that are quite sane.

Liberals do not support peace. Liberals support war. This has been made clear by their support of Obama. Liberals do not support a more fair distribution of monies between the various classes. This has been made clear by their support of Obama. Liberals do not care about the peoples of the third world or how they suffer in order to support the life style that liberals enjoy or at least that of the more wealthy liberals of which there are many. Liberals do not care about the environment as they so loudly proclaim because it is more important that their symbol of liberalism, Obama, retains his power in the Whitehouse.

With the decline of the far right and their Republican Party one wonders who liberals shall blame for their support of war, environmental rape, and the unfair monetary practices of Wall Street. One thing is for sure and that is they won’t blame themselves.


Saturday, March 03, 2012

BP, Obama, the Gulf of Mexico oil blow out, and the shrimp industry

A top story in the news is that BP is paying out 7.8 billon dollars in a settlement for the Gulf of Mexico oil blow out in April of 2010. For some odd reason there is no mention of president Obama’s role in what is the largest oil polluting incident in US history. But what about Obama’s culpability in the matter which has been overlooked by the main stream news media?


The Obama administration joined BP in quashing environmental challenges to Gulf drilling in 2009 legal actions by Ken Salazar, Obama’s Secretary of Interior. They asked the federal court of appeals in Washington, DC to overturn their decision that blocked new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico’s outer continental shelf, referring to the same area where the explosion later occurred.

The appeals court partially approved Salazar’s petition, with the condition that the administration produce an environmental impact study for Gulf of Mexico drilling operations. The Obama administration granted BP a “categorical exemption” from producing a legally required environmental impact study and approved its exploration plan for the location of the future spill.

I think it needs to be said that I have no sympathy what-so-ever for the shrimp industry in the Gulf of Mexico. Shrimp are caught by the use of drag nets that scrape the ocean bottom like road graders destroying everything in their path along the ocean bottom. Obscene doesn’t begin to describe the Gulf shrimp industry and what it does. For every pound of shrimp ten pounds of dead and dying sea life are tossed back into the Gulf as “bycatch.” The shrimp industry is one of the most disgusting industries ever developed by humans.


Mike Hagler of Greenpeace recently completed an extensive study entitled "Shrimp—The Devastating Delicacy." He concluded that the true costs of "all the shrimp you can eat" markets in America, Europe, and Japan are being paid by poorer people living in coastal areas in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Honduras, and Ecuador. Japan and America currently consume one third of the world's marketed shrimp, but as prospects for China's growing middle class improve, an increase in this burden is inevitable.

The destructive nature of shrimp rearing is compounded by its disastrous effects on mangroves, tropical trees whose stiltlike roots form dense thickets along tidal shores. Mangrove forests offer key nursery grounds for many fish and invertebrates. By the year 2000, more than half of the world's mangrove forests had been destroyed; half of that was due to shrimp farming, a practice equivalent to the clearcutting of coastal forests. The destruction is accelerating even as you read this. Nils Kautsky from the University of Stockholm says that the "footprint," or sphere of influence, of a fish or shrimp farm on the local environment can be 50,000 times larger than the farm itself. And the chemical and mineral modifications caused by the shrimp make the abandoned farms useless for other crops.

The downside of shrimp trawling is less apparent than that of shrimp farming, but equally depressing. Imagine a fleet of 13,000 boats dragging nets that scrape the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Besides the shrimp, a wasteful bycatch of mackerel, snapper, croaker, and a host of other creatures is netted, causing them to steadily decline. A more appropriate term would actually be "bykill." Worldwide, shrimp fisheries discard 9.5 million metric tons of dead and dying non-shrimp creatures—including many endangered marine turtles—at a ratio often as great as ten pounds of bycatch to one pound of shrimp.


Dean Blanchard, a leading shrimp producer from Grand Isle, Louisiana, before the spill, was adamant: payment would not be enough.

"I want my day in court," he said. "If they can get off with just paying the money – well, they've got plenty of money, they are not really going to learn a lesson.

"I'd like to make sure this never happens again. Somebody has got to hold BP's feet to the fire. They have just gotten away with throwing money at problems, but that doesnt get rid of the problems."

While I agree with Blanchard regarding BP I would also like to see Blanchard go to the lowest rung in hell where he belongs along with Obama and BP. The picture above courtesy of shows the victims of bycatch.


Friday, March 02, 2012

The Janus in March

Ioz writes…


“Iran is not some fictive evil empire; its rulers are not Mings the Merciless. It's a nation full of people trying to lead decent lives in spite of the corruption and madness of their state, just as America is a nation full of people trying to lead decent lives in spite of the corruption and madness of their state, just as all nations and all peoples are,…”

This is a basic truth and in fact I would go on to say that the average American has much more in common with the average Iranian than either one has in common with their respective leaders. You could almost divide the world into two parts, the leaders and those they rule. Pundits have often bemoaned that if only people paid more attention to politics or if only people were better educated that everything would be so much better but I seriously doubt it. Education is nothing more than an extension of the indoctrination of the average schmoe into the slavery of democracy and capitalism as well as the wonderfulness of the parent state. And why should people pay attention to politics? What good would it do them in their struggle for survival? Do they really have any choice in the matter? Looking at Obama and his opponents in the next election it seems clear that there is no choice, it’s more like buying a car where the only choice is which color you like best. The car will be identical no matter which color you pick. Red state, Blue state.

I think people who view Obama as weak, dazed, and backs down too easily in the face of Pentagon generals and people like Netanyahu are completely mistaken. In the last election his main backers were the Wall Street crowd and Obama bailed them out in what has been said to be the largest transfer of wealth from the masses to the wealthy in the entire history of the nation. Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan as he promised he would. Another large backer of Obama was the insurance industry and Obama helped them out as well with his “reform” stipulating everyone must purchase health insurance or be liable to stiff fines. He proclaimed that the health insurance companies would have new customers like Moses coming down from the mountain with his tablets, marching orders from God. This in the face of a public who wanted something entirely different.

Yes, there are all his broken campaign promises but he ditched those not because he was weak but because he wanted to. All presidents have sought to retain their power and to enhance it wherever they could with war often being the vehicle. This in effect has snowballed as each new president has inherited powers from the previous president and then added more and what we are left with is a presidential office that wields extraordinary powers and a congress that is a broken reed, or a useless organ like the human appendix which acts only as a money laundering operation or perhaps more accurately like a whore house. Give them money and they will pass any legislation without shame or remorse. And they do pretty much what the president wants them to. Recall Bush’s invasion of Iraq after 9/11. The vast majority of them fell over themselves in their eagerness to give Bush a blank check in war. Today, Obama didn’t even bother with congress rather sought the approval of the UN who does his bidding anyway in the American led invasion of Libya. One could say Bush at least paid lip service to the idea that only congress can send us to war. Obama didn’t even bother with that for he felt secure in his vast powers as president.

Looking at this election I see a Republican Party that has lost the presidential election before they even began to campaign in earnest. A more unlikely bunch of weirdoes, misfits, and losers, is difficult to imagine. They make past Republican presidents look like paragons of reason and logic. George W. Bush looked better even when dressed in his silly flight suit landing on the deck of a carrier. Obama must be laughing as he sizes them up. Their whole reason for being seems to be a determined effort to re-elect Obama with each asinine utterance that they continually blast out each one more ridiculous than the last.

From where I sit Obama rules this nation with an iron fist and does exactly as he pleases beholding to nobody except the money men that put him in the Oval Office. His supporters continue to believe Obama would do otherwise if only the Republicans would not thwart him. His opponents continue to accuse him of weakness in the face of his decree that he can murder anyone anywhere at any time answerable to nobody but himself and the result is that both sides have it wrong. Whatever one may think of his actions it is a fatal mistake to believe that Obama isn’t doing exactly what he wants to do.

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