Wednesday, September 12, 2012
In July, a trailer for the film was posted on YouTube. In September, a stooge dubbed it into Arabic and brought it to the attention of the Arab-language press. Just in time to provoke convenient riots, (which anyone could have predicted as a response to such stimulus), and then the perfectly-timed attacks on the US embassies/consulates in Benghazi and Cairo. Which all just happened to take place on September 11th.
And you expect me to accept this as coincidence? While it's true I was born in the afternoon, it was not yesterday afternoon. And this whole affair reeks of Mossad. It follows the same pattern of manipulation, provocation, and false-flag attacks, a pattern which goes clear back to the Lavon Affair of the 1950's, (which Israel finally admitted to in 2005).
This is just too damn convenient, and if we ask ourselves cui bono?, the one clear answer, the one clear winner from all this, if it is accepted at face value, is Israel. An Israel whose ever-more-strident demands for someone, anyone, to attack Iran, are being increasingly ignored and marginalized. An Israel grown desperate for attention.
There is no innocence on display here, dear reader. There is no innocence at all. This is a display of pure, naked, bloody-hands-up-to-the-elbows guilt on the part of the Zionists.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
I'm reminded of a snippet I ran across in one of those wonderful old classic Science-fiction novels by Pournelle and Niven -
And so you would banish the four letter words,
whose meaning is never obscure.
The Angles, the Saxons, those hardy old birds,
were vulgar, obscene, and impure.
And yet you take pride in the weaseling phrase,
that never quite says what it means.
You'd rather be known for your hypocrite ways,
than as vulgar, impure, and obscene.
For those who don't get the reference, remember that English is a blend of Old Anglo-Saxon and Norman French. Consider the fact that most of the words we consider vulgar, (a word which really just means "common"), are from the Old Anglo-Saxon. For example, take the "polite" words penis, vagina, and copulate. Now consider their "vulgar" or "profane" counterparts, cock, cunt, and fuck. The first three are all from Latin, probably via Norman French. The latter three words we inherited directly from Old Anglo-Saxon. When our English language was coming into being, the Norman nobility spoke one way, and their words were considered to be cultured and polite. The Anglo-Saxon commoners spoke another way, and their speech was considered to be "vulgar" or, well, common.
I have some real problems with this so-called "family friendly" policy, and to parents who endorse it, I would say this. They are your children. Not mine, not Google's, yours. Supervising them is your responsibility, not anyone else's. If you don't want your children getting in over their heads, then keep them in the shallow end of the pool, and pay some attention to what they are doing, rather than attempting to make someone else responsible for what is your job. Do not attempt to turn the entire online world into a kiddie pool.
I would also point out that my experience with online games over the last eleven years has brought me into contact with a number of very young gamers. And every one of those young gamers, without exception, was astonishingly knowledgeable and sophisticated for his/her age. If it is your intention to keep your kids ignorant of the realities of life, you've been doing a piss-poor job of it.
I would also point out that there is no substitute for a parent that actually pays attention. The three universal laments that I hear from young gamers are these, "my parents don't care about me", and "my parents don't have a clue", and "they just ignore me except when they're yelling at me".
No internet filtering software will slow your kids down for more than 30 minutes. That's the absolute maximum time it will take them to look up and implement the means of circumventing it. Your kids know far more about editing Windows registry than you do, and they're fucking fearless. Remember, "the internet treats censorship as damage to the net, and re-routes around it". Your children understand that on an instinctive level, even if you do not.
In truth, I am more disturbed by this new policy, which Google has announced their intention to implement "soon", than I can really explain in my own words. YouTube, for all the comments section has frequently resembled one of those blue portable toilets on the last day of the county fair, after they've been baking in the summer sun for two weeks, has for years been a bastion of the online world. No, it hasn't been pretty, but freedom of expression never is. When people are free to say what they really think and feel, some of their utterances are going to be offensive to some other people. Know what? Tough shit. That's what freedom of expression means, being able to speak your mind, and if others don't like what you have to say, that's just too damn bad.
Sometimes, profanity is simply the best way to express yourself. Allow me to offer the following rather poignant example. Here is a video of the speech from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London by Julian Assange. One of the first comments posted was this (note that I have reproduced the comment in all its semi-literate glory, complete with misspellings and multiple exclamation points)-
HE IS ANTI-AMERICAN SCUM!!!!! WE'LL GET HIM AND OUT HIM INTO GUANTANAMO FOR BEING A TRATOR AND INFORMATION TERRORIST!!!
And the second most popular comment, with 37 thumbs-up in one hour, was a response to that -
Oh please, go fuck yourself you dumb, uneducated piece of shit. He and wikileaks exposed U.S. war crimes, you are the fucking terrorist!
Note that the first comment will be acceptable under Google's new rules for YouTube, while the second one will not. And yet the latter obviously encapsulates the visceral response of a majority of those viewers who cared to express an opinion.
Sometimes you need to be able to say fuck. Some people desperately need to be told to go fuck themselves.
EDIT: Following up two hours after I wrote this, I discovered that several of the comments have already been censored by YouTube. The two top-rated comments are gone from the top comments box; both the one I quoted above and the absolute top-rated one, which said "this man is a living legend". If you look back to the last page, and the next-to-last page, they are still there, and still showing 45 and 53 thumbs up, but they've been voodoo'ed out of the top comments box, replaced by comments with a fraction of the number of votes.
This means that YouTube is now being edited not just for profanity, but also for political opinions. Think about it. The top-rated comment, which said simply that Assange is an international hero, has been censored. It contained no profanity, or anything else offensive, just a political opinion which was apparently judged to be unacceptable. So much for Google's unofficial motto, eh?
Friday, August 17, 2012
It's been a year since I last wrote about the situation in the South China Sea. That gap was due not to a lack of events, but rather to my perception of utter disinterest in the subject on the part of my fellow Americans. We do have a serious blind spot when it comes to events outside our own borders. None the less, with events continuing apace, the issue of territorial disputes in the South China Sea has even started to appear in the mainstream corporate media. And what a report that is. Do you like the header? "BATTLELAND - Where military intelligence is not a contradiction in terms". News Flash, sweethearts; military intelligence is always a contradiction in terms.
But my objection is not to the silly trappings of the thing, but rather to the slipshod manner in which the facts are presented. It's disturbing to note that this video, which is essentially a Taiwanese propaganda cartoon, actually contains more useful information, (after the first 35 seconds of silliness), than the print report in Time linked above.
I'm going to include here a graphic that I used in my first post on the South China Sea, about two years ago. The map is a beast, but it's needed to show the relationships.
Map courtesy of Wikimedia
Look in the center, near the top. See that blob of land with the pipeline running north-east up to Hong Kong and Macao? That's Hainan Island, and part of the People's Republic of China, (henceforth the PRC, to distinguish it from Taiwan, which is also has claims in the Spratly Islands).
Now look down and to the right from Hainan. See the Paracel Islands? Those are (mostly) within the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the PRC, as measured from Hainan Island. Note, however, that the Paracel Islands are also (mostly) within the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone of Vietnam. The PRC seized the Paracel Islands from Vietnam in a brief campaign during the mid-1970's, and has held them since then. It was here, in the Paracel Islands, that the new Chinese garrison was recently emplaced, as described in the MSM story linked above.
Now look further to the right and down a bit, see Scarborough Reef, just west of the Philippines? That was the location of the confrontation between the PRC and the Philippines in May of this year (2012). See this article in the Asia Times Online for a discussion of that altercation, (and notice how this is treated as a very serious issue by Asians, in sharp contrast to the casually dismissive attitude of US media). Here, however, the situation regarding boundaries is very different, and really quite unambiguous. Scarborough Reef is within, (again just barely), the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the Phillipines, but roughly 600 miles from Hainan Island, the nearest point of land claimed by the PRC. So what is the PRC claim based upon? History. The People's Republic of China asserts that Scarborough was historically Chinese, and therefore modern China is entitled to claim it.
OK, for the last hotspot, look down and to the left from Scarborough Reef to the legend "South China Sea". Directly below that is a mass of colored dots, and legends stating "occupied by" followed by the names of the five main disputants, and a legend marking Mischief Reef. That whole area is the Spratly Islands, although it bears repeating that the word "islands" is a highly optimistic label. The Spratlys consist mostly of partly-submerged islets, rocks, and reefs. What few actual islands exist are low coral mounds, never more than 5 or 6 meters, (call it 15-20 feet), above sea level. Most are partly submerged at high tide. Although the Spratly Islands are spread over 170,000 square kilometers of sea, they total less than 10 square kilometers of land.
So, you ask, if they're just a collection of wet rocks and bottom-ripping reefs in the middle of god-forsaken nowhere, why all the fuss? There are three reasons.
First, right of passage. The South China Sea is the second busiest shipping lane on the surface of planet Earth. More than half of the oil which transits the oceans of the world in the hulls of the so-called supertankers, passes through the South China Sea at some point during its journey.
Second, fish. The world's fisheries are being depleted at a frightening rate, with multiple staple food species, such as the blue fin tuna, staggering on the edge of utter collapse. Some of the Asian nations which are party to the disputes in the South China Sea depend heavily upon fishing to feed their growing populations. Any government which cannot feed its people cannot maintain itself in power for long.
Third, oil and gas, the single biggest cause of war and misery in the world today. In July of 2011, retired US diplomat David Brown penned an interesting article in the Asia Times Online, in which he asserted -
Chinese petroleum geologists are thinking big, however. Luo Donghong, a senior manager of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), predicts that China will confirm reserves of 22 billion barrels of oil in South China Sea deepwater fields by 2020, according to Bloomberg. That's half again the size of Daqing, China's largest onshore oilfield - which is now nearly depleted. CNOOC's Zhang Gongcheng says upwards of 200 trillion cubic meters of natural gas are in the South China Sea seabed as well, the Economist reports.
So, 22 billion barrels of oil, and 200 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. But there's more. There are also enormous deposits of Methane Hydrates, what some have called, "the ice that burns". What the US Department of Energy calls "the gas resource of the future". (And also, potentially, the environmental disaster of the future, but I suppose we can burn that bridge when we come to it. After all, we've never planned ahead for such problems before, why start now?)
While technologies for the extraction of usable energy from methane hydrate deposits have yet to be developed, a PRC report in 2007 estimated that the methane hydrate deposits found in the South China Sea so far could hold as much energy as 10 billion tons of oil. At roughly 6 barrels per ton, (a conservative estimate), that's the equivalent of 60 billion barrels of oil.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
So now we are told that the bodies of the two Turkish aircrew have been recovered from the wreckage of the F-4 that was shot down by Syrian air defenses on June 22.
Before I begin, please examine these two stories on the supposed finding of the bodies -
The story at Al Jazeera is here.
The story at PressTV is here.
Note that the AJE story says, "The military has been conducting a search operation since the jet was downed on June 22 and this week brought in a specialised ship to recover the wreckage, some 1,000 metres underwater."
On the same subject, the PressTV story says, "According to Turkish sources, the bodies of Captain Gokhan Ertan and Lieutenant Hasan Huseyin Aksoy were found on the Eastern Mediterranean sea bed by a US deep-sea exploration vessel on Wednesday. The bodies were located at a depth of 1,260 meters."
Interesting, no? The now-western-aligned Al Jazeera makes no mention of the fact that the deep-sea recovery vessel was an American ship. Let us bear in mind, dear reader, that AJE is owned and controlled by the Emir of Qatar, and Qatar is one of the main financiers of the "Syrian resistance".
Note that the AJE story denies that the Turkish military gave any information on where the bodies were found, while the PressTV story explicitly states the depth of water and general location.
Ah, the joys of being a citizen of the 21st century, sifting through all the different flavours of bullshit, attempting to triangulate some approximation of truth from the alignment of the lies.
It is worth noting that the Latakia Basin does closely approach the shore at that point. I am told that the water just off the beach plunges abruptly to 3000 feet or more (1000 meters). And yet, this all seems so very convenient, and I cannot help but be reminded of the equally-convenient "burial at sea" of Osama bin Laden, which neatly prevented any forensic examination of the body.
Honestly, I don't know enough about the specialized disciplines of diving and air crash investigation to comment on whether the bodies are likely to have remained intact under such circumstances, or whether it is reasonable for the location of the wreckage to have taken 12 days.
So, was I off-base in reporting that the F-4 was an unmanned drone? Possibly so. It wouldn't be the first time I have made a bad call, and I severely doubt it would be the last. Such are the perils of speculation, such are the perils of being a blogger, such are the perils of being human. And yet, I still have my doubts.
There is, in this current age, given the extent to which all information to which we have access has been massaged, edited, and manipulated, a very real need for a healthy level of skepticism. And yet, at what point does skepticism become paranoia? That, dear reader, is for you to decide.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
The Turkish F-4 Phantom apparently shot down over Syria 3 days ago, was in fact a QF-4, an unmanned, remotely controlled model used as a target drone. The reason they cannot find the pilot or the backseater is simply because there never were any humans aboard the aircraft.
Now, let's ask ourselves, what point was there to sending an unmanned target drone conversion of a usually-piloted aircraft into Syrian airspace? One could argue that perhaps it had been fitted with a reconnaissance package of some sort. But, in a day when the US and its allies regularly deploy swarms of purpose-built recon drones, with abilities far superior to anything that might be retrofitted to a badly-aging F-4 designed back in the 1950's, how would this make any practical sense?
The other possibility that suggests itself to the twisted, cunning and slightly-paranoid mind of your faithful correspondent is this - it was a setup. How would they have managed this? Well, they would have sent the drone in on what looked like an attack profile, and then when the Syrians launched a SAM at it, reversed course as fast as the airframe would allow and headed back out of Syrian airspace, back over the Mediterranean.
Listen to the rhetoric carefully, my friends. The key phrase being repeated is "where the plane was shot down", that's what they keep saying, over and over, in order to fix it in the minds of the media and the public.
But that's not what matters. What matters is where the drone/plane was at the time the SAM was launched at it.
One must give the powers-that-be full credit for a cleverly-managed media campaign. They're definitely not subtle, and they're not nearly as clever as they seem to think they are, but they do know how to manage public opinion, and they do know how to focus attention on the red herring.
Now they have their casus belli. And we all know what comes next.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Today, 20 years later, in a follow-up conference, the story is very different. Rio+20 is little more than a corporate-sponsored sham.
(Open Salon readers can watch the video here)
This, dear reader, is not an abstract problem. This is an issue which threatens the very survival of our species on this planet, (not to mention the survival of literally thousands of other species). Yet the "leaders" of the world's major nations seem blithely unconcerned. Are they blind? Are they stupid? Are they simply incapable of opposing the will of the big multi-national corporations? The first two seem unlikely, and the third possibility still doesn't explain the utter lack of apparent long-term concern.
We've all read science-fiction novels in which the Earth has become either partially or completely uninhabitable. In 1943, Henry Kuttner published, (under the nom de plume of Lawrence O'Donnell), a story entitled Clash By Night, which took place on Venus, where the remnants of humanity struggled to survive after Earth had been consumed by runaway nuclear power plant accidents. This was very prophetic stuff for the year 1943, and shows that there was considerable publicly-available information on "Atomic" energy several years prior to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Laugh at Science Fiction if you will, it has proven again and again to be the best venue for imagining future events. And if we cannot imagine the future, how then shall we prepare ourselves for it?
And what, you may ask, does this have to do with Rio+20? Or is your favorite beady-eyed marsupial varmint simply maundering pointlessly about days gone by, and days to come? The answer is simply this - the future will come, whether we will or no. The future will happen to us, prepared or unprepared. If we do not take action now, to shape that future for our own benefit, (indeed our own survival, if the ugly truth be spoken aloud), if we do not act now, then that future will be a nightmare shaped only by chaos and the ruthlessly inhumane greed of the rich elites and the corporations which they control.
What are we going to do about it?
Friday, June 8, 2012
The attack lasted two hours. Out of the crew of 294 officers and men, which included three civilians, 34 were killed and 173 wounded.
The whitewash of this incident continues to the present day, but the apparent facts of the matter are that the attack was absolutely deliberate, and carefully planned as a false-flag attack, with Egypt intended to take the blame. Israel, and their vehement lobby of apologists, continue to assert that the whole thing was a mistake. But the use of unmarked aircraft and boats, the fact that the USS Liberty was flying an enormous US flag throughout the attack, the fact that no other ship in the world had a profile like the USS Liberty, these things alone would be enough to refute the claims that it was a mistake.
Crew attempting to abandon ship were attacked in their lifeboats by the Israelis. This is a war crime, whoever the ship might have belonged to.
Twice, aircraft dispatched by the US Sixth Fleet to assist the Liberty were recalled, both times by direct order of the White House. This is betrayal, cold, stark, and undeniable.
Twice, there have been investigations of the USS Liberty incident. Both investigations have absolved Israel of blame. But, tellingly enough, in neither investigation have any of the surviving members of the Liberty's crew been allowed to testify. How does one explain this, other than as a blatant cover-up?
Links below for further information-
USS Liberty veterans organization
Dead In The Water, a BBC Documentary
USS Liberty Memorial, a site by Jim Ennes, a survivor of the attack
Statement by Adm Thomas H Moorer
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Evil Assad is murdering his people and the Syrian resistance are a group of high-minded freedom fighters struggling to liberate their nation from tyranny and establish a democratic Syrian state with freedom and equality for all.
All of that is BS. The ugly truth of the matter is that the Syrian resistance are, in large part, foreign mercenaries backed by Qatar, Saudia Arabia, and the USA, and that said resistance are acting as agents provocateurs in an attempt to justify military intervention by NATO, in order to bring about regime change in Syria and install a puppet government.
As evidence of this, the Houla massacre is being distorted and exploited by a media campaign which was obviously prepared well in advance. The statement by the chief of the UN’s observer mission to the effect that the killers were unknown and further investigation needed was ignored. The UN resolution immediately submitted called upon the Syrian Army to stop using heavy weapons against inhabited areas, despite the Houla victims having been killed with small arms; the eye witnesses described the attackers as "men in plain clothes.”
Out of one side of their mouth the UN talking heads say that Houla was caused by heavy bombardment with tanks and artillery. Out of the other side of their mouth, they say that “the majority of the victims were killed execution-style”. Well, which is it? The hasbara isn’t even internally consistent, let alone consistent with external reality.
And yet nation after nation has booted its Syrian diplomats, under this pretext, even France, to my utter disappointment. (Then again, Hollande may not be completely in charge. DGSE has often seemed to act independently, regardless of the wishes of France’s civilian government).
The people who run the nations of the West are indescribably evil, yes, but they are not stupid. It is inconceivable that these European nations are actually deceived by the hasbara. They must know the truth. Therefore, it logically follows that they find it to be in their own best interests to pretend to believe.
Then again, one of the greats of early science-fiction (Asimov perhaps?) once said something like – “Never postulate conspiracy to explain that which could be explained equally well by incompetence”. And incompetence, dear reader, is a condition which can afflict even the most intelligent of men and women.
I’m really quite puzzled by the international reaction to all of this. I can usually sort out, at least roughly, what is going on behind the scenes, if only via a process of triangulating all the various lies. But the response to recent events in Syria leaves me standing here scratching my head and muttering, “Uhhh, whiskey tango foxtrot, over?”
Friday, May 18, 2012
None the less, I have always dismissed the birther claims as right-wing propaganda.
But now Breitbart has uncovered a pamphlet from 1991 in which Obama's publisher listed him as "born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii". Now, I don't know what to think.
Link to Breitbart report here
Claims like this are always suspect in an election year, and doubly so in the current election, but...
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Sometimes, it's enough to make even a strong man cry, let alone a wimp like me.
The House of Representatives has just approved the new defense spending bill, totaling some 608 billion US dollars. Included in that bill is roughly a billion US dollars for Israel, to pay for Tel Aviv to build various missile systems.
We are told there's no money for a jobs program, we are told there's no money for extended unemployment benefits, there's no money for Food Stamps, there's no money for Medicare or Medicaid, there's no money for anything to help the long-term unemployed.
But hey, there's always money for the military, hundreds of billions of dollars, no problem. And of course, it's no problem to soak the US taxpayer in order to subsidize the brutally racist apartheid occupation state known as Israel. Of course. AIPAC has decreed that it must be so, and every elected official in Washington worships at the anus of AIPAC.
(Open Salon readers can watch the video here)
Sometimes, dear reader, sometimes, the utter wretched injustice of it all is simply overwhelming. There are roughly 10 million of us 99ers out here, people who have worked all their lives, paid their taxes, voted their conscience, done their best to be good citizens. And now, when we have reached late middle age, we find ourselves unemployed and unable to find any work, at any wage. So how does the government deal with this crisis? How do they react to the fact that 75% of the 99ers are over fifty years of age, how do they respond to the blatant age discrimination to which this indisputably attests? They deny that we exist. They say that we are "no longer looking for work", and don't even include us in the unemployment figures. Because of they did, if the USA figured unemployment rates by the same standard that Europe uses, Obama would have to own up to the actual unemployment rate of over 20%.
And, of course, that would ruin Obama's chances of re-election.
So, Mr President, after you've spent the last 4 years raping us up the ass, we're supposed to vote for you again? After the NDAA, and the extension of the bitterly mis-named Patriot Act, after all the other atrocities you have perpetrated upon those of us who were naive enough to believe your lies and vote for you, after you've killed Habeas Corpus, and presided over the gutting of the Bill of Rights, we are supposed to vote for another 4 years of this crap? When your best argument is that you defrosted the frozen body of OBL, (who never had anything to do with 9/11), and peddled a bullshit story about having gunned him down, and a year later that's the best thing you can come up with, you expect us to vote for you again? Just how stupid do you think we are?
If I was that much of an idiot, (or that much of an asshole), I'd be a Conservative.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
In 1980, the newly declared Islamic Republic of Iran was invaded by Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Most observers accept that the United States, which was then an important ally of Iraq, urged the attack in an attempt to topple the new and still uncertain Iranian government. Certainly the US government supplied Saddam Hussein with some of the chemical weapons which were used against Iran; the remainder of the chemical weapons were purchased from France and Germany, which also supplied the Iraqi military with tanks, aircraft, and other conventional weapon systems
Iraq declared that during the last 5 years of the war it used against the Iranians roughly 1800 tons of Mustard gas and 750 tons of nerve gas. Note that this is the only documented use of nerve gas which has ever been committed. Let it also be clearly understood that these chemical weapons were not simply used against military units, but primarily against civilian population centers in five Iranian border provinces. During the course of the eight year war with Iraq, over one million Iranians were attacked with chemical weapons. To this day, 100,000 Iranians are suffering the after-effects of these chemical attacks.
So, dear reader, the next time you're being subjected to another increment in the ongoing barrage of warmongering anti-Iranian propaganda which is inflicted upon us by the Zionist media machine, stop and consider the past for a moment. Think about those untold thousands of dead Iranians, killed with chemical weapons supplied to Iraq by the USA, France, and Germany. And then ask yourself, do you think the Iranians perhaps have some reason for their mistrust?
(Open Salon readers can watch the video here)
Sunday, April 22, 2012
"He said, 'tell them your tax money is killing us.' That’s the bottom line. You have a responsibility here in the US."
In terms of abstract moral responsibility, yes, absolutely - no argument, no excuses.
But in purely pragmatic terms, you should understand that the US government has become totally unresponsive to the will of the people. The USA is not a democracy. The USA is an oligarchy, a plutocracy, a kleptocracy, choose whatever term pleases you best, but "We, The People" no longer have any control over "our" government. None, zero, zip, nada.
Peaceful protest isn't going to change that. Peaceful reform is impossible, because the powers-that-be have systematically corrupted the very organs of government upon which peaceful reform depends. They control everything except our minds, and with some of my fellow citizens, I wonder about even that.
So tell me I'm responsible, and I agree. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. But what, by the 999 names of God, do you expect me to do about it? Yes, I boycott Israeli products. Yes, I encourage others to do the same. And that counts for what, maybe 1% of the moral responsibility?
Do not misunderstand me. I am not rejecting responsibility, I am not evading it. In truth I am writhing in agonies of shame. I am just pointing out that in purely practical terms, there is sweet Fanny Adams I can do about it.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
This is one of those rare interviews in which someone prominent, or formerly-prominent, tells some very blunt truths. I don't agree with what he says about the Occupy movement at the very end, but other than that, he's pretty much right on the money with all his answers, though a bit more restrained than I would be.
(Open Salon readers can watch the video here)
RT, in their usual fashion, has hung a questionable title on the video, but trust me, this is the Ramsey Clark interview. Do recall, dear reader, that this is a government-owned news organization, and keep your salt shaker handy. All that said, the interview is well worth watching.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Three decades of rule by the ZANU-PF party under dictator Robert Mugabe have not been kind to the peoples of Zimbabwe. Political repression, (such a cute euphemism for breaking heads and shooting people), by the ZANU-PF, Blood Diamonds at Marenge dug from the ground by slave labor, multiple epidemics caused by contamination of municipal water supplies, soaring inflation so bad that the Zim dollar was finally retired (the US dollar is now used in Zimbabwe), and "accidental" deaths of opposition politicians and their families, all these things and more have been brought to you by Smilin' Bob Mugabe, the people's friend.
Ahh, Africa. Your tragedy never ends.
Sunday, April 8, 2012
Author Grass, now 85 years old, must be highly gratified by the reaction, given that in the space of four days he has been publicly vilified by both Netanyahu and the unspeakably evil Avigdor Lieberman, not mention being declared persona non grata by Eli Yishai, the Interior Minister of Israel. Not a bad day's work, for a man in his mid-80's.
Gunter Grass is uniquely vulnerable to criticism because, as he admitted in 2006, he has a past. In early 1945, in the fading days of the Second World War, Grass was drafted into the Waffen-SS, where he served for approximately 4 months before being captured as the war ended. At the time, Grass was 17 years old.
While his time in the SS cannot be condoned, no, neither do any of us have any right to blame him for it. We were not there, we did not have to walk in his shoes, we have no right to engage in armchair morality, after the fact, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight.
Anyone who doesn’t understand what those days were like, (and that includes the vast majority of those alive in the world today), needs to read two books
Black Edelweiss, by Johann Voss
The Forgotten Soldier, by Guy Sajer
Both can be had used at Amazon for 5 USD or less.
As for Grass’ actions today, I say, three cheers for Gunter Grass! He is a man of conscience today, no matter what he did 65+ years ago. His conscience has not always led him in directions I would wholly agree with, but it is not my place to say that he was wrong.
If nothing else, the reaction from Israel serves as indisputable evidence that Grass has done the right thing, and said the right thing, at least this time. The usual over-the-top, rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth responses from the usual Zio-thug spokes-weenies would bring a smile of satisfaction to my face, if they were directed at me.
(N.B. If you follow the link above, you will see that a somewhat different form of this scribble appeared as a comment at Desertpeace. Having written my thoughts there, I then decided to share them, in a somewhat longer form, here at Ye Olde Possumhole.)
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Reading this will give you a sense of deja vu, I can virtually guarantee. The contrast between the story as spun by mainstream media, (including, sadly, Al Jazeera), and Meyssan's account of what's really going on is almost surrealistic.
It's the same old, same old Zionist propaganda machine at work again, as abetted and enabled by their lackeys at the US State Department, but Meyssan shares with us a few little tidbits that the MSM are not covering, such as the following quote -
General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General James Mattis, commander of United States Central Command, finally admitted that the U.S. Air Force was not in a position to bomb Syria, if ordered to, considering that the country is now equipped with Russia’s most effective anti-aircraft system in the world.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
The photo above clearly illustrates the utterly shameless brutality with which Zionist police and military met the peaceful Land Day protests in Occupied Palestine. The Palestinian man is injured and bleeding, firmly restrained by two burly soldiers, and being pepper-sprayed in the face at a range of about two inches.
I don't think further words from me would add anything to the picture.
Don't believe me? Want to see it from an MSM source? Here you go
Story at Desertpeace here.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
George gets rather excited, in the manner of talk show hosts the world over, but he has some very good points to make. And his caller is the exact English counterpart of the sort of American who watches Fox news.
Open Salon readers can watch the video here
Friday, March 16, 2012
Al Jazeera English has been prostituted, and is no longer a reliable source of information.
This all began a bit over a year ago, with the departure in late 2011 of Wada Khanfar, who had been director-general of Al Jazeera since its inception. At that time, there were rumors that the Emir of Qatar, who owns Al Jazeera, was ending his previous policy of non-interference. Apparently, the Arab Spring has frightened the Emir, as it has frightened all the despots of the Middle East, and he has decided to cast his lot whole-heartedly with the Western Powers.
The first rumors emerged about a year ago, during the Libyan campaign, alleging that much of AJ's supposedly "live" coverage from Tripoli was actually shot upon a sound stage in Doha, (Qatar), which was made up to look just like the main square in Tripoli (Libya). Certainly, beyond a doubt, Al Jazeera was leading the charge in the information war against the Gaddafi regime.
At about that same time, the USA suddenly stopped blocking AJ from broadcasting in the USA, with no explanation of why, other than the usual mealy-mouthed bureaucratic bullshit.
And, over the last year, Al Jazeera has been leading the propaganda campaign against Syria, lobbying hard for military intervention, while totally ignoring the disturbing indications that there is an orchestrated covert effort by western powers to destabilize Syria. This, along with the Libyan campaign, is another step in the plan of Middle East conquest laid out by PNAC, the Project for a New American Century.
At this point, it is worth digressing a bit in order to interject a note of cold realism. The peoples of the western world in general, and we Americans in particular, have a painfully naive yearning for situations to be simple. Mesmerized by movies and television, we desperately want it all to be a simple matter of good guys and bad guys, white hats and black, with a happy ending where the hero marries the girl and they all live happily ever after.
Life is not like that, however desperately we may wish it to be.
In the Middle East, there are no good guys. It is never a matter of good guys versus bad guys. It is a matter of bad guys versus worse guys. There are no heroes, and every faction's hands are bloody up to the armpits. No amount of denial or wishful thinking will change this.
Similarly, there are no completely neutral, completely reliable sources of information in the world. This is a Holy Grail which does not exist. The only thing a netizen can do, is to take in what she can from what sources seem least biased, and attempt to triangulate an approximate truth from there.
Bashar al Assad, while not quite the evil tyrant his father was, is certainly no angel. But he is the chief of state of a sovereign nation. And there is a well-orchestrated effort underway to overthrow the Assad government. This effort consists of mercenaries, spies, and "journalists" who are in the employ of western intelligence agencies. The narrative being related to us by the mainstream media is an absolute fabrication.
For a first-hand account of events in Syria by French journalist Thierry Meyssan, see this story.
For the now-emerging details of increasing resignations from Al Jazeera, in protest against the increasingly obvious political agenda of its new directors, see the video below.
(Open Salon readers can watch the video here)
And yet, again, remember to keep your salt shaker handy. Russia Today is a useful source of information, but they are far from unbiased.
Hang on to your hat, dear reader, it is going to be a wild ride from here. Let's just hope your faithful correspondent is still alive and blogging a year from now. Let's hope there is still an intact world in which bloggers can exist, a year from now. Keep your head up, your eyes and ears open, and don't forget to check your six.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Mitt Romney bought a house here in San Diego. Well, in La Jolla, dahling, where the people of quality live, don't you know.
On the coast, of course. With a private beach, of course.
The price tag? Well, only twelve million dollars, scarcely pocket change for a rich Republican.
Now he's tearing that old house down, and replacing it with a mansion of 11,000 square feet. Needless to say, the local regulatory agencies are falling all over themselves to approve the necessary permits. In spite of the 1936 vintage of the current house, city planners decreed that there was no need to go before the Historic Resources Board, citing a "lack of continuity". The La Jolla Community Planning Group and the California Coastal Commission have already signaled their approval.
If you do not live here, you may not understand how odd this, but these agencies usually take years to approve such requests, if they ever approve them at all.
Isn't it wonderful how the patronage system works, for those of wealth and privilege who can take advantage of it?
It's enough to make a sea gull puke.
It's going under the waves.
You see, Kiribati consisted of 32 coral atolls, totaling about 800 square kilometers. The average height above sea level was less than 2 meters. The only part of Kiribati you're likely to ever have heard of is Tarawa, and then only if you've read about WWII in the Pacific. Yes, it's that Tarawa, of bloody memory.
And now, rising sea levels, (global warming is a myth; The Koch brothers have paid good money to get "scientists" to say so!), are gobbling up the coral atolls at an accelerating rate.
But don't worry, the same "scientists" who have assured us that global warming is a myth, (just ignore the melting glaciers and Arctic ice cap), now assure us that the sea level isn't really rising. Kiribati's problem is just coastline erosion.
Friday, March 9, 2012
So, what's so horrible about HR347? Oh, just the little fact that it kills your First Amendment right "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances".
The article is here. Fair warning- the top part is silly bullshit; I'm not afraid of Communists. Just skip down to the title "US Congress expands authoritarian anti-protest law", and read from there.
When I first read about HR347, the first thing that occurred to me was the similarity, in intent if not in language, to the Sedition Act, which was passed by the British Government of the 13 colonies immediately prior to the American Revolution.
Next up on our Friday review of sunshine, rainbows, and happy news, A Russian economist named Sergei Karaganov has an interesting piece on authoritarian democracy posted at AJE.
As one would expect from any Russian academic, (remembering that I'm a child of the Cold War era, and anything I say about Russians is to be taken with a grain of salt), some of the article is pedantically obscure, but the one paragraph that leaped out and grabbed me was this -
First, social inequality has grown unabated in the West over the last quarter-century, owing in part to the disappearance of the Soviet Union and, with it, the threat of expansionist communism. The spectre of revolution had forced Western elites to use the power of the state to redistribute wealth and nurture the growth of loyal middle classes. But, when communism collapsed in its Eurasian heartland, the West's rich, believing that they had nothing more to fear, pressed to roll back the welfare state, causing inequality to rise rapidly. This was tolerable as long as the overall pie was expanding, but the global financial crisis in 2008 ended that.
Wow, talk about hitting the nail on the head. This is a good example of why it is so vitally important for we Americans to read political commentary by foreign sources; because they bring to the issues a perspective which we do not otherwise have. Yes, Virginia, it is about class warfare, and so far the casualties have all been on our side.
Ok, not to end on a down note, (cue the dancing unicorns!), here is some genuinely happy news.
It would appear that Sarkozy is doomed, as far as chances of re-election, with his Socialist rival ahead in the polls by 58%-42%. Then again, French elections are complex affairs, as the article explains. His so-called "Socialist" rival isn't really much of a Socialist, being barely left of centre. And Sarkozy may yet pick up a measure of support from the Right if he continues to succeed in his attempts to keep Marine Le Pen off the ballot through the usual political dirty tricks. We shall see what we shall see.
And that, dear reader, is all your favorite beady-eyed varmint has for you today.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Bluntly, how far back in time can a territorial claim go and still remain legitimate?
Because, you see, Argentina does have a very good case for ownership of the islands in question. Historically, the Malvinas were an Argentine possession, inhabited by Argentines. The British Empire seized the islands by force in the 1830's, and forcibly removed the Argentine inhabitants, replacing them with British colonists.
Pardon my extensive use of italics above, but this is an absolutely crucial point. Because the UK's entire claim to possession of the Falklands/Malvinas rests upon a single leg - their assertion that the inhabitants wish to remain part of the UK.
But those inhabitants are colonists, whose ancestors forcibly supplanted the previous population of Argentinian people. Under international law and extensive precedent, this greatly weakens the British claim. Unfortunately for Argentina, the UK has far more clout in the courts of international law than any Latin American nation will ever be permitted to have. You know and I know, that the system is totally rigged. As evidence of this, if you need any, consider the fact that the ICC has never prosecuted any white person who was not Serbian. Think about it.
Back to my central theme. International law needs a judgement on the subject of a statute of limitations on territorial claims. I'm not necessarily saying there should be such a limit, but if there is not, let us clearly understand that there is not.
Personally, I think there needs to be a limit. I think the need for a limit is obvious. But where do you draw the line? One hundred years? Two hundred? The Jews claim Occupied Palestine because their ancestors, (albeit only about 11-14% by DNA testing), lived there two thousand years ago, ignoring the fact that the same DNA tests reveal the Palestinians to be descendants of those ancient inhabitants in equal degree.
So, where do you draw the line?
And, as much as I am loathe to further confuse an already complex issue, there is also a moral problem with a statute of limitations. In effect it says, "If you can steal someone's land, and hang on to it long enough, you can claim it as your own". Because, dear reader, theft is still theft. Robbery is still robbery. No matter how long ago it was.
And this is the point at which some smartass always asks, "So are you going to give North America back to the Indians?"
It is, dear reader, not a simple issue.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Phone your Senator. Sure, that will help. Reality check - the Senate has already been bribed, the fix is in, the dirty back-room deals are made, and nobody in DC gives a fuck what we think.
Our own government admits on the one hand that there is no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, and out of the other side of its mouth, we get the endless, brainless propaganda bombardment about the Iranian "threat". Our nation is controlled and owned, lock stock and barrel, by the Zionist Lobby.
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.
Link to article at Desertpeace
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Now a currently-serving military officer, one just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, is saying much the same thing. Oh my.
Here is the original article, "Truth, lies and Afghanistan" by Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, in the Armed Forces Journal, no less.
Here are the first two paragraphs of that article -
I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. My duties with the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force took me into every significant area where our soldiers engage the enemy. Over the course of 12 months, I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.
What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.
The article itself is fairly short, very blunt, and absolutely worth reading.
Also worth noting is the fact that while overseas media are having a field day, US media have mostly ignored this story, aside from one article that I found in the NYT. Then again, in all fairness, this copy of the AFJ was just published on Sunday. Give Amerika time to recover from its Super Hangover.
So, will anyone listen? Will this blunt, brutal dose of Truth-with-a-capital-T have any effect upon the course of events? No, of course not. Washington in general, and the Pentagon in particular, have a constitutional inability to ever admit error. So they will drive off the cliff. Again.
It's been 43 years since the Tet Offensive caught General Westmoreland and MACV with their pants around their ankles, but the Pentagon has apparently learned fuck-all nothing since then. My heart goes out to the line animals who pay the most direct and immediate price for the idiocy of their so-called "superiors". When the brass screws the pooch, it's always the poor gunbunnies who take it in the shorts.
Some things never change.
I'll say it again. The USA will exit Kabul the same way it exited Saigon, with a panicked last-minute evacuation of the embassy as the victorious insurgents enter the capital. Somewhere Ho Chi Minh is laughing his ass off.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
This weekend is the 67th anniversary of the Yalta Conference, which was held February 4th through 11th of 1945, between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin. The (ostensible) purpose of the conference was to decide the shape of the postwar world.
"Boring, Possum, boring...", you say, "that was a long fucking time ago".
Yes, it was a few years ago, but the world we live in today was shaped by the decisions taken at Yalta.
For example, it was at Yalta that the agreement was formed for the structure of the United Nations, in particular the existence of the Security Council, and the provision of permanent seats on that council for the major powers, and the veto power which those with permanent seats would wield. And the only substantial change in the Security Council between then and now has been the addition of the People's Republic of China as a permanent member.
It was at Yalta that Roosevelt and Stalin agreed that part of the "reparations" to be paid to the USSR by Germany would be in the form of forced labor. This was an appallingly cruel decision on the part of the Western leaders, one which doomed tens of thousands of German POWs to years of destructive labor under inhuman conditions. Many of those POW's died or were murdered by their Soviet captors. Read the memoirs of Hans von Luck for a detailed description of what I'm talking about.
It was also at Yalta that the entirety of Eastern Europe was condemned to half a century of Russian occupation, a decision that was made in spite of the fact that not one single representative of any of those Eastern European nations was present.
As an example of how incredibly naive Roosevelt was about Stalin, let me offer you this quote -
I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man. ... and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won't try to annex anything and will work with me for a world of democracy and peace.
It's enough to make you shake your head in utter disbelief.
And that, dear reader, is our history lesson for the day. Additional reading here
Friday, February 3, 2012
I do not watch TV, at all, and I haven't for over a decade. In fact, my TV has been unplugged for over two years now, and I even discontinued the minimal cable TV service I once had.
But a fellow 99er in Florida, an all-around good person by the name of Ellen Turner, sent me this link to a Jon Stewart episode that is just too good not to share. It's even worth sitting through the obnoxious commercial that precedes it. Ugh.
But the best part of the issue isn't even mentioned in the video. You see, Florida governor Rick Scott, who has been busted for MediCare and MediCal fraud multiple times, owns the string of clinics where the piss tests are to be performed. Oh wait, excuse me, he recently transferred legal control of the clinics to his wife. Well, that makes it alright then, doesn't it?
Part of what's so scary today is the shamelessly blatant manner in which the elites engage in their corruption. With the elites controlling the MSM to the extent that they do, it seems they don't even bother to hide their dirty dealings anymore.
And so I ask you once again the question I asked in my first blog. Quo vadis, my friends, quo vadis? Where in the name of seven hells are we going from here?
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The outbreak seems to be centered in the Kuwadzana township of the capital, Harare. Early reports are blaming the out outbreak on poor quality municipal water systems. While this seems obvious, since Typhoid is almost always caused by contaminated water, the true depth of the problem may not be immediately obvious. To quote from the Wiki article linked above, Typhoid is "transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person". In other words, there is raw sewage in the municipal drinking water. And we thought the tap water here in San Diego County was disgusting, just because it contains radioactive waste. And flouride. And chloramines to kill the god-only-knows-what bacteria. And...but I digress.
Let us not forget, four years ago, Zimbabwe suffered through a cholera epidemic that affected over 100,000 people, with officially acknowledged fatalities numbering in the thousands. You can be quite certain that the actual number of deaths was far higher than the Mugabe government was willing to admit.
So now Zimbabwe wants millions from the IMF for improvements to infrastructure. But let us stop a moment and ask, what happens to the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Mugabe government gets from sale of Marenge blood diamonds? Hmmmm?
Zimbabwe, my friends, the nation once known as Rhodesia, is a tragic example of everything can go wrong in Africa. And if it makes me want to cry, you can imagine how the Rhodies feel, in whatever homes they have made for themselves in exile, somewhere in Zaire, or South Africa, or Australia.
Text story at All Africa here.
Open Salon readers can watch the video here.
Friday, January 27, 2012
The reasons behind this appalling crime have never been fully (or even partially) explained. Here in San Diego, many of us remember the rest of the story, in which the captain of the Vincennes then tried to murder his wife by planting a bomb in her mini-van, and blaming it on "retribution" by the Iranians. Fortunately, the competence of local law enforcement was up to the challenge, and his machinations were revealed.
So, all that tedious history aside, where is the Vincennes today? According to official sources, she was decommissioned in 2005, sold to International Shipbreaking in mid-2010, and completely broken-up by November of last year, roughly 3 months ago. According to this timeline, Vincennes was in Brownsville, Texas from November 2010 onwards.
Yet other eye-witness sources have related that Vincennes was in fact in Bremerton until some time late last year, when she was towed out of harbor in the middle of the night.
From here, things get weird. There has even been some speculation that Vincennes was towed to the Persian Gulf, and is currently at 5th Fleet HQ in Bahrain. This line of thinking then goes on to postulate that she is being prepared for use as a sacrificial lamb in a false-flag attack which will then be used as casus belli for an assault on Iran.
My first reaction was extremely skeptical. But, then again, in a world where so much of the so-called "news" is just smoke-and-mirrors, how can we say where the credible ends and the ridiculous begins?
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Story with video here.
And another story with different video here.
This is the second time recently that we have seen California police, at UC campuses, going way overboard with use of force. At this rate, we are heading for another Kent State incident.
As a son of the Golden State, this is profoundly disturbing to me. The disconnect between community and law enforcement has been driven to such an extreme, mostly by the so-called "War on Drugs", that a serious potential for major disaster has been created.
(Open Salon readers can watch the video here)
Yes, a Jewish man was behind the string of so-called "Anti-Semitic Hate Crime" incidents.
This is not a unique happening. In fact, it's more like a typical pattern of behavior. Jews carrying out false-flag "attacks" upon their own community in an attempt to generate sympathy for themselves and Israel, and hatred against Muslims.
Now, ask yourself, is it more likely that this is just coincidence, just copy-cat syndrome? Or is it more likely that this is being coordinated through some central authority? In an election year. While the Zionists and their supporters are beating the war drums against Iran.
You make the call.
Monday, January 16, 2012
China's response to Geithner's arm-twisting visit was not just refusal, but outraged refusal.
Japan is remaining politely equivocal , which means they're not going to play ball either. After all, the Japanese never say flat-out "No", it's just not polite.
South Korea has also refused to go along with US plans for unilateral sanctions against Iranian oil.
Asia in general is not impressed.
And the Russians have flatly refused to play.
Europe might be a different story, and then again, it might not. One could wonder if the sudden downgrade of European credit ratings by S&P over the weekend was not either a threat or a punishment for Europe's reluctance to screw its own fragile economy through soaring oil prices. For that matter, what the fuck is Obama thinking? Doesn't he need an economic recovery in the US if he hopes to get re-elected this Fall?
And what news source has not just the best coverage of the topic, but the only comprehensive coverage, who are the only ones willing to ask the ugly questions? PressTV again, much to my embarrassment and disgust. Not that I have anything against PressTV, just that I'm outraged by the fact that they're the only ones willing to really discuss the issue.
(Open Salon readers can watch the video here .
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Apologies to Sarah Wildman for stealing her title, but it was so appropriate.
I'm not even going to add anything of my own to this, dear reader, lest the eloquence of her message be adulterated. I'm just going to point you to this article at Desertpeace, written by Sarah Wildman, on the use and abuse of the term "Anti-Semite".
Go, Sarah, go!