Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Dateline: Greenhouse, Belgium.
We all know who would win if a world wide vote was taken on whom would be Earth's first planetary leader. The Executive President of Zimbabwe, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, of course, so full of surprises like, 'Who is the next group we fuck over.' Now we have something to do with him.
Liberal democracy is worse than socialism according to the right-wing ladder and their mantra is religious submission, 'Don't pay attention to us we bankrupt you to feed our greed.' Another way of looking at it is that all conservative poor people need to have their heads examined.
The American government s started on a course of exploitation in the late 1890s and has kept pace ever since. Their subterfuge was brilliant with Christian missionaries leading the way, they took over Hawaii, Cuba, and the Phillippines in military quick time. Spain was humiliated by the treaties it signed and the carnage in the Phillippines was particularly gruesome. U.S. soldiers treated the inhabitants as savagely as they had treated American Indians. From the book Overthrow
by Stephen Skinzer I read that 4,374 American soldiers were killed with 16,000 Filipino 'guerrillas' and 'about [16,000] civilians' perishing in the conflict.
By war standards there were few casualties in Cuba and Americans celebrated a great military victory that was already won by Cubans fighting for independence from the Spanish. Under the Teller Amendment the Cubans were promised independence but that was too kind so the U.S. government passed the Platt Amendment which gave them control of the country without actually running it. Think of all those treaties they broke with the American Indians. According to Skinzer, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 brings the number of countries the U.S. has overthrown to 14 during a '110-year period'.
Do you recall when Cuban leader Fidel Castro became seriously ill and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared on national TV? Did she wish Fidel a speedy recovery? Not really, she sort of pretended he was already dead and kept reminding Cubans that American was their friend. How hypocritical can this administration be? How brilliantly stupid is this woman? What has she achieved in international diplomacy? Not much. If George Bush says 'Boo' she says 'Boo who?' 'Dick says there's natural gas off those pristine shores, tell 'em were their friends.'
Meanwhile the melt down continues. Remember that Johnny Cash song, 'How high's the water Mama? She said it's five feet high and rising.' Yes, it's time to start building that boat in the backyard garage. About 4,000 scientists around the world say the melt down of ice at the poles and elsewhere on the planet is happening faster than their models predicted. I would recommend a sturdy sailboat.
It's been a fabulous year for Al Gore, his book, The Assault on Reason
became a best seller, his documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth,
won two Oscars, and he was awarded the Noble peace prize. Then the right-wing scavengers began to howl. In London the howlers call themselves the New Party and are funded by a right-wing think tank in Washington D.C. called the Science and Public Policy Institute which in turn is probably funded by some faith based petroleum company, like ExxonMobil for instance. The founders of New Party are a guy who calls himself Viscount Monckton and a truck driver named Stewart Dimmock. As you can imagine from their names, they don't know much about Global Warming. Viscount studied classics, Steward learned how to drive. Nevertheless they drew up a list of nine objections to Al Gore's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth,
and took the list to a sympathetic judge, perhaps a family friend. The judge then drew up a writ banning the film from being distributed to schools because of untruths. For example they don't believe any polar bears are downing because of melting ice. That some might be dying from starvation wasn't mentioned. Also not mentioned is that polar bears are being considered for inclusion on the International endangered species list. Estimates for polar bears living in the wild range from 22,000 to 25,000 with 15,000 of them based in Canada. At the current rate of melt down, scientists believe they won't last out the century. Also claimed in the writ is that there is no consensus on rising sea levels and Gore overestimates the threat. Sorry to say, the threat is real and guys like Monckton and Dimmock are part of the problem. If I had a snuff machine I'd use it. And by the way, you don't need an electric toothbrush to keep you teeth clean.
Date: Saturday, November 3, 2007
Dateline: Detroit, Michigan
Big Boy is a restaurant in Motor City that serves good breakfast grub. Up the road is the Best Western which put me up for the night because my plane missed its European connection. Little Boy is an atomic bomb constructed in the U.S. state of New Mexico and dropped from a B-29 called Enola Gay on the Japanese City of Hiroshima on August 6st 1945.'About two thirds of Hiroshima was destroyed instantly and 78,000 inhabitants of the city's 300,000 population went with it. About ten thousand disappeared, more than 70,000 were injured.
Three days later a second bomb, called Fat Man, was dropped on Nagasaki destroying half the city and killing 40,000, about the same number were injured.' About 85% of those killed by the two bombs were civilians and it is now estimated that at least 370,000 died instantly from both bombs. Many more died from radiation and the effects still linger on in the 21st Century. People are still born with deformities as they are in South Asia where U.S. troops sprayed defoliants like Agent Orange on fields and jungles during the Vietnam War.
The figures I quoted above come from a 1998 Groliers Multimedia Encyclopedia authored by Louis L. Snyder. He put it so succinctly that I threw quotes around the passage although I'm paraphrasing parts of the text. The figures are his and have risen for causalities since he wrote his article.
Now American and Israel are gearing up for a strike on Iran. Commando raids have already occurred. Give us break, most Iranians don't like their government either. We also know that pin-point accuracy is like the Church of Scientology, science fiction. But will the Big Blu, also known as a 30,000 pound massive penetrator, further known as the Mother of All bombs, be dropped. No wonder that UFOs are attracted to New Mexico. It's testing ground for contaminating the plant and exterminating the Native American Indians. White men beware if the Hopi go walk about. But what are right wing fascist Christians thinking? 'Let's do Armageddon before Al Gore proves us wrong?' Really, addressing a bin of loonies. Which reminds, what is the far left up to ? I wish I could say, plotting a come as you are party at the White House but in reality they are about as useless as Condoleezza Rice. She seems content doing the administration's bidding without a conscience of her own. Does she really think selling a $63 billion package of weapons to countries in the Middle East will bring peace to the region? When this administration goes down in flames of corruption she'll be going too.
Back in Detroit there were about 15 people waiting for 45 minutes for the shuttle-bus to take us to Best Western. I teamed up with a fellow from New York who was in the recycled paper business. He told me that he had been to Cedar Rapids 10 times in the last two years and on 9 of those trips he had been delayed like today. In this case, the plane malfunctioned At Best Western we had $13 food vouchers but the restaurant was closed. The New Yorker and I drank our supper in the bar and retired when the bar closed at midnight.
Arriving at the airport two hours early for a four o'clock flight I was turned back at customs because I didn't have a boarding pass. The security guard was a pretty black girl with a stern manner that didn't suit her looks. She motioned to an escalator and said fourth floor. I went up that but it didn't look right. Standing to the side of the escalator was a well dressed middle aged black woman who looked familiar. I think she was a Motown singer back in the 60s. Anyway I asked her if this was the fourth floor, she didn't know and told me she was waiting for her husband who was trying get back her perfume and lipstick which had been confiscated by customs. 'It's terrible isn't it? They took my toothpaste in Minneapolis and it was a small tube.' That set her to laughing and she replied, 'It's all his fault, if they had got rid of him none of this would be happening.' I said, 'Yeah, they should take them both down to Texas and hang 'em.
She roared with laughter again and said, 'I meant bin Laden but you're right, we ought to care came of them too.' As I was leaving her she said, 'Bless you, honey.'
What I forget tell her was that during the week, probably during the flight from Portland to Minneapolis, customs had started to allow passengers to bring cigarette lighters onboard. But they were still sniffing for toothpaste and other cosmetics. Liquids too were on the list, imagine, a small bottle of water in your possession could be a felony.
As a parting shot see if this fits a profile: An acquaintance from Europe, a Venezuela chef who travels a lot, mostly on food and recipe expeditions, told me he with going through customs in Miami last summer when his T-shirt was noticed. On the front in big letters was the word 'EXPLOSION' On the back in smaller letters, 'If I start running try to catch me.' The T-shirt was confiscated, the agents said they might hold him for eleven hours but after a body search they let him go after he put on another T-shirt. I'm sure it was his charming personality and excellent command of English that got him off lightly.
Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Dateline: Brussels, Belgium
I read in a column by William Pfaff that conservative right-wing writer, Andrew Sullivan, had done a job on the Bush administration, comparing it the Third Reich. The Sullivan article appeared in The Atlantic
magazine back in July but I wouldn't read that magazine if you gave it to me. Anyway, Sullivan was responding to a speech by President George Bush when Bush 'insisted' that 'enhanced interrogation techniques' were 'crucial for American success.'
Sullivan reportedly said the phrase 'enhanced interrogation techniques' had it's origins in Nazi Germany and Pfaff said, 'It was used to describe SS and Gestapo practices that in 1948 were determined to have been war crimes subject to the death penalty.'
The year mentioned, 1948, places the term in the Nuremberg trials but I checked and couldn't find it. Maybe there is a historical work that mentions it, I have serious doubts about Andrew's command of German. Anyway, the trials were convened 139 times from 1946 to 1949. In the first trial 24 high ranking Nazi officers were charged with crime crimes and 12 received death sentences. In a crimes against humanity trial known as the Doctor's Trial The court was an agent of the United States and the judges were drawn from the U.S. military. I'm sure most of them didn't speak German. The court stated that 'To kill, to maim, and to torture is criminal under all modern systems of law.' Charged were 23 physicians, 16 were found guilty, seven were executed. Among the victims, who must have suffered horribly, were '200 Jews, 50 Gypsies, 500 tubercular Poles, or 1,000 Russians.' I guess the 'or' in that sentence means that weren't sure.
About war crime crimes in general, The Geneva Conventions were first convened in 1864 and the participants were essentially concerned with defining and cataloging war crimes. Representatives from 16 countries attended the first convention. Other conventions were in 1899, 1907, 1929, and four in 1949. The Hague conferences, in 1899 and 1907, adopted rules of war but couldn't reach agreement on disarmament or weapons limitations. The Helsinki Accords in 1975 had 36 countries pledging to respect human rights. It's a just a pity that none of these conventions, conferences, and accords didn't establish rules for governing crimes against nature.
Genocide didn't get on the list of war crimes until 1951 and there was plenty of mass murders around the planet in the 20th Century, many of them never prosecuted, especially in Africa. An international criminal court wasn't established until 1998 called the Rome Statute but the United States rebuffed it. Why? Because the Bush administration thinks its citizens and military personal are above international law. They get their law from god and are forgiven for their crimes. The court functions well enough without the Americans, 104 countries are signed up.
The first arrests were made in 1993 following the Yugoslav war Bosnian, Croatians, and Serbia (Hercegovina) forces. A new phrase,'Ethnic cleansing' entered the vocabulary; up to 300,000 people were killed, three million were left homeless. The international court brought some of the perpetrators to justice
My considered opinion is that the phrase 'enhanced interrogation techniques' was dreamed up in the Pentagon or the White House but it does have a catchy Third Reich feel to it--I can hear Herr Cheney explaining what the words means to Herr Bush. If the phrase came out of the Pentagon, it must have come the lips of a neo-com, a Jew, with a German speaking relative who survived the Holocaust.
On the Internet you can read about torture techniques used by the America Military, the CIA, and the article by Andrew Sullivan that apparently appeared in The Atlantic
magazine. Sullivan does not say what William Pfaff what implied, that the phrase enhanced interrogation techniques had Nazi origins, only that they used those techniques. So, that's cleared up. Sullivan also distances himself from implying that America is now a Fascist regime. They just use Fascist techniques. As for Pfaff, he thinks torture is immoral but offers 'no opinion' about it being a crime. That's a perfect example of a squirmy little liberal worm. 'Oh, I'm sorry, as Samuel L. Jackson might say, "you said federal crimes. Does that mean the FBI is also involved in torture?"
Even Sullivan has more balls than Pfaff. Sullivan names names that broke all international laws on torture, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Bush and Cheney. He missed a few but those mentioned are guilty. About torture techniques, Sullivan runs into conservative psycho-babble when he claims the Germans thought torture techniques like water boarding and hypothermia were 'too cruel.' Come on, all torture techniques are cruel, those methods were too primitive. The Nazis were into how much a human could stand when exposed to chemicals, gases, and viruses.
For the cold treatment in Cuba the Americans use air conditioners and buckets of ice. A bucket of water and a board suffices for the water boarding torture The water trickles down from the bucket to the board and makes the prisoner feel like he's drowning. It was the Japanese who were the fascist water board champs. They would stick a water hose down the throat of a bound prisoner, face up on the ground, and fill him up until his stomach was bloated. Two soldiers, probably sloshed on saki, would then put a board over the prisoner's stomach and seesaw on it. Of course the preferred method of the Japanese was lopping off heads with katana
swords. What to hear something more gruesome? The Bush administration legalised torture.
NOTE: To preserve the intergrity of the story, blog entries are in chronological order. First post first, last post last.