Japan has long been criticized for school books that fail to acknowledge atrocities committed by Japanese troops in World War II as well as continued ceremonies that honor war criminals. For that reason, many felt that the recent acknowledgment of forced prostitution of thousands of Asian women — called Comfort Women — was a step forward. Then Toru Hashimoto, the mayor of Osaka, stepped forward. Hashimoto has gone public to defend the forced prostitution as necessary to “maintain discipline” in the ranks and provide rest for soldiers who risked their lives in battle. So much for progress.
Archive for the 'International' Category
This video appeared last week and shows the extremism of the “Golden Dawn” movement in Greece, which is now reaching out to other European countries. As with Nazism in Germany, the movement has emerged from the economic chaos of Greece to offer hate and violence as a way to express the frustration of the people facing high unemployment and stagnant economic prospects. In the video, you can hear a Golden Dawn member repeatedly screaming “Heil Hitler” in the Greek parliament.
We have been discussing the tax policies of President Francois Hollande’s Socialist government — a record that I have criticized as ruinous from an economic standpoint. A recent report indicates that for some high-earning families — more than 8,000 — the Hollande policies impose a 100% tax. It is the ultimate “eat the rich” policy. Even for those families facing a 75% rate, it is unclear why they would continue to work in the country. Many are not. France is experiencing a flight of both high earners and companies.
The Norwich police was called to a public disturbance this week in a reported clash between Star Wars fans and Doctor Who fans at a Sci-Fi convention. The Sci Fi turf war reportedly erupted when Norwich Sci Fi Club treasurer, Jim Poole, a Star Wars fan, appeared at the rival club’s event at the University of East Anglia and tried to get an autograph from Doctor Who actor Graham Cole. It appears that there were no true Jedi masters who could use their Jedi mind control trick. Of course, this does not work on some species and Dr. Who is not human.
Winning The Hearts and Minds? Video Shows Syrian Rebel Leader Cutting Out And Eating Heart Of Fallen Enemy SoldierPublished 1, May 15, 2013 Congress , Criminal law , International , Military 32 Comments
Many of us have raised concern over the same voices in Congress who called for attacking Iraq, Libya, and other countries are now calling for yet another intervention in Syria. While many of the Syrian rebels forces have been tied to extreme Islamic groups, senators like John McCain and others want us to send weapons to these forces. This could be a repeat of what we saw in Afghanistan where we trained and equipped radical groups that then turned on the United States. The video below captures just how strange our bedfellows in Syria may be with a leading commander filmed as he ate the heart cut out of a Syrian soldier. The video shows how little we know about many of these groups and the increased savagery on both sides of this civil war. The video shows Abu Sakkar – the prominent founder of rebel group Farouq Brigade.
It appears that there is nothing so unnerving as a Saudi man traveling with a pressure cooker these days. Hussain Al Khawahir was arrested in Detroit after he was found with luggage containing a pressure cooker — the common kitchen appliance used by the Boston Marathon bombers. The question is why the federal authorities are still holding the man who allegedly had a page missing from his passport and found in possession of a kitchen appliance.
Saudi Arabia Orders Man To Receive 300 Lashes And Six Years In Jail For Helping Woman Convert To ChristianityPublished 1, May 14, 2013 Criminal law , International , Religion , Society 30 Comments
Saudi Arabia has added yet another infamous case of religious intolerance and hatred after a Lebanese man was given 300 lashes with a whip and sentenced to six years. His crime? Simply helping a Saudi woman who wanted to convert to Christianity. While Saudi Arabia continues to object to any slight of Islam in Western Countries, the Kingdom continues to deny the human right of people to choose their faith — and impose medieval punishments for those who try to exercise their faith under the Sharia system. The woman fled the Kingdom in the hope of being able to worship the God of her choice.
In a true crime against culture, a construction company in Belize City has destroyed one of Belize’s largest Mayan pyramids to use it for gravel for road fill. Archeologists and locals say that there is no way that the company officials were unaware of the historical meaning of the pyramid when they took backhoes and bulldozers to it. Before they succeeded in eradicating the structure, locals took pictures showing the center of the pyramid still standing with a Mayan room exposed at the top.
While I hardly relish the death of any person, this is a story that represents a rare victory of an elephant versus a poacher. Solomon Manjoro was one of many poachers who are killing off whole species to sell ivory or animal parts to willing buyers. Police say that he and accomplice Noluck Tafuruka, 29, went to the protected Charara safari area in Zimbabwe to kill an elephant but Manjoro ended up being trampled by his prey.
We have yet another example of the difference in expectations between Americans and voters in other countries. We have politicians who disappeared for months from office, solicit prostitutes from the Senate floor, and call workers “wetbacks.” Yet, they remain in office. However, New Zealand’s National Party MP Aaron Gilmore has resigned after calling a waiter a “dickhead.”
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Guest Blogger
Recently, the ICIJ, better known as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a report detailing hundreds of thousands of off-shore companies whose sole product or service is to hide income from many countries tax authorities. “A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.
The secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists lay bare the names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways.
They include American doctors and dentists and middle-class Greek villagers as well as families and associates of long-time despots, Wall Street swindlers, Eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Russian corporate executives, international arms dealers and a sham-director-fronted company that the European Union has labeled as a cog in Iran’s nuclear-development program.” ICIJ.org Continue reading ‘Tax Havens For the Wealthy, But What About the Rest of Us?’
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
Sometimes I’ll be watching something and a thought will occur to me and it will stick in my mind and lead me into a meditation on a more global idea that remains with me as I try to puzzle it out. A train of thought set off this week was a TV program in which a person had to deal with aging and it was clear that their fear of their own mortality that controlled their actions. The program is forgotten and unimportant in this piece, but it did start me spending much time extrapolating the implications from that situation. This represents the rude beginnings of a theory I’ve developed, sans research, on why many people respond the way they do to the world, especially in a sociopolitical sense. Feel free to attack it, because it is merely a product of my tangled thought processes and in truth I don’t even know if it is particularly original, or the result of my synthesis of much I’ve learned and read through the years.
Noticeable human development began at least a million years ago in an apelike creature that was small and relatively weak, considering the predatory creatures that surrounded it. Life was a tricky proposition for that creature and the act of merely staying alive consumed its time. I would think that almost all of its day was spent in a state of fear, causing adrenalin rushes and hyper sensitivity to its environment. Those with the most fear, sensitivity and intelligence survived enough to pass on their genes to the coming generations, thus continuing the evolutionary cycle. As time and evolution passed enormous changes in brain size and other factors turned this fragile being into an omnivore predator that mastered the food chain. Yet still remaining were the instincts of fear and hyper-vigilance, since life even at the top of the food chain remained brutal and short. Those instincts protected us well until a next evolutionary step that took us to a whole new level, leaving us as unquestioned masters of life on this planet. That step is what some are calling a social evolutionary process. When humans began to band together into larger groups their place in the world increased exponentially. This “social evolution” changed the Earth and continues today, but nevertheless we are still primarily ruled by fear and by hyper-vigilance. Let me take you where this thought has led me and perhaps you can show me the flaws in my nascent “theory” and provide me with respite from its repetition in my brain. Continue reading ‘A Meditation on Fear’
Leading Physicist Stephen Hawking has created an international stir by joining a boycott of Israeli academic institutions and travel to Israel after sending a letter declining an invitation to attend the President’s Conference. While Cambridge originally claimed that Hawking was not attending due to his health, Hawking sent a letter to Israeli President Shimon Peres saying that he was in fact boycotting Israel due to its Palestinian policies.
Police Officer Tells Man That He Has Planted Drugs On People In The Past And Threatens Him With False Arrest . . . But Later Returned To The ForcePublished 1, May 9, 2013 Bizarre , Criminal law , International , Politics , Society 19 Comments
Recently, a video emerged showing a Canadian police officer in Durham threatening a man in 2011 with planting drugs on him and saying that he has done so before. The profanity laced tirade of the officer was posted on YouTube in which he not only threatens to plant drugs but to beat up the man. The police, however, say that the officer was “disciplined” . . . and then returned to duty. It is unclear what it takes to be fired as a police officer in Durham. The police seem more upset with the profanity than the fact that the officer is captured admitting to planting drugs and threatening an illegal act. The Toronto Star identified the officer as Constable Jamie Ebdon. Here is the punishment . . . he was docked two days’ pay. [Warning both the transcript and the video contain graphic language]
There are some helicopter stunts that capture our attention for their bravery and skill as with the recent mountain rescue in Norway. The Rio police in this video present a far less admirable side to helicopter operations. The video shows a helicopter spraying a street in Rio with machine gun bullets — continuing to fire even as pedestrians are shown near the ricocheting bullets.
We previously discussed how the CIA has delivered millions in cash in bags to the office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Karzai’s family and friends are have been denounced as openly corrupt. Despite these reports of grotesque corruption, the money continues to flow into Karzai’s pockets even as he attacks the U.S. and Americans as “demons”, and moves to shift alliances to Iran and China. The news of the CIA’s bag men produced outrage among many, but once again the objections over the corruption and waste in this country has no effect on the CIA. Karzai insisted that the cash keep flowing and even went public to say that the CIA assured him that the deliveries to him would continue regardless of the objections of U.S. citizens.
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
Yesterday was the 43rd anniversary of the day when time stood still for me. As a freshmen in college at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, I was stunned to learn of the killing of 4 young people by the Ohio National Guard during protests on the campus of Kent State University. The protestors were using their First Amendment rights to voice their opinion on the United States participation in the Vietnam War and the military’s recent incursion into Cambodia upon orders from then President Richard Nixon. Those events not only scarred me, but they also opened my eyes to the power of the government and more importantly, the power of the people. Continue reading ‘Kent State 43 Years Later’
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
My opinion of the situation in this country is obviously grim if one looks at the themes I tend to write on. As I see it we are either fast becoming a Corporate Feudal Police State, or already have achieved that dubious distinction. I am in favor of a movement towards reversing this situation. There are some issues that can resonate with most Americans and any movement seeking to reverse the anti-Constitutional trends afoot in the U.S. today must find the means to go beyond the falseness of the Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative ideological inanity. We have a corporate two party system, run by an oligarchic elite, whose base disagreement is how to treat those 99% of us, who in their view are the American Peasantry. The Republican Corporatists in effect believe that the majority of Americans should be left to their own devices, while the Democratic Corporatists mildly look for palliatives that won’t disturb their benefactors who are really in charge. Some may say my viewpoint is a radical one and this is possibly so, though the definitions of “radical” have blurred through the years. In my life I’ve spent a number of years as a political activist in one form or another and as I approach the age of 70, I think that my experiences have taught me much about political activism and the potential dangers it brings to the people at large. Right now I find two issues that frighten me for the sake of the future and how my progeny will experience it. The first is the notion of a coming police state and the second is the prospect of a violent, revolutionary upheaval in reaction to it. In other words I see we the People of the United States being between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”. Continue reading ‘You Say You Want a Revolution?’
Just when you thought that you could not get more shocking news from China’s environmental and food safety scandals, like thousands of dead pigs floating down a major river, you stand corrected. Chinese officials have found dozens of traders in Eastern China selling huge amounts of rat and mink flesh as mutton. This is not a couple pounds. The meat was sold for $1.6 million. Six suspects in Guizhou Province were found with 8.8 tons of “toxic chicken feet.”
Moroccan Student Reportedly In Hiding From Police After Posting With Sign Saying “I Am Proud To Be An Atheist.”Published 1, May 3, 2013 Constitutional Law , Criminal law , Free Speech , International , Media , Politics , Religion , Society 23 Comments
Various atheist sites are reporting that Moroccan student Imad Eddin Habib, 22, is in hiding from police who are seeking him for rejecting Islam and espousing atheism. A Pew poll just showed overwhelming support among many Muslims nations — and allies of the United States — for executing people like Habib for apostasy. The Casablanca paramedical student has gone public as an atheist and police have now interviewed his family on his whereabouts and any foreign connections.
Continue reading ‘Moroccan Student Reportedly In Hiding From Police After Posting With Sign Saying “I Am Proud To Be An Atheist.”’
This video shows an extraordinary confrontation between cleric Yousuf Badri and host Riham Said over whether Riham Said needs to wear the veil. As Egypt becomes more radicalized, it takes considerable bravery to stand up in this way and charge a leading cleric with hypocrisy.
The last 15 rhinoceroses have been shot by poachers in Mozambique allegedly with the help of the game rangers hired to protect the rhinoceroses. The rangers are believed to have used the tracking devices on the animals in the Mozambican part of Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park to help poachers locate the animals and cut off their horns.
Museum Burka: Greece Demands Ancient Statues Returned From Qatar After Museum Covers Them To Protect Muslim SensibilitiesPublished 1, May 1, 2013 Bizarre , International , Politics , Religion , Society 30 Comments
The only problem that Qatar has with ancient history is that its pre-Islamic art falls to comply with Islamic sensibilities. An exhibit has been touring the world on the beauty and grace of “The Olympics — Past and Present.” Two ancient statues showed this expression in artistic form but the Islamic nation decided to obscure the statues behind a black screen because their naked bodies were considered indecent under Islamic values.
Mohammed Nisham appears to have as little concern for his children as he does for his luxury cars. Nisham has been charged with having his nine-year-old drive his sports car. It was not hard for Inspector M.V. Verghese to prove: Nisham filmed his son driving the car with his brother (neither with seatbelts on of course) and then posted it on YouTube.
We have previously discussed reports of billions disappearing in Afghanistan and the long record of corruption surrounding the family and friends of President Hamid Karzai. Now a new report details how for more than a decade, the CIA has been dropping off monthly suitcases, backpacks and even shopping bags filled with cash to Karzai at his office. Despite these reports of grotesque corruption, the money continues to flow into Karzai’s pockets even as he attacks the U.S. and Americans as “demons”, and moves to shift alliances to Iran and China.
I just saw this remarkable farewell by the New Zealand Infantry Regiment to a dead colleague. This is the Haka, which is by many in New Zealand (not only the Māori). I found this a touching farewell to a dead fellow soldier
The Law of Identity is one of Aristotle’s fundamental Laws of Thought. It is expressed often in the terms of A=A or in other philosophical works as some variation of Marcus Aurelius’ admonishment to “ask of each and every thing what is it in itself”. This is less commentary than informal unscientific survey, but some of your answers will likely inform a future commentary. These questions kept hovering about as I considered the topic of the social compact. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the nature of the social compact model of government and that had been my intended topic for this weekend. However, as I thought about it and reviewed some older threads here where the subject had come up in preparation for addressing the subject, another area of confusion stood out as prevalent as well. That confusion centers around the proper role of government in society, specifically the proper role of government as defined by the U.S. Constitution.
If we look at the Constitution itself, the Preamble contains a basic description of the function of our Federal government.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
It is important to note that the Preamble is not law in the traditional sense. It neither grants powers nor restricts action. It simply provides context for the purpose of the form of government as established in the following articles and amendments. It is a statement of our aspirational goals of government.
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
Lately we have been barraged with news stories that the recovery of the United States economy has been historically, a slow one. We have also seen stories that state that the vast majority of the gains in the economy since the recession started in December of 2007 have been enjoyed by the very wealthy. “According to a new analysis (pdf) of Census Bureau data published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, since the economy officially emerged from the recession in mid-2009, the wealthiest 7 percent of households saw soaring gains of an estimated $5.6 trillion, while the remaining 93 percent—111 million households—saw their overall wealth fall by an estimated $0.6 trillion.” CommonDreams
As the Common Dreams quote suggests, the poor and middle-income portions of our economy have been left out in the cold when it comes to an economic recovery. Many of those who have benefitted during the recovery have their money and assets tied into shares of American corporations who are enjoying record profits, while the vast majority of Americans are unable to invest in the stock market or do not have 401K plans that could invest retirement funds in those same American corporations.
“Cha adds that the findings demonstrate, “how it is the rich, not the poor, that benefit from government handouts. It was direct government support with taxpayer funds that saved the big banks and, in turn, enriched their shareholders. It’s not social safety net programs that are bankrupting our country: it’s the rich.” -Mijin Cha, Demos Government policies following the recession drove an even larger gap in wealth disparity as the richest 7 percent’s slice of the nation’s wealth grew from 56 to 63 percent by 2011.
“The Fed has kept things pretty good for the wealthy,” said New York University economist Edward Wolff, of the policies that supported these gains in stock and bond markets. CommonDreams Continue reading ‘Just How American Should Corporations Be?’
Tags: Academy of Model Aeronautics, Drones, FAA, First Person View, FPV, Patriot Act, Privacy, Radio Control Model Airplanes
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe), guest blogger
This story started out in one place and ended somewhere else. I had been thinking about privacy issues for some time. A friend of mine, a forensic psychologist, like so many professionals, has gone to a (mostly) paperless office. Instead of taking a thick bulky file to court when called on to testify, he takes one dedicated laptop. As all our attorneys and anyone else who has had to testify as an expert knows, if you take your files to court, opposing attorneys are allowed to examine anything brought to the witness stand, such as the contents of a briefcase. My friend was concerned that he did not want anyone to rummage through his private files and other client files if he brought his regular laptop. So he bought an inexpensive laptop. When he goes to court, he simply downloads the files for that one case, as well as any emails associated with the case. That way he has everything at his fingertips, and counsel opposite can look at everything in that little laptop without compromising privacy or violating HIPAA rules.
A few days ago, he and I were discussing smart phones. Because of a recent article in the news, the question came up of who owns your cell phone if you use it for business purposes. Almost everyone I know uses their personal cell phone in relation to their employment. Texting, emails and file storage of all kinds. Suppose the employer is sued, and either the plaintiff or the defense attorney demands all cell phones used in the business be rounded up for evidence in discovery? What does one do in a case where your employer tells you to turn in your personal cell phone, and you may not delete anything, lest you be accused of spoliation of evidence.? Your employer and all the parties are now privy to your personal emails, photos and possibly even all your passwords. Furthermore, you may or may not get your $300+ smart phone back, and if you do, it may take weeks or months. You may find your memory card gone or erased if you ever do get it back.
That led me to thinking about the broader issue of privacy and new technology, especially regarding drones. Drones have been a hot item in the news recently. There has been as much misinformation as information, and I wanted to set some of the record straight. This story is probably going to scare some people. I must admit, I am a bit nervous about this new technology and the future of privacy myself the more I learn about research projects in the works.
Zhang Aihua, a Communist party leader in Taizhou City, appears not to have gotten the memo from Mao that “Thrift should be the guiding principle in our government expenditure.” Or, for that matter, the memos from the Chinese government about cracking down on excesses by local leaders. Zhang was enjoying a dinner fit for a worker-oppressing capitalist when suddenly the working class showed up uninvited. Worse yet, they brought cameras. Zhang was soon on a table, shown here, begging the common folk to let him go and apologizing for his excesses.
The two most serious threats to religious critics remain blasphemy laws and apostasy laws in Muslim nations, which deny citizens the right to free speech and association on matters of religion. Apostasy is particularly lethal since Muslims in many countries follow what they believe to be the need to kill anyone who renounces Islam. Morocco’s Higher Council of Religious Scholars (CSO) has this week taken a step back in time with a fatwa demanding the death penalty for Muslims who renounce their faith. In the Koran, Bukhari 52:260 quotes Mohammad as saying “If somebody [a Muslim] discards his religion, kill him.”
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has spent years denouncing the United States as we have continued to pour hundreds of billions into this country (and his corrupt family and government). Now, Karzai has called on China to come in and guarantee security in the country as he continues to call on the United States to get out. Despite these consistent attacks on the U.S. and Americans as “demons”, the Obama Administration continues to put our soldiers in harms way and spend money that is badly needed at home in this country. So, while the Administration is cutting back on FAA towers and slowing air travel, we will continue to spend wildly in a country seeking to replace us with China. Brilliant.
Zambia’s justice minister Wynter Kabimba has gone public with his opposition to efforts to protect gays and lesbians in his country. Kabimba, who is also secretary general of the Patriotic Front, unleashed a tirade against gay rights this week and what he views as an international conspiracy to spend “colossal sums of money” to promote homosexuality. He is just the latest African leader to strike out at gays and lesbians.
Tags: Buchenwald, History, Kirby Cowan, KLB Club, Lost Airmen of Buchenwald, military, Phil Lamason, Prisoners of War, War Crimes, WWII
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe), Guest Blogger
This is not going to be easy to read. It was not easy to write. This story is about Frank Kirby Cowan, and 167 other allied airmen from World War II. Their story is unique in a way that the stories of all the other thousands of fliers from both sides of the conflict are not. Our paths first crossed on August 23, 1946, but that is a story for another day.
Kirby was a young man from Harrison, Arkansas. His father was an engineer for the railroad, and Kirby planned to follow in Joe Cowan’s footsteps. Then a war happened. Like so many thousands of other Americans, Kirby joined the service following the attack at Pearl Harbor. Kirby joined the Army Air Corps, and was assigned to B-17 bombers as a radio operator. He said he had never flown in an airplane until he joined the Air Corps. He remembered his first experience flying in an airplane very well. The Air Corps did not waste time with orientation flights or sightseeing. Kirby’s first experience in an airplane had him standing up in the back seat of an AT-6 Texan, shooting a machine gun at a practice target being towed by another AT-6.
After finishing his training, he was assigned to the 339th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. Their B-17 was called Horn’s Hornets, because the pilot was named Horn. In those days, losses were high, and Horn’s Hornets ran out of luck in 1944. Their B-17 was cut in half by an anti-aircraft shell. There are no known photos of what happened to their airplane, but this image of similar damage to a B-24 illustrates it.
Kirby said, “When the engines unloaded they made a sound I had never heard an airplane engine make before. With no load on them, they started screaming. We started tumbling end over end. I was pinned to the inside of the plane by the G forces. I got a glimpse of the tail section falling away. The tail gunner didn’t have a chance. For a second, we stopped tumbling, so I took a Brody out the back where we were cut half in two. There were three of us that got out.” The remaining six crew members either were killed by the flak shell, or could not get out. The pilot, co-pilot, bombardier, and flight engineer were trapped in the nose of the plane.
Kirby went on, “Of the three of us that got out, one guy was shot in his parachute. He didn’t make it to the ground alive.”
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
Like most of us I have been watching the developments in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon tragedy throughout the week. Because I’m retired I probably logged more hours of viewing it on TV than most people who are younger. The initial bombings on Monday and their aftermath made me terribly sad at the loss of innocent lives and the maiming of so many, which will have future pain and consequences for the entire lives of the victims. As a father and grandfather how could I not feel painful tears for the death of an 8 year old and the lifelong pain of his parents? Yet beyond that sadness, I also felt a sense of anxiety in my chest as I listened to the hour upon hour of cable news coverage and the analysis of “terrorism experts” aligned with prognosticators telling us what it all means.
My anxiety did not stem from fear of terrorism, because that fear is irrational. This is so not because terrorism is a chimera, but because this type of terrorism is an all too real fact of the lives of humanity and indeed while we in America have suffered it, so has the rest of the world to an even greater degree. Great Britain, Spain, Iraq, Israel, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia etc. and so on and so forth. Life itself is always uncertain and unseen death lurks as a constant possibility for even the most protected of us. This has always been the human condition and the truth is that as the eons of human history have passed we are far safer now than our ancestors ever were. Yet it is also a human necessity to maintain the illusion of our own safety and indeed immortality. When horrors like the Boston Marathon bombings occur it tends to shake up our human illusions and engender fear. In the aftermath of these horrors though come the “explainers” whose attempts to soothe us only increase the fears. Following the “explainers” come those who would exploit the aroused fears for their personal gain or predilection. This happened in America from 9/11 and in its wake the false meme “This Changes Everything” was transformed into a reality of war, torture and the shredding of our Constitution. My anxiety was raised because as I watch this all unfold on TV I became fearful of how this new attention arousing horror would be used by those intent upon transforming this country into a Police State under the guise of saving it from terror. Continue reading ‘SWAT: Is America Coming Under Martial Law, Redux’
An independent report by the Constitution Project, a non-partisan Washington think tank, is the latest to confirm what is already known to the world — we ran a torture program approved by the highest levels of our government in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. The report is an indictment not only of President Bush who is responsible for the torture program but President Obama who promised CIA officials that they would not be investigated or prosecuted for torture.
Musallam el-Barrak,a leading opposition politician and a former member of Parliament, has been sentenced to five years in prison for comments he made during a speech at a political rally in October. The conviction has sent a chilling message to those who oppose the autocratic rule of the ruling family. By Western standards, el-Barrak’s criticism was remarkably subdued. In the speech, el-Barrak repeated a phrase that would become a slogan of the protest movement — “We will not allow you” — and warned the ruler about “practicing autocracy.”
As women struggle with the continuing epidemic of rape in India, there is a growing abuse of girls who are forced to become “one month wives” of Muslim men from the Middle East and Africa — sham marriages allowing men to use them as legal prostitutes in arrangements with their families. In the article below, the reporter details the harrowing story of Nausheen Tobassum, a 17-year-old girl, who was sold into such a marriage by her family to a Sudanese man.
The cultural appetite of Chinese for exotic and endangered animals has long fueled the global black market for such products and sustained an army of poachers who are forcing various species into extinction. This cultural taste is combined with China’s unrivaled anti-environmental record. Those elements came together this week when a Chinese vessel, the F/N Min Long Yu ran aground in a protected coral reef in the southwestern Philippines. Not only did the vessel damage the protected area, but it turned out to be illegally present in the area and loaded with more than 22,000 pounds of meat from a protected species, the pangolin or scaly anteater. The Chinese crew then allegedly tried to bride the Filipino coast guard to just look the other way — a common practice in China.
Finally, Anne Frank can find true peace. Last week, pop singer Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank house while in the area for a concert. On the guestbook, he wrote “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.’” Bieber’s “atta girl” strangely did not go over well with most people, except of course “believers” (his name for his screeching clinging prepubescent girl followers). Bieber spared the museum a rendition of his “One Less Lonely Girl.”
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
Our nation has become a military empire analogous to ancient Rome, another Republic that lost its bearings because it became the mightiest fighting force of its time. That we owe this to having spectacularly won what could be called “The Last Just War”, World War II, merely ironically underlines our descent into become the World’s most bellicose nation. This bellicosity has been masked by propaganda that makes us out to be the one nation responsible for ensuring “freedom and safety”. In this strife torn Earth, that idea cannot be supported since the truth is that we are the chief threat to peace in the world today. Now in truth, the use of the United States military to intervene in this Nation and other Nation’s affairs is not simply a phenomenon that began with World War II as you can see from this timeline linked here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_United_States_military_operations . What World War II marked though was the absolute dominant position in world military power which our country attained during our participation in that war. Given the magnitude of its scope it is easy to forget that for the United States World War II lasted only a brief four years. However, the incredible mobilization of troops and the supporting materiel of war were accomplished via a total mobilization that in the end fully turned the vision of Corporate America towards the great profits and benefits to be derived by American military dominance. Indeed, for generations to come there was a fluidity of personnel between leading corporate entities and the Department of Defense.
Since 2001 our Armed Forces have been totally engaged in two major, unjustified wars and various minor “peace actions”. A child born in 1990 in the U.S. grew up in a world where there has been constant warfare and warfare’s necessary companion glorification of military service. The admixture of America’s warlike behavior and the faux glorification of the nobility of our military has become a constant in that young persons mind, only to better make them future cannon fodder for our dominant Corporate/Military Industrial Complex. Sadly, the less educated that young person is the more they are gullible to the siren call of that propaganda of military glorification. As the Great U.S. General Smedley Butler said so long ago: “War is a racket”. Continue reading ‘America’s Next War: Coming Soon’
This week produced a reminder of the lack of separation of temple and state in Israel where the government routinely enforces Jewish religious laws. Tourists at the Western Wall watched as women were arrested in Jerusalem’s Old City for merely wearing prayer shawls in defiance of Orthodox beliefs. Orthodox laws govern the activities at the wall and Orthodox Jews believe that only men can wear shawls and pray at the wall.
The Russian State Duma has reportedly moved forward with new legislation pushed by the Putin government to criminalize blasphemy — a measure designed to please the Russian Orthodox church. As we have discussed previously, Putin has reestablished the link with the Church to crack down on critics and nonbelievers. The new law purportedly protects religious feelings of believers.
India is dealing with yet another shocking rape case coupled with police abuse. What is most striking about this case is that the police officers abusing the victim were women. A mother brought her 10-year-old daughter to two female officers after she was allegedly raped. The officers responded by putting the girl into jail.
Submitted by: Mike Spindell, guest blogger
In 1964, during Barry Goldwater’s race for the White House, a book became a runaway best seller and it was titled “None Dare Call It Treason”. Its’ premise, typical of the thinking of many of that time, was that the United States was being sold out to Communism by its “liberal elites” who were pro-communist and thus wanted the USSR to win the “Cold War”. As the title clearly illustrates the book’s author, John A. Stormer, believed that the “elite” were traitors, liberal of course, who were so powerful that their “treasonous actions” couldn’t be challenged. I remember the popularity of the book at that time and how many who supported Barry Goldwater were believers in the books veracity. Goldwater himself seemed to be echoing Stormer’s theme of rooting out pro Communists in his Convention speech which produced the memorable phrase: “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” It is thus a meme that in many different ways has been played and re-played through our Country’s history by those of a more Conservative persuasion. That meme is that the true American patriots are those who are of Right Wing political persuasion. Continue reading ‘None Dare Call it Treason’
After Forced To Marry 60 Year Old Man at Age 12, Pakistani Girl Escapes Beatings Only To Be Attacked With Axe By Her Own BrotherPublished 1, April 5, 2013 Criminal law , International , Religion , Society 27 Comments
We have yet another horrific tale of the treatment of girls and women in traditional Islamic areas. In Pakistan, Gul Meena was forced by her family at age 12 to marry a 60 year old man. The man proceeded to beat her daily and when she ran to her family, they beat her and told her to go back to her abuser. She was bought and paid for. Instead, she ran away with a young man. However, her brother tracked them down and killed the man with an axe and stuck his sister 15 times. She survived the attempted “honor killing” by her friend.
Satirist Bassem Youssef has sometimes been called Egypt’s Jon Stewart — a refreshing uninhibited commentators in the increasingly restricted Egyptian public discourse. That ended last week as Egypt’s Islamic government added him to the spate of blasphemy arrests in defense of Islam.
An unnamed 20-year-old man succeeded last week in combining trafficking in the infamous ivory trade with the destruction of historical artifacts to become one of the truly vile humans on Earth. The man broke into the Paris National History museum and cut off the tusk of the famous Louis XIV elephant with a chainsaw. An alert neighbor heard the sound of the chainsaw and called police. The man was arrested as he tried to make his escape.
Continue reading ‘Thief Cuts Off Tusk From Louis XIV’s Elephant With Chainsaw’