Archive for the 'International Relations' Category

26
May
09

Namby-Pamby ‘Bout Gitmo Detainees

It’s perfectly acceptable for the Senate to shoot down funding for the removal of the Gitmo POWs if there is no plan in place for the aforementioned approval. I’m down with that.

All this NIMBY shite, however, regarding the detainees is right-wing/media overblown hoopla. Remember the summer of shark attacks? And then there was the media storm about steroids in baseball. The Terry Schaivo saga. And on and on and on. The media fixates on an issue, turning it into a much bigger monster than it actually is.

And the right-wingers want to ride this one all the the way to the 2010 elections. “The liberals want to let the terrorists run loose on American soil! The liberals want to let the terrorists go so they can attack us again!” God, all the needles it would take to pop all those gasbags full of hot air.

First of all, it has been quite common for the United States to hold prisoners of war inside U.S. territory. Really, peeps, it’s no big whoop. I would willingly pit any of the Gitmo POWs against the vast majority of inmates incarcerated in the U.S. in some steel cage death match with all my money on the American criminal. Damn straight.

The U.S. penal system, as well as its legal system, is well-equipped to deal with these men – ALL of them, even the real bad ones.

I challenge the media to profile each of these detainees individually. You see, grouping them together is marketing trickery to conjure images of these men far worse than they actually are. Remember, children, the best decisions are made with an over-abundance of information. So, let’s find out who these men are and then we’ll see if you’re still so scared of these rag-tag boogeymen.

Do they want to harm Americans? Yes. Are they “evil”? Sure.

But this is the freaking United States of America and if you think we can’t handle a few religious extremists caught in combat who have no access to military technology even close to many third world countries, let alone the U.S. than there is a severe plague of underestimation of U.S. fortitude.

And the Right. For fuck’s sake, they are ridiculous. All their bravado, all their gun-waving, dick-jousting, big man rhetoric, evaporates at the mere thought of some weakened, slipper-wearing men with beards being held in a super-max in Colorado. It’s pathetic.

The Right doesn’t even think the U.S. legal system – that so many Americans have died for – is capable of dispersing justice to these criminals.

Well, they may hope to win elections with this load of crap. But I, for one, am taking a stand on the side of U.S. strength and might. We can handle these guys. And any notion that we can’t is assinine politicking – from the Democrats as well as the Republicans.

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04
Feb
09

Israel/Palestine – Clusterfuck from God

I don’t understand conflict between Israel and Palestine. Just don’t get it. There are a thousand points of merit between both debate teams and, I have to say, that my overall impression doesn’t not fall on the side of favor of Israel. Here’s my simple take. Judge me if you like, but I’m an American trying to make sense of a seemingly irrational conflict that makes me want to slap all participating parties with a thin, wooden yardstick and yell, “Snap out of it!” (ten points to anyone who can site the actress and the movie from which that quotation originates… well, five because it’s damn easy. it’s, like, Tommy Boy easy)

In a massive, indefensible oversimplification of the issue, here’s my take:

Israel – I recognize the Jewish people have been relentlessly persecuted throughout history in almost every corner of habitation they attempted to settle long term. Having reached a frustration of biblical proportions, this massive group of people somehow came to a united decision over a few decades to return to the land they claim given to them by God. Why God would put a bunch of Arabs in the land Jews feel they’re entitled to, who knows? Maybe it’s a cosmic practical joke. I wouldn’t put it past the God of Abraham. If he’ll stick a living man in a whale for three days, I’m sure he his pranks have heartless, limitless possibilities.

Palestine – The Palestinians have now found themselves on the persecuted side of demography, pushed out of their lands, barred from their holy places, relegated behind mountainous hurdles preventing them from establishing a decent livelihood. Not unacquainted with violence, the Palestinians have, thus, resorted to civilian attacks (ahem, terrorism), rockets, bombs, and many other vehicles of death and destruction as a method to retain a place at the discussion table regarding their territory. So far they’ve been unsuccessful. Imagine that.

Because the fates of our countries are inextricably linked, Israel is given a green light far too often for many of their oppressive policies. And I find that American media is disappointingly pro-Israel. 60 Minutes, however, aired a fantastic piece Jan. 25 regarding the current state and possible future of the conflict and I highly recommend viewing the piece in its entirety. It deserves an award. As, I have not figured out how to embed CBS video on this wordpress blog, I’m providing both the link to the CBS site and the video of it posted on youtube.

Link to CBS report and video: Time Running Out For A Two-State Solution?

Or you can watch it here:

My only problem with the report is that Bob Simon did not ask the Jewish Settler Mayor in the West Bank about the issue of apartheid, the idea that they are pushing people out who were born on those lands and how can a people who faced the sharp end of oppression for centuries can now commit the same atrocities of their former oppressors. There’s a sick “history repeats itself” theme here. I would have pushed the woman for greater clarification, hopefully delving deep enough to find some sympathetic echoes in her soul.

My basic conclusion is that when your domestic and foreign policy is based on the words of a mythical god that no one else recognizes, reason and logic and common sense have no room to improve decision-making. As the rest of the world slowly awakens from its religious dark days, theocratic Israel (and theocratic Muslims) will find fewer and fewer friends willing to buttress their outrageous actions of state.

While I am anxious to hear more views on this topic, it is one of those touchy issues where all relevant voices are shouting too loud to either listen or be heard. It’s basically a clusterfuck that will break and harden hearts for years and years to come.

26
Jan
09

Quickfire Mpressions – Rush, Guantanamo, Govt. Spying

Rush Limbaugh: Says he hopes Obama fails. Joy Behar said on Larry King last week that anyone with a brain knows Ann Coulter is a wackjob. The same can be said of Limbaugh. He’s trying to stay relevant in a new era of reality and common sense and, to borrow the words of Obama, he’s on the wrong side of history. For Obama to fail would mean continued job losses, economic mire and an attack on the U.S. – meaning, Rush is anti-American success and progress. He’s merely a pimple on the ass of the U.S., no more. Buh-bye, you suck and thank you for not pro-creating. It’s the most American thing you’ve done.

Closing Guantanamo: It has to be done. Under the American Flag, everyone in U.S. custody is entitled to a fair trial. Period. If military authorities do not have evidence against these men, or have evidence obtained illegally (I’m talking torture, people), they must be released. If they go back to fight our military, so be it. And everyone who doesn’t want these combatants held in their backyard should sign a waiver giving up their right to a trial should they be held against their will. When you do not stand up for the rights of others, it will be your rights that are taken next. It is reprehensible that we have held these people for so long without even attempting to give them a fair shake at justice. Do unto others, people… Justice is not pretty. It is not comfortable. But it is necessary.

Cheney upset Libby didn’t get a pardon: Shut up, you fool! You helped set in motion the outing of a CIA agent. Even North Korea wouldn’t out one of their own. You should be tarred and feathered and placed in stocks in the public square so that we all might have a kick in your in the ass. You sick fuck.

Govt. spying on journalists: NSA whistleblower Russell Tice explained to Keith Oblermann’s last week that the warrantless wiretapping is being used for purposes other than listening to people talking to terrorists. Yeah. Big surprise. When you give the government the opportunity to run roughshod over the Constitution (right to privacy), you cannot be surprised at the subsequent raping and pillaging. In this instance, the government targeted journalists – so called, watch dog of the government. Here’s the interview:

What’s really interesting is that hardly any news program has covered this revelation. I guess those impartial journalists don’t want to get on the wrong side of Big Brother. We all saw what happened to Dan Rather. And you Obama lovers (I voted for him, too) need to remember that Prince O voted for FISA.

In response to the reckless and unconstitutional behavior, I resolve to use red flag words, like jihad and martyr and bomb and allah and more, during my wireless phone conversations. I urge you all to do the same.

States where presidents come from: Cool little piece by the NYTimes says states have to wait on average 70 years before one of their citizens is on a national ticket for president or vice president. This year, four first-time states contributed nominees: Hawaii (B.O.), Alaska (S.P.), Idaho (S.P.) and Delaware (J.B.). I love fun historical shit like that.

08
Jan
09

Quick fire Political Mpressions – Hillary, Caroline and Warren

Now that my blog slackoff has ended, I offer belated quick fire reactions to a few recent political ripples of import:

Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State: Boo. Sure, she’ll do a fine job. But I am so over the Clintons. I’m over being over the Clintons. Go away already. I was hoping the mamma drama those two titanic egos unleash would ebb on outta here after the election. A girl can dream. If nothing else, Hill, please just keep the cackling and self-martyrdom to a minimum.

Caroline Kennedy (or Fran Drescher, for that matter) as Senator from NY: Go run for something. Anything. Mom’s Club, your Neighborhood Association, Citizens on Patrol. Anything. Then you can be considered for senator. Kennedy would probably do a great job – but that’s not the point. There are other candidates out there who have paid some trench warfare dues and deserve the shot and would also perform well. Kennedy should set her sites lower and marinate until Schumer has found a higher calling.

Rick Warren: Are you freaking kidding me?? Just after the blow of Prop. 8, Obama pours salt over gay pride. Yeah, yeah, I get how he’s all “let’s teach the world to sing.” But, this is about human rights oppression and the wealthy, obese, unchristlike Warren carries that banner with all the hate it entails. The decision was unnecessarily costly in political capital and humanly disappointing. It’s sad that I’ll have to start Obama’s inauguration by waving my middle finger at the TV during the invocation. Way to rain on the parade, B.

28
Nov
08

Sentenced to Be Blinded By Acid

I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole eye-for-an-eye punishment system.This is likely due to my position as comfortable American who sees the worst of the world through her television and computer monitor rather than addressing the eyes of the beast directly. Though there is a certain poetic justice in such a penal code, I generally refuse to condone it.

I do have one exception: Acid attacks.

Few far-away stories of violence rankle my sensitivities more than those of acid attacks – likely because most of them are directed towards woman and occur mainly in cultures that subjugate women. For instance, on Nov. 12, Taliban militants sprayed school girls in Afghanistan with acid using water pistols. I suppose eye-for-an-eye isn’t exactly what I’m picturing as appropriate retribution for this attack. “Anal” and “repeated” and other words I won’t use at this juncture more aptly describe the punishment I would render if I had my druthers.

And I must confess that I was pleasantly surprised when The Houston Chronicle revealed several Iranian newspapers reported yesterday that an Iranian court, following Islamic law, sentenced a man to blinded by acid for doing the same to woman he loved to prevent others from marrying her.

How horrific that this would make me smile – especially as it is religious law dictating such retribution and I am a rabid agnostic. However, in all the years I spent conducting international political analysis and regularly exploring news of the globe, I have never read of a man (or woman) facing the same fate after conducting or ordering an acid attack – which happens much, much  more than any of us cushy, isolated Americans would like to think.

Sure, it might be barbaric of me to have felt fuzzily warm inside when I read the HC article. But I think our own criminal system could use a makeover – caning, a very effective deterrent in Singapore, doesn’t seem too cruel and unusual to me. We simply cannot rehabilitate all those who choose to hinder the pursuit of happiness by others. Deterrence should be a much higher priority. And I’ll wager a bet that acid attacks would decrease if the requisite discipline would be by acid on the transgressor.

Last month in Somalia, Muslim radicals stoned a 13 year-old girl to death for adultery after having been raped by three men. Her sentence was carried out in front of 1,000 spectators. Eye-for-an-eye would be too good for the monsters who meted out such a perverted and inhuman abomination.

The artist forgot(?) to add women

Wasn’t it Gandhi who said “An eye for an eye and the whole world will go blind”? Certainly true in Iran.

24
Nov
08

Chinese Bloggers Gaining Upper Hand on Government Blackout

The Sydney Morning Herald gives a quick profile of the new technological capabilities allowing bloggers in China to sidestep government restrictions of the internet.

Highlights from the article:

Isaac Mao, 36, of Shanghai, credited as China’s first blogger, began using the term Great Firewall in 2005 to describe the frustrating structure of internet blocks and filters imposed by a government determined to move its censor-ship system into the digital age, and keep the world out. He was a pioneer in using proxy server technology to access overseas websites.

[…]

The number of bloggers in China doubled to 107 million in the six months to last June, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. Total users rose 56 per cent from the previous year, to 253 million, giving China the largest online population in the world.

Mr Mao says he can see a tipping point coming. He believes that as a result of blogging, young Chinese brainwashed by their education system are now trying to think for themselves, work together and find smarter solutions.

“The reason many people still don’t care about political change is that they don’t trust each other. It’s the legacy of the Cul-tural Revolution. So they don’t talk to their neighbours about community issues, they don’t talk about urban issues.”

But people are now trusting and sharing online, not always in public, but through social networking, which he says is difficult for the authorities to track. “The tipping point is everyone being able to talk about sensitive things, and wanting to talk about it, and nobody being punished.”

[…]

An editor at one of the new, independent magazines trying to push journalistic boundaries said that if privately owned media were the foot soldiers in the march towards free speech, bloggers were guerillas – and the Chinese Government did not know how to fight a guerilla war.

While China understands the opening of its culture is necessary for economic development, it is still attempting to breed a society intensely fearful of government. As the number of blogs increases, Chinese citizens will gain the confidence needed to end their self-censorship and begin to challenge their weakened Big Brother.

But, like I says: progress is unstoppable and I solute all the bloggers in China giving the middle finger to THE MAN. Keep it up!

17
Nov
08

Spy Arrested for Selling NATO Secrets to Russia

Herman Simm

Herman Simm

An Estonion ministry of defense official, Herman Simm, was arrested Sept. 21 of this year after having spied for Russia since the late 1980’s. As the investigation into Simm’s past activities it is becoming clearer the breadth of his espionage, potentially including handing over secrets of U.S. missile defense and the protection of secret data flow.

Now, I’m not surprised in the least at the uncovering of a tentacle of Russian spy endeavors. The West wants to place missiles pointing at Russia around the country’s borders, isolate the country into good behavior and bring all of Russia’s neighbors into NATO, an organization born from Cold War tensions meant to counter Soviet military threats. If Russia had the capabilities to threaten the U.S. similarly, we would be going ballistic. Literally.

What shocks me is that the mainstream media hasn’t issued a peep, let alone aired a decent profile of these events that most certainly rocked the intelligence world in the last couple of months. The U.K.’s Times Online is comparing Simm to Aldrich Ames, yet American audiences are largely unapprised of this potentially catastrophic development for U.S. security.

The International Herald Tribune carried The Associated Press’ write-up the story. And while The IHT may be well-read internationally, it is not here in the U.S. and the only publication outside of our borders, besides the Times, to substantially cover the story is The Baltic Times, it seems. And I saw it on The Drudge Report. So what gives?!

Sure the media has fed our insatiable appetite for all coverage relating to our recent historic election – but when secrets of life-and-death importance are traded to Russia at a time when Putin is strengthening his autocratic hold on his hydrocarbon-rich nation, WE DESERVE TO KNOW.

Could it be that our government is trying to keep this quiet? It is well known that our executive administration has waived their dicks all over our mainstream media in an attempt (successfully) to influence coverage – which is why the internet and its ubiquitous bloggers have become such an inevitable tool for enhancing transparency necessary to the health of a democracy.

In any case, Tom Brokaw, Andrea Mitchell, Wolf, Anderson, Bob Schieffer, Politico, Brian Williams, Steve Kroft, Chris Wallace, Bueller, anybody, GET ON THIS! Tell us what the hell is going on over there! This is a major, important news story, for chrissakes!




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