Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The USS Ronald Reagan & Fukushima

The Aircraft Carrier USS Ronald Reagan deployed for a humanitarian mission off Fukushima and the results are horrifying:

“We joked about it: ‘Hey, it’s radioactive snow!’ ” Cooper recalled. “I took pictures and video.”
But now “my thyroid is so out of whack that I can lose 60 to 70 pounds in one month and then gain it back the next,” said Cooper, fighting tears. “My menstrual cycle lasts for six months at a time, and I cannot get pregnant. It’s ruined me.”
The fallout of those four days spent off the Fukushima coast has been tragic to many of the 5,000 sailors who were there.

Compounded ironies: a nuclear power plant fails and a nuclear powered aircraft carrier with nuclear bombs sails to the rescue where no one thought to turn on the radiation detection systems.

Well, another Achille's heel has just been demonstrated on aircraft carriers, and that is the ocean water uptake systems for the on-board de-salinization systems.

1. Get the state out of nuclear power.  They exempt operators from liability, which means they are operated in dangerous ways.  "Cheap" is not the only factor in cost.

2. We have aircraft carriers in the Pacific to protect our markets for nuclear power in places such as Japan.  Bring all our forces home and we'd have a better economic balance.

3. End the poverty draft.  Return to where the wealthy pay for an army they themselves raise.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Difference Between Religion and Politics

The Pope and the President are sitting together on a stage at a huge mass rally in Yankee Stadium.  While someone is making an introductory speech, the Pope leans over to the President and says: "The difference between religion and politics is I can flick my hand and have all these people cheering and shouting for joy.  You cannot."

The President said, "Well I know I cannot do such a thing, but neither can you."

So the Pope waved his hand and smacked the President upside the head.  The stadium erupted with cheering and shouts of joy.

For a second the President was going to hit the Pope back, but then for the first time realized the difference between politics and religion.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Anarchist's Cook Book

I recall this title from my youth and giving it a once-over.  Something of a comic book.

Kings took their fear of the peace and prosperity inherent in having no king and attributed all violence to these people called anarchists.  To this day the idea of anarchists being violent is still prevalent.

One thing you must understand: if ever anyone in a group advocates violence, you can be sure that person is on the payroll of the state.

And the 19 year old who wanted to overthrow the system with violence, why today...:
But for William Powell, it’s also an opportunity, a chance to make the two chapters of his life into one. In the 40-plus years since he wrote "The Anarchist Cookbook," he has reinvented himself as an educator on the international stage, running a series of elite schools abroad, before settling in Malaysia. There he owns a teacher training center and writes books on pedagogy for the State Department.
Just so.

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Hype vs Reality

Here is the kind of video meant to recruit kids into the military.

Here is closer to what is is like.

Whatever the French were doing in Vietnam, they found it worth giving up.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

USA Foreign Policy

Here is a famous quote by George Kennan, an elder Statesman of the USA, after WWII:

we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. ... In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity 

Ouch.  Reading what our top leaders say can be harsh.  This is proven to be taken somewhat out of context and the fuller quote is less damning, but to star with the facts is useful.  And here is a clarification...

So when you read the original it is a little less bad, but still pretty bad.  and being a thinking person, Kennan evolved in his thinking...  but once you've released a 1000 braves hard to call them back.

The real problem here with the misquote is it is damned awful. it is abjectly evil and invites total condemnation.  Better to quote the original (read at the link) and thena rgue against what the man actually said.

The error is his premise that envy is the natural result of 50% v 6%, and that this is something to be maintained.  Really?  How?  Why?  To what end?

So on the one hand we have the low-circulation insider marching orders, and on the other side we have the mis-quote, neither serves us well.  What is really going on needs to get wide circulation, and then wide discussion.  What we have is even more secrecy and more spying.

Do we want that?

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

War Reparations

I may be a conscientious objector, and I can claim USA wars are "not in my name" but in fact USA borrows 46 cents out of every dollar it spends, and the only reason it can borrow so much is the lenders have faith USA can pay the loan back.

That faith is based on the military might that assures USA can steal enough from other countries to pay back the lending countries.

It is curious to me that the USA now has a "Africa Command," a military command over Africa, and four of five USA presidents will be at Mandela's funeral, a hero who fought to free Africa from foreign domination.  Odd that.

That 46 cents borrowed goes to pay for such things as "social security."  We steal from foreign countries to maintain our social security.  This is not right.  Well, I do not have to sign up for social security, even though I am guaranteed some $1000 a month or something, even if I expect to keep working, as I do.

On the other hand, there is nothing to keep me from signing up for the "free money" and then donating my social security checks toward war reparations.

So I went looking for charities devoted to war reparations.  no such thing.  So then I went looking for anyone who might be setting things rights after USA wars...  I found this:


It is a business, but who cares if they get the job done.  So I wrote...

On 4/12/2013, at 2:34 pm, John Spiers <john@johnspiers.com> wrote:

Why is there no charity devoted to what you are doing, or specifically directed at making war reparations?

Anyway, there is your business sorting out the mess of war.

I am a Vietnam era conscientious objector, so I had no part in delivering the ordnance you seek to search and destroy, to recycle a phrase.  But I am an American, and the beneficiary of a system that can borrow 55% of its budget against fraud and violence-backed credit. So maybe not in my name, but in a few years I'll get my cut of the booty in the form of social security payments.

Of course, I can just not sign up for the dole, but it has occurred to me I could do so and direct the funds into war reparations charities to the surviving victims of those wars.  No such thing.  But nothing to keep me from sending it to you to clear whatever $1000/month might clear, in other words, pick up the tab for some clearances, as an act of war reparations.  Really has nothing to do with you, any more than the innkeeper who put up the injured traveller on the Samaritan's tab.  Just glad you're there, somebody doing something.

May I have your views on this?

John Spiers

The reply:

In reality today in Laos and Camdodia both victims of the 8 year secret bombing campaigns  it costs about $1000 min/ha (2.5ac) to clear UXO from the land every village school along the Ho Ch Minh trail has about 1ha every village family would like about 1ha for subsistence farming. PCL works very closely with every village our projects come in contact with we train and employ locals everywhere we go that way they get benefit from employment and cleared land. "Good for everyone"

If you are interested in doing something that truly makes an impact you would need to find others like yourself to raise about $8-10k/month.

If you cannot clear the problem and but wish to support victims in Laos contact COPE.
I suffer from PTSD from years of trauma and am currently back in New Zealand resting with family, but will be on my feet again in the new year.

 I ask you all to remember the sacrifices made by ex-service personnel demining and clearing other remnants of war. All of us in this calling have friends who have lost limbs and some their lives, some their sanity and most their marriages pursuing the humanitarian cause, it takes a big toll on those putting their military skills to good.
Thank you for your kind humanitarian thoughts a merry festive season to you and your family.
Yours in Peace

Michael Hayes

So, the idea is to direct the money yielded from imperialism to this company to clear the UXO left behind by our aggressive wars.  It is the least in the way of war reparations we can do, while eschewing the fruits of war we get here in USA even if we are conscientious objectors.

So when the time comes, I hope, by the grace of God, I can simply direct deposit my social security check to this company to clear mines.  If enough of us do that, whole lotta mines gonna get cleared.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

O Sensei Video

The sword and stick work shows an attitude that is missing from most instruction...

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mandela Deemed Terrorist

On the Death of Mandela, on the USA Terrorist watch list until 2008:
When Mandela was finally removed from the list in 2008, then senator and current Secretary of State John Kerry, said: "He had no place on our government's terror watch list, and I'm pleased to see this bill finally become law."
Hmmm...  wonder who else should not be on it? On this blog I talk about truth commissions... her eis a man who moved from plotting terror, studying bombmaking, to truth commissions.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Zappa on the USO

I am always perplexed when right wing Christians take care to home school their children and give them a solid Christian upbringing, only to send them off with delight to the military?  Do they truly not know about the porn, violence, drugs, blasphemy?

FORT HOOD, Texas - Female soldiers at Fort Hood testified Monday that they were recruited for a prostitution ring set up by a sergeant involved in the sexual assault and harassment program at the Central Texas post.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Widening Drone Death Zones

I was thinking about the Church's teaching on Just Cause and how the Catechism presently gives a cutaway for the bishop's inasmuch as whether to go to war is ultimately up to the "prudential judgment" of the civil authorities.  Since we do in fact go into every war we contemplate, it is pretty clear "judgment" is never a part of the process, it is simply "war?" "Go!"

Catholic writers were saying a decade ago with the new super precise weapons Just War had gotten a lot easier since we go do precision killing of bad guys.  But in fact not so precise, plus they keep loosening the rules:
The 2009 version directs military personnel to take reasonable precautions to ensure that civilians are not targeted in attacks; the 2012 version says service members should “avoid targeting” civilians.
“A requirement to ‘ensure’ that civilians are not the subject of attacks is changed to an admonishment to ‘avoid targeting’ civilians,” Mr. Haynes said.
This sure undercuts the arguments the theocons make defending the War Machine.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

The War For Vietnam's Oil

Back in the 1960's, it was no secret the American War on the Vietnamese was about oil.  The Spratly and Paracel Islands proved to have potential, and USA and oil well, you know.  I am conscientious objector so there was no chance I would go, and another fellow I know, about ten years older, had an oil engineering degree, so there was no chance he would go.  You see, in USA, people with oil engineering degrees are exempt from any draft.  Not given a deferment until further notice, simply exempt.

Now, as these things go, in 2010 both he and I were in Saigon for the first time for each of us.  Love that city!  I was there visiting, he was there on a contract to assess the oil reserves a particular area.  I was in the room with him as he opened up the files on his computer and announced to his wife:  "Honey, don't unpack, they don't have any oil here."  Meaning, at least in what he was doing, there would be no work, now that he finally saw the reports in question.

What a scene: a Vietnam era conscientious objector, an oil man, both exempt from that war, in that city, as it is established no oil.  (OK, in the particular fields in question.)  Something epic about all that.

So we all went out for a dinner cruise on the Saigon River.  Such a peaceful city for one of nine million people.  I am glad I went.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

                                   A Tale of Two Cities

Chicago, IL
Houston, TX
2.7 million
2.15 million
Median HH Income
% African-American
% Hispanic
% Asian
% Non-Hispanic White

 Pretty similar until you compare the following:

Chicago, IL
Houston, TX
Concealed Carry gun law
# of Gun Stores
184 - Dedicated gun stores plus 1500 - legal places to buy guns- Walmart, K-mart, sporting goods, etc.
Homicides, 2012
Homicides per 100K
Avg. January high temperature  (F)

ConclusionCold weather causes murder.

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Politics and Change

In the Brothers Karamazov,  Dostoyevsky deals in part with the problem society and freedom.  One of the brothers relates a poem he wrote that imagines Jesus returns during the Spanish Inquisition and the Inquisitor explains to Jesus that God gave people freedom but they want bread and security, so the Inquisitors give it to them, good and hard.

This is a reworking of 1 Samuel 8, in fact I wondered if Dostoyevsky had ever read that passage, but this is only a character speaking.

I once noted to an aspiring politician who wanted my vote because we needed "change" that every politician says the exact same thing upon entering, but so far nothing has changed.  How would he feel if this was true for him too?  "That would be sad."

They go in saying the Capitol is a cesspool but decide in time it is a hot tub, and a party one at that.  In time they all decide that the people want to be oppressed, given "a king to fight their battles for them."  hence all of these odious elements and practices they inflict on us by law.

Now that is some consolation when pursuing a life of graft, bribery, whoring, substance abuse and whatever else is par for the course in politics.  You are just giving the masses what they want.

But here is the problem:  when a genuine person arises that begins to lead people to a more just and peaceful, genuine society, he is murdered by the very people who insist the masses want to be oppressed.  Gandhi, King, X, and so on. What they claim is a sad compromise becomes an existential imperative.

It may be a satisfying conceit to claim as a politician to be doing the peoples' will, but if and when the people express a will contrary to hot tub ethics, their response is vicious, like a cokehead in a hot tub.

And change is upon us.  A new hit movie has the FDA as the villain, Robert Redford has a movie out in which his solo sailboat runs into a loose shipping container on the high seas and he is in for the struggle of his life (get it? rugged individualism, crashes into materialism, and the existential crisis of systems breakdown and even some disaster prep thrown in... something for everyone).

No one wants this system.  those who have done well want it to end first, so they can avoid any "justice" rough or otherwise.  Those not doing well, want to drag it out hoping for justice.  Between the two of them, they both want violence for change.

Not much we can do about where we are headed, more a question of how we'll behave when we get there.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Andrew Young On Movements

Andrew Young was interviewed By Tavis Smiley on his show Sunday, and finished with Andrew Young.  It is a remarkable interview.   I've said if something is not true in all places at all times, then it is not true.  What I teach, what I learned, what I have found reliable in just about every field, Andrew Young finds true in freedom movements.

When you have 30 minutes, give a listen here...

At 31:12 on the timer into the show,  Cornell West asks Andrew Young about MLK’s critique of capitalism and imperialism.  Young said he never heard King talk in those terms of the problems they faced.  Young said King's analysis was Biblical, not economic.  Young quotes King as saying communism needed more freedom, capitalism needed more responsibility, or words to that effect.

To my mind problems are solved on levels other than they are experienced.  Economic (physical) problems are addressed on a religious level, mental problems addressed physically, etc.

I've argued you decide the field you want to enter, the customers decide what you will sell.  as to the freedom movement:  Young wanted jobs movement, the people wanted back of the bus to the front of the bus movement.  So that was the program they had to offer.

Appealing to government never got them anywhere.  It is when the civil rights leaders met personally with business leaders and business defied the (Jim Crow) law, that the South finally integrated.  Here again, government is never the solution, business always is.  In his book, The Walls Came Tumbling Down, Dr. Abernathy chronicles the same point.  I'll say it again, if you want to be a revolutionary, start a business.

Amb. Young also talked about political power, and the disappointments regarding movement politicians of African heritage who were either co-opted or sold out.  Two points: the progressives targeted preachers of African heritage to advance their causes contrary to the flocks interests, and to some extent successfully, and who does not sell out of those who go into politics?  Does anyone expect  people of African heritage to be less corrupt than anyone else.  It's why they call it politics, because it is corrupt.

At 33: 08, Young talks about one of his first votes as a new congressman.  The 1971 vote was on ending the Bretton Woods compact in which the dollar was tied to gold.      Young admitted his ignorance of economics as a new congressman, but had the wit to ask the salient question, if "the dollar is not tied to gold, won’t people play politics with money?"

The panel testifying as to the wisdom of ending Bretton Woods consisted of Paul Volcker, Arthur Burns and George Schultz.   Arthur Burns replied “young man you’ll soon learn the dollar doesn’t need you to protect it.”

Young experienced the rebuke as  “shut up colored boy.”

The committee voted to end Bretton Woods on a voice vote.  Andrew Young was right, they were wrong.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Peace Rocks

World power is re-aligning, and not without bloodshed and terror.  The bankers and their oil minions realize they have gone to the well too often, and the sheer lawlessness of the last several USA regimes is no longer working out.  The tide turned in 2006 when Dick Cheney, lifelong oil man, was sent home empty handed from an oil expedition:

Mr. Cheney was recently sent to Central Asia and other regions to coax allies to significantly increase supplies to stabilize U.S. gasoline prices for the summer. Administration sources said Mr. Cheney has run into significant difficulties as he has found that many of the potential suppliers have become committed to China.
The sources said Mr. Cheney found his hosts in Central Asia to be distrustful of U.S. intentions, with some Muslim countries fearful of a regime change as that which took place in 2005 in Kyrgyzstan, regarded as the most pro-American country in the region.

After this, you will recall, Muammar Khaddafi was making nice to USA and eliminating his WMD and trading with us again but made the mistake of selling oil to the Chinese and no longer lending his money to the French.  So he got Kyrgyztanned too, and to this day Libya is a mess.

The war in Syria has a Dick Cheney connection too.

The Chinese fought with the Vietnamese against USA in the American War on Vietnam.  The Chinese fought alongside USA in Afghanistan when the Soviets occupied that country in the 1980s.  They know well how to beat our imperialism, that is wait it out.  We have been defeated in the Middle East, and now we are negotiating our way back out, such as the six month deal in Iran and the Syria de-escalation.  For all of its military power, as long as it is in pursuit of empire, we cannot take on Russia and China, who will have their hegemony in the Middle East.

So it seems things are improving.  So what is out next step?  We fly B 52s over the Daioyudao /Senkaku Islands.  Nice.
The Daioyudao /Senkaku Islands are controversial as far as China recognizes the Islands as a part of the province of Taiwan, and thus claims the Islands as it claims Taiwan, while Taiwan claims independence of China and both are at odds of Japan's claim to the Islands.

The Islands themselves are just rocks that could not host even a fish processing station.  But, there might be oil.  So, of course, this stand-off looks lethal.  And as we extricate ourselves from the Middle East mess, what do we do?  We fly B52s over those Islands to piss off the Chinese.   Unbelievable!  No wonder Obama keeps firing generals.  Whose bright idea was that?

As we sell out all of our allies in the Middle East (and imagine being the "rebel forces" in Syria right now, where all have agreed you are to be liquidated) we need to assure Japan of our support.  Taiwan knows better than to trust the USA politics, and they are on the other side from Japan in this dispute anyway.  So follow that?  Our two allies in the Pacific are against each other, and we are taking sides.

In the Middle East adult supervision in the form of Russian and Chinese diplomats has stepped in to extricate the USA from its suicidal mission.  Maybe we can return the favor in the Pacific, and come up with plan that allows us to fuss over something more substantial than rocks in the Pacific, over which people are fighting in regards to even their names.

How about everyone with claims on those Islands agrees that the rocks become some sort of World Heritage Sight or whatever, to be jointly developed by the disputants (or maybe disinterestedly developed by say the Norwegians) with the proceeds going to some sort of Third World Development program, or a slush fund for disaster relief such as was needed for the Phillipines recently.  Surely Japan, China Taiwan etc fork over more cash in foreign aid around the world than those Islands will produce.

Let's set up some sort or org that arranges such an agreement and the administers the rocks, newly renamed Peace Rocks.

I myself don't have time to work on this, but I put it out there for anyone looking for a new good deed.

Update: Those "rebel forces" have taken to eating Zoo animals to survive.  It won't be long now.

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