What is it that makes young men, reasonably well educated, in good health and nice looking, with long lives ahead of them, use powerful explosives to murder complete strangers because of political beliefs?
I’m speaking about American military personnel of course, on the ground, in the air, or directing drones from an office in Nevada.
Do not the survivors of US attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya and elsewhere, and their loved ones, ask such a question?
The survivors and loved ones in Boston have their answer – America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
That’s what Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving Boston bomber has said in custody, and there’s no reason to doubt that he means it, nor the dozens of others in the past two decades who have carried out terrorist attacks against American targets and expressed anger toward US foreign policy. 1 Both Tsarnaev brothers had expressed such opinions before the attack as well. 2 The Marathon bombing took place just days after a deadly US attack in Afghanistan killed 17 civilians, including 12 children, as but one example of countless similar horrors from recent years. “Oh”, an American says, “but those are accidents. What terrorists do is on purpose. It’s cold-blooded murder.”
But if the American military sends out a bombing mission on Monday which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Tuesday the American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and then the military announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” And then on Wednesday the American military sends out a bombing mission which kills multiple innocent civilians, and the military then announces: “Sorry, that was an accident.” … Thursday … Friday … How long before the American military loses the right to say it was an accident?
Terrorism is essentially an act of propaganda, to draw attention to a cause. The 9-11 perpetrators attacked famous symbols of American military and economic power. Traditionally, perpetrators would phone in their message to a local media outlet beforehand, but today, in this highly-surveilled society, with cameras and electronic monitoring at a science-fiction level, that’s much more difficult to do without being detected; even finding a public payphone can be near impossible.
From what has been reported, the older brother, Tamerlan, regarded US foreign policy also as being anti-Islam, as do many other Muslims. I think this misreads Washington’s intentions. The American Empire is not anti-Islam. It’s anti-only those who present serious barriers to the Empire’s plan for world domination.
The United States has had close relations with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar, amongst other Islamic states. And in recent years the US has gone to great lengths to overthrow the leading secular states of the Mideast – Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Moreover, it’s questionable that Washington is even against terrorism per se, but rather only those terrorists who are not allies of the empire. There has been, for example, a lengthy and infamous history of tolerance, and often outright support, for numerous anti-Castro terrorists, even when their terrorist acts were committed in the United States. Hundreds of anti-Castro and other Latin American terrorists have been given haven in the US over the years. The United States has also provided support to terrorists in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iran, Libya, and Syria, including those with known connections to al Qaeda, to further foreign policy goals more important than fighting terrorism.
Under one or more of the harsh anti-terrorist laws enacted in the United States in recent years, President Obama could be charged with serious crimes for allowing the United States to fight on the same side as al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Libya and Syria and for funding and supplying these groups. Others in the United States have been imprisoned for a lot less.
As a striking example of how Washington has put its imperialist agenda before anything else, we can consider the case of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord whose followers first gained attention in the 1980s by throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. This is how these horrible men spent their time when they were not screaming “Death to America”. CIA and State Department officials called Hekmatyar “scary,” “vicious,” “a fascist,” “definite dictatorship material”. 3 This did not prevent the United States government from showering the man with large amounts of aid to fight against the Soviet-supported government of Afghanistan. 4 Hekmatyar is still a prominent warlord in Afghanistan.
A similar example is that of Luis Posada who masterminded the bombing of a Cuban airline in 1976, killing 73 civilians. He has lived a free man in Florida for many years.
USA Today reported a few months ago about a rebel fighter in Syria who told the newspaper in an interview: “The afterlife is the only thing that matters to me, and I can only reach it by waging jihad.” 5 Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have chosen to have a shootout with the Boston police as an act of suicide; to die waging jihad, although questions remain about exactly how he died. In any event, I think it’s safe to say that the authorities wanted to capture the brothers alive to be able to question them.
It would be most interesting to be present the moment after a jihadist dies and discovers, with great shock, that there’s no afterlife. Of course, by definition, there would have to be an afterlife for him to discover that there’s no afterlife. On the other hand, a non-believer would likely be thrilled to find out that he was wrong.
Let us hope that the distinguished statesmen, military officers, and corporate leaders who own and rule America find out in this life that to put an end to anti-American terrorism they’re going to have to learn to live without unending war against the world. There’s no other defense against a couple of fanatic young men with backpacks. Just calling them insane or evil doesn’t tell you enough; it may tell you nothing.
But this change in consciousness in the elite is going to be extremely difficult, as difficult as it appears to be for the parents of the two boys to accept their sons’ guilt. Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, stated after the Boston attack: “The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world. In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks … We should be asking ourselves at this moment, ‘How many canaries will have to die before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?’” 6
Officials in Canada and Britain as well as US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice have called for Falk to be fired. 7
President Kennedy’s speech, half a century ago
I don’t know how many times in the 50 years since President John F. Kennedy made his much celebrated 1963 speech at American University in Washington, DC. 8 I’ve heard or read that if only he had lived he would have put a quick end to the war in Vietnam instead of it continuing for ten more terrible years, and that the Cold War might have ended 25 years sooner than it did. With the 50th anniversary coming up June 13 we can expect to hear a lot more of the same, so I’d like to jump the gun and offer a counter-view.
Let us re-examine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims such as the allegation that “American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war … that there is a very real threat of a preventative war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union” … [and that] the political aims – and I quote – “of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries … [and] to achieve world domination … by means of aggressive war.”
It is indeed refreshing that an American president would utter a thought such as: “It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write.” This is what radicals in every country wonder about their leaders, not least in the United States. For example, “incredible claims such as the allegation that ‘American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war’.”
In Kennedy’s short time in office the United States had unleashed many different types of war, from attempts to overthrow governments and suppress political movements to assassination attempts against leaders and actual military combat – one or more of these in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, British Guiana, Iraq, Congo, Haiti, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Brazil. This is all in addition to the normal and routine CIA subversion of countries all over the world map. Did Kennedy really believe that the Soviet claims were “incredible”?
And did he really doubt that that the driving force behind US foreign policy was “world domination”? How else did he explain all the above interventions (which have continued non-stop into the 21st century)? If the president thought that the Russians were talking nonsense when they accused the US of seeking world domination, why didn’t he then disavow the incessant US government and media warnings about the “International Communist Conspiracy”? Or at least provide a rigorous definition of the term and present good evidence of its veracity.
Quoting further: “Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint.” No comment.
“We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people.” Unless of course the people foolishly insist on some form of socialist alternative. Ask the people of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, British Guiana and Cuba, just to name some of those in Kennedy’s time.
“At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-Communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends …” American presidents have been speaking of “our friends” for many years. What they all mean, but never say, is that “our friends” are government and corporate leaders whom we keep in power through any means necessary – the dictators, the kings, the oligarchs, the torturers – not the masses of the population, particularly those with a measure of education.
“Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides.”
Persistent, yes. Patient, often. But moral, fostering human rights, democracy, civil liberties, self-determination, not fawning over Israel … ? As but one glaring example, the assassination of Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, perhaps the last chance for a decent life for the people of that painfully downtrodden land; planned by the CIA under Eisenhower, but executed under Kennedy.
“The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that, if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.”
See all of the above for this piece of hypocrisy. And so, if no nation interfered in the affairs of any other nation, there would be no wars. Brilliant. If everybody became rich there would be no poverty. If everybody learned to read there would be no illiteracy.
“The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war.”
So … Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, and literally dozens of other countries then, later, and now, all the way up to Libya in 2012 … they all invaded the United States first? Remarkable.
And this was the man who was going to end the war in Vietnam very soon after being re-elected the following year? Lord help us.
This is not to put George W. Bush down. That’s too easy, and I’ve done it many times. No, this is to counter the current trend to rehabilitate the man and his Iraqi horror show, which partly coincides with the opening of his presidential library in Texas. At the dedication ceremony, President Obama spoke of Bush’s “compassion and generosity” and declared that: “He is a good man.” The word “Iraq” did not pass his lips. The closest he came at all was saying “So even as we Americans may at times disagree on matters of foreign policy, we share a profound respect and reverence for the men and women of our military and their families.” 9 Should morality be that flexible? Even for a politician? Obama could have just called in sick.
At the January 31 congressional hearing on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, Senator John McCain ripped into him for his critique of the Iraq war:
“The question is, were you right or were you wrong?” McCain demanded, pressing Hagel on why he opposed Bush’s decision to send 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the so-called ‘surge’.
“I’m not going to give you a yes-or-no answer. I think it’s far more complicated than that,” Hagel responded. He said he would await the “judgment of history.”
Glaring at Hagel, McCain ended the exchange with a bitter rejoinder: “I think history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you are on the wrong side of it.” 10
Before the revisionist history of the surge gets chiseled into marble, let me repeat part of what I wrote in this report at the time, December 2007:
The American progress is measured by a decrease in violence, the White House has decided – a daily holocaust has been cut back to a daily multiple catastrophe. And who’s keeping the count? Why, the same good people who have been regularly feeding us a lie for the past five years about the number of Iraqi deaths, completely ignoring the epidemiological studies. A recent analysis by the Washington Post left the administration’s claim pretty much in tatters. The article opened with: “The U.S. military’s claim that violence has decreased sharply in Iraq in recent months has come under scrutiny from many experts within and outside the government, who contend that some of the underlying statistics are questionable and selectively ignore negative trends.”
To the extent that there may have been a reduction in violence, we must also keep in mind that, thanks to this lovely little war, there are several million Iraqis either dead, wounded, in exile abroad, or in bursting American and Iraqi prisons. So the number of potential victims and killers has been greatly reduced. Moreover, extensive ethnic cleansing has taken place in Iraq (another good indication of progress, n’est-ce pas? nicht wahr?) – Sunnis and Shiites are now living more in their own special enclaves than before, none of those stinking mixed communities with their unholy mixed marriages, so violence of the sectarian type has also gone down. On top of all this, US soldiers have been venturing out a lot less (for fear of things like … well, dying), so the violence against our noble lads is also down.
One of the signs of the reduction in violence in Iraq, the administration would like us to believe, is that many Iraqi families are returning from Syria, where they had fled because of the violence. The New York Times, however, reported that “Under intense pressure to show results after months of political stalemate, the [Iraqi] government has continued to publicize figures that exaggerate the movement back to Iraq”; as well as exaggerating “Iraqis’ confidence that the current lull in violence can be sustained.” The count, it turns out, included all Iraqis crossing the border, for whatever reason. A United Nations survey found that 46 percent were leaving Syria because they could not afford to stay; 25 percent said they fell victim to a stricter Syrian visa policy; and only 14 percent said they were returning because they had heard about improved security.
How long can it be before vacation trips to “Exotic Iraq” are flashed across our TVs? “Baghdad’s Beautiful Beaches Beckon”. Just step over the bodies. Indeed, the State Department has recently advertised for a “business development/tourism” expert to work in Baghdad, “with a particular focus on tourism and related services.” 11
Another argument raised again recently to preserve George W.’s legacy is that “He kept us safe”. Hmm … I could swear that he was in the White House around the time of September 11 … What his supporters mean is that Bush’s War on Terrorism was a success because there wasn’t another terrorist attack in the United States after September 11, 2001 while he was in office; as if terrorists killing Americans is acceptable if it’s done abroad. Following the American/Bush strike on Afghanistan in October 2001 there were literally scores of terrorist attacks – including some major ones – against American institutions in the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific: military, civilian, Christian, and other targets associated with the United States.
Even the claim that the War on Terrorism kept Americans safe at home is questionable. There was no terrorist attack in the United States during the 6 1/2 years prior to the one in September 2001; not since the April 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. It would thus appear that the absence of terrorist attacks in the United States is the norm.
William Blum speaking in Wisconsin, near Minnesota
Saturday, July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. Peacestock is a mixture of music, speakers, and community for peace in an idyllic location near the Mississippi, just one hour’s drive from the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Peacestock is sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 115, and has a peace-themed agenda. Kathy Kelly, peace activist extraordinaire, will also speak.
You can camp there and be fed well, meat or vegetarian. Full information at:http://www.peacestockvfp.org 11
- William Blum, Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower, chapters 1 and 2, for cases up to about 2003; later similar cases are numerous; e.g., Glenn Greenwald, “They Hate US for our Occupations”, Salon, October 12, 2010 ↩
- Huffington Post, April 20, 2013; Washington Post, April 21 ↩
- Tim Weiner, Blank Check: The Pentagon’s Black Budget (1990), p.149-50. ↩
- William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II ↩
- USA Today, December 3, 2012 ↩
- ForeignPolicyJournal.com, April 21, 2013 ↩
- The Telegraph (London), April 25, 2013; Politico.com, April 24 ↩
- Full text of speech ↩
- Remarks by President Obama at Dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library ↩
- Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2013 ↩
- Anti-Empire Report, #52, December 11, 2007 ↩
Andre Pshenichnikov (24) is a most unusual kid. So unusual that he is languishing in Egyptian jail for crossing the border without proper papers. But his story begins earlier. I first heard of him when this young programmer from a Tel Aviv suburb stayed in Deheishe refugee camp near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. He did not go there to explore Palestinian way of life, or to write for a newspaper; he was not looking for publicity, he did not hide nor emphasize his Israeli identity. He did not act as an activist, marching at demos and enjoying popularity. He just rented a room, worked at a building site or waited tables in a tourist restaurant just like any Palestinian youth of his age in Deheishe, lived with ordinary people on his salary.
Andre did the impossible. He crossed the biggest chasm there is. Imagine a white boy from Philly, picking cotton and living with blacks in a cabin on a Mississippi plantation in the days of Jim Crow. No Freedom Rider went that far. He broke an important taboo: so many Israelis are convinced that the Palestinians would kill them on sight, at first occasion. By his example he refuted this fantasy. He renounced apartheid personally by living with Palestinians.
It did not work out very well: “I was always under suspicion”, – he says. People were hostile to him, excepting a few brave ones. Palestinians did not understand what he was doing there and subtly hinted at it by seizing him and passing him to Israeli security like a hot potato. Israelis charged him with entering the Palestinian Territories – it is forbidden by Israeli law.
He was not cooled off by this setback. He decided to continue his personal crusade – declared that he gives up his Israeli citizenship and asked for a Palestinian one. He’s got no reply from the PNA. Though there are many Israelis who would like to, the PNA does not position itself as an alternative government for the land.
Andre Pshenichnikov (his long last name can be translated as Wheaten) was born in the USSR just before its collapse; his parents took him to Israel. He graduated from Israeli school and served in the Israeli army, but he remained a good, idealistic Russian boy. He failed as a Jew, but passed with honours as a human. It is amazing that such Turgenev-style kids still exist in our pragmatic age, and they still go out to “join the working people”. And the working people still surrender these good-wishers to the security forces, for they could not understand them.
Some young kids are positively influenced by what they witness in their military service. The occupation is so brutal, that it comes as a shock – and this shock causes them to reject the Israeli official thinking. After army service they emigrate or withdraw from public life; some go further. Andre Pshenichnikov, a Soviet-born son of a Russian Christian mother, was unable to understand his Zionist-brainwashed comrades who humiliate Palestinians at checkpoints, arrest the men and insult the women, or shoot Palestinian children for sport. That’s why he went to Deheishe.
His left-wing pro-Palestinian friends invited him to a conference in Cairo. The police took away his passport – the reckless kid hastily stepped over the Egyptian border without documents, with just a few newspaper clippings about himself. If he thought he’d get a hero welcome, he was wrong. The Egyptians arrested him and sentenced him to two years of prison, though such a crime usually is published by a fine, or a week of detention. To them he was just another dubious Israeli. Perhaps the Israeli secret services have requested of their Egyptian colleagues to keep Andre under wraps as long as possible. His sincere idealistic desire to support Palestinians to such a degree was understood neither in Deheishe nor in Sinai. It is tragic that people who cross lines make others extremely suspicious. This was the case with German anti-Nazis in the WWII: people often weren’t sure what to make of them, but they were the bedrock of post-war change.
Such kids are necessary if we want to undo the apartheid in Palestine/Israel. They should be promoted by Arab governments, not locked up. There are too few Israelis and/or Jews who live amongst native Palestinians. A few Israelis, men (Uri Davis) and women (Neta Golan), got married over the Green line. Amira Haas lived in Gaza and Ramallah, but she wrote for the Haaretz. Bigger part of my life passed in Palestinian seaside town of Jaffa, but it is a traditionally cosmopolitan city under Israeli rule, and many Israelis, artists and writers, live there. Andre did an important step.
Now Andre’s mother country, Russia, has learned of his fate and decided to help her hitherto lost son. The PNA should do more to help him out, and so can our friends and friends of Palestine in Egypt and elsewhere. Let him be free! Though his actions were reckless, his intentions were noble, and we need such people.
While I’m generally no fan of new laws, a law that prohibits stupid laws is a definite exception. And that’s just what the great state of Mississippi is giving us by passing legislation that would prohibit localities from limiting food portion sizes, forcing restaurants to list calorie counts on menus, and banning the inclusion of toys with meals. The bill was inspired by Little Big Gulp (the man some still call Mayor Michael Bloomberg), whose current mission is to ensure that human life may not be endangered via imprudent use of fat, sugar, or bullets but only abortion.
The Mississippi legislation, which has been dubbed the “anti-Bloomberg bill,” isn’t just symbolic. When mayors such as Little Big Gulp (LBG) conjure up a new way to torment people for their own good, one of their aims — often stated — is to “set an example for the rest of the nation.” And it works. Other politicians with more brazenness than brains will also go full nanny state and commit what is the worst of copycat crimes. Thankfully, MS has decided to prevent this with a bill that its governor is expected to sign.
As for LBG, he isn’t just a tyrannical nanny stater, but a rather dull one. Banning large sodas will have as much of an effect upon obesity as prohibiting a bayonet mount on an AR-15 will have upon murder. Large sodas have simply become the latest scapegoat, just as SUV’s were with respect to glo-bull warming and Saturday Night Specials once were with crime. Even if you could keep a given gun out of criminals’ hands — which you cannot — they could just as easily use a different firearm; their problem is criminality, not their current method or tools for committing crimes. Likewise, obesity is generally caused a lifestyle, not one particular food.
In fact, how great a factor are sugary drinks, anyway? It isn’t unusual for a fat person to get a diet soda — and use it to wash down a piece of chocolate cake or bag of chips. After all, diet drinks are readily available and boast great taste, but we can’t say the same for diet cake and chips. Moreover, having that low-cal soda can make a person feel better about eating the junk, as he can then rationalize that he’s being proactive with respect to his weight in some way.
In reality, I think it’s people such as me who are more likely to imbibe sugary drinks. I’m 6’1”, 180, and I’ll confess to a can-a-day Coke habit (and you’ll have to pry that heavenly nectar from my cold, dead hands, LBG). And what of the lower-income folks who buy large drinks at a theater with the intent of sharing them with the whole family? I know money is no object to Daddy Warbucks LBG, but some people have to try to economize.
Worse still is the hypocrisy. Arianna Huffington was campaigning against the SUV some years back while buzzing around on private jets and using more energy than any 10 average Americans. Gabby Giffords’ husband just bought an AR-15, and many pro-gun-control politicians have been found to be pro-gun ownership when it comes to themselves. And while we may not find LBG in a dark room somewhere suckin’ on a Big Gulp like an Obama crony on the government teat, I’ve already mentioned his support for abortion. And how pro-death is he? Well, he once allegedly responded to a female underling who had just announced her pregnancy by saying, “Kill it!” Imagine, this from a man who recently said about his intent to use taxpayer money to fight for his soda ban in court, “I’ve got to defend my children, and yours, and do what’s right to save lives.” Billions of dollars and no brains.
But it doesn’t take a big mind to enable big government. As to this, we should be mindful of a warning C.S. Lewis issued long ago:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
No doubt. Just as there will always be murder and hence always a call for more gun control, there will be obesity as long as there’s prosperity. And this is why the LBGs of the world will torment us without end. For dare you emerge from the womb, you’ll be the government’s till the tomb.
On the front of the March 11, 2013 cover of Time Magazine, legless athlete Oscar Pistorius stands like a physical specimen held up by his prosthetic legs. The title reads, “Man, superman, gunman: Oscar Pistorius and South Africa’s culture of violence,” by Alex Perry.
“Don’t keep sweeping your troubles under the rug for someday you’ll trip over it.” Taylor Wapaha
While reading the article, I felt overwhelmed by the statistics: South Africa # 6 in the world for gun killings, 88 percent rise in home robberies in the past five years and total racial separation. Black poverty skyrocketed after the end of apartheid. Two surveys found: “…28 percent of men admitted to being rapists and 46 percent of victims were less than 16 years of age, 23 percent under 11 and 9 percent under six years old. Out of 3.5 million residents of Cape Town, 2.1 million live in shacks without toilets or running water.”
“In the townships, vigilante beatings and killings are the norm,” wrote Time writer Alex Perry. “South Africa’s private security industry employs 411,000 people, more than double the number of police officers. South Africa knows crime as a vast stretch of lawlessness covering an area twice the size of Texas. As much as $50 billion annually is lost to graft and crime.”
Much of Africa comprises dictators and unimaginable human brutality toward women. When you include the Muslim world’s honor killings of 5,000 women killed by fathers, brothers and husbands annually, you get a sick feeling in your stomach. While the world “rapes” Africa for its natural resources, its human residents suffer indescribable misery from Cape Town to Cairo. Note Egypt’s internal revolution, Syria killing of over 70,000 and Libya’s ongoing war, Somalia’s starving people, Sudan, etc.
What about human nature in America?
In my Denver Post, another equally disturbing article appeared by Lisa Wirthman: “I felt like I was dying inside.” (February 24, 2013) The rape victim said, “I was paralyzed by flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety attacks.”
Domestic violence in America:
- One in four U.S. adult women is a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. A woman in America suffers a violent attack every 15 seconds 24/7. Four million abuse cases annually.
- Three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day in America.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control)
In America in the 21st century in a highly educated society: rape and brutality continue without pause.
In the meantime, our country brutalized and killed countless people in Iraq in a war started by George W. Bush via the fabrication of “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” David Brown, Washington Post staff writer said, “A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.”
When it comes to mechanized violence, our U.S. Military killed over 2.1 million men, women and children in Vietnam. The total deaths from the 11 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan may total over one million human beings. How can our U.S. Congress act with such arrogance and self-righteousness to continue those wars for so long with so much cost and so much death? Yet, we sweep it under the rug and out of our minds.
War on Mother Nature succeeding
While we spend so much money on the “War on Terror”; “War on Poverty”; “War on Drugs” and other such “wars”, we fail dramatically. Ten years of war in Iraq did absolutely nothing whatsoever to protect the United States of America. Instead, it ravaged a sovereign society and flooded our country with tens of thousands of Muslim refugees. Same with Afghanistan!
Notwithstanding, our “War on Mother Nature” proceeds with blinding speed. We humans, in the blink of 50 years and the invention of plastic, managed to create the 100 million ton Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the size of Texas, floating 1,000 miles off San Francisco. It kills millions of marine and avian life annually. We have done nothing to stop adding to it. No deposit-return laws worldwide—no nothing.
(Unfathomable billions of pieces of plastic washing throughout the oceans, lakes, seas, rivers and streams of the world—all created by humans around the planet.) Photo by www.thewritefuture.com
“The world’s navies and commercial shipping fleets make a significant contribution, throwing some 639,000 plastic containers overboard every day, along with their other litter,” said ocean reporter Richard Grant. “But after a few more years of sampling ocean water in the gyre and near the mouths of Los Angeles streams, Moore concluded that 80 per cent of marine plastic was discarded on land. There are now 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer of the world’s oceans, killing a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year.”
(Endless plastic trash washes up on beaches around the world and kills wildlife by the millions.) Photo bywww.thewritefuture.com
In an Associated Press article by Verena Dobnic, “River of trash”, (March 3, 2013) she reports, “Just across the East river from midtown Manhattan’s shimmering skyscrapers sits one of the nation’s most polluted neighborhoods, fouled by generations of industrial waste, overflow from the city’s sewage system and an underground oil leak bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill. Oily, rainbow-slick water is filled with soda cans, plastic bottles, raw sewage and decaying food. Ditched vehicles are stuck in the mud. What was once a watershed is now a sewage shed. Today, the creek’s bottom is lined with 15 foot thick layer of petroleum-based pollutants that scientists have dubbed “black mayonnaise.”
(Wildlife eat the plastic trash that eventually kills them.) Photo by www.thewritefuture.com
With endless poisons injected into our rivers, the Mississippi River creates a 10,000 mile square dead-zone at its mouth. The Yangtze, Ganges and other great rivers create 20,000 square mile dead zones at their mouths. Yet, we humans do absolutely nothing to clean up our messes all over the planet.
I’ve tried for 40 years to get Peter Coors of Coors Brewing to support a 10 cent deposit return law in Colorado. Instead, his money killed our deposit-return efforts in Colorado in 1974 and 1988. Why do men and women with money and power in this country—do nothing for the good of our environment? Why do the men and women of our U.S. Congress do absolutely nothing for the good of our natural world?
What would solve so many of the aforementioned problems? Answer: first and foremost—education to create responsible citizens who care about their world, loving families, jobs, stable communities, recreation and a healthy natural world. Is it asking too much for our leaders to work for the betterment of our lives rather than endless wars, profits over humanity and destruction of planet?
In the end, with another 3.1 billion people projected to be added to this planet within the next 37 years, is there any hope for civility, care about our planet and care about our fellow human beings?
When a group or organization seeks to establish any social policy, it helps tremendously if that group remains honest in their endeavor. If its members are forced to lie, tell half-truths or use manipulative tactics in order to fool the masses into accepting its initiative, then the initiative at its very core is not worth consideration. Propaganda is not simply political rhetoric or editorial fervor; it is the art of deceiving people into adopting the ideology you want them to espouse. It is not about convincing people of the truth; it is about convincing people that fallacy is truth.
Nothing embodies this disturbing reality of cultural dialogue more than the ill-conceived movement toward gun control in America.
It isn’t that gun control proponents are impossible to talk to in a rational manner; most gun control activists have an almost fanatical cult-like inability to listen to reason. It isn’t that they are so desperate to paint themselves as “intellectually superior” to 2nd Amendment advocates; intellectual idiocy is a plague upon many ideological groups. What really strikes me as astonishing is the vast and embarrassing lengths to which gun grabbers in particular will go to in order to deny facts and obfuscate history.
I have seen jaw-dropping acts of journalistic debauchery and blatant disregard for reality since the gun debate exploded in the wake of Sandy Hook. I have seen past precedents rewritten in order to falsely diminish gun rights arguments. I have seen dishonest and volatile tactics used to misdirect discussion and attack the character, rather than the position, of those who defend the 2nd Amendment. I have seen gun grabbers use unbelievable acts of deception that border on clinically sociopathic in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
A perfect example has been the assertion by gun control proponents that despotic regimes do not disarm their populations before committing genocide. This primarily stems from the rationalization that the Third Reich did not exactly introduce gun control measures, rather it used measures that were already in existence. Gun grabbers are willing to cherry pick historical references in defense of Adolf Hitler in order to get their way. Sadly, they seem to forget that Hitler’s gun control policies of 1938 disarmed the Jewish people as his “Final Solution” was being implemented. Apparently, gun grabbers do not count the Jews as German citizens victimized by disarmament.
The Nazis did deregulate some firearms as gun grabbers argue, but what they don’t mention is that this deregulation was designed to benefit only those citizens who proved to be loyal to the Nazi Party. Hitler was happy to arm those who swore fealty to the Reich.
In one of the latest instances of gun grabber duplicity and disinformation, I came across an opinion piece by Henry Blodget, the CEO and editor-in-chief of Business Insider and a regular on Yahoo’s “Daily Ticker,” entitled “Finally A Gun Is Used To Stop A Crime Instead Of Killing Innocent People.”
Blodget is primarily an economic analyst, as I am, and is not exactly an unintelligent louse. He is well aware of the proper methods of research and how to present a debate point with tangible evidence. He should know better than to publish a piece with so many inconsistencies and broken pretenses. However, it presents an important opportunity to examine the cognitive dissonance of media gun grabbers and their attempts to influence the populace.
Blodget is asserting that private firearms ownership is not a practical means of self-defense, that instances of self-defense are rare and that this view diminishes the “need” for 2ndAmendment protections. He goes on to proclaim:
“In practice, unfortunately, the guns that good guys own to protect themselves from bad guys too often end up killing the good guys’ kids or wives or the good guys themselves (either via suicide, accident, or, in some cases, because they’re grabbed by the bad guys and used against the good guys). Or, as in the case of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, the guns kill people who the good guys think are bad guys but who aren’t actually bad guys…”
Blodget never actually qualifies any of the notions contained in this statement. He never provides any statistics on wives and children of good guys being shot. Also, I was not aware that the Trayvon Martin case had already been decided and that Trayvon was found not to be the aggressor. Does Blodget have a crystal ball?
Blodget starts off his anti-gun tirade very poorly with several unqualified statements that he never answers for. This is highly common among gun grabbers; they feel so righteous (overzealous) in their cause that they feel no regret in spouting baseless conclusions with the presumption that their audience will never question their logic.
Blodget then focuses on a single event as an example of the “rarity” of successful gun defense. This instance involved the death of a teen who held a gun on a reserve police officer and high school basketball coach. The coach pulled his own personal weapon and fired in defense. Blodget uses some strategic omissions in his description of the event. For instance, he fails to mention that the coach was 70 years old, and that perhaps owning a gun was indeed his only practical means of protecting himself and his players against two young thugs, one of whom obtained a firearm illegally (as most criminals do. According to the FBI, only 8 percent of guns used in a crime are purchased legally at a gun store).
Blodget also uses the smiling image of one of the attackers at the top of his article, as if we should feel sorry for him. Perhaps I’m just coldhearted, but the death of a violent offender at the hands of his intended victim does not bring a tear to my eye.
The fact that he uses this particular instance of gun defense was, of course, strategic. A teen died, and both the attacker and the defender were armed with guns. He means us to see the event as a tragedy caused by the very existence of civilian firearms ownership. Blodget somehow overlooks the thousands upon thousands of other self defense stories out there in which gun ownership saved lives…
What about the story of student Chris Boise, who used an AR-15 to ward off two armed assailants breaking into his apartment. The criminals ran at the sight of his weapon:
What about an Atlanta mother of 9-year-old twins who shot and killed an assailant with a previous record of battery breaking into her home. A police officer on scene after the event noted that “she handled her first shooting better than he did…”
How about the 1997 incident at a High School in Pearl, Mississippi, in which a 16 year old murdered his mother, then went to school with a rifle and opened fire (sound familiar), shooting several and killing two. The student was subdued by the Vice Principle, who had to run to his care to grab his .45 Colt (Note that when a staff member of a school is armed, the body count of these attacks goes way down):
And why not mention the man who entered a Golden Food Market in Richmond, Virginia opening fire at employees and customers, only to be shot down by a conceal carrying citizen:
These are just a few of the numerous instances of gun defense across the U.S. that the mainstream media likes to ignore. Blodget had all of these examples at his disposal. He could have written a fair and honest editorial, but he didn’t.
After Blodget presents his carefully picked gun defense story, he then makes these three points:
“First, and most importantly, the gun used for protection in this case would be perfectly legal under the proposed new gun-control laws. The proposed laws ban military-grade assault weapons and massive ammo clips, not handguns. And assuming the coach did not have a criminal record, he would still be a legal gun owner.
The bottom line is that no mainstream politician in the current gun control debate is talking about banning the kind of gun used in this incident…”
To which proposed gun law is Blodget referring? Many gun grabbers are suggesting that theNew York SAFE Act model be applied nationwide. The SAFE Act makes any weapon that can hold magazines of more than seven rounds illegal. Some lawmakers, like Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), have openly suggested a total ban of all firearms that includes confiscation. So, depending on which laws are passed, the coach may not have survived the attack unless, like the criminal, he obtained a weapon illegally.
“…Second, the coach was a trained police officer. He knew very well how to carry, handle, and use his handgun. And the fact that he used it effectively under the extreme shock and pressure of being robbed at gunpoint shows how well trained he was.”
The coach was a reserve police officer, but this is irrelevant to the incident. Aspiring police officers qualify in the firearms segment of their training using a mere 50 to 60 rounds during scenarios that are taught in even the most rudimentary civilian courses, which often use hundreds of rounds during qualifications. Police officers do not get magical training. In fact, many officers are forced to attend civilian-run training facilities in order to get more time and more complex experience. Civilian combat weapons enthusiasts are often far better prepared for a violent situation than the average law enforcement official.
The reason Blodget fixates on the police status of the victim is because, like most gun grabbers, he is a statist. In his mind, a designated state official is given credence by the government and is, therefore, somehow a superhero with amazing gun-wielding powers that us poor civilian mortals could never hope to master. This naïve sentiment is displayed by many a gun grabber who has never actually owned or fired a gun in his life.
“Third, this incident could easily have turned out differently–as many similar incidents do. If the coach had been a bit slower or clumsier in pulling his own gun, the attackers could have shot and killed all three of the victims before they had a chance to defend themselves. (In the wild west, when everyone carried guns, it wasn’t always the bad guys that got shot.)”
Yes, and a comet could fall from the sky and roast the Earth. Hypothetically, anything could go wrong at any moment, yet, thousands of Americans defend themselves each year with a firearm without killing innocent bystanders or being too slow or clumsy on the draw. Why should gun owners abandon their rights just because some people cannot control their personal fears?
Finally, how much better are an unarmed victim’s chances of survival? Is Blodget really trying to insinuate being armed does not increase a victim’s ability to defend himself unless he happens to be a cop on a government salary? If faced with a gun- or knife-wielding attacker who threatened him or his family, would Blodget turn down the use of a firearm if available? Would he try to shoot the perpetrator, or would he fall to his knees and beg for mercy?
The only tangible evidence that Blodget uses to buttress his opinion that self-defense is not a viable argument for gun ownership is a single FBI statistic on justifiable homicides. Justifiable homicide is a gray area of law, and the number of instances recorded by the FBI in no way reflects the actual frequency in which guns are used in self-defense.
By exploiting this one statistic, Blodget knowingly disregards the fact that many gun defense situations do not end in the death of the attacker. He also disregards the number of criminals who run at the sight of an armed target, as well as the number of crimes that are prevented completely because the criminal is not certain whether his targets are armed.
Most police departments do not keep accurate records of attempted crimes which were thwarted by armed citizens. The only sources of such statistics are surveys held by various organizations and institutions. Blodget quickly dismisses the widely disseminated survey by criminology professor Gary Kleck, which shows that there are far more instances of guns used to thwart crime than guns used to perpetrate crime. Blodget claims that the study is “old and highly flawed because it used a small number of people as a test group”, all common assertions by gun control fanatics. The study was held in 1994 (hardly ages ago), and surveyed 5000 households.
A recent Reuter/Ipsos poll used widely by gun grabbers claimed that 74% of Americans support an assault weapons ban, yet their survey only involved 559 people with far less oversight than Kleck’s study. The hypocritical nature of the anti-gun mindset is revealed again…
Vehement gun control advocate and criminologist Marvin Wolfgang made this comment on Kleck’s study:
“What troubles me is the article by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. The reason I am troubled is that they have provided an almost clear-cut case of methodologically sound research in support of something I have theoretically opposed for years, namely, the use of a gun in defense against a criminal perpetrator.”
He went on to say that a conflicting National Crime Victimization Survey (also used widely by gun grabbers) did not contradict the Kleck study, and that the argument of “too few participants” was unfounded:
“I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. They have tried earnestly to meet all objections in advance and have done exceedingly well. … The usual criticisms of survey research, such as that done by Kleck and Gertz, also apply to their research. The problems of small numbers and extrapolating from relatively small samples to the universe are common criticisms of all survey research, including theirs. I did not mention this specifically in my printed comments because I thought that this was obvious; within the specific limitations of their research is what I meant by a lack of criticism methodologically.”
According to survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminologyentitled ‘Measuring Civilian Defensive Firearm Use: A Methodological Experiment’, U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year. This is a conservative estimate compared to Kleck’s 2.5 million, but it is still a far larger number than the amount of annual homicides by gun. The argument that gun murders outweigh gun defense is a defective one. Blodget knows it, which is why he dances his way around so many viable pieces of evidence. He is not interested in the facts, only promoting his own twisted worldview.
Violent crimes (assault, burglary, rape, etc.) have skyrocketed in countries like the U.K. and Australia where stringent gun control has been enacted, simply because criminals know that because of government controls the odds of running into an armed victim are slim. Gun grabbers like Blodget do not care about this, though. They are not actually interested in saving lives. What they are interested in is imposing their ideologies on the rest of us.
If the only drive of anti-gun advocates was a sincere concern for public safety, they would not feel the need to misrepresent the facts and lie outright in order to convince others. Those who use disinformation to their benefit are acting on much darker emotional impulses and biases, like fear and malevolence. Their goal is not to find the truth, but to “win”. Their goal is not to encourage understanding, but to destroy their political enemies.
The most enticing motive for the average yuppie within the gun control society is not their hatred of guns per say, but their hatred of gun culture. Being worshipers of the establishment, they do not like our defiance of socialization, collectivism, and the corrupt state in general. They do not like our methodologies of decentralization and independence. They do not like that we have the ability to crush their skewed arguments with ease. And, they do not like that we have the physical capability of denying their pursuit of power. Gun control is not just a war on guns; it is a war on traditionally conservative Americans, our heritage, our beliefs, and our principles. It is a war the gun grabbers will lose.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
DAMASCUS — One powerful image from Damascus that has become seared into this observers mind these days is when I walk by a Western Union office. Most of them remain open despite the brutal US-led sanctions which in their pervasive effects target almost entirely the civilian population. But all Western Union offices were closed last Thursday and Friday due to heavy snowfall, which some say is the deepest here for more than a quarter century. Still, some Syrians braved the extreme cold and could be seen huddled outside some branches, evidently in vain hope that they might open and their families might eat.
One of the few economic lifelines not yet cut by the ever strangling, profoundly immoral and illegal US-led sanctions, with their throat-hold tightening around the civilian population in Syria in order to achieve regime change, “WU” as it’s known, has become, for some, literally a lifesaver. This is because its money transfer service is still allowing family and friends from abroad to send in assistance to Syria for their desperate families caught up in this regional contest between Resistance and a return to Western hegemony.
Peering in the window or stepping inside a Western Union outlet in Damascus reminds this observer of scenes from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange or a European bourse wherein traders wave pieces of paper or other objects trying to get the attention of someone. But in Syria, those trying to submit their ten digit Money Control Transfer Number (MTCN) numbers and ID’s in order to collect cash, are not wearing clothes from the fashion houses. Rather, given the frigid temperatures and lack of mazot (heating oil that 90% of the population here relies on for heat) they are tightly bundled. Women and kids generally wrapped tight in thick head scarves.
Last week, this observer went into the Western Union office in central Damascus to collect some cash sent from Canada for a family that had managed to escape from Aleppo. The place was packed but orderly. I smiled to myself as I thought about my own country when sometimes during a Black Friday type sale, the scene of waiting in queue collapses into yelling, insults, fights, throwing objects, threats, all to save a few dollars or get one’s hands on the soon to be trashed “must have” sale item.
The stressed but committed staff behind the WU counter could not give assurance how long I would have to wait, but graciously did agree to take my passport and I could return later. On arriving after about three hours, my MCTN # had just been processed and I was in and out fast. I can’t imagine that I will see a yellow and black Western Union sign ever again without thinking about US sanctions targeting the Syrian civilian population.
An historical irony is that it was a Syrian gentlemen, Mr. Hiram Sibley, one of the thousands of Syrians who emigrated to the United States in the mid-19th Century (the first and largest Arab migration then and since came from Syria) who in 1851 established the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company with the goal of creating one great telegraph system with unified and efficient operations. Four years later, Western Union was born and became an American icon, and thirty three years on it was one of the top ten companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange the day it opened in 1888.
The reason Western Union is able to avoid the US-led sanctions that include medicines and food (White House claims to the contrary notwithstanding), is quite simply that the US Treasury Department cannot easily face the domestic American political fallout from curtailing Western Union anywhere.
According to a July 2012 US Senate Banking Committee memo, were Treasury to be seen as tampering with Western Union’s $7 billion annual revenues, there would be a significant problem. Already there are growing complaints from US businesses flooding the White House & Congress claiming that sanctions imposed on Syria are costing American businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in lost profits—even more regarding US sanctions on Iran. So to date, the Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC) at Treasury has kept its hands off Western Union and this is good for Syrian civilians.
For these reasons a thin lifeline—a reed really—exists for many in Syria with families and friends abroad able to use WU’s “Money in Minutes” to help them. It’s a relatively small factor in the larger Syrian crisis but it does help many.
Much more significant than Western Union remaining open, and the subject of much current criticism here, is the lack of assistance to Syria’s severely sanctioned civilian population from the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, neither of which lack officials who are wringing their hands in public these days, in mock anguish it is claimed, over their brothers and co-religionists “victimization.”
Claiming solidarity with the Syrian people, on November 12, 2011 the Arab League suspended the membership of Syria (Lebanon and Yemen voted no and Iraq abstained) and cancelled its monitoring mission in Syria on January 28, 2012. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation suspended Syria’s membership on May 15, 2012 at a summit of Muslim leaders in Mecca. Saudi Arabia, the summit’s host, has led all Arab League and OIC calls for the Syrian rebel opposition to be armed, which Foreign Minister Saud al-Fasial described in February and since as “an excellent idea.”
By their actions, the OIC and the Arab League are themselves sanctioning the Syrian people in brutal forms and doing nothing to object to the immoral and illegal aspects of the American sanctions. Both organizations stand accused of abandoning their charters in order to maintain profitable relations with NATO countries as they funnel large sums of money and weapons to various militias inside Syria. It is their “agents,” the jihadist groups, who have turned on the Syrian civilian population increasingly resorting to theft, kidnapping for ransom, rape, sale of children, and killing hundreds according to UN agencies.
In one poignant interview near Omayyad Square the other day, a solemn, long bearded Sunni Sheik told this observer that the American sanctions are also directly targeting Islam because the sanctions constitute an attack on Islamic values. When pressed for specifics, he reluctantly replied, “Because your countries sanctions are impoverishing our people and forcing our Muslim women into prostitution. These sanctions are also flooding the streets with Muslim beggars, both adults and children. I am sure you have seen them, here in Damascus, across Syria and in bordering countries. But the claimed protectors of our holy sites are silent and shed only insincere tears in public. But if they resisted these sanctions they could defeat them. What is required in a 1970’s type Arab boycott of American and western companies until these anti-Muslim sanctions are lifted.”
The honorable gentleman has a point.
The Arab League’s recent ministerial-level meeting held in Cairo was called to focus on the Syrian refugees file. But the rather pathetic quick one day deliberations ignored the causes of the suffering of the civilian population as well as the fact that most of the 22 countries comprising the Arab League have been a main cause behind the displacement of the Syrian civilian population. Both the AL and the OIC stand accused here in Syria of participation in the sanctions which are decimating the Syrian people’s livelihood. Some AL and OIC officials are shedding crocodile tears about the miserable living conditions of the Syrian refugees “in spite of spending millions on recruiting mercenaries and salifi-takfiries, training them and purchasing weapons for the terrorists,” the Sheik explained.
One frustrated American NGO director, affiliated loosely with the World Food Program, expressed her frustration: “If these organizations (AL and OIC) wanted to aid Syrian refugees they should stop supplying the gunmen with weapons and money and stop inciting sedition in Syria.”
The Arab League Secretary General, Nabil al-Arabi, still does not get it.
He used last week’s Arab League session to insist on foreign intervention and regime change, renewing the AL demand that the UN Security Council deploy international forces in Syria.
The Lebanese Foreign Minister, Adnan Mansour, offered his views of the Syrian refugee’s displacement. Notable causations, he claimed, are the flow of weapons and money into Syria, the entry of foreign gunmen and not joining a political dialogue. To his credit, Mansour called on the AL and OIC to “shoulder their responsibilities towards the refugees through ensuring their humanitarian, medical, livelihood, educational and services requirements in order to ease their daily suffering.”
As for the Kuwaiti Minister, he considered that the US-led sanctions were not a problem but rather that the suffering of the Syrian people was caused by the failure of the UN Security Council to meet the demands of the AL for immediate military intervention in Syria. He also insisted that Kuwait has mobilized all its resources to ensure that financial and relief resources alleviated the suffering of the Syrian refugees.
To date, the Syrian refugees, victims of US led and AL-OIC complicity, have not received any of the assistance Kuwait, the Arab League or the Organization of the Islamic Conference has promised. Rather, these organizations appear to be propping up the US-led sanctions.
Meanwhile, according to officials, Syria’s government has just authorized the UN World Food Program to extend its reach in the country where 2.5 million people are suffering from hunger. Ertharin Cousin, spokeswoman of the WFP, announced on Tuesday that Syria is allowing the organization to work with local aid groups to reach more of those in need. To boost the number of people receiving emergency assistance, the Syrian government last week drew up a list of 110 local NGOs authorized to participate in the aid effort.
WFP is working closely with the Syrian Arab Republic Red Crescent Society (SARCS) which, thanks to more than 9000 volunteers, are operating the following facilities to serve every Syrian and Palestinian without consideration of sect or political views: Damascus 15, Damascus countryside 68, Suwayda 2, Homs 71, Idelb 2, Aleppo 185, al-Raqqah 52, al-Hasakah 52, Dayr al-Zawr 4, and Quneitra 12.
Unlike the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, SARCS, the World Food Program, and more than 40 other NGO’s can be observed any day of the week confronting and attempting to ameliorate the profoundly immoral and illegal US-led sanctions — manifold actions, not crocodile tears — in aid of the civilian population of Syria.
When I’ve written about our listing mis-education system, my focus has mainly been on rampant political correctness, on how students learn few of the right things partially because of emphasis on teaching the wrong things. Yet there’s another problem: in some cases the teachers couldn’t teach the right things even if they wanted to — they don’t know them.
Professor Walter Williams treated this in his latest syndicated column, “Dishonest Educators.” He introduces the topic by talking about the fairly recent cheating scandals in places such as Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, New York, Detroit, and other large cities (in areas that, not coincidentally, also have high rates of vote fraud and other criminality). These are shocking instances in which teachers would commit transgressions such as reading answers aloud in class during the National Assessment of Educational Progress test. How did they justify this? Well, Williams quotes one teacher who told a fellow “educator,” “I had to give your kids, or your students, the answers because they’re dumb as hell.”
But it seems the kids aren’t the only ones. Now we learn that some teachers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi paid surrogates between $1,500 and $3,000 to take the Praxis exam for them, the passing of which is necessary for teacher certification in 40 states. And how challenging is this test that some would fork over a few grand to a ringer sit-in? Williams describes a couple of representative questions, writing:
Here’s a practice Praxis I math question: Which of the following is equal to a quarter-million — 40,000, 250,000, 2,500,000, 1/4,000,000 or 4/1,000,000? The test taker is asked to click on the correct answer. A practice writing skills question is to identify the error in the following sentence: “The club members agreed that each would contribute ten days of voluntary work annually each year at the local hospital.” The test taker is supposed to point out that “annually each year” is redundant.
Forget about the fact that adults would find such questions challenging; it’s a sad statement about our society that we’d set the bar for teacher certification so low in the first place. I had to think: how young was I when I didn’t know the answers to the above two questions? Ten? Nine? Maybe even eight? Idiocracy has arrived.
Professor Williams also touches on a third rail of American social commentary, mentioning that most of the teachers hiring the surrogates are likely black — and that most of the surrogates may very well be white. Now, before anyone thinks of “Summerizing” Williams (not as I have. Rather, this refers to application of the kind of politically correct social pressure that drove Larry Summers from Harvard), know that he is black himself. And his point in addressing race is that our leftist mis-educators’ tolerance of low-information black teachers puts the lie to their claim that they care about blacks. After all, as he writes in his closing line, “If they [the teachers] manage to get through the mockery of teacher certification, at what schools do you think they will teach?”
But never fear, Dr. Williams. I’m sure these molders of young minds are well versed in afro-centrism, critical-race theory, and the principles of white privilege.
As of November of 2012, a mind-numbing 47.7 million Americans subsist on taxpayer-funded food stamps. One in seven Americans cannot feed himself or herself with a job or work of any kind. What constitutes the irony to this national tragedy? Answer: our U.S. Congress imports 100,000 legal immigrants into the USA with green cards every 30 days.
No matter how much poverty and unemployment blacks, whites and Hispanic Americans suffer– the leaders of this country continually pound more humans into the mix without pause. At the same time, food banks go belly up with bare shelves. Over 13 million American children live in destitute poverty and cannot secure three square meals per day.
While Congress supports our enormous military spending into the trillions of dollars and two 10 year long wars that devour (ed) money—it fails to create jobs and feed our poorest. It fails the fundamental rights of our own citizens to work and eat.
The gross statistics created by our U.S. Congress: (Source:hubpages.com)
#1 According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
#3 Right now, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
#4 It is projected that half of all American children will be on food stamps at least once before they turn 18 years of age.
#5 According to new numbers that were just released by the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans living in poverty increased to a new all-time record high of 49.7 million last year.
#6 The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by about 6 million over the past four years.
#7Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the federal poverty level.
#8According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for children living in the United States is about 22 percent.
#9 Overall, approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.
#10 In the United States today, close to 100 million Americans are considered to be either “poor” or “near poor”.
#11 One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.
#12 Households that are led by a single mother have a 31.6 percent poverty rate.
#13 In 2010, 42 percent of all single mothers in the United States were on food stamps.
Once you research the numbers, you cannot help but look to your own U.S. Senators and House reps and see failure, duplicity and corruption. No excuses! How could men and women who are supposed to represent American citizens continually leave American citizens in the grips of poverty, joblessness and homelessness?
Some kind of moral, ethical and spiritual wrong grows in the nation’s capitol all the way up to the president. American citizens become its victims.
Do you think there is any chance of it changing and becoming better as that same U.S. Congress adds over 3.1 million immigrants every year on our way to adding 100 million immigrants within the next 38 years?
This summer while bicycling 3,400 miles across America from New Port Beach, Oregon to Washington DC, I met hundreds of Americans, tourists and bicycle travelers. I heard the craziest conversations in coffee houses and diners. You will be hearing some of their stories in the coming months. The ride:http://www.wusa9.com/news/
While traveling at 12 miles per hour, I really “see and feel” the landscape. I become part of it. I mesh with Mother Nature in a physical, mental and spiritual dance. Hard to describe, but it’s exquisite on multiple levels. When it’s hot, I sweat like a horse. When it’s cold, I pedal to keep warm. When it’s raining, I become a duck on a bike. It takes “true grit” to pedal a bicycle long distances.
You could say that the mountain passes that I climbed “etched” lots of memories into my thighs. Some call it “hard work” while I call it “hard play.” Many commented that it would be easier to ride on the flats of the Midwest. I responded that I would rather climb mountains to enjoy their rugged wildness.
My friend John Muir said, “Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” There is something special about bicycle travel that encapsulates Americans’ imaginations. I tried to capture my adventure in words:
“If the roar of a wave crashes beyond your campsite, you might call that adventure. When coyotes howl outside your tent–that may be adventure. When the wind rips at your tent pegs—that too, may be called adventure. While you’re sweating like a horse in a climb over a 12,000 foot pass, that’s adventure. When a howling headwind presses your lips against your teeth, you’re facing a mighty adventure. If you’re drenched from head to toe in sweat as you pedal across a desert, that’s adventure. If you’re pressing through a howling rainstorm, you’re soaked in adventure. But that’s not what makes an adventure. It’s your willingness to struggle through it, to present yourself at the doorstep of Nature. No more greater joy can come from life than to live inside the ‘moment’ of an adventure. It may be a momentary ‘high’, a stranger that changes your life, an animal that delights you or frightens you, a struggle where you triumphed, or even failed, yet you braved the challenge. Those moments present you uncommon experiences that give your life eternal expectation. That’s adventure!” Frosty Wooldridge How to Live a Life of Adventure: The Art of Exploring the World www.
But more than adventure greeted me on my journey across America. When you travel the blue and red highways of our country, you get to meet “Norman Rockwell America” or better yet, you get to meet “Andy and Barney of Mayberry RFD America.”
Kids in parks ran up to our loaded bicycles. They took pictures and wanted to touch our cycles and gear. Their parents introduced themselves. They snapped pictures with their smart phones of my sign “Across America” and immediately visited my website on adventure. They thanked us for keeping the “Spirit of Adventure” alive. They marveled at our journey.
In those towns, we thrilled to the architecture from 1880 to 1910 on the fronts of the buildings. We walked into some 120 year old post offices still operating. We ate breakfasts at old fashioned diners with real “down home” cooking. I fondly recall eating at the One Street Down Restaurant in Redmond, Oregon. Best oat meal and pancakes in the country. Another stop in Pinedale, Wyoming at the Rock Rabbit Restaurant served blue berry pancakes and omelets to fight for! But more than the food, the town folks enthralled us. Everybody shared their stories.
After riding through Hannibal, Missouri to visit Mark Twain’s former haunts, I pedaled down Old Route 66 along the Mississippi River. On my ride through Cincinnati, I picked up Route 50 to pedal through a bucolic hamlet named Milford, Ohio.
On the edge of town, I noticed a rusted 1950 Schwinn bicycle with flared handle bars. In the front basket, purple and white petunias exploded into the morning sunshine. On the rear rack, another basket of flowers curled their way through its back spokes and covered the seat. “Good grief!” I muttered. “That’s beautiful!”
On the back staked into the ground, a sign read, “Bikes in Bloom”.
I snapped a few pictures and figured that would be the end of it. But as I traveled down that 120 year old Main Street in Milford, Ohio, I noticed a bicycle in bloom in front of every merchant store front. I discovered incredibly beautiful bikes of every description decked out in flowers. I witnessed yarn woven into the shape of a Pac Man on the front wheels, rhinestone ropes curled around top tubes and yarned up seats and cranks. Big bikes in flowers and little bikes in flowers. The entire Main Street exploded in flowers and bicycles.
Every year, Milford, a cross roads for touring bicyclists, features “Bikes in Bloom” as a friendly competition of all the merchants. Tourists, locals and cyclists enjoy community, creativity and fellowship. I marveled at the beauty. Half way through town and 25 pictures later, I stopped at Bishop’s Bicycle Shop. What a blast! I met a bunch of long distance touring riders working there with Kelly, Chris and Jim. After a great stop, I continued on my way across America with vivid memories and an idea.
How about everyone reading this column all across America create a “Bikes in Bloom” in your own cities, towns and hamlets? I already introduced the idea to my Golden, Colorado city council. I presented photographic examples on an overhead projector like you see attached to this column. They loved it.
Let’s move America toward beauty, flowers, peace, joy and community fellowship. It’s fun, creative and positive on every level. To get more information, check with www.BishopsBicycleShop.com .
In Negative Territory…
“Every major part of the global economy is slowing, and slowing rapidly….Right now, we seem to be in a synchronized global slowdown, and that is very worrisome.” – Mohamed El-Erian, Pimco.
Growing troubles in the eurozone, a slowdown in China and a jobs report that was weaker than the most-pessimistic forecast, sent stocks plunging on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 275 points on the day while the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ followed the DJIA into the red. All the gains of 2012 have now been erased leaving all the major indices in negative territory.
The global selloff was preceded on Thursday by a revision of first quarter GDP which was slashed from 2.2 percent to 1.9 percent. The US economy is neither growing nor adding jobs. The signs of stagnation–which have spread from manufacturing, to consumer confidence, to GDP, and now to jobs– has ended all talk of a “recovery” and dampened Obama’s prospects for re-election in November.
Payrolls increased by just 69,000 in May, far below the 150,000 that analysts had expected. The unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent while revised estimates show that fewer jobs were created in the last 3 months than originally stated. The grim report suggests that the Obama economic recovery has run out of steam just as many economists had predicted. Obama’s unwillingness to follow the advice of top economics advisor, Christina Romer–who recommended a $1.8 trillion stimulus package, instead of the $787 billion that the administration settled on–has probably cost him the election. Obama’s future depends on the condition of the economy, and the economy stinks.
In Europe, troubles in Spain and Greece have touched-off a bank run that’s pushed yields on risk-free assets, like US Treasuries and German bund, to record lows. The German 2-year bund (Schatz) dipped into negative territory on Friday while yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury declined to 1.44 percent. The yield on the Swiss 10-year has plunged to an astonishing 0.48% is “the lowest ever recorded anywhere.”
Jittery investors are now lending money to the US and German governments’ knowing they’ll get less back in return. (in inflation adjusted terms.) This is the very definition of panic. And their fear is not without foundation, after all, Europe’s wholesale funding market is broken, Spain’s banking system is undercapitalized and teetering, the bank runs are intensifying, and policymakers are unable to agree on a course of action. Political paralysis has made a bad situation worse. Here’s a chart that shows the amount of liquidity the ECB has given to Greece, Spain and Italy via the Target2 program. Target fill the hole that’s been created by capital flight. This is what a modern-day bank run looks like.
The European Commission and the ECB have been unable to stop the bank runs because there is no euro-wide deposit insurance. So, when depositors begin to doubt their country’s future in the EZ, they withdraw their savings and move it to a safer location, like Germany. Here’s more from Reuters:
“Spaniards alarmed by the dire state of their banks moved money abroad in March at a faster rate than at any time since records began in 1990, official figures showed.
The 66.2 billion euros net capital flight occurred before the nationalisation of Spain’s fourth biggest lender, Bankia in May due to massive losses from a burst property bubble….
The European Central Bank stepped up pressure on Thursday for a joint guarantee on bank deposits across the euro zone, saying Europe needed new tools to fight bank runs as the bloc’s debt crisis drives investors to flee risk.” (Reuters)
The eurozone is not sufficiently integrated, fiscally or politically, to deal with the problems it now faces. It does not have a centralized bond market that collectivizes the debts of the member states in order to keep borrowing costs low. Nor is there a mechanism for fiscal transfers to help level the playing field so that account imbalances do not become unmanageable and destructive. EZ managers have rejected the traditional methods for integration and, instead, settled on punitive austerity measures that are designed to purge large deficits through internal devaluation. The process has created record unemployment, severe recession, and widespread social unrest. Still, Brussels persists with the same policy ignoring the fact that it has only deepened the crisis.
The EZ troubles are not difficult to grasp or remedy, in fact, former economic advisor to Barack Obama, Austan Goolsbee explained the problem in an article in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal. Here’s an excerpt:
“At root, the euro-zone problem remains the locking together of very different economies into a monetary union without a way to adjust….Normally, exchange-rate adjustments would reduce this gap…. But without an exchange-rate safety valve you need an alternate way to rebalance economies. Moving, inflating, struggling, or subsidizing are your only choices…(Either) Southern Europe can struggle through the problem—grinding down wages through high unemployment and structural labor-market reforms ….(or) Northern Europe could decide…, that it is willing to permanently subsidize euro-zone countries with low productivity growth. That could be through explicit subsidies or through bailouts and broad-based guarantees.” –A Fiscal Union Won’t Fix the Euro Crisis –The only practical choices are more geographic mobility, inflation, or subsidies” Austan Goolsbee, Wall Street Journal)
There it is in a nutshell. The problem is not particularly hard to understand or to fix, but if it’s ignored or if deficit zealots (like Angela Merkel) feel as though they can apply their own nonsensical remedies (austerity), then the bank runs will gain pace, a wider panic will ensue, and the monetary union will be torn apart, which is what’s happening now.
Goolsbee’s article also provides an interesting breakdown of how fiscal transfers work in the US:
“Last year, the Economist compiled census data from 1990 to 2009 for all 50 U.S. states on the amount of federal spending in each state minus the amount the state’s residents pay in federal taxes. Over 20 years, states like Minnesota and Delaware annually paid in about 10% more of their state GDP than they got back. On the other side, for the last 20 years New Mexico, Mississippi and West Virginia have received annual subsidies of more than 12% of state GDP. While not a perfect measure of subsidy, it conveys the basic point well. These are big. Greece’s entire 2011 deficit, for example, was 9.1% of GDP.”
The reason the US is able to successfully use one currency–despite the fact that some states are more productive and competitive than others– is because the weaker states are subsidized via Pentagon contracts, unemployment benefits, federal infrastructure programs, food stamps etc. These “fiscal transfers” are necessary to make the US-currency union work. The same rule applies to Europe, but EU leaders reject the idea saying that fiscal transfers are tantamount to “financing other governments” which is banned under the Stability and Growth Pact. This is idiocy in the extreme. The fact is, economists and experts have repeatedly explained what needs to be done to make the EZ a viable currency union, but EZ leaders refuse to make the changes. Their obstinance has thrust the 17-member monetary union to brink of annihilation.
In China, the evidence of a slowdown is also beginning to mount. The recession in the eurozone has taken a toll on Chinese exports which has hurt manufacturing and retail sales. (China’s PMI slipped to 50.4 from 53.3 a month earlier.) As the slump in the eurozone deepens, China’s economy will cool even more forcing policymakers to lower reserve requirements while boosting stimulus to increase investment by the state-owned enterprises. The recent signs of capital flight from China has experts worried that the boom-times may be over and that China may be headed for a hard landing. Here’s a clip from economist Tim Duy on the topic:
“…the exodus of cash could indicate that the Chinese story is coming to a close – and that will have significant consequences for the global economy. It is another signal that emerging markets will not be supporting global demand anytime soon. I think .. this story is slipping under the radar while we all have our eyes focused on the farce in Europe. But it could be the real game changer in the global economy.” (“Capital flees China”, Tim Duy, economists view)
China’s industrial production and electricity use are falling fast, while the number of non-performing loans has ballooned to new highs in the last year. Efforts to stimulate the economy have also fallen short as businesses continue to reduce their borrowing to see if demand picks up later in the year. New bank loans have dropped 8% y-o-y, while consumer credit has slowed to a trickle. Here’s more from the Wall Street Journal:
“The lack of confidence is due to the overhang from the last blowout. All of that investment in industrial capacity and real estate is now coming on line. Companies and local governments are finding it difficult to make their new assets generate enough revenue to service the debt. Inventories are piling up, and China is seeing capital flight for the first time in decades….
The worry is that China has gone more than a decade without a painful slowdown. During that time, the government held down interest rates at artificially low levels to encourage investment. Such conditions often precede particularly long and painful contractions.” (“China Is Stimulused Out”, Wall Street Journal)
China, the US, and the eurozone are all running out of gas at the same time. If shares continue to tumble as they have in May, the Federal Reserve will resume its Quantitative Easing (QE3) program to prop up stock prices. But liquidity injections alone will not provide the jolt the real economy needs to increase activity, add jobs or grow. Absent another round of fiscal stimulus, the economy will continue to drift sideways or dip back into recession.
They say “Jolly is the fat man,” but perhaps not when he’s being chased (and, I’m sure, caught) like a Frankenstein monster by the Body Cult crazies. And that is the case today, as it has become fashionable to affront the friendly-fronted.
It seems most anything goes now: bloated houses, bloated egos, bloated libidos, bloated bureaucracies, bloated government – except bloated bellies. And a perusal of the news makes this clear, with a never-ending stream of stories about obesity this and obesity that. For example, headlining Drudge the other day was a piece about how fathead officials in Massachusetts propose to ban school bake sales – even before and after school hours – to combat obesity. This, of course, is just the next step in a progression that has seen localities purge schools of cookies and sodas along with the faith and patriotism that was deemed unhealthful long before.
We also had the San Francisco Stupidvisors, who run the city (into the ground), who banned toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals. Deliciously, the restaurant chain circumvented the law by charging an extra ten cents for those who want the toy. I would’ve really rubbed the health Nazis’ noses in it and made it a penny.
Then there was the 2008 proposal by three legislators in Mississippi – said to be the fattest state in the nation – to prohibit portly people from dining in restaurants. The politicians said they were just trying to make a point with their measure. I wonder, though, given that the vast majority of gun crime (98% in New York City) is committed by blacks and Hispanics, would these bold statesmen seek to “make a point” by proposing to ban those groups from gun stores? Oh, that would be discriminatory? I see.
Although Mississippi Fat Burning never saw its opening day, other Orwellian measures have. For instance, a Missouri judge was accused of delaying an adoption until the prospective father lost weight, and last year Ohio DCFS seized a boy from his parents because he was obese. This, despite the fact that if the president ate like his wife does, the boy would look like Obama’s son.
The irony here is that the health Nazis would have had the over indulgent Ohio mother’s back if she’d ended her boy’s life in the womb. But merely increase the chances of shortening his life by feeding him too many Twinkies? You’re a derelict mother!
You see, when it’s the matter of a body within a body, it’s the bigger body’s “choice.” But when it’s a matter of just a bigger body, you have no choice. My, how the scales of justice tip when you tip the scales.
As for the busybodies – the politicians, gubmint bureaucrats and “public-interest” groups – how do we explain their interest in our health? They really must care, right? About you, about me, about all and sundry. Well, I’d say so but qualify it with a paraphrased Rodney Dangerfield line: “They really care….
About what, I have no idea.”
Of course, there is the “Obesity hurts society” pretext. The argument is that you fatties are burying our healthcare system with a knife and fork, as you cost it more money with your increased health problems.
Except that this is nonsense.
A 2011 study found that the obese and smokers actually cost the healthcare system less because they don’t live as long. And while study leader Pieter Van Baal called the finding a “small surprise,” it’s thoroughly logical. It’s the nonagenarian requiring frequent hospitalization and nursing-home care who rings up the bills, not the epicurean who collapses on his plate of chicken fried steak and cheese-filled French fries at age 61. So you want to save ObamaCare? Get all the different fat groups, copious amounts of sugar and salt and smoke one Al Gore tobacco farm a week.
So are we now left with the notion that the health Nazis really do care? Well, they do, and about what I do have some idea. And I’m going to delve into one little understood phenomenon that drives today’s obsession with health.
You’ll note that the people behind control-freak health measures are never Opus Dei or Southern Baptist Conference types; heck, unless it’s a prohibition against pork, they’re not even Muslims. They are, I’d wager, secularists virtually one and all.
This is no coincidence, but a result of subordinating spiritual health to physical health. A person of faith may believe that he’s enjoined to treat the temple of the soul well, but he will never elevate that imperative over that of caring for the soul itself. He realizes that this life, relative to eternity, is as a drop of water in an ocean – and it is that ocean voyage for which he is mainly preparing. Thus, recognizing the reality of God’s law (morality), he understands that of primary importance is avoiding what has traditionally been labeled sin.
But what about when you don’t believe in an afterlife? This temporal life is then all you see.
And then staying in it for as long as possible can become the most important thing to you.
In fact, it can become obsession.
For where the believer may be mindful of Jesus’ words (I’m paraphrasing) “Do not fear that which just destroys the body; fear that which destroys the soul,” the secularist may believe the body is all there is. This is, I believe, what has bred the Cult of the Body, with all its newly-minted “sins,” such as overeating, failure to exercise, smoking and drinking. Why, we even call taxes on the last two “sin taxes.”
So my answer to those who warn of increasing obesity is, “So?” “But, Duke, don’t you understand? These people will die younger!” Other than mentioning that they won’t die nearly as young as aborted babies, again I say, “So?” We’re all going to die; it’s just a matter of when and how. And when you realize that relative to the ocean, small, medium and large water drops are indistinguishable, you’ll understand my response.
Returning to a lighter note, I’ll have to now limit my keyboard intake lest this article get too fat. Before concluding, however, I’ll say that I do have an idea for putting the health Nazis’ designs on a diet. Since obesity is most prevalent among black women – with 48 percent having, uh, let’s say, generous proportions – cast any and all attacks upon the condition as “racist.” If this tactic works when the matter is police tests, voter ID, immigration and school suspension, perhaps it’ll work with abdominal distension.
Two Years After The BP Oil Spill, Is The Gulf Ecosystem Collapsing?
The BP oil spill started on April 20, 2010. We’ve previously warned that the BP oil spill could severely damage the Gulf ecosystem.
Since then, there are numerous signs that the worst-case scenario may be playing out:
- New York Times: “Gulf Dolphins Exposed to Oil Are Seriously Ill, Agency Says
- Mother Jones: Eyeless shrimp are being found all over the Gulf
- Pensacola News Journal: “Sick fish” archive
- Agence France Presse: Mystery illnesses plague Louisiana oil spill crews
- MSNBC:Exclusive: Submarine Dive Finds Oil, Dead Sea Life at Bottom of Gulf of Mexico
- AP: BP oil spill the culprit for slow death of deep-sea coral, scientists say (and see theGuardian and AFP‘s write ups)
- A recent report also notes that there are flesh-eating bacteria in tar balls of BP oil washing up on Gulf beaches
- And all of that lovely Corexit dispersant sprayed on water, land and air? It inhibits the ability of microbes to break down oil, and allows oil and other chemicals to be speed past the normal barriers of human skin. Background here. NYT: Impact of Gulf Spill’s Underwater Dispersants Is Examined Speaking on the chemical ingredients of the dispersants used, “The report finds that “Of the 57 ingredients: 5 chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; 8 are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and 5 are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.”
If you still don’t have a sense of the devastation to the Gulf, American reporter Dahr Jamail lays it out pretty clearly:
“The fishermen have never seen anything like this,” Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. “And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I’ve never seen anything like this either.”
Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.
Cowan’s findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants.
Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP’s 2010 oil disaster.
Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp – and interviewees’ fingers point towards BP’s oil pollution disaster as being the cause.
Tracy Kuhns and her husband Mike Roberts, commercial fishers from Barataria, Louisiana, are finding eyeless shrimp.
“At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these,” Kuhns told Al Jazeera while showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.
According to Kuhns, at least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Kuhns added: “Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets.”
Eyeless shrimp, from a catch of 400 pounds of eyeless shrimp, said to be caught September 22, 2011, in Barataria Bay, Louisiana [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]
“Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf [of Mexico],” she added, “They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don’t have their usual spikes … they look like they’ve been burned off by chemicals.”
On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded, and began the release of at least 4.9 million barrels of oil. BP then used at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic Corexit dispersants to sink the oil.
Keath Ladner, a third generation seafood processor in Hancock County, Mississippi, is also disturbed by what he is seeing.
“I’ve seen the brown shrimp catch drop by two-thirds, and so far the white shrimp have been wiped out,” Ladner told Al Jazeera. “The shrimp are immune compromised. We are finding shrimp with tumors on their heads, and are seeing this everyday.”
While on a shrimp boat in Mobile Bay with Sidney Schwartz, the fourth-generation fisherman said that he had seen shrimp with defects on their gills, and “their shells missing around their gills and head”.
“We’ve fished here all our lives and have never seen anything like this,” he added.
Ladner has also seen crates of blue crabs, all of which were lacking at least one of their claws.
Darla Rooks, a lifelong fisherperson from Port Sulfur, Louisiana, told Al Jazeera she is finding crabs “with holes in their shells, shells with all the points burned off so all the spikes on their shells and claws are gone, misshapen shells, and crabs that are dying from within … they are still alive, but you open them up and they smell like they’ve been dead for a week”.
Rooks is also finding eyeless shrimp, shrimp with abnormal growths, female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills.
“We also seeing eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye-sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills, and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills.”
Rooks, who grew up fishing with her parents, said she had never seen such things in these waters, and her seafood catch last year was “ten per cent what it normally is”.
“I’ve never seen this,” he said, a statement Al Jazeera heard from every scientist, fisherman, and seafood processor we spoke with about the seafood deformities.
Given that the Gulf of Mexico provides more than 40 per cent of all the seafood caught in the continental US, this phenomenon does not bode well for the region, or the country.
“The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber,” Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. “It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known”.
The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP’s disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.
Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact. Health impacts can include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. They are also teratogenic – able to disturb the growth and development of an embryo or fetus – and carcinogenic.
Cowan believes chemicals named polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), released from BP’s submerged oil, are likely to blame for what he is finding, due to the fact that the fish with lesions he is finding are from “a wide spatial distribution that is spatially coordinated with oil from the Deepwater Horizon, both surface oil and subsurface oil. A lot of the oil that impacted Louisiana was also in subsurface plumes, and we think there is a lot of it remaining on the seafloor”.
Marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia published results of her submarine dives around the source area of BP’s oil disaster in the Nature Geoscience journal.
Her evidence showed massive swathes of oil covering the seafloor, including photos of oil-covered bottom dwelling sea creatures.
While showing slides at an American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington, Joye said: “This is Macondo oil on the bottom. These are dead organisms because of oil being deposited on their heads.”
Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist and Macarthur Fellow, has conducted tests on seafood and sediment samples along the Gulf for chemicals present in BP’s crude oil and toxic dispersants.
“Tests have shown significant levels of oil pollution in oysters and crabs along the Louisiana coastline,” Subra told Al Jazeera. “We have also found high levels of hydrocarbons in the soil and vegetation.”
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, PAHs “are a group of semi-volatile organic compounds that are present in crude oil that has spent time in the ocean and eventually reaches shore, and can be formed when oil is burned”.
“The fish are being exposed to PAHs, and I was able to find several references that list the same symptoms in fish after the Exxon Valdez spill, as well as other lab experiments,” explained Cowan. “There was also a paper published by some LSU scientists that PAH exposure has effects on the genome.”
The University of South Florida released the results of a survey whose findings corresponded with Cowan’s: a two to five per cent infection rate in the same oil impact areas, and not just with red snapper, but with more than 20 species of fish with lesions. In many locations, 20 per cent of the fish had lesions, and later sampling expeditions found areas where, alarmingly, 50 per cent of the fish had them.
“I asked a NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] sampler what percentage of fish they find with sores prior to 2010, and it’s one tenth of one percent,” Cowan said. “Which is what we found prior to 2010 as well. But nothing like we’ve seen with these secondary infections and at this high of rate since the spill.”
“What we think is that it’s attributable to chronic exposure to PAHs released in the process of weathering of oil on the seafloor,” Cowan said. “There’s no other thing we can use to explain this phenomenon. We’ve never seen anything like this before.”
Crustacean biologist Darryl Felder, in the Department of Biology with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is in a unique position.
Felder has been monitoring the vicinity of BP’s blowout Macondo well both before and after the oil disaster began, because, as he told Al Jazeera, “the National Science Foundation was interested in these areas that are vulnerable due to all the drilling”.
“So we have before and after samples to compare to,” he added. “We have found seafood with lesions, missing appendages, and other abnormalities.”
Felder also has samples of inshore crabs with lesions. “Right here in Grand Isle we see lesions that are eroding down through their shell. We just got these samples last Thursday and are studying them now, because we have no idea what else to link this to as far as a natural event.”
According to Felder, there is an even higher incidence of shell disease with crabs in deeper waters.
“My fear is that these prior incidents of lesions might be traceable to microbes, and my questions are, did we alter microbial populations in the vicinity of the well by introducing this massive amount of petroleum and in so doing cause microbes to attack things other than oil?”
One hypothesis he has is that the waxy coatings around crab shells are being impaired by anthropogenic chemicals or microbes resulting from such chemicals.
“You create a site where a lesion can occur, and microbes attack. We see them with big black lesions, around where their appendages fall off, and all that is left is a big black ring.”
Felder added that his team is continuing to document the incidents: “And from what we can tell, there is a far higher incidence we’re finding after the spill.”
“We are also seeing much lower diversity of crustaceans,” he said. “We don’t have the same number of species as we did before [the spill].”
Felder is also finding “odd staining” of animals that burrow into the mud that cause stain rings, and said: “It is consistently mineral deposits, possibly from microbial populations in [overly] high concentrations.”
Dr Andrew Whitehead, an associate professor of biology at Louisiana State University, co-authored the report Genomic and physiological footprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident marsh fishes that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October 2011.
Whitehead’s work is of critical importance, as it shows a direct link between BP’s oil and the negative impacts on the Gulf’s food web evidenced by studies on killifish before, during and after the oil disaster.
“What we found is a very clear, genome-wide signal, a very clear signal of exposure to the toxic components of oil that coincided with the timing and the locations of the oil,” Whitehead told Al Jazeera during an interview in his lab.
According to Whitehead, the killifish is an important indicator species because they are the most abundant fish in the marshes, and are known to be the most important forage animal in their communities.
“That means that most of the large fish that we like to eat and that these are important fisheries for, actually feed on the killifish,” he explained. “So if there were to be a big impact on those animals, then there would probably be a cascading effect throughout the food web. I can’t think of a worse animal to knock out of the food chain than the killifish.”
But we may well be witnessing the beginnings of this worst-case scenario.
Whitehead is predicting that there could be reproductive impacts on the fish, and since the killifish is a “keystone” species in the food web of the marsh, “Impacts on those species are more than likely going to propagate out and effect other species. What this shows is a very direct link from exposure to DWH oil and a clear biological effect. And a clear biological effect that could translate to population level long-term consequences.”
Ed Cake, a biological oceanographer, as well as a marine and oyster biologist, has “great concern” about the hundreds of dolphin deaths he has seen in the region since BP’s disaster began, which he feels are likely directly related to the BP oil disaster.
“Adult dolphins’ systems are picking up whatever is in the system out there, and we know the oil is out there and working its way up the food chain through the food web – and dolphins are at the top of that food chain.”
Cake explained: “The chemicals then move into their lipids, fat, and then when they are pregnant, their young rely on this fat, and so it’s no wonder dolphins are having developmental issues and still births.”
Cake, who lives in Mississippi, added: “It has been more than 33 years since the 1979 Ixtoc-1 oil disaster in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche, and the oysters, clams, and mangrove forests have still not recovered in their oiled habitats in seaside estuaries of the Yucatan Peninsula. It has been 23 years since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska, and the herring fishery that failed in the wake of that disaster has still not returned.”
Cake believes we are still in the short-term impact stage of BP’s oil disaster.
“I will not be alive to see the Gulf of Mexico recover,” said Cake, who is 72 years old. “Without funding and serious commitment, these things will not come back to pre-April 2010 levels for decades.”
“We’re continuing to pull up oil in our nets,” Rooks said. “Think about losing everything that makes you happy, because that is exactly what happens when someone spills oil and sprays dispersants on it. People who live here know better than to swim in or eat what comes out of our waters.”
Khuns and her husband told Al Jazeera that fishermen continue to regularly find tar balls in their crab traps, and hundreds of pounds of tar balls continue to be found on beaches across the region on a daily basis.
Meanwhile Cowan continues his work, and remains concerned about what he is finding.
“We’ve also seen a decrease in biodiversity in fisheries in certain areas. We believe we are now seeing another outbreak of incidence increasing, and this makes sense, since waters are starting to warm again, so bacterial infections are really starting to take off again. We think this is a problem that will persist for as long as the oil is stored on the seafloor.”
Did the BP Spill Ever Really Stop?
We’ve repeatedly documented that BP’s gulf Mocando well is still leaking.
Stuart Smith – a successful trial lawyer who won a billion dollar verdict against Exxon Mobil –noted recently:
New sampling data from the nonprofit Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) provide confirmation that not only is BP’s oil still very much present in the water in Bayou La Batre, but that it still exists in a highly toxic state nearly two years after the spill.
Here are photos of brown oily foam washing ashore in Bayou La Batre (just west of Mobile Bay) on February 27, 2012:
Water samples were taken by Dennis and Lori Bosarge, LEAN members from Coden, Alabama. The lab-certified test results are in (see full lab report at bottom), and they are startling in that they suggest that oil is still leaking from the Macondo reservoir – most likely from cracks and fissures in the seafloor around the plugged wellhead. Scientists believe the cracks were caused by BP’s heavy-handed “kill” efforts.
Despite numerous opportunities to do so, the U.S. Coast Guard has never publicly denied that the Macondo field is still leaking. And these latest sampling results out of Bayou La Batre provide damning new evidence that the BP oil spill never really ended.
Government Sits On Its Hands …
The New York Times notes today:
Congress’s response to the spill has been truly pathetic. It has not passed a single bill to prevent another catastrophe, according to a report issued Tuesday by former members of a presidential commission that investigated the spill. Congress has failed even to codify the Interior Department’s sound regulatory reforms, which could be undone by a future administration.
The administration has developed new standards for each stage of the drilling process — from rig design to spill response — insisting that operators fully prepare for worst-case scenarios. But the commissioners’ report notes that the new equipment systems have not yet been tested in deep-water conditions.
Indeed, Mother Jones points out that the White House pressured scientists to underestimate BP spill size. And see this Forbes write up, and our previous reporting on the topic.
This is exactly like Fukushima and the financial mess, because government’s approach to crises is consistent, no matter what area we are talking about: let the giant companies which fund political campaigns do whatever they want … and then help them cover up the extent of the crisis once it inevitably hits.
Source: Washington’s Blog
Obama and Trayvon Martin…
The saying goes that generals fight the last war. Obama, and his allies, politically are stuck in the 1960s. Everything for them, is Bull Connor setting police dogs and hoses on peaceful Black civil rights marchers, live on the three networks! But like the Nazi army in late 1942, they seem headed for failure. Not because of the brilliance of their enemies, but because of the fatal but unseen flaws in their own organization.
For the German Army, it was the lack of any real ability to logistically support a mechanized army in the field for any considerable distance. THAT was the reason Adolf Hitler ultimately failed. He inherited a magnificent military machine, whose NCOs to General Staff were superb.
Obama has seemingly fixated on the sad case of a Mestizo man, born to a Peruvian mother, and adopted by a Jewish man in Florida, who shot a 17 year old Black boy in a town near Orlando Florida, in what police ruled self-defense. Latinos are on notice, when they get into conflicts with Blacks, they are “White” (which is to say, automatically guilty). The media is in a 24/7 Trayvon Martin frenzy, with old photos of Martin from age 12-13, not his more recent Facebook photos flashing gang signs, and old photos of George Zimmerman age 20, looking like a fat thug, not a leaner guy in a suit and tie. The media frenzy is to whip up Black violence, for its own sake, to intimidate and create fear among Whites, as emotional payback, and also to create an image of 1965 and Bull Connor. A failed attempt if ever there was one. President Barack Dinkins? Crown Heights?
Yes, that event is coming, somewhere, to a city near you.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail is full of stories about brutal Black criminals. In the case of the prior link, one Tyrone Woodfork, brutally raping and beating to death 86 year old Nancy Strait, and critically injuring her 90 year old husband Bob, a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge as a member of the 101st Airborne. Then there is the case the Daily Mail also reported on, two British tourists murdered in Sarasota Florida by a Black thug named Shawn Tyson.
Floating around the internet is the 2009 case of the 15 year old White boy set on fire in Deerfield Beach Florida, and the 13 year old White boy set on fire in Kansas City several weeks ago. Both were set on fire by Black “youths” as the links make clear (photos at the link of the accused). The boy in Florida nearly died, has massive burns, and faces a life with heart and kidney problems, as well as being permanently disfigured.
There is the “I will Kill the F*** out of you” video at the Daily Mail link here.
What is notable in the video are two things, which every thoughtful observer will have flagged immediately. First, the Black students are smirking and laughing, because they agree and endorse the sentiments of the Black woman having a melt-down, threatening her White Professor and White fellow students. Secondly, the angry passivity of the White students who have FEAR. FEAR of being the one charged, if they talk back to “fighting words,” FEAR if they retaliate for being shoved. FEAR of the entire legal and social system coming down upon them if they do anything but stare off into space with stony silence.
Such social FEAR is only really sustainable when good times are rolling. If money, and the things it brings comes in, people will put up with it. If not, they won’t. FEAR eventually turns into even more FEAR. The White students are not convinced of the holy goodness of all Black people. Merely reacting in FEAR to a physical threat backed up by a social system that takes the side of the aggressor and punishes them. That is not a healthy way to build society.
Now, the Daily Mail is in the business of delivering viewers to advertisers. It is the #1 Newspaper site according to comScore, surpassing the New York Times. The online edition (there is a special US version) appeals to Blue collar White women, offering celebrity gossip that takes the celebs down a peg or two, all sorts of true crime stories, unlike the US media clearly identifying Black suspects, and lifestyle stuff. Drudge Report does much the same, often linking to Daily Mail Online. Blue collar White women like the straight scoop on crime. After all, unlike their White collar sisters, they can’t escape it. They don’t live in gated communities, or security buildings. The Mail has plenty of White criminals featured (because their readers like reading about it), but does not shy away from portraying the reality of crime (mostly Black criminals in the US). As depressing as that may be for those searching for the Bonfire of the Vanities “Great White Defendant” or Law and Order re-runs.
White people are stuck. They cannot unlike say, those living in Detroit in the 1960′s, simply move. The housing market is down, people are underwater or nearly so in their mortgages, lenders are giving mortgages to only the best credit holders, and income and wages are down as prices go up. White flight is simply not possible in today’s economic environment.
Meanwhile, the White guilt such as it is, no longer exists. Bull Connor was nearly 50 years ago. Nobody cares anymore. The Civil Rights era is as distant to us as the end of WWI (47 years) was to the Civil Rights Era. No one in 1967 was really concerned with the fallout of the end of the Great War. No one today really cares, about the Edmund Pettis Bridge either. Too many OTHER things have happened since. The media blitzkrieg to replay the 1960′s civil rights movement is as doomed as the German occupation of Stalingrad or Rommel in North Africa in 1943.
Moreover, White people are reminded every day, that they will soon be (discriminated against) minorities in their own country. That’s entirely different from the carefully orchestrated story of peaceful, respectable Civil Rights marchers being beaten by Bull Connor. A population soon to be a minority, and one that will be second or third class at best, does not have a lot of give when it comes to attempts to bully and threaten.
But the most important difference between today and 1965, is the knowledge, the more powerful because it is seen only on the Daily Mail, and the internet (often in raw video from World Star Hip Hop), that Black on White violence is extensive and threatening. THAT is the problem Obama and company face in their own Stalingrad.
Martin Luther King Jr. did not merely choose non-violence because he was filled with moral goodness as a cardboard Jesus. To suggest that takes away from the man’s political genius and legacy as a political figure with no equal in the modern era. Rather, King knew that Whites would hunker down and fight, as they had when a decent, and good man, Homer Plessy challenged Segregation in the Supreme Court three generations prior, and lost. King leveraged the divisions between wealthy and middle class Northerners and Westerners, who lived nowhere near Blacks, and those of the “wrong sort of White people” among blue collar Catholic ethnics (Irish, Italians, Germans, Poles, and Hungarians mainly) and Protestant Hillbillies who did live near them. King understood the Northern, elite Whites, having rubbed shoulders with them at Boston University. Non-violence was a political ploy, as a minority population sought acceptance through adherence to non-threatening behavior. No matter how gratifying intimidation and thuggery might be on an emotional level. Had King embraced violence and intimidation, as Malcolm X argued for, even the Northern and Western Whites who loathed the “wrong sort” of White people — ethnic Catholics (think Rick Santorum and how the elite react to HIM) and “hillbillies” (think the disdain for Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears) — would have opposed Civil Rights.
King used non-violence as political judo. It does not always work. But in that case, it did. Fighting a majority population with violence rarely works out well. Ask the Tamil Tigers, they fought harder and more ruthlessly than any. They still lost.
In King’s time, rising income, a robust property market, and a need to socially distinguish one’s self from “the wrong sort of White person” led to inexorably, a larger elite system with many, many hangers-on and those aspiring to that status. King’s political Judo worked, not the least of which was the social class of “Semi-New Englanders” or Post-Puritans or Semi-Scandinavians (the Puritans nearly all came from the Danelaw, as David Hackett Fischer’s “Albion’s Seed” makes clear, and carried with them very Nordic cultural assumptions about well, everything) grew substantially. While those on the receiving end of Black violence shrunk. It was just so easy to sell out, leave historic neighborhoods, and move to the safe, NEW suburbs.
White Flight was the key component of the Civil Rights movement, as much as non-violence. White Flight not only helped create new “semi-elites” who felt “the wrong sort of White person” was the only one concerned about Black violence, it created therein a “virtuous circle” wherein more and more Whites moved to the suburbs. All predicated on cheap gas, easy credit, and booming markets in property.
However, King did not properly explain this political reality to Black leaders and more importantly, the people themselves. The ethnic cleansing of Detroit, 29% Black in 1960, 45% Black in 1970, 89% Black today, may have been satisfying and gained political control of the city, but produced no measurable increase in wealth among Blacks other than a few leaders, and permanent dependency upon the larger White population of the State and the US at large.
Black people are indeed angry. Angry that they have not attained financial success as they have embraced thuggery and ethnic cleansing of Whites out of their historic cities (Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Gary Indiana, to name a few). Not understanding that is one thing to chase people away with violence, another to create wealth. Like the Visigoths and Vandals before them, futilely trying to emulate the Rome they destroyed, Black populations in cities they control are angry that Black control has not meant Black wealth. Other than what can be extorted in the Chicago model, from surrounding White areas.
The anger is however, counter-productive. The images on TV and newspapers of angry, threatening Black crowds angry and “out for justice” (implication violence), with Louis Farrakhan offering a bounty, and Jessie Jackson saying “Blacks are under attack” (they are, from other Blacks) It certainly is emotionally satisfying, to threaten and intimidate. That is why people do it, making people afraid of you creates the feeling of power.
Certainly, when Delrick Miller IV was shot in his home, at age 9 months, in Detroit, by AK-47 wielding attackers, no one cared. There was a fight, among the all-Black attendees at a baby shower. Two women felt offended they could not get seats:
”A woman got mad because she couldn’t find a seat, so she started knocking tables down, and it escalated from there,” Wilkins said. “My daughter and her friends left the club, but (a group of men and women) followed them to a gas station, and there was a fight with one of the guys who was at the shower with my daughter. Then, they followed them to the house.
“I think they came back the next day and shot up the house,” said Wilkins, who sobbed as she recounted the events. “They went to the shower to celebrate life; instead, a life was destroyed.”
Who kills a 9 month baby over a fight about seats at a baby shower? Who fights over seats at a baby shower anyway?
Where was Louis Farrakhan then? Or Jessie Jackson? Or Al Sharpton? No one cared. Because it was business as usual. The price of intimidating and scaring Whites, is Black on Black violence. So far, the Black community has not only tolerated it, but protected it. Since any reasonable measure to stop it: stop and frisk of Black men, imprisoning gang members, is resisted tooth and nail by Black leaders and Black voters. Obama did not comment on the murder of Delric Miller IV. Al Sharpton did not fly to Detroit to threaten the killers. Louis Farrakhan did not put out a bounty on the killers. The most innocent of all — a nine month old baby! And the reaction was … nothing.
No one among Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Jessie Jackson, and yes Barack Obama and the media really cares about Trayvon Martin. Any more than they cared about Delrick Miller IV. They just want to flex their political muscle and intimidate (mostly White) people as a reflexive response. It is so ingrained it is instinctual. The aim is to over-turn gun laws, and “stand your ground” so that there is no possibility of defense, as Whites are stuck in place, against young thuggish Black men. That is the whole purpose of the exercise, in the short term. Just as Hitler ordered Von Rundstedt to stand his ground in Stalingrad, eager to hold and destroy the city named for the man he hated the most. [Who in fact resembled him in a number of ways, and before Operation Barbarossa counted Hitler as a friend. Oddly enough.]
Long term, Obama and company want riots and violence and cities burning. This he thinks will win him votes, as this has been successful in Chicago for decades. Pay to make the mob go away. Again, with Whites in place, stuck, that just guarantees a fight. Probably as an ultimate back-up plan, Obama wants violence so he can if he loses the election, institute Martial Law and rule by decree. His recent executive order allowing him to seize basically anything including newspapers, radio, TV, and the internet is part of that ultimate back-up plan.
Unlike Bill Clinton, who stole everything that was not nailed down (particularly the corrupt deal with Haiti Teleco involving Joseph Kennedy and Bill Clinton), Obama did not steal wisely. Clinton made sure to involve not just Republicans, but Republican interest groups in corrupt deals. That’s why Bill Clinton did not spend a day in jail, and only lost his law license, not the Presidency. Unlike Bill Clinton, Obama has not kept the good times rolling either, for many in the elites and the people as a whole. As far as corrupt Presidency models go, the Arkansas version was better than the Chicago one.
Obama has made too many enemies: on Wall Street, among energy companies, among utilities, among Silicon Valley, among home builders, among mining companies, among almost everyone but a few favored cronies. That’s the downside of the Chicago Way, you make powerful enemies who know they must destroy you or be destroyed in turn. There is no easy good-time corruption ala the Arkansas model, where everyone is happy.
Ultimately, however, the idea that “evil White racists” are killing Black people is unsustainable even for the Blitzkrieg media. It just isn’t true, and people know it. David Duke lives in a trailer in Mississippi. Louis Farrakhan has a mansion bigger than Oprah’s, and with more goons too. All those threats turn off the Middle Class, White female voters who are the swing and thus the decisive votes in the 2012 elections. It is satisfying, and the default mode for Black politicians and people, to make threats and noise at the White population. For decades it has been rewarded. Going national makes pretty much every White homeowner, renter, and everyone else stuck in place, unable to flee, ready to fight.
Indeed, rising gas prices threaten the fundamental basis for American social peace: Blacks would have a free hand in self-ruled cities that they ethnically cleansed (White flight was flight because Whites FEARED Blacks not because they hated them). Meanwhile Whites would live as far away as possible from them, while refraining from mentioning Black dysfunction and economic failure and dependency (upon White wealth transfers). Being unwilling to rock the boat of rising income, later rising credit replacing income, and cheap electronic toys. Whites do not HATE Blacks, they’d hardly have endorsed decades of fictional Black Presidents on TV and in movies, made a billionaire of Oprah, every White woman’s imaginary Black Best Friend(tm Whiskey), or consumed Rap and the NBA, NFL, obsessively. Again that is why David Duke lives in a trailer in Mississippi. There is no money in White hate for Blacks. There certainly is for Black hate for Whites: look at Sharpton’s mansion, or Louis Farrakhan’s which is bigger than Oprah’s with more goons.
This is why Trayvon Martin is Obama’s Stalingrad. He’s fighting the last war, with the tools used two and a half generations ago. White people are not consumed with hatred for Black people. Rather, they FEAR them. Almost no one speaks this openly, but the taboo can be broken,and fairly rapidly. The internet, as an entry into the nation’s id, is a scary place. It is quite likely Obama will get his own Crown Heights, as Mayor Dinkins did in New York City. The result was not a coronation of his reign, but un-interrupted Republican (and semi-Republican in the case of Nanny Bloomberg) rule ever since. Even Upper East Siders finding the Black Panthers scary-fun thrills, don’t like property values crashing due to race-riots.
Ultimately Hitler failed because he failed to understand one simple truth. His magnificent military machine could not supply food, fuel, ammunition, and clothing to his men more than a few hundred miles before the supply line collapsed. When German forces got to Greece, they descended like starving locusts, because they were in fact, starving. The German army was not capable of even providing them with food!
Obama and his media allies, Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan and the like, enter this Trayvon Martin conflict, hampered by the lack of understanding that they cannot control the alternative media, that Whites are not bigoted but fearful (rationally so) of Black crime, and that White flight is simply impossible in today’s economy.
After all, what did Tyrone Woodfork get for raping and beating to death an elderly White woman, and (all likelihood given his age) killing her husband? A beat-up old car, 12 years old, and a few things ransacked from the house. The killer of the two British tourists got nothing — he killed them because they had no money to rob. That sort of crime is not only stupid, it is senseless. The killers were soon caught. Cold comfort to survivors and the victims.
Whitey Bulger may have been responsible, over his criminal career, for more than fifty deaths. But those sorts of White criminals, by and large don’t commit random crimes informed more by racial hatred, or sheer stupidity, than anything else. Nothing like the murder of the Straits, or Delric Miller IV, can be laid to his doorstep. No money in it, and the risk too high. He quite likely is a monster, but one society can survive, because that kind of monster does not kill 9 month old babies sleeping in their homes because there were not enough seats at a baby shower. Nor do they kill robbery victims because they had no cash. Nor set teen boys on fire for sheer racial hatred. Nor rape, rob, and murder elderly couples for a few bucks and an old car.
White swing voters cannot be made to care about Trayvon Martin, because they are scared, for the most part, even if they won’t admit it in public. Too much push and they’ll start admitting it. Too much reflexive intimidation, in the Chicago Way, and they’ll push back. Obama might plan a Self-Coup, but he’ll find if he goes that route, he’s no Fujimori.
Source: Alternative Right
Less often noted is the obtuseness of so much that goes on in the schools. Professors of education seem to prefer flimsy theories and counter-productive methods. Then, to excuse the pervasive failure, the elite educators blame parents, kids, TV, popular culture, computers, and everything but their theories.
Rooting out all these bad ideas is the simplest, most inexpensive way to improve the schools:
The kingfish of dumb since 1935 is Whole Word, which demands that children memorize thousands of words as shapes. Can’t be done. Rudolf Flesch explained the craziness in 1955; but our Education Establishment went right on. Still today, little kids are forced to memorize sight-words and to guess, instead of simply learning to read.
(Reading is that one essential skill that all students must acquire early in their education, or everything else will suffer. But guess what? Our Education Establishment came up with a reading pedagogy that guaranteed tens of millions of children would never become fluent readers. We should all be endlessly fascinated by bad reading theory. It tells us so much about the people who concocted it.)
The next bogus pedagogy was called New Math and, later, Reform Math. The common denominator in the different curricula (different in that they have different names on the textbooks) is that children must wade through a hodgepodge of simple arithmetic and advanced high school or college topics. Reform Math introduced the idea of “spiraling” from topic to topic, even as mastery is more or less forbidden. Reform Math does not teach much math, so calculators are mandatory.
Another bad mutation is called Constructivism, a fad that now appears in all courses for all ages. In essence, teachers are not allowed to teach; they must be facilitators. Simply put, students are not allowed to be taught, precisely the activity that schools have engaged in for thousands of years. Instead, little kids who hardly know how to tie their shoes are supposed to discover the knowledge that an educated person should know. Puzzle over how children will ever learn that the United States has 50 states, Paris is the capital of France, or Mississippi is the name of a long river — unless a teacher tells them. In fact, children need as much basic information taught to them as quickly as can be managed; this natural development is blocked by Constructivism.
Still another clunker is Self-Esteem. And doesn’t this sound benign and helpful? In practice, kids are fussed over, making them complacent and lazy. Worse, Self-Esteem is used to justify curtailing the curriculum to the point where every student can earn an A. This dumbing-down is done in the name of enhancing Self-Esteem. But it’s a ruse. Genuine Self-Esteem comes by taking on difficult tasks and doing them successfully.
And so it goes throughout the school day. Cooperative Learning dictates that children work in groups; as a result, they don’t learn to think for themselves. Multiculturalism demands that children study far-off cultures, so there’s little time to learn about their own.
If any of these methods ever seems elusive and difficult to describe, give credit where it is due. Our top educators seem to spend careers devising ever more verbose scaffolding for less and less substantial concepts.
Toss out the clunkers, return to education as the transmission of knowledge, and we will have instant improvement.
Thyroid cancer cases have more than doubled since 1997 in the U.S., while deadly industrial practices that contaminate groundwater with radiation and other carcinogens are also rising.
New information released by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that 56,460 people will develop thyroid cancer in 2012 and 1,780 will die from it.
That’s up from 16,000 thyroid cancer cases in 1997 – a whopping 253% increase in fifteen years, while the US population went up only 18%.
From 1980 to 1996, thyroid cancer increased nearly 300%, while the population increased by (again) 18%.
Most thyroid cancers don’t develop for 10-30 years after radiation exposure, but the monstrous spike in thyroid cancer from 1980-2012 is only partly the result of Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979 (TMI).
Pennsylvania, with its nine nuclear reactors, does have the highest incidence of thyroid cancer across nearly all demographics among 45* states, reports epidemiologist Joseph Mangano, MPH MBA, of the Radiation and Public Health Project. In 2009, he analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control’s national survey of thyroid cancer incidence for the years 2001-2005 and compared it with proximity to nuclear power stations, finding:
“[M]ost U.S. counties with the highest thyroid cancer incidence are in a contiguous area of eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and southern New York. Exposure to radioactive iodine emissions from 16 nuclear power reactors within a 90 mile radius in this area … are likely a cause of rising incidence rates.”
TMI also can’t explain why the thyroid cancer rate for the four counties flanking Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in New York was 66% above the national rate in 2001-2005.
Other, more subtle sources may also be contributing to hiked thyroid cancer rates, like leaking nuclear power plants and hydraulic fracturing, both of which contaminate air, soil and groundwater with radiation and other nasty chemicals.
Indeed, remarking on this, Mangano (who recently co-authored a controversial study with toxicologist Janette Sherman suggesting a link between Fukushima fallout and US cancer deaths numbering from 14,000 to 20,000) said:
“From 1970-1993, Indian Point released 17.50 curies of airborne I-131 and particulates…. [That] amount exceeded the official total of 14.20 curies released from the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. In 2007, officials that operate the Indian Point plant reported levels of I-131 in the local air, water, and milk, each of which is a potential vector for ingestion.”
Iodine-131, or I-131, is a radioactive isotope produced by nuclear fission.
Fracking a ‘Dirty Bomb’
Radiation isn’t released into the environment only via nuclear plants and bombs. Geologist Tracy Bank found that fracking mobilizes rock-bound uranium, posing a further radiation risk to our groundwater. She presented her findings at the American Geological Society meeting in Denver last November.
Because of some 65 hazardous chemicals used in fracking operations, former industry insider, James Northrup, calls it a “dirty bomb.” With 30 years of experience as an independent oil and gas producer, he explains:
“The volume of fluid in a hydrofrack can exceed three million gallons, or almost 24 million pounds of fluid, about the same weight as 7,500 automobiles. The fracking fluid contains chemicals that would be illegal to use in warfare under the rules of the Geneva Convention. This all adds up to a massive explosion of a ‘dirty bomb’ underground.”
What’s underground seeps into our groundwater.
Thomas House and his wife have become ill since New Dominion, LLC began drilling for oil and gas behind their home in Wellston, Oklahoma. He’s tested the water for barium and strontium, and indoor air quality for BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes and styrenes).
Though none of the levels exceed EPA standards, he insists the drilling operations are causing their illness.
“We have been getting sick from headaches, nose bleeds, rashes, vomiting, burning eyes, and breathing problems for the last year,” he told me.
House is reliant on the Veterans Administration for health care, but it refuses to test him for BTEX poisoning.
Radioactive Drinking Water
Though scientists have associated thyroid cancer with water supplies contaminated by nitrates (another knock against industrial agriculture), it is usually indicative of radiation poisoning, as the thyroid sucks up iodine – radioactive or not. Those with not enough iodine in their diets are more susceptible to absorbing I-131.
NCI says that the main sources of radiation exposure are X-rays, nuclear fallout and radiated food and drinking water. The Centers for Disease Control reports that women are three times more susceptible to thyroid cancer than men, with white women being most susceptible. Rather than noticing any symptoms, most often, they discover a lump on their neck.
The good news is that 95 percent of thyroid cancer is successfully treated.
The bad news is that radiation exposure is also coming from our food and water supply.
For over a year, a Houston news station has been reporting on a governmental cover-up of radiation in drinking water. KHOU says that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under-reported radioactive contaminants in drinking water for over 20 years.
But not just Texas authorities, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also low-balled radiation stats by simply not looking for specific radioactive elements, which can be more common and more dangerous than, say, Strontium-90.
Eventually, Texas shut-down two of Houston’s water wells shown to be radioactive.
From an investigative series by the Associated Press last year, we learned that 75 percent of US nuclear power plants leak radioactive materials. Documents from 48 of 65 commercial nuclear power sites showed that radioactive tritium leaked – often into groundwater – in concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard, and sometimes at hundreds of times the limit.
Nukes, Fracking and Earthquakes
The global fallout from Fukushima’s nuclear meltdown means our food and water absorbed radioactive fallout. But, we also see an increasing number of earthquakes from fracking operations that further threaten nuclear plants, which are old, leaking and “brittle” (AP’s word).
Information compiled by Treehugger last year showed that of the 104 commercial nuclear power plants and 34 nuclear research stations, many sit in seismically active locations.
Though earthquake risk in Texas is considered very low, last October, Atascosa County saw a rare 4.8 magnitude quake centered 130 miles from the South Texas Project nuclear power plant. The temblor originated in Fashing Field, a highly productive oil and gas field. One company, Momentum Oil and Gas, is producing 3.8 million cubic feet of gas per day from the field.
Many states that normally had very low seismicity have seen an incredible upswing in earthquake frequency with the advent of hydraulic fracturing, which the feds have long known about. As far back as 1966, federal authorities suspected the fracking-earthquake link so strongly that they shut down Rocky Mountain Arsenal’s 12,000-foot injection well after several quakes rattled Denver.
In 1981, researchers suggested that mobile pressure dynamics could explain epicenters some ways distant from such wells.
Ohio recently shut down two fracking waste injection wells after a New Year’s Eve earthquake, and in 2010 New York imposed a statewide moratorium. Ohio has two nuclear power plants (both on Lake Erie) and New York has five, operating six reactors.
Ohio’s 5.0 earthquake on January 31, 1986 that rocked eleven states and Ontario, Canada was centered 11 miles south of the Perry Nuclear Plant. Researchers suggested the quake was induced by fracking, writing in 1988:
“Three deep waste disposal wells are currently operating within 15 km of the epicentral region and have been responsible for the injection of nearly 1.2 billion liters of fluid at pressures reaching 112 bars above ambient at a nominal depth of 1.8 km. Estimates of stress inferred from commercial hydrofracturing measurements suggest that the state of stress in northeastern Ohio is close to the theoretical threshold for failure along favorably oriented, preexisting fractures.”
Not only preexisting fractures, but new ones created by the massive surge in earthquake swarms also present a risk. As modern horizontal fracturing techniques are employed, earthquake frequency goes up.
From 1900-1970, Arkansas experienced 60 earthquakes. After fracking operations picked up in the mid-1970s, that number jumped exponentially. Per the Advanced National Seismic System, in 2010 alone, Arkansas felt over 700 earthquakes; in 2011, it endured over 800.
The number of quakes in 2010 and ’11 represents a 2,400% increase over the number of quakes in the first 70 years of the 20th century, before horizontal fracking began. With that spike in frequency, is it any wonder that a new faulthas opened up in Arkansas? Geologists say the new fault shows a history of 7+ magnitude earthquakes.
Though the 2001-2005 thyroid incidence data reveals that Arkansas has the lowest incidence of thyroid cancer of all 45 states surveyed, that may change should the new fault become seismically active and damage the state’s two 40-year-old nuclear reactors.
Of note, Arkansas’ nuclear reactors are run by Entergy, which operates eleven others including 40-year-old Vermont Yankee (strontium-90 found in nearby fish last August) and New York’s nearly 40-year-old Indian Point (failed inspection and sought over 100 safety exemptions last year).
Pennsylvania is another strong fracking state, vulnerable to earthquakes originating within or outside its borders. It also houses nine nuclear reactors at five locations. A swarm of small earthquakes occurred near Dillsburg from 2008 until early 2011, reports the state’s Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Dillsburg is 16 miles from Three Mile Island, which still operates one nuclear reactor.
Last August, most of the east coast felt a 5.8 magnitude quake whose epicenter is just 11 miles from two reactors at the North Anna nuclear power plant in Virginia. Both 30-year-old reactors had to be shut down. RT reports:
“The odds of a quake exceeding a magnitude of 5.5 occurring in central Virginia are so slim that Dominion Power determined only around six quakes of that size would occur in the area over the next 10,000 years.”
Protect Your Water Supply
Radioactive particles damage bones, DNA and tissue, including the thyroid. Water softeners, ion exchange, carbon filters or reverse osmosis water-treatment systems can be installed in the home to reduce concentration levels. The National Sanitation Foundation certifies various products for efficacy in reducing or eliminating particular contaminants.
To reduce or eliminate radiation from food and water, see this compilation of articles recommending various techniques, including washing your vegetables in bentonite clay.
A more proactive way to protect the water supply is to decommission nuclear power plants and ban hydraulic fracturing, lest your hometown ranks among the 10 Most Radioactive Places on Earth.
*When the CDC surveyed states for thyroid cancer in its landmark 2001-2005 study, it neglected to publish data for Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Texas Governor Rick Perry overseas the second highest poverty rate of any state besides Mississippi. Why? His state, through his own support, houses one of the largest illegal alien populations in the country estimated at 1.5 million.
Out of all the jobs he boasts that Texas added during his reign as governor, illegal aliens commandeered fully 81 percent of those jobs. Additionally, Perry rammed through an in-state tuition bill that gives illegal aliens a free ride over and above Texas citizens and takes slots away from other American students at all Texas colleges.
Perry also supports open borders and stands against any laws that imitate Arizona’s SB 1070.
If elected president of the United States, Rick Perry would support displacement of American workers on every level in favor of Mexican workers. In other words, the 45.2 million Americans subsisting on food stamps would not be able to compete for the slave wages so coveted by Mexicans and other illegal migrants. (Source: Reuters News)
My long time colleague, D.A. King, director at www.TheDustinInmanSociety.org , gave a few thoughts on the subject of Rick Perry’s run for president.
“Perry supporters who were miffed at reading inconvenient facts that made them ask themselves why they picked him as candidate in the first place,” said King. “Granting instate tuition to illegals is only a small part of Perry’s problematic record. We noted that Perry had dismissed any consideration of a state immigration enforcement law such as Arizona, Georgia and other states struggled to put in place; had proposed a bi-national health insurance program with Mexico (PerryCare?); has expressed his support for legalizing the fugitive illegals who have escaped capture at American borders (it’s not amnesty, it’s a guest worker plan!); and refused to use the power of his office for any E-Verify legislation in Texas. So what if that state has one of the highest number of illegals in the country?”
OPEN BORDERS CANNOT SUSTAIN ANY STATE IN THE LONG RUN
To educate readers on the state of the state of Perry’s Texas, I included a quote from the Jacksonville, Ill., Courier-Journal: “Texas has the second-highest poverty rate among the 50 states, behind only Mississippi. It has the second-highest percentage of population without a high school diploma. Texas leads the nation in the percentage of people with no health insurance, over one quarter. It is tied with Mississippi for having the biggest percentage of workers paid at or below the minimum wage.”
“Perry is still standing on a magical “jobs creation” in Texas myth,” said King. “Let’s add to the facts with this from Mark Krikorian on National Review Online:
“Jobs for Whom?” – citing a report from his Center for Immigration Studies. “Remember all those new jobs in Texas Gov. Perry keeps talking about? Would it surprise you to learn that the overwhelming majority went to newly arrived immigrants and not to Americans? Surprise! From 2007 to 2011, 81 percent of the job growth went to recently arrived foreign workers – about half legal, half illegal.” Krikorian writes. ”Nor did all this wonderful job creation for foreigners seem to benefit Americans indirectly – native-born Texans saw the same doubling of unemployment that Americans elsewhere experienced during the recession. So, to the extent Perry has anything to do with all this – and he’s the one boasting of his role in making it happen – his main accomplishment seems to have been to dissolve the workforce and elect a new one. Maybe this is what the plantation owners want, and certainly their immigrant laborers aren’t complaining, but what’s in it for the rest of us?”
Finally, King said, “Like former Mexican president Vicente Fox, Perry, the would-be guardian of American security and sovereignty has proclaimed his support for open borders more than once since becoming governor of Texas.”
In the final analysis, if America is to survive the next few decades, it must shut down the borders to mass legal immigration and stop all illegal immigration. Otherwise, 15 million unemployed Americans and another 7 million underemployed Americans don’t stand a chance. That 45.2 million Americans subsisting on food stamps and other welfare empty all our pockets. Their poverty becomes our poverty.
Let’s put them to work for our tax base instead of Mexico’s.