Independence Day ReadsPosted: July 4, 2016 Filed under: 2016 elections, Afghanistan, Afternoon Reads, Anti-War, Foreign Affairs, Great Britain, Iran, Iraq, Turkey | Tags: 4th of July, Baghdad attack, Dhaka attack, Independence Day, Istanbul attack 19 Comments
Happy Independence Day Team USA!
Here’s how the Kennedy family is spending their 4th of July! “Kennedy family BASHES Trump over Fourth of July weekend with a pinata of The Donald at their Cape Cod compound.” That sounds like some nice harmless fun and very politically incorrect. The Trumpster should approve but I doubt his thick skull or thin skin will be able to take it in that spirit.
The Kennedy clan gathered at their Hyannis Port compound on Cape Cod over the weekend for their annual Fourth of July festivities, and took some time to attack Donald Trump.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s daughter Kathleen, between known as Kick, posted a photos of a pinata of The Donald from a family party over the weekend.
‘It’s yuge party!,’ wrote Kick in the caption of the Instagram post, which also showed some of her family members milling about in the background.
She later deleted the Instagram post just before 11am on Monday.
Yes, some of us are still rocking in the free world while we can!
There’s a lot of sadness today as we stop to think about Baghdad, Istanbul, and Dhaka where ISIS attacks have killed hundreds of innocent people who were simply going about their day. Our hearts go out to the places that have suffered these massive tragedies. I’m also reminded today of Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn Rule.
Powell: What I was saying is, if you get yourself involved—if you break a government, if you cause it to come down, by invading or other means, remember that you are now the government. You have a responsibility to take care of the people of that country.
Isaacson: And it got labeled the Pottery Barn rule.
I, for one, care about these attacks. I’ve not seen the graphics, the heartfelt “I’m with …” sloganeering, and the banal, jingoistic calls exclaiming that “it’s a war on the Western World.” That’s because it isn’t a war on the Western World. It’s a war on modernity.
This is a fight we brought to the front door step of many countries–including Iraq–that were not to blame for anything when we invaded Iraq.
Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and the bungled occupation that followed, Baghdad has been the site of numerous rounds of sectarian bloodletting, al-Qaeda attacks and now the ravages of the Islamic State. Despite suffering significant defeats at the hands of the Iraqi army, including the loss of the city of Fallujah, the militant group has shown its willingness and capacity to brutalize the country’s population.
Public anger in the Iraqi capital, as my colleague Loveday Morris reports, is not being directed at foreign conspirators or even — first and foremost — at the militants, but at a much-maligned government that is failing to keep the country safe.
“The street was full of life last night,” one Karrada resident told The Washington Post, “and now the smell of death is all over the place.”
Iraq is being invaded once more and Baghdad is still a shadow of itself in a country with little ability to truly defend its borders and people.
By Monday afternoon the toll in Karrada stood at 151 killed and 200 wounded, according to police and medical sources. Rescuers and families were still looking for 35 missing people.
Islamic State claimed the bombing, its deadliest in Iraq, saying it was a suicide attack. Another explosion struck in the same night, when a roadside bomb blew up in popular market of al-Shaab, a Shi’ite district in north Baghdad, killing two people.
The attacks showed Islamic State can still strike in the heart of the Iraqi capital despite recent military losses, undermining Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s declaration of victory last month when Iraqi forces dislodged the hardline Sunni insurgents from the nearby city of Falluja.
Abadi’s Shi’ite-led government ordered the offensive on Falluja in May after a series of deadly bombings in Shi’ite areas of Baghdad that it said originated from the Sunni Muslim city, about 50 km (30 miles) west of the capital.
Falluja was the first Iraqi city captured by Islamic State in 2014, six months before it declared a caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria. Since last year the insurgents have been losing ground to U.S.-backed Iraqi government forces and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias.
“Abadi has to have a meeting with the heads of national security, intelligence, the interior ministry and all sides responsible for security and ask them just one question: How can we infiltrate these groups?” said Abdul Kareem Khalaf, a former police Major General who advises the Netherlands-based European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies think tank.
He said Islamic State, or Daesh, “has supporters or members everywhere – in Baghdad, Basra and Kurdistan. All it takes is for one house to have at least one man and you have a planning base and launch site for attacks of this type.”
In a sign of public outrage at the failure of the security services, Abadi was given an angry reception on Sunday when he toured Karrada, the district where he grew up, with residents throwing stones, empty buckets and even slippers at his convoy in gestures of contempt.
He ordered new measures to protect Baghdad, starting with the withdrawal of fake bomb detectors that police have continued to use despite a scandal that broke out in 2011 about their sale to Iraq under his predecessor, Nuri al-Maliki.
So, today our skies will light up with fireworks that we will purposefully set off to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and moving forward with liberating our nation from British rule. It’s odd to think that the fall out from colonialism is still going on today and that the fireworks that light up many other places do not represent the symbolic act of a war of Independence but one of oppression and terror.
I’m not sure how many of you will stop by on this holiday to say hi so I’m going to just make this a brief greeting with the one bit of news. However this is, as always, an open thread and there are other things going on including the election of the next President of the US.
This is another thing that should give us pause as we continue to clean up the mess of the Bush Administration, and actually the mess left behind by others of his predecessors like Ronald Reagan whose adventures in South and Central American made every one in those countries a lot less safe.
If we’re unable to purse our own liberty and happiness then we can change that under our system of government. But then, think again what it means when our actions prevent that dream for others. My heart weeps for all of those who live in countries that we helped break. We own it. I think Hillary Clinton understands this. I think Donald Trump would rather we walk away from our mess. We broke it. We own it. Let’s just hope the rest of the coalition of the willing hangs in there with us as we try to stop the carnage.
Have a great 4th!!! May the fireworks near you be only the celebratory type and not the bullets from another crazed shooter or the ignition of a suicide vest! May all beings be free from harm!!!
Take a swing at a Trump pinata for me!!!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Sunday Reads: Glad-hand, Glad-hands, Glad-handing, Glad-handedPosted: January 25, 2015 Filed under: abortion rights, Africa, American Gun Fetish, Anti-War, Art, Black Agenda Report, Congress, Cuba, Discrimination against women, Egypt, ethics, Feminists, fetus fetishists, Fox News, Gaza, History, Human Rights, Israel, Journalism, Middle East, misogyny, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, Political Affective Disorder, racism, Rape Culture, Republican presidential politics, the GOP, Violence against women, Yemen | Tags: hand gestures, political hand signals, Propaganda posters 19 Comments
Good Whatever it is…
Morning, Afternoon, Evening…ugh.
(That this post is getting published, finally, is something in itself. I don’t know why, lack of motivation or enthusiasm…)
The images for today are hands used in political posters. I’ve gotten them from board on Pinterest: Affiche/Main – Poster/Hand on Pinterest | 1352 Pins
For a discussion on the use and symbolism of the fist in propaganda, take a look at this article from Lincoln Cushing:
A brief history of the “clenched fist” image
A persistent symbol of resistance and unity, the clenched fist (or raised fist) is part of the broader genre of “hand” symbols that include the peace “V,” the forward-thrust-fist, and the clasped hands. The clenched fist usually appears in full frontal display showing all fingers and is occasionally integrated with other images such as a peace symbol or tool.
The human hand has been used in art from the very beginnings, starting with stunning examples in Neolithic cave paintings. Early examples of the fist in graphic art can be found at least as far back as 1917 , with another example from Mexico in 1948 . Fist images, in some form, were used in numerous political graphic genres, including the French and Soviet revolutions, the United States Communist Party, and the Black Panther Party for Self-defense. However, these all followed an iconographic convention. The fist was always part of something – holding a tool or other symbol, part of an arm or human figure, or shown in action (smashing, etc.).
Then there are a few other articles to look at here:
AIGA | Not Your Grandparent’s Clenched Fist
The fist of protest has its roots in the deep traditions of revolutionary imagery of 1848 and French Romantic painting. It became a staple of banners and logos of unions and political parties. Raised out of the crowd, the fist clenched in strength, anger and determination could serve groups of almost any ideological stripe.
If some of you have access to JSTOR: JSTOR: Journal of Design History, Vol. 13, No. 4 (2000), pp. 319-339
This article focuses on the use of graphic signs in the political struggle between the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and the German Communist Party during the 1920s. It first examines the Nazi swastika’s relationships to a new ‘abstract and primitive’ style of trademark design that emerged in Germany during the First World War and to a discussion during 1919-20 about the Weimar Republic’s new emblem.
As the NSDAP’s sign grew more prominent in public discourse, John Heartfield, who was trained as a graphic designer, sought to counter it through satire and emblems that he designed for the KPD. The most powerful of the latter were a series of images in 1928 based on photographs of workers’ hands, which drew both on past emblems of worker solidarity and recent Surrealist photography. The clenched fist soon stood opposite the swastika as signs of the violent political struggle between left and right that marked the last years of the Weimar Republic. The article explores how practices of commercial graphic design became instruments of mass politics during the 1920s.
To see more posters:
A History of Graphic Design: Chapter 36 – Art of Posters for Films – the Cuban School
Political Posters | OMCA COLLECTIONS
And for some articles on the actual use of hand gestures in political protest and such:
Choreography and Gesture Play an Important Role in Protests – NYTimes.com
“Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!”: Gesture, Choreography, and Protest in Ferguson – The Feminist Wire | The Feminist Wire
Thai protesters and The Hunger Games: what’s in a three-fingered salute? – Al Arabiya News
Opinion: Political Gestures « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT
I’ll connect the hand gestures to a situation that is getting heated in Egypt today.
What This Hand Gesture Means for Egypt’s Future – The Atlantic
Astute observers of recent pro-Morsi protests in Egypt will note a new symbol cropping up in photos of the protesting crowds: Demonstrators are now holding four fingers in the air. Many carry yellow posters emblazoned with the same gesture.
This new hand sign refers to the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the site of a violent confrontation between Morsi’s followers and the Egyptian army. Reported deaths from the clash range from hundreds to thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters. In Arabic, “Rabba” means “four” or “the fourth;” hence the new Rabaa symbol.
The new hand sign is important because it signals both a conscious shift in the Muslim Brotherhood’s focus from a global audience to an Arabic one and a rejection of the ideals of the Arab Spring.
The Rabaa replaced a more recognizable sign in the Arab world: the two-fingered “V for Victory” salute, a gesture that transcends language and nationality. Many Americans know of the V as the peace sign after its widespread use by the anti-war and counterculture movements of the late 1960s and 1970s. Invented by the BBC in World War II as a pan-Allied propaganda campaign — think a cigar-smoking, pinstripe-wearing Winston Churchill flashing the V and a grin — the sign came to the Arab world when Yasser Arafat popularized it in 1969. To this day, Palestinians have exhibited a two-fingered V upon their release from Israeli jails, and the sign is well represented at rallies in Gaza.
Now to the links for this Sunday:
A mess in Egypt as the anniversary of the revolution comes around:
Addicting Info – Egyptian Police Guns Down Female Journalist Carrying Flowers (IMAGES)
On the eve of the 4th anniversary of the Egypt’s 2011 uprising, which was part of the Arab Spring, and which ultimately forced the overthrow of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, a female protester and reported journalist was shot by police near Tahir Square in Cairo.
Shaima Sabbagh was shot with birdshot as she was marching in remembrance of the Arab Spring and of the people killed during the revolution. She was shot at close range. Several people caught images of al-Sabbagh both before and after the shooting. Beware, they’re heartbreaking. After Shaima was shot – her husband was arrested and their four-year-old son is without parents.
The AP is reporting 15 killed:
Egypt: 15 killed in clashes between Islamists, police – Houston Chronicle
However that number has risen according to Al-Jam:
Anniversary of Egypt’s revolution turns violent | Al Jazeera America
Thousands of Egyptian protesters chanted “down with the military and the regime” and “Interior Ministry are thugs” at a funeral on Sunday for a young mother and activist who was shot dead by security forces during a peaceful protest marking the fourth anniversary of Egypt’s Arab Spring revolution, according to local media reports.
Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, 32, was one of at least 20 people killed during protests over the weekend across Egypt, mainly in Cairo and Alexandria, commemorating the Jan. 25, 2011 ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak from office, according to the Ministry of Health.
The funeral took place in Alexandria, Sabbagh’s hometown, where activists remembered the slain protester as an advocate for labor rights and children, independent daily Al-Shorouk reported.
Sabbagh was among dozens of protesters marching on Saturday to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the revolution, to place wreaths of flowers there to commemorate more than 800 people killed during the 18 days of turmoil that sought to usher in a new era of democracy in Egypt.
Some disturbing images at those links.
This next link about the reaction to Boehner’s outright “fuck you” to the President and protocol: Addicting Info – Fox News Actually Expresses Shock And Outrage Over Boehner And Netanyahu Undermining President Obama (VIDEO)
On Friday, the world watched in disbelief as Fox News actually defended the honor and office of President Obama in the wake of Speaker Boehner violating US protocol by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to Congress. In other news, pigs are flying.
During a segment on Fox, host Shepard Smith discussed the scandal with fellow host Chris Wallace, and both men were absolutely shocked and outraged by the actions of the top Republican in the House of Representatives.
On Wednesday, Boehner announced that he invited Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress. The problem is that Boehner did this without clearing the invitation with the White House, which is protocol.
“The protocol would suggest that the leader of one country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there. This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol,” said press secretary Josh Earnest.
Furthermore, Netanyahu is specifically going to speak to Congress in an effort to trash Obama’s foreign policy in a deliberate attempt to wreck US nuclear negotiations with Iran, negotiations which a majority of Americans support.
You see, President Obama wants to use diplomacy to ease tensions between Iran, Israel, and the United States. That means securing an agreement that prevents Iran from developing a nuclear weapon while allowing them to use nuclear power as another source of energy in the Middle Eastern nation. But Republicans are literally trying to sabotage these efforts by seeking more harsh sanctions against Iran, which would be seen an act of American aggression at a time when the State Department and White House are seeking mutual peace.
Since the announcement, Beohner and Republicans have felt a major backlash. But the last place they thought they’d receive outrage from, if at all, is Fox News. Well, that shipped sailed on Friday.
Well, I would not go so far as to call this completely shocking, as it was Shep who called Boehner out. Y’all know he is the Black Sheep of the network.
For more on Israel, not just the Boehner invite.
Netanyahu defends planned Congress speech as anti-Iran strategy | Reuters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended on Sunday a planned speech to the U.S. Congress about Iran, saying he had a moral obligation to speak out on an issue that poses a mortal threat to Israel.
His visit to Washington in March has opened up a rift with the White House and has drawn accusations in Israel that Netanyahu is undermining the country’s core foreign alliance in an effort to win an election due two weeks after the trip.
Briefing his cabinet on the March 3 speech to a joint meeting of Congress, Netanyahu said his priority was to urge the United States and other powers not to negotiate an Iranian nuclear deal that might endanger Israel.
Suzie Madrak makes a huge point here:
» Blog Archive » ‘We’ll pay non-Jews to leave Israel’
Gee, when people offered to send slaves back to Africa, we called that racist.
Addicting Info – Israeli Soldier Posed With Palestinian Woman For PR Photo, Then Shot Her In The Head (IMAGES)
And flowing into this news:
Jewish outrage as ship named after SS war criminal arrives in Europe | World news | The Guardian
Leaders of Jewish communities and Holocaust memorial groups in Britain and the Netherlands have reacted with rage and despair at the arrival in Rotterdam of the world’s biggest ship, the Pieter Schelte, named after a Dutch officer in the Waffen-SS.
The vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, said: “Naming such a ship after an SS officer who was convicted of war crimes is an insult to the millions who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis. We urge the ship’s owners to reconsider and rename the ship after someone more appropriate.”
Esther Voet, director of the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (Cidi), based in The Hague, said that the timing of the ship’s arrival, shortly before Jews were targeted and killed in Paris and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, was “a coincidence, I’m sure, but a sign of the times. We lost our battle to have the ship’s name changed, and we are left eating dust.”
Survivors of the Holocaust in Britain also spoke out. Ruth Barnett, a tireless campaigner who arrived from Nazi Germany as part of the Kindertransport, said: “I am outraged by the intensity and extent of denial and indifference that fails to challenge things like this ship, and allows the impunity for perpetrators to think they can get away with it.”
The London-based Lloyd’s Register dug in to defend its role in the ship’s building and development, while the shipbuilder said it had been named in honour of the owner’s father for his “great achievements in the offshore oil and gas industry”.
Read the rest of that story at the link, especially the bullet points… it is obvious that the ship’s name is something that could be seen as a slight. (To say the least.)
There is an op/ed over at the New York Times that should give you all pause…When Calculus of Loss Doesn’t Add Up – NYTimes.com
Joseph Kahn, The Times’s top-ranking editor for international news, told me that the Paris and Nigeria stories aren’t comparable. “These were totally different challenges,” he said, with the former happening in a major Western capital where The Times has a substantial staff.
He, and others, spoke of the difficulty of covering the Boko Haram story because of its remote location, the problems of verification, and the questions hanging over early reports. While Amnesty International was reporting as many as 2,000 dead, he told me, some trusted experts were cautioning against using the number. The Times needed to verify what had happened, something best done on the ground. But getting there is both difficult and time-consuming.
In retrospect, Mr. Kahn said, a story about the controversy over the numbers would have been one way to provide early and meaningful coverage — informing readers without falling prey to overstating what had happened. Such a story, especially if it had been prominently displayed and published quickly, would have been a valuable way to be transparent with readers about what The Times knew and what it didn’t know.
Mr. Kahn also said that while the Paris attack had an intense and short news arc, the Boko Haram story would continue and that The Times would keep covering it with commitment. The editor on the International Desk who handles Africa coverage, Greg Winter, told me last week that Mr. Nossiter (who has also been a leading reporter on the Ebola story) was in Nigeria again working on a major Boko Haram piece.
“I understand readers’ concerns about covering Nigeria, and I share them, which is why our correspondent has risked his life for years to cover the country and the turmoil in the north,” Mr. Winter said.
I asked Mr. Kahn how, in general, the numbers of violent deaths figure into editorial decisions. “We don’t cover everything equally,” he said. “It goes to gut news judgment, as we ask: ‘Is this a big deal? Are we going to deploy someone?’ ” Among the factors: “The circumstances, how unusual it is, the location, the relevance to American interests.”
And, he said, The Times has to be careful not to overreport violent death.
“Not every incident of carnage is a major story for The New York Times. You have to put it in context, and not fill the news report with unlimited doses of terrible violent news from around the world.”
But, speaking of the recent Boko Haram attack, he said: “It could have had more attention and emphasis.”
I agree. I have no objection to the extent of the Paris coverage. But whatever the calculus of news judgments, these lost Nigerian lives surely were worthy of The Times’s immediate, as well as its continuing, attention.
Overreport violent death?
And on that note:
Nigerian city under attack from suspected Boko Haram militants | World news | The Guardian
Escaping Boko Haram on the Road From Bama | Al Jazeera America
Notice, not from the NYT…
About Yemen: Yemen Civil War? Masses Rally in Capital & South Secedes | Informed Comment
And now back to the US:
The following links are dealing with the GOP…and the usual shit.
House GOP Aborts Dumb Anti-Choice Bill Because Ladies Vote Too, Huh | Wonkette
The GOP White Guy Club Vs. Gynecology | The Mahablog
Free To Be Dumb: The Republican Iowa Freedom Summit Lives Up To Its Billing | News Corpse
“20-Week Bans Are Devastating for Women Like Me” | Mother Jones
Jorge Ramos, Voice of Latino Voters on Univision, Sends Shiver Through G.O.P. – NYTimes.com
Weeping Christian men apologize for letting you have an abortion
Funny or Die Apologizes for That Christian Bro Abortion Apology Video
And while on the subject of coochies:
Teen poses as doctor for month before caught in Florida | WGN-TV
Police in Florida and officials at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach have agreed not to charge a teenager they caught posing as a doctor.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports police were called Tuesday after a patient alerted staff at the medical center’s OB/GYN office that a juvenile dressed in a lab coat was inside an exam room. The patient said the lab coat had St. Mary’s logo and “anesthesiology” stitched on the front.
A security guard told police he’d seen the teen around the hospital for a month. Another said the teen entered secured areas of the hospital this week.
The teen told police he’s been a doctor for years.
The teen’s mother told police he’s under the care of a doctor and is not taking his medicine.
On to the Arts…Movies…etc.
Selma: Black History According to Oprah | Black Agenda Report
Julie Walters: lack of working-class actors is sad | Culture | The Guardian
Samuel L Jackson: ‘I create characters – it keeps me from being me all day’ | Film | The Guardian
Mission To Mars begins with some of the worst expository dialogue ever · Scenic Routes · The A.V. Club
Richard McWhorter, Legendary Assistant Director, Dies at 100 – The Hollywood Reporter
German scientists invent working teleporter, of sorts | Technology | The Guardian
Warner Bros’ bold stance on Wonder Woman opens the door for Hollywood evolution – Comment – Voices – The Independent
And something that will probably make a film one of these days, have you seen this story out of Argentina:
Spies, lies and death: plot thickens in Argentine scandal | Reuters
Prosecutor in Argentina presidential case was shot point-blank in forehead: authorities
Journalist who broke news of prosecutor’s death flees Argentina | Reuters
Gosh, what a lot of links for you today, and I’ve got a couple more:
Experts examine bones as Spain hunts for Cervantes’ remains (Update)
Who was Chaucer? | Books | The Guardian
And end with two stories on women, journalism and internet threats.
Jezebel staffers express concern after Gawker Media seating chart is published | Capital New York
Wikipedia tacitly endorses GamerGate by blocking its opponents from editing gender-related articles | PandoDaily
That’s all folks….
BTW, here is a gallery of images, some of which were not put up in the post here.
Sunday Reads: Wishing Ain’t GettingPosted: August 3, 2014 Filed under: 2016 elections, A My Pet Goat Moment, Anti-War, Barack Obama, Diplomacy Nightmares, Drone Warfare, George W. Bush, History, morning reads, Real Life Horror, Republican politics, science 24 Comments
Yesterday Boston Boomer made a “wish” in the comment section,
I wish something good would happen in the news.
Oh yes….me too!
I think there are many of us out there who do agree with her. Things have gotten way outta control, and for someone in my situation…honestly, I have checked out.
Even BB’s awesome post last week about TimeWarner being sold to Murdock, the only thing running through my brain was, “Oh no…what will happen to Turner Classic Movies!!!!” For that is the only thing saving my sanity these days.
I can’t deal with war and torture and abandoned children, its too much. My usual outlet, sarcastic humor is gone, nothing can bring about a smartass remark or cheeky comment these days…I’m done.
So again I will just tread water today and give you a quick dump of links.
Starting with a couple of assholes: Awful: Couple Ditches Baby with Down Syndrome with Thai Surrogate
An anonymous Australian couple has ignited a huge controversy after abandoning a baby they had using a surrogate because he had Down syndrome and taking his healthy twin sister back to Australia with them. Because humanity just wasn’t insufferable enough.
Because commercial surrogacy is outlawed in Australia (though they may use an altruistic surrogate who does not receive any payment outside medical expenses), many couples seek options overseas to make things easier. Fertility clinics in places like Thailand and India have become hotspots as they are a much easier options for overseas parents-to-be and poorer Indian women can make a considerable amount of money from surrogacy.
Pattaramon Chanbua of Thailand agreed to be a surrogate for the unnamed Australian couple in question. According to Sydney Morning Herald, Pattaramon discovered she was having twins three months after being injected with the Australian woman’s fertilized eggs and was promised an additional sum of money. The next month they discovered one of the babies had Down syndrome. When the agency informed the Australian couple, they said they were not going to take the boy and allegedly asked her to have an abortion—which she refused.
When she gave birth to the twins in December of last year, the agent took the healthy baby girl, and left her with the baby boy. Pattaramon claims that she has yet to be fully compensated by the agency. She has never met the Australian parents.
Pattaramon, 21, is already the mother of two children, and was expecting to use the surrogacy money to provide for her family, educating her children and repaying debts. Now, she has been left with a much more considerable burden, as there is no way she can afford the medical bills necessary to treat the baby, named Gammy. She stated, via the Guardian:
“Why does he have to be abandoned while the other baby has it easy? I feel sorry for him. I don’t know what to do. I chose to have him, not to hurt him. I love him. He was in my tummy for nine months, it’s like my child. I treat him like my other children, never think you are not my child and I don’t care for you, never.”
As you can see below, the BBC is taking the Australian side of the story:
BBC News – Calls for clearer surrogacy rules after Thai Down’s case
Surrogacy campaigners have called for clearer regulation after a Thai woman was left with a Down’s syndrome baby when his parents refused to take him.
The boy, whose twin sister was taken to Australia by the unidentified couple, needs urgent medical care.
The surrogate mother in Thailand says she will raise the boy as her own and an online campaign has raised $185,000 (£110,000) for his treatment.
The case has raised fears Australia could ban international surrogacy.
The baby boy, named Gammy, has a congenital heart condition and a lung infection as well as Down’s syndrome. He is currently receiving urgent treatment in a Thai hospital.
Rachel Kunde, the group’s executive director, said she hoped the case would lead to better regulation by the Australian authorities of international surrogacy, rather than an outright ban.
“Our greatest fear is that Australia is going to ban international surrogacy altogether,” she said. “We are hoping that the government will make accessing surrogates in Australia easier.”
Nicola Scott, a British lawyer specialising in fertility issues, says a lack of regulation leaves the child vulnerable because issues such as termination are not discussed in advance.
She says the answer to the problem is an international treaty similar to the Hague Adoption Convention so that parents know what the situation is from the outset.
“Then each country would have its own rules and regulations and the parents, surrogates and children would be protected,” she added.
Then you have the Independent: Thai surrogate mother of ‘abandoned’ Down’s twin Gammy will keep him and says she doesn’t blame Australian couple
Wow. The Jezebel article mentions the amount of disabled babies that are left abandoned by biological parents who use these surrogates…it is disgusting to think they would leave their children to rot in third world conditions…a hell, and many times leave the mothers who acted as surrogates holding the bag, er baby, if you will.
There has been a lot of noise about this:
That link will take you to this: It’s Not Easy to Hold the CIA Accountable by Martin Longman | Political Animal | The Washington Monthly
Then look here:
He called the torturers patriots…
… and then lectured the American people that we are not to be “sanctimonious” about it because they had a tough job.
…We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.
I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen, and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent, and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. And it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. And a lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots.
These “folks” are big on sending messages. What “message” do you suppose that sent? When a patriot has a tough job we can’t expect him to adhere to the law? Or norms? Or even basic morality? Looks like it. Good to know.
I remember reading somewhere during the whole torture debate that the right thing to do was to keep torture officially “illegal” for deniability but do it anyway and then throw yourself on the mercy of the people afterwards telling them that it was necessary to protect them. That way you could keep up the pretense that we were a civilized nation while being allowed to “take the gloves off.” For our own good, mind you. Looks like that’s the new SOP.
Like I said, I have not fully read those links there. I cannot process it. So I just post these and take it from there.
Another Digby: Hullabaloo
The keepers of the secrets
Conor Friedersdorf speculates about the power someone like John Brennan must have over a president who has ordered killings overseas:
I am not suggesting that Brennan is blackmailing Obama, or even that he would necessarily retaliate if fired. Still, if Obama is like most people in positions of power, he fires no subordinate without first asking himself, “Could this person damage me?” If Obama is a normal person, rather than an unusually principled person, the answer factors into his decision.
Holy Shit! Obama must have done something huge!
Obama steps up to call Bush-era CIA Torture “Torture,” Despite Legal Implications | Informed Comment
CNN points out that President Obama’s forthright condemnation of Bush administration-era CIA torture could cause legal problems for Agency employees, and that the Congressional report he was talking about avoided that diction. Obama doesn’t very often any more speak his mind, but in this case he clearly felt strongly enough about the betrayal of constitutional values to do so.
Okay, let’s move on.
Crazy ass right wing shitkickers! 5 Most Demented Right-Wing Moments This Week | Alternet
I can’t believe this nightmare is ongoing: Domestic Abuse Victim Marissa Alexander Faces 60 Years in Prison for Self Defense | Care2 Causes
Ever wonder what it is like at Ground Zero Ebola: Eyewitness: A day at an Ebola treatment unit – Comment – Voices – The Independent
I enter… it could be a scene from a horror film
I wake with a sore throat. It’s almost certainly due to inhaling chlorine fumes from our disinfectant, but since two people working for another NGO tested positive, paranoia has set in, so I take my temperature for the 10th time that morning.
It’s my last day of work, so I’m going to the Ebola treatment unit to say goodbye to the staff and to lend a hand; in the past week, some local staff have resigned or just not turned up. I can’t blame them – they’re scared.
Arrive at the treatment centre. Hear the predictable news of many deaths inside. Get dressed up in protective clothing, with Sara, an MSF doctor. Three hygienists are joining us to move the bodies. We label the body bags before entering. I like to double-bag bodies but now there aren’t enough bags to go round.
After checking that not a millimetre of skin is showing, enter the zone for suspected cases. Empty the buckets of faeces and vomit and say cheerful good mornings to the patients. I spray chlorine solution as I go – we touch nothing without spraying, even though we wear three pairs of gloves.
Enter the zone for confirmed cases. This should house 10 patients, but in fact has 14.
It’s very humid and my tiredness has made the time I can stay in the protective gear shorter. Sweat is dripping into my eyes. I cross the outdoor area, where body bags are lying on the ground. The morgue is full so now we are leaving the dead outside. The burial teams can’t keep up. I turn the corner and find a dead man in the doorway. Looks like he crawled there.
I enter… it could be a scene from a horror film.
Read the rest at the link.
Words….words…..words….World Wide Words Newsletter: 2 Aug 2014
Have you ever swum in the warm water of a lake in summer and found when treading water that your feet suddenly became uncomfortably cold? If so, you experienced something that limnologists, experts on lakes, describe by the rather splendid and poetic-sounding pair epilimnion and hypolimnion.
When the sun heats a smallish body of water, the topmost layer of water warms up, but because warm water is less dense than cold, it stays on top. That top area is the epilimnion. The cold water below it, which may not warm up much during the summer if the lake is at all deep, is the hypolimnion.
The root of both epilimnion and hypolimnion is the classical Greek limnion, the diminutive of limne, a lake. Limnologist and the subject of study, limnology, are very closely related — they derive from limne. Epi- is Greek for upon or above, while hypo- is from Greek hupo, under.
The epilimnion and hypolimnion are separated by a thinnish layer where the temperature drops quickly. You might guess this is sometimes called the metalimnion (Greek meta-, with or across), though it’s commonly referred to as the thermocline.
Most examples of epilimnion are in scientific contexts, though it also crops up very occasionally in SF:
The brown sphere was spotted after some days by a prowling ameba, quiescent in the eternal winter of the bottom. Down there the temperature was always an even 4°, no matter what the season, but it was unheard of that a spore should be found there while the high epilimnion was still warm and rich in oxygen.
Surface Tension, by James Blish, 1952.
Now re-read that with your pinky up to your mouth.
Book review: MIND Reviews: I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey Through the Science of Sound and Language – Scientific American
Science Link: Society bloomed with gentler personalities, more feminine faces: Technology boom 50,000 years ago correlated with less testosterone — ScienceDaily
Medieval Link: Is there a Sixth Sense in the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries?
Pretty pictures of fruit link: BibliOdyssey: Swiss Fruit
Old Hollywood: Saturday Morning Cartoons: Dizzy Dishes (1930) | The Black Maria
Classic Hollywood Style: Edith Head, the best sort of designing woman – LA Times
Various links about the 100th Anniversary of World War I:
The Lamps are going out all over Europe | Stephen Liddell
Inside the brothels that served the Western Front: How one First World War soldier found love in the arms of a French sweetheart – World History – World – The Independent
A foreign secretary’s pyrotechnic display of mixed signals that sentenced 800,000 British soldiers and sailors to death – Comment – Voices – The Independent
And the last dumbass, end of post, have a nice day….set of links:
Chinese Businessman Sells Peaches in Panties Because Butts
Drunk People Are Causing Quite the Ruckus at the London Zoo
An investigation into parties held at the London Zoo has been launched because apparently it takes an investigation to see that putting people drunk off their ass in the same vicinity as wild animals is a terrible fucking idea.
The Westminster Council is compiling a report on Zoo Lates, a weekly program for adults at the London Zoo that sounds like a hoot and a holler:
Every Friday night in June and July, London Zoo is opening after hours and inviting visitors to explore the wilds of the ultimate urban jungle.
Monkeys go ape and birds of paradise strut their stuff with animal talks, improvised comedy, twisted cabaret, roving performances, pop up bars, street food festival, carousel rides, and approximately 17500 creatures great and small.
Fun, right? And alcohol is served at these events, so what could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot. Sources at the London Zoo have voiced some plenty of concerns after multiple incidents in which some of the more shithoused Lates-goers were a bit too enthusiastic about their love/indifference for animals. These incidents include “a beer being thrown over a tiger, a drunken woman reportedly trying to enter a lion enclosure and a man stripping off and attempting to enter the penguin pool.”
This Chorus of Baby Goats Would Like a Word With You
I think I will go ahead and tag this post…A My Pet Goat Moment…so, what’s up with you?
Sunday Reads: Anti-Vaccine Hysteria brought to you by Jenny McCarthy, Pretty Illustrations by Hedvig Collin, and Medieval Dwarf Characterizations by Your Preconceived IdeasPosted: January 5, 2014 Filed under: Anti-War, Department of Homeland Security, Discrimination against women, Foreign Affairs, History, Human Rights, Japan, Marriage Equality, misogyny, morning reads, North Korea, religious extremists, Russia, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Politics, Violence against women, War on Women, Women's Rights | Tags: anti-vaccination twits, Fukushima, Tina Turner, Vegas 18 Comments
Oh, I cannot wait to get to the link on Medieval Dwarfs…but until that time comes, here are some stories for you on this fucking* cold ass Sunday Morning!
(*Just FYI, we passed freaking cold ass on Friday night.)
Today’s post will feature artwork by illustrator Hedvig Collin. When I look at her work, I think of Jessie Wilcox…and other women artist/illustrators at the time.
Hedvig Collin was educated at the Drawing and Industrial Art School for Women in preparation for the Royal Academy School for Women , where she studied in 1903 – 1907 . She continued her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts decoration school in 1 909 – 1910 and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris . In 1915 she studied freskoteknik on Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin . She had from 1904 repeated studies in France , she performed in the 1920s and 1930s, traveling to Italy , Greece , Poland , Germany , Czechoslovakia and England . In the period 1922 – 1925 and again during the second World War she was in the United States .
Hedvig Collin painted most portraits and landscapes , but was also an illustrator of children’s books; 1 916 – 1922 she published several illustrated children’s song books, for example. Our Children’s Songs (1916), and the Children’s Picture Book (1922).
While looking for information about Collins, I could not find anything on an “English” website, so the only sources are in Dutch or German. This one here has lots of postcard images, which many of the images in the post are from: Google Translate-Hedvig Collin 1880-1964 by Per Sorensen
Parents: Photographer Alfred Collin and Ottilia f Bloch.
Hedvig Collin was unmarried.
She was a painter, illustrator, journalist and author.
Hedvig Collin was educated at drawing and industrial arts school for women and later graduated from the Academy of Arts, where she studied from 1903 to 1909. Later she took extra education in Paris.
Hedvig Collin traveled extensively throughout Europe and the U.S., and she drew a large number of illustrations – both Danish and foreign publications. However, it was illustrations for children’s books, which became her biggest mark – no one has she been able to put themselves in the children’s place and make illustrations for children. From 1916-1922, she published each year, along with colleagues, the very well known, illustrated children’s song books. She has also made many children portraits.
Her postcard production also bear the imprint of children and fairy tales, and you can clearly see the French inspiration in her work. See for example the “Lady with the Little Dog,” which is very similar to Gerda Wegner line.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures…let’s get this show started!
Seems like Fukushima is well on its way to becoming another something more than a metaphor for the phrase “Fucked up.” When things are Fukushima’d up…it is beyond anything FUBAR could ever comprehend. ‘Duct tape, wire nets’ were used to mend Fukushima water tanks – worker — RT News
The 48 year old Japanese man said that workers were sent to various places in Fukushima, including an area called H3 with high radiation levels.
In one of those cases in October 2012, Uechi was given a task to cover five or six storage tanks without lids in the “E” area close to H3 as it was raining, the Japanese paper reported. When he climbed to the top of the 10-meter-high tank Uechi found white adhesive tape covering an opening of about 30 centimeters. After using a blade to remove the tape he applied a sealing agent on the opening and fit a steel lid fastening it with bolts. According to instructions he was to use four bolts, though the lid had eight bolt holes.
According to the employee, his colleagues later told him that the use of adhesive tape was a usual practice to deal with the problem of sealing in radioactive water.
“I couldn’t believe that such slipshod work was being done, even if it was part of stopgap measures,” Uechi told The Asahi Shimbun.
Among other makeshift cost-cutting measures was the use of second-hand materials. Uechi also said that wire nets were used instead of reinforcing bars during the placement of concrete for storage tank foundations. In addition, waterproof sheets were applied along the joints inside flange-type cylindrical tanks to save on the sealing agent used to join metal sheets of the storage tanks. Rain and snow had washed away the anti-corrosive agent applied around clamping bolts, reducing the sealing effect, Uechi added. According to the Fukushima worker, many of the tanks were later found to be leaking contaminated water.
Now, granted…that is from RT.com, and it goes without saying that there could be some bias on the reporting of a Russian nuclear disaster compared to a foreign one…but read the rest of the “stopgap” measures at the link.
Meanwhile: Dennis Rodman Names Team For North Korea Exhibition That Includes Former NBA All-Stars
NBA All-Stars Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, and Vin Baker. Craig Hodges, Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith are on the team, as well. They will play against a top North Korean Senior National team on Jan. 8, marking Kim Jong Un’s birthday.
I have no idea who these NBA stars are, but this is really a stupid move on their part.
And if we are talking stupid, I put a link to this yesterday in the comments, but it deserves front page status: New Report Says: Jenny McCarthy’s Son May Not Have Had Autism After All – Hollywood Life
After years of speaking out about her son’s autism — and against childhood immunizations — Jenny McCarthy is reversing her position.
After years of speaking publicly about her belief that MMR shots (immunization for measles, mumps, and rubella) caused her son to suffer from autism, Jenny McCarthy now faces the reality that her 7-year-old son Evan — who no longer shows any signs of autism — may likely have lived with completely different illness.
A new article in Time magazine — which Jenny was interviewed for — suggests Evan suffers from Landau-Kleffner syndrome, “a rare childhood neurological disorder that can also result in speech impairment and possible long-term neurological damage.”
All that shit spewed from Jenny’s lips…because of misdiagnosis? How many idiots have listened to that anti-immunization “Tits McCarthy” idiot and how many kids have paid the price?
I know I am jumping around today, but…check this out: Woman Attorney Launches Saudi Arabia’s First All-Lady Law Firm
Just a few months after Saudi Arabia allowed women to serve in court, the first licensed woman attorney Bayan Mahmoud Al-Zahran has just opened the first female law firm, dedicated to representing women and bringing women’s rights issues into the courts. YES.
Women have continually been neglected by the court system for a number of reasons, including simply not being taken seriously by male lawyers. Women’s issues concerning conflicts like inheritance, domestic violence, marriage, and you know, that whole driving thing are often simply dismissed. Also, while more women are joining the workforce, the country has yet to catch up in terms of legal support for working women.
Clearly Al-Zahran has her work cut out for her four-woman team, but as reported at Arab News, she’s ready for the challenge:
“I believe women lawyers can contribute a lot to the legal system. This law firm will make a difference in the history of court cases and female disputes in the Kingdom. I am very hopeful and thank everyone who supported me in taking this historical step.”
Just in time, because watch out, we know that some men in the U.S. are trying to take women backwards to a time a place very much like the one these Saudi women are working to pull themselves out of…
Did you see the latest on the men’s rights front? Men’s rights activists call for rape ‘accuse-a-thon’ to smear sex assault victims advocate | The Raw Story
A men’s rights group is encouraging its followers to falsely accuse a sexual assault victims advocate of rape in a stunt intended to undermine the veracity of all rape accusations.
Paul Elam, founder of the website A Voice For Men, hosted an online discussion Wednesday with his site’s editor-in-chief, John Hembling, and feminist critic Karen Straughn to discuss their plan to harass executive director of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton.
“I have looked at a number of cases where people have reported alien abductions were they were prodded and poked and had different orifices in their bodies explored by aliens in spaceships, and a common theme among these is that it turns out, in most of these cases, it was Karen Smith,” Elam said. “It wasn’t aliens.”
The men’s rights movement has been angry at Smith since at least this summer, when she helped promote the “Don’t Be That Guy” rape prevention campaign that inspired imitators in other cities and a counter campaign blaming women for their own sexual assaults.
Men’s rights activists also conspired to shut down a website that allowed the anonymous reporting of sexual assaults by flooding the system with false complaints.
How about this, all this news about Colorado, and the amount of money the state will get from Marijuana sales tax…What about Vegas, ‘marriage capital of the world,’ left at the altar on gay weddings | Al Jazeera America
Because of a state constitutional ban, Nevada’s wedding industry loses untold millions while other states make it legal.
Here is two stories on commercial flying…
Customs officials explain why they destroyed musician’s prized flutes | The Raw Story
Yeah, they mention a plant pathogen. I don’t know…
CEO predictions for the next 100 years of flying – Yahoo Finance
Did you know that commercial flights began in my hometown of Tampa Florida?
Millions of people step aboard airplanes each day, complaining about the lack of legroom and overhead space but almost taking for granted that they can travel thousands of miles in just a few hours.
Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial flight: a 23-minute hop across Florida’s Tampa Bay. The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line was subsidized by St. Petersburg officials who wanted more winter tourists in their city. The alternative: an 11-hour train ride from Tampa.
Pilot Tony Jannus had room for just one passenger, who sat next to him in the open cockpit. Three months later — when tourism season ended — so did the subsidy. The airline had carried 1,204 passengers but would never fly again.
Remember that Nazi salute I mentioned last week? Here is an update: Concern Over an Increasingly Seen Gesture Grows in France – NYTimes.com
The rest of today’s links are fun stuff…or “special interest.”
There is a special coming up on PBS: ‘The Poisoner’s Handbook’ details birth of forensic science in US | Culture | McClatchy DC
I love the title of this Medieval guidebook: Advice Concerning Pregnancy and Health in Late Medieval Europe: Peasant Women’s Wisdom in The Distaff Gospels
This paper explores an area which has proven difficult for scholars to penetrate: women’s popular wisdom concerning medical matters in the later medieval period. Contextualized within an examination of medieval medical texts both by and about women, our discussion focuses on a later 15th-century French work, The Distaff Gospels. This text, published recently in English for the first time since 1510, consists of more than 200 pieces of advice or “gospels,” ostensibly conveyed to one another by a group of women who met together during the long winter evenings to spin. A significant portion of the advice might be considered “medical” in nature; it is grouped into two broad categories: pregnancy and health. We conclude that although our text is male mediated, it provides a reliable and valuable guide to peasant women’s medical lore during this period.
Another medieval paper for you: Anorexia and the Holiness of Saint Catherine of Siena
In the medieval period, the control, renunciation, and torture of the body were understood not so much as a rejection of the physical, but as a way of achieving the divine. Gradually, the manifestations of this renunciation of the body came to apply peculiarly to women, for whom this state may be defined as “holy anorexia,” identified by the following features.
The Female Body as an Expression of Sexuality. The body of the woman was seen as an expression of sexuality, curvaceous with prominent breasts, and was thought to be the product of the woman herself, whereas the male body was formed by God. This supposition was confirmed by the extremely changeable nature of the female body, particularly in terms of control. Thus, the female easily slipped into a trance, into levitation, into catatonic states, leading rapidly to asceticism or anorexia. She displayed spontaneous lactation and bleeding, manifestations that sometimes were accompanied by stigmata. Indeed, at least fifteen medieval saints bled at the moment they received the Eucharist. In contrast, of saints in other periods of history, only Padre Pio and San Francesco displayed stigmata that were preserved on their bodies after death. If we are to consider specifically anorexia as a characteristic of sanctity, we must examine the periods of 1200 and the end of 1500 when Theresa of Avila (a Spanish saint who joined with a mystic force and spirit to reform Catholicism, resulting in the reinvigoration of all religious orders) began frequently to use twigs of olives to induce vomiting and completely empty her stomach. In this way she was able to truly take into herself the Host, which became her unique source of sustenance. From an investigation of the conduct of 170 Italian medieval saints by Rudolph Bell, fully one half of them exhibited symptoms of anorexia.
More at the link…lots more.
The next medieval link has a special place in my heart…The Hole: Problems in Medieval Dwarfology
When trying to understand Old Norse dwarfs, one problem is knowing too much. Almost everyone comes to the old texts with some preconceived idea of dwarfs, if not from The Lord of the Rings, then from romances, folktales and modern novels, all presenting their own consistent image of dwarfs. However, although later representations of dwarfs may have some relevance to medieval dwarfs, in this study I will try to limit myself to what can be discerned from medieval sources. That is not really possible: I, like everyone else, have known since childhood what a dwarf is. And yet I think the attempt may have some merit, in spite of being bound to fail in the most rigorous sense.
What I will attempt here is to pay close attention to the nature of the sources and what they reveal, or, as if often the case, do not reveal. Mythological scholarship is characterized by inclusiveness, a tendency to collect information en masse, sometimes with little discussion of the nature of the sources. When it comes to Old Norse dwarfs, it might be helpful to distinguish between three types of sources, in which their nature and function may take various forms. While there is perhaps not a case to be made for dramatically contrasting views in the Middle Ages, it is unwise to assume that all medieval sources agree on the nature, character and function of dwarfs.
You have to sign up on the site to download that article, or look for it here: HoleArvMedDwa.
This one is for Dak: Skeletons ‘Embracing’ In Death May Represent Gruesome Ancient Siberian Custom (PHOTO)
Bill Nye is going to kick some Creationist ass: Bill Nye to visit Creation Museum for evolution debate | AccessNorthGa
A new exhibit in Brookyn: Susan Sontag was right: War photography can anesthetize – Salon.com
And lastly, one hot mama: The Tina Turner Blog On Twitter Is Pretty Much Everything
There are few things we love as much as Tina Turner, so you can imagine how ecstatic we were when we came across the Tina Turner Blog on Twitter. The account tweets up-to-the-minute news, videos and most importantly, awesome throwback photos of the singer. And we have to say, this lady has serious style.
Well, if that doesn’t get you…what about these legs?
Have a wonderful day and stay warm!
Friday Reads: Make Love not WarPosted: April 19, 2013 Filed under: Afghanistan, Anti-War, children, Domestic terrorism, Drone Warfare, Egypt, Foreign Affairs, Great Britain, India, Iraq, Israel, morning reads, Saudi Arabia, Syria | Tags: Bombings Boston, Bombings Cambodia and Laos, Bombings Gaza, bombings India, Bombings Iraq, Bombings Ireland, Bombings London, Bombings Spain, Bombings Syria, gun violence 81 Comments
We certainly have created a lot of ways to destroy each other haven’t we? We also seem to breed a lot of individuals that are capable of doing great harm without reservation. This week has brought the carnage once again into our back yard. It is important to remember that we have brought and are bringing worse carnage and that we are not alone in our experience.
We have sophisticated drones that appear to take out as many innocents as they do bad guys. Just yesterday in Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed 26 in a crowded cafe. Less than a month ago, 2 blasts occurred in a busy shopping district of Hyderabad, India. These twin blasts killed 14 people and injured 119. Seventeen were injured today in Bangalore in a car bomb blast. Neither India or Boston are war zones. Baghdad was not a war zone until we invaded it. We left it to whatever it is today.
Then, there is the daily amount of gun violence in the country. Let me return to Boston for this perspective.
Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said today that he hopes to cut gun crimes in half this summer during Boston’s most violent months: July and August, when the city typically sees between 37 and 48 shootings each month.
The department’s ranks were boosted as 28 members of the force were promoted and one new officer was named during a ceremony this morning.
Davis said those promotions represent the department’s efforts to fill vacancies in preparation for the summertime.
“We’re going to have a full court press on those months this year,” said Davis. “We’re gonna do a lot of preventive work leading up to those months. There’s gonna be a significant amount of attention paid to the impact players in the city. We want them to put their weapons down.”
Nationally, we experience 88 gun deaths a day. There have been about 3,524 gun deaths in this country since the Sandy Hook Slaughter. As you carefully read that sign made by the youngest victim of the Boston Bombs above, consider this:
… a child in the U.S is about 13 times more likely to be a victim of a firearm-related homicide than children in most other industrialized nations.
Firearms were the third leading cause of injury-related deaths nationwide in 2010, following poisoning and motor vehicle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For the sake of comparison, in 2010 there were more than twice as many firearms deaths in the U.S. than terrorism-related deaths worldwide.
Then consider how completely ignorant most people are of our violent legacies to other countries. Think of mass murderers of the 20th century, and then read this.
Mr. Kissinger’s most significant historical act was executing Richard Nixon’s orders to conduct the most massive bombing campaign, largely of civilian targets, in world history. He dropped 3.7 million tons of bombs** between January 1969 and January 1973 – nearly twice the two million dropped on all of Europe and the Pacific in World War II. He secretly and illegally devastated villages throughout areas of Cambodia inhabited by a U.S. Embassy-estimated two million people; quadrupled the bombing of Laos and laid waste to the 700-year old civilization on the Plain of Jars; and struck civilian targets throughout North Vietnam – Haiphong harbor, dikes, cities, Bach Mai Hospital – which even Lyndon Johnson had avoided. His aerial slaughter helped kill, wound or make homeless an officially-estimated six million human beings**, mostly civilians who posed no threat whatsoever to U.S. national security and had committed no offense against it.
Let’s grasp Lady Lindsey’s flip comments here about drone deaths. This is our current undertaking for “Peace in Our Time”.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch supporter of the U.S. drone wars, Wednesday become the first government official to put a number on the estimated drone strike death toll.
“We’ve killed 4,700,” Graham said during a speech at a South Carolina rotary club, reported on by the local Easley Patch and flagged by Al Jazeera.
“This is the first time a US official has put a total number on it,” said Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations told Al Jazeera, but Graham’s office stated that the senator was only repeating “the figure that has been publicly reported and disseminated on cable news.” Graham’s figure aligns with estimates from groups included the U.K.-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), which has calculate that between 3,072 and 4,756 people have been killed by U.S. drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Graham’s figure did not distinguish between “combatant” and “civilian” casualties — a distinction which has, in the War on Terror, prompted debate. But the senator did reportedly say, “Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we’re at war, and we’ve taken out some very senior members of al-Qaida.”
I’d like to know why some acts of violence attract so much attention and outrage? Tons of folks have been out in their virtual scooby vans warping into the witch hunt version of Encyclopedia Brown trying to finger the ‘dark skinned’ individuals that could’ve set the bombs on the Boston Marathon route. Have any of these idiots ever looked at the gun death rate in their own town or state? Have they ever concerned the morality of bombing wedding celebrations? Are they still taking Henry Kissinger or Donald Rumsfeld seriously? Have they possibly cracked a paper to find out exactly how many bombings happen on this planet and how many of them we commit? For that matter, why aren’t they looking for guys that look like Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph? Ever been to London and tried to find a trash can?
In London, public trash cans are hard to come by, as they’re an easy receptacle for bombs. Which makes it hard to throw things away properly! Now, the city is going to bring trash cans back, but they’re going to be big, hulking masses, totally bomb-proof and equipped with LCD screens to tell you the days news as you throw away your coffee cup.
Traveling to Europe–especially London–in the 1970s and 1980s included an introduction to basic instructions on what to do if a bomb went off and what to do to avoid being in an area that was likely subject to bombing. There are still Basque separatists bombing Spain. We’re coming up on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. I was in Europe a lot in 1972 and it was like the year of the bomb over there. But, again, there was Kissinger too. It was the year I learned not to look or sound overly American.
Hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were forced to live in holes and caves, like animals. Many tens of thousands were burned alive by the bombs, slowly dying in agony. Others were buried alive, as they gradually suffocated to death when a 500 pound bomb exploded nearby. Most were victims of antipersonnel bombs designed primarily to maim not kill, many of the survivors carrying the metal, jagged or plastic pellets in their bodies for the rest of their lives.
Then, riddle me this. What is the difference between setting bombs on the street filled with crowds, or a bomb in a cafe, or a drone that hits a wedding or having one Texas “Job Creator” callously killing an entire city and a lot of its inhabitants because he just doesn’t want to be bothered with work place safety regulations or say, proper placement of a dangerous plant to start out with? I mean what exactly do you call a guy that runs a business that blows up an entire town and kills–at this point in time–35 people including 10 first responders? (That’s a link to CNN and USA Today so consider it with care.)
It really bothers me that we–as a nation–appear to have selective attention on what kind of violence gets our shock and attention and what kinds of violence we choose to ignore every day, every year, or in the case of the atrocities of Kissinger, every decade or four. We have had some horrific carnage recently. We’ve had children slaughtered in their classroom. We’ve had folks standing on the street celebrating a holiday ending up in hospital with wounds severe enough to warrant the kinds of amputees soldiers need in Afghanistan. This is horrific, but it does not operate in a vacuum or a world where we have done no wrong or where these kinds of events are rare.
So, call me Debbie Downer and tell me to get my unpatriotic ass out of the country or call me insensitive. I want to see a consistent and strong level of outrage, shock, and trauma displayed for all innocent victims of unspeakable violence. The hometowns of all of these victims should be our hometowns.
Here is a great question from a great writer, Juan Cole. Can the Boston Bombings increase our Sympathy for Iraq and Syria, for all such Victims?
The idea of three dead, several more critically wounded, and over a 100 injured, merely for running in a marathon (often running for charities or victims of other tragedies) is terrible to contemplate. Our hearts are broken for the victims and their family and friends, for the runners who will not run again.
There is negative energy implicit in such a violent event, and there is potential positive energy to be had from the way that we respond to it. To fight our contemporary pathologies, the tragedy has to be turned to empathy and universal compassion rather than to anger and racial profiling. Whatever sick mind dreamed up this act did not manifest the essence of any large group of people. Terrorists and supremacists represent only themselves, and always harm their own ethnic or religious group along with everyone else.
The negative energies were palpable. Fox News contributor Erik Rush tweeted, “Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them! C’mon!” When asked if he was already scapegoating Muslims, he replied, ““Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.” Challenged on that, he replied, “Sarcasm, idiot!” What would happen, I wonder, if someone sarcastically asked on Twitter why, whenever there is a bombing in the US, one of the suspects everyone has to consider is white people? I did, mischievously and with Mr. Rush in mind, and was told repeatedly that it wasn’t right to tar all members of a group with the brush of a few. They were so unselfconscious that they didn’t seem to realize that this was what was being done to Muslims!
Indeed, sympathy for Boston’s victims has come from around the world from places like Iraq that we’ve plastered with bombs not that long ago. Condemnation for this act came from elected officials in Egypt from the Muslim Brotherhood which has been absolutely slathered with the mark of satan by the likes of our elected officials like whacko Michelle Bachmann. This part of Cole’s essay really got to me and I was already teary eyed hearing about Jane and Martin Richard from their school’s headmaster on Last Word.
Some Syrians and Iraqis pointed out that many more people died from bombings and other violence in their countries on Monday than did Americans, and that they felt slighted because the major news networks in the West (which are actually global media) more or less ignored their carnage but gave wall to wall coverage of Boston.
Aljazeera English reported on the Iraq bombings, which killed some 46 in several cities, and were likely intended to disrupt next week’s provincial election.
Over the weekend, Syrian regime fighter jets bombed Syrian cities, killing two dozen people, including non-combatants:
What happened in Boston is undeniably important and newsworthy. But so is what happened in Iraq and Syria. It is not the American people’s fault that they have a capitalist news model, where news is often carried on television to sell advertising. The corporations have decided that for the most part, Iraq and Syria aren’t what will attract Nielsen viewers and therefore advertising dollars. Given the global dominance by US news corporations, this decision has an impact on coverage in much of the world.
Here is a video by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) on the dilemma of the over one million displaced Syrians, half of them children:
So I’d like to turn the complaint on its head. Having experienced the shock and grief of the Boston bombings, cannot we in the US empathize more with Iraqi victims and Syrian victims? Compassion for all is the only way to turn such tragedies toward positive energy.
Perhaps some Americans, in this moment of distress, will be willing to be also distressed over the dreadful conditions in which Syrian refugees are living, and will be willing to go to the aid of Oxfam’s Syria appeal. Some of those Syrians living in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey were also hit by shrapnel or lost limbs. Perhaps some of us will donate to them in the name of our own Boston Marathon victims of senseless violence.
Terrorism has no nation or religion. But likewise its victims are human beings, precious human beings, who must be the objects of compassion for us all.
It is absolutely true that the shortcomings of our press this week were on parade this week. They basically spent hour-after-hour in what seemed like a glorified witch hunt. But there is a bigger injustice and short coming. Other people around the world–suffering and dying–deserve to have their stories told also. Every innocent victim of violence deserves justice and recognition. This is true of those 88 who die every day in this country from guns. It is true of all those killed by state violence be it ours or Bashar al-Assad or the crazy jerks that set of bombs on streets all over the world or fire military style weapons in our schools and movie theaters. All of this should cause the press to do its job and it should cause our hearts to grieve equally. Why obsess minute by minute on one act when there is a world full of them to choose from? Why not give all of the victims of violence their due?
So, what is on your reading and blogging list today?