Jon McNaughton painted a take on George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, except in this version Trump is commanding a boat filled with members of his administration.
“Trump endeavors to cross the ‘swamp’ of Washington D.C. as he carries the light of truth, hope and prosperity,” McNaughton wrote. “The murky water of the deep state is laced with dangerous vermin, perfectly willing to destroy American prosperity for their personal ideologies and financial gain.”
Take a peek at the link to see the various jokes, I’ve posted one of the funnier ones below, which conveniently also shows what the original painting looks like….
lot to unpack here but obvious observations first: Bolton looks like he's hunting Bugs Bunny and Jared Kushner has been left off the boat. https://t.co/G6kiZCi3XR
You can also see another new “work of art” (excuse me while I vomit) below…I don’t know what the name of that piece of shit is…but it must have Strangling the Mueller somewhere in the title.
Nah, see? It is called Expose the Truth. God it is fucking disgusting.
So, now that I have posted some of the visual images for the thread, I suppose I should get around to throwing some links in the pie as well.
Trump called Don Lemon, LeBron James and Maxine Waters, "dumb". One is from the South. One is from Cleveland. One is from LA. One is in the NBA. One is on TV. One is in Congress. Hmmmm… I wonder what they could possibly have in common? Oh, wait…🖐🏾
I don’t know what to make at that tweet above… I know whatever is being done with the attacks on the press is dangerous. Just like the paintings of tRump strangling Mueller with a tie…it crosses the line.
The pastor delivering the invocation at President Trump’s rally in Ohio on Saturday called for God to shield Trump from “jungle journalism.”
CNN reported that Gary Click, a pastor and member of the Ohio GOP’s State Central Committee, delivered the prayer ahead of Trump’s remarks, asking for God to “protect our President and his family with a shield of faith, Lord.”
“That shield of faith against the fiery darts of the wicked one, Lord, against that jungle journalism that extorts the truth and distorts honesty and integrity every single day, gets in his face with lies and mistruths and innuendos,” Click continued.
Twenty percent of the quiet justice’s former clerks owe their current jobs to President Trump.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is by far the court’s quietest and most conservative justice. He went 10 years without asking a single question from the bench, a streak broken in 2016, not long after the death of his friend Justice Antonin Scalia. Since then, Thomas hasn’t uttered a word in court. His opinions are so quirky and radically conservative that his colleagues on the bench often seem reluctant to sign on to them, making him perhaps one of the least influential justices in the court’s history.
But the court’s only African-American justice is having an outsize influence in one important sphere: the Trump administration. A new report by the AP’s Mark Sherman indicates that roughly 20 percent of the clerks—a total of 22—Thomas has hired since his confirmation in 1991 are either now working as political appointees in the administration or have been appointed by Trump to federal judgeships.
Russian President Vladimir Putin presented a Russian passport to the US actor in 2016, and now Seagal will expand his ties, serving as a goodwill ambassador. He will receive no salary, the Ministry said, adding, “It’s a case of people’s diplomacy intersecting with traditional diplomacy.”
Seagal’s new role was noted by Kremlin-backed TV station RT, who noted Seagal as welcoming the appointment.
“I’ve always had a very strong desire to do all I can to help improve Russian-American relations,” RT quoted Seagal. “I have worked tirelessly in this direction for many years unofficially and I am now very grateful for the opportunity to do the same thing officially.”
While Seagal is popular in Russia, he has been accused in the US of sexual misconduct.
In March of this year, two women who previously accused Steven Seagal of rape and sexual assault stepped forward to offer more detailed accounts of the actor’s alleged misconduct. Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom told reporters in a press conference that she will represent former Dutch model Faviola Dadis and one-time aspiring actress Regina Simons as they seek justice.
Actresses Juliana Margulies and Pamela Anderson have also complained about Seagal’s conduct during auditions.
Looks like DC is trying to make the relations between the Neo Nazis holding a rally and folks counterprotesting the racist KKK white nationalist fucks:
In an effort to head off violence between white nationalists and counterprotesters, the District of Columbia metro transit system is considering providing separate trains for those attending the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally Aug. 12. The use of separate trains for such a purpose would be unprecedented.
Hundreds of far-right protesters from as far away as Florida gathered on the waterfront in Portland, Oregon for a “Freedom March” on Saturday. Dozens of those interviewed said they were there to utilize their “freedom of speech.” To do so, they came armed with bats, weighted fighting gloves, wooden poles, canisters of mace, knives, shields and body armor.
The police had declared a day earlier that all such weapons were illegal in Portland parks. But no effort was witnessed to confiscate the weapons or arrest the weapon-holders.
For hours, four lines of riot police kept the far right separated from a much larger crowd of anti-fascists. The Portland police seemingly wanted to avoid a replay of June 30, when they took a hands-off approach to another far-right rally that quickly degenerated into a violent brawl of about 100 people, resulting in five hospitalizations.
This time it was the police who sent protesters to the hospital. Later in the day, when the far right decided to march into the city, police decided to sweep the streets of counter-protesters. Neither side had permits, but police provided protection to the far right to march for two blocks.
To clear the way, police shot dozens of flash-bang grenades at more than 1,000 people who had gathered to oppose what they say are white supremacists.
There are exclusive pictures of the wounded at the Raw Story link.
Maduro was unharmed in the attempt, but many of the military members in attendance were seen reacting to the explosion.
Footage of the speech, circulated on social media, showed Maduro delivering a speech before the sound cuts out, and those on the stage duck. A camera then shows soldiers running from in a square, before the footage cuts completely.
According to Patricia Laya, Bloomberg News’s Venezuela Bureau Chief, the feed cut after an explosion was heard near the stage.
Iam essentially a hack, a commercial person,” Orson Welles once said. “If I had a hobby, I would immediately make money on it or abandon it.” Self-deprecation aside, this most creatively ambitious and restless of US directors was hardly a hack. Welles did have a hobby, though – one he never abandoned or monetised, and one that is now shedding fresh light on a mighty career.
For in private, the great man worked quietly as an artist – yielding a vast, varied collection of paintings, drawings and doodles that has rarely been given serious scrutiny. That output is the subject of The Eyes of Orson Welles, a whimsical documentary by film critic, historian and lifelong Welles devotee Mark Cousins. An exhibition of the artworks, on which Cousins advised, is also now running at Edinburgh’s Summerhall galleries.
For those who think of Welles chiefly as the stern, booming talent behind such concrete American standards as Citizen Kane, Cousins’s film is revelatory, exposing a wry, playful, angry, often lovestruck man behind the Hollywood legend.
That is all I have today, hope everybody is doing well.
This is an open thread.
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….a baboon family that is…after the big head mama dropped dead, a huge ass fight ensued over which top banana would take over the dead queen’s throne.
Actually, the fight has been ongoing, this past year there have been vicious attacks among the powerful females within the group, causing injuries…pretty bad ones at that. They have even had to close the exhibit and re-arrange the back enclosure to include additional, “escape routes.”
See this article from Toronto about the ongoing war:
Medical records show numerous injuries among five of the six female olive baboons, from deep lacerations near their eyes to hair ripped out and tail injuries. At least two required surgeries to close deep gashes.
The exhibit was closed for several days because “there were some injuries that we thought best to keep them at the back because our visiting public don’t know baboon behaviour,” said Maria Franke, the curator of mammals at the zoo.
The baboon house — the area not open to the public where the animals eat and sleep — also had to be modified to allow for more space and additional escape routes, Franke said.
Chris Dutton, the zoo’s senior veterinarian, said the animals are fine and are “incredibly tough and they heal incredibly well.”
Now, Dutton said, two females sit on the throne in an uncomfortable truce, with the rightful heir biding her time until the older one dies.
Baboons, both in the wild and at zoos, have societies that are run by females — and that dominance runs through family lines. So the oldest daughter of the matriarch is the rightful heir to become queen.
That’s what happened to Betty, the longtime queen of the 12-member troop who took the reins when her mother, Boss Lady, died.
But troubles began a year ago when keepers noticed differences in Betty’s behaviour, Franke and Dutton said.
“She was changing her naturally dominant behaviour and she was hanging out with the subordinates and starting to slow down a little,” Dutton said.
The medical records, obtained via freedom-to-information legislation, note Betty was “reported to be lethargic, losing weight and not eating well.”
By early December, Betty stopped eating.
So Dutton and his staff anesthetized her to figure out what was going on. An exploratory surgery revealed a tumour in her uterus that had spread to the abdominal wall. It was terminal, Dutton said, so they euthanized her on the operating room table on Dec. 5, 2014. She was 16 years old.
That’s when the brawling began.
So, in Canada…they need the freedom of information act to get records on…Baboons.
But I got distracted.
Let’s get on with the fighting, back to when the shit hit the fan:
Molly is Betty’s oldest daughter and baboon society dictates the throne was hers. But she was young at six years old, and not fully mature.
So Putsie, who at 18 years old is the enclosure’s oldest female, saw an opportunity.
“She’s fighting to be dominant because of age, I guess,” Franke said.
It’s unclear exactly who inflicted which wounds on whom, as the attacks happened mostly at night and away from the keepers. But over the course of the following year, Putsie had only one minor injury, while the remaining five animals fared worse.
Molly and her sister, Susan, appeared to suffer the most attacks early on, according to the medical records.
Molly was attacked at least eight times over the course of three months. At one point, her left eye was swollen shut and she had deep lacerations above both eyes and a gash to the bone on her nose, the records show. Molly was anesthetized and one wound was stitched up.
By mid-month, Susan was attacked and suffered “severe lacerations” of the right side of her face that left the orbital bone exposed. The injury required surgery similar to Molly’s.
The eye itself wasn’t affected, the records say, “but the eye remains semi closed before and after suturing and cannot rule out muscle or nerve damage to peri-orbital structures.”
Three subordinate females, Kristina, Kate and Kalamata — all Putsie’s daughters — were also attacked. Kristina’s left eye was swollen shut after a fight, according to the medical records.
Kate had cuts on her face and several bites to her tail.
“Now all the aggression is occurring to the other animals, the least dominant, which is Kalamata,” Franke said.
Damn, the shit is getting real!!! Poor Kalamata is the one who is weakest, and of course, the one they are ganging up on.
“Most of the hair on top of her head has been ripped out,” the medical notes read. “This individual has been attacked multiple times within the last two months.”
She was attacked again this past October, Dutton said, when one baboon bit her tail.
Dutton and Franke only intervened when a baboon needed medical treatment. They were loathe to interrupt the baboon’s own game of thrones.
“You have to let their natural behaviour happen,” Franke said. “They have to sort it out. In the wild, a lot of times it’s to the death.”
She added a baboon has never been killed by another baboon at the Toronto Zoo.
Well, thank the gawds for that!
A veterinary note that was attached to several baboons’ medical files suggests various interventions, including modifying the enclosure to add outdoor heaters and shelters so that the animals can have outdoor access at night without freezing.
The note also suggests looking into medical options for regulating aggressive behaviour.
Hmm, I bet you are wondering about pills right? Dope them up, eh?
As for medical intervention, Dutton said: “We don’t particularly want our animals on some form of mood-altering drugs of any kind because we don’t think that’s appropriate.”
I guess the Scientologist are pleased with that diagnosis.
Earlier this week, the baboons lounged in the sun grooming each other and lazing around. Kalamata lay on a rock, a portion of her tail scabbed over.
Now, the name of the male in this next and last nugget of the piece made me laugh like hell….
The only drama came when one male made a sexual play for a female.
Bwana Joe, the oldest and largest male, took offence and chased several baboons up the rock wall — but eventually succeeded in wooing one of the females himself.
I think we have a new nickname for Joe Biden…don’t you?
Today’s post is full of links, to a variety of stories. I am purposely not touching on the Planned Parenthood shooting, and the disgusting remarks from the fuckers on the GOP side. I can’t deal with it now, it will get me too upset.
My mind is in another place. Last night I read this headline, Unemployed Florida man tries shocking father to death – NY Daily News. You want to know what my first thought was? The guy coming out behind a bush or something and yelling boo! Seriously. I thought of that werewolf scene from High Anxiety:
It never occurred to me that “shocked” meant…shocked, as in electrocuted.
After finding out he would get his father’s entire inheritance, an unemployed Florida man tried electrocuting his dad.
John Knudsen, 44, had a shocking ploy to take his 81-year-old father’s money — by killing him and reaping the inheritance. The Ormond Beach son learned that he would be the sole beneficiary of his father’s will, and pulled his charged stunt on Thanksgiving morning, according to reports.
With that in mind, here are your links for this Wednesday:
Black lives matter is in the news again. I was trying to explain to my parents the point behind #BlackLivesMatter on why they are not bringing up the black on black crime**…especially the most recent violence that we have seen in the news in New Orleans and the assassination of the 9 year old boy in Chicago (a supposed gang leader’s son). The point being that BLM is for the cause of certain specific things, i.e…..this:
Chicago’s police chief was ousted on Tuesday after days of protest over a white officer’s shooting of a black teenager 16 times and the department’s refusal to release a video of the killing for more than a year.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced during a news conference that he had asked Garry McCarthy, police superintendent since May 2011, to resign. Emanuel also said he was creating a new police accountability task force.
The white officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged a week ago with first-degree murder in the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald. The video, from a patrol car’s dashboard camera, was released on the same day.
High-profile killings of black men at the hands of mainly white law enforcement officers in U.S. cities have fueled demonstrations for some two years, stoking a national debate on race relations and police tactics.
The Illinois attorney general called for a federal civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department on Tuesday, hours after Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired the superintendent for his handling of an officer’s killing of a black teenager.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan sent what she characterized as an urgent request to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking that the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigate Chicago police use of deadly force and the department’s internal review process, and determine whether there is a “pattern of discriminatory policing.”
“Trust in the Chicago Police Department is broken, especially in communities of color in the City of Chicago,” Madigan wrote.
“An investigation into whether there are patterns and practices of civil rights violations by CPD is vital to bringing about the systemic change that is necessary here,” Madigan continued. “Chicago cannot move ahead without an outside, independent investigation into its police department that moves toward improved policing practices and increasing trust between the police and the community.”
Nearly an hour and a half of surveillance footage from the night of Laquan McDonald’s death is missing from the security system at a Chicago Burger King near the scene of the black teen’s alleged murder, and new evidence obtained by NBC Chicago suggests police may have been the last ones to view it.
Jay Darshane, district manager for the Burger King at Pulaski Road and 41st Street, told NBC Chicago in May that his cameras were fully operational when police came in on Oct. 20, 2014, the night of the shooting. While he wasn’t at the restaurant at the time, he said he authorized the manager on duty to give the officers access to the footage. He suggested that the video wouldn’t show the fatal 16 shots, but it might contain details about what happened directly before and after officer Jason Van Dyke killed McDonald.
The next day, however, Darshane discovered an 86-minute gap in the footage, from 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m. Prosecutors say Van Dyke fired the first of 16 rounds at 9:57. Darshane — who testified about the missing video before a federal grand jury earlier this year, according to the Chicago Tribune — said he believes police deleted the key footage. But local law enforcement officials say they haven’t found evidence that the security system was tampered with.
Now NBC Chicago has revealed the two screen grabs below, which appear to show at least one officer reviewing security recordings at Burger King on the night of McDonald’s death.
Be sure to go to the links to those articles to read the rest of the stories. Especially the last one on the missing 86 minutes of tap, and the footage of officers reviewing the film at the Burger King. I think that could be huge…in a holy shit sort of way.
In an interview with NPR last week, Chicago attorney Craig Futterman said he’d seen footage similar to the screen grabs obtained by NBC. He accused the police of erasing the key minutes.
“The officer went into the Burger King, and he erased all seven of those files,” said Futterman, who aggressively lobbied for the release of a related video taken by the police dashcam. “The irony is, though, that the Burger King surveillance video was running while the officer erased them. And so there’s a videotape of the officer erasing the video.”
The grainy images don’t show exactly what officers are doing or for how long, but Darshane recently told the Tribune that police had come with their own information technology specialist and hung around the restaurant until about midnight. He also claimed that officers were having a difficult time operating the security system.
At a press conference last week, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez described the matter of the mysterious gap as closed. She said “forensic testing” had revealed no tampering, but refused to answer any further questions.
Also at the press conference, Garry McCarthy, then superintendent of Chicago’s police force, called allegations that his officers had altered the footage “absolutely untrue.” The missing video was the result of “technical difficulties,” he said.
Anyway, I tried to explain to my parents that the Black Lives Matter is focused on law enforcement and/or that kind of authority figures who many times get away with murder.
(I myself don’t understand the reason behind the BLM protesters attacking Hillary, when they should go after the assholes who don’t give a damn…like the GOP dickheads. But maybe someone can explain it to me?)
He says we “can’t ignore that we are killing ourselves, too.”
Spike Lee isn’t afraid to make people angry with his opinionated points of view, and he doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sharing his views on Black Lives Matter. The director, whose controversial film Chi-Raqhits theaters on December 4, tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he supports the movement, but that attention should also be paid to Black-on-Black crime.
“We cannot be out there” protesting police violence “and then when it comes to young brothers killing themselves, then mum’s the word. No one’s saying nothing? It’s got to be both ends,” Lee said, adding that he’s “all for Black Lives Matter,” but “we as a people can’t be blind” to Black-on-Black crime.
Lee said Black Lives Matter should focus on police brutality, “but you can’t ignore that we are killing ourselves, too. We can’t ignore that.”
Unsurprisingly, conservative blogs are picking up on Lee’s comments and using them to tout their own agendas, which will anger many who support the #BLM movement, but seeing that Spike has been immersed in the world of Chicago gun violence for at least the past year, his views are not that surprising.
Oh, and those asses at the GOP really do use these words to their own advantage…just two words for you on that. Richard Sherman.
More Americans had their backgrounds checked purchasing guns on Black Friday than any day in the on record, according to data released by the FBI this week.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27, one of the largest retail sales days in the country.
“This was an approximate 5% increase over the 175,754 received on Black Friday 2014,” wrote Stephen Fischer, the FBI’s chief of multimedia productions. “The previous high for receipts were the 177,170 received on 12/21/2012.”
Previous spikes for background checks, conducted before a gun buyer can obtain a firearm, occurred after prominent mass shootings, like in December 2012 in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Other Black Friday shopping days in 2014, 2013 and 2012 occupied the FBI’s “top 10” list of the most background checks processed in a 24-hour period.
Since 1998, FBI data shows that the bureau has processed requests for more than 220 million firearm purchases.
I still think they need to regulate bullets. Like they do cough syrup…and Sudafed.
If there is a system in place to give over your license and sign in for OTC medicines like Sudafed, then by all means, make people accountable for the bullets they are buying. Fucking hell!
An Iowa state senator running for U.S. Congress is getting blasted by both his Republican Party and Democrats after saying that immigrant felons who try to re-enter America illegally should be executed.
State Sen. Mark Chelgren’s controversial comments were published Monday by the Journal Express of Knoxville and Marion County, which presented his views on border security and immigration. The newspaper said the two-term state legislator believes in a fence to help protect the nation’s borders, and that if an undocumented person who committed a felony is deported and then tries to return to the U.S., he or she should be subject to capital punishment.
Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, with critical notes by scholars, is to be published in Germany next month – for the first time since the end of WW2.
The Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich says it will print up to 4,000 copies with some 3,500 notes.
IfZ director Andreas Wirsching says the text with expert comments will “shatter the myth” surrounding the manifesto.
But the move has been criticised by Jewish groups, who argue that Nazi works should never be republished.
I am concerned and don’t know how to feel about this. I think they should not publish it, but then free speech and all…I don’t know. With all this refugee stuff going on, and the anti-immigrant/migrant stance in Europe and here too…it could be dangerous.
“Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America,” Cruz said in a campaign stop in Iowa. “Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom, you put 50 cents in and voila. So yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them, but it’s an utterly made-up nonsense issue.”
Sadly for Cruz — and more pressingly, for women throughout the United States — that assessment is nothing short of absurd. The Supreme Court has ruled that some owners of private companies can deny birth control coverage because of religious beliefs. House Republicans have targeted family planning providers who provide health services to women, including pregnancy prevention. And Republicans have threatened to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides millions of women with contraception.
Because it unfortunately still needs to be said, for the 190,567th time, birth control is anessential part of women’s health care, and it is critical that women have access to a range of options. Sorry, Cruz, but the condoms you seem to think are readily available for 50 cents in every bathroom just won’t cut it. Here are just six reasons why:
The Eiffel Tower was darkened last night in honor of those killed during Friday’s attacks on Paris.
As you can see, many countries and cities throughout the world took up the cause and brought Paris, city of lights…into their own, by setting their landmarks, arenas, buildings, etc., alight in three colors of “liberté fraternité et égalité.” Showing support of a city that has been hit by extremist, bloodthirsty, murdering terrorist.
Authorities were scouring Europe on Sunday for at least one other suspect, and possibly two, who were “directly involved” in Friday night’s attacks in Paris, as investigators tried to ascertain whether they were among a number of people arrested over the last 48 hours in Belgium, according to two French officials familiar with the case.
But police continued searching for at least one other participant in the attacks. French officials and the Islamic State both initially claimed that eight men carried out the attacks. Police said seven attackers died, six of them by detonating suicide vests and one in police gunfire.
There is more at the links of all of these articles…
Balkan authorities are tracking the travels of the owner of a Syrian passport that was found next to a suicide bomber’s body at France’s national stadium on Friday night.
Officials in Greece say the passport’s owner entered the country Oct. 3 through Leros, one of the eastern Aegean islands that tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty have been using as a gateway into the 28-nation European Union.
Serbian police say he registered at its border entry with Macedonia on Oct. 7.
Croatian police say he was checked at a refugee center on Oct. 8. Police spokeswoman Helena Biocic said Sunday the man was not flagged as suspicious and continued his journey toward Hungary and Austria.
It is still not yet clear whether the Syrian passport is fake or real, or whether it belonged to the dead bomber. European officials say there is a brisk trade in fake Syrian passports to help people get refugee status in the EU.
I think I will refrain from comment on the passport thing until all the facts are in. Because the news on this is very fluid:
Two men who French police are seeking to identify in connection with the Paris attacks registered as migrants with Greek authorities earlier this year, the Greek police confirmed on Saturday.
French authorities had asked their Greek counterparts to check a passport and fingerprints of one man who died in the attacks and the fingerprints of another.
Both were thought to have registered in Greece, the main entry point into Europe for Syrian refugees.
At least one Syrian passport was found at the scene of the Stade de France attack.
The Greek minister for citizen protection, Nikos Toskas, said in a statement that one of the men had been registered on the Greek island of Leros in October.
“We confirm that the (Syrian) passport holder came through the Greek island of Leros on October 3 where he was registered under EU rules,” said a statement issued by Toskas.
French police said the passport was found “near the body of one of the attackers” during the investigation into the main attack of Friday’s carnage, at the Bataclan concert hall, where 82 people were killed.
The authenticity of the passport was being checked, but its discovery indicates a possible Syrian connection which has been a working hypothesis for investigators after assailants hit six separate locations in Paris late Friday.
A Greek police source said the second man had also registered in Greece, with TV station Mega adding this was also on Leros in August.
European security officials had long feared that jihadists could take advantage of the mass migration influx, mainly from war-torn Syria, that Europe has been experiencing since the beginning of the year.
“It is clear now that together with the victims of Islamo-fascism in the Middle East that come as refugees, extreme elements are crossing to Europe,” Defence Minister Panos Kammenos after an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Greek police are not ruling out that the Syrian passport changed hands before the attacks.
However, a European security expert on Saturday argued: “The most logical assumption is that it’s the same person, sent on a mission to Europe.”
– ‘Unequalled challenge’ –
“If this is established, it would be the first such case. In any event, this proves that the unchecked flow poses an unequalled challenge for European security. We simply don’t know who is coming through,” the expert added.
Greece’s junior minister for migration Yiannis Mouzalas had admitted in September that it would be “foolish” to completely discount the possibility of jihadists sneaking into Europe among the refugee wave.
Over 800,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, with over 3,400 dying in the process.
But Mouzalas noted that the number of Europeans joining extremist groups in the Middle East was far higher.
The important part to remember here is this…the people, refugees, are fleeing this kind of treatment in their own country.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday insisted that the refugees fleeing Syria “are hunted by the same terrorists” that struck in Paris on Friday.
“We must find solutions to the drama of the people who leave their homes, hunted by the same terrorists, and drown in the Mediterranean,” Tsipras said in a televised address, after conferring with his police, migration and intelligence chiefs.
The holder of a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the gunmen who died in Friday night’s attacks in Paris was registered as a refugee in several European countries last month, authorities said.
The man, identified by Serbian authorities only by his initials A.A., came into Europe through the Greek island of Leros, where he was processed on Oct. 3, Greek officials said on Saturday. He was among 70 refugees who arrived on a small vessel from Turkey.
Serbian authorities said on Sunday the same man had been registered at a border crossing from Macedonia into Serbia a few days later.
The information is significant because if one or more of the Paris gunmen turned out to have come into Europe among refugees and migrants fleeing war-torn countries, this could change the political debate about accepting refugees.
“One of the suspected terrorists, A.A., who is of interest to the French security agencies, was registered on the Presevo border crossing on October 7 this year, where he formally sought asylum,” the Serbian interior ministry said in a statement.
“Checks have confirmed that his details match those of the person who on October 3 was identified in Greece. There was no Interpol warrant issued against this person.”
A spokeswoman for the Croatian interior ministry said the man was registered in the country’s Opatovac refugee camp on Oct. 8 and from there he crossed into Hungary and then Austria.
“There was no (police) record about him at the time of registration and there was no reason for us to stop him in any way,” she said.
Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said however the assertion that the suspect attacker had passed through Austria had “no concrete basis.”
“According to the latest information available, that is no more than conjecture and speculation,” he said.
Any identity documents and fingerprint records would have to be matched with the remains of the attackers to establish whether they passed through various countries posing as refugees, or perhaps bought or stole passports along the way.
Greek government sources said a second suspect attacker was also likely to have passed through Greece.
Following the Paris bloodshed, populist leaders around Europe have rushed to demand a halt to an influx of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Poland said it could not accept migrants under EU quotas without security guarantees.
Human Rights Watch’s Emergency Director Peter Bouckaert said on Twitter the Syrian passport found may have been fake, adding such fake documents are widely available for sale in Turkey.
“The answer to the Paris attacks and the possibility that one of the attackers came by rubber dinghy to Greece… is not to shut the door on those desperately fleeing war,” he said, calling for Europe to put in place a coherent asylum policy that would both help those on need and address security concerns raised by uncontrolled flows.
“People fleeing war need refuge. And trying to build fences and stopping them at sea only drives them deeper into the hands of criminal gangs, and drives them underground where there is no control over who comes and goes.”
Paris bleeds because it is part of a river of blood: The Russian plane dying in the skies over Egypt, the Hazaras of Afghanistanbeing relieved of their heads, the suicide bombings in a Shiite neighborhood of Beirut, Libanon.Or so the propagandists of Daesh or ISIS or ISIL tell us. Some of those rivers of blood may be from old rivulets, sourced from old racial hatreds (the Hazara massacre), old religious schisms (the Shias vs. the Sunnis, the Muslims vs. the Christians). But the Daesh river of blood is real and has not yet been dammed.
And its sources are many. I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by American oil politics and Western colonialism, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency, no way of choosing another form of rebellion but an extreme life-denying religious one, as if the religion they had created for themselves* from what the Saudi Wahhabism supports and funds in this world** has played no role. Instead, millions and millions of westerners are equally to blame, for genetic or historical reasons or at least for not voting various politicians out of power.
I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by their religion, that every single of hundreds of millions of Muslims is just waiting to behead the first infidel they come across. Once again, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency, as if millions and millions of Muslims are equally to blame, just because ISIS calls its religion theirs.
And I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by western discrimination and racism or by old religious discrimination in various Middle Eastern countries, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency at all.
Puppets. ISIS consists of nothing but puppets. Who holds the strings depends on the tweeter’s own prior beliefs, on whom he or she would wish to blame. There are even some who believe that US has created ISIS on purpose and funds it!
And what was tweeted on Friday night and later, truly reflected the hobby-horses of various tweeters. Frank Bruni writes and I concur:
Can’t we wait until we’ve resolved the body count? Until the identities of all of the victims have been determined and their families informed? Until the sirens stop wailing? Until the blood is dry?
Or must we instantly bootstrap obliquely related agendas and utterly unconnected grievances to the carnage in Paris, responding to it with an unsavory opportunism instead of a respectful grief?
Is this the famous death of empathy possibly caused by staring at an inanimate screen while talking to real people? Is it the masks we wear in cyberspace which allow us to act as if we have mislaid our hearts altogether, as if all that matters is the well-being of whichever group or theory we hold most dearly? And in counterpoint, is empty sentimentalism or patriotism the answer we assume if then accused of heartlessness?
It’s as if many in social media forgot about the ones who lost the most in those terrorist attacks, whose lives were prematurely discarded, whose pain served a political function, whose personalities were erased, whose families were left with bleeding wounds, perhaps never to close. In that they appear in agreement with the Daesh who also regarded the victims as less than nothing: a bit of filth to be sucked up by the divine vacuum cleaner.
The old customs about the immediate aftermath of death serve a function: Spend some time thinking about the deceased, give support to the family who is bereaved, sit in silence for a while, offer a cooked dish and offer help.
We don’t really have a cyberspace version of that respect for the individual. But surely all the different commentators with their pet issues could wait a day or two before forgetting all about the actual human lives which were ended or permanently mutilated by the terrorists?
Last week, I wrote about the debacle behind the study that was used to promote fiscal austerity in a time when just the opposite policy is prescribed by economic theory. One of the big questions I had was if the results of study’s hypothesis was now insignificant–which in scientific method means the conclusions were not proven–would we see a stop to these crazy austerity policy pushers. We’ve learned the answer is no. Dumber and Dumber–heads of the so-called cat food commission–who couldn’t lead their committee to a written conclusion are on the road touting their call to deficit hysteria based on the always controversial and now highly flawed study.
On April 19, just after I had written about how the key academic research used to bolster austerity policies was exposed by a 28-year-old grad student at U Mass-Amherst, I got a surprise in my email inbox: Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson giddily announced their new deficit-reduction plan, which includes, among other things, a recommendation to increase the eligibility age for Medicare. Their plan would reduce debt as a share of GDP below 70 percent by 2023, and as the Washington Post reports, “seeks far less in new taxes than the original, and it seeks far more in savings from federal health programs for the elderly.”
What’s incredible is that over the last week, the study by Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff that famously warned of the dangers of government debt has been proven to be riddled with errors and questionable methodology. To recap: R&R’s paper purported to show that countries with public debt in excess of 90 percent of gross domestic product suffered negative economic growth. Austerity hawks everywhere used it to justify cuts that have cost people jobs and vital services. The original spreadsheet used by R&R was obtained by a U Mass grad student, who found that in addition to the mistakes already noted by several economists, there was a coding error in their Excel spreadsheet that significantly changed the results of their study.
As New York magazine’s Jon Chait has pointed out, that same discredited research has been used by Bowles and Simpson to formulate their deficit-reducing austerity plans.
You simply cannot get these tools of the plutocracy to come clean. They’re going to go down with the stupidity and are trying to bring the rest of the country with them.
Ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity have been committed against Myanmar’s ethnic Rohingya people, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York-based nongovernmental organisation.
According to the report released on Monday, entitled All You Can Do is Pray, more than 125,000 ethnic Rohingya have been forcibly displaced since two waves of violence in May and October 2012.
Satellite images show almost 5,000 structures on land mostly owned by Muslim Rohingya have been destroyed, says the report.
The October attacks, the report states, were coordinated by Myanmar government officials, an ethnic Rakhine nationalist party and Buddhist monks. The deadliest attack took place on October 23, in which witnesses say at least 70 Rohingya – including 28 children – were massacred in Mrauk-U township.
The UN has described the Rohingya as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
Most Rohingya who live in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state are denied citizenship by the Myanmar government, which claims they are illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and often refers to them as “Bengali”.
The Myanmar government has done nothing to prevent the violence, alleges the report, and at times government forces have joined in the attacks on the Rohingya.
“The Burmese government engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya that continues today through the denial of aid and restrictions on movement,” Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director, said.
“The government needs to put an immediate stop to the abuses and hold the perpetrators accountable or it will be responsible for further violence against ethnic and religious minorities in the country.”
I am so ashamed to read that Buddhist monks may have been participants. They have been targets themselves and this behavior violates the most important teaching of the Buddha which is the vow of non harming. No real Buddhist would participate in such horrors.
Described as “misguided” and “fatally flawed” by the two largest US privacy groups, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) threatens the online privacy of ordinary US residents more so than any other Bill since Congress amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008.
Its sole purpose is to allow private sector firms to search personal and sensitive user data of ordinary US residents to identify this so-called “threat information”, and to then share that information with each other and the US government — without the need for a warrant.
By citing “cybersecurity”, it allows private firms to hand over private user data while circumventing existing privacy laws, such as the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act. This means that CISPA can permit private firms to share your data, such as emails, text messages, and cloud-stored documents and files, with the US government.
It also gives these firms legal protection to hand over such data. There is no judicial oversight.
To make matters worse, because there is little transparency and individual accountability, those who have had their data handed to the US government may not even know about it or be given a chance to challenge it.
Norway took a major step towards opening up an environmentally sensitive Arctic area to oil and gas exploration when the ruling Labour Party gave the go-ahead on Sunday for an impact study.
Exploration in the waters around the Lofoten islands just above the Arctic circle is becoming one of the most contentious issues for parliamentary elections in September.
The picturesque area had been off limits because it is home to the world’s richest cod stocks, with environmental groups and the tourism industry opposed to any development.
The Labour party voted for the study, a precursor to any exploration, but also said it would take another vote in 2015, before actual drilling could begin.
Oil is the Norwegian economy’s lifeblood – the nation is the world’s seventh-biggest oil exporter and western Europe’s biggest gas supplier.
Its sprawling offshore energy sector continuously needs new areas to explore to halt the decline in production and energy firms have argued that they should be allowed to investigate the Lofoten islands.
Norway’s oil production will fall to a 25-year low this year as North Sea fields mature. Even a series of recent big finds, like the giant Johan Sverdrup field, which could hold over 3 billion barrels of oil, will only arrest the decline.
Waters off Lofoten are estimated to hold 8 percent of Norway’s undiscovered oil and gas resources with seismic tests identifying 50 prospects that could hold recoverable reserves or around 1.27 billion barrels of oil equivalent, the petroleum directorate said earlier.
With Labour’s support, Norway’s top three parties now favor exploration in the area, raising the chance that the next government would begin the process.
Family and friends are saying final good-byes to Krystle Campbell, one of the three people who lost their lives in the bombing at the Boston Marathon finish line.
A wake for Campbell is being held Sunday at a funeral home in Medford, where the 29-year-old restaurant manager was raised and graduated from high school in 2001. A private funeral is scheduled for Monday at St. Joseph Church.Local 25 was contacted by some concerned citizens of Medford asking for help to keep members of the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting the funeral of Krystle Campbell, scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10 AM in Medford.
Local 25 President Sean O’Brien asked all off-duty Teamsters to participate:
Teamsters Local 25 will be out in full force tomorrow morning at St. Joseph’s Church in Medford to form a human shield and block the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting the funeral of Krystle Campbell. The Campbell family and friends have already endured immeasurable amounts of heartache and tragedy this week, and deserve a peaceful funeral with time to grieve privately.
Westboro Baptist Church should understand that we will go to great lengths to make sure they don’t protest any funerals of the victims of the past week’s tragedies, and that those we lost receive a proper burial.
Teamsters Local 25 represents 11,000 hardworking men and women from the Boston area.
As reactions to the media’s handling (or rather, mishandling) of breaking news during a busy week continue to flow in, perhaps none is more condemning than David Carr’s latest column in The New York Times. The media critic came down hard on correspondent John King, newly appointed chief Jeff Zucker and the rest of the CNN news team that famously fumbled during the aftermath of the Boston bombing and hunt for the suspects. Most notably, the network erroneously reported the arrest of a suspect on Wednesday, when everybody now knows that a suspect wasn’t arrested until Friday when police found Dzokhar Tsarnaev hiding in the back of a boat.
Carr has an analogy for that. In discussing the mistake, one that more than one person described as “devastating,” Carr reminded us of the most recent moment that CNN’s stolen the limelight — perhaps not in a good way:
It was not the worst mistake of the week — The New York Post all but fingered two innocent men in a front-page picture — but it was a signature error for a live news channel. … Until now, the defining story in the Zucker era had been a doomed cruise ship that lost power and was towed to port, where its beleaguered passengers dispersed. This week, CNN seemed a lot like that ship.
Zing. Inevitably, Carr’s piece comes off almost as apologetic. In his parting words, the veteran journalist points out how even the president “wants CNN to be good.” So when it’s bad, it’s hard to watch.
I’m just praying for a better week and that we can get some attention on the small town of West Texas that really needs our help.
What’s you your reading and blogging list today?
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A novelist, filmmaker and physics lecturer at Cornell University, he went to the capital, Yangon, to teach film and make public-service ads as part of the Fulbright Specialist Program, one of the few American aid efforts in a country on which the United States has imposed heavy sanctions. Early on he was admonished not to film.
It was, he said, “a proverbial red flag for a filmmaker.”
And so he filmed, not quite clandestinely, but cautiously enough to avoid — mostly — attention in a place where photographing government buildings, military bases, bridges and even certain streets is grounds for arrest. During that trip, and three more over the next two years, he recorded 120 hours of video documenting life in a beautiful but oppressed and impoverished country, just as the stirrings of political change were beginning to appear.
“They Call It Myanmar,” but most of us know it as Burma, except we don’t know Burma, hardly at all, because it has existed under a military dictatorship for the last 50 years. The regime has deliberately kept it isolated from outside influences, and thus this documentary by Robert H. Lieberman, accurately subtitled “Lifting the Curtain.” The film provides one of the ultimate functions of a documentary, taking us into the life and culture of a people most of us would never know.
For the first 10 minutes, Burma looks like an ideal travel destination – gorgeous and exotic, full of pristine Buddhist temples and friendly people. But then you notice the military presence, and the fact that Lieberman isn’t allowed to videotape anything or anybody. (He does anyway.)
Few Burmese will make even the most innocuous criticism of the government, at least not on camera, out of fear of being carried off in the night. One man becomes positively giddy when asked his opinion of things – it’s the first time anyone has ever asked his opinion.
This “giddy” response is seen towards the end of the film, and it seems like the ending punctuation of the documentary’s statement. Not a period or question mark, but an exclamation point on the Burmese people’s culture, tradition and the powerful government/military/regime/colonial/royal rule these people have endured over the centuries.
There was another comment in the film that I thought was very telling. In discussing the religious nature of the Burmese people, the connection was made between the Buddhist teachings, and the contentedness of the people. That the people are too content…and that actually could be one of the things within their culture that has lead to the situation they are in.
“Fairy Tales” – Bagan, Myanmar. Photograph by Amnon Eichlberg. For more photos of Burma see this site: Myanmar – PhotoBotos.com
Shot clandestinely over a two-year period by best-selling novelist and filmmaker Robert H. Lieberman, this film provides a rare look at the second-most isolated country on the planet – Burma. It lifts the curtain to expose the everyday life in a country that has been held in the iron grip of a brutal military regime for 48 years. THEY CALL IT MYANMAR, culled from over 120 hours of striking images, is an impressionistic journey. Interviews and interactions with more than one hundred people throughout Burma, including an interview with the recently released Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, are interwoven with spectacular footage of this little-seen nation and its people. Though Burma has tumbled from being one of the most prosperous and advanced countries in Southeast Asia to being one of the world’s poorest, THEY CALL IT MYANMAR is a story of beauty, courage and hope.
You can also stream it on Netflix, which is how I saw it.
As that quote from the movie’s youtube page states, Lieberman interviews Aung San Suu Kyi in the film, I have another review of the film, this time from the New York Times: In Aung San Suu Kyi’s Myanmar
She was released from house arrest in November 2010, shortly after Mr. Lieberman thought he was finished. He returned to Myanmar in February 2011 for the fourth time and arranged to interview her.
“ ‘No personal questions,’ ” Mr. Lieberman recalled her telling him at the outset, a stipulation that complicated the interview, which unfolded awkwardly and yet revealingly. In the film she reflects on the country, its colonial history and her father, Aung San, the revered revolutionary general who led it to independence from Britain, only to be assassinated by rivals in 1947, when she was just 2.
Only an exceptional 2-year-old could have remembered a father lost at that age, she says, poignantly revealing that her father was, for her, as mythical a figure as he has been for her fellow citizens. Hers is the most famous voice, but only one among dozens of people Mr. Lieberman interviewed — some shown with their faces obscured, almost all left unidentified on screen.
“I think a firm, strong, authoritarian hand cannot create unity,” she says in the film, explaining the mind-set of the military rulers up to the election of the new, apparently reform-minded president, U Thein Sein. “It can only give the appearance of unity.”
The film, made with a Sony camcorder (all the better to tuck away when necessary), unfolds as an episodic travelogue, interspersed with historic footage and explanatory narration (on subjects like why the country is known both as Myanmar and the old colonial name, Burma).
Some scenes — shot from Mr. Lieberman’s commercial flight from Thailand or from the window of a moving car — reflect the limitations of trying to film in a police state.
With Mr. Lieberman as the garrulous narrator, it includes clips that would not be out of place in a homemade vacation video, but also interviews that show, indirectly at times, the social and economic conditions of a country that closed itself off from the world for decades. Some of those interviewed speak openly, even candidly.
“Thinking is not an option,” one woman says, describing the Orwellian nature of the place; she is not shown on screen.
Reflect on that statement a moment, it puts the giddiness from the man who was simply asked what his opinion was into perspective, doesn’t it?
But most important, the film talks to regular citizens: on the street, in a restaurant, at a temple and tourist spot. Those interviewed are gracious and exuberant, living in a country rich in natural resources but trapped in crushing poverty.
Robert Lieberman, the maker of the critically acclaimed documentary, They Call It Myanmar – Lifting the Curtain, tells a story that exposes some of the cynical reality behind President Obama’s historic visit to politically imprisoned Myanmar today. Shortly after Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize-winning democracy activist, was released from two decades of house arrest in November of 2010, Lieberman was invited to show his film at a Yangon festival that Suu Kyi was organizing called “The Art of Freedom.” Thoughtfully, he informed the U.S. Embassy of his plans. Their reaction? Near-panic.
“They basically said, ‘No way should you do this. You cannot show a movie without it being cleared by [Myanmar] censors. We respectfully request that you remove any reference to the embassy, so it won’t seem to anyone that we helped you,’” says Lieberman, a Cornell University professor. Deferring to his government’s wishes, Lieberman showed his movie at the British Embassy in Yangon instead, without incident. “The British had guts,” he says.
There you have the Obama administration. It will defend human rights and democracy, but only when it’s suitable. And usually when lip service to human rights serves some other end. We saw a similar dynamic play out in the first year of the administration, when Obama’s “outstretched hand” to the Iranian regime led him to slight the “Green Movement,” a precursor to the Arab Spring uprisings that was subsequently crushed. In this case, the administration was just gearing up for a major strategic shift aimed at encircling China with allies old and new, and Myanmar, long isolated by Western sanctions, was deemed a key player. All of which suggests that if there is any president that Barack Obama most resembles right now on foreign policy, it is probably Richard Nixon, the master practitioner of cynical realpolitik. Except rather than opening China to outmaneuver the Soviets, 40 years later he’s opening Myanmar to outmaneuver the Chinese. And just as Nixon and his foreign-policy impresario, Henry Kissinger, never paid much attention to human rights, Obama is treating them as an afterthought as well.
This article was written before Obama visited the country…
Obama, of course, is describing Monday’s trip to Burma—the first-ever by a U.S. president—in very different terms. At a news conference in neighboring Thailand on Sunday, he sounded defensive after being attacked by human-rights activists. The harsh fact is that the long-repressive junta is giving up only a little power and has rigged its constitution to retain what it has and keep Aung San Suu Kyi from the presidency. Most recently the junta demonstrated this with a bloody crackdown on the Muslim minority, the Rohingya. Obama insisted he was ready to use economic leverage and said, “If we waited to engage until they had achieved a perfect democracy, my suspicion is that we’d be waiting an awful long time.”
Read the rest of that essay by Hirsch at the link above…I know we have linked to this op/ed previously on the blog, but it does need repeating here on this thread.
I wish there was a way to view this film without charge, but even if you need to pay to view, it is worth it. Please, take a look at it…wow.
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It’s really hard for me to focus on much other than the bombing that’s going on between Gaza and Israel at the moment. The carnage is getting to me.
An Israeli bomb pummeled a home deep into the ground here Sunday afternoon, killing 11 people, including nine in three generations of a single family, in the deadliest single strike since the cross-border conflict between Israel and the militant faction Hamas escalated on Wednesday.
The airstrike, along with several others that killed civilians across this coastal territory and hit two media offices here — one of them used by Western TV networks — further indicated that Israel was striking a wider range of targets.
Gaza health officials reported that the number of people injured here had nearly doubled to 600 by day’s end; the Palestinian death toll climbed to 70, including 20 children. Three Israelis have been killed and at least 79 wounded by continued rocket fire into southern Israel and as far north as Tel Aviv, as Israeli cities were paralyzed by an onslaught of relentless rocket fire out of Gaza for the fifth straight day.
In the Israeli strike on Sunday morning, it took emergency workers and a Caterpillar digger more than an hour to reveal the extent of the devastation under the two-story home of Jamal Dalu, a shop owner. Mr. Dalu was at a neighbor’s when the blast wiped out nearly his entire family: His sister, wife, two daughters, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren ages 2 to 6 all perished under the rubble, along with two neighbors, an 18-year-old and his grandmother.
At around 2 a.m. today, Israeli warplanes fired several missiles at the Al-Shawa Wa Hassri Tower, a building in the Gaza City neighborhood of Rimal that houses local and international media organizations. Around 15 reporters and photographers wearing vests with the word “TV Press” were on the building’s roof at the time, covering the Israeli air strikes.
Five missiles destroyed the 11th-floor offices used by Al-Quds TV. The station said six journalists were injured, four of them Al-Quds employees – Darwish Bulbul, Khadar Al-Zahar, Muhammad al-Akhras and Hazem al-Da’our. The other two were identified as Hussein Al-Madhoun, a freelance photographer working for the Ma’an news agency, and Ibrahim Labed, a reporter for the Palestinian news agency SAFA. Zahar’s condition was described as critical after one of his legs had to be amputated.
At around 7 a.m., three Al-Aqsa TV employees were seriously injured when two missiles were fired at the Al-Shourouk building, also known as the “journalists’ building.” A spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces said on the @IDFSpokesperson Twitter account that the air strike had targeted a Hamas communication centre.
Among the local and international media whose offices were damaged by Israeli missiles were Sky News Arabia, the German TV station ARD, the Arab TV stations MBC and Abu Dhabi TV, Al-Arabiya, Reuters, Russia Today and the Ma’an news agency.
Information was also one of the victims of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009 (read the RWB report). At the time, Reporters Without Borders condemned Israel’s decision to declare the Gaza Strip a “closed military zone” and deny access to journalists working for international media. The IDF also targeted pro-Hamas media during Operation Cast Lead.
On Sunday, Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, indicated that he intended to take on additional targets. “We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the terrorist organizations and the Israel Defense Forces are prepared for a significant expansion of the operation,” he said, referring to the 75,000 reservists who have been put on call for what many believe is a planned ground invasion. Meanwhile, Israel’s Iron Dome defense system successfully deflected another Hamas rocket aimed at Tel Aviv.
Obama continues to defend Israel’s free hand in Gaza, causing commentators like Jeffrey Goldberg to gloat , not inaccurately: ” Barack Obama hasn’t turned against Israel. This is a big surprise to everyone who has not paid attention for the last four years” (indeed, there are few more compelling signs of how dumb and misleading US elections are than the fact that the only criticism of Obama on Israel heard over the last year in the two-party debate was the grievance that Obama evinces insufficient fealty – rather than excessive fealty – to the Israeli government). That the Netanyahu government knows that any attempt to condemn Israel at the UN would be instantly blocked by the US is a major factor enabling them to continue however they wish. And, of course, the bombs, planes and tanks they are using are subsidized, in substantial part, by the US taxpayer.
If one wants to defend US support for Israel on the merits – on the ground that this escalating Israeli aggression against a helpless population is just and warranted – then one should do so. As I wrote on Thursday , it’s very difficult to see how those who have cheered for Obama’s foreign policy could do anything but cheer for Israeli militarism, as they are grounded in the same premises.
The best way to generate jobs and growth is for the government to spend more, not less. And for taxes to stay low – or become even lower – on the middle class.
(Higher taxes on the rich won’t slow the economy because the rich will keep spending anyway. After all, being rich means spending whatever you want to spend. By the same token, higher taxes won’t reduce their incentive to save and invest because they’re already doing as much saving and investing as they want. Remember: they’re taking home a near record share of the nation’s total income and have a record share of total wealth.)
Why don’t our politicians and media get this? Because an entire deficit-cutting political industry has grown up in recent years – starting with Ross Perot’s third party in the 1992 election, extending through Peter Petersen’s Institute and other think-tanks funded by Wall Street and big business, embracing the eat-your-spinach deficit hawk crowd in the Democratic Party, and culminating in the Simpson-Bowles Commission that President Obama created in order to appease the hawks but which only legitimized them further.
“You gave us hope,” Obama will say in a speech in Myanmar, according to excerpts of his remarks released by the White House during his visit to Bangkok, Thailand, the first stop on a three-day trip to the region. “And we bore witness to your courage.”
In a daytime stop expected to last only six hours, Obama is set to meet with President Thein Sein in the former capital of Yangon. He’ll also visit opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s most popular political figure, at her lakeside home where she spent more than 15 years confined under house arrest.
Obama eased sanctions on Myanmar this year after Thein Sein engaged with his political opponents and eased media restrictions since his party won a 2010 election that ended five decades of direct military rule in the country, formerly known as Burma. The visit also reflects a legacy-building goal for a president about to enter a second term, whose early efforts at engagement and democratization have yielded mixed results.
He made a point of not only scheduling a meeting at the government headquarters with President Thein Sein but also a personal pilgrimage to the home of the opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, where she was confined under house arrest for most of two decades before her release two years ago. Amid the manicured lawn and well-tended garden outside the elegant two-story lakeside house, the president and the Nobel-winning dissident planned to stand side by side celebrating change that once seemed unimaginable.
While local leaders attribute the changes so far to internal factors and decisions, Mr. Obama was eager to claim a measure of credit. He has played nursemaid to the opening of Myanmar, formerly and still known by many as Burma, by sending the first American ambassador in 22 years, easing sanctions and meeting with Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi in Washington.
Later Monday he was to announce the return of the United States Agency for International Development along with $170 million for projects over the next two years, noting that in his inaugural address he had vowed to reach out to those “willing to unclench your fist.”
“So today, I have come to keep my promise and extend the hand of friendship,” read the text of prepared remarks to be delivered at the University of Yangon. He promised to “help rebuild an economy” and develop new institutions that can be sustained. “The flickers of progress that we have seen must not be extinguished — they must become a shining north star for all this nation’s people.”
So, this was a bit of a headline dump this morning, but I have to admit that my eyes have been fixed on what’s going on in the world right now. Hopefully, we can all stay up to date on these important headlines. I’m going to go light some candles and burn some incense and think peace. Hopefully, if enough of us do that, some of those world leaders will get the message.
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Just a few links tonight…and since it is Classic Horror night on TCM, I may be wandering some in tonight’s post. It is the old horror flicks from Hammer Studios…starting with Horror of Dracula.
Hammer Horror celebrates the deliciously macabre offerings of the 1950s and ’60s from Hammer Films including Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Horror of Dracula (1958) and The Devil’s Bride (1968, aka The Devil Rides Out).
A small independent British studio simply trying to gain a foothold in the world market, Hammer Studios managed to forever transform the horror film. Once the lowliest of film genres, horror is now one of the world’s most popular and, to a large extent, the modern horror film began with Hammer’s Horror of Dracula (1958).
I absolutely love these old films. So it is difficult for me to keep from watching them.
If only there were a way to forget that humiliating faux pas at last night’s dinner party. It turns out there’s not one, but two opposite ways in which the brain allows us to voluntarily forget unwanted memories, according to a study published by Cell Press October 17 in the journal Neuron. The findings may explain how individuals can cope with undesirable experiences and could lead to the development of treatments to improve disorders of memory control. (Credit: Current Biology, Benoit et al.)
On to a few news items that may have been overlooked today.
A fire last month that killed some 300 trapped workers at a garment factory in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi exposed serious flaws in the country’s industry regulations. It was one of the worst industry disasters in Pakistan, one in which most victims were trapped behind closed or blocked fire exits. Union members blame a culture of easy violation of health and safety laws.
At the M.K. Sons factory in Faisalabad, which produces colorful printed fabrics for sale by U.S. retail giants like Walmart and Target, chief executive Rana Javed Akhtar insists that unlike the Karachi factory that burned down, his business is in line with international regulations.
Afghan police have arrested four people who allegedly tried to force a woman into prostitution in western Afghanistan and beheaded her when she refused, officials said Wednesday.
Mah Gul, 20, was beheaded after her mother-in-law attempted to make her sleep with a man in her house in Herat province last week, provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada told AFP.
“We have arrested her mother-in-law, father-in-law, her husband and the man who killed her,” he said.
Gul was married to her husband four months ago and her mother-in-law had tried to force her into prostitution several times in the past, Sayedzada said.
The suspect, Najibullah, was paraded by police at a press conference where he said the mother-in-law lured him into killing Gul by telling him that she was a prostitute.
“It was around 2:00 am when Gul’s husband left for his bakery. I came down and with the help of her mother-in-law killed her with a knife,” he said.
The murder comes against a backdrop of a world outcry over the shooting by Taliban Islamists of a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, who had become a voice against the suppression of women’s rights.
While Yousafzai’s case has made world headlines, people using social media in Afghanistan have made the point that oppression and violence against women are commonplace in Afghanistan.
Restored Spitfires are in short supply and the Burma/UK project is expected to largely increase their population. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters
Dozens of Spitfire fighter planes that were buried by British troops in Burma as the second world war drew to a close are to be excavated after an agreement to dig up the historic aircraft was signed by the Burmese government and an aviation enthusiast from Lincolnshire.
After 16 years of searching and lobbying, David Cundall, 62, has signed a deal to recover the lost RAF planes, which are believed to have been packed in crates and hidden by British forces on the orders of Earl Mountbatten shortly before the United States bombed the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.
During his visit to Burma in April, David Cameron reached an agreement with President Thein Sein about the recovery of the missing aircraft. The British embassy in Rangoon said the newly signed deal was a chance to work with the new Burmese government “in uncovering, restoring, displaying these fighter planes”.
The restoration should begin at the end of month.
The number of Mark 14 Spitfires awaiting discovery remains unclear, but Htoo Htoo Zaw, managing director of Cundall’s Burmese partner, the Shwe Taung Paw company, said he estimated there were at least 60. Previous estimates have varied between 20 and 36. Even that number would represent a large increase in the global Spitfire population: while 21,000 were built, only 35 remain in a good enough condition to fly.
To any objective observer, the consensus that exists between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on the fundamental issues of war and peace, Wall Street’s dominance of American life, and fiscal austerity, has been made crystal clear in the two “debates.” In the absence of effective popular resistance to the duopoly of money, the economic and social crisis fails to create a corresponding political crisis for the rulers. As a result, there is nothing important for them to debate.
Before last night’s debate, both the Obama and Romney camps expressed their concern that moderator Candy Crowley might go rogue and act like something resembling a journalist, not merely keeping time and introducing questioners but interjecting to get clarifications and ask follow-ups. Once the debate was over, it was only conservatives complaining about her.
The Sky Dancing banner headline uses a snippet from a work by artist Tashi Mannox called 'Rainbow Study'. The work is described as a" study of typical Tibetan rainbow clouds, that feature in Thanka painting, temple decoration and silk brocades". dakinikat was immediately drawn to the image when trying to find stylized Tibetan Clouds to represent Sky Dancing. It is probably because Tashi's practice is similar to her own. His updated take on the clouds that fill the collection of traditional thankas is quite special.
You can find his work at his website by clicking on his logo below. He is also a calligraphy artist that uses important vajrayana syllables. We encourage you to visit his on line studio.