Friday, August 1, 2008
CHICAGO » Sen. Barack Obama, speaking to a gathering of minority journalists yesterday, stopped short of endorsing an official U.S. apology to American Indians but said the country should acknowledge its history of poor treatment of certain ethnic groups.
"There's no doubt that when it comes to our treatment of Native Americans as well as other persons of color in this country, we've got some very sad and difficult things to account for," ... "I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged," the Democratic presidential hopeful said. "I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds."
[more moral equivalency where there is none: you can't judge yesterdays actions by today's morals. Put in the context of its time, Americas treatment of natives needs be compared to the common practice of enslaving or exterminating conquered populations. Re: reparations: truly harmful idea: All of my ancestors were 20th century immigrants - their role in Obama's 'tragedies' was what? It's the perpetuation of 'victim politics' as a means to affording special privilege/leverage - always accompanied by the resentment of those not included. This is the 'unifying' candidate?]
As he leaves the White House at the end of his second term, the President has a poll rating of only 23 per cent, and is widely disliked and even despised. His foreign policy has been judged a failure, especially in view of the long, painful, costly war that he declared, which is still not over.
He doesn't get on with his own party's presidential candidate, who is clearly distancing himself, and had lost many of his closest friends and staff to scandals and forced resignations. And major media write that his historical reputation will be as bad as that of President Harding, the disastrous president of the Great Depression.
I am writing, of course, about Harry S Truman, generally regarded today as one of the greatest of all the 43 presidents, and the man who set the United States on the course that ended decades later in the defeat of Communism. [snip]
Historians will appreciate how any War Against Terror that allowed Saddam to remain in place would have been an absurd travesty.
When the rise of al-Qa'eda is considered by historians it will be President Clinton's repeated refusal to act effectively in the 1990s, rather than President Bush's tough response after 9/11, that will be held up as culpable.
Judging by the rise in the value of the Iraqi dinar, the huge drop in the number of Iraqi deaths in the insurgency, the number of provinces now cleansed of al-Qa'eda, and the level of arms confiscations by the Iraqi Army in Sadr City, the new American "clear and hold" tactics have succeeded far better than the cynics ever thought possible even 12 months ago.
Give Iraq five, ten or twenty years, and Bush's decision to undertake the surge - courageously taken in the face of all bien pensant and "expert" opinion on both sides of the Atlantic - will rank alongside some of Harry Truman's great decisions of 1945-53...
[unless others let it all be undone]
The case of photojournalist Zoriah Miller, a 32-year-old American freelancer, has roiled U.S. Marines in Western Iraq for more than a month. Yet the mainstream media has largely ignored the controversy - until that is, a lengthy article in Saturday's New York Times, "4,000 U.S. Deaths and Just a Handful of Public Images ." While it strove to be circumspect about the issues at play, the Times failed to answer an important question: Who is Zoriah Miller? [snip]
"I have reason to believe that you present a threat all all Multi National Forces-West personnel and installations."A copy of Gen. Kelly's lengthy and detailed July 3 letter, citing specific embed rules Miller allegedly violated, was provided...
[long, Recommended for insight as to why the phrase "enemy within" is not empty hyperbole ]
WANA, Pakistan - A suspected U.S. missile strike on a Pakistani madrasa near the Afghan border killed six people on Monday, possibly including an al Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, Pakistani security officials said. A senior Pakistani security official said Abu Khabab al-Masri, an Egyptian chemist regarded as one of al Qaeda's top bomb makers, could have been the target.
Hundreds of endangered monkeys are being taken from the African bush and sent to a “secretive” laboratory in Iran for scientific experiments. [snip]
“They said it [the monkeys] was for ‘our country’, for vaccine. [They said] ‘We don’t buy vaccine from anywhere; we prepare our own vaccine’. “But I think they use it for something else. You know why? Because they don’t go on kilos. Iran wants [monkeys weighing] 1.5kg to 2.5kg, [but] 1.5kg for vaccine is not possible.” [snip]
In 2005 the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Iran “continued to seek dual-use biotechnology materials, equipment and expertise that are consistent with its growing legitimate biotechnology industry but could benefit Tehran’s assessed probable BW [biological weapons] programme”. Earlier this year it reiterated this. [snip]
Another Tanzanian dealer, Filbert Rubibira, was asked last year to prepare an order of monkeys to send to the Chinese military for “scientific purposes”...
Hamas has smuggled four tons of explosives, 50 anti-aircraft missiles, dozens of Kalashnikov rifles and materials used to produce rockets into the Gaza Strip since the inception of the cease-fire, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin said Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting. According to Diskin, Hamas has also taken control of all smuggling tunnels along the border with Egypt, and cement being brought into Gaza was intended for construction of bunkers.
[one of Israel's several 'partners in peace']
Swiss nationalists are forcing a popular vote on whether to ban the construction of Muslim minarets _ a proposal that, if approved, could clash with Switzerland's constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion.
The Interior Ministry said it received a petition Tuesday for a referendum on the issue with more than the required 100,000 signatures. It was submitted by members of the nationalist Swiss People's Party and the fringe Federal Democratic Union, which say they are acting to fight the spread of political Islam.
They argue the minaret symbolizes a bid for political and religious power rather than just a religious sign...
A Saudi-funded academy in Fairfax County used textbooks as recently as 2006 that compared Jews and Christians to apes and pigs, told eighth-graders that these groups are “the enemies of the believers” and diagrammed for high school students where to cut off the hands and feet of thieves, a Washington Post review of the books has found. It seems that some pretty smart kids go there. And the school's track record is pretty good, if you don't count the one kid who bypassed college, joined al-Qaeda, and tried to kill President Bush.
Beijing - Chinese authorities tightened security around Tibet's main monasteries and banned visits to a sacred site on the edge of the capital, Lhasa, for fear of a fresh outburst of unrest on the Dalai Lama's birthday. Few monks remain, however, in the province's three most important monasteries. Many have disappeared, their whereabouts a mystery.
Resolving the global food crisis could cost as much as $30 billion a year, and wealthier nations are doing little to help developing nations face the problem, United Nations officials said here on Tuesday. (Snip) Jacques Diouf, director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, convened a three-day summit meeting attended by dozens of world leaders.
He sharply criticized wealthy nations who he said were cutting spending on agriculture programs for the world's poor while spending billions on carbon markets...
Energy companies and speculators make windfall profits while consumers are hit hard
At the bottom of the house of sand on which the Kyoto accord and world carbon trading markets are built, there's a leaking foundation.
Otherwise known as a carbon credit.
Carbon credits are the main mechanism by which Kyoto transfers wealth from developed nations like Canada to developing ones like China.
They are also the stock bought and sold on carbon trading markets, usually in concert with government "cap and trade" schemes. [pronounced: 'scams']
First, buying and selling carbon credits doesn't remove one molecule of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.As for carbon trading outside the UN [i.e., non-Kyoto related], the world's largest cap-and-trade market is Europe's Emissions Trading Scheme. Its annual carbon emissions are rising, while big energy companies and energy speculators have made windfall profits and consumers have been hit hard by skyrocketing electricity bills...
Second, carbon credits weren't designed to lower emissions. They were designed to shift emissions around. [snip]
EDMONTON -- Oil industry leaders called for a national carbon tax on consumers Monday to help pay for building new greenhouse-gas disposal systems. The levy would put the burden where it belongs -- on fossil-fuel users that cause the most emissions, said Nexen Energy president Charlie Fischer and Enbridge president Pat Daniel.
While American politicians mull a carbon cap-and-trade system for industry, our British cousins are already contemplating the next step: personal CO2 rations. A Parliamentary committee in May proposed giving all British adults "carbon allowances" that they would be required to spend – along with, you know, real money – when buying gasoline, airline tickets, electricity, natural gas...
The Arctic may hold 90 billion barrels of oil, more than all the known reserves of Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Mexico combined, and enough to supply U.S. demand for 12 years, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
One-third of the undiscovered oil is in Alaskan territory, the agency found in a study released today.
“Announcing the Democrats’ bold new ‘plan’ on energy last week, Pelosi said breaking into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve ‘is one alternative.’ That's not an energy plan. It's using what we already have — much like ‘conservation,’ which is also part of the Democrats' plan.
Conservation, efficiency and using oil we hold in reserve for emergencies does not get us more energy. It's as if we were running out of food and the Democrats were telling us: ‘Just eat a little less every day.’ Great. We'll die a little more slowly. That's not what we call a ‘plan.’
We need more energy, not a plan for a slower death.”
The other day, I needed to go to the emergency room.
Not wanting to sit there for 4 hours, I put on my old Army fatigues and stuck a patch that I had downloaded off the Internet onto the front of my shirt.
When I went into the E. R. I noticed that 3/4 of the people got up and left. I guess they decided that they weren't that sick after all. Cut at least 3 hours off my waiting time.
Here's the patch. Feel free to use it the next time you're in need of quicker emergency service.