Friday, July 30, 2010

I thought our House Speakers were bad

To carry ya'll inta the long weekend, today we have a brilliant display of American hyopcrisy. I have been intending on writing more about Middle Eastern politics, but two things hold me back: the complexity of the subject, and this blog is named Progressive Winnipeg, for a reason.

Once in awhile something falls on your lap so squarely that it is impossible to ignore. This is where I introduce to you former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has officially gone beyond the pale. Yesterday he stated that America has only gone after one of the three "Axis of Evil" countries outlined by George Bush Jr, and suggested going after the other two (Iran and North Korea).

To mention "American hypocrisy" and not mention nuclear weapons somehow, is a hypocritical statement in and of itself. You can watch his speech on Youtube though I have not found a complete video of it, just many bits and pieces.

In it he states, amongst many others but these in particular, two completely unbelieveable things:

"One of things I am going to suggest today, is a federal law which says no court anywhere in the United States, under no circumstance is allowed to consider Sharia a replacement for American law."

Which is strange, given that this is an outright conspiracy theory that sounds like it belongs on Alex Jones' website. I'm baffled by how a former House speaker could honestly think that Sharia law will somehow replace American law. Or that there is some subversive plot to undermine American law by radical Islamists. The current day definition of "that's fucked up" has just been set in stone.

"Why is it that the other two parts of the Axis of Evil are still visibly, cheerfully making nuclear weapons?"

Nuclear weapons. The guaranteed "ace in the hole" for any American politician, it would seem. The hypocrisy in their speech and actions is abhorrent and nobody seems to mind or notice.

George Bush Jr blasted Hussein's regime for potentially having nuclear weapons, which as we all know turned out to be false. Currently they are in the process of accusing Iran of the same things. North Korea has been condemned for as long as I've been alive. They take a crack at Pakistan over nuclear weapons occasionally, but right now they can't afford to as they are supposed to be allies. Sanctions have been imposed and re-imposed on both Iran and North Korea.

The most striking omission from all of these accusations and condemnations over nuclear weapons, is the leeway they give Israel. Both Pakistan and Israel are not part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Moreover, it is no secret that Israel does have them. I'm positive that Newt has an answer for why Israel is "visibly, cheerfully" making nuclear weapons, and would find some way to defend it.

I would love to hear an American politician, be it Newt, or President Obama, or Sarah Palin, or Nancy Pelosi, or whomever, explain why Israel's nuclear program is not criticized, not monitored, and never mentioned. Meanwhile, they continue their hardline stance on all other non-members of the Proliferation Treaty.

How anybody can suggest going to war with Iran and North Korea after creating a giant clusterfuck on the other side of the world in the wake of an illegal war, is beyond my capacity to understand. In essence, this man is suggesting that the US conduct two more illegal wars, as no country, certainly not Canada or the UK, would back an invasion of Iran or North Korea. Neither would the UN, and they would have no hope in hell of getting any help from NATO.

I thought the prospect of Sarah Palin becoming president was scary, but there are reports suggesting Newt Gingrich is considering running. To ask a couple more hypothetical questions, how would Newt go about getting himself elected with a foreign policy lke this, or even just this mindset? After the Wikileaks publication this past Sunday showing cross inaccuracies over the account of Afghani casualties, and the current status of the US's economy and debt, how could two more wars concieveably be funded? $860 biliion dollars a year isn't enough, apparently.

After spending all afternoon mulling over this, I think I've come to the conclusion that Mr Gingrich has not read The Fall of Rome. Nor have many other politicians studied any history relating to empire building and maintenance.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Thousand

A week ago, the Afghan civilian death toll reached one thousand.

I'm not entirely sure what Obama's plan to add 30 000 more troops following his phony Nobel Peace Prize was meant to do. I thought of the casualty numbers reached a week ago, when I read in the FreeP Gwynne Dyer's op-ed, written around the fact that the US and essentially, every country involved with the Afghanistan offensive against the Taliban willingly choose to ignore the country's long, long history. That the country has survived for millenia because of consistent guerrilla warfare tactics...tactics that despite all the technology in the world, cannot usurp.

This will continue to be the story for the entire war, however long it lasts. I will never know why more people do not press the issue of the war and our dire need to retreat entirely from it. Nor will I ever understand how the milestone of 1000 civilian casualties did not garner front page news.

Havoc is being unleashed on a country half a world away, and Canada is a part of it. You can now return to your house that hasn't been hit by mortars, and the issue du jour, which is probably bitching at the government because you can't talk on a phone and drive anymore. Oh, the humanity.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Why is BP and the Gulf of Mexico Off the Radar?

Do people not give a shit anymore?

This is fucking disgusting. It has the potential to continue like this for two more years.

As far as I'm concerned, this is all ANYBODY should be concerned about right now. The entire Gulf will be turned into a dead zone for decades. The entire economic value of the Gulf will be lost. We are literally killing the earth with shit like this.

Top 14 things you need to know:

1. Oil is on all of the Gulf states' beaches.

2. No amount of money in the world can return the Gulf to it's pre-gusher state.

3. BP's exploration plan submitted to the US government stated there was little risk of oil reaching the shoreline, though shore is only 77km away. Winds off the Gulf can easily exceed 77kph. Which means surface oil could reach shore in one hour.

To use some deduction skills, BP must have thought it impossible that oil from a potential leak or blowout would ever reach Florida. Over course we all know that Florida has already been hit for some time. Florida is 300km away, four times farther than the nearest coast to Deepwater Horizon.

4. The Huffington Post has the best coverage of the spill. Of course HuffPo is not part of "Thee Old Guarde" media giants.

HuffPo even has a separate BP section, with the sub headline "some news is so big it needs it's own page.

5. BP has hired people to prevent the public or journalists from accessing beaches. Nobody seems to care how much BP covers this colossal fuckup up.

6. Speaking of covering up, literally, BP (allegedly but I'm taking it as fact) is trucking sand in to cover up oil that has already arrived on beaches. Don't believe me? Some journalists have balls.

Allison Kilkenny interviewed the guy who shot the film. I don't know who Allison is but I sure do now.

7. It's raining oil in Louisiana. Imagine then what a category 4 hurricane would do.

8. The damage control spin machine is going into 6th gear. The coast guard is threatening fines and prison time for journalists going to affected beaches. Nobody will probably get arrested but still, the pictures and stories need to get out.

9. BP's PR machine started up when porpoises started washing up dead. Porpoises are Dolphins, if you didn't know. Nobody wants to see dead cuddly-wuddlys.

10. A local boat captain William Kruse, one of the ones recruited by BP to help with the cleanup, committed suicide.

11. The chemical dispersant Corexit is banned by the EU for it's highly toxic properties, which means if this spill happend in EU-controlled waters, BP would not have been able to dump millions of gallons of the stuff on it.

12. At least a dozen people out on the seas involved in the dispersal of Corexit were hospitalized for various things including lung or breathing issues. BP claimed it was food poisoning.

13. NASA compiled a time lapse video of the oil spill. It's fucking scary.

14. The resevoir Deepwater Horizon was tapping holds over 2 billion gallons of oil. Currently oil is spilling into the gulf at over 2 million gallons per day.