Archive for the ‘History’ category

Worthy of a post

January 21, 2009

080709_barack_obama

At the very least. After decades of mediocrity, it seems that America has chosen the right and the best man for the job. I feel like, overnight, I became proud to be an American again. And I don’t think I’m alone. His words, his demeanor, his very presence just screams sound leadership.

As Bush slinked away like the wounded badger he is, Obama grabbed the reins of the huge, crazed but sickly bull that is America. Can he stay in the saddle and control this beast? Only time will tell. But hope abounds around the globe that he can and will.

They all say it, but this is truly the beginning of a new era. I believe Obama and his associates are up to the task. I hope the American people are, too.

You know what the boy scouts say…

August 19, 2008

Be Prepared

Got those bags all packed for your sons and daughters? Got those life insurance policies all paid up? Got plots picked out? Done some price comparisons on prosthetic limbs? If not, you better get to it. McBush may be on the horizon, and he’s gonna want your sons and your daughters. Hell, he’s gonna want THEIR sons and daughters.

And we all know you aren’t going to do one damn thing about it.

Then again, sure, a lot of them die, but we always end up with some really cool music so what the heck.

A Last Throw of the Dice…?

July 13, 2008

I rarely read the US press anymore as I find that, when the biased reporting isn’t downright outrageous, it is often just plain silly. It’s also frequently behind the times. I read first about Tony Snow on the BBC Online. It was another hour before I saw the first article from a US source.

New Zealander, Bob Rigg, writing freelance for The Asia Times, sums up the US strategy in Iraq-Iran very nicely. In 13 paragraphs, his summary puts it in a perspective that even I might understand.

…architects of the Project for a New American Century, including luminaries such as John Bolton, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz.

The neo-conservative scenario was clear: a devastating military strike would knock out Iraq’s powerful armed forces, and its population would welcome US liberators with open arms. The US would then immediately strike at Iran…Before the world could collect its wits, both Iraq and Iran would have been under direct US control. But the best laid plans of mice and men …

He explains how the Middle Eastern countries, instead of kowtowing to the US since the invasion of Iraq, are doing exactly the opposite. They are flexing their muscles and becoming bolder.

…its [US] pre-eminence has been eroded by misguided neo-conservative adventures in the Middle East, and by the emergence of a new international constellation of powerful and assertive states, including in the region. Their assertiveness has increased in proportion to the decline in the political and moral standing of the US, which is now less in control of the world and the Middle East than at any time since the turn of the new century.

This entire master plan for control of Middle Eastern oil reserves, which has been in play and passed down from one administration to the next since the Shah, finally settled in the incapable hands of one George W. Bush. He surrounded himself with those who were already involved in the plan, indeed I’m sure they are the same ones who worked behind the scenes to insure his election,  and he gave them free reign to finally complete it.

But now that the plan is falling apart, what with the Iraqi government demanding a timetable, the American public strongly against expansion, the economy going in the toilet while Bush continues to spend millions daily in Iraq, and the incompetence and impotence of the Bush White House, he is becoming desparate to make something happen before he leaves office. Or I should say, the powerful repubs who pull his strings, fearful that the Bush clone, McCain isn’t going to pull off the election, are scrambling to position the US so there will appear to be no alternative other than war with Iran.

I think we better be careful in these final days of Bushco just what we believe about Iran, Iraq, Israel, Syria and everyone else in that region. The propoganda and fabrications are going to get heavy. I don’t think ANY major decisions should be allowed in these final few months before the next president. The chances of Bush actually improving the situation are nil. He hasn’t done one positive thing for the country yet. Don’t believe he is going to start now.

Nelson Mandela – a legacy

July 2, 2008

Nelson Mandela, former prisoner, former anti-aparthied activist, former president of the ANC, has been taken off of the US terrorism watch list-finally. As unbelievable as it may sound, this Nobel Peace Prize winner has been on the terrorism watch list because of his anti-aparthied and anti-racism activities. In other words, because he has devoted his life to ridding South Africa of the racism imposed by a white minority government, and was imprisoned for 27 years fighting for equality for his people, the US puts him on the terrorist watch list.

Actually, it fits right in with the racist, scared-to-death-of-anyone-who-doesn’t-look-like-us mania that’s so pervasive in the US these days.

Mandela is in high demand world wide as a trusted advisor and mediator and is perhaps the most well respected elder statesman alive and still active. How respected is he?

He can get anyone on the phone. “When Mandela calls, the president takes the call, no question,” said a White House spokesman.

This is a man who has made a difference, and a positive one for his people. This is a man who commands respect and deserves it. This is a man who will maintain a revered legacy and take his place in the history books as someone who devoted his life to peace and the advancement of mankind.

George W. Bush, you are no Nelson Mandela. You couldn’t shine his shoes.

Father of LSD dies at 102

May 1, 2008

Albert Hofmann, the father of LSD whose medical discovery inspired millions in the 1960s, has died. He was 102.

The Swiss chemist discovered lysergic acid diethylamide-25 in 1938 while studying the medicinal uses of a fungus found on wheat and other grains at the Sandoz pharmaceuticals firm in Basel.

He became the first human guinea pig of the drug when a tiny amount of the substance seeped onto his finger during a laboratory experiment in 1943.

“I had to leave work for home because I was suddenly hit by a sudden feeling of unease and mild dizziness,” he subsequently wrote in a memo to company bosses.

He said his initial experience resulted in “wonderful visions.”

LSD or “acid” had a tremendous impact, not only on the behavior of those who took it, but on the music and art of our generation. I liked it and have always believed it was an important if surreal part of my education .

Profiles in Courage

March 31, 2008

When I first saw the movie “The Killing Fields” in the mid 80’s I, like most Americans, was completely ignorant of the events taking place in Cambodia. Like many vets, I saw all the movies that were related to Vietnam in an effort I suppose to find some meaning that I had missed. Most were disappointments but this movie, based on the genocide of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979, was so much better than the rest that I ended up watching it 3 times over the years.

It depicts the real life close relationship between western journalist Sydney Schanberg and his Cambodian counterpart, Dith Pran who worked as an interpreter for western newsmen trying to report on the war. The movie won three Oscars.

Dith Pran was captured by the Khmer Rouge but managed to survive by hiding his intellectual background and pretending to be a peasant. The horrors he witnessed are for most, unimaginable and the courage and fortitude he displayed is the stuff of legends.

After Dith finally escaped and moved to the U.S., he became a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and founded the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project, dedicated to educating people on the history of the Khmer Rouge regime.

He was “the most patriotic American photographer I’ve ever met, always talking about how he loves America,” said Associated Press photographer Paul Sakuma, who knew Dith through their work with the Asian American Journalists Association.

It was Dith Pran himself who coined the phrase “killing fields” when describing the horrifying stacks of corpses and skeletal remains of victims he encountered on his desperate journey to freedom.

Dith Pran died yesterday at his home in New Jersey from pancreatic cancer. He was 65.

Winter Soldier hearings – a prelude

March 13, 2008

The first Winter Soldier hearings were held in 1971 and sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War and other anti-war groups. Today will be the first of 4 days of Winter Soldier hearings concerning the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations.

As a prelude to this event, I thought it might be interesting and valuable to view part of the hearings from the original event. My understanding is that the format will be the same and all testimony will be recorded. For a list of sources to view or listen to the proceedings go here.

The stories you will hear on these two videos are horrifying but true. Keep in mind that these men were, almost without exception, 19 and 20 years old when they witnessed or took part in these events. Watch the lack of emotion, the absence of feeling. It is an almost universal byproduct of that war for veterans.

I have a feeling that what we will see and hear over the next 4 days at the current Winter Soldier hearings will be very much the same. Without further ado, I give you Part 1 and Part 2 of 5 parts. Winter Soldier – 1971.

cross posted at The Impolitic