Collective Amnesia and Unecessary Deaths

One US television weekly news program that I watch fairly religiously is 60 minutes. I don’t love it, but I’m fascinated by it and my own research indicates that 1 out of every 6 stories they cover are actually quite good. Still, I watch them all; the good, bad, and obscenely cliché.

In their most recent program, they began with a piece that had me extra annoyed and yelling at the screen as I so often do as I slowly spiral into madness. I highly recommend watching it online, as the channel has apparently decided to “get with it” and offer their content online for free.

The piece focused on the US military’s medical care for wounded soldiers, how modern, fast, efficient, and effective it has been. Throughout the report they include lots of impressive images of helicopters and super-medical planes to hammer home the point that the military is very modern and good at treating wounded. Which, I must say, is useful since you’ve got over 44,000 wounded soldiers so far.

Also included in the report are a few first-hand testimonies, from soldiers who survived and army doctors based in Baghdad. One particular lady got on my last nerve, as she did what so many of those interviewed did: get very solemn and teary eyed remembering those that died and then she goes on to say how hard they fight to save lives of soldiers and iraqi’s as well. There’s a few minutes even dedicated to an Iraqi child who died on the operating table.

Dead, wounded, and still they rationalize the bullshit.

That is about when I lost it, and I shall try to explain why…

There is no ignoring the enormous irony in all this. An army doctor crying about not having saved an iraqi child, while for most of the last 15 years, her military has bombed the shit out of the country and killed thousands upon thousands of children. Or the spectacle of an Iraqi working with the military talking about how so many people have died, but it is worth it.

How the hell does he know it is worth it? Who promised him that when democracy comes all lives will get better and peace/justice will reign. I can think of many many nations that have democracy and no such conditions exist in those countries. Yet this guy tells the camera, as he looks over the dead bodies of children: it is a sacrifice, but it is worth it.

What the hell measuring stick do these people use? How do they determine how many dead people per vote or maimed children per mcdonalds, indicate that it was all “worth it.”

All I see is violence on a terrible scale. And deaths that did not have to happen. Crying army doctors, destroyed lives, and legless veterans, going around telling us what a shame it sometimes is…. but hey.. it is all WORTH IT.

bm163 Other Elections Around the World

Everywhere you turn in the world of media it seems like the only election is that of the US congress next week. Yet big decisions are being made in different corners of the world, on every continent actually. This program is a brief run down of who and what is on the agenda in different elections worldwide right now. Naturally my opinion is mixed in there.. but so are the cold hard facts.

Wikipedia has a good Electoral Calendar

A Nice Coup of Soup

Much has been made of the announcement of a coup in Thailand. Some people use that word that I find hard to spell: pusch. Although at first I was a little concerned for Thai people, at the idea of military driving around and squashing their civil rights, I’ve since formed a more solid opinion based on observation.

I watched the fun today through various video sources, as the king appeared on TV and the military publicly apologized for carrying out a coup. What A Country! They apologized!

It is one of those moments where I’m glad to have Thai blogs to explain to me what is really going on. Of course, Thai friends also help, but a look at the blogs like Bangkok expat mama or Thai Blogs dot com, where this guy writes about the lighter side of the coup, it all helps me to better get the feel of things and reach my own conclusions.

The BBC just ran some footage where teenagers and coming up to soldiers and handing them flowers. Reminds me of Portugal 1974 in some ways. Not too many ways.. but some.

What About Tasini

Today I’m coming to you from the suburbs of Brussels, Belgium, where I’m staying this weekend in celebration of my godson’s 12th birthday. But now onto more serious matters:

I tend not to talk about US senate races and republicans versus democrats and crap like that. Mostly because there are a zillion blogs working for either party fulltime, so why bother further beating one very dead horse.

Yet for all the bla bla bla about this guy named Lieberman who is a disgrace of a human being even though all the haters voted for him oh-so-often, and how he was beaten thanks to the internets, you don’t hear much about one Jonathan Tasini. Even though he puts the small d back in democrat.

Honestly, I could care less if the democrats take back the senate or the house, as they are as guilty of being the architects of all the death, destruction, and decieving as their republican counterparts. But when it comes to upsurping the comfy two faced democrats who think they’re going to cruise to victory just for having the big D next to their names, I’m all for that.

But what I really wish is that more people took Jonathan Tasini seriously. Who you ask? Jonathan Tasini.. former leader of the National Writers Union, who is running against Hillary Clinton for the democratic nomination in the state of New York. It should be a “slam dunk” for Tasini, since he’s running against a senator who supported the war in Iraq, and has generally betrayed the principals of civil liberties, human rights, and international law, since the day she got into office. Hillary Clinton hasn’t respected democracy or the values of a real “Democratic” party since her early days as the first lady. She is fake as fake can be, and lets be honest, her speeches have that terrible tone like listening to someone scrape their nails against a blackboard.

Yet the bloggers aren’t talking much about Tasini’s challenge. They’re too scared to attack their most well known senator… everyone knows the name Hillary Clinton. So much for independence and the freedom to be critical on the blogosphere.

Therefore I’m delving into the senate races from now on, to give much deserved attention to senators who need to be sent packing. And I’ll be very busy, since an overwhelming majority need to be replaced.

bm140 Fighting Computer Voting in the Netherlands

There are lots of reports regarding the problems with computer voting in the US. But Europe has its own problems as governments buy into these systems and ignore the dangers involved. Rop has spent much of his career working with computer related projects, but these voting computers are one thing he is funamentally against…

“We don’t trust votingcomputers dot nl” 

Article about Dutch made machines in Ireland


Future Movers and Shakers of America

The semester is over, yet the fishtank spilleth over at work these days. A neverending wave of American and international students are here to participate in the plethora of summer programs that are offerred. The groups I notice most of all are the American ones.. boston university, nyu, minnesota… you can’t miss them as their discussions are at a volume louder than everyone else’s, at least according to my ears.

As I tried to get through this final day of work before the Berlin, I took extra notice of their conversations. Each table in the cantina was filled with a different group, who apparently were working on projects related to a class on conflict resolution. The terms kept repeating from table to table.. over and over, “peacekeepers”, “training”, “democracy”, “free elections”, “war crimes”… it was like being in a room full of future Bush speech writers.

Of course they’re much better than that, but after awhile the topics began to annoy me. Each person trying to outdo the other with bigger words and mentioning as many acronyms as possible. They spoke about democracy like a group of doctors collectively dispensing medicine that will heal the world. On and on and on… democracy democracy democracy. The cynic in me wanted to ask if when they were finished, they could find the first world some salvation from the terrible so-called democracies we’re locked into.

But why nag them for wanting to save the world, that at least is a noble wish that even I can support. The truely disturbing part about listening to the great minds of some of the countries top universities, is their obsession with themselves. The deliberate practice of trying to shmooze other professors while one-upping their classmates. I guess it’s practice for the future, when they intend to get into important jobs that could potentially help the world… and then proceed to focus on making themselves real famous and important.

In other news, Trinidad & Tobago deserved to win.