March 16th, 2012

The horrific shooting and the fallout

It is reported here that the US will not co-operate with the investigation on that awful shooting by the soldier, killing three families. It might be reporting bias, I don’t know. It seems to me that the “let us handle this, we know better” attitude, amplified by the man being flown out of the country, is simply making the US image abroad worse?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying “toss the guy over to the Afghans”. I am not so ignorant. He’d probably be quartered or something. Somehow I do not believe (a supposed) metal disorder would be regarded whatsoever. But not co-operating in the investigation?

Jesse Helms in a micro cosmos. Sigh.


June 20th, 2011

Blow your brains out with the help of “100.5 The Fox,” KBFX.

Enjoying the tunes that Alice Cooper is playing on his syndicated radio show broadcast tonight by KBFX, “100.5 the Fox.” KBFX is a “classic rock” FM station owned by Clear Channel Communications – a “right wing” media monopoly. I find the frequent Army National Guard commercials, broadcast by KBFX, commercials that feature a come on that enlisting in The Guard might provide a sign-up bonus that MIGHT provide enough money to pay off student loans to the many unemployed college grads (up to $50,000) a real downer. Don’t try contacting anybody at this Clear Channel station to complain, the contact link goes nowhere. BTW the military commercials on KBFX are sponsored, at least in part, by the Alaska Broadcasters Association; who are these people and what are they up to? Tell ‘em what you think.

February 20th, 2010

The fourth premature ending

Local politics: As I wrote earlier, tensions were rising in our administration. This is fueled by the multi-party system we have here where it is always necessary to have more than one party in the administration to have a majority. It also forces compromises. Until something breaks of course.

Tonight something broke, and the connection with you people on the other side of the pond is Afghanistan. Our boys have been fooling around in Uruzgan for a couple of years and in 2007 it was decided enough was enough, and we would start to leave in 2010.  There is no majority, not amongst the people, nor in parliament to drag on there forever. Still, our smart ass right winged minister of foreign affairs (what you call secretary of state) pushed his own agenda and kept on leading to a formal request by NATO to stay. It is an unwritten law that NATO only issues such requests when it is absolutely certain that it will be granted, read, he made promises he couldn’t hold. Mild left wing coalition partner, who was arm-twisted into not criticizing the unlawful entry into Iraq (see that earlier link) decided last night enough was enough and there was no way they could support a longer stay against the earlier decision, parliament and peoples will.

This is the fourth time under this prime minister the administration does not run it’s constitutional four years. Now the common factor is….. oh wait! What will happen next:

  1. The queen has a few options (elections, minority cabinet or try glueing things up). Hard to see what that will be.
  2. We will be kicked out of the G-20 in no time (pushed by the US)
  3. Right wing will probably gain the most out of this, as the one pulling the plug is always blamed, and people stop thinking the moment they enter the voting booth anyway.

This country is quickly becoming the new political Italy of Europe. Insane.

Added: here’s the CNN take on it.

Added 22-02: I’ll add some progress here for those interested. Goes WAY different than in the US!

  • The administration will continue “watching the shop” only. The ministers that left will be replaces by members of the parties that did not resign, effectively leaving a minority cabinet. This needs some formal juggling, but it is what will happen.
  • The Queen has consulted the major political leaders (she must not have been amused, was on skiing holiday in Austria!).
  • Almost certainly new elections will be held, late May, beginning of June.

Oh, and we have municipal elections next week.

January 23rd, 2010

Stop Loss sucks

Search that on Google (or some other engine).

December 1st, 2009

It’s time for a military draft

If President Obama, who I voted for because I thought he was progressive, sends 30,000 troops into Afghanistan it’s time to institute compulsory military service in the United States. Our military has depended on “Stop Loss,” the ultimate Catch-22, to keep volunteers in the military seemingly for ever. I think that doctors, lawyers and bankers should be forced to have their sons and daughters placed in harms way. The Stop Loss policies first embraced by President George Bush the lesser and currently embraced by Barack Obama guarantee that so many military volunteers have no way of knowing when they have fulfilled their contract with The State. For the most part the folks that are fighting the battles resulting from the lip service paid to National Security by a rarefied group of elites that love to wave
“our flag,” come from the poor sectors of our society. Interestingly most of those elites huffing and puffing the loudest have never had to carry arms in battle. It’s time to spread the risk among all – rich and poor alike.

November 3rd, 2008

Eve of Destruction

Noam Chomsky recently noted that the United States has one political party with two factions: the Republicans and the Democrats. The elections to be held this Tuesday in the United States will, no doubt, impact people around the world, some for better and many for worse. I’m not sure why, but I was poking around in my “archives” tonight and revisited a lecture that has had a big impact on how I view my country. Speaking at Riverside Church in New York City author Arundhati Roy delivered her thoughts in a message titled, “Instant Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One Get One Free),” on April 13, 2003.

Roy noted, among many other things, that:

Way back in 1988, on the 3rd of July, the U.S.S. Vincennes, a missile cruiser stationed in the Persian Gulf, accidentally shot down an Iranian airliner and killed 290 civilian passengers. George Bush the First, who was at the time on his presidential campaign, was asked to comment on the incident. He said quite subtly, “I will never apologize for the United States. I don’t care what the facts are.”

I don’t care what the facts are. What a perfect maxim for the New American Empire. Perhaps a slight variation on the theme would be more apposite: The facts can be whatever we want them to be.

When the United States invaded Iraq, a New York Times/CBS News survey estimated that 42 percent of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And an ABC News poll said that 55 percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein directly supported Al Qaida. None of this opinion is based on evidence (because there isn’t any). All of it is based on insinuation, auto-suggestion, and outright lies circulated by the U.S. corporate media, otherwise known as the “Free Press,” that hollow pillar on which contemporary American democracy rests.

Public support in the U.S. for the war against Iraq was founded on a multi-tiered edifice of falsehood and deceit, coordinated by the U.S. government and faithfully amplified by the corporate media.

Good luck to us all.

A written transcript of Roy’s presentation is available here.

August 30th, 2008

The success of war (not)

Thursday evening, a mother and two children were shot and killed, two more children wounded at a roadblock in Afghanistan. Details are still vague, but so far it seems two cars were stopped when the fisrt one pulled out again. Security forces opened fire on the car. The roadblock was staffed by German and Afghan soldiers. It’s almost sure the bullets were fired by the Germans.

Parliament members in Germany are crying out loud to withdraw completely, as by now every Afghan civilian is seen as a suspect, and the Afghan people only look fear the foreign troops.

Nice. Let’s win over some more Afghan people.

Link to article in German newspaper Die Welt.

Link to article on the website of the German army.

April 18th, 2008

The price of war

Two days ago, the new chief of staff of my countries defense forces was installed. Yesterday his 23 year old son, who was serving in Afghanistan, was killed in a roadside bomb attack by the Taliban. Another soldier died too in the same incident, two were severely wounded. One of those two might not make it.

Just for the record: the Taliban claimed they did not know the kid was in that convoy. Not that it matters at all.

February 19th, 2008

Why Archives are important

In the autumn of 1996, the newly installed Taliban decreed that moving pictures were heretical and had to be destroyed. This was obviously very bad news for Afghan Film, the Kabul-based organisation that both promoted Afghan cinema and housed the Asian republic’s entire film and TV archive. One hundred and eighteen of its 120 employees fled; the two who remained, lab technician Khwaja Ahmadshah and a colleague, resolved to risk their lives in defence of cinema.

I’d be the first to admit that I have a soft-spot for archives. I know that archives are not the kind of things that give most folks a “warm and fuzzy” feeling, but like museums and libraries and even the detritus amassed by “collectors” their worth is often underestimated. Folks who work in archives are often obsessively devoted to the material they were hired to protect. This article, from, ‘If I find one reel, I must kill you’ hopefully will help you to get the “warm and fuzzies” when you think of archives and their relationship to our history and culture.

February 11th, 2008

The Nato

NATO was born out of a common post WWII fear for the communists. One of the foundations of the NATO is the principle of “if one is being attacked, we’re ALL attacked and are obliged to act as such” (my simplified layman’s words). What is kinda interesting that during the cold war, NATO was basically a sleeping organization, only performing a lot of exercises to prepare for an enemy that in the end never came, that in 1954 suggested it should join NATO, and that more or less stopped existing in 1991.

Interestingly, the US succeeded in putting 9/11/2001 under the above principle, and the member-states basically found themselves drawn into a fear driven unnamed-enemy “War on terror”.

It is the combination of these two facts that brought the allied forces into the war in Afghanistan. And as I stated before, other than Iraq, Afghanistan is backed by UN resolutions. Me, I am pretty convinced this is no coincidence. How could NATO member-states vote against military action in the UN if the above two facts were accepted and combined?

And this is really what it is all about with the slowly succeeding arm-twisting diplomacy by R. Gates: people/parliaments/states are confusing the mess the the US made of Iraq under the umbrella of “war on terror” with Afghanistan, posted under the same W-O-T, basically thinking like “Listen, everything you do, we will certainly NOT engage in, given the terrible decision making that led to the fucking mess this so called war on terror is already”. In my opinion a wrong, but very understandable line of thinking.

So the question is: is one members war everyones war as in “to fight”, or is NATO a sort of flex workers agency for soldiers?

Gates is not worried about the weight of the forces. He doesn’t need NATO for that (check the US defense budget and the one-man-show in Iraq to know). He needs NATO members for their political support.