Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Bahrain

Through Thick and Thin

with 4 comments

Well, I thought I was leaving for the desert today, so I didn’t get a chance to write a post this weekend. So, gentle readers, a second “Through Thick and Thin” post in a row. Plus it’s an excuse to post another funny picture from Facebook. Sometimes this one comes with the caption: ” School textbooks have changed a lot since fundamentalists took over the school board.” I like it better without the caption though, it has multiple layers of implied humour. I particularly like the expression on the mammal’s face. I would also like to give notice of a change in the comment policy. In the future I will simply delete comments that contain personal attacks. If a person can’t make a point without making personal attacks, they generally don’t have much to say. Since I get polite comments from all over the political and religious spectrum, and don’t get the sorts of idiotic troll comments that plague so many other venues, I am pretty sure I’m doing something right. Sadly the anonymity of the Internet has certainly encouraged the worst in some people. I’m appalled for example how many people in the news get death threats for expressing themselves. Dear God, getting along with each other is hard enough as it is, how do death threats help?

Well, the Olympics are over. All said and done, I like the institution less every year. I applaud the athletes though. The same way I am anti-war, but still support the troops. Granted my idea of supporting the troops means bringing them home and giving them decent lifetime medical care. I also think cops and firemen should get the same. If that makes me some sort of radical socialist, so be it. I also support the idea of national service, though not for the usual reasons. How did I get from the Olympics to the draft? Anyhu, the commercialization of the Olympics bothers me. And the fact that many of the nations involved aren’t “real” nations, they are colonial era constructs maintained in power by the west. The Olympics, like the UN, has become an organ for reinforcing the colonial status quo. And it gets grander every year, which historians have pointed out is a bad sign. Bread and Circus, keep the masses diverted as the Empire rots from the top.

Speaking of the Olympics, I remember watching them as a kid. Coverage was much better then, they just covered events, it wasn’t the personality cult, soap opera, game contest coverage it is today. I in particular remember the infamous 1974 US vs Russia hockey game. The clock ran out, the horn sounded, the US team started to celebrate their victory. Then the officials added three seconds to the clock, gave the ball to the Russians, who then won the game. Shock and horror in the USA, crooked Russian officials had blatantly rigged the game to hand the US its first Olympic hockey defeat ever. The USA team was so slighted they refused to go to the podium and collect their silver medals. It was a truly shocking thing to see. And that’s how I thought it stood these past four decades. Then I recently looked it up. Another childhood misconception. Yes, I had seen what I saw. The truth of what happened however is much muddier. There really had been a problem with the clock. In fact there had been all sorts of problems in the last minute of the game. The final result was a comedy of errors as officials frantically tried to fix the mess they had made of it. Yes, there’s certainly reason to believe that some of the participants in the fiasco weren’t exactly pure of heart in their motives, but the end result was far more a result of a badly officialled game than any Russian connivance. IE the people running the game didn’t just blatantly cheat and add time to the game after it was over. Sadly, more and more as I look back to my younger years, I find out things that I knew were much more nuanced than I remember.

I see a man in Bahrain has been sentenced to two years in jail for defaming one of Muhammad’s wives. Sad on so many levels. I don’t think civil courts should be involved in religious matters period. Are there passages in the Koran where Muhammad claims people who diss his wife should be punished? If so, I take exception to them, no disrespect intended. If not, how the hell does this sort of stuff happen? Oh, wait, it involves humans. The new Testament I am more familiar with. Jesus said all sorts of cool stuff. He also said narcissistic sociopathic cult nonsense about worshipping him or else he will kill your children and torture you with fire. And there’s plenty of people in the USA trying to bring back the good old days where the Bible was the law of the land. Well, the law of the land in certain parts of the country. Mostly red states I understand.

Jeez, did it again, from nonsense in Bahrain to red state nonsense. I brought up Bahrain to point out again the evidence of blatant hypocrisy in US foreign policy. In Bahrain we are propping up with weapons and foreign troops a despotic theocracy that is suppressing a popular movement for freedom and democracy. Hardly a word of it in the mainstream media. In Syria we are arming people who want to install a theocracy. Lot’s of that in the news, though they neglect to mention the theocracy part and the atrocities the insurgents are committing in what has now become an ugly civil war. The point of course is that apparently though, millions of Americans still think that our foreign policy is about freedom … and is opposed to religious extremism.  Oh well, millions of Americans think Obama is a secret Muslim or that the Moon landings didn’t happen, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s all over the Internet, so I’m hoping it’s in the public domain. If anyone knows who to credit it to, I will. Gold Kudos to this guy though, the original “Save Yourself Mammal” guy. It’s one of those cartoons that I think will make me laugh forever. Another mental defect I suppose.)

Written by unitedcats

August 13, 2012 at 9:38 am

Libyan Rebel Jets Sink Qaddafi’s Warships, Saudi Arabia Invades Bahrain, and Japan Evacuated in Escalating Nuclear Crisis

with 3 comments

And another oh so exciting day in the news. I’m getting tired of this, it’s almost scary to turn on the TV now. Well it is scary. However, I’m still here and there’s nothing really worrisome going on in Berkeley, so I will carry on and try to make sense of the rapidly changing world. No matter what happens there’s always lessons to be learnt, and in a way, since we are in uncharted waters, my thoughts and commentary are going to be as valid as anyone’s. Even the experts founder when the rate of change gets up there, so just hang on for the ride.

First, I was heartened to see reports that Libyan rebel jets had sunk some of Qaddafi’s warships. Woohoo! I bet they didn’t see that coming. I’m pretty much against all wars, but the two exceptions would be when a people take up arms against an invader … or a tyrant. What can  say, the ten year old Doug comes out when I read about Libya, I want the Libyans to kick Qaddafi’s ass. I know, people are dying, but this time I’m taking sides.  Meanwhile the West is still dithering about whether or not to intervene in Libya. There’s all sorts of very practical reasons why it’s a terrible idea, even if some factions in Libya are calling for it. The main reason I suspect the West isn’t going to do anything is simple. Qaddafi sold out to the West a few years back and thus was one of our colonial satraps keeping Libya stable while we extracted their resources. And if the West turns on him, it’s going to give pause to our various other satraps in the region, we don’t want them getting any independent ideas.

Which leads us to Bahrain, where Saudi troops are being sent in to, well, crush the protests. Enormous numbers of Bahrainians have been peacefully protesting for weeks, despite some violent attempts to quell the protests. For some reason the people of Bahrain have decided that being ruled by a monarch is a little, well, behind the times. Using foreign troops to crush revolts is a time honoured tactic, they tend to be a lot less squeamish about shooting into crowds of peaceful protesters than local troops. How will it all end? Who knows. There’s also major problems in Yemen and Pakistan, and ongoing and escalating problems in Palestine, Afghanistan, Morocco, Iraq, Pakistan, Jordan, Algeria, Syria, Somalia, Lebanon, Oman, and others. And of course Egypt is still evolving. Yes, gonna be an interesting summer.

Now, in Japan, “Oh shit” just about covers it. The quake and tsunami did terrible damage to their infrastructure, and huge numbers of people are living in makeshift shelters with limited power, water, and food. Compounded by people fleeing the reactor fires. And that’s where the real nightmare is raging. The problem here is simple … humans have never faced this particular problem before. By that I mean that one can’t test a reactor’s safety systems under real world conditions. So not only are they very possibly unaware of exactly what’s going on in these damaged reactors, there may be stuff happening that is completely outside our knowledge. This is a point that even very smart people stumble upon, no matter how accurate science is, reality bats last. For example a few years ago there was a fire in a London subway where smoke from a fire did something no one knew smoke could do, and as a result dozens of people were instantly incinerated. Maybe I’ll blog about it sometime. My point is that stuff could happen in this damaged reactor that no one thought was possible, because it’s never happened before.

And while we are on the topic, one of my contacts, an engineer, has been studying what videos have been released. (Remember, what governments are saying about this nuclear crisis can’t be trusted.) He thinks the containment chambers have been at least partially breached. And he also points out that they must be operating valves by hand. Which means like at Chernobyl, some of the people trying to get this reactor under control are knowingly giving their lives to save their fellow citizens. That’s gotta be pretty intense.

Oh, great, Qaddafi is threatening to ally with Al Qaeda. I stand corrected, it’s going to be an interesting and weird summer.

(The above image is public domain under US copyright law. It’s the British battleship HMS Barham exploding and sinking after being torpedoed by a German submarine in 1941. The actual motion picture can be seen here. More than 800 men died in that explosion, God rest their souls. It was the best public domain image of an exploding warship I could find.)

Written by unitedcats

March 16, 2011 at 4:24 am

Posted in Propaganda, War, World

Tagged with , , ,