Friday, 16 June 2017

Political art and the geopolitics of violence in U.S.

This post is a follow up of the previous post on the Republican Congregational baseball field earlier this morning. It needs to be remembered that there are millions of Americans who are anti-government and have an aversion to politics unless it concerns them directly. Recent events with the Trump White House is making it difficult to ignore politics anywhere in the country. Political affiliation aside, ordinary Americans' anti government (more of an annoyance) sentiments range from apathy to deep seated hate towards any kind of authority connected to Washington, DC to paranoid government conspiracy theorists. Now some right wing commentators and pundits are trying to blame the media and the Democrats for somehow pushing Hodgkinson to commit the horrific crime.

Footage of Majority Whip Steve Scalise shooting captured by a resident Alexandria, VA 

The dead gunman, James T. Hodgkinson was an anti-Trump and anti-Republican protester and might've once been a Bernie Sanders volunteer. Bernie Sanders has condemned the shooting and has offered his sympathies to Majority Whip Steven Scalise. Congressional Democrats have also offered their sympathies and condemnation both in Congress and during their own Democrats' Baseball game practice. Hodgkinson was not mentally ill. Hodgkinson had been raging against Trump and the wider Congressional Republicans online and in public for ignoring the plight of ordinary Americans. Like many Americans, he was also struggling with finances and unemployment. His actions are normally associated with right wing extremists, the more non political lone gunman and ISIS terrorists. He has mimicked the later two's messaging and actions in eery detail. Millions of ordinary Americans are still angered by Trump's shocking electoral win and worried that Trump will led them to economic problems. Nevertheless, most people have kept their raging rants and violent anger against Congress and Trump under control or from becoming deadly action. Hodgkinson made his declaration of violence loud and clear in Belleville, IL and DC. Bellevile is across the river from St. Louis, Missouri. He sent letters to Belleville's local newspaper and wrote threatening messages on his Facebook page sharing his anger and hatred towards the Trump Administration with anyone who would listen. He is not the first person to publicly show his true feelings for Trump in a violent manner. He is the first to attempt to assassinate a congressman after Trump's inauguration. The Governor of Virginia Terry Macaffile condemned Scalise's shooting and reiterated that "politics in the U.S. is divisive nowadays." Former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Texas) commented on Scalise shooting and shared his own experience of being targeted by a gunman during the 1998 Capital building shooting. The gunman, Russell Eugene Weston Jr. survived the confrontation and is currently in a mental institution for paranoid schizophrenia. Ironically, Weston was also from Illinois from Valmeyer Southeast of Bellville near the Mississppi River. Again, the Midwestern United States have long standing grievances against the government related to economic decline, high unemployment, derelict cities and past glory as America's manufacturing hub. Today the Midwest is known as the Rust Belt. The namesake includes Western Pennslyvania and Baltimore, MD.

Former Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Steve Scalise, his experience and today's politics

To rural Americans especially people who don't live anywhere near the coastal states, they have complained of being marginalized in society. When mentioned on the media or in popular culture, the Midwest is lampooned as "fly over country" or a place where conservative country folks live surrounded by nothing but cornfields. In their eyes, the mainstream media has long represented the epitome of Democrats and what the right wing calls, "The Liberal elites" of West Coast, East Coast and sometimes South metropolises. The media pundits (regardless of politics) are also angry Trump is still in the White House since they were initially so sure of Clinton winning. Their predictions were way off. The mainstream media pundits have been screaming foul on everything Trump and his administration does with CNN's annoying breaking news headlines to the point all the wall to wall coverage on Trump and Russia has become childish to the anti-Trump supporters as well. An interesting clip Wolf Blitzer hosted a few days prior to Trump's inaugaration asked what would happen if President Trump or the V.P. were suddenly taken out like in the plotline of the popular Tv series Designated Survivor. The Designated Survivor question was condemned by Trump supporters. Former President George W. Bush was also hated by the wider American public for most of his 8 year term. There were threats against Bush as well as a fictionalized docudrama of Bush being assassinated a la Kennedy in Death of a President. Famed political thriller author James Patterson has recently written and published a new book co-authored by former President Bill Clinton titled, The President's Missing. It is rare book since presidents normally don't collaborate with fictional authors on thrill and suspense novels. The recent political art against Trump is not new. There are literally decades of TV shows, movies, books John Le Carre and Frederick Forsyth d art that imagine the worst case scenario of a presidential coup, the destruction of Congress and all out anarchy following an imagined destruction of the various branches of government. Most of these are imaginative political thrillers and critically thinking series.

Julius Cesar Play with Trump look a like NY's Shakespeare in the Park summer series

Political art and anger at Trump

Many ordinary Americans are still upset and shocked that Trump even managed to win the 2016 elecctions. Most can't and won't let Trump's win over Hillary Clinton go. Most Americans were also hoping Bernie Sanders would be the Democratic nominee instead of Clinton. The Bernie supporters won't let that lost opportunity go as well. Both the Bernie and Clinton supporters have been protesting Trump wherever he goes. In New York, the president's hometown, protesters have been unwelcoming and condemn his domestic and foreign policies and statements. They are getting exhausted despite gathering every weekend. There has been protesters on shifts at Trump Tower on a near daily bases. Effigies of Trump ranging from pinatas, to a literal nude statute to crude signs have all but cursed Trump's hair, his body, his hands, private parts, his relationship with his wife and children, his arrogance, wealth and his childish stupidity. The latest effigiy that got comedian Kath Griffin fired from CNN was a severed head of a realistic looking Donald Trump. Griffin was not trying to be funny. It was meant as morbid political art. Griffin is famous for her inapporpiate comedy and pushing buttons. But even anti-Trump protesters and media pundits condemned Griffin's art and said she went too far. Just last week, the famed Shakespeare play Julius Cesar was equally protested by Delta and Bank for American for featuring the titular character Cesar portrayed as a Trump likealook being gruesomely stabbed to death by several fictional senators. Despite the corporate sponsorship pull (which helps to keep the play free) , audiences have been going to the Trump/Jullius Cesar play which has recieved at times standing ovation. Anyone who knows the life story of Cesar and knows the play, understands that its a symbolic metaphor for uncontrolled political power and not allowing tyrants to ruin democracy. Shakespeare himself wrote it as an unapologetic political play to begin with. The late night comedy shows have also been using Trump's blunders and unbearable twitting rants to make memorable jokes and skits to keep their audience entertained. Trump for them is a gold mine with plenty of material to last for the next four years. . .

New Yorkers never liked Trump even when he was building the Trump Tower or trying to wine and dine Manhattan elites. The elites of Wall Street turned Trump away from events and scuffed at him. Wall Street investors were even terrified of him winning. Now they love him only because the Dow is still above 21,000 points. The economy is tyring not to contract with all the neoliberal policies Trump has in store for it.

There has been both pro and anti-Trump protests happening across the United States. Both large and small protests have occured Berekely and San Francisco, CA, Raleight, North Carolina, Chicago, New York City, New Jersey, Dallas, Houston and Boston to name a few cities. Just last Sunday June 12th there were multiple "Anti-Sharia" rallies in the mentioned cities plus additional cities. The Anti-Sharia rallies were organized by a  far right group Act for America that supports national security at all cost via a militaristic foreign policy, police force, increasing the border wall, Pro-Israel and is known to be anti-Islam and blames Muslims for every rights abuse and violence. The Anti Sharia rally were met with counter Anti sharia protesters against right wing, fascism, racism and xenophoibic nationalism. The Anti-Fascists more famously known as the Antifa has been appearing more at the anti-trump and protests against racism and fascism in the U.S. Until Trump entered the White House, Antifa was mostly associated with Europe's Far Left and anti-austerity protests in France, Greece, Britain, etc. Another group has pushed aside the more non violent anti-fascist and liberal groups is the Black Block. They came to UC Berkeley during a canceled Milo Yiannapolous speaking even and wrecked up the campus to the shock of UC Berkeley students. As expected, pro and anti-Trump protesters have been clashing violently. Two men were stabbed on the train in Portland, Oregon while trying to protect two muslim women from a right wing attacker with a knife. . 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Steve Scalise congressman shot by gunman, on political violence

Alexandria, VA immediately southwest to DC, is part of the DC, VA and Maryland area. The Potomac River is a natural border between VA and MD. It and Arlington, VA are two of the most Northern cities in the state of Virginia.

Early this morning, DC time, Majority Whip Steve Scalise Republican from Louisiana was shot and injured while practicing baseball with some of his colleagues. The Republican congressmen were practicing for a game tomorrow against the Democrats' Baseball team that takes place annually to raise money for local DC children. It's a normally peaceful and relaxing charity baseball game that has been played by Democrats and Republics since 1909. The baseball pitch or baseball field is based in Alexandria, Virginia which is adjacent to Washington, DC. As a matter of fact, the metro train ride from Alexandria to Downtown DC is less than ten minutes. Shootings at Congressional baseball games and even the practices are rare. This is the first time it has ever happened. When the shots first rang out, Mo Brooks assumed he heard either a car backfire or a distant gunshot. This comes less than a day after Congress wrapped up a hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Yesterday's Sessions hearing and today's shootings were not linked nor coincidental. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is currently testifying to the House's Appropriation Committee.

Jeff Flake R-Az gives an eyewitness account of the shooting

Steve Scalise along with Rand Paul R-Kentucky, Jeff Flake R-Arizona and Mo Brooks, R-Alabama and the congressional aides and staffers witnessed the gunman shooting off 50 shots. About three aides and two capital hill police were injured by the now dead gunman. All five people including Scalise who was hit in the hip were not critically injured. Mo Brooks was on third base about to bat when the shooting happened. He saw nearly the entire shooting in front of him and gave the most detailed account. Jeff Flake who was in the dug out but could see Scalise drag himself to safety. Contrary to the movies and tv shows stereotypes, people caught up in a shooting never try to dodge bullets to save an injured friend. It has nothing to do with cowardice. It has to do with safety and common sense. Anyone caught in the gunman's cross hairs is a moving target. Rand Paul who was also in the dugout said that had anyone tried to run "it would've been a massacre." The injured will be back in Congress in due time. The Democrats Baseball team who were also practising for tomorrow's game in another part of the DC/Virginia area immediately condemned the attack and prayed for the injured Republicans. The gunman identified as James T. Hodgkinson came from Belleville, Illinois and was a vocal anti-Trump protester who criticized Republican congressman and Trump on his social media page. He also sent letters to his local newspaper focusing on GOP and cursing them. In short, Hodgkinson did not have mental problems. He was beyond angry at politicians since Trump won the elections. He is not the only one to be visibly angered by the current Republican congress. Congress has seen its share of political violence before. In 1996, a gunman managed to storm into the capital rotunda and shoot a capital hill police dead before being shot himself . The only other time, congressmen were in the complete line of fire was in 1954 when Puerto Rican independent movements militants fired onto the floor of the House of Representatives from the viewing gallery.

This is what the FBI has been telling the government and ordinary Americans for decades as far as terrorism and political violence goes. Americans extremist groups are more of a terror threat to their own country than a foreign terror group. Especially when small terror attacks or shootings take place. Not to excuse the threat ISIS and its takfiri cousins pose. Most of the violent shootings that are borderline terrorist attacks have been committed by Americans most of who are local to the area or come from further away where they are doing the attacks. The FBI has already started investigating the Scalise shooting.

Nuclear industrial complex: Thermal defense and muscle flexing

The country that gave birth to nuclear weapons is terrified of N Korean missile strikes


Caspian Report breaks down the recent missile tests that North Korea has been conducting for well over two weeks much to the chagrin of the U.S. Most Americans terrified of a possible nuclear showdown between the two countries, have shrugged off North Korea's lopsided missile launches and the N. Korean government's showing off its aerial defence muscle. Neighboring countries South Korea, Japan, Phillipines and China, North Korea's strongest and oldest ally, have condemned the missle launches. Given the history of nuclear weapons and destructive wars over military bases after World War II and civilian protests against numerous U.S. military bases in Okinawa, Philippines and South Korea, the parade of military weaponry in Pyongyang is not taken lightly.   

The Bomb: Nuclear Weapons PBS Documentary History of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Society

It has been close to 40 years since the Three Mile Island Nuclear power plant made front page news across the United States. On March 28, 1979, the Three Mile Island plant suffered a mini nuclear meltdown that reminds one of the worst nuclear meltdowns in American history. The town around the Three Mile Island was evacuated immediately and town residents weren't allowed to return. It was a small partial reactor meltdown compared to proceeding and later nuclear diasters, Three Mile Island accident still serves as a reminder on the dangerous of society leaning on nuclear power as a cure all for fossil fuel technology or the new popular but equally dangerous, fracking for shale. As an interesting note, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder of Pakistan's URanium Enrichment Program was born in Bhopal. Today, the city of Bhopal is well known for the 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy that injured 500, 000 people and killed around 3000 when the pesticide factory leaked toxic gas across the city's shanty towns.

The 1970s gave birth to the environmental movement, Earth day and environmental rights fight. Nuclear disasters by 1979 were nothing new. The August 7th Hiroshima and NAgaski bombing carried out by the United States against civilians still reminds one of the most horrific bombings of any war. The name Hiroshima has become a universal synonym for massive infrastructure and human destruction either through man made and natural disasters. The destruction of both Japanese cities on the heel of the firing bombing of Tokyo and other cities that were equally destructive. This was an early American use of Shock and Awe even though the Japanese government and the Army had all but surrender by May 8, 1945.

The atomic bomb was the invention of J Oppenheimer most famous for the Manhattan Project that introduced the world to his team's earth shattering invention. The Hydrogen bomb which is both more dangerous and destructive than the Atomic bomb, was the brain child of Edward Teller (who built one of the first) and Richard Darwin who is still alive and was the designer of the H bomb. European born American scientists would contribute greatly to the American development of thermal nuclear weapons among them Edward Teller who worked in collaboration with Stanislaw Ulam on the Teller-Ulam theiry . John von Neumann, a polyglot scientist who worked in everything from cellular automata to game theory and on the Manhattan Project.

Flexing the nuclear muscles and defense weapons

In the immediate aftermath of WWII in Japan and other parts of the Pacific Islands, the U.S. military and government alongside the UK and France, began an early race to develop new nuclear weapons and seismic bombs mostly to show off the power of Western nuclear power and military might to the wider world. People should remember that both the Atomic and hydrogen bombs are man made. Both wouldn't have existed without the push for experimenting on the limits of theoretical physics, nuclear radiation, rockets and nuclear fusion and fission. The U.S. Army Engineering Corps and particularly the CIA was interested in some of the early rocket experiments of Nazi Germany and Nazi sceientists' knowledge in physics, engineering, chemistry and technology. This is not conspiracy theory. The scientists were brought into the United States under the codename Operation Paperclip to aid the CIA, who had its own scientific development office in developing some of the U.S. well known engineering and technological programs among them stealth technology, guided missles and atomic research. Technology was widely used throughout Nazi Germany and occupied Europe as a means to test how to efficiently destroy and murder millions of people. Even after knowing of the horrors of holocaust and how technology was used, the U.S. turned its sight to developing defense weapons for the military industrial complex. The hydrogen bomb was soon developed and tested on the PAcific islands of Bikini atoll, Diego Garcia, and parts of the Marshall Islands.

People can't breathing: Suffocating health defects from U.S. Weapons of Mass Destruction

Ted Talks: Takashi Saito shares his memories of the A bomb dropped on Hiroshima


The indigenous Marshallese, Diego Garcians and the Bikini islanders were forcibly evacuated from their homelands and not allowed to ever return. Many Bikini Islanders and neighboring islands and residents of Hiroshima, Nagaski and now Fukushima, continue to suffer from throid, lung and all types of cancers, leukaemia, skin disease, radiation poisoning and birth defect to this day. The children and adults of Fukushima and nearby towns are also suffering the cancerous affects of the 2011 Fallout. To add to the disrespect and insult, Diego Garcia and Bikini were turned into military bases that exists to this day. Guam, Okinawa, South Korea and have been home to U.S. military bases since the end of World War II despite the protests of ordinary people each country and region, the local governments refuse to abide by the wishes of the Okinawans or Marshallese and order the U.S. military bases to be shut down permanently. As with most other foreign policy operations, the U.S. portrays itself as the justice and righteous super power inspite of the WMD destruction in the Pacific and throughout Asia. The Okinawans, Marshellese and Filipinos have not stopped their ongoing protests against military bases, violent foreign policy and no one has forgotten the nuclear destruction of the islands and mainlands. This is why the ordinary people are do not overlook or downplay the real threat of nuclear confrontation or even rising tensions. The Demilitarize Zone represents more than just a touristic Cold War relic and lesson in nuclear or global war. It represents the history of nuclear industrial complex and the physical, mental and lasting scars of U.S. WMD that were used and continue to be waved the face of the ordinary Marshallese, Japanese, Vietnamese (Agent Orange) who will continue to live with the fear and nightmare of such power.

It was also a show of muscle to the Soviet Union who had gone from being an ally of the West during World War II and World I to become an enemy of the United States. Americans have a long history of making their allies their enemies once a war is fought for American interest. It's from the early days of the Cold War, that the Unitd States became paranoid everyone and everything related to the Soviet Union. Josef Stalin went from being a trusted ally to a gulag boogeyman. For 50 years, the U.S. stockpiled its own nuclear weapons, assured the public that nuclear energy was clean and harmless as a energy source, downplayed nuclear and chemical disasters as small incidents and created hundreds of nuclear bunkers for government officials in the event of a Soviet nuclear attack that never came. The image of Russia as a boogey man has not changed even though the Soviet Union has been gone for nearly 30 years. Despite fears of Soviet nuclear destruction, the U.S. still holds first place as the only nation to purposely bomb large civilian areas that historians and even the generals at the time among them MacArthur and then future President Dwight Eisenhower regarded it as a war crime. Than try to justify the bombings by saying it was to protect the lives of soldiers. North Korea continues to test fire its ballistic missiles that has worried the U.S.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Rare terrorist attack in Tehran: Iran been fighting ISIS since the beginning

Not your Mother's Tehran: The expanding Iranian capital Tehran near the Caspian Sea and the Alborz Mountains has been growing steadily since the 1970s. It has been a metropolis for well over 100 years.

Times of India: Suicide bombing attacks on Parliament and Khomeini Tomb

Today, two suicide bombers attacked both the Iranian parliament and the Tomb of Atoyallah Khomeini the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Some 12 innocent people have been confirmed dead. The parliamentary attack occurred during the usual parliamentary session. Most of the MPs didn't realize that the attack had happened until they were urged to safety. Contrary to the media stereotype about being a land solely of strict religious ayatollahs, Iran is a relatively safe and welcoming country. It's one of the last remaining safe countries in Central Asia and the Middle East. Until today, ISIS has not been able to attack anyone inside Iran itself. Also unlike the Western media portrays, terrorist attacks in Tehran and in other Iranian cities are rare. Much like bombings were rare in Syria prior 201l Arab Spring. The suicide attacks a first in Tehran, took many city residents and Iranians as a whole by surprise. Coincidentally, Iran just celebrated Khomeini yesterday Tehran time. Security around Iranian Parliament is generally tight but ordinary citizens are allowed to visit parliament and school children do take field trips to parliament and so on. The terrorists were all shot dead. ISIS has taken responsibility immediately. Whereas its usual response is to wait a few days and than take responsibility after the public's initial shock has ebbed down.

There have been clashes with ISIS groups on the borders and in neighboring countries. Iran has been fighting ISIS along with Hezbullah, Iraq and Syrian government. No one in the Middle East or Africa tolerates nor accepts ISIS anywhere on their territories or in their hearts and minds. Like the Kurds, the Iranians see ISIS as the personification of evil in human form. Iranian intelligence has been providing support and logistics to Iraqi army and Hezbullah to fight ISIS in both Syria and Iraq before ISIS manages to reach Lebanon.

This attack comes on the heels of ISIS recent attacks in other countries, Kabul, London, Manchester, and now ISIS is trying to hijack the local insurgency in Mindanao in Southern Philippines for its own benefit. The recent visit by Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia and Israel left a large amount of bad blood between Saudi and its Gulf monarchy brothers. Due to false news and rumors via email accusing the Emirati foreign minister supporting Iran, Hamas and Hezbullah and by a long stretch Israel, the Gulf Monarchy alliance is cracking. The Gulf monarchy let that slide. But the biggest blow to the alliance came when it was revealed although it has been common knowledge for years that Qatar was supporting takfiri terrorist group such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. Saudi Arabia the biggest supporter of the takfiri groups and the godfather of the Wahhabi and Salafi movements and ideology was the first one to condemn Qatar for its support of ISIS without looking in the mirror itself. Qatar is a huge media power throughout the Arabic speaking countries. Al Jazeera being popular and has challenged Saudi on numerous occasions. Like sheep, Saudi's closest allies Bahrain, UAE, Egypt (even though its not a Gulf country its African) literally over a few days have broken all diplomatic ties with Qatar and have order Qatari citizens in Bahrain, UAE, Saudi, Egypt and elsewhere to leave in two weeks. Ordinary Qataris are worried that imports from the Kingdom would be lost if the border between them in the Kingdom were sealed permanently. Being an island nation with one land border to Saudi, ordinary Qataris rely on food imports coming in from Saudi-Qatari border. Ordinary Saudis, Bahrainis and Emiratis have just been shaking their heads to the recent Qatar boycott by their respective governments. 

Geopolitics of rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran

Saudi Arabia has been attempting for years to place the blame for terrorist attacks in Syria, Iraq, Kabul and around the world squarely on Tehran. The U.S. and Israel without irony have also taken up the "Iran is the enemy" mantra of Saudi monarchy. Saudi and Iran have had an ongoing and public rivalry over which country will be the regional superpower of the Middle East. The rivalry is more political and economic than religious. The Kingdom wants to be the main controller of the literal flow of oil, OPEC and be the main decision maker on oil prices. Saudi has been trying to keep its own geopolitical interests and control over strategic air, sea and political manoeuvrings in the region while keeping Iranian political or regional influences completely out of the Gulf and Mesopotamia region to no avail. Iran in turn, has supported Iraq and provide funding and training to Hezbullah in Lebanon in its fight against Israel originally during the Lebanese Civil War and more recently against ISIS. Iran has investments and interests in Iraq, Syria and now in countries such as Sudan and UAE. It also has a large ton of oil sitting in its soil.

One reason being is geography has aided Iran its national security. It is a mountainous country and the capital Tehran is far away from the East and Western land borders. Two seas border Iran to the North and South. Tehran is closer to the Caspian Sea while Southern Iran is located along the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz where most of the world's oil enters and exits from Saudi. Anyway, Iranian navy could blockade the Strait if it wished. Beside the geopolitics, Iran is much like the less traveled countries of Middle East and Central Asia ie Oman and Kazakhstan. The country has thousands of years of Ancient history, monuments, languages and cultures. Iranian hospitality is legendary and visitors are treated with the utmost respect after getting to know Iranians.

Against Nature: U.S. leaves Paris Climate Agreement, Antarctica cracks up literally

Anymore louder and the World would go deaf: Shoes symbolizing the walk and stepping up for the climate and with Mother Nature in Paris, France during the Paris Climate Agreement

By now the whole world has heard that the United States, a country that has long billed itself as "the leader of the world" has refused to accept the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Climate Agreement is one of the largest signed environmental documents in recent years. Every country in the world including China and North Korea has committed themselves to reducing CO2 emissions, promoting and expanding on clean energy from solar power, hydropower, wind and thermal as well as reducing 1.5 degree rise in sea levels that is the breaking point for irrevisaible climate change including sea level rise. The U.S. along side Syria and Nicaragua didn't ratify the Paris Agreement. Nicaragua's reasoning for not acception was it didn't go far enough in covering every part of the environment. Syria's absence is self explanatory: it's warzone. Even ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson's recent employer agrees with helping to reduce climate change and have been investing in cleaning energy for a few years now. Other Petroleum giants of the world have been slowly but surely turning to solar power as one of many solutions for electricity and infrastructure. Everyone knows that petroleum can't last forever, even as the oil prices dip and that coal has been dying as an energy source for decades.   

It should come as no surprise. Considering Trump's anti-environment and climate denying statements, attitudes and policies. At least he heard the argument on behalf of protecting the environment. This is not the first time the United States has refused to ratify international environmental agreements at the expense of Mother Earth. The United States famously refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. It went into affect in 2005. Like its current counterpart, the Kyoto Protocol emphasized the importance and urgency for the world to work together to halt the rise and spread of rising sea levels, coastal erosions, Co2 emissions and international cooperation in reducing waste. The U.S. is quick to point a finger at China for environmental damages and contamination. However, the U.S. still comes in second for pollution and exporting electronic waste to Ghana and Pakistan, sea pollution and wasting millions of pound in food and oil which again leads to pollution. The United States itself has witnessed unusual environmental destruction and temperatures ranging from early hurricane seasons, annual forest fires across the West Coast, Southern states, mountain top removal in West Virginia, coastal erosion in Florida and New York City and State with Hurricane Sandy, Mathew and others. Despite having a strong environmental movement, the U.S. presidents have a history of turning their backs and middle fingers to Mother Nature. Trump is no different.  Coincidentally, while Trump was on his overseas visit last week in the Middle East and Vatician City, a small but noticable sinkhole appeared in front of his Mar a Lago estate in Palm Beach, FL. It was quickly taken care of by maintaince workers. It is a lesson in not messing with or trying to overpower Mother Nature. She has her own unique and ironic way of delivering karmic warnings to climate disbelievers and anti-environmental people.

Antarctica's ancient ice is breaking up 

Adelie Penguins, the playful joksters of Antarctica

Early this week as if on cue, Antarctica's Larsen C Ice shelf further cracked on the verge of becoming the largest iceberg recorded. The crack has been growing 11 miles in less than 6 days. Antarctica (Antartida),  long stereotyped as the coldest place on Earth alongside the Artic Circle has itself been melting gradually and getting warm. Especially East Antarctica's coast and its surrounding islands have broken up into chunks. It still has its ancient and beautiful icebergs, random waterfalls, subturrean ice caves, nunataqs, and sea life as well as its penguin population. But the seventh continent's ice continues to collapse at Antarctic Peninsula where Argentina has claimed as part of Tierra del Fuego province and has its scientific bases. Greenland has been experiencing similar climate events where it has lost more of its famed ice covered landscape than in previous years. The "indigenous population" of Antarctic are mostly penguins: Adelies are one of the largest at 2 million around the continent, Emperor, King Penguins (cousins to the Emperors) Macaroni, Gentoos (related to Adelie and from Falkland Islands), Chinstaps and Rockhoppers. The rest are skuas (predator), leopard seals, elephant seals, albatrosses, krills and other sea mammals. The warm climate is great for breeding for most of the peguins particulary the Chinstraps, Adelies and the King penguins who can withstand and are now used to warm climates. The Chinstraps have their own special colony for breeding the volcanic Zavodovski Island in the South Sandwich and Georgia Islands, East of Argentina.

All the Scientific Bases on Antarctica: Most of the bases appear to be on the Western coast. Russia long side the U.S. has the most.

Most tragically, Antarctica's Adelie Penguin Colony in Cape Denison first filmed and photographed in 1912 nearly lost its entiry population in 2016 when an iceberg the size of Rome crushed and blocked its only access to water and food. The 160,000 penguins had to walk or woddle 120 kilometers to find a new source of food and water. Out of the population only 10,000 survive. Unless the iceberg is dislodge, the Adelie penguins on Cape Denison might not survive in the next two decades. It's not only people being affected by costal erosion or environmental destruction. Most Antarctica and Patagonian penguins like many people around the world are coastal and rely on immediate access to nearby open water to survive. Being flightless birds on an icesheet they have no other options. Antarctica is famous for being the only continent that isn't claimed by any country. It is also a declared scientific study area and now a case study for environmental studies and survival in harsh climates. It is one of the few continents that doesn't have a permanent human population but many countries do have scientists working there seasonally including Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand, U.S., UK, Russia, China, France and South Africa 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Explosion at Arian Grande Concert in Manchester, 19 people killed

On May 22nd at 10:30pm local time, an explosion occurred at an unlikely place in Manchester, North England. An explosion went off at the Manchester Arena during a packed concert of mostly teenagers and a few adult chaperones for the singer Ariana Grande. The singer herself was unharmed and is deeply broken and sadden. Grande suspended her scheduled World Tour out of respect for the survivors and victims. Some 19 people were killed and 50 were injured. The news is still breaking and the Manchester police themselves are trying to understand what caused the explosion or who was behind it. It is worth remembering that not every large explosion is automatically terrorism. Many large explosions are often caused by gas leaks, apartment complexes catching fire (as happens frequently in New York and other large cities), small plane crashes or oil refineries. Many concerts often use pyrotechnic fireworks to amp up their crowds and fans depending on the singer or bands currently playing. The fear created from a gas explosion can mistakenly cause fears of terrorism where terrorism isn't the cause. It will be a few hours before the British police and MI5 can pinpoint what the explosion was caused by either a suicide bomber, a backpack bomb in the arena 's foyer or a group of attackers working in tandem.The arena is one of the largest in Europe and sits right above the Manchester Victoria station. There are Good Samaritans across Manchester offering places for people to stay, eat and just to talk and comfort anyone in need.

Panaromic view of Manchester, England near Wales and bordering the Midlands

Manchester is most famous for its renown football teams Manchester United and the popular Manchester City, Old Trafford stadium and the "Brummie" or Mancurian accent. It also an ancient town originally found during Roman occupation of Britain in 79AD as Mancunium where the modern name came from. It was also one of England's first industrial towns that benefited from the Industrial Revolution. After London, Greater Manchester is one of the larger port cities in the UK and receives many tourists, events and music festivals. It is located in Northwest England. It is only 40 minutes away from another famed music city Liverpool and 2 hours away from London to the South and Edinburgh, Scotland to the North. Due to its geography, it is a hub for sports and transportation connecting the various midland and Yorkshire cities. Hundreds of concert goers scattered in fear when the explosion occurred in the filled arena hall. The Manchester Arena explosion will bring back painful memories of the 2015 Bataclan Theatre massacre than turned into a night plus three day terror filled violence for Parisian and French residents.

Ask The Governor Program: Break News on Manchester

New Jersey 101.5 FM radio host Eric Scott broke the news during an interview on Ask the Governor Progam with New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Christie and Scott's improvised commentary is worth a listen and watch.


Author's Note: There is also a township in New Jersey named Manchester know for its Naval base Fort Dix and the 1937 Hindenburg Disaster. Two other cities named Manchester are in the ambly named New England region of the United States. They are Manchester, New Hamsphire, the largest city in the state and Manchester, Connecticut which is located near the state capital Hartford.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Suffer the people, new U.S. healthcare bill is an insult those in need

Did Marquis de Sade write This Healthcare Bill?

Last week, the House of Representatives at last passed a new healthcare bill that seeks to kill with no pun intended, the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare for millions of Americans. The new healthcare bill would charge everyone from cancer patients, elderly, children and people in need of continuous medication for congestive diseases thousands of dollars in premiums, hospitalization, doctor visits and surgeries among other necessities. Millions of Americans have or had one of the many "pre-existing" conditions that are no longer covered by the new Trump/Republican health bill that is now bouncing around the Senate. Among the conditions not covered by the bill are heart murmurs, AIDS/HIV, cancer, post portem depression, hospitalization, pregnancy, diabetes, heart conditions, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape and mental disorders. These are just a few of every diseases and health problem that each American has experience at least once their lives. This goes for both the cities and villages. It will affect some health care systems at the state level. Every major medical organizations across the country opposed the bill AARP, American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, Physicians Association, local doctors and hospitals. People have been protesting non stop outside of Congress. Of course, the congressional families and leaders have their own specialized healthcare that gives them immediate access to the best medical care and doctors in the country. While their constituents have to jump through fire or bleed money to get the same treatment. Until congress members experience some of the health problems faced by their constituents, they will never comprehend just how important access to low cost and effective healthcare is to ordinary Americans.

The Jimmy Dore Show: Trump on Australian health care system and Dore comments on U.S. health care system

To add a cruel insult to injury, during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump turned to Turnbull and said, "You have better healthcare than we do." Turnbull was beyond shocked by the comment and seemed to nervously smile not missing the irony in what Trump had said. The United States is one of the few if not the only developed country to not provide full universal healthcare to all its citizens. In the rest of the Western World including Japan, healthcare is seen as a human right for all citizens not just a privilege. No one would even think of changing the health care law and systems to match America's failed system without thousands coming out onto the streets. The bill and struggles of millions of Americans to afford healthcare while trying to live a healthy life is seen as wickedness outside the United States. There is nothing funny or harmless about the bill sitting in the Senate. The senate might change some provisions but overall, the damage to ordinary people have been done. The irony is the United States spends the most on healthcare out of all their counterparts. Australia, New Zealand or Japan for the most part pay far less and the emphasis on health in these countries are linked to quality of life as well. Even Cuba, which has had to fight a 50 year old embargo, still has a better health system that covers all Cuban citizens, health system emphasizes preventative care and patient recovery and medications do not cost an arm and leg. Again no pun intended. In most countries including African countries you can find pharmacies (not the brand named corner store but actual pharmacies) on every other city block with necessary medication for most illnesses and diseases.

55,000 Haitians may face deportation if TPS is not extended by Trump

Haitians celebrating the Compa Festival in Miami, Florida.

While the focus on immigration policy revolves around Trump's do whatever it takes concerning illegal immigration, some immigrants in the country legally will soon be facing their own prospects of deportation. Around 55,000 Haitians some with American born children might be facing deportation if the Temporary Protection Status for Haitians is not extending for the upcoming year by the Trump White House. The WH has been contemplating it for a while. Haitians along with Salvadarenos, Nicaraguans, Liberians, Guineans, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalians and Sudanese are granted Temporary Protection Status. TPS as its colloquially known is a special and rare designation (it's not a right and can bee difficult to obtain) given to immigrants who are unable to return to their home countries safely for a variety of reason i.e. conflict, permanent environmental destruction, forcible displacement, persecution, stateless, trapped in limbo or instability. Haitians were originally granted TPS following the 2010 Haitian Earthquake that nearly obliterated the Haitian capital Port au Prince. As for the survivors and recovery some 7 years later, many ordinary Haitians are still displaced from and outside of Port au Prince and other neighbouring towns. Many are still living in IDP and displacement camps. The UN MINUSTAH forces are still in the country. Most Haitians regard the remaining UN troops as an occupation force.

Little Haiti and its famed Caribbean Market, Miami, FL.

The 55,000 Haitians are scattered across the United States but the home base for most of the Haitian Disapora in the United States is Florida (specifically South Florida) which is home to a large Caribbean and Latin American community in general. Miami is well known for both regional cultures dominating the city scape and local society. South Florida is seen as part of the Caribbean and Miami is often referred to as the unofficial "Capital of Latin America." Both Haitian Americans and Haitian immigrants have long standing businesses, news and radio stations, schools, newspapers, community centres and familial connections. Famously, Miami particularly Little Haiti (which is not that far from Little Havana) and New York are the decades old home for Haitians and Haitian Americans. Little Haiti residents and wider Haitian and Caribbean immigrants are justifiably nervous about the TPS extension. Some 500 Disney World workers are also part of the TPS extension limbo.

Homeland Security's "Hunt" for illegal Haitian immigrants after 6 year hiatus

Last year, former President Obama called an end to the Wet Foot Dry Foot policy which allowed thousands of Cubans to enter the U.S. illegally via balsas (rafts) since the start of the Cuban Revolution in 1959-2017. Most of the illegal Cubans have been given a fast pass to residency and eventual citizenship. Meanwhile, Salvadorenos, Haitians and even other Carribeans i.e. Jamaicans or Dominicans entering the U.S. illegally are berated or immediately deported to their countries without any human rights organizations able to plead their cases. Allowing illegal Cubans a chance to stay in the U.S. was more about punishing the Castro Brothers' government by protecting hundreds of thousands Cuban exiles from the Anti-Castro, anti-communist, anti-revolution, pro-U.S., pro-multinational corporations, pro-business, Democracy or bust camp. It had nothing to do with the U.S. government being altruistic. Exception to the pro-Cuban exile policy was the Elian Gonzales ordeal. The infamous Wet Foot Dry Foot policy reeked of racism and double standards towards Haiti and Cuba who are also neighbours. Illegal Haitian immigrants were notoriously turned away once reaching Florida via boats despite the U.S. overthrowing the popular and democratically elected Haitian government of Jean Astride in 1991 via Haitian Military and 2004 respectively.

Former President Bill Clinton standing with Jean Betrand Astride in the 1990s.

Intervening for our sake not yours U.S. "intervention" in Haiti

Prior Astride, the U.S. had supported Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier, the notorious dictators and the hated Haitian army's paramitary unit Tonton Macoutes (the Bogeyman aka lit: Uncle Gunnysack) throughout the 1950s-1980s in Haiti. Also remember, the United States was one of the imperial countries in the Caribbean and refused to recognized Haitian independence in 1804. The U.S. Army invaded and occupied Haiti in 1915-1934 only thirty after militarily occupying the Philippines and Cuba following the U.S.-Spanish War in 1898. The Occupation in Haiti occurred at the end of World War I which really wasn't as global as it is portrayed in history books. Also it is unusual that the American occupation continued throughout the Great Depression considering that the U.S. itself was economically broke, faced high unemployment, ordinary Americans experienced internal displacement across the country and financial markets were still struggling.  60 years later, U.S. military would again drop into Haiti under the Operation Upholding Democracy to overthrow the popular Jean Astride, the liberation theology priest turned politician. Astride had barely begun his administration when he was forcibly placed on a plane and sent into exile. Hardly democratic or abiding by the wishes of ordinary Haitians. Haiti is just the latest in a long list of Caribbean countries the United States has intervened in. Sometimes the U.S. intervened in other countries for no reason other than to flex the military muscles remember Panama and Grenada. Neither countries have ever attacked the U.S. Their only sin was to elect two governments that stood up to the U.S., sought to operate their local economies under alternatives to capitalism and criticized U.S. foreign policy's heavy handedness in use of military power to terrorize other nations and enforcing democracy at the expense of ordinary people. It shouldn't be surprising than that Haitians are suspicious of help from the United States and other Western countries. That the Haitians no longer have respect for the United Nations nor the meaningful intentions of their neighbours.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

No bread and butter programs for all: White House budgets cuts necessary programs

This is an earlier article that wasn't originally posted on the day it was written. Here it is and enjoy the read.

This week (March 16), the new White House budget was finally revealed after much anticipation and speculation over what programs and necessities that will be cut to make way for a $54 billion expenditure on military defence. This is not a joke. The United States has held the record for decades now for spending more on defence the next five countries combined Russia included. Even during the Cold War and World War II after Russia, the U.S. had the more costly military. It still has the most military bases of any country in the world putting the Genghis Khan and Roman Empire's far reach militaries to shame. Trump made it clear from the beginning of last year, he was going to spend money, resources and tears on military defence to fight ISIS and terrorism at all costs. Trump comes for a military background minus the fighting in Vietnam. As a youngster, he attended a Military boarding school in Queens, NY. He loved military discipline from a young age whereas most children would've been seeking to leave the tough environment. Also remember, Trump's father Fred Trump Jr. was a social darwinist who instilled the same mind and idea into his children and snubbed the idea that America is an unequal society.

Art and food feeds and heals the soul

Now the country knows which programs will be axed. The EPA, climate intiative, Meals on Wheels, National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and Public Broadcasting will loose funding for this year. All the mentioned programs important for millions of Americans and all relate to mental and healthy development for babies and adults. The Meal on Wheels provides thousands of necessary assistant to seniors, disabled and immobile people who can't leave their houses either to work or to buy food. Meals on Wheels provides a helping hand free of charge for its receipts. PBS has been providing children and adults with renowned educational programs on literacy aka Seasame Street, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Frontline, POV docuseries and various children's programs teaching children the alphabet and grammar, maths, science, engineering, how to interact with the world, to be good citizens, to treat people with respect and treat the Earth with care. Than there is the ARTS: televised musical concerts, opera, Broadway, world travel series that humanizes the countries that U.S. has issues with in ways that the mainstream media can't, natural and nutritional lessons, local culture and society in a fun and interactive way that is open to the general public via television and radio and not just to the extremely wealthy and snobby businessmen.  The EPA has been helping protect the ecosystem within the United States for the last 40 years. It is due to its existence, that the United States' has been able to recognize systems and methods to avoid environmental destruction, take climate change seriously, put in necessary environmental regulations to reduce CO2 emissions and releases annual reports on the environment and climate changes impact. The EPA isn't all about tree hugging and placard waving students.

Trains of horror: On St Petersburg and Stockholm and Syria

Saint Petersburg, Russia

This week (April 13, 17) has been filled with such rapid events that many ordinary people and pundits are getting whiplashes responding and comprehending the series of tragic events. On Monday April 3rd, St Petersburg, Russia was hit by a metro bomb attack which killed 14 people from university students to the elderly. Like Moscow and other cities recently witnessing truck attacks and train bombings, violence of this size was a rare occurrence in Europe until five years ago. Terror and horrific violence was seen as something that happens to African and Asian peoples due to . The suitcase bomb is an old tactic used by militant and terror groups around the world. It is not uncommon to see suitcases and briefcases being clutched and carried on metro stations the world over. As many metro riders known, leaving any bag in the metro or placing one down out of eye is enough to raise numerous blood pressures.

Using military to fight terrorism only increases it

ISIS and its Takfiri cousins were ruled out as a possible connection since ISIS loyalists and lone wolves rely more on ramming into crowds and buildings with unassuming commercial trucks. At first, the pundits and journalists pointed figures at Chechen militants or some unknown metro rider from the North Caucasus, where a regional insurgency in Chechnya and Daghestan has been ongoing since the fall of Soviet Union. The Russian Army has used heavy handed tactics to halt the Chechen independence movement turned insurgency. The same has been done in Daghestan using militarized police to arrest and detained suspected insurgents and by extension suspected future terrorists. In turn disappearance of journalists, the brutal arrests and reports of torture mostly protested by Daghestanis and Chechen peacefully have been transformed into terror attacks by militants inside Russia. Recall the Nord Ost Moscow Theatre Siege in 2004, Moscow metro suicide bombings in 2010 and some mysterious apartment buildings. The suspect who survived the bombing and managed to flee the metro meaning he knew the city well was a Russian citizen whose family migrated from Krygzstan years ago. There might be more accomplaices as the false alarm terror alerts have rised St. Peterburg's police.

When the world thinks of St. Petersburg, it is seen as a city of beauty, the most "European" and recognizes as Russia's most cosmopolitan city. It's metro handles 2 million riders a day. It's home to several universities and a port. It is one of many 1 million resident Russian cities the Western region. Remember Russia sits on two continents. Most of Russia is in Asia, only a small stretch of it is in Eastern Europe. In the aftermath of the Bolkshelvish Revolution and Lenin coming to power in the 1920s, the city was renamed Leningrad even long after Lenin's death. The name was changed back to St. Petersburg in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union. It is Putin's birth town. The Florida city of St Petersburg, whose own name is known locally as St. Pete was named after the Russian city. This was a century before Russia became the boogeyman of American pop culture. There were no tri color Russian flag memorials lit up on the Effiel Tower, the Budengate, at Big Ben, Brussels, the Empire State building or the Sydney Opera once the world saw the horrific scenes and mourning families around St. Petersburg and anti terrorism protests there and in Moscow. The same flood of tears from ordinary people and prayers for London (two weeks earlier) were absent for St. Petersburg's 14 victims and the same goes for the victims of the earlier Moscow bombing a few years back. St. Petersburg attacks was overshadowed and more outraged given to the questionable Sarin Gas attack in Syria a few days ago.

Stockholm truck attack: Boomeranging butterfly terror 

Drottingatan Shopping District on a normal day with the flags of Europe. Drottingatan is one of Stockholm's many pedestrian friendly streets. It also runs parallel to many major streets and Stockholm Central station.

The driver of the stolen beer truck, Rakhmat Akilov who is alive, has turned himself in and confessed to the attack. It should be mentioned that he has no connection to ISIS or any terror group. He is an Ubzek asylum seeker who was facing deportation back to his country following his asylum rejection a week before. Also remember, Uzbeks are rarely involved in violent attacks outside of Uzbekistan or Syria where very few Uzbeks have joined ISIS. As is the case with a lot of terror attacks or mass shootings in the first 24 hours, the series of the events will change as time progresses. The store camera's footage of the truck plying through a small crowd pass one store is particularly gruesome. Ironically, one of the first victims of the attack was Belgian psychologist Maïlys Dereymaeker who worked with failed asylum seekers to fight their deportations. The fact that the driver survived the initial fiery crash into the upmarket department store Ahlens and managed to flee the scene is also extraordinary. Ordinary Swedes were horrified and traumatized. The street that the attack occurred on is the popular shopping district and tourist attraction Drottninggatan that runs few blocks east parallel to where Stockholm's Central train station and the corner where parliament is located. The street has been at the same location since the 1620s and is named for Sweden's 17th century Queen Catherine. Drottninggatan is equivalent to Istanbul's famed Istiklal Street. The Swedish Parliament was placed on locked down as were other office buildings on Drottninggatan and other major streets in a 5 mile radius. Oddly enough, Drottninga. Seven years ago, Drottninggatan was the scene of a failed Swedish suicide bomber who had planned to attack his own countrymen only to be killed by his own bomb. In another historic irony, Olaf Palme was assassinated in 1986 near Drottninggatan on a nearby connecting street Sveavagen. The cross street for Sveavagen Street is Olaf Palme Street or OlafPalmegatan. The Palme assassination greatly shocked Sweden at the time as Stockholm and other towns were considered extremely safe enough for politicians to walk around the city without bodyguards as Palme had done. Such a fool hearty decision to not have bodyguards would be condemned by follow politicians and the wider public today.

The old saying that a butterfly's wings flapping one place can create chaos in another is ringing true. Having its back against the wall and loosing ground, ISIS continues to rely on Chaos Theory to terrify soldiers, its hostages, recruits and victims. It is not the first terror group to rely such a theory. Unlike past insurgency groups' whose causes many governments attempted to emphasize and understand its origins, ISIS isn't pushing a particular cause. It's response to events in Syria is boomeranging violence across the world including Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Turkey. It wasn't coincidental that right after the Manchild in Chief aka President Donald Trump ordered a rapid fire (literally) missle strike using tomhawk missiles on the Syrian Airbase al Sharyat, Sweden was the site of a truck attack. ISIS has yet to claim responsibility. The air strike on Syria was in response to a doubtful Sarin gas attack in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikoun. It wasn't Assad who attacked Syrian civilians with gas but it might be the rebels themselves. It is not conspiracy theory. The previous chemical attack on Syrian civilians in Ghouta in 2013 was alleged to be Assad and later proven to be the works of rebels. Russia was even blamed for supplying gas to the Syrian government but evidence points to rebels. Trump has shown himself to pay more attention to the pundits' opinions on the geopolitics of the Middle East and Syria than actual fact. He is one world leader who doesn't look where he leaps or jumps into. Diplomacy is secondary for him. The Ghouta gas attack didn't lead to the United States bombarding Damascus. The U.S. has been bombing Syria directly for the past two years in a more discreet manner. But American bombings in Syria and Iraq have been getting the attention of news outlets. The U.S. is also using NATO and Israel's occassional bombings as well. Israel has been surprisingly quiet concerning Syria's ongoing war trauma. .