Constipation, Perhaps?

Way back in March of this year, in a small town in Kansas, it was discovered that a woman had been sitting on her boyfriend’s toilet seat for two years, without ever getting off.[1] I mention it because it’s a story I’ve only just noticed, and while reading the facts one thought that recurred was, “Did the boyfriend have his legs crossed all that time.”

It’s difficult to find much in the news that’s worthy of comment these days. Perhaps one of the most obvious titbits has been the New Yorker’s cover cartoon of the Obamas, with its resultant public and media furore, but even that is hardly worthy of serious discussion.

Was the New Yorker right to publish? Yes. Was it in bad taste? Well, that would depend on your taste.

Perhaps the greatest indictment should not be of the New Yorker, but of ourselves, for taking it and twisting it into a political event. After all, this nation is supposed to be all about freedoms, but whenever anyone exercises those freedoms it seems the whole nation is consumed by wrath and indignation.

There’s an equal outpouring of disagreement over the International Criminal Court’s decision to charge Sudan’s dictator president, Omar al-Bashir, with genocide. While most sane people don’t argue his guilt – Bashir’s government makes the Saddam Hussein regime look like followers of Mother Theresa – the contretemps is over the timing, and whether Sudanese repercussions might endanger UN peacekeepers.

Perhaps the UN should have considered that back in 2005 when it originally referred the matter to the ICC? Since when has justice been something to be deferred until more convenient?

Still, we can rely on the great U.S of A. to swing its political muscle behind the ICC. Oh…. no, we can’t. George W Bush and his merry band refuse to recognize international justice – unless it’s dispatched from the bomb bay of an A10, of course.

I think we’ve all had enough of this economy business. It’s time to turn it off and get back to normal. After all, it isn’t real. Phil Gramm said so, and he should know, he’s a senator. We’re all just whining over nothing. So what if gas is over four dollars, Fanny Mae refuses you that loan for a Big Mac, and cows have set up their own Milk Marketing Board to cut out the middlemen?

There’s one positive note to the economic downturn: we’ve all learned not to blame anyone. No-one’s pointing a finger. It’s true the FBI are feeling the collars of a few small-fry businessmen for shady practices, but in the true spirit of pulling together for the good of all, no-one in America is asking, “Who’s responsible?”

Perhaps the reason no-one’s asking is because the answer is so obvious. All you have to do is look back at the figures. In March 2002, the economy was doing fine. Oil was under $23 a barrel[2]. Then, in early 2003, something happened that caused the price to jump by ten dollars a barrel. Over the next few years it climbed steadily as the dollar weakened against international currencies, driving the price of oil higher and higher.

Now, let me see, what did happen in early 2003……….. nope, blowed if I can remember……

Finally, the best news item of the week for me – and one that provides a (very) weak and tenuous hook to my leader paragraph – was last Tuesday’s BBC report claiming that the ‘Presidential Memorial Committee of San Francisco’ was preparing to honor President George W Bush on his retirement from office, by naming a sewage works after him.[3]

Committee organizer Brian McConnell said:

“It’s important to remember our leaders in the right historical context.”

Occasionally, you read something that just makes you feel better.

[1] “Woman sits on boyfriend’s toilet for 2 years” MSNBC, March 12th 2008

[2] “Historical Crude Oil Prices (Table)” InflationData.com

[3] “Group seeks Bush sewage ‘tribute'” BBC, July 8th 2008

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Fact, Fiction, Or Something In-Between?

It’s difficult not to cringe at the mass of views and opinions circulating throughout the news media, both here and in Europe, specifically with regard to the ‘United States/Israel versus Iran’ argument and the possibility of war between these nations.

So much ‘tuppenny wisdom’ is circulating that it really does depend on whose views you prefer, which team you’re supporting in the run up to the possible big game.

Occasionally, among this riff-raff of know-it-alls, arises a commentator whose desire for factuality far outweighs any need for pseudo-intellectual pontification.

Such a man is Norman Dombey, Professor emeritus of theoretical physics at the University of Sussex. In a recent letter to the Guardian newspaper, the good professor wrote:

Last December the Israeli deputy ambassador to the UN, Daniel Carmon, was interviewed by the BBC about the Iranian uranium enrichment project. He said: “The Americans and British made nuclear weapons with 20 centrifuges: imagine what the Iranians can do with 3,000.” In fact, neither the US nor Britain used centrifuges to enrich uranium for their early nuclear weapons. The US primarily used gaseous diffusion in the Manhattan Project during the second world war, while Britain did the same in the early 1950s.

Ian Black interviews an unnamed colleague of ambassador Carmon’s (June 25) and reports his claim that “Syria was planning to supply Iran with spent nuclear fuel for reprocessing into weapons-grade plutonium”. This claim belongs to the same fantasyland as wartime American centrifuges. Iran has a programme to produce low-enriched uranium, which it says is for peaceful purposes, although it would be relatively easy, as I pointed out in a previous letter (November 22) to refigure the centrifuges to produce high-enriched uranium for a weapon. But unlike North Korea, Iran has never had a reprocessing plant to convert spent fuel into plutonium.

Nor was Syria in a position to send Iran spent fuel because North Korea was unable to provide fresh fuel for the Syrian reactor under construction at Al Kibar. North Korea did have a fuel fabrication facility at Yongbyon, but it has been closed since 1994 and is now being dismantled together with the reprocessing plant under the six-party agreement reached last October. There is some fresh fuel at Yongbyon under IAEA safeguards. None is missing and it remains under the supervision both of IAEA inspectors and of a US team based at Yongbyon.[1]

I make no apology for reproducing Professor Dombey’s letter in its entirety because, despite its relative brevity, it tells us a great deal.

It tells us that here is a man who doesn’t deal in opinion. Norman Dombey is stating facts, pure and simple, which is more than can be said for the deputy Israeli ambassador or his unnamed colleague.

Perhaps one of the most frightening facts to explode from the political debacle that resulted from post-9/11 hysteria was how little our governments know about other nations. The intelligence gathering organizations many assumed were doing their jobs efficiently, turned out to bear little relation to the James Bond-type establishments Ian Fleming depicted in his novels.

It’s become obvious our leaders listen to the same ‘tuppenny wisdom’ from similar ‘know-it-alls’ as write their op-eds and half-baked opinions in newspapers all over the Western world.

Through oft-repeated sound-bites our politicians take these opinions and twist them deftly into irrefutable facts. At no time was this more obvious than in 2002-2003, when every politician’s smoking gun was turning into a mushroom cloud. A few years on, the smoking gun once again metamorphosed, this time to ‘another Holocaust’.

In 2006, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told delegates to the annual United Jewish Communities General Assembly:

“It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs….. believe him and stop him [Ahmadinajad] This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this. He is preparing another Holocaust for the Jewish state.” [2]

The truth is that neither Netanyahu nor any other Israeli politician had, or has, evidence to back up such comments. But they don’t need evidence. They know such words will be picked up by the media and spread around the world, as substantiated facts.

We have two choices, and one is to believe implicitly the spawn issuing from our politicians’ tongues. It’s the easier, more comfortable option for many. The other is to seek out truth by closing our ears to those who pervert the facts for their own advantage, and instead make informed opinions after consultation with the Norman Dombey’s of this world who, by virtue of their positions, hold at least some of the facts.

Of course, Professor Dombey is an academic. That would make him too ‘liberal’ for many in the political establishments. Their greatest fear is knowledge. It might force them to do the right thing.

[1] “Iran, Syria and nuclear weapons” Guardian, July 12th 2008

[2] “Ahmadinejad is preparing another Holocaust” Haaretz, November 14th 2006

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All About Domination (2)

From: R J Adams – Sparrow Chat

To: Matt Marshall, Communications Director, BBC America.

Sir

Re: BBC NEWS AMERICA

As an ex-pat living six years in the States, it didn’t take long to realise the US television news media drew a fine line between news and indoctrination. For most of those six years, my lifeline was the thirty minutes of BBC World News broadcast by our local PBS station at 5.00am and 5.00pm each weekday.

That lifeline shortened considerably in October 2007, when the evening broadcast was replaced by BBC News America, anchored by Matt Frei.

I have always considered Frei as one of the great news reporters of the BBC; his reports from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina were exacting, and pulled no punches when relating to the inadequacies of the US government response. Since taking on the frontman role of BBC America News, however, my opinion of him has drastically declined. He now appears to have metamorphosed into just another Washington lackey.

The program itself has degenerated over the months into a mirror of US establishment media news, such as NBC, CBS, and ABC, with much emphasis on matters unrelated to serious issues in the world today. As an example, yesterday’s (Thursday 10th July 2008) program broadcast twelve minutes of newsworthy material, although the headline piece on Iran’s missile tests was so one-sided, due to Frei’s pro-American stance, that Jon Leyne in Iran had to defend the Iranian viewpoint against Frei’s attacks. Much of the remaining programme time was wasted by what was nothing short of an infomercial for the new Apple iPhone, closely followed by a long and tedious promotion for a new film about the equally tedious and long dead, Hunter S Thompson.

The one major item of news yesterday, totally omitted by the BBC and all US news channels, concerned the use of US bases in Iraq by Israeli warplanes which, according to Iraqi and Pakistani news sources, were regularly flying within Iraqi airspace:

REF: Link included

Perhaps I might have an adequate explanation as to why Steve Jobs and Hunter Thompson were considered more important issues than this, and why at no time it was deemed worthy of broadcasting to the American people?

Regards

R J Adams
Illinois, USA

http://SparrowChat.com
rjadams@sparrowchat.com

When pushed into a corner, corporations have a habit of ignoring these type of requests. If any answer is forthcoming, it will be posted here.

Of course, the reason this news wasn’t broadcast within the US or UK isn’t difficult to fathom. Twenty-four hours later, the information is common knowledge, thanks to the internet, so it will be interesting to note if the establishment media make any mention.

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