Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chinese Anti-Carrier Missile: Cause for Concern

The news is calling it a "kill weapon" - which strikes me as a bit redundant.

The point is that there's good reason to believe that China has developed an anti-ship missile that could deliver a carrier-destroying warhead. Anti-missile systems like the Aegis might be able to destroy the missile before it reached its target.

On the other hand, they might not.

The Chinese missile seems to be a modified Dong Feng 21 missile: a ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 kilometers. I think that works out to around 1,250 miles.

So What?

The War on Terror (a term which is no longer officially sanctioned) doesn't involve China, right?

I certainly hope so. But, most of a cyberspy network just happens to be in China: and has been active enough for mainstream news media to mention it.

And, if China did get involved in a conflict with America, and allied itself with Al Qaeda, it wouldn't be the first Odd Couple. Remember Germany and Japan, back in WWII? Things have changed in the sixty years since the ethnically-conscious national socialists in Germany allied themselves with, of all countries, Japan: but I think that's still a reminder that differences don't necessarily make that much of a difference.

Vaguely related posts: Background:

Sounds of Silence: 2009

"Silence propagates itself, and the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find anything to say."
Samuel Johnson, on The Quotations Page

It seems that the quote is from "The Works of Samuel Johnson" Volume IV (on Google Books The quote is from a paragraph that begins:

"It is always observable that silence propagates itself, and that the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find a thing to say. We began now to wish for conversation; but no one seemed inclined to descend from his dignity, or first propose a topick of discourse...."

So What?!

There doesn't seem to be any difficulty finding a "a topick of discourse," here at the dawn of the Information Age.

On the other hand, the willingness to "descend from ... dignity" - or self-righteousness, or whatever, is, I think, sadly lacking.
Patriots, Environmentalists, and Crackpots
A marked aversion to people who 'aren't the proper sort' is nothing new. I grew up in the sixties, graduated from high school in 1969, and started doing time in college the next fall. Back then, what I mostly ran into were terribly 'patriotic' people who were, quite sincerely, convinced that 'the Commies' were behind it. 'It' being whatever was troubling them at the moment.

If you watch reruns of M*A*S*H, think Frank Burns, without the humor. And, coming from another direction, there were people who took Paul Ehrlich seriously.

That was then, this is now. The background noise of "Commie threat" has, to some extent, been replaced by "environmental threat" - which I think is as real as the "Commie threat" was. The Soviet Union, China, and North Korea were real. They posed a serious threat to people who had developed the habit of traveling around without authorization, and setting up businesses if they wanted to.

The threat was real. The 'civil rights is a commie plot' claims were, as far as I can tell, bogus. Totally bogus.

Today, there are serious concerns about what's in the air, water, and soil. Where I live, it's not particularly healthy to eat the fish you catch in the lake. But, the 'and we're all gonna die' pronouncements about Global Warming (capitalized or not) and other dooms brought about by vile humanity remind me of the 'good old days' and Commie plots.

It's Not Just Whacked Out Liberals

Check out the list of related posts, below. You'll find references to screwball liberals, conservatives, and ideologies that don't quite fit into mainstream American politics. Every group, I think, has its crackpots.

That's the human condition, and has to be recognized. I won't say "accepted," but that's a topic for another blog.
'Now That the Right People are In Charge - - -
Trouble can start, I think, when one or more of a society's information channels is dominated by people who all feel the same way about the world, and how it ought to be.

When that happens, it's too easy to allow one side's view pass without filtering, while preventing opposing views from being heard. No 'conspiracy' involved: it's just human nature to give ideas which are "obviously" correct pass without review; while scrutinizing those which are "obviously" flawed, or simply sidetracking them.

Back in the fifties, from what I read later, and was told, what we call 'conservatives' dominated American society. The McCarthy hearings and campus radicals of the sixties helped change that.

Now, quite a few of the campus radicals are tenured professors.
The Curious Case of Dr. Gray
Things are different when you're in charge: for you, and for everyone else. Hurricane expert Dr. William Gray may have been yanked from the national spotlight by budgetary considerations. Or, because he had heretical views on Global Warming: and, with monumental lack of good sense, expressed those views.

Dr. Gray isn't making a fuss about it, and I can't blame him. Even if he knew that he'd been blackballed for having the wrong views, he's a career academic: and bucking the system is not how you get your papers published. Dr. Gray's work may make a difference, fifty or a hundred years from now. Right now, he's off the cultural radar.

Let's Give the Marketplace of Ideas a Chance

Quite a bit of me is from the sixties: although I realize that it's no longer 1968.
Sounds of Silence: 2009
So, when I saw that Samuel Johnson quote, I thought of "Sounds of Silence."

The world today isn't exactly what it was in 1965, when Simon and Garfunkle's song entered the culture. But, I think there's still good sense in the lyrics: Not communicating with each other is a bad idea. And, good sense in Simon and Garfunkle's introduction, in a video that's on YouTube.

The video picks up at the end of an introduction to the song:

"...inability of people to communicate with each other: And not particularly internationally, but especially emotionally, so that what you see around you is people who are unable to live each other. This is called 'Sounds of Silence. " (YouTube)

I won't try to sort out what the song "means." There's a variety of ideas on someone else's website. One thing that's generally accepted is that "Sounds of Silence" is about communication: or, rather, the lack of it.

I'm more inclined to accept an artist's word on what a work means, than what a reviewer, 'expert,' or fan says. So, I accept the idea that "Sounds of Silence" was more about interpersonal, than international, communication. And, about a love deficit.

The third verse can, I think, be applied to more than relations between individuals:
...And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence....
(Music Depot)
Run through what's being said and written about the War on Terror, and you'll find plenty of "people talking without speaking," "people hearing without listening."
Expression of Disgust and Exclusion are not "Communication"
People expressing disgust at "towelheads," a politico who should know better describing someone wearing "a diaper on his head and a fan belt around that diaper on his head" are not, I think being helpful. All that they're communicating is that they don't like a specific group of people who aren't just like them. (See post of February 24, 2009)

Conservatives haven't cornered the market for screwballs. A non-conservative politico made a remarkable statement about two years ago:

" 'It's almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that. After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it and it put the leader of that country [Hitler] in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted. The fact is that I'm not saying [Sept. 11] was a [U.S.] plan, or anything like that because, you know, that's how they put you in the nut-ball box -- dismiss you.' " (See post of July 17, 2007)

If you didn't hear about one of Minnesota's up-and-coming politicos' views on the alleged American plot to blow up the World Trade Center and frame Al Qaeda, you may have heard of a professor with a similar view. (See post of July 25, 2007)

And, there's the hoplophobia that's permeated American culture. The term refers to an irrational fear of weapons. For many Americans, it's a more focused fear of guns. And, since "everybody knows" that guns cause crime, hoplophibia isn't recognized as an unusual condition (See post of December 23, 2007)
Don't Like Turbans? Don't Wear One
People aren't all alike. But we're not going learn from each other by insulting each other - however 'cathartic' that is. (Remember when psychobabble was full of that word?)

If people are allowed to express their ideas, I think that the ideas that make sense will endure. The ones that don't, won't. Except among people who are convinced that towelheads are disgusting, or that the CIA blew up New York City's World Trade Center.

And, we'll have a better chance of surviving whatever outfits like Al Qaeda and the Taliban have planned for people whose beliefs they don't approve of.

Sound Of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel (live sound)

Hamp32, YouTube (February 08, 2007)
video (3:19)

Related posts: Background:

Taliban Attack on Washington, D.C.: 'Soon'

Short version: A Taliban commander, in Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud, says that the Taliban will attack Washington, D.C.. He didn't say when, but that it would be soon. Also, that the attack would be spectacular. " 'will amaze everyone in the world.' " is how Mehsud's remark got quoted.

It looks like Mehsud may not be bluffing: that the Taliban could attack Washington. Successfully. (FOXNews) Of course, that's from an article in FOXNews.

If you're in the circle that assumes that FOXNews is part of the vast right-wing conspiracy, and that people who watch or read FOXNews are extreme right-wing, zenophobic, gun-toting, domestic terrorists - potential or actual: Pay no attention.

For the rest of us, who recognize that the poster's caption is distinctly post-WWII,1 this could be serious. The White House is one of the specific targets that Baitullah Mehsud mentioned.

Someone from the Middle Eastern Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, James Phillips, said: " 'It's not too much of a stretch to think he might be involved in an attack on the U.S. if he's able to get his followers inside the United States. He's a militant extremist whose threats cannot be ignored.' " (FOXNews)

There's another reason for ignoring this whole "threat" thing. Phillips is with the Heritage Foundation. They even admit that they're conservative: so, in some circles, anything and everything that comes out of there is gravely suspect.

Again, for the rest of us, a threatened attack on Washington, by a leader in a group that controlled an entire country not too many years back, is a serious matter.

Personally, I'd Like to Feel Phillips is Wrong

In a way, I would like to feel, deep in my heart, that Phillips is wrong: That the Taliban are made up of nice-but-misunderstood people, that they couldn't possibly attack Washington even if they wanted to, and that everything will be fine: as long as America doesn't keep on causing all the trouble in the world.

But, I live in the real world. And that's not the way it is.

Baitullah Mehsud and Benzair Bhutto

If you've been paying attention to Pakistan and the 'Stans in general, Baitullah Mehsud should sound familiar. He's the fellow who said that he'd meet Benzair Bhutto with suicide bombers. Then, when she died in an attack that involved a suicide bomber, he said he didn't do it. And, as of today, it looks like he's sticking with that story.

Related posts: News and views:
1 The poster is from "Vintage War Propaganda Posters," a page on Magazine 13. The post appeared on March 23, 2009: and starts with these words: "Sometimes memorabilia can transport you to the times even though you have not lived through them and that was the feeling I had when I was researching these posters. I can now appreciate why certain people like to collect the posters...."

The image in question is gone, with a no-link warning in its place. I have no idea whether or not the "HELP ME FIND AND KILL TERRORIST AGITATORS" poster is the author's notion of a joke: or whether that person really didn't know that FOX News did not exist in the 1940s - or any period when that style of poster was used.

The ersatz poster does, I think, serve - either way - as an example of how beliefs may be maintained by stoutly refusing to see or hear anything that deviates from the party line.

Monday, March 30, 2009

No More "War on Terror" - Officially?

"Obama team drops 'war on terror' rhetoric"
Reuters (March 30, 2009)

"THE HAGUE (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday the Obama administration had dropped "war on terror" from its lexicon, rhetoric former President George W. Bush used to justify many of his actions.

" 'The (Obama) administration has stopped using the phrase and I think that speaks for itself. Obviously,' Clinton told reporters traveling with her to The Hague for a conference on Afghanistan, which Bush called part of his "global war on terror.'..."

That's the gist of the article, and all the others I read.

I believe it. President Obama promised change: and dropping a divisive term like "war on terror" is certainly a change.

I'm quite confident that President Obama's administration will be much nicer, more conciliatory, open, understanding, and caring than the "diabolical" George W. Bush's administration was.

Words, Actions, and Common Sense

I am one of those people who are convinced that words have meanings, and that it matters: what words are used.

Clinton and Obama notwithstanding, I'm keeping the name of this blog: on the practical side, it'd be a big fuss to start with a new name, and you might have trouble finding this blog; on the philosophical side, I think it's a mistake to pretend that a war isn't a war.

What's going on now, between outfits like Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and everyone they don't approve of - the West included - is a war. It's not like the wars that were fought in Aristotle's time, or the conflicts of the twentieth century, but it's still a war. Even if only one side admits it.
'Defense Department'?!
If I remember correctly, America had a 'United States Department of War' from its very early years, until 1947. Then, since 'war was no longer possible,' as a character in a sixties show (Ironside, I think), it became the 'Department of Defense.'

I think that giving the Department of War a 'nicer' name may have been a mistake. It's true, the American department of war's purpose is to defend America. But, in their own way, that's a function of the State Department, and all the other federal departments.

The 'Department of Defense' defends America by being prepared to wage war: and, on occasion, waging war. That's not nice, I'll agree: but this world isn't particularly nice. And, like it or not, we all live in the real world.
No More "War on Terror"?
Maybe the Obama administration has a grand plan for preventing religious maniacs from doing a re-play of the 9/11 attack. I sincerely hope so.

I also hope that President Obama does not believe that the leaders of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and like-minded people, will stop being mean if America stops being mean. There's very little evidence to support the notion that, deep down inside, Osama bin Laden is a nice guy who just wants to get along.

More-or-less related posts: News and Views:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cyberspy Network Hacked 103 Countries' Systems

Here's the deal: Canadian researchers with the Information Warfare Monitor (IWM) started out seeing if there was anything to claims that the Chinese government had been using computers to spy with Tibetans living in exile.

Chinese Cyberspying: Big Time

I can see why China's government would want to keep track of Tibetans who escaped "Xizang Province." People like that could be an embarrassment. Tibet's got other names, too: but since I use American English - and so do you - I'll use a name you're likely to recognize.

So far, IWM has found 103 countries whose computers have been hacked by a small, selective, network that just happens to be mostly in China.

As The Canada Press put it:

" 'What we found is not so much unprecedented in scope and sophistication,' said Nart Villeneuve, a senior IWM analyst.

" 'But the relatively small size of the network and concentration of high-value targets is significant. It does not fit the profile for a typical cyber crime network.'

"Principal investigators Ron Deibert and Rafal Rohozinski said: 'This report serves as a wake-up call.'..."

Wake-Up Call - Not to be Alarmist, but This Sounds Serious

I've been reading about hacked government sites for some time. It's not exactly being hushed up, but news services haven't seemed overly eager to put the story up front, either.

Can't say that I blame them, considering the sort of comments I've gotten when I used the 'wrong' word for Xizang Province, and suggested that China's invasion and occupation of Tibet - and policies in general - fell somewhat short of the idea.

This time around, though, there doesn't seem to be so much polite reticence.

Good thing, too. The way I see it, breaking into another nation's files isn't nice: even it it's a virtual break-in.

Related posts: In the news:

Friday, March 27, 2009

He's Not Biased: He's Brazilian

" 'White People Caused The Credit Crunch' "
Sky News (March 27, 2009)
"Brazil's President, while meeting Gordon Brown, has said the global financial crisis was caused by 'white people with blue eyes'.

"Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made the comments after talks with the Prime Minister to try to forge a global consensus on how to save the worldwide economy.
I've got the same genetic melanin deficiency that my European ancestors did.

I'd take this "fairly flamboyant language" personally, but I went to college in the seventies and eighties. I'm used to it. The 'white people are racist and to blame for [problem/grievance]' schtick is drearily familiar.

What does trouble me is the fact that remarks that would be career-wreckers, if uttered by Euro-Americans, in America, are glossed over and excused: provided that the right sort of person utters it.

More, from Sky News:
"Sky News' Joey Jones said it was an 'uncomfortable' moment for Mr Brown.

" 'The President does not mind using fairly flamboyant language. He likes to give extensive answers to journalists.

" 'But some of it was rather awkward for the Prime Minister, who was standing there listening to the President.

" 'A few eyebrows will have gone up at what he said.'

"Downing Street says the remarks were meant for 'domestic consumption'.

"Jones said: 'People in Brazil are very frustrated and angry at what they feel is the injustice of the situation: a crisis that has essentially come from the banking sectors in places like the United States and the UK, but is affecting their country.' "
I see Sky News' Joey Jones's - and Downing Street's - explanation as uncomfortably close to being a sort of soft prejudice. The British explanation, although very well-worded and considerate, could (with a bit of effort) be taken to mean 'he can't help it: he's Brazilian.'

Reading Jones' response, I was reminded of Basil Fawlty's recurring line in Fawlty Towers: "He's from Barcelona."

Nuff said.

Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sloppy Contractors, or: GEORGE BUSH STILL KILLING U.S. SOLDIERS!!!!!!

Sounds like about 16 American soldiers were electrocuted in Iraq. That's 16 too many. Three were killed while showering. One was killed by a swimming pool.

Another soldier, Ron Vance, was so traumatized by an electrified shower, he says, that now he can't take a shower without his wife being around. Vance also says the military didn't take his (psychological?) injuries seriously. With respect, I can see why.

The problem is very real: 16 bodies worth.

The news told about two victims:
  • Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth
    • Showering: pump malfunctioned
  • Staff Sergeant Christopher Lee Everett, Texas Army National Guard
    • Cleaning a vehicle: power washer short-circuited
Maseth's family has sued KBR, the contractor that's overseeing maintenance at most American facilities in Iraq. (AP) For now. KBR says it's not their fault. That case may run until the Maseth's family runs out of money.

Looks Like a Monumental SNAFU

As far as the 16 dead soldiers are concerned, it doesn't matter what combination of sloppy work and inadequate equipment inspections killed them. They're dead.

For everybody who's still breathing, something's gotta be done!

And, is being done. Task force SAFE (Safety Action for Fire and Electricity) is working its way through U.S. Army facilities, looking for bad equipment.

It's a big problem. Roughly a third of inspections have, apparently, uncovered "potential electrical hazards at 15,000 of the 41,000 facilities visited since the task force's inception in August, a US military spokesman said." (guardian.co.uk)

The AP tells the same story - in more detail. There are 65,000 facilities to go in the inspection - and, since the American military deals with the real world - where things take time - inspections could take the rest of this year. (AP)

Task Force SAFE - Cue Sarcastic Comments

I didn't run into any searing criticisms on the inhuman, incompetent, and generally yukky American military: but it's early days. Army news ran an article last month, and the shocking case of the deadly showers hit national news today.

With an acronym like SAFE, there will probably be some very witty writing done on the subject.
Better Surge Protectors: Good Idea!
Besides repairing defective equipment, the Army's getting better surge protectors. The ones they were using in Iraq were purchased in Iraq. (AP) Nuf said.

This is Bigger Than Shocking Showers: Sloppy Work is Unacceptable

A (very former) co-worker, in meetings, often asked "is it important?" I finally lost it and said something like this - "Important? If you mean, a hundred thousand years from now, will anybody know or care what color paper goes in this mailing: No, it's not important. If you mean, a month from now, how many orders will we be getting: Yes, it's important."

My co-worker wasn't, I think, either stupid or sloppy. I found out later that she and her husband were having their first baby: I think she was trying to get fired, so she could stay home, without having to say that she quit.
Electrical Equipment: No Room for Sloppy Work
Sloppy security, sloppy news reporting, sloppy inventory control - with nuclear weapons no less, and now sloppy quality control. I've harangued about sloppiness before. I'm no fan of 'the good old days.' I was born in the waning years of the Truman administration, and remember the sixties and seventies pretty well, and a little of the fifties: They were no Golden Age.

Today, our technology should encourage a zero-tolerance approach to quality control.

Technology has always been hazardous. Even when the club was the latest in cutting-edge military technology, people had to be careful. Letting the thing fall could mean an injured foot. Or, if you'd incautiously leaned it against a overhead branch, it might hit your head: possibly killing you.

We've come a long way. A worst-case scenario - - - Anybody watched "Dr. Strangelove?" lately? Or "Fail-Safe?" Or "The Swarm?"

Okay: That's Hollywood, where killer bees can make a nuclear power plant go pfft in seconds - without killing the bees - and military installations seem peculiarly prone to equipment malfunctions.

Out here in the real world, nuclear weapons can get misplaced (and, once, did). Conceivably, one of them could go off at a very embarrassing time and place. And, at this moment, there's enough power coursing through that light switch over there to kill you, several times over.

What's going on in Iraq is the more every-day sort of problem: no crazy general, no killer bees, no incredible exploding reactor, just bodies piling up because of shoddy equipment and lax quality control.

I've said this before: "there's a war on."

This is not the time to turn on, tune in, drop out: even if a college professor said to. People's lives are at stake here: and not just the soldiers who use this junk. Everybody who is counting on those soldiers to preserve their freedom to wear trousers, worship God, Allah, Elvis, or nothing at all, and stage anti-military protests, has something to lose here.

I Remember the Communist Threat (real), and Commie Plots (not so real)

And, proving that there's no tragedy or SNAFU that can't be put to work for politics: This SNAFU is George W. Bush's fault. So say some.

Of course. Everybody knows that.

" 'The process of finding and fixing this problem has gone far too slow,' said Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org, a veterans group. 'We've known about this problem for years, and it's inexcusable that our troops continue to face the threat of severe injury or death not only in the battlefield, but when taking a shower back where it's supposed to be relatively safe.

" 'The previous administration wanted to farm out way too many things to contractors, without any real accountability, and this is one of the legacies of that terrible decision.' "

SNAFU? Yes. Being Fixed? Yes. Hate Bush? Always

The problem is real. It's a bit hard, given what's in the news, to figure out what's taking so long to fix it. But, looking closely, it's pretty clear that there's an effort under way to make showering safe.

A real effort, not the tired old 'blame the guy I hate' routine.

This reminds me of the 'good old days,' when there was no problem, big or small, that wasn't the fault of the commies. According to 'right-thinking' people.

Related posts: In the news:

North Korea - Again - Still - North Korea

Same old, same old.

North Korea doing something muscly, saying something tough.

This times it's a missile and nukes.

I know: This time they may really mean it, and with WMD, a possibly-nuts leader, and generals who may believe their own propaganda, it's nothing to joke about.

But, there's just me here at AWoTB: and I've got to set priorities.

And the North Korean crisis du jour didn't make top priority today, or even second. I'll get back to Dear Leader and atomic threats later.

Saudi Women Protest Lingere Shops - It's Not What You Might Think

Just when you think you know a country - - -.

Saudi Arabia's authorities seem to have been going out of their way lately, trying to make their country look like it's a land of pathologically repressed people.

Then, something like this comes up. From the headline, I thought I'd be reading about some women in Saudi Arabia who had decided to shut down the lingerie industry, or at least drive it underground.

I hadn't been aware that there were women's lingerie shops in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Women Love Lingerie: It's the Clerks They Could Do Without

The problem seems to be that clerks in Lingerie stores in the desert kingdom are men. The article explains a little of the cultural reasons for it, but the bottom line is that Saudi women like to buy fancy, colorful - you get the picture - lingerie: but they'd much rather talk to a woman about cup sizes and fit.

I see their point.

Beware Assumptions

Saudi Arabia follows customs which demand very strict dress code on the street and in public. In the privacy of your own home, well, that's neither the street nor a public place.

Repressed? Maybe: but then again, maybe not.

Related Posts: In the news:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Be Grateful for News Translated Into English - And Be Aware

Translations can be tricky. It's challenging to take a sequence of ideas, expressed in prose, from one language and culture, and translate it into a sequence that someone using another language, from another culture, will understand. (Poetry, in my opinion as a recovering English teacher, cannot be translated. At best, a similar poem can be written in the second language.)

The Tale of a Frog, Translated from English to French, to English

Even prose presents problems. Mark Twain, (Samuel Langhorne Clemens), wrote "The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County" in the 1860s. It was a hit. These days, in America, he might have been hounded by animal-rights enthusiasts, but that's another matter.

What is important to recall is that "The Celebrated Frog of Calaveras County" was written in English, American English, and a very popular story. So popular that a translation into the French was attempted.

This translation, I am told, was not the commercial success that had been hoped. Mr. Clemens, obtaining a copy of the translation, had it - - - I think it is best if I use the American writer's own words, as used in a title of a monograph which discussed the matter: "The Jumping Frog: in English, then in French, and then Clawed Back into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil" - Mr. Clemens had a marked preference for English, particularly American English, and took no pains to conceal it.

A facsimile of Twain's "The Jumping Frog: in English, then in French, and then Clawed Back into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil" is available online.

Mr. Twain's re-translation intentionally retained the French synatx - which looks, to be polite, weird in English of any variety.

Before jumping into what prompted this post, Twain's story, online is available several places, including:

Thank You Very Much, Editors and Staff of 毎日新聞の

I don't know more that a few words of Japanese, so I rely on people who know both English and Japanese, or machine translations (usually one of Google's translation tools. The results are, well, less than ideal. For example, here's the first three paragraphs in 毎日新聞の article on Mr. Yamaguchi :




Google translation:
Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings directly, Yamaguti Tsuyoshi was not mentioned in the health card only survivors of the Nagasaki bombing (as conductor), (93) = = The city of Nagasaki, Nagasaki on August 23, directly in Hiroshima Add to that described in the handbook at Yamaguchi City bombing and the bombing. Hiroshima, about the existence of a double-bomb survivors in Nagasaki, the ministry has not confirmed, Nagasaki and Hiroshima Prefecture, "as long as you know, are described in the handbook is the first dual-bomb" that.

According to the certification of the contents of Nagasaki, Yamaguchi 1945 August 6, during a trip to Hiroshima Mitsubishi engineer長崎造船所from ground zero to three miles directly bombed, burned a large left upper half suffered. The next day, about a train ride from ground zero to escape the bombing, entered through the two said. August 8 to return to Nagasaki, from ground zero in the next 9 days directly bombed again at around 3 km. Looking for relatives in the 13 days, bombed the city to enter into and around ground zero.裏付KETA a double bombing by the testimony of survivors.

According to Yamaguchi, the former atomic bomb Medical Law (Law survivors now support) hibakusha health card system began implementation in August 1957, to apply to the city of Nagasaki, was issued a handbook. At the time, was described by both direct bombing, a new notebook with the new City bombing did not just turn on and directly in the bombing of Nagasaki. Said 60-year update.

The Manichi Daily News English version, first three paragraphs:
NAGASAKI -- A 93-year-old man who experienced atomic bombings in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki has won official recognition as a dual hibakusha.

The Nagasaki Municipal Government acknowledged on Monday that Tsutomu Yamaguchi, 93, from Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, was not only exposed to the atomic bomb in Nagasaki but also in Hiroshima, and updated his A-bomb survivor's ID. So far, only his experience in Nagasaki had been recognized.

"As far as we know, it is the first time that a dual exposure to atomic bombings has been entered into an A-bomb survivor's ID," said officials of the prefectural and municipal governments of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has not confirmed the existence of a dual hibakusha.

It's (Not Quite) the Same Article

The most obvious difference is the lead paragraph. The Manichi Daily News English version leads with a shorter paragraph, for starters.

My best guess is that the editors decided to do more than a simple translation. Their English-language article conforms to a style which may be better suited to people whose cradle language is English.

A search for a Japanese rendering of the term "hibakusha," which I had found in today's news. I was writing another post at the time, and was verifying a few facts.

I didn't find "hibakusha" in The Manichi Daily News Japanese article. Actually, I'm sure I did: I just couldn't sort out which symbols added up to "hibakusha." the closest I got was 被爆者健康手帳制度 which apparently means "Hibakusha health card system," but I couldn't get "Hibakush" out of that string of characters. 被爆 apparently means "bombing" and 被爆者 "survivors."

At that point, I dropped the matter and went on to finish the post.

Don't Be Suspicious: But do Be Aware

When someone who almost certainly was not speaking English is quoted in the news - in English - that's not what the person said. It's a translation. It may be very accurate, somewhat accurate, or wildly wrong.

One of the better examples is on the SCMTranslation website:

"During a state visit to Poland in 1977, President Jimmy Carter delivered an address at Warsaw Airport. His speech was translated by a certain S. Seymour, whose grasp of Polish was sadly lacking.

"When Carter spoke of his 'desires for the future,' Seymour relayed the phrase as 'lusts for the future.' And when Carter mentioned his safe arrival in Poland, Seymour inadvertently explained that the president had 'left America, never to return.'

"['I had to grit my teeth from time to time,' Poland's President Gierek remarked, 'but one must not be rude to ladies or interpreters.']"

A Very 'Lucky' Man - One Way or the Other

Before anything else: Yes, I know. America isn't perfect. I've written about that before: "United States of America: 232 Years in the Freedom Business" (July 3, 2008). And, I think that war isn't at all pleasant. Things get broken, people get hurt and people die. That feels bad, and I don't like it.

This Man was Very 'Lucky' - One Way or the Other

Business is business, even during war. Not all that long ago, a man on a business trip was a little too close to an attack, and was burned on the upper left side of his body. The burns were serious enough to keep him in that city overnight. He was well enough to return to his home, in another city, the next day.

The day after that, there was a major attack near his home. He was far enough away that time, but he got hurt four days later, while searching for relatives.

I'll let you decide whether he was 'lucky,' because he didn't get killed either time, or 'unlucky' because he got hurt each time.

The Rest of the Story

With a respectful tip of the hat to the late Paul Harvey.

The businessman's name is Tsutomu Yamaguchi. He was an engineer, working for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works, in Hiroshima, on August 9, 1945. He lived in Nagasaki, and wasn't hurt when the second nuclear bomb hit his home city.

He was about 3 kilometers (a little under 2 miles) away from ground zero, both times. He picked up residual radiation in Hiroshima when he got within 2 kilometers of ground zero, on his way to a train. On August 13, he was near ground zero in Nagasaki, searching for relatives.

I'll skip the obligatory America-bashing. You've read it all before, anyway.1

You may not have read what I wrote in an earlier post:

"What happened to those two cities was terrible. But the policies of the Empire of Japan could not be tolerated - and ending the war by a conventional invasion would have involved massive losses on both sides, along with much more widespread destruction than the obliteration of two cities.

"I'm one of the people who is alive today because of Truman's decision. My guess is that quite a few people in Japan also are aware of forebears who would not have survived to be their grandparents and parents, if Truman had taken a 'no nukes' approach."
(January 25, 2008)

I'll admit to a bit of hyperbole there. Substantial portions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not "obliterated," but in America it's customary to assume that each city was completely destroyed: that makes us feel more guilty.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi is in the news today because he's the first officially-recognized double nuclear victim: someone who was hurt by both nuclear bombs. Since 1957, he's been getting monthly allowances and free medical check-ups. In America, that'd be a Federal thing. In Japan, payments seem to be handled by cities. Mr. Yamaguchi gets benefits because he's a hibakusha, (means 'radiation survivor,' I read). Japan hasn't paid his funeral expenses yet: but I imagine that Mr. Yamaguchi is in no hurry to get that benefit.

Somebody Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki: So What?

Mr. Yamguchi's survival is a very big deal for his family: If the news articles I've read mentioned his children and descendants, I missed that detail. I also haven't learned whether he found his relatives, or (more likely) their remains, back in 1945. The articles I read didn't even specify what the relationship was.
War Isn't Nice
The account of Tsutomu Yamaguchi is a fine human interest story: and a valuable reminder that war isn't pleasant. As I wrote before, things get broken, people get hurt, and some die. That's unpleasant.

On the Whole, I'm Glad that Japan is Doing Well

Just the same, although I'm glad that Tsutomu Yamaguchi is alive, and I sympathize for the losses he suffered, I'm not sorry that I'm alive, too.

If Harry S. ("The buck stops here") Truman had not given the order to drop nuclear devices, I might not be.

I'm quite interested in, and have a great deal of respect for, the people, culture, and history of Japan. But, the Empire of Japan had policies which weren't acceptable. America had, finally, become involved in a war which resulted - directly and indirectly - from a pronounced dissatisfaction with those policies.

One way or another, there would be an end to the American involvement in the Pacific theater that started with Pearl Harbor.

One option was to launch a conventional invasion. That would have been, to put it mildly, messy. It's almost a dead certainty that my father, who served on an LST, would not have survived. If your forebears lived in Japan around 1945, the odds are good that they would not have survived. And you wouldn't be here, reading this post.

Another option was to give the impression that America had a stockpile of atomic bombs, and had started using them. This was a colossal bluff. If Japanese leaders had waited longer, they might have realized that America had only two such devices: and had used both.

The war could then have lasted long enough for a full-scale, spectacularly lethal, invasion: and I wouldn't be writing this. And, possibly, you wouldn't be reading it.

Perhaps now it's more obvious, why I don't feel all that guilty about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I will not feel remorse for people being alive today, who might otherwise never have been born.

Japan, America, and Toyotas in the Ford Plant's Parking Lot

A few decades ago, when some Americans were (as usual) complaining about cars and international trade, somebody pointed out how many Volkswagons, Toyotas, and other foreign cars were in the parking lot of a major American auto maker. I don't remember which one: I picked "Ford" for the headline, because it's a short word.

Japan wasn't in very good shape right after WWII. Today, it's a country which has been giving America good competition in a number of fields. And, produces what are arguably the world's cutest robots.

Japan's prosperity is, I think, a result of the energy, drive, loyalty, and willingness to work that is part of Japanese values: Values which are shared by America, and heartily despised in some of this country's 'better' circles.

America helped Japan get back on its feet. It's not something that's talked about much here. For starters, America's policy of helping with Japan's economic recovery after WWII isn't at all consistent with the image of America as a racist oppressor.

Looks like we learned something from the Reconstruction and Versailles.

Related posts: In the news: Background:
1 If your life won't be complete without one more bit of America-is-terrorist writing, check out "Nagasaki–The First Face of Nuclear Terrorism" Levellers (August 9, 2007).

According to the author, not only was the crew of the bomber American (everybody knows what the American military is like), "The crew of the bomber was Catholic...." That's news to me, but might be true.

I did know that many Catholics lived in Nagasaki, including the nuns in a convent which was destroyed by the nuclear device. I haven't confirmed that "the largest Catholic church, monastery and convent in Asia." But, that could be true.

But, I still won't curl up in an anguished knot of abject guilt over an act that almost certainly saved a great many lives in Japan - and America. The 'America is a racist oppressive warmonger' conditioning didn't quite take, in my case.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Missouri Focus Group MIAC: Ron Paul Supporters May Be Terrorists

You can't make this sort of thing up. Supporters of trouble-makers like Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr may be terrorists, too.

After 9/11, 58 focus groups were set up, including the Missouri Information Analysis Center, or MIAC. MIAC is a government collective set up by the Missouri state government. It's supposed to identify warning signs, so law enforcement can spot potential domestic terrorists.

What I sincerely hope was a rough draft, written after a weekend binge, was leaked recently.

If anybody with real authority takes MIAC recommendations seriously, we could all be in really big trouble.

On the up side, it looks like I'm a suspected anti-establishment radical, by MIAC's standards. Cool!

I missed my chance in the sixties and seventies: nice to know I finally made the grade.

More-or-less related posts:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Obama Ignorant, Exporting Terrorism: Chavez Says So

From some of tonight's news, you'd think George W. Bush was still in office.

"CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela called President Obama 'ignorant' on Sunday, saying he has a lot to learn about Latin America.

"Mr. Chávez said he had been ready to name a new ambassador in Washington, but put it on hold after the new American president accused him of 'exporting terrorism' and being an obstacle to progress in the region...." (AP, via The New York Times)

President Hugo Chávez and the American Exporter of Terrorist

Does that "ignorant" epithet sound familiar? It should. People who aren't in line with some political views are "ignorant" - according to those who are convinced that their views are the only possible ones. Other adjectives get used, too, like "irresponsible," but "ignorant" seems quite popular.

As for what Chávez (Chavez, for those who don't have extended fonts) says, part of it is true. I'm sure that President Obama doesn't know everything there is to know about Latin America. To some extent, I think everyone is ignorant in the sense that each of us lacks omniscience, even in relatively restricted areas of knowledge.

The rest: nothing new here, except this time it's Obama in the White House.

There is a debatable point in Chavez' complaints about President Obama. Cuba isn't invited to the 5th annual Summit of The Americas in Trinidad and Tobago this April. Hugo Chavez says Cuba should be there.

In a way, with a careful selection of facts, he's got a point. Cuba has a very stable government: Cuba's only had two leaders since 1959, both Fidel's and Raul's title was "President," and Cuba has elections. So, someone could say that Cuba is a stable democracy. I think that person would be missing a few vital points, but that's another matter.

I think this news is interesting, but not important.

About two and a half millennia back, Heraclitus said: "Nothing endures but change." These days, you might be more likely to hear, "the more things change, the more they stay the same," but I'd say that Heraclitus still has a point. ("The more things change..." is attributed to Alphonse Karr. What he actually wrote was "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.")

Calling someone "ignorant" because he or she doesn't agree with you has been common all my life, and doesn't show any signs of fading away.

More-or-less related posts: In the news:

Somalia, Minnesota, and Common Sense

Somalis in Minnesota are in the international news again. A Somali man, one of around 20 who disappeared, was spotted at the Minneapolis Mall. Or someone who looked like him, anyway. Those news accounts are, in my opinion, hovering around the borders of 'some-guy-told-me-he-heard' credibility.

The Abubakar As-Saddique Mosque in Minneapolis, on the other hand, is getting investigated: by the FBI, which I think makes sense; and by the Senate, which is what Senators do, I suppose.

A "nonprofit journalism enterprise" wrote:

"Some Somalis say the mosque invited scrutiny and suspicion by helping to radicalize young Somali men for jihad in their homeland. Others say the mosque is a wrongly accused victim of the politics of war in East Africa." (Minnesota Post)

"If U.S. counterterrorism agencies took these commendable measures to correct President George Bush's myriad blunders in the war on terror, it was mindboggling to note the complete disregard of these suggestions in a recent meeting between Minneapolis-St. Paul Somali community and staff for Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Joe Lieberman. This three-member group stated its mission as a fact-finding one to shed light on the recent disappearance of young Somali men from the Twin-Cities and the allegations that these men returned to Somalia to join Al-Shabab, an organization listed as a terrorist group with the United States government.

"An ongoing FBI investigation is looking into how young men like Shirwa Ahmed, who is considered the first known American suicide bomber in Somalia, came to become 'radicalized.' While there have been very few details as to what the FBI has uncovered thus far, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, referring to the Somali community in the Twin-Cities, stated that 'the prospect of young men, indoctrinated and radicalized in their own communities … is perversion of the immigrant story.'

"Lieberman's staff coming to the Twin Cities to correct 'the mishandling of this investigation' by the FBI and to get the story straight from the horse's mouth for a Senate hearing on the issue of terrorist cells in America was initially viewed by many Somalis who attended these meetings as a commendable first step to stop the media hysteria surrounding this story. This perception changed, however, once members of this staff started their queries with 'What is radicalizing young Somali men?' in the Twin Cities. This framing of the problem, and its unbounded generalization not as a problem of a handful of individuals among a community of 30,000 or more, was the first indication that gaining the trust of the Muslim community in America, let alone winning the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world, was far from the agenda these men." (Minnesota Post)
(I try to avoid huge block quotes like that: but I wanted the MP's remarks available in context.)

Obligatory Bush-bashing notwithstanding, the MP may have a point: The Senatorial staff's "What is radicalizing young Somali men?" line is, if not offensive, entirely too broad. Only 20 or so young Somali-Minnesotans have disappeared. That reminds me of the 'good old days' that I'm (thank God) too young to remember, when this country's best and brightest might have asked "what makes Irishmen drink too much?"

On the other hand, I must be terribly insensitive: I don't see how the FBI's statement - that someone could be radicalized (the MP put it in quotes, apparently they see something dicy about the word) in his or her own community - is naughty. The FBI fellow said that radicalization like that is "perversion of the immigrant story." He did not say that it's what happens with Somalis. Or, if that's what he did say, the MP should have included that quote.

And, for that "...there have been very few details as to what the FBI has uncovered thus far...," business: This is an on-going investigation. I'd be worried if the FBI was publicizing who they suspected, where they got their information, and exactly how much they knew. People who talk people into blowing up other people are not nice, and might skedaddle if they knew the jig was up. That's a best-case scenario. If the 'suspects' were smart, they'd kill whoever ratted on them, or might know too much, and then leave the area.

As for what's going on in Minnesota, I'm glad that the investigations are not entirely in the hands of Senators out on a junket. There appears to be a real problem in my state: Minnesotans are disappearing, probably radicalized by some of their neighbors

Shirwa Ahmed is one of the young Minnesotans who disappeared. A great many pieces of him showed up in Somalia, with enough DNA to identify him. He's back with his family now, "...buried simply as a Muslim man...." (FOX 9 (December 3, 2008))

What happened to Shirwa Ahmed is wrong. What he apparently did is wrong. And, I think, investigating how he and - almost certainly - others were radicalized is right. Even if members of Senatorial staffs need to be reminded that there are a whole lot of 'funny-looking Americans' around these days.

As I've written before, "there's a war on."

Related posts: News and views:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The West and Today's Somali President: The Enemy of Your Enemy is Your Friend?

It's hit the international news: Osama bin Laden, or someone who says he's bin Laden, and is using bin Laden's distribution network, wants Somali Muslims to overthrow Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad, Somalia's president since January 31 of this year.

Radio Netherlands' headline reads, "Bin Laden attacks Arab leader." Their article starts with: "In a newly released video recording, Osama bin Laden has lashed out at an Arab leader. In the recording, the fugitive head of the al-Qaeda network called on his supporters to depose the new Somali president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad...."

That's President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad in the photo,

I don't know Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmad's biography all that well: his name and title certainly sound Arabic, and he's a Muslim, but, and I hope nobody will be offended by this: he doesn't look like most Arabs we see.

It's easy to assume that Radio Netherlands saw the name, read that he's a Muslim, and made an assumption. It's possible that "Arab" is a mistranslation in Radio Netherlands' English version. Or, maybe he is an Arab. It any case, once again:
  • Not all Arabs are Muslims
  • Not all Muslims are Arabs
Bin Laden is not pleased with the new Somali president. Sheikh Sharif has had control of Somalia's Islamic courts, but " 'as a result of inducements and offers from the American envoy in Kenya, he changed and turned back on his heels' and agreed to partner with the 'infidel' to form a government of national unity...." (CNN)

Don't Read the News: Study it

Or, if you stop at reading: don't assume that you've gotten the whole story. Or even, sometimes, accurate information.
The Curious Case of the Caption Caper
Sharia law's reputation has been taking a beating over the last few years, thanks to the lashings, beatings, and the odd stoning here there that Sharia law calls for. According to supporters of Sharia law, anyway.

Other supporters say that Sharia law is very nice, and not at all incompatible with Western values.

They could all be right. I've gotten the impression that there are considerably more varieties of 'genuine' Islam, than flavors of ice cream in a Baskin-Robins.

Here's what two different captions to photos of the new Somali president said:
  • "President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has said shariah law in Somalia will not be strictly interpreted." (CNN)
  • "Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has vowed to introduce Sharia " (BBC)
For the same of girls like Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, I hope the CNN caption is a better match with reality. Somali courts listed her age as 23, before someone did a little checking. The young teenager had been raped.

Which, according to Sharia law - Somali style - meant that she was guilty of adultery. So, the court had her buried up to her neck and stoned to death. While about a thousand good Muslims watched. One of them explained that they were doing the will of Allah.
Yes, I know: America is Not Perfect
Some decades back, some screwball American judges had trouble telling the difference between a rape victim and an adulteress: but even they didn't pass death sentences, as far as I know. And, that application of warped cultural values to American law made quite a stink.
Yes, I know: Not All Muslims Stone Girls For Being Raped
As I said before, there is quite a smorgasbord of 'Islams' available, around the world. Whether a rape victim is stoned for the 'crime' she committed seems to depend on where she was raped.
Let's Hope CNN is Right
I sincerely hope that CNN hit closer to the mark. Quite aside from humanitarian concerns, Somali doesn't need more bad press - pirates in the north fighting Islamic fanatics in the south are doing a fine job of that right now. There's no need to go around, stoning young teens for being raped, and saying 'Allah told me to.'

Sheikh Sharif: Establishing Sharia, and "Surrogate" of Infidel America

In Somalia, it looks like no matter what a leader does: it's wrong. Support Sharia, and look like you're out to stone teenage girls; acknowledge the last thousand or so years of developments in human rights, and be called a "surrogate" of infidel America.

No matter what he does, the current president of Somalia is in for a rough time. My hope is that he doesn't do anything particularly stupid or evil, and escapes with his life.
Sheikh Sharif: No Friend to bin Laden
The new president of Somalia has "vowed to introduce Sharia." Osama bin Laden says he wants Sharia established and defended. So, what's the problem? Sounds like Bin Laden has one of his guys in Somalia.

Not so. Apparently Sheikh Sharif isn't establishing Sharia the right way. According to bin Laden.

As the new Osama bin Laden says, "...'beware of the initiatives which wear the dress of Islam and the religious institutions even as they contradict the rules of Islamic shariah, like the initiative attributed to some of the scholars of Somalia which gives Sheikh Sharif six months to implement Islamic shariah. They are asking him for something he was installed to demolish, so how can he possibly erect it?'..." (CNN) Sounds logical enough, given bin Laden's starting assumptions.

Osama bin Laden warned Somali Muslims who have been killing for Allah to beware. They shouldn't, bin Laden said, stop fighting and negotiate with the new Somali president. Sheikh Sharif, you see, is just the "new surrogate" - and he's under American control. According to Osama bin Laden.

" 'All intelligent people are aware of America's combating of Islam, and its past rejection of its establishment in Somalia, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan,' " bin Laden said in his message. (CNN)

Who's Your Friend?

I've heard that "the enemy of your enemy is your friend" is a bit of wisdom that originated in the Middle East. Since that's an ancient center of civilization, I thank that's likely enough.

And, I think it may apply to relations between Somalia's current president, bin Laden, and the Obama administration.

Whatever preferences today's Somali president may have had, now that bin Laden has put the word out that Sheikh Sharif is persona non grata, I think that Sheikh Sharif should seriously consider not antagonizing America and other Western countries. With bin Laden and company gunning for you, a man can't have too man friends.

It goes both ways. If Sheikh Sharif wasn't a "surrogate" before, I think that the Obama administration should seriously consider giving limited and conditional support to the current Somali president.

Limited and conditional.

America: Intolerant and Biased

In a way, the view that many "intelligent" people in America is rather accurate. Despite decades of multicultural studies and the best efforts of America's self-described best and brightest, many American's remain extremely intolerant of some cherished customs of other cultures.

Like stoning rape victims to death.

More-or-less related posts: In the news: Background:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thought for the Day: Every Group Has its Crazies

"The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments."
Friedrich Nietzsche QuotationsPage.com

Reading anti-Communist, anti-war, anti-whatever, screed has sometimes made me wonder if whoever wrote it was serious: or was a dedicated fifth columnist, set on defaming cause he or she apparently supported.

I've talked with a variety of intensely sincere opponents of communism, war, spy satellites (they cause wars, I was told), and other deadly threats to all right-thinking (or left-thinking, as the case may be) people. Sometimes, I just listened as they explained how nuclear winter, global warming, communists, or fluoride, would kill us all.

They were sincere. Possibly a bit nuts, but sincere.

Odds are that the wild writing on these and related topics, lightly rooted in the world we know, is quite sincere.

Wrong, but sincere. Someone might, very sincerely, believe that rocks fall south. It's 'obvious:' maps always1 have north at the top. 'Logically,' he would tell you, rocks fall south. That chap's sincerity wouldn't make him right.
1 Obviously, this fellow lives in the Western world. And, doesn't khow that 'north is up' is not a universal convention on maps.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Police Brutality in Canada: I'm Not Making This Up

The brouhaha in Winnipeg on Sunday was a people's uprising against police brutality.

It's an annual affair, organized by Montreal's Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COPB). That's right: annual. Apparently the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality sees Canadian police as so constantly brutal, that they have to schedule regular protests.

This isn't, I think, entirely unrelated to the War on Terror. Canada is one of the nations in the coalition that overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime. You know, that "unilateral" invasion by America?

And I've noticed over the decades, that the same people tend to be socially conscious activists against both war and police brutality. To hear the more enthusiastic coffee shop philosophers, back in my college days, "police brutality" was a redundant term, since police were brutal: by their very nature.

Let's see what impression the socially-conscious Collective Opposed to Police Brutality left, day before yesterday:

"MONTREAL — Seventeen people arrested during an anti-police brutality demonstration that turned into a riot are facing charges including mischief, theft, assault and possession of weapons, Montreal police said Monday...."

The Winnipeg Sun article doesn't make clear, whether that short-range ballistic table counted as a "weapon."

Ramsey Clark's Legacy

That's one of the fuzz, ducking a table, by the way. And it wasn't a cop throwing it.

For raw, out-of-control, violence, it's hard to surpass the dedicated peacnik: or, in this case, socially-conscious activist against police brutality.

I remember the good old days, when then-Attorney General Ramsey Clark decided that the 1968 peace riot in Chicago (or the police riot, or the spot of unpleasantness that didn't have anything to do with the Democratic convention - take your pick) decided that the nasty Chicago police had been brutal to the nice MOBE and YIPPIES.

Forty years later, it looks like COPB is still carrying the torch. Or throwing the table.

More-or-less related posts: In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.