Sunday, April 12, 2009

Musings: It's a Pity

A shrinking moon floated in a sphere of iridescence before it was swallowed up in a sea of gray when Koko and I went walking this morning. We soon encountered two mynahs beefing on a neighbor’s front lawn, with a small flock of bystanders raucously egging on the combatants. Koko was ready to rush in and break it up, but I thought it best to let them work it out on their own.

As we walked, entertained by a chorus of bird song, the sun appeared first as golden gilt on a puffy cloud that grew into a band of orange on the eastern horizon. But the light show was quickly extinguished by a rain squall that arrived just as we returned to the house, where I had a good laugh reading the comment left on the last post by a person who actually believes that only humans are sentient beings.

Now why would a person want to limit himself to such a small dead world, when it’s actually teeming with life? I asked Koko, as I prepared to whip up a batch of hot cross buns. Koko did not reply, because she can’t, of course, speak, although I discerned a pitying expression in her eyes.

And pity the poor people who are regularly duped by the mainstream media, which loves nothing more than to drum up fear through the dissemination of propaganda because, as a friend astutely noted, when people are afraid, they are stupid.

For a bit of back story, let’s return to last Sunday, when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich started some tough talk about how he would have shot down the North Korean missile.

This was preceded by his assertion a week or so earlier that America was in grave danger from a nuclear attack:

Again: One to three missiles tipped with nuclear weapons and armed to detonate at a high altitude — to achieve the strongest EMP over the greatest area of the United States — would create an EMP “overlay” that triggers a continent-wide collapse of our entire electrical, transportation, and communications infrastructure.

Within weeks after such an attack, tens of millions of Americans would perish. The impact has been likened to a nationwide Hurricane Katrina. Some studies estimate that 90 percent of all Americans might very well die in the year after such an attack as our transportation, food distribution, communications, public safety, law enforcement, and medical infrastructures collapse.

We most likely would never recover from the blow.


This was followed by more tough talk last Tuesday about how the Obama Administration is weakening the missile defense system — aka “Star Wars” — that Ronald Reagan dreamed up and Gingrich helped resurrect during the Clinton presidency.

Now Tuesday just happens to be the same day that the New York Times ran — under the headline “Indictment Says Banned Materials Sold to Iran" — a story on an indictment related to the alleged sale of “sensitive materials” to Iran. The story was picked up by newspapers all across the country, including the Wall Street Journal, which led its story with:

Authorities accused a Chinese defense company and its manager of illegally accessing the U.S. financial system and aiding Iran's nuclear program and pursuit of ballistic missiles.

What these high profile stories fail to report, however, is that according to the actual indictment, the materials in question — including maranging steel, a high nickel content specialty steel that can be made into a centrifuge for uranium enrichment —were not actually delivered to Iran. Indeed, the shipment was never even started.

The fact remains, as it did before this story came out, that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon and doesn’t have the right materials and equipment to make one.

But the media spin on the indictment works to dramatically stoke fears on the Iranian menace, thus prompting folks whose wallets have been closed since the Madoff indictment to start giving money again to Israeli defense and charity projects.

It also serves to build political support for Newt Gingrich, who is pondering a 2012 Presidential run and financial support for the missile defense system, which has been estimated to cost some $200 billion and is one of the major activities at Kauai’s PMRF.

So it wasn’t such a surprise, then, to look at yesterday’s Garden Island and see a front page article on a groundbreaking at PMRF for a $200,000 facility that will serve the strange dual purpose of “eternal memorial” for the fallen war dead and missile test viewing site.

And who should be in attendance at this otherwise mundane event but our own Sen. Dan Inouye and Riki Ellison, chairman and founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a nonprofit organization that seeks, according to its website, “to educate the general public with respect to missile defense issues and the urgent need for it.”

As The Garden Island reports:

“Having these defenses gives the president another option to pre-emptive military action,” Ellison said in an interview following the ceremony, noting strong missile defense efforts will keep soldiers out of harm’s way and also deter rogue nations from pursuing ballistic missiles, helping “secure your neighborhood.”

“Future defense tests ... ensure our country and our people are safe,” Ellison said in his remarks.


Now all this isn’t a coincidence, and it isn’t a conspiracy. It’s an orchestrated PR campaign.

So the government starts spending billions on this program and the executives of the corporations selected for the lucrative contracts make contributions — of their own free will, of course — to both political parties, with the party in power getting the bulk and the one on the outs the rest.

In this way it becomes, if not a perfect way to defend the nation, a perfect way to fund political parties for sizable amounts of money. And this initiative — like the never-ending “war on terror,” with its nebulous and ever-changing perps — is especially perfect because you can keep throwing money into it without ever having prove it works.

Because to truly test it, you’d have to launch a global thermo-nuclear war, which nobody is going to do, right?

Meanwhile, as America moves to spend billions on this scheme and a trillion to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, a projected budget deficit of a measly $303 million has prompted a proposal for massive cutbacks that would close 23 Detroit city schools and lay off 600 teachers. And with a crappy education, what kind of future do poor black kids have — I mean, aside from the military?

Now that's the real pity.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

1. sorry i dont get where media has anything to do with a persons understanding of the meaning of "sentient" as it relates to the animal kingdom. thats a reflection of biological / scientific understanding (which, agreed, could / should be a lot better)

2. "The fact remains, as it did before this story came out, that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon and doesn’t have the right materials and equipment to make one."

-- pretty bold. there are some very smart people that disagree as to the nuk status and intent in iran

3. gingrich poses small reason for concern

4. riki, who i happen to have met, is pro-missile for sure

5. missile defense, like most other military RnD project, can be made to look bad or good, depending on your mindset. want to knock it? double check how well first generation patriot missile batteries did in gulf 1. but hey, people (who were inclined to) also knocked military GPS RnD too

6. we could use better laws, regulators and prosecutors (like fitzgerald)

Anonymous said...

"Humans deserve one form of respect and non-human "items"...minerals, vegetables, other animals ...deserve another form and do exist for relative exploitation.

Land can be appreciated and protected for many reasons, but not because it should be worshiped as sacred."

=======

I reworded my comments to more properly reflect my sentiments.

I notice your only stated objection was to my somewhat muddy use of "sentient" and "non-sentient".

Anonymous said...

Itʻs the contractors calling the shots. ALWAYS HAS BEEN.
Nasty Newt and Anoyee have got all three arms in the arms provocations.
Old fʻng games, screwing with peopleʻs lives to enrich their own.
And oh with such righteous reasoning.
Obama is starting to show his impotence.

Anonymous said...

"Itʻs the contractors calling the shots"

-- ya...

nunya said...

"In this way it becomes, if not a perfect way to defend the nation, a perfect way to fund political parties for sizable amounts of money. And this initiative — like the never-ending “war on terror,” with its nebulous and ever-changing perps — is especially perfect because you can keep throwing money into it without ever having prove it works."

This is so well said.
Thank you , Joan.

The ʻmissile defense systemʻ is a hoax. Always was and still is.

And it is just another angle for social and political parties. Donʻt forget free airfare (tax $) to fly their fat asses around.

Anonymous said...

my fav fool

nunya said...

yep. Everything I say shatters your pitiful little belief system.
Thank the stars a new generation will replace the likes of you.

Believe it all. They fools like you.

nunya said...

Woops.
Meant to say: they LOVE fools like you.
Lines their pockets. How bout yours...empty huh?