Monday, November 7, 2011

Musings: Best of the Worst

Out in the night, watching Jupiter chasing a waxing moon across a star-dappled sky, clouds drifting lazily over the mountains, where the waterfalls have grown thick and vivid from a week of heavy rain, which returned this morning for another hard soaking before the dogs and I got up and walked in the yellow light — oh yes, the sun! — as thunder rolled in the distance.

Everything looks so vibrant, lush, alive — except the civilians the U.S. keeps killing with its not-so-secret drone attacks in Pakistan, our latest undeclared war. As Democracy Now! reports, the most recent victims are a 16-year-old boy, who attended an anti-drone meeting to learn how to document civilian casualties from strikes near his home, and his 12-year-old cousin.

I don't think most Americans have any idea how widely drones are being used, and how many people, including civilians and kids, are being killed. As journalist Pratap Chatterjee reports:

[I]n every village around Mir Ali, Miranshah, there are drones, often 24 hours a day.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, where I work, has created a database of everybody that has been killed since these drone strikes began a number of years ago under Bush. Eighty-five percent of them have taken place under Barack Obama. And we have used the most conservative counting methodology that we can. It has to be reported by multiple sources. And using that methodology, we have counted over 2,300 people that have been killed, and as many as 3,000. Waheed Khan, age 12, and Tariq Aziz, age 16, were the 174th and 175th documented child casualties in this war.

Yet another example — and I've been meaning to post this one, about how the Obama Administration is cracking down on state medical marijuana dispensaries, even though he promised he wouldn't, by going after media outlets, including California's few remaining independent newspapers, that advertise the clinics — of how Obama isn't much different than Bush, except he vacations in Hawaii.

The Prez will be here again this week as part of the APEC meetings, which include not just the leaders of some 20 Pacific nations, but top-ranking business executives from the region, too. As a report in the Star-Advertiser noted:

"The summit is unlike any other event in the world, allowing senior business executives to engage with world leaders and have an immediate impact on economic policy decisions," [APEC 2011 US Host Committee Monica] Whaley said in a statement. "These discussions move markets."

In other words, Hawaii residents are paying millions for security measures, and enduring road and beach closures, though fortunately not drone attacks, so government and industry can do its usual back-slapping, glad-handing, arm-twisting, palm-greasing lobbying and deal-making in safety, comfort and style.

Aurai! We're so blessed!

Meanwhile, even though most citizens remain clueless about APEC and how globalization adversely impacts the masses and the aina, the high muckety-mucks are getting a tiny bit worried that the struggling peasants may wake up and pick up pitch forks:

"In the context of APEC, I would argue that the major problem we are facing this year is the increase of this disparity in income between the rich and the poor," [UH APEC Studies Center Director Tung] Bui said. "This is not only happening in the developing countries like China and Vietnam and the Philippines, but also in the United States."

He added that he expects that, in their declaration on economic growth, leaders will recognize "that growth has got to be inclusive for everyone -- there should be a fair share for the rich and the poor as well."

By George, that's it! Just make a bigger pie! Because even though we live on a planet with finite resources, and our back is right up against the resource-depleted, global-warming wall, we can just grow right out of the depression, grow right out of the inequity, keep on growing forever, right?

Is that the best that the supposedly best minds in government and business can give us?


Anonymous said...

It isn't only the "best" our so-called leaders can give us, it is the ONLY message they can give us. Unlimited growth? That's the ticket! Aue. It's time we turned around and faced the wall! Let's Occupy the World and create something that works.

Anonymous said...

Also, trade deals such as NAFTA have traded middle class jobs for cheaper goods. We are becoming a society of the very rich and the working poor with little of the middle class left.

Anonymous said...

"The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispostions, not our circumstances."

--Martha Washingon

Anonymous said...

Too many people = low wages and no bargining power.

Thank you pro-life and the Catholic Church!

Anonymous said...

Like Harrison Ford's character was told by his boss in "Blade Runner" when asked if he wanted his old robot terminator job back:

"You're either one of us or you're the little people."

He chose well...

In the world of today, I've chosen not to be one of the "little people".

I'm not a 1%-er, but I'm a 3%-er. That's good enough.

You can't save the world, so save yourself.

Anonymous said...

"Love may make the world go 'round, but money greases the bearings for a much smoother ride.

- Anon

Anonymous said...

And money, just like all lubricants, if allowed to become dirty, will burn out all the bearings.

and so here we are.

Anonymous said...

"What do you say 'we', white man?"

as the old Tonto joke goes.

It depends on which side of a percentile line you're on, I guess.

Things look damn rosy in my percentile. The lube is thick and the bearings run smooth and that ride will last long enough for me.

Your mileage may vary.

Take it easy, but take it.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to change the oil.

Peak oil is on it's down side.

Your bearings will definitely seize.

It's only a matter of time

We surely need to step past this issue as yesterday was yesterday, but tommorrow is tommorrow, and we really need to embrace it. It is our future as well as our childrens.

Frozen bearings are and will be an encumbrance to humanity's progress. The only good thing is they make a good anchor if your fishing.

I hope you know how!

Anonymous said...

I think all will be well and good and prosperous for the remainder of my lifetime.

Beyond that....

Not my problem.

Anonymous said...

I rest my case

Anonymous said...

"not my problem"

That's the core of the sociopathic nature of the so called "conservatives".

Anonymous said...

I think all will be well and good and prosperous for the remainder of my lifetime.

Beyond that....

Not my problem.

Egad, it's the return of Gadfly : (