Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category

Riots in the streets and pigs on the wing   Leave a comment

17 March 2016 — Bellingham, WA.

So, Donald Trump is threatening riots if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination.

It will happen. I’m sure. I’ve been saying it all along. People in Jerusalem last month asked me what I think is going to happen as a result of the primaries, and invariably I would say, “Riots.” Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes I’d say, “Chaos.” But that was the general theme of it.

I firmly believe the powers that be — the conservative hard-core insiders, the ones who refuse to hold hearings for Supreme Court Justice — will also refuse to award Donald Trump the nomination of the Grand Old Party. Just picture a Trump-Kardashian ticket next to the (R) on your ballot. Even Reince Priebus is tweeting  #NeverTrump in fake Twitter profiles. This year (R) might stand for Reality TV, and there’s going to be plenty of it on CNN.

This morning another major development happened, and it seems that indeed pigs can fly, as Lindsey Graham announced he’s throwing an AIPAC fundraiser for Ted Cruz, someone he’s admitted on CNN and elsewhere he doesn’t really like. Calling Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor doesn’t get you many points. Graham was careful to say that he’s not endorsing Cruz, but that Cruz was the only mainline Republican who has the chance to keep Trump off the ballot.

Ohio Governor John Kasich, the hometown boy, the convention and riots being in Cleveland, is a very dark horse to sneak in under the wire, and only if he wins Pennsylvania or Wisconsin and gets a healthy injection of charisma. If you ask me, Kasich, who’s known to fly off the handle, couldn’t attract the media with free sandwiches and an open bar. He began going negative against Trump today. Watch out – the mud’s flying.

It’s funny. The last time there were real riots at a convention, it was 1968, in Chicago, at the Democratic convention. Now, all the action’s going to be in Cleveland, with the Trump supporters. They have the capacity to go full zoohouse. I don’t want to be within a hundred miles of Cleveland during the Republican Convention. The best seat’s going to be in front of a TV anyway.

But what about Philadelphia?

On the Philadelphia side, the prune-faced screaming banshee has an insurmountable lead over Bernie Sanders, who authored most of her ideas, especially in her last month’s speeches. Saying this is sure to get me branded a blatant sexist, and so be it.

I’ve met Hillary Clinton, in 1991, 1992, and 1996, when I worked for her husband’s campaign in Colorado. She was cordial in the way upper class types condescend to normal everyday people, except when I had to use the bathroom after she just hopped out of the shower (visual: Hillary in a bathrobe and towel) at a Clinton friend’s house during motorcade downtime.

Excuse me if I’m biased, but I’m a child of the sixties: Bernie Sanders holds the emotional torch for the Democrats. His followers haven’t been as loud as the Trump people who want to revolt against the Republican elite. And it remains to be seen if Sanders’ supporters are driven enough to get tough. I can’t imagine a Texas death match between Trump’s people and Sanders’.

But the Sanders people are adamant in their support. My social media feed is full of Bernie stuff from Bernie people, non-stop Bernie stuff, always upbeat. You would think the superdelegates, the Party faithful — I know a lot of them — will turn and feel the Bern like their contemporaries. Will the hard-line Bernie people be as hard-line during and after the Convention?

I’ve come across a lot of older and younger “hippies” who would never think of holding a physical revolution. But I’m sure they’re out there. You wonder if there would actually be an Independent or Third Party Revolution. I’m sure that would cause riots in the leadership offices of both parties.

But that’s what it may come down to for both parties come this summer, so it may be time to start thinking about what might happen in a four-way race between Clinton, Sanders, Trump, and whomever the Republican establishment anoints. Or at least tumbling the idea around in our minds.

For too long, the American public have been complaining about too little choice in Presidential candidates. Maybe this year, we’ll have four to pick from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d Rather be Pissed Off Than Pistorius   6 comments

When (you) ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal…
How does it feel to be on your own, with no direction home,
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone?

— Bob Dylan (1965)

 

Oscar Pistorius’ defense may have blown their client away as the former runner’s murder trial continued Monday. Dr. Meryl Vorster, a forensic psychiatrist who joined the team ten days ago, took the stand and presented her psychiatric evaluation of the defendant. Oscar’s head may now be found gathering no moss on a highway near Pretoria.

She expected the court to believe Oscar was traumatically assaulted when he had his legs amputated at 11 months and could not talk. At the time he had parents and other relatives to console him and soothe him; he was, after all, a baby, and even though his mother was an alcoholic (ask anyone who’s ever been to an AA meeting what an “intermittent drunk” is), she did retain the basic ability to hold and cuddle her child and do basic mom stuff. Except for the boozing it up part.

The mother had an anxiety disorder, and she instilled that into her children, keeping a loaded gun underneath her pillow. The kids grew up seeing the outside world as threatening. Even more so because mommy dearest called the police about imaginary intruders every time one of the kids closed a sock drawer.

It was stressed to young Oscar that he should never allow himself to be seen as disabled and apparently was teased occasionally when kids were aware he was different. (Was anyone out there NOT teased at one time or another?) The need to conceal his disability caused Oscar more anxiety.

He was 15 when his mother died, and he stayed alternately with one family member or another or one friend or another for short periods of time, but never landed anywhere, and never had another primary adult attachment figure, according to Dr. Vorster’s report.

Oscar grew up with few strong emotional ties, and broke off relations with his father when he was 21, although he maintains relations with his siblings. When at home in Pretoria, he felt quite alone, and would frequently invite guests to stay over, but they didn’t always take him up on it. He had kind of an odd demeanor to him, and if the witness list is any indication, they needed their space.

Hence, he had few long-term relationships and relies on social media to remain in touch with his friends and siblings. Vorster further stressed that as he gained notoriety, he would have to prepare more and more for his appearances so he wouldn’t embarrass himself, of which he was dreadfully fearful.  He needed to be in a controlled environment. He was caught in a loop.

So, today, given her diagnosis of the defendant with a psychological disorder / mental illness, and the fact that it was brought forth and entered into evidence by Oscar’s own team and accepted by the court, Dr. Vorster becomes star witness for the State in its application to give Oscar Pistorius, murderer, killer, public threat, a 30-day ticket to The PsycHotel, all expenses paid. (You do have insurance, don’t you?*) #ThingsTheyWouldSayOnlyInAmerica

This has turned into a very interesting game of chess. Roux better be on his game today. No one up there on the ceiling or beyond is going to help him today either.

 

 

 

 

Oscar Pistorius in Wonderland   2 comments

8 May Morning Session:

Roux calls an anesthetist (not an anesthesiologist, who has an MD) to testify (speculate) as to the contents of Reeva Steenkamp’s stomach, which she was not qualified to testify about because, as she kept repeating, she was not a forensic pathologist. So where was the forensic pathologist? Ah, Wednesday. Must have been on the links, my lady.

She takes up a good bit of the morning, and then Roux pulls a bit of a shocker, but the effect is soon lessened, because AGAIN, he chose the least qualified clinician he could possibly find, save an intern, to testify — a social worker and probation officer who normally does assessments of children and adolescents after they’ve been arrested for commission of minor crimes. She specifies that she doesn’t treat the patients (clients) she sees, but just presumably listens and comforts. Also not expert witness material.

She said she first saw Oscar on Feb 15, 2013, the day after the murder — he told her he missed Reeva so much, and that he was heartbroken. Later on, he told her, she volunteered,  that he “accidentally shot her,” which is not the Oscar Pistorius we’ve heard come clean in court. After the assessment, her participation should have been over, but she wouldn’t let it go.

The social worker continued that it upset her that she’d read in the newspaper and heard in the media that he wasn’t sincere about his feelings, that he took acting lessons, was crying when needed, and that he was taking lightly what happened, so on Tuesday of this week she decided to come forward because she thought he was heartbroken and traumatized.

[Takes big step backwards] So, she’s got a reason to come forward — to improve Oscar’s public relations profile and counter the bad PR he’s been getting from everyone in the media for shedding crocodile tears, crying on cue, and taking acting lessons. In other words, she’s motivated. Nothing like having an expert witness who comes in off the street and wants to do something for you, is there?

She goes on to testify to Nel, “He (the defendant) kept saying he was sorry about the loss, about her parents, the loss, he loved her, etc. And so Nel correctly calls her testimony hearsay — it’s all the defendant’s emotions. Roux got up to object to the line of questioning, and the lawyers exchanged gentle feel-out jabs with the judge, and evidently Nel seemed to win, but ended up apologizing to the judge and slightly changed his tack.

He cried, talked about the future he says they’d planned together, the loss, that he was never going to see her again, her parents and what they’re going through, and she saw a heartbroken man who suffered emotionally. She was assigned to be his probation officer as a term of his bail, and they turned over a bunch of papers as evidence of those logs. He never said he was sorry for what he had done. never showed remorse and said he’s sorry for what he did, specifically. “I’m sorry for my loss. I’m heartbroken.” But she couldn’t speculate what a person’s emotions might be after he’d shot someone. He was traumatized, he was emotional, he cried. He talked and said how he misses Reeva. Didn’t talk that day about shooting her. Sorry about what happened, sorry for the loss — sorry for the parents, misses Reeva, spent a lot of time discussing his version of what had happened, and he talked a lot about his own feelings. She checked that he was seeing his psychologist, which he was, and had regular contact with him as his probation officer in person or by phone.

The last witness of the day was a ballistics expert whom some had called verbose before he took the stand. Verbose? Anyone remember President Clinton’s remarks to the Democratic Convention in 1996? He took a record 70 minutes. His 3300-word prepared speech went close to 6000 words. But he kept his audience mostly riveted. Mostly.

This ballistics expert, who was also not a forensic pathologist, talked endlessly about ammunition and how a gun works, he referred to a semi-automatic pistol as an “auto-loader” and never did talk about a safety mechanism of any kind. Not only that, but the moron didn’t even bring a demonstration gun that looked similar but was painted with a flame-orange barrel, maybe a plug in or a bar across the barrel, and a half-functioning firing pin. So there stood Captain Boring, trying to explain how a gun worked using a piece of paper. Nice.

In my mind, and in my notes, all we got from the firearms expert or ballistics expert was that a bullet could be deflected by up to 1-3 degrees by going through a door before ripping pieces of a human body to shreds. Great. For that I stay up til 6am, and the bastard didn’t even figure in drag coefficients OR the type of wood. Fraud.

The one-hour afternoon session with this guy should have gone until 4:15, according to agreements made with other court employees before they went on a two-week break, but it went exactly one hour, before Roux begged my lady to call it a day, after taking the 1-2 hour for lunch and returning at 2 , and then at 3 they’re done, jolly old fun.

That’s how they work the day away in the merry old trial of Oz.

Mercifully, the week in court ends tonight, Thursday night (early Friday morning) in the U.S., and so a very interested — some may say obsessed — crowd on Websleuth, DigitalSpy, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media that God knows I have no time for, will have a chance to celebrate Mothers’ Day in relative peace, as long as they don’t sneak in a nap after dinner so they can stay up all night to watch the barely competent witnesses line up for the defense on Monday.

REMEMBER YOUR MOTHER AND HONOR HER ON MOTHERS’ DAY.

YOU’RE LUCKY IF YOURS IS STILL AROUND.

 

The Nine Faces of Oscar Pistorius   18 comments

I’ve made good use of the two week hiatus in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, watching and re-watching the direct testimony and cross-examination of Pistorius, and keeping note of his lies and inconsistencies. There were a lot of them. I made up an Excel spreadsheet and kept score. Two pages, 30 instances of his contradicting himself, using faulty logic, or a combination of both.

Pistorius was sworn in at the 47 minute mark of Session 2 of April 7th. From the 3rd session of the following day, things were going fairly smoothly. By afternoon, he was digging his way out of the grave he had dug for himself with his own forked tongue.

To begin with, when he finally was convinced to do so, the former track star called 911. We haven’t heard a recording of the 911 telephone call, but let’s take Oscar’s word for it that the 911 dispatcher told HIM to take Reeva to the hospital, OK? How likely is that? Ask any 911 operator. So that, atop all other lies, is the first one. In point of fact, there was no 911 call made by the correctly accused.

Here’s the rest of the scorecard I came up with, complete with dates, sessions, and times, as gleaned from the YouTube recordings from SABC Digital News, to whom I give thanks for their extensive, though imperfect, coverage.

The Arm with the gun in it: On 4/11, Session 1, at 2:47 and again at 3:03:55, Oscar testifies “I had my firearm out in front of me.” Then, at the very beginning of the second session of April 14, he says, “I wasn’t holding the firearm out in front of me.”

The Balcony: On 4/9, the 5th Session, at 0:22:35 he said BOTH “I went out onto the balcony to get the fan,” and “I reached out onto the balcony to get the fan.” As Prosecutor Gerrie Nel pointed out so animatedly on the last day before the two-week hiatus, he EITHER went out OR reached out. He can’t have done both.

The Curtains: In that same session on April 9th, at 0:29:30, “I closed the doors, blinds, and curtains.” But a minute and 27 seconds later, he testified that he had previously “opened the doors and curtains.” Miraculously, the blinds opened themselves.

The Fans: In that very same session, at the 34-minute mark, there was unsureness as to whether there was one or two fans plugged into the extension cord in the bedroom. At 41:50, it is revealed that on his bail application, Oscar said there was only one fan.

Who Fired The Gun? On April 11th, at the 3:17:30 mark, Oscar Pistorius said, “I discharged the firearm.” But he must have forgotten he said that, because on April 14th, at 1:29:00 of the 2nd session, he said (and try to follow this), “The gun didn’t go off. I didn’t fire at it (the door). I fired because I was scared.”

The Mystery of the Toilet Door: This is the most bothersome of the contradictions, and I guess I’ll list them in chart form, because there are just more twists and turns and contradictions in this particular part of the story than there are in a Grand Prix race.

Date   Ses.  Time       Statement                                                                                                                     .

4/8        3        1:19:00    Heard door slam in bathroom

4/8        4        0:11:50    Pushed the door open but it was locked  *(Bulletin: door PULLS open)

4/8        4        0:13:00    Kicked the door

4/11        1        2:50:40    Heard someone kick the toilet door  *(Kick it open???)

4/11        1        2:50:55    Kicked the door closed  *(Ohhh, you CAN’T KICK IT CLOSED from the inside!!!)

4/11        1        2:54:00    I never ever said “kicked.”

4/11        1        3:16:55     I heard… wood moving / door opening

4/11        1        3:17:00     I didn’t say “door opening.”

4/14       2        1:02:00    I heard the magazine rack moving

4/14       3        0:16:00    Put my shoulder against the small wall and tried to rip door open  *(NOW he’s got it!)

4/14       3        0:46:50    Shoulder-charged the door      *(Nope, he doesn’t get it. Moron….)

4/15       2         0:13:29     THE LOCK ON THE TOILET DOOR WAS NOT WORKING.

* To clarify the above, 1. It was Session 2 (I corrected that before striking it out); and 2. I mis-heard the question, which was about the LIGHT in the toilet. The question came from the female associate judge, and I just blew this one. Very difficult accent for an American to make out sometimes. Thanks to the reader who pointed out the error.

So, as I think I’ve proven, Oscar Pistorius speaks with forked tongue. And this is a guy who said his story hasn’t changed from the beginning. Take a copy of his bail statement and compare it to any day’s testimony. You will find lies and inconsistencies. Pistorius has told so many lies his defense is steeped in them. Why this guy was allowed to take the stand in his own defense is inexplicable. But wait! There’s more!

There were five mentions of the Whispering Incident:

4/8       3        1:17:00     I whispered to Reeva

4/11      1        1:18:00     I whispered; told her in a soft tone.

4/11      1        1:21:00     I never whispered. I said it in a soft manner.

4/14      1       0:50:30     Nel: Did you ever whisper?

Pisto: No.
Nel: If someone said you were whispering, would they be lying?
Pisto: Yes.

So, extrapolating on all of the above, there is no longer a defense case. Nothing the defense says about contamination of the evidence will hold up. It doesn’t matter whether the duvet came first or the jeans did. The fan is sitting in exactly the spot it was at when it was originally put there, before the fatal showdown took place. The second fan was an invention after the fact to support Oscar’s claim that the scene was doctored, which doesn’t matter anyway, because he shot and killed her in the bathroom!

His contradictory testimony regarding everything and anything that happened between the bed and the bathroom should be damning enough to put this egotistical, disrespectful, misogynistic sociopath away for the rest of his miserable life.

At this point, I can’t wait for the verdict watch. Living on the west coast of the United States as I do, I’m planning on pulling all-nighters until the judge emerges from her chambers. Unless this goes like the Casey Anthony case did, I’m expecting a conviction and a sentencing of the maximum term.

 

MH370 to appear in “Close Encounters” Sequel   1 comment

It’s now been over a week since Malaysian Air flight 370 disappeared, and no one has any information to give the desperate families, who have been terrorized further by the media during the worst days of their lives. The sad fact is: no one knows where on earth the Boeing 777-200 has gone. Presuming, of course, that it’s still on earth. Even that theory is as reasonable as all the others.

First, it was presumed to be in the South China Sea, then Palau Perak, a tiny island in the middle of the Malacca Strait which is barely long enough to accommodate a wide-body, then the Bay of Bengal, the Gulf of Thailand, and the Andaman Islands. A couple of the TV speculators even suggested North Korea, which is theoretically possible, but very unlikely. And a couple of wackos even came up with an alien abduction theory.

Other theories included lithium batteries; the two Iranians with fraudulent passports, who had flown into Malaysia on their own passports; the one Uighur on the plane; the co-pilot’s violation of all post-9/11 regulations and inviting two hotties into the cockpit hoping he’d get a taste of theirs. Those are each numbers on the spinning wheel.

I’d like to know why the entire passenger manifest weren’t immediately run through Interpol, FBI, FAA, NTSB, and DHS databases as soon as it was known there was something very wrong with this flight.

The pilot had the best home flight simulator I’ve ever seen, and I’ve flown flight simulators ever since the graphics were green on black. Everyone’s talked about the pilot’s computer, but today was the first time anyone entered his house. He could have run a remote access program and wiped his flight plans out, and then run bit-by-bit disk-cleaning utility numerous times. What the Malaysians did was stand outside the house, humming a happy tune. “We don’t allow that in Malaysia,” but they’ve been known to execute pot-smokers with less than an ounce of weed. They supposedly needed a reason to enter the homes. WTF were they waiting for?

The international intelligence community seem to believe the crew was in full charge, in which case everyone in the passenger cabin would have had to be immobilized, including the flight attendants. It would be totally unreasonable to believe the entire flight crew was aware of what was happening. It could be why they reportedly climbed to 45,000′, above the flight ceiling of a 777.  But it doesn’t make any sense that the plane made it to 23,000′ in about the span of a minute, because this aircraft would have gone supersonic, and broken into pieces.

For every scenario, there seems to be a good reason to believe; but by the same token, there are reasons to debunk the scenario. Some of the actions of whomever was in control are still unexplainable. The flight changed direction and altitude at specific waypoints.

The latest theory is that the plane, which was thought to have only 7 hours of fuel — a lot less, practically, since the plane climbed to 45,000′ and then being pinged at 23,000′ and climbing back up to 35,000′ they’d be using too much fuel to stay in the air that long. But this 777-200 got over almost eight hours, despite their erratic flying and presumably spending valuable fuel doing so, and the plane was pinged either over the Himalayas, or southward towards Indonesia. No one claims to know how the plane’s last ping was to the northwest or to the south.

We could fill an NHL arena with 18,000 people, and probably find no two people whose theories are the same. For all we know, the alien abduction theory sounds as plausible as any. Does anyone know where Richard Dreyfuss has been for the last week?

Marie Colvin’s last call to CNN should be a call to action for the Arab world   Leave a comment

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a more disturbing series of events packed as closely together as the little child who died from a shrapnel wound, and the death of Marie Colvin, who took the ultimate risk by being there in the first place, and reported it to the world.

The video and the transcript are on this page: http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/22/video-journalist-syrias-government-lies/?hpt=ac_t4

At this point, since Assad is committing mass murder of his own people by targeting civilians and residential neighborhoods, and he hasn’t taken the entire world’s suggestion to get the fuck out of Dodge, or Damascus in his case, he should be eradicated.

Are there any countries in the Middle East with a conscience? When Haiti was in ruins, the Israeli Defense Forces were in there before anyone else — before the United States! — and with mobile surgery centers, something the U.S. took over a week to do, and we’re only a short distance away.

So, if tiny Israel, a country that is always on alert, has the resources and the troops to help Haiti, why on earth do Saudi Arabia and the other oil giants in the area refuse to help their fellow Arabs?

Are all the other oil states using Syria’s mass murders to justify $5.00 per gallon gas? Sure as hell seems like it, doesn’t it? Do their sheikhs and pashas not have enough wealth?

I’m just wondering from my position here, at a computer in the U.S., how all the other Arab nations allow this kind of shit to happen in their own back yard. Is there not one country in the area with a collective conscience?

Sarah Palin calls for deeper vetting of GOP candidates. And she’s serious.   Leave a comment

Ho-ly shit! I thought I’d heard everything until this morning, when I turned on CNN and saw Sarah Palin, looking kind of gaunt, actually, on the Sean Hannity Show, calling for deeper vetting of candidates by the Republican Party. (Video link below)

Her reasoning? “…because we know the mistake in our country four years ago was having a candidate that was not vetted to the degree that he should have been so that we know… knew what his association and his pals represented…”  and yada yada yada. By the time she got to that point, everything she said after that gem was covered by the laugh track that was raging in my mind.

Sarah Palin calling for deeper candidate vetting is like Newt Gingrich calling for capital punishment for philanderers. It is the Big Bang of hypocrisy. Of course, Sarah is out of touch with reality, just as R-money is with the average American worker, employed or otherwise. Being reasonable is a foreign concept to people like this gang of four one-percenters and a racist the GOP is serving up at this year’s dinner in North Carolina.

But whomever they go with, it’s going to be a bad choice. Really bad. I suppose we can always go with the devil we know and give Barack Obama another four years before we get, hopefully, a much better choice than we have in 2012. A choice from both sides of the political spectrum, rather than a choice between rotten meat, rotten chicken, warm sushi, moldy cheese, and pork & chicken tartare.

I feel like I’m stranded in a political desert with a mouthful of camel shit, and only a bucket of piss to take away the taste. I don’t wanna be here.

If you can stomach it, here’s the video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFn46hz96CY

 

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