discarded lies: friday, march 24, 2017 2:00 am zst
carving reality at the joints
daily archive: 12/28/2004
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Top Ten Hypocrites
Which are the top ten countries that purchased oil from Iraq under the oil-for-food program? Visit ¡No Pasarán! to find out.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Aid
This is how I've always thought of America:
As famine swept through Russia in 1921, claiming five million innocent peasants’ lives, President Herbert Hoover sent $24 million of food and medical aid to the recently formed Bolshevik government. When asked why he was helping the Russian Communists, Hoover replied, “Twenty million people are starving. Whatever their politics, they shall be fed!?
Waking up to the latest massive disaster on Sunday morning, watching the number of dead climbing by the thousands every hour, finding out that at least a third of the dead were children, imagining millions of people grieving and homeless and desperate, I became angry when I read that the U.S. was offering $20 million in aid. It did seem stingy to me, like we didn't care. But then America shone through, like it always does.
Upon hearing the news, America characteristically rushed to help. Yesterday, outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell promised a $15 million aid package and stated this is only a downpayment on America’s goodwill. “We also have to see this not just as a one-time thing,? he said. “Some 20-plus thousand lives have been lost in a few moments, but the lingering effects will be there for years.? He then affirmed America is in the reconstruction effort “for the long haul.?

In addition to this aid package, President Bush has dispatched military planes to the area, sent a 21-person USAID contingent of disaster relief specialists, and offered to send troops stations in Okinawa, Japan, to help Thai victims.


And I wasn't going to care about what other countries did either. Like my friend Zak said:
Who gives a shit what they give or don't! This is not about them, it's about us. We are the economic leader of the world. We have our own standards and we don't base our behavior based off of what the Egyptians do or the French do.
But I belong to one more country and I would like to be proud of that fact too.
By way of contrast, the 25-member European Union, the world largest trader whose combined economy is larger than that of the United States, will deliver $4 million.

America, the Great Santa

(with many thanks to jim russell)
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
In Defense Of Rumsfeld's Humanity
Tim Chavez, a fine Tennessean columnist, writes about the father of a Marine captain who sacrificed himself to save the lives of his unit in Iraq.
The Tennessee man spoke of a defense secretary, on an early May day, who came to visit the wounded at Bethesda Naval Hospital — without any press coverage.

And he remembers a defense secretary and his wife who gave him 20 minutes to listen, talk and cry about the heroics and loss of his son, Brent.

" He’s not the insensitive ogre he’s made out to be, " Morel said. " I just don’t think it is right that he is getting pounded. I found him to be generally a person, someone who showed genuine concern, a patriot.

" There are things they were ill-prepared for in the aftermath of the war. But he understood Brent had lost his life and saved the lives of several others. He was sorry. I could see the man was visibly upset. He was crying, too. "

[...]

When it comes to context, for instance, on the question of armor for Humvees, Morel said some members of his son’s unit told him they didn’t want their vehicles armored up the sides.

" They didn’t want the armor except on the bottom, " he said. " It would have been like working in an oven. And it would have limited their range to fire. Brent even took the doors off his Humvee because they limited him getting out of the vehicle quickly."

"On a good road, they drove 10 miles an hour and on bad, five miles an hour. They were trying to attract attention."
Of course, that's just how the Marines' warrior culture is. The soldier who got tricked into asking the reporter's gotcha question was Army and they're not quite as cavalier about wanting to draw fire to draw out and kill the enemy-they just want to arrive with the convoy they're in, all in one piece. I don't blame them, and here's a situation where adding the "context" actually muddled the situation even more.
The latest criticism of Rumsfeld has come over his use of a mechanical device to sign condolence letters to Gold Star families like the Morels.

"I don’t have a problem at all that the letter I got was mechanically signed," Morel said. "I’m not upset about him at all.

"That is not going to bring Brent out of the grave. Signing these things with mechanical devices has been going on for years."
I disagree, but perhaps I'm oversentimental. It seems like a remote and unamerican thing for a high official like Donald Rumsfeld to outsource a signature on a letter of condolence to a machine. I was kind of upset, I hope if I die for my country the Secretary of Defense can be bothered to personally sign my letter.
By the way, the US fatality rate has been about two soldiers per day. Donald Rumsfeld can't sign his name twice a day?
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Getting to the Point
Davids Medienkritik: Cynicism Sells: Full Page News Ad Plays on "Blood for Oil" Ideology


"N24: We Get to the Point."

N24, a major German cable news network, recently used a full-page ad to make a blunt point: In their view, the Iraq conflict was and is all about oil. The ad is a particularly telling indicator of the current climate in the German media landscape because a major German cable network (with a format similar to that of CNN) is selling itself and its approach to reporting news. And clearly, the people who run N24 recognize the obvious willingness of many German consumers of news to embrace the "blood for oil" paradigm as a clever and incisive interpretation of American actions in Iraq.
A lot of the analysis of this epic conflict we're in, both on and off the blogosphere, has centered on how difficult a task it seems to deal with bringing a conspiratorially-inclined Arab street into the modern world. With their strange-seeming fixations on implausible and fact-free theories that are accepted as fact only because they confirm their worst beliefs about their perceived enemy, it seems like an insurmountable hurdle to get them to join the same reality that we inhabit. Well, we shouldn't worry that tossing them headfirst into our consensual reality is a prerequisite to modernizing and democratizing the Arab world. Apparently the Germans aren't part of it either and they're doing fine. And they're not the only Europeans who think this way. These are just the polite-society versions of the looniest Arab conspiracy theories. People who think this is somehow an obstacle to instilling self-governance and that we should reform the entire culture before handing over the reins are, too, guilty of disconnection from reality. The United States lives in a bubble of near-rationality and we can't expect to turn the entire world into us. I'll settle for turning the Nazi Germanys and Ba'athist Iraqs into peaceful and prosperous (albeit conspiracy-theory-prone) modern democracies any time.
1 commentreally left a comment at 8:36 am 01/25
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
No Such Country
In the midst of all the apartheid comparisons and calls for divestment from Israel, a little detail often gets lost: the right of Israel to exist. From Clarity & Resolve:
According to Syria's website (which in all likelihood is run on software and a server pioneered in Israel) it would seem that the nation known as Israel no longer exists. In its place, stretching from the Mediterranean across Jordan, is an imaginary place known as Palestine. It seems that they are pining for the halcyon days of Ottoman glory.
Syria: No Such Country As Israel
no comments yetreally left a comment at 8:36 am 01/25
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, United Nations: The Ugly Truth
Cranky Neocon is facing every parent's dilemma: when do you tell your children the facts of life? I remained innocent until the Rwanda genocide. Or was it Srebrenica?
The last point, peace is important to the U.N., resonates with all of our inner children. And why not? Poor kids and liberals in general just cannot jump that tiny bridge to reality that says peace is cool and all, but China doesn't want to condemn the Sudan since they are in the middle of an important oil contract negotiation.

I don't think I want my son crying himself to sleep, so I'll hold off on telling him until he enters college.

Meanwhile, the U.N. is a group of nations dedicated to peace and feeding the poor. (You and I will have to keep the truth to ourselves for now.)
Cranky Neocon: Why We Are Still Warm And Fuzzy About The U.N.
no comments yetreally left a comment at 8:36 am 01/25
guest author: Semite5000 in Discarded Lies:
The students
So far I am enjoying teaching English, but it can be really frustrating when the students are naughty. Usually, however, they are well-behaved. I teach first, fifth and sixth grades.

First Graders

The first graders are really cute. Usually they all wear these yellow sweat-suits that have a light blue stripe running up the arms and legs. It makes them sort of look like they are in pajamas. Their classes are very warm and cozy. They can be incredibly loud and love to sing BINGO (I need to think of more songs to have them sing). They also love to play hangman and whenever they get a letter wrong and another body part is drawn, they all scream, "Awwwwwww!"

Fifth Graders and Sixth Graders

I can't tell much difference between the two. Unlike the young'ins, they don't wear any sort of uniform, although I believe once they enter high school they will. The boys are generally more outgoing than the girls, but there are a few exceptions. I try to make sure that I get an equal number of girls coming up to the front of the class to spell words or play games. When I make them do sentences, however, the girls usually seem to come up with more thoughtful ones. When foods were a topic one girl's sentence was, "Rice is very delicious and is a Korean food." When I informed her that many other countries eat rice as a staple, she buried her head in her arms in disappointed shock. It was funny.

Like kids everywhere they are all hyper and seem exuberantly happy. Every time I walk down the halls most kids say (or yell) "Hello!" or "Hi" or "How are you?" When the girls see me in the halls, some get very shy and say "Hi" and then giggle as they put their hands over the mouths. I've noticed that most of the girls, even adult females, do that when they laugh.

The school also puts the kids to work. They all have rotating duties, so everyday you will see some students mopping the floor, cleaning the windows, etc. They don't seem to mind at all.

Granted Seocho City is a well-to-do area, and therefore the kids all come from educated families who push education on their children, it is still shocking how little free time the kids have compared to their American counterparts. Most of the kids have after school tutors and loads of homework. They study a lot and have school six days per week. Koreans are over achievers, but the fruits of their labors are obvious in the high level of development of their country.

Things are fine here for me. I'm still enjoying my time here, although I miss my independence. My host family is wonderful, but no matter how great they are, I am still a guest in their home. I will look forward to returning home to my own flat, my car and my pets. I'll know I'm really home when I open the fridge and gulp milk right out of the carton.

Until then, take care y'all.

Zak
no comments yetreally left a comment at 8:36 am 01/25
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