Monthly Archives: April 2010

Canadian Soldier On Trial For Mercy Killing

I enjoy these sorts of stories because they represent the way that humanity has gone backwards while we perceive ourselves as going forward:

A key prosecution witness at the court martial of Capt. Robert Semrau testified Wednesday that Semrau claimed he shot and killed a wounded Taliban fighter in a “mercy killing.”

Semrau, 36, is facing a second-degree murder charge in connection with the shooting death of an unarmed Taliban prisoner in Afghanistan in October 2008.

The witness, Cpl. Steven Fournier, and Semrau were fire-team partners on the battlefield, meaning they were never more than a few metres apart.

Fournier testified Tuesday that he was only a short distance from Semrau when the captain stood over the broken body of the wounded Afghan man and fired two shots in quick succession.

Fournier testified he didn’t see the shots but heard them and quickly looked back to see Semrau closing the ejection port on his rifle — an action soldiers take after they fire their weapon.

On Wednesday, Fournier said that when he heard the shots he wheeled about quickly thinking he was under attack. He said he saw Semrau standing over the insurgent.

Fournier said he was confused and couldn’t figure out what had just happened.

He told the hearing that Semrau then said: “It’s OK. It was me.”

As the two men marched on to join the Afghan unit they were mentoring, Semrau spoke again, Fournier said.

Semrau said he thought the shooting was necessary because it was the humane thing to do, Fournier testified. Semrau said couldn’t live with himself if he just left a wounded man to die on the battlefield, the corporal said.

The ultimate irony:

The Taliban insurgent was probably happy and felt relieved, and that the soldier had paid him a great tribute by ending his wretched, slow death.

60 years ago on a battlefield it was a war crime to not mercy kill people.

But now we are so divorced from basic, common sense reality it is ridiculous.

When we went fishing, we used to cut off the fishes heads promptly after we brought them in, and began gutting them right away. That is because it is more human to end their lives then have them slowly suffocate on land. This basic principle can be extended out to anything.

And now we have the modern, Geneva Convention humanitarian bunch telling us that this is actually cruel.

The funny thing about the humanists who come up with these policies is that after they climb into their great, Ivory towers they become anything but human and slowly work to destroy the last vestiges of the human spirit.

Australia May Ban Logos On Cigarette Packs

I have heard a lot of the extreme measures people have adopted around the world to curb smoking but this is pretty outrageous:

Australia could become the first country in the world to require cigarette packages to be stripped of logos and designs.

By July 2012, all cigarettes in the country will be sold in plain packs carrying graphic warnings against smoking, according to an anti-smoking initiative announced by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s office.

“Now the big tobacco companies are going to go out there and whinge, whine, complain, consider every form of legal action known to man,” Rudd told reporters. “That’s par for course. We, the government, will not be intimidated by any big tobacco company trying to get in the road of doing the right thing.”

CNN

OK… We get it… Cigarettes kill you. We are taught this from day one in our classes at school.

Do you really have to invade people’s personal lives to the extent of erasing logos to insert your warnings on the packages? It is extreme and utterly over the top.

Quite unbelievable — I understand warnings but making the whole pack a warning? I do not see how this should be able to stand up.

In a very real sense this is totally inserting yourself into someone else’s business.

The Cowardly Congress

Pres. Obama took the opportunity to speak on behalf of the cowardly Congress that is more concerned with keeping their butts in office than tackling necessary issues.

This would be like a professional baseball player who refuses to play in the final games of the year because they are afraid it would jeopardize their position if they do not perform well.

I think we should fire them all:

Given the amount of work to do on energy legislation and lawmakers’ concerns about congressional elections in November, comprehensive immigration reform might be too much, he told reporters on board Air Force One when asked if he thought immigration reform could be passed this year.

“We’ve gone through a very tough year and I’ve been working Congress pretty hard, so I know there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue,” Obama said.

Reuters

“That Was A Disaster” Gordon Brown Bigot Incident

I think this is one of the reasons there are many people on the right wing that cannot understand Europe necessarily; the woman criticized the policies which allow a lot of unchecked migrant work into Europe and basically questioned the entire situation of immigration in Europe.

Suddenly, she is later declared a bigot:

watch here at the BBC

It is impossible to have good dialog on the topic because whatever the Right Wing says will be labeled ‘bigoted’ if it doesn’t fit into the narrow sphere of acceptable that the Euro left puts out.

Band Of Brothers dude=Liar?

Some interesting accusations. I look forward to seeing the end of this mess:

His book Band of Brothers – which chronicled the exploits of one company of US airborne troops in second world war Europe – was turned into a highly praised TV series.

But now American historian Professor Stephen Ambrose, who was President Dwight D Eisenhower’s official biographer and wrote or edited more than a dozen books about him, is embroiled in a posthumous controversy. It is alleged that he invented many meetings he claimed to have had with Eisenhower, and even fabricated entire interviews with him. The revelations have sent shock waves through the scholarly community in the United States.

The books written by Ambrose, who died in 2002, brought him popular acclaim, and director Steven Spielberg used him as a military adviser on his 1998 Oscar-winning film Saving Private Ryan. Band of Brothers became a cultural milestone when it was turned into a TV series on which Ambrose was a producer. It was hailed for educating an entire generation about the sacrifices of their forefathers. But it appears that Ambrose indulged in some sort of fantasy about the extent of his relationship with Eisenhower. In TV interviews, he claimed to have spent “hundreds and hundreds of hours” with the former president. He even once said he would spend two days a week working with Eisenhower in his office.

The Guardian

I am not sure what to think but I always like a good scandal.

Analysis Of Korean Punk Issues

Trash brought up the fact she is said about Korean punk… Rightfully so. I am sad about American punk in the sense that spending a month in Minneapolis I was only capable of finding two shows that even had punk bands playing. I think it is a global phenomenon, but I think Korea faces a unique problem with punk potentially disappearing.

But Korea is not to be blamed — not in the least. There are many distinct social factors that are beyond the control of everyone, including the Koreans themselves, more or less.

First, who were the first fans and innovators of punk? People who grew up in the shadow of the 1960s cultural revolution throughout the West, where old values were largely tossed into the fire. In 1950 it was unheard of for a woman to move in and live with a man before marriage; in 1969 people were having group sex to make a statement. In 1950 the only drug ever consumed was alcohol. In 1969 marijuana, LSD, etc. were popularized.

Western society threw itself away in the 1960s, and in the 1970s the punk backlash was a double-criticism… A criticism of tradition, but more than this, even a criticism of the original critics of tradition. Of course, back then too, it meant many things to many people, but the main point: Punk existed within a cultural vacuum.

Korea has not yet underwent a full cultural revolution that has provided gender equality, nor has class consciousness in the traditional sense been discussed. I have not heard many people proud of working class and humble roots; there does not seem to be a concept of the ‘blue collar’ being an inherently good, noble position. Everyone seems to be working hard to leave this concept.

There is also no romanticization of the countryside — pastoralism has been a huge part of Western society since the 19th century! And the recent industrialization of Korea has not yet lent themselves to either pastoralism or blue collar values. In this sense, some of the meaning of Oi! will easily be lost, and some of the concepts of personal rebellion get lost in the notion that pastoral thought is perhaps still largely associated with a peasant class as opposed to a noble connection with nature.

We are looking at a generation trying to come to terms with gender role, class consciousness and the urban vs. rural paradigms.

But what keeps it all together in this confused mode is the family structures.

In the Western family, you have essentially zero obligations to one’s parents. Rather, it is they who are infinitely obliged to you. In fact, when you become a teenager the notion of your parents controlling your life is utterly disgusting and disdainful. Everything is brought to an extreme…

We view ourselves as complete and total individuals, and our family is a part of our lives but we have no obligation to please them. In fact, for many we have the obligation to irritate them.

We also have no concept of someone being older or younger than us having a large impact on friendship or relations at all.

The Westerner is a lone soul; the Westerner is an island. They are free to associate themselves with whatever views they have and in our education system we are encouraged from young ages to seek out our own individuality.

Even adults in Western society look at school uniforms with disgust.

Of course, it may seem like this is all exaggeration but if we just take these individual Vs. collective ideas, and we analyze the point of social “development” in Korea (NOTE: I do not believe in any such thing as social development or progress but there is no other word due to the linguistical bias of English), we can understand.

And even look at that linguistical bias: if I were to say the ‘social sphere’ of Korea, or perhaps the ‘social culture’ it would not be understood as an academic term. Rather, ‘social development’ or ‘social progress’ are concepts in the West because it is believed we are progressing to a goal. But that is a different post.

The hardest problem to overcome for Korean punk music is precisely the hours of study that are put in, and the social immobility that breeds a sense of desperation amongst the student to push themselves to new levels in the hope that they might be the 60% of kids who are not from Gangnamgu that gets into Seoul National University.

Teenagers lose all time and lose the ability to develop individual hobbies on proper levels, especially ones based on copious amounts of time in socialization and concert going. There becomes a total failure for the teenager to enter punk from a practical point unless they have already given up on high school and are throwing their future away.

And even upon entering college they enter a controlled environment to the extent that they have now already been accepted as Hubae by their Seongbae (inferiors to their superiors), and enter a fraternity/sorority like environment of mass drinking and new found freedom. At this point, a concept of rebellion has been erased from the teenager:

They are now accepted into a society defined by the Major which they study, and they are encouraged to shut up, drink and have fun for the first time in their lives. Where does the need of rebellion come in? For the first time they are shedding school uniforms and imbibing liquor legally in a new found family of people that is largely supportive and are learning to define themselves together.

They are more socially mature than high schoolers in many ways, and thus, what would be the point of viewing the world from the context of social rebellion precisely at that time?

Certainly, some enter punk not through social rebellion but through other outlets, and are not by any means viewing themselves as ‘misfits,’ but a large proportion of people who enter punk in the West do so in Junior High / High School as statements of non-conformity to social standard.

I’ve impressed some of my classmates with punk rock and discussed it, and many are interested to eventually see Big Naturals play. But it is not the same, and it cannot be the same — you have to strike while the Iron is hot.

For most, the Iron is hot when they are young and frustrated.

It is a lose-lose situation.

What we need: more time and liberty for the youth, more class and gender consciousness, and more individualism and a breaking down of the sort of fascism and sense of obligation which can exist in the family.

In a way: punk & extreme metal can be viewed as symptoms of healthy societies. It means:

“We have enough time & money to make music,”

“We have enough freedom to make the music that we want,”

“We are challenging existing norms because we are actualizing ourselves as individuals and no longer see ourselves as having to conform to social standards.”

Lamenting The Loss Of Popcorn

I have spent the last 6-7 months making popcorn in a small pan on my stove; Craig St. Jean was there the first attempt, which was a miserable failure. And he was also there for the second… An even worst failure that turned my small room into a smokey haze. We had to throw the black, demonic kernels into the street it was so bad.

But after a few more tries I learned how to get them to pop — soon I could put them on the stove, shake the pan, go to the bathroom and let the music fill my ears.

Soon I was throwing in a little butter; seasoning it with salt. I knew if I counted to thirty seconds after the last pops I would have nice, crispy burnt popcorn at the bottom to accent the fluffy white on top; I knew that if I waited a good 15 seconds and shook it it would produce evenly slight-burns on many that would be delicious.

I became a gourmet popcorn chef enjoying this fine product and customizing it to my momentary wants.

People came over to my home and said, “Wow, Verv, you really are making some good popcorn.” They called me the Master.

2 days ago I went to re-stock on popcorn and my trusty Jinro store was out of the pan popcorn. I nearly wept. I then spent the next 25 minutes looking for alternative stores, in the rain, with no luck.

I had to call my man Jason and he is promising to pick me up some when he gets out of the hospital… Good!

But still… These few days without popcorn have been hard on me.

I am like one of Pavlov’s dogs — when I hear Star Trek come on, or when I sit down after school I wonder where my popcorn is and my mouth waters.

God, I need popcorn.

2,000 March For Secularism In Lebanon

Religious rifts have been tearing at this part of the world since we can remember. This is some of the only positive news that we have heard out of the region in a long time concerning a small group who is taking initiative to stand up for what they correctly believe will cure many of the problems ailing their society:

Hundreds of civil society activists have marched on the Lebanese parliament in an unprecedented rally in Beirut.

The protesters are calling on all Lebanese to help bring an end to the country’s divisive sectarian system and replace it with a secular system.

The organisers say it is time to redefine what it means to be Lebanese.

Demonstrators blocked the main road leading to parliament, waving Lebanese flags and chanting “secularism” as security in the city was stepped up.

More than 2,000 people joined the march, news agencies reported.

Kinda Hassan, one of the organisers, told Reuters: “We cannot live in a country where they divide the chairs of the ministers according to their confessions, not their merits.”

Organisers say being secular in Lebanon comes second to being a Muslim or a Christian, Shia or Sunni, Catholic or Orthodox, the BBC’s Natalia Antelava in Beirut reports.

BBC

I cannot imagine living in a country where your sect is connected to the way you vote. A religious sect is meant to represent a body of ideas — not a body of politics.

The notion in and of itself is absurd.

China Building Awesome Dam, India Worries

This is a veritable engineering feat that might deprive millions of people of water if the alarmists are right…

The dam will rise to 3,260 meters, on Yarlung Zangbo River (Brahmaputra, for Indians) using special materials and techniques. But India notes that the river is essential to the lives of millions of people and calls for assurances that Beijing does not seem to want to give. For that zone a war was fought that has never officially ended.

China has admitted that it is building a dam on the Yarlung Zangbo River. The river originates in Tibet, but then flows into India where it is called Brahmaputra and is a major water source for millions of people. Moreover, the dam will be built in the area near the border disputed between the two countries.

China outlined the project this month, in a private meeting with Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna. The dam will be built in Zangmu at a height of 3,260 meters, in the Shannan Prefecture in Tibet and nearby four other dams will also be built in the valley between Jiacha and Sangro counties. Official sources said yesterday that the overall capacity of the dams will be “several times” more than the gigantic Three Gorges Dam. Because of its altitude, the area is often subjected to extreme weather conditions and special materials and technologies will be used, developed by the Chinese space agency. For example special cement made at the laboratories of the Xichang satellite launch Centre.

Asia News

Pretty intriguing.

Now, hopefully this will not be used for evil but who knows? It might just be a potential security measure for China — if you do not do what we want we will deprive you of water, which is no right way to deal with your fellow man.

But part of me just has to marvel at the largesse of this undertaking.

Dream #13 (strangest yet; PG-13)

I had an M. Night Shamalan dream, I guess.

I was suddenly walking around Fargo, North Dakota with Matt Bumbalough; we were just chit chatting. Suddenly, we saw very strange tornadoes forming and the ground was shaking. Some good samaritans driving by in a truck told us to get in, so we jumped on the back of the truck. There were some businessmen in the back with us.

While we drove quickly away, we got close to one of the tornadoes and saw that it was not a tornado but a series of brown-like vines that stretched all the way to heaven; I saw a man get taken by one up into presumably space. Suddenly, I was also ceased by one of these and brought into space.

I found myself pulled up onto the back of a giant centipede-like entity with a comet’s head that was smoldering hot so the coldness of space did not kill me, and we were going so fast into earth’s atmosphere. Suddenly, we were nearing the ground and I am not sure how but I got off…

I then went to the top secret military facility looking for answers and they recognized my old credentials and told me about it…

There is a government program run exclusively by the Department of Defense — they want to steal away the interests of the nation. President Obama only serves private, Wall street corporations so they created centipede-comets resembling aliens.

They put humans on their back because the humans fall into the back of the centipede opening up a cocoon of special comet fire ants; when these comet centipedes crash into the Earth they will destroy major corporate infrastructure and then the comet fire ants (who feasted on the humans on the way down to get a taste for blood), along with the remaining comet-centipede, will begin waging war.

These things will land all over the world targeting global corporations.

The Chinese, Russian and American militaries are thrilled because they will now rest control away from the global corporate interests that run the world.

While explaining this, the General looked pleased, and he said,

“Now the world is ruled by such false and unnatural things as money and global financing. But tomorrow the world will be ruled by what it once was: blood & steel, and the honesty of martial discipline and strength.”

I thought about it and decided I preferred in some sense this blood and steel if only because it was more honest than made up, computer-form money by fiat. Of course, this was not the best way to be ruled or to live — under the hand of the military…

But there was an amount of honesty in a dictatorship that called itself that, as opposed to a financial empire that did not call itself a dictatorship of the marketplace.

I also decided that in order for anything to be created a new the militaries would have to succeed in this operation to destroy the power of the global corporations.

Shortly thereafter, I was part of an operation surrounding a man’s house to kill him because he was a major CEO. While me and the others were sneaking up to his door he smiled and walked out holding a baby and a sawed off shot gun. I then woke up.

I do not know what it means.