Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Iran”

And the Winner Is… Syria! – Tom Rossi

Ryan Seacrest: “And the winner of this year’s Trumped-Up Bullshit Justification for War Award is… Syria! (applause) Here to present the award is well-known fake journalist, Sean Hannity.”

 Hannity: “Congratulations, Syria, on this accomplishment. The question on everyone’s mind is, how did you manage to beat out perennial front-runner Iran?”

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 Syria: “Well, I thought I’d just lay low for a while, then make my move when the other countries got overconfident. Iran had been ‘phoning it in’ for quite a while, riding on its reputation. Iran just started to assume it had the award in the bag. Iran didn’t push through the finish line.”

 Hannity: “Wow. That’s a lesson for young people… and young nations everywhere.”

 Syria: “I like to set a good example.”

 Hannity: “So, how did you manage to overcome the Iraq ‘problem,’ as it has come to be known?”

 Syria: “Uh, by that do you mean the inevitable comparisons with the famous Iraq quagmire? Well, a famous American jazz musician once said, ‘…it’s the notes you DON’T play that are important.’ I paid heed to this advice and didn’t try too hard. I just let the American War… I mean, media machine, do the work for me. They did a beautiful job and I certainly owe half this award to them.”

 Hannity: “Well, speaking for everyone, as I often do, thank you. But could you expand on just how the war… I mean, media machine, helped you in your quest to become the most focused-on ‘rogue nation’ in the world?”

 Syria: “Certainly. They used a… how you say in America… ‘tried and true’ method. They simply repeated, or featured interviews with ‘respected’ officials like John McCain who repeated a sort of mantra – ‘It’s nothing like Iraq. It’s nothing like Iraq. It’s nothing like Iraq.'”

 Hannity: “So, you learned from, well… Iraq!”

 Syria: “Exactly! In the drum-up… er… I mean, lead-up, to the Iraq war, I believe President Bush named it, ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom,’ right? During this period, we saw the same comparisons to America’s most famous quagmire, Vietnam. But the American people were simply told, over and over again, how terrible was Saddam Hussein. Then, they started to forget, or simply not to care. But that was much easier. Decades had passed since the Vietnamese conflict – decades of opportunity for the ridicule of the anti-war protesters. Iraq was still a raw memory in the minds of Americans. And, like Iraq, Syria is a desert country. Is it ‘desert,’ or ‘dessert’? I always forget! Ha ha! Anyhoo, even though it had only been ten years, people forgot the propaganda campaign for Iraq. The U.S. government and media repeated exactly the same lines! Can you believe that? People had forgotten the whole thing. And Syria was there to capitalize. That’s what people don’t understand – good preparation makes good luck. If you prepare, you will be ready when the opportunity arises for greatness.”

 Hannity: “Another gem for young Americans. Are you looking forward to the bombings?”

 Syria: “Who wouldn’t be? Hahaha!”

 Hannity chortles.

 Syria: “No, I kid, I kid. That part of it is, how you say… hit or miss?”

 Hannity laughs.

 Syria: “That’s just a part of this process. Syria accepts its role on the world stage, the good, the bad, and the unholy.”

 Hannity: “Ha! You’ve exposed my long hidden sense of humor! Certain people over at ‘The Daily Show’ will certainly be taken by surprise. Thank you, Syria! Enjoy your award. Let’s give the stage back to Ryan Seacrest.”

 Syria: “Thank you so much!” (blowing kisses to the audience)

 Ryan Seacrest: “Isn’t Syria delightful? Next up, after the commercial break, the award for ‘Most Maligned Leader of a Non-Muslim Country. Stick around, everybody!”

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 -Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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The Drums of War are Beating… Again – Tom Rossi

Are you tired of dancing to the same old beat? You should be. That’s because, after the drums of war are beaten, you’re next.

We once followed the drumbeat to Iraq. First we had the now infamous WMD, Weapons of Mass Destruction. Then we had, “Saddam Hussein is a really mean guy who gassed his own people.” Then… of forget it. You know the story. There’s no point in repeating it here. But the war in Iraq, “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” cost the United States somewhere between one and two trillion dollars, depending on whose estimate you believe.

Then the drums told us that Osama Bin Laden was hiding in the mountains in Afghanistan… so we took the war machine there (while still knee deep in blood, theirs and ours, in Iraq), supposedly to bring Bin Laden to justice. This was the country that had whipped the Soviet Union after a ten year, brutal invasion. And remember… the Soviets were right across the border and didn’t have to ship their forces halfway around the world.

Bin Laden wasn’t there.

What did we learn? I mean, We, the people of the United States, not the war mongers. We learned that there is always a justification, and that justification will probably turn out to be false.

We are now being told that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and North Korea is improving their already-existing nuclear capability. These things might even be true. Hmmm… I remember a justification for the nuclear buildup of the Cold War that said something about, “mutually assured destruction.” Hmmm… It seems to me that the leaders of Iran and North Korea would have to know that the destruction would be about 99 to 1 in our favor.

But the military-industrial-congressional complex want us to be afraid. That way we will keep shoveling money into their pockets. This while the same people want to do away with social security, public education, the Affordable Care and Patient Protection act, etc. These things return value to the majority of the people, instead of enriching the super-minority.

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We have gone light-years past “defense.” Remember when the Department of Defense was called the Department of War? That was a lot more honest. Now, the war-investors who profit from both killing and simply preparing to kill (W.E.B. DuBois said: “The cause of war is preparation for war.”) are drooling like Pavlov’s dogs. “Another war’s about to start! Maybe two! Yay!”

But we won’t hear any of that on TV, or in the papers. What we’ll hear is macho talk about America’s “strength,” and scary talk about how easy it could be for scary people out there to hurt us. Inconsistent you say? So what?

What we’ll hear is about how the leaders of these countries are “craaaaazy.” “Why, they’d lob a nuke our way even knowing they’ll lose! Just to make a point! Or even to martyr themselves! We have to get them before they get us!!!”

To question this line of BS will be “unpatriotic.” You have to be for a “stronger” America, otherwise you’re for a “weaker” America. When will we be strong enough? Silly question. It’s like asking a bodybuilder when he’ll have enough muscle. “Dude, if I can just build up my gastrocs a little bit more, I’ll be golden.”

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So, the bugle call will sound, and the “patriots” among us will answer without question. But what I love about my country is exactly that: the ability and the will to question, and to learn. I have only one hope for our future…

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We won’t get fooled again.

Peace.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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Nuclear Energy – A Green Goal?

“In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That’s the conviction that inspired Greenpeace’s first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change.”

Very credible scientists are wearing this T-shirt.

So begins Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, currently chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd., in an article published in the Washington Post. Mr. Moore goes on to address the dangers of nuclear proliferation (he wrote this article days after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that his country had enriched uranium), and Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island nuclear power plant reactor core meltdown “that sent shivers of very real anguish throughout the country.”

Interestingly, he considers the damage done at Three Mile Island to be a success in terms of its containment and eventual net damage done. This is interesting as I have quoted over the past week or so, other experts who offer the same response in regard to what transpired in Japan.

He also quotes a study (I can’t find the source) that finds that 80% of the people living within 10 miles of the US nuclear plants are in favor of their use. This statistic does not include those employed at the nuclear power plants). I want to assume that these people did their due diligence and didn’t just jump at low house prices (it’s all about location!).

Finally he offers a number of ‘stars’ from the environmental world who support nuclear energy, including British atmospheric scientist James Lovelock, father of the ‘Gaia’ theory, Stewart Brand, founder of the “Whole Earth Catalog,” and the late British Bishop Hugh Montefiore, founder and director of Friends of the Earth. Incidentally, Bishop Montefiore was forced to resign from Friends of the Earth’s board of directors when he authored a pro-nuclear article in a church newsletter.

More bumper sticker wisdom?

Moore does highlight many serious problems with pursuing nuclear power. While I list them below, his article goes into more detail.

– nuclear power is expensive

– power plants are not safe and there is the potential of a natural disaster

– power plants are vulnerable targets for terrorist attacks

– we do not have proven solutions to get rid of nuclear waste

– the move from a nuclear energy program to a nuclear arms program is a short one

Finally, for those of you less interested in plowing through a article, here is a 17-minute talk from Stewart Brand. He actually deals with more than just nuclear power in his speech, but it is fascinating.

Can we envisage nuclear energy as a green source of energy after what happened in Japan?

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

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