Tag Archives: yemen

YEAAAAH BABY!! USA! USA! We’re Number Five in the World!

Old Sparky - Nebraska

Old Sparky, Nebraska's long-time method of execution. We can be proud, America! WE INVENTED the use of the electric chair to kill people!! But now, we're MUCH more civilized, as the use of the electric chair is in decline, as lethal injection is now the favored method to kill people. Give us another 240 years as a Nation, and maybe we'll reach the point where we're as civilized as the rest of Western democracies, where capital punishment isn't used at all.

YEAAAH Baby!!  We’re the United States of America, Damnit!!  We’re not at the bottom of the pack in ANYTHING!  We’re number 5 in the world, and movin’ on up!!  Given the direction the U.S. is going, I have NO doubt we can move up in the rankings!!  USA!  USA!  USA!!!

So to what am I referring?  Last year, we were fifth in the world in the number of people who were executed.  We are the ONLY member of the G-8 developed nations to execute anyone last year.  We are the only WESTERN DEMOCRACY that conducted executions last year.  When it comes to executing people, we are right up at the top with the likes of China, Yemen, North Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.  GREAT company to keep, in terms of countries known for horrible records on human rights.

Good ol’ American hypocrisy.  We talk a good talk, claiming that we stand for freedom, civility, and human rights.  But, we’re also barbarians in the eyes of the world’s civilized democracies, given our love of the death penalty.  We also “bend the rules” however we see fit, such as detaining “enemy combatants”, even American citizens, without charge or legal representation, if it suits our perceived needs at the moment.   Thanks to our right-wing Supreme Court, as of this week, we’re also a nation where you can be humiliated and strip-searched for something as minor as a failure to leash your dog or pay a parking ticket (yes, those are real cases where “criminals” have been strip-searched).

We’re a Nation where the professed conservative, Christian Right has ranted and raved about America’s (lack of) morality, where these same “pro-life” forces can somehow simultaneously oppose abortion rights, yet whole-heartedly and often quite vociferously support executions, praise our leaders when we bomb the hell out of any other Nation that irks us (or threatens our precious oil supplies), or even support the use of violence as a way to  back up their “pro-life” message.  We’re a Nation where providing health care for any American in need is less important than maintaining tax breaks for the richest (and often most corrupt) of Americans.  We’re a Nation where we evidently measure our own ”morality” not by our actions, but by our (very hypocritical) words.

In America, we’re a people who act as if we’re the worlds moral authority, as if we’re the Nation that has “got it right”.  Look at the actual evidence, however, and in many ways we ARE Yemen…North Korea…China…or Iran.  Why should Iran or China pay any attention to our whining about human rights, given our own record?

Perusin' & Musin'

Some random thoughts from perusin’ the web…

Hispanic Students Vanishing in Alabama – After an appeals court refused to block a tough new Alabama immigration law from taking effect, schools are reporting very sharp drops in attendance from Hispanic students.  Many Hispanic families have said they plan to leave Alabama, which I’m sure is cause for celebration for the bigots Alabama people who support the law.   If they keep at it, maybe they’ll be able to achieve their dream of having a lily-white, minority-free Alabama.

Black Oystercatcher Faring Well in California - It’s always nice to focus on good news for a change!  There’s been concern over the status of Black Oystercatchers on the Pacific Coast, but a recent survey in California found many more nesting pairs than expected.  Great to hear, as these are one of my favorite birds.  I’ve been fortunate to get a number of very good photo opportunities on a few trips to California and Oregon.

Bachman Says China Attacking U.S. Satellites with Lasers!!! -  During an interview on the Laura Ingraham show, Michele Bachman said China has been attacking and “blinding” U.S. military satellites with lasers.  Uh…Michele…maybe it would be best if you just slowly faded from the public spotlight.  You seem incapable of opening your mouth without complete BS coming out.  But when you’re talking on conservative talk radio, the audience demands right-wing wackiness, and Bachman certainly delivers.

Morality of U.S. Killing a U.S. Citizen with a Drone Strike - The first reaction upon the U.S. confirming the killing of American-born Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen seemed to be overwhelmingly positive.  We had, after all, just killed someone described as the highest priority target since bin Laden was killed.   After a day or so though, many articles appeared questioning the morality of the U.S. government targeting and killing a U.S. citizen.   It’s a tough issue.   I’m against the death penalty, and think it’s simply barbaric for us to deal with criminality using the death penalty as a punishment.  But even for me, war is another issue.  I certainly don’t agree with the reasons nations go to war, but, unfortunately, even I recognize that at times, war is unavoidable.  Given that we simply do not have the capability to capture, jail, and try people like al-Awlaki, there’s often not a lot of choice in terms of how to conduct a “war on terror”.  Even with al-Awlaki technically a U.S. citizen, as distasteful as it seems, I’m not sure there’s not much else that could be done.  What a world we live in…

Israel Approves New Settlements in Occupied Territory - On the other hand…maybe there IS more the U.S. can do to combat terrorism, than rely on the military and drone strikes.  It ALL comes back to Middle Eastern attitudes towards the U.S., and that basically boils down to Israel and the issue of a Palestinian state.   This week after Palestinian President Abbas went to the U.N. for support of statehood, Israel announced they were approving the construction of 1,100 new homes for Jewish “settlers” in East Jerusalem.  I REALLY get sick of those that insist the U.S. continually, and seemingly unquestioningly, support Israeli interests.  If Israel had ANY real interest in a two-state solution, it wouldn’t be continually provoking Palestinians through actions such as this.  For once, I wish the U.S. would put their foot down and threaten to withhold Israeli aid, if they continue to build settlements in the occupied lands.

Traveller Arrested with Hummingbirds in his Pants - A Dutch traveler was arrested when airport authorities found a dozen live hummingbirds sewn into his underwear.  Evidently, this same idiot already had a previous arrest for smuggling hummingbirds.  I guess I didn’t realize there was a big black-market out there for hummingbirds.  This is pretty sick though.  I can’t imagine they would live very long all wrapped up like that, in someone’s underwear.