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Sunday, 21 July 2013

G8s, Middle Eastern politics and conspiracists

 Basic map

I recently enjoyed watching our world leaders at the G8 summit 2013. The snippets of political news footage broadcast in Australian media reminded me of my kindergarten years when I tossed sand from my clenched fists into Thommy Schmidts' face after he called me 'big nose.' It's amusing to witness fundamental aspects of human nature played out by grown men with big responsibility. There are feigned friendships being acted out by highly educated power brokers who clumsily attempt to control our humble little world. As I reminisced about my past sandpit adventures I couldn't help but feel jealous and left out when I realised Australia wasn't invited to the party. Why not? I looked up what constitutes an invite to the G8 and this is what I found:
We just aint rich enough. Our teeny economy just doesn't cut it. Phooee. :-P

Australia missed out on participating in the long walk endured by leaders at Lough Erne resort and witnessing first hand Putin and Obama at loggerheads over Syria. The US are really cranky their turncoat intelligence spy, Edward Snowden, is being looked after by Russia, China, Ecuador and any nation that wants to know dirty little American secrets. (I mean those nations who believe in freedom of speech.) These antics are so similar to my sandpit days it's almost funny. I too would bury and hide other children's Matchbox cars in the deep tunnels of the kindergarten play area when I was four years old. I would laugh when my fellow sandpit buddies couldn't locate and retrieve their toy cars. The frustrated boys would stamp their feet, threaten physical retribution and ultimately cry.

The last few years of Middle Eastern politics has made me wonder if we are being trained and manipulated into being anti-Muslim. Is the media controlled by governments or tricked into broadcasting US government setups? Middle eastern politics is a minefield of religious and ethnic differences and generational hatreds intertwined with Western nations who are just as deceptive, self-serving and power hungry. I find it difficult sometimes to understand what is going on. The US supplies weapons to allies who become foes who become allies again. The borders are murky and it is hard to distinguish who is friend or enemy. Amid all the confusion many conspiracy theories have emerged. Some are most likely fact and others are so outrageous, facts must be hidden amongst the rhetoric. Remember the Benghazi attack:

The Chechnya terrorists

The Boston bombers:

These are just three conspiracy theories. There are hundreds. Every world event has concocted a conspiracy theory. Is it the US maintaining control by causing confusion, fear and hatred?

I decided to try to simplify the Middle East and explain the mechanics for 'Dummies' like me.

To understand the Arab world you need to understand the Muslim faith. Like Christianity there are many interpretations of Islam, mostly referred to as 'factions.'  Sunni and Shi'a Muslims are the main two factions. Hezbollah is a militant Shi'a Islamic group and political party based in Lebanon. This is a facet of Islam that is different to Christianity in some respects- politics and religion combine; in fact you have to acknowledge the tremendous dedication Muslims have to their beliefs and politics. Religions in the west like Catholicism and Anglicanism are generally not so intertwined with government and overall we are fairly lacksadaisical compared to our Qu'ran reading neighbours although the US is extremely God conscious and fanatical in some states.

The main political figures and their countries are as follows but forever subject to change:

Iran- Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. President Hassan Rouhani - friends with Hezbollah and Syrian Bashar al Assad. Formally known as Persia this is the most interesting Middle Eastern country to watch regarding US relations. Take note of the countries that border Iran.

Libya- President  Mohammed Magarief - kind of friends with US.

Saudi Arabia - King Abdullah kind of friends with US. In 2010 the US sold $60.5 billion dollars worth of weapons. 9/11 saw the US angry as most hijackers were Saudi however 60.5 smackeroos is hard to knock back.

Syria - President Bashar al Assad - friends with Iran - enemies with US. Causing alot of fuss due to civil war. Strategic position for the US as it borders Iran. The US has Iran in their sights and have systemically militarised all nations surrounding Iran.

Israel - President Shimon Peres - US allies. Palestinian enemies

Palestine - President Mahmoud Abbas - Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah- US does not recognise Palestine as a state so relations do not exist. A tiny unrecognised nation built on a couple of rocks covered in bloodshed.

Lebanon- President Michel Suleimen - friends with Iran. Armed and financed by Iran

Tehran- capital of Iran.

Egypt - Acting President Adly Mansour. - A kind of US ally. Appears to have recently cut ties with Syria. Mostly Sunni. Its parliament (what parliament?) is not currently working.

This excerpt by Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhill explains everything so clearly:

In a disturbing article entitled When War Games Go Live , Chossoduvsky quotes from retired General Wesley Clark’s 2003 book Winning Modern Wars regarding the role of military intervention against Syria and Iran in the Pentagon’s grand Middle East strategy. According to Clark, the Pentagon has been making preparation to attack both countries since the mid-nineties. On page 130 of Winning Modern Wars, Clark states
“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.”

The reliability of these predictions, despite a 2008 regime change from George Bush, the so-called neocon hawk, to Barack Obama, a supposed soft power advocate, is uncanny. The US persists in its occupation of Iraq, in addition to major military engagements in Somalia and Sudan. Presumably the military intervention in Libya is complete, now that the new US-friendly regime has agreed to privatize Libyan oil for the benefit of US oil companies.
According to Chossudovsky, countries such as Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Iran and Sudan became US military targets because they refused to play ball by allowing Anglo-American oil company unlimited access to their oil resources. In contrast, oil-poor countries like Syria and Lebanon are current targets because of strategic alliances with oil-rich Iran.
So it all boils down to the sandpit analogy. Except in this case it is the oil underneath the sand that is the impetus. I find it amusing when the words 'peace in the Middle East' appear. I think it is a contradiction in terms. Perhaps when the oil reserves have been depleted there could be a reason for peace.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

You've been hacked

1. a person or thing that hacks.
2. Slang. a person who engages in an activity without talent or skill: weekend hackers on the golf course.
3. Computer Slang.
a. a computer enthusiast.
b. a microcomputer user who attempts to gain unauthorized access to proprietary computer systems.

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has a lot to answer for. The only problem being he is nowhere to be found. (Last seen in Hong Kong where all honest whistleblowers hide) He has a cheek accusing the US of hacking government and business networks globally. The CIA might secretly think itself smart and sneaky breaching China's cybersecurity however China has been hacking the world since 2003- years ahead of the Central Intelligence Agency's bald headed eagle buttoned spy club.

I find it absurd the US could be implicated in this scandal. Anything and everything the US does illegally is in the interests of national security. Hypocrisy and the USA- never. As long as you don't count Bill Clinton winning 'Father of the year' when he should have been awarded the 'adulterer of the decade.' Disregard the US military supplying weapons to Al Qaeda to fight Bashar al Assad in Syria. It's justified on account of Syria using chemical weapons against it's own people. I think Obama found that info on a Facebook status exactly like the one that caused the unfounded invasion of Iraq years ago by George Bush.

Accusations of hacking have reached the sacred site of social chitchat mega web site Facebook. It has been revealed high-ranking CIA officials have formed an addiction to Candy Crush saga that has caused hacking on a scale never before seen since the Internets inception. Sweet. General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, appeared before a US Senate panel testifying the NSA's innocence of cheating in the popular Facebook game:

General Keith Alexander, NSA director and head of US Cyber Command, briefed some senators behind closed doors on Tuesday. He was joined at the budget hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee by other cyber security officials." Our nation has invested a lot in these people. They do this lawfully," General Alexander said." They take compliance oversight, protecting civil liberties, privacy and security of this nation to their heart every day." Yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against top US government officials to challenge the legality of the surveillance program.
I personally blame the Internet. What goes online stays online forever. Doesn't the NSA know that by now? Why should people be held accountable for their actions and their public statements? Who would have thought Al Qaeda would be useful as an ally to the US?  Maybe peace is just around the corner with Russia backing the current Syrian president.

The ramping up of US military operations against Syria is accompanied by diplomatic efforts to bring about a post-Assad government on terms favorable to US imperialism. Secretary of State John Kerry has sought an agreement with Russia, which would pave the way for a power-sharing arrangement.
Isn't it nice how they are going to share power? : -)

So what does all of this mean? Well someone in the CIA might be reading this very blog. Maybe he/she might decide I'm a national security threat and some kind of droney looking remote warplane could fly over my house and blow up my contents. Some may think this is a good idea. Others would say it's a breach of civil liberties. My neighbours would post a great status update on Facebook. Awesome snapshots would appear on Instagram. A video of the explosion would be uploaded on Youtube and relayed on News networks around the world. China would attempt to make a productive business deal utilising any manufacturing contract from the fallout. The US already knew about the whole deal because it hacked the computer the Chinese idea was stored on. The CIA would deny any involvement and I would simply Tweet #Ouch.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

The problem with seagulls in sport

Actual image of a seagull. 2013.

The recent dilemma faced by MCG officials got me thinking about effective seagull deterring 

Trained wedge tailed eagles are failing to prevent seagulls from landing on football grounds around Australia. (Actually the MCG) The sea-birds annoy the paying public whilst flying to their next port of call- horse racing tracks where they have been known to fly into jockeys dislodging the riders from their mounts. McDonalds patrons have a lot to answer for by throwing their cold French fries into car parks causing the coastal birds to venture from their natural habitats. I have formulated a few eradication ideas for consideration:

*Why not try an old fashioned shotgun? (No offence to our friendly wedge tailed raptor friends. Shooters need to pass a compulsory bird identification test before firing at any feathered body.)  You would only need to shoot a few hundred gulls and the rest would steer clear. Unless of course they start eating their pellet ridden siblings.

*Perhaps invite Clive Palmer to a seagull roast dinner. He looks as though he enjoys a few seagulls every now and then.

Clive before

Clive after

*Ask Eddie Maguire to dress up in a gorilla outfit and wave his arms around. Maybe public humiliation would kick start his brain freezes.

Eddie before

Eddie after

*Or, paint a fluorescent sign with an arrow stating "this way to the beach."

*We could offer a Tender contract to an American under 18 male who has social problems. They are bound to bring their military assault rifles. This method may be more effective than the previous shotgun theory.

Aaaargh, get these @#$$ off me

*Maybe electrify the newly erected wires that have been tethered across the northern and southern stands of the MCG skyline. The falling feathers and ashes at half time will entertain the crowd. Plain wires are never going to scare those rats of the sky. If gulls don't care about a wedge tailed eagle soaring above their heads they're not going to be bothered by a strained wire.
(I hope on Grand Final day officials remember to cut down the wires so the parachutists don't get tangled.)

There is no need to worry about the MCG wire trial. The strands versus birds has been approved by independent consultants according to:

(Who the heck is an independent seagull consultant? Is that really a career?
"Hi there,
My name is Barbara Maskell, Independent seagull consultant.")

Cute looking footballer on wrong team
Officials are concerned the avian pests are diminishing the aesthetic appeal for spectators. Im sorry, you can't diminish this guys appeal.
And I don't barrack for Collingwood

*I believe the most effective seagull good riddance technique is to employ 'bird boys' somewhat like the tennis counterparts and have them shoo the pests away. With tennis racquets.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Eat, pray, what is death?

The questions we ask can sometimes reveal the answers we already know. For example, if someone were to ask an intelligent maths question it would reveal to the questionee the probability the questioner has a sound knowledge of maths. Using this logic I wondered what are the main questions human beings generally ask themselves and what does this say about our society. Of course we cannot overlook Google when we search for an answer. 'Just google it,' has become the most answered answer to life's conundrums. Here are my findings to googling verbatim 'what is the most asked question?'

On the number 1 asked question is: 'What happens when I die?'
Second- 'Would you like fries with that?'
And third- 'Do you know the muffin man?'

 I may have added some poetic license to this result.

What does this data say about our society? Are we are all eternal existentionalists that are obsessed by food and celebrity.

The most scientific question on this website is, 'why is the sky blue?' Oh derr.
'How do you make pancakes?' And the old time favourite- 'What happens when I die?' Again food and death is the main theme.

Okay, so now I google "what happens when I die?" I had to select because the name says it all and this pearl of wisdom is what it offered:
  "To understand what happens when you die, we must first understand what death is. The dictionary definition of death is as concise at it is stark: The end of life; the total and permanent cessation of all the vital functions of an organism."

Thank-you for informing your readers the end of life is death.

There are heaps and heaps of Internet users, so many it's tricky getting reliable figures as to how many people are surfing the information highways. The main query the estimated 1 billion users can come up with is how to find and cook food and how to lose weight once we've eaten too much of it.  Followed by 'what is death?'

According to Wikipedia (nobody goes there without a question) there are over 300 million Internet users reading blogs similar to the crappy one you are reading now. There are also over 1 billion google searches a day. and that's just google. We have to ask if anyone is getting any closer to finding any answers?

Why are there so many questions being asked and what does it tell us about ourselves, and our society and humankind as a whole? Food, God, the meaning of life, how to lose weight and celebrities- that's our most asks. Should we change the way we inquire about the world around us? Well that's just another one of those questions.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Parental quandaries or, the things they do not tell you before you have children

Things to consider before you procreate:

  • To immunise or not to immunise, or, Autism versus any number of deadly diseases
  • Pacifier, dummy, or, the other option- insomnia
  • Breast or bottle, or, sags versus bags
  • Cloth or disposable nappies, or, rash versus environmental disaster
  • Public versus private school, or, illiteracy versus bankruptcy
  • The truth about Santa- Hey I still believe in the red fella'
  • Pocket money or poverty, or, earn versus free load
  • White bread, or, wholemeal- either way if you eat the crust your hair will curl
  • Smack or not to smack, or, brat versus bruise (I personnally find twisting ears works wonders)
  • Mobile phone or not to mobile phone which leads to monthly plans or pre-paid
  • XBox versus Playstation- Dad will ultimately decide and usually buy both
  • Social media or social retardation- Facebook versus Myspace versus Skype etc etc
  • Computer games (chewing gum for the brain) versus books- no brainer
  • Driving lessons- fork out a professional teacher, or, fork out inflated insurance premiums

By the time you consider all of the options your kids will either be getting married or leaving home or both. This will allow you to start planning for your grandchildren.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Gun Control. Who is in control?

Australia has had its share of gun law reform. Our former Prime Minister John Howard banned pump action shot guns and semi automatic rifles in 1996 instigated mostly by the Port Arthur massacre. Since those reforms were passed there has been no mass shootings in our nation.

The law reforms affected my husband who is an avid deer hunter. He owned a semi automatic rifle for the purpose of his sport and three days after successfully obtaining his license the banning of those weapons was introduced much to his disappointment. A lot more deer sleep easier since 1996 as the old bolt action rifles allow stags more fleeing time. Oh well, hunters around Australia have had to get better at aiming and maybe American hunters need to change their attitude too. (Keeping in mind hunters do not use military assault rifles to shoot deer).

However, is it fair to compare our nations' firearm laws to that of America?
It is beneficial sometimes to remind ourselves how these types of topics are all about perceptions. It all depends upon how you look at things and where you stand. For example our planet could be viewed from space like this: 

America, you are now down under.

I do not want to make light of this topic. The ABC's Four Corners profiled Adam and Nancy Lanze- an excellent perception in regard to Sandy Hook. The story can be seen here:

From my perspective America suffering another mass shooting has become commonplace. The recent Mother's Day shooting in New Orleans was received without reaction amongst my friends and family. The lack of shock concerned me. The attitude, 'Oh its just another shooting in America,' has become the USA's reputation.

From my perspective it leaves questions to be raised that only the people of America can answer:
  • How can the USA invade countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq under the pretense of freedom and justice and democracy? Who would want those kinds of freedoms and rights? The democratic right to kill children en masse. From my point of view it seems highly hypocritical and you can keep that style of democracy.
  • How can a nation be under the control of weapons manufacturers?
  • How can a person with a history of mental illness have unlimited access to military assault rifles?
  • Why should any person, sane or otherwise, have access to weapons of mass killing potential.

The US has grown as a nation on the back of litigation lawyers. Sue damnit. Litigate and be proud. Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory, USFA, the list is endless. Where have those suppliers displayed their duty of care? Those companies manufacture and trade products that injure and kill people. If they made a toy that choked a child they'd have their butts sued off.

Connecticut has taken the first step in gun law reform and I think its' people and leaders are bravely pioneering the way- and that is what it will take. Good old-fashioned people power. People who will not be dictated to by the NRA and leaders capable of sensible law reform.