A Bob Burns Symphony
Posted 12-11-2007 at 09:21 AM by Amoroq
Some of you know him and some of you don't. I bring you a collection of Bob Burns.
This is a thread where we can post our stance on several political and social issues. Try not to start arguments about specific topics in this thread as this is just a thread to tell where we stand on the issues. Cheers.
Add more issues if you feel they are necessary for this topic. Although if nhldave wants to add any issues they will not be added due to spite.
The war against Iraq: Against it as it is immoral and illegal beyond reasonable doubt. The amount of sufferring caused is very sad. Those war criminals should be held accountable for the countless suffering.
The war against Haiti: Against it as it is immoral and illegal beyond reasonable doubt. The lack of media coverage is pretty sad as well. Reading of what has happened in Haiti in the last year and a half because of the coup is perhaps one of the saddest stories in the world.
The War against Afghanistan: Against it as it is immoral and illegal beyond reasonable doubt. You find that statement odd? Well no evidence was brought in 2001 that Al-Qaeda brought down the Twin Towers; the US government threatened the Taliban government to turn them over or else... with absolutely zero evidence. And none has been brought to the Afghan people since. All we have is highly doctored videos. Show us some evidence Al-Qaeda did it and than you can discuss it; but I guess might equals right for the US government. Furthermore, check out the FBI's most wanted page where you'll find Osama bin Laden; note how on the reasons why he is wanted what massive action is not mentioned. Kind of strange eh?
Solution to Israel/Palestine: End apartheid and have one state. Or is citizenry for Palestinians too out of the question?
Rising Latin American solidarity: One of the more uplifting political situations in the world as it is what the majority of Latin Americans want.
The UN: Disband it immediately. Corrupt and murderous organization that has no real use anymore. Disband, and start a real working world organization.
The death penalty: Generally against it.
Abortion: A right.
Health care: Revamping of health care is necessary. The current system is a joke and the private alternative is one of the scariest solutions I can think of. The problem is the lack of doctors. We are constantly told by the media and politicians alike that all our doctors are flocking to the States for higher wages even though in 2004 Canada saw more doctors coming to the country than leaving. The problem also involves education. Higher tuition fees means that fewer and fewer Canadians can afford med school which results in less doctors. You lower the tuition fees you have more people being able to afford to go to med school to become doctors and nurses.
Same-sex marriage: For it. Harms no one and can bring happiness to millions of people worldwide.
Animal rights/welfare: Needs more awareness. People need to be more conscious of what they eat and consume due to the amount of cruelty and torture in the animal industry.
Religion in state: Keep religion and politics completely separate.
Your political party affiliation: Socialist.
Medical Marijuana: For it. It relieves people of their pain and has minimal health risks. In fact marijuana should be legalised, just think of the amount of gang crime that would go down. But then having it illegal makes a lot of money for the elitists.
Censorship: A very fine line has to be drawn, and there will always be people who disagree. You cannot have a society that lawfully allows neo-nazis who preach hate and violence, yet how far do you take that? Do you remove pornography because it objectifies women and might lead to violence against women? I say no, but where do you draw the line without taking away people's right to free speech? Good topic Phish, not an easy one to answer.
Smoking in Public: Wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, and others should be addressed before we begin to worry about something like this. I would like to see this gradually phased out. There is no reason for why someone should be exposed to something as deadly as cigarette smoke in public.
Free Post-Secondary Education: This would be a great idea. The economy may slow down immediately, but the long term effects would be great. Imagine if everyone who was born into a poor house had the chance to be as educated as the rich. I'd love it. Everyone deserves that chance. It would be a great step forward for the advancement and evolution of society.
Declaring Bankrupcy on Student Loans: I'm not a big fan of student loans to begin with since I believe we should all have the right to a post secondary education, but I guess in regard to dealing with what we have, being able to declare bankruptcy would be good.
The Environment: The current political systems in Western countries has zero concern for the environment. Environmentalists battle hard to make minor reforms in their countries that just reduce the amount of increase of the destruction of the environment. If we want sustainable environmentalism we need to take from it what we need, and this goes directly against the economic policies of all the major political parties in the US and Canada. These parties will not all of a sudden 'be nice' for people concerned about the world; once people realise this and begin to go against all the elitist parties of today's western governments than we might see some level of environmental progression.
Government: The majority of the American people are against the massacre in Iraq yet in the last election 98% of those who voted voted for a pro-war candidate. Same thing here in Canada. Same thing on a whole host of issues. There is no representative democracy. It is a farce. People vote for one of two/three elitist parties that they hate the least and then we hold our noses over the developing world. And then when there is a government that does as the people want, ie Venezuela, we are continuously told that this government is the worst thing in the world. Go figure.
What’s the right age to drive: 16 is good and the issue is extremely non-important.
20 August, 1998. Terrorism strikes the poor African nation Sudan. Here is an article by cnn
immediately after their boy Clinton administred the attack on Sudan briefly discussing the attack. Notice how once again their target escapes unharmed.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Saying "there will be no sanctuary for terrorists," President Clinton on Thursday said the U.S. strikes against terrorist bases in Afghanistan and a facility in Sudan are part of "a long, ongoing struggle between freedom and fanaticism."
His comments were broadcast live from the White House shortly after he arrived in Washington from his vacation in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.
American cruise missiles pounded sites in Afghanistan and Sudan Thursday in retaliation for the August 7 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
U.S. officials say the six sites attacked in Afghanistan were part of a network of terrorist compounds near the Pakistani border that housed supporters of Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden.
American officials say they have "convincing evidence" that bin Laden, who has been given shelter by Afghanistan's Islamic rulers, was involved in the bombings of the east African embassies.
In the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, the El Shifa Pharmaceutical Industries factory -- which U.S. officials say was housing chemical weapons -- was also attacked.
Pentagon sources confirmed to CNN that the attacks were made with cruise missiles, not aircraft. The missiles were fired from ships in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. The simultaneous attacks took place about 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT).
In a brief comment made before his departure, the president said, "Today, we have struck back."
The president said he ordered the strike against bin Laden and his compatriots because of "compelling information they were planning additional terrorist attacks against our citizens and others with the inevitable collateral casualties and .. seeking to acquire chemical weapons and other dangerous weapons."
Rubble, fire in Khartoum
Sudanese television showed piles of rubble at the factory and fire raging in the distance. People were seen walking through the damage, wearing masks.
Sudanese officials reacted angrily to the attacks. Interior Minister Abdul Rahim told CNN in a telephone interview that the privately owned pharmaceutical firm had "nothing to do with chemical weapons."
"We have no chemical weapons factory in our country," he said.
A statement read on Sudanese television about an hour after the attack said, "The wrongful American air force launched air attacks on Sudan tonight which aimed at strategic and vital areas." There was no report as to the number of casualties.
Bin Laden reportedly survives attack
In Afghanistan, a spokesman for the ruling Taliban, Mullah Abdullah, said that "bin Laden is safe and no damage has been done to any of his companions." Bin Laden has been living in Afghanistan with the permission of the Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic group that controls most of the country.
Abdullah said the U.S. attacks were in Khost, about 90 miles (144 kilometers) south of the capital, Kabul, and on Jalalabad, 60 miles (96 kilometers) east of Kabul.
The supreme leader of the Taliban said they would never hand over bin Laden to the United States. A Pakistan-based Afghan news service quoted Mullah Mohammad Omar as condemning U.S. bombings on Afghan sites Thursday and saying that they showed "enmity" for the Afghan people.
Cohen: 'No sanctuary for terrorists'
U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen said the goal of the strikes was to disrupt and attempt to destroy the suspected training and support facilities used to train "hundreds, if not thousands, of terrorists." ( 1.9 MB / 20 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
"We recognize these strikes will not eliminate the problem," Cohen said. "But our message is clear. There will be no sanctuary for terrorists and no limit to our resolve to defend American citizens and our interests -- our ideals of democracy and law -- against these cowardly attacks."
US Intelligence says Clinton was unaware that this was a pharmecutical factory producing medicine that he had just bombed, not a military target. The devestation that was a result is truly horrifying:
About the consequences of the destruction of the Al-Shifa plant, we have only estimates. Sudan sought a UN inquiry into the justifications for the bombing, but even that was blocked by Washington, and few seem to have tried to investigate beyond. But we surely should. Perhaps we should begin by recalling some virtual truisms, at least among those with a minimal concern for human rights. When we estimate the human toll of a crime, we count not only those who were literally murdered on the spot but those who died as a result. That is the course we adopt reflexively, and properly, when we consider the crimes of official enemies—Stalin, Mao, and Hitler, to name the only the most extreme cases. Here, we do not consider the crime to be mitigated by the fact that it was not intended but was a reflection of institutional and ideological structures: the Chinese famine of 1958-61, to take an extreme case, is not dismissed on grounds that it was a “mistake” and that Mao did not “intend” to kill tens of millions of people. Nor is it mitigated by speculations about his personal reasons for the orders that led to the famine. Similarly, we would dismiss with contempt the charge that condemnation of Hitler’s crimes in Eastern Europe overlooks Stalin’s crimes. If we are even pretending to be serious, we apply the same standards to ourselves, always. In this case, we count the number who died as a consequence of the crime, not just those killed in Khartoum by cruise missiles; and we do not consider the crime to be mitigated by the fact that it reflects the normal functioning of policymaking and ideological institutions—as it did, even if there is some validity to the (in my mind, dubious) speculations about Clinton’s personal problems, which are irrelevant to this question anyway, for the reasons that everyone takes for granted when considering the crimes of official enemies.
With these truisms in mind, let’s have a look at some of the material that was readily available in the mainstream press. I disregard the extensive analysis of the validity of Washington’s pretexts, of little moral significance in comparison to the question of consequences.
A year after the attack, “without the lifesaving medicine the destroyed facilities produced, Sudan’s death toll from the bombing has continued, quietly, to rise. Thus, tens of thousands of people—many of them children—have suffered and died from malaria, tuberculosis, and other treatable diseases…Al-Shifa provided affordable medicine for humans and all the locally available veterinary medicine in Sudan. It produced 90 percent of Sudan’s major pharmaceutical products…Sanctions against Sudan make it impossible to import adequate amounts of medicines required to cover the serious gap left by the plant’s destruction. The action taken by Washington on August 20, 1998, continues to deprive the people of Sudan of needed medicine. Millions must wonder how the International Court of Justice in The Hague will celebrate this anniversary” (Jonathan Belke, Boston Globe, August 22, 1999).
Germany’s ambassador to Sudan writes that “It is difficult to assess how many people in this poor African country died as a consequence of the destruction of the Al-Shifa factory, but several tens of thousands seems a reasonable guess” (Werner Daum, “Universalism and the West,” Harvard International Review, Summer 2001).
“ The loss of this factory is a tragedy for the rural communities who need these medicines” (Tom Carnaffin, technical manager with “intimate knowledge” of the destroyed plant, quoted in Ed Vulliamy, Henry McDonald, Shyam Bhatia, and Martin Bright, London Observer, August 23, 1998, lead story, page 1).
Al-Shifa “provided 50 percent of Sudan’s medicines, and its destruction has left the country with no supplies of chloroquine, the standard treatment for malaria,” but months later, the British Labour government refused requests “to resupply chloroquine in emergency relief until such time as the Sudanese can rebuild their pharmaceutical production” (Patrick Wintour, Observer, December 20, 1998).
The Al-Shifa facility was “the only one producing TB drugs—for more than 100,000 patients, at about 1 British pound a month. Costlier imported versions are not an option for most of them—or for their husbands, wives and children, who will have been infected since. Al-Shifa was also the only factory making veterinary drugs in this vast, mostly pastoralist, country. Its specialty was drugs to kill the parasites which pass from herds to herders, one of Sudan’s principal causes of infant mortality” (James Astill, London Guardian, October 2, 2001).
The silent death toll continues to mount.
These accounts are by respected journalists writing in leading journals. The one exception is the most knowledgeable of the sources just cited, Jonathan Belke, regional program manager for the Near East Foundation, who writes on the basis of field experience in Sudan. The Foundation is a respected development institution dating back to World War I. It provides technical assistance to poor countries in the Middle East and Africa, emphasizing grassroots locally-run development projects, and operates with close connections to major universities, charitable organizations, and the State Department, including well-known Middle East diplomats and prominent figures in Middle East educational and developmental affairs.
According to credible analyses readily available to us, then, proportional to population, the destruction of Al-Shifa is as if the bin Laden network, in a single attack on the US, caused “hundreds of thousands of people—many of them children—to suffer and die from easily treatable disases,” though the analogy, as noted, is unfair. Sudan is “one of the least developed areas in the world. Its harsh climate, scattered populations, health hazards and crumbling infrastructure combine to make life for many Sudanese a struggle for survival”; a country with endemic malaria, tuberculosis, and many other diseases, where “periodic outbreaks of meningitis or cholera are not uncommon,” so affordable medicines are a dire necessity [Jonathan Belke and Kamal El-Faki, technical reports from the field for the Near East Foundation]. It is, furthermore, a country with limited arable land, a chronic shortage of potable water, a huge death rate, little industry, an unserviceable debt, wracked with AIDS, devastated by a vicious and destructive internal war, and under severe sanctions. What is happening within is largely speculation, including Belke’s (quite plausible) estimate that within a year tens of thousands had already “suffered and died” as a result of the destruction of the major facilities for producing affordable drugs and veterinary medicines. This only scratches the surface.
Human Rights Watch immediately reported that as an immediate consequence of the bombing, “all UN agencies based in Khartoum have evacuated their American staff, as have many other relief organizations,” so that “many relief efforts have been postponed indefinitely, including a crucial one run by the US-based International Rescue Committee [in a government town] where more than fifty southerners are dying daily”; these are regions in “southern Sudan, where the UN estimates that 2.4 million people are at risk of starvation,” and the “disruption in assistance” for the “devastated population” may produce a “terrible crisis.”
What is more, the US bombing “appears to have shattered the slowly evolving move toward compromise between Sudan’s warring sides” and terminated promising steps towards a peace agreement to end the civil war that had left 1.5 million dead since 1981, which might have also led to “peace in Uganda and the entire Nile Basin.” The attack apparently “shattered the expected benefits of a political shift at the heart of Sudan’s Islamist government” towards a “pragmatic engagement with the outside world,” along with efforts to address Sudan’s domestic crises, to end support for terrorism, and to reduce the influence of radical Islamists [Mark Huband, Financial Times, September 8, 1998].
Seven years later, the death toll continues to rise into five digits, and those responsible for this mass murder have still not been brought to justice...