Not in my backyard

Was talking with my sister (she’s Canadian) the other day about the ‘Not in my backyard’ mentality of many people, not just Americans.  She was telling me about plans for alternative energy sources through windmills and how homeowners in an area slated for windmills were against the idea because it would bring their home prices down.This ‘not in my backyard’ thinking says that anything that will benefit mankind should not do so at my inconvenience.  People are glad for new and improved airports but if the extension of the airport affects them negatively even in the remotest of ways, then ‘no way jose’.  Yet shut the airport down, and there’s wailing and gnashing of teeth.With the new super huge planes coming on stream, today’s airports will soon be redundant.  If the airports are not increased in size to land these super planes, we will all be commuting longer distances to reach an airport.But airports and windmills aren’t my topic… continued hypocrisy is.Fiscally oriented politicians, mainly tea partyers and other republicants, disparage Obama for deficits and huge government (where were they during the dank days of the Bush regime?).   So when Obama prepares a budget that they in principle should love, they hate the parts where spending cuts will affect their districts.    Hahahahaa.  So we come to the point… the hypocrisy of ‘not in my backyard’.  Fiscal prudence is for the other guys. This reminds me of the old Jamaican joke about the hungry rasta who eats pork by changing the name.   These politicians and people are saying take away his pork but don’t touch my Arnold.***But there are some areas in the budget that still are getting boom time even while social services to the poor and at risk are getting slashed.  My favorite of course is the military, where the concept of ‘wanga-gut’ is taken to a new level every year.It’s easy to look at the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions which gobble up billions yearly.  In 2008, the cost of both was $184.5 billion, and for 2009 it was $150b.  The ‘surge’ was not included in the 2009 figures.So far, over $1 trillion has been spent on both wars.  The tea-partyers and the asinine republicants (they are not always the same) have no complaints.One of the things that they say nothing about is the level of waste and corruption because private sector military contractors are having a ball seeing an easily ‘milkable’ cow in the defense department which has never seen a new weapon of mass destruction it doesn’t crave… and who is into building a new toy and making the old one redundant even before the latter comes off the production line.The level of corruption in the military-industrial incestuous partnership supercedes the corruption of any other country in the world.  The US owns 40% of the world’s spending on arms.Interestingly, much of what is costing the taxpayers most, isn’t relevant to Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan.  It’s to stay way ahead of the Russians.*** img_5762.jpgI’ve had run-ins with the tea-party mindset and believe me, they are mostly nutjobs, some often a tad bit, well, racist.  They make my skin crawl. Recently I was foolish enough to be drawn into a discussion with one even though I told him I wasn’t interested.  Like diarrhoea, they won’t take no for an answer.  Anyway, this dude actually thought that Sarah Palin was ready for the presidency of the United States.  That should have ended the discussion right there.  Alas it didn’t and that was my mistake. I won’t go into details but I’m convinced that these people are at best, deluded sanctimonious hypocrites with the selective memory of a rubber stamp.It’s like teaching a pig to sing.  There is no satisfaction.  You waste your time and the pig is annoyed. img_5755.jpg***When I first heard about the coalition forces attack on the Taliban-held city of Marja, I thought that the mission was underway… only to find that the military was advertising the attack well ahead of time.  “War… coming to your theater soon”.  What!Yes, the attack was in the press, military commanders were giving out dates and plans and even prophesying what the taliban were going to do.  Like the famous “Shock and Awful”, they even predicted a quick end.  “We are going on Monday and by lunch we will be playing a comfortable round of golf in the city square”.  Didn’t happen.The taliban weren’t where they were supposed to be, but bombs were.  The week didn’t end nearly as successful as predicted.  Why don’t these people keep their mouths shut and just fight?One of the problems is that they are trying to keep civilian casualties low (usually they would just invent figures but now more people are watching them) while fighting a set of ‘ghosts’ they can’t really identify clearly.  It’s like trying to combine the natural instincts of a wild boar with a born again Christian vegetarian.***A BBC story recently ran a story with a pic of Hilary Clinton with Saudi foreign minister prince Saud al-Faisal.  Both were in their ‘condemn Iran’ mode with Clinton assuring more sanctions while Faisal demanded a “more immediate solution”.  Can there be anything clearer than bombbombbomb?It would be ordinary if it was a republicant making that urging, but a muslim urging war against another muslim?  As Marvin Gaye asked, “What’s going on?”.Saudi Arabia is wahhabi, a more conservative form of Islam than Iran’s shi’ite.   Most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.  Osama bin Laden, and his family who were smuggled out of the US by the Bush presidency are Saudis.Bill Clinton’s Foundation received between $10-25 million in 2008 from the Saudis.In something called the Global Peace Index, New Zealand with a ranking of 1 is a very peaceful country with little likelihood of violence and turmoil.  Jamaica is 102 (doesn’t look good, does it?), Afghanistan is 143, the United States is 83 (hmm?), Iran is 99 and Saudia Arabia is 104.What that says I guess, is that if there is trouble, I should be watching Saudi Arabia closer than I should be watching Iran.  And I certainly shouldn’t be accepting advice from them on whom to bomb.***While on the subject of Iran, read this quote from the New York Times, February 19 2010 , “The Obama administration said that Iran was producing only 100 grams a day of enriched uranium, and that even if it could quadruple its capacity it would still need several years to make enough for a weapon”.What’s the fuss, tell me what’s happening.***People are still confused as to health insurance reform.  The republicants have cast the measures either as communism or ungodly, “god never meant us to be healthy like other developed countries around the world”.  Riiiight.The fact is it isn’t that hard.  Over 50 million Americans are uninsured and more than 50 million are under-insured.  Those numbers are increasing by leaps as the economy continues to treat lower level labour badly.  So that’s one side.On the other side, insurance companies are wiring into super profits at the expense of their customers.  How?  Well the answer is many pronged but 2 of the ways are to deny legitimate claims (which they have done for years) and increase premiums.  The latter has a 2 pronged effect. It gives them more income but it also forces out the sick who therefore won’t be a drain on profits when they need hospital care.The top 5 insurance companies- WellPoint, UnitedHealth, Cigna, Aetna and Humana- posted combined profits of over $12 billion, which is up 56% over 2008.  At the same time, they covered 2.7 million fewer clients.  Of course some of these clients bailed due to the economy, but a lot of them were either dropped or forced out by higher premiums.That’s the American way…. Higher cost, lower care.  Ain’t this country great or what?So, whose side are you on? Those millions without health care or those making billions off the misery of others?If you want to look at it another way, who is it paying lobbyists and politicians millions to block any kind of health care reform where people benefit, or who wants to re-write the bills so they benefit more?Of course tea-partyers point out that health insurance are profit making companies just like Microsoft and Wal-Mart.  Well, not exactly.  Wal-Mart’s decisions affects shareholders, products and people buying those products, and labour.  Aetna’s financial decisions on the other hand, are directly related to who lives and who dies.When Wal-Mart decides to hike the price of a product, people don’t directly die as a consequence.***Here is something else interesting.  Scientists have learned how to genetically engineer animals so as to ‘block its affective perception of pain’.  Like how to kill a cow for a hamburger so the cow hardly feels the pain.   Hmmm.So I wonder.  How bout doing the same thing for genetically engineered soldiers or even those with poor health.  They don’t feel pain, they don’t claim.  Haha, massive profits. ***The irony of FREE  as found on Office Depot’s website:office-depot-2.jpg