Posts Tagged ‘BBC’

Magik Quilter, in the comments from yesterday’s post, proposed that I write about the girl from Hereford who won a case in which she decided that she’d avoid getting life saving heart surgery in order to “die with dignity”, reported here by the BBC.

First of all, I think this represents a wonderful step in the right direction: a society where euthanasia will be legalized. If people have debilitating sicknesses where they’re just vegetables or fractions of what they were before their conditions (perhaps they were born that way), I think it’s important that, for the sake of the person and their friends and family, that we allow them to be put to death with their consent. It’s ultimately up to them, though the line gets blurred as we start discussing what to do when people are comatose and other conditions where they are unable to express their consent for euthanasia (I am, however hesitantly, against euthanasia in those situations). We need to get over the label of “murder” and realize that euthanizing someone is a way to put them out of their misery, again, if they have their consent. Why make them go through terrible pain and anguish if they have horrible sicknesses like ebola or the AIDS virus if we can just put them to death with their consent.

I’ll be the first person to say that I love my life and I’m scared of death, but I’d call to be euthanized if I knew death was imminent. After all, I could die on my terms then – potentially, I could die with a loved one if I so chose, rather than dying at a random time, all alone, in my sleep.

The most important part of this, if I hadn’t made it clear already, is that we need the consent of the person who we’re going to euthanize. If we don’t have that, then it is murder, and euthanasia could be a “clean” way of disposing of people in a tyrannical government (look at the cruel experiments conducted on the Jews during the Holocaust).


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The BBC reports that the EU will finally begin talks with Russia for the first time since the Ossetian conflict.

European Union foreign ministers have decided to resume partnership talks with Russia, despite failing to reach unanimous agreement.

Lithuania, the former Soviet republic, remains unconvinced, saying the decision is a “mistake”.

The EU suspended talks over Russia’s intervention in Georgia, and Lithuania argues it has still not fully met the terms of the truce and withdrawn.

But the 26 other EU members agreed it was time to re-engage with Moscow.

“We have found a good way to proceed,” said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, after the foreign ministers met in Brussels.

“We think it is time to resume the talks.”

About time they realized that they need Russia more than anyone, and it was particularly foolish to suspend talks after the Georgian debacle. Maybe they figured out that it was Georgia that fired the first shot, not Russia?

I’m still angered over President-Elect Obama and his support for the missile defense shield in Poland. The BBC reports that an Obama aide said he was “uncommitted” to the defense shield, contradicting the past statement that he supported it, which I alluded to yesterday.

I am relieved that Obama doesn’t explicitly support the missile shield, at least in public. As anyone who has followed politics over the past 8, 12, hell, even 40 years, going back to the Johnson administration, knows, what politicians say to the public is different from what they actually say behind closed doors, which is when they say what they mean. There cannot be a contradiction here; Obama cannot simultaneously support and be “non-committed” to the missile shield at the same time. To do so would be an example of Big Brother politicking: a fantasy world where war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength. Due to the previously mentioned behavior of politicians, I’d wager that Obama was speaking the truth on the phone with President Kaczynski – all Kaczynski has to gain from the missile shield is a giant bullseye put on his chest from Russia, so why would he deliberately misquote Obama?

Yes, I realize that Obama isn’t making any decisions since he is not president yet, but I fear that he is showing is true colors as a mere politician – he isn’t showing any traits out of the ordinary except his charisma and speaking power. He has, regardless of his verdict on the shield, shown that he, like Bush, is going to be running an operation where the public talking points are different than what he’s actually doing – he acts contrary to what he says to the public. To lie to either the Polish president or the public is the same Bush schtick we’ve seen for the past 8 years, and I can’t make up my mind as to which action is worse. Recall how Colin Powell got in front of the UN and told them how grave the threat in Iraq was? Remember how Bush told us that Iraq had biological weapons and posed a serious threat to the United States? Those were statements that blatantly contradicted reality. If the reality in this situation is that Obama has committed to the missile shield, then he has lied by saying he “isn’t committed” to the missile shield; likewise, if the reality is that he isn’t committed to the missile shield, then he lied to the Polish president. It is, again, Orwellian in either case, where 2+2=5.

Again, if the latest story is true, I am relieved and somewhat pleased with Obama, though it doesn’t take away the fact that he lied (of course, there is a slight possibility that he misspoke, but you do not do that with an issue of this magnitude) to a leader of a foreign country. Remind you of the Bush administration?

People who voted Obama in as a “lesser of two evils” should remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

So, Will, enjoy your honeymoon with Barack. Hopefully you’ll be able to report on the bad decisions he makes while he’s president rather than president-elect, since that “-elect” somehow negates the legitimacy of his action. “Wait until he actually makes decisions!” you cry. But you forget that any action constitutes a decision, just as any decision constitutes an action. This is a decision he makes, just not as President of the United States. But, the point is, decisions he makes now are going to be indicators of what he will do as president. And it doesn’t look good.

To paraphrase a famous politician: this guy says he’s going to change politics, then he uses the same kind of doublespeak and contradictions we’ve seen from the Bush administration! This isn’t change we can believe in! This is 4 more years of the same, failed politics that put us in bad standing on the international stage.

(Although, I’ll admit, the sample size on the decisions is too small. We’ll have to, inevitably, wait and see)

The BBC reports:

More than 20 people have been killed in two suspected US missile attacks in northwest Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, security officials said.

About 15, including an al-Qaeda leader, were killed in an attack near the village of Mirali, North Waziristan.

In a second attack, seven people were killed in South Waziristan.

The US military has not commented. It has launched many missile strikes from Afghanistan against suspected militant targets recently.

Officials named the al-Qaeda leader in Mirali as Abu Akash, believed to be Iraqi.

Local officials told the BBC that at 2030 (1430 GMT), a drone fired two missiles and destroyed the target – a house in the Esori area about 30km from the town of Mirali.

Are you kidding me? Refer to yesterday’s post. By conducting attacks on other nations’ soil, we are doing nothing but helping al-Qaeda & Co. with their recruiting. We are, in an attempt to destroy them, becoming like them, except with full-fledged state sponsorship and a professional military. These attacks are doing nothing but helping them justify their anti-Western ideology.

When will we learn?

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The BBC reports that in Damascus, a mass of thousands marched in protest of the American attack on a Syrian village on Sunday, which killed 8.

Many at the government-backed demonstration carried banners, shouted anti-US slogans and waved pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Riot police surrounded the US embassy in Damascus, which American officials closed blaming security fears.

The Syrian government has demanded that Washington apologise for the incident.

The US state department and the White House have refused to confirm the alleged attack.

Slogans

The protesters, including many civil servants and students, converged on the central Youssef al-Azmi square.

Closing the Damascus embassy on Thursday, American officials cited “violence and significant damage to US facilities and other embassies” in past demonstrations.

Officials warned US citizens to avoid the area and an American school was also shut temporarily.

Is it any wonder how terrorist organizations manage to recruit young men to do their bidding against the evil West and especially America, when we kill innocent people and don’t even admit our crimes? These people feel a need to fight back against the Americans, who, as far as they know, have only killed their innocent friends, family, and countrymen while clearly violating international laws. The only way they can even dream of taking the fight to a much stronger opponent (that would be us) is to use terrorism’s tactics (in this case) of IEDs and suicide bombings.

The reason? Simply because our army is far better in conventional warfare than they are; they would be much less successful than they are if they fought like an actual army. By employing terrorism, they gain a little advantage: they make sure they can kill some Americans before they die.

We talk about how these terrorists are killing in the name of God. For some, that may be true, but for most, I’d expect that they’re killing in the name of their loved ones that our soldiers took away from them.

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The Good

Anatole Kaletsky has a piece in the Times about the need to act in order to rescue the country from the economic meltdown.

Johann Hari of the Independent has a chilling story about the Congolese genocide – and how we’re supporting it.

Keith Thomson has a piece in the Huffington Post detailing how McCain could win with 22% of the popular vote, never mind the projected 47%.

Cass Sunstein of the Daily Beast reminds us all that redistribution of wealth has been a core component of this country for quite some time now. After all, taxation is merely redistribution of wealth with a different name.

Tom McNichol has a hilarious parody on the Nigerian E-mail scammers.

The Bad

The BBC reports that the Fed’s cut interest rates again, which will probably drive us deeper into a long-term recession. Seems like the Fed is only interested in the shoot first, ask questions later mentality.

The Insightful

From Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish:

It’s very encouraging to see thugs like Chavez and Putin get the wind knocked out of their sails a little; and obviously many Americans are relieved to have some relief in their budgets. But the sad truth is: only high gas prices will ever wean us off Middle Eastern oil and provide the real market incentives to pioneer non-carbon energy. Falling oil prices could derail a serious move toward energy independence, which will be achieved in the end by the private sector, not the government. My own view is that the one thing the government can do right now is keep gas prices high, by raising gas taxes.

Today’s good, bad, and insightful:

The Good

The first two aren’t so much great as they are hilarious:

Martin Varsavsky lets us all know, that, as of today, Volkswagen is the wealthiest corporation in the world.

An Israeli child dressed up as a Palestinian gunman and took to the streets hoping to provoke a reaction from the police, the BBC reports. For a school project. Hey, he wanted to get an A!

Raymond Whitaker from The Independent’s blog Open House correctly surmises that, in America, it doesn’t even matter if you’re with us or against us: we’ll attack you no matter whose side you’re on.

The Daily Beast’s Christopher Brownfield explains exactly why the Syrian attack was bad, bad news.

The Bad

Nothing today.

The Insightful

Money quote from a post today in the Edge of the American West:

So, as I understand it, Obama’s plan to tax the really wealthy consists largely (or entirely) of letting the Bush tax cuts expire instead of extending them. * This is derided as a socialism; but aside from the ridiculousness of the difference between Real American Taxes and Evil Islamic Arugula Socialism being 3% and roughly half a billion bucks…. does this mean we were already socialist during the Bush administration before the tax cuts and didn’t know it?

I thought the socialist barricades would come with a little flag to wave.

Today’s good, bad, and insightful:

The Good

I realize that it was published two weeks ago, but the Economist’s article Capitalism at Bay is way too good not to mention.

Roberto Lovato has a plan for when (if?) the election gets stolen. There will be riots in the streets, people!

Christopher Hitchens has yet another seething attack on the GOP’s anti-intellectualism up at Slate.

The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg attacks Joe… the Senator (Lieberman, that is).

The Bad

We’ve launched a helicopter raid in Syria, and the BBC reports that the Syrian foreign minister has called the U.S. out on terrorist aggression. He’s absolutely right. (More on this to come, I feel it)

In quite possibly the most hilarious blog post I’ve ever seen (okay, maybe it’s just sad), Elaine Lafferty says that Sarah Palin’s a Brainiac. And no, it’s not a satire.

Oh, and Ted Stevens is guilty!

The Insightful

‘Twas a good day for the Guardian…

Michael Tomasky says this on Rev. Wright’s revival:

I see that Reverend Wright is resurfacing, just a bit, and I see that Obama said something on the radio seven years ago that pisses conservatives off. Boy. I don’t know, I’ve been wrong before, but it seems to me like they’ll need more than this.

The American people have sized up Obama for the better part of two years now. Polls indicate very clearly that swing voters have decided that he’s not nearly as dangerous and risky as four more years of conservative governance. Late reminders can influence some votes, and depending on how sleazy things get, states like Missouri and Indiana can be tipped back to McCain. But he needs a lot more help than that, and I don’t think Reverend Wright takes him where he needs to be.

And this article by George Monbiot is awesome. Money quote:

Besides fundamentalist religion, perhaps the most potent reason intellectuals struggle in elections is that intellectualism has been equated with subversion. The brief flirtation of some thinkers with communism a long time ago has been used to create an impression in the public mind that all intellectuals are communists. Almost every day men such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly rage against the “liberal elites” destroying America.

The spectre of pointy-headed alien subversives was crucial to the election of Reagan and Bush. A genuine intellectual elite – like the neocons (some of them former communists) surrounding Bush – has managed to pitch the political conflict as a battle between ordinary Americans and an over-educated pinko establishment. Any attempt to challenge the ideas of the rightwing elite has been successfully branded as elitism.

Obama has a lot to offer the US, but none of this will stop if he wins. Until the great failures of the US education system are reversed or religious fundamentalism withers, there will be political opportunities for people, like Bush and Palin, who flaunt their ignorance.