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Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Hypersonic hype

If you watched TV news yesterday, or read most newspapers, here's the story you heard: "Hypersonic plane could fly from New York to Los Angeles in less than an hour." The news was all about the potential revolution in commercial travel, about how "the WaveRider could potentially fly from Los Angeles to New York in 46 minutes."

But if you're good at reading between the lines, or if you read to the end of the stories that appeared online, you'd learn what this news was really about:

Hypersonic travel, meaning speeds of Mach 5 (3,800 miles per hour) and above, has been a focus of the military as it looks to perfect a technology that can become the new stealth.


If it’s possible to achieve sustained hypersonic flight, it would be possible to deliver missiles to their targets in minutes rather than hours, the Times reported.

The advantage of that would be ensuring the target hasn’t moved by the time the missile’s deadly cargo arrives.
One aspect of this goes unmentioned even in the fine print. The U.S. doesn't only want to be able to "deliver missiles to their targets in minutes." It also wants to be able to deliver missiles to their targets from the U.S., rather than relying on basing them in its hundreds of foreign bases, bases whose future cannot be guaranteed.

But to the average American news consumer, this is all about the possibility of faster travel from LA to NYC. "The truth is out there," but, like a magician, the U.S. government and its obedient media do their best to distract the audience from what is really going on.

Monday, August 06, 2012


The mass, intentional killing of civilians (a.k.a. genocide)

Today is "Hiroshima Day" on which people all over the world remember the day the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing up to 140,000 Japanese civilians. Three days later another 75,000 were killed by the second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. What I choose to remember on this day is that these were not exceptional acts in any way, save the particular method of destruction. Thanks largely to Kurt Vonnegut and his book Slaughterhouse Five and not any history lessons in school, many people know of the firebombing of Dresden, which killed at least 35,000 German civilians, and probably many more. But Dresden was not the only city bombed by British and U.S. forces, and, all told, at least 600,000 German civilians (or "innocent civilians" as they would be called in the corporate media if they were victims of an enemy of the U.S.) were intentionally slaughtered by the U.S. and Britain.

In Japan, the story is the same. The firebombing of Tokyo is relatively well-known (emphasis on the word "relatively"; I doubt students hear much about it in history class either), with 100,000 Japanese civilians slaughtered by U.S. brutality. But an astonishing 67 other Japanese cities were also firebombed, killing hundreds of thousands of more Japanese civilians, exceeding the totals killed by the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The story continued after World War II. In Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of civilians intentionally killed by U.S. forces. In the first Gulf War against Iraq, the deliberate destruction of Iraq's water supply with a plan to keep it from being reconstructed which resulted in more than a million deaths, including a half-million Iraqi children. As I wrote,

The U.S. had studied in detail all aspects of Iraq's water system, had planned a strategy for preventing Iraq from reconstructing that system (via the sanctions), and knew in advance that "this could lead to increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease."
A deliberate war crime, a plan for mass genocide.

The bombing of Hiroshima is worth remembering, but not because it was a unique event, but precisely for the opposite reason, that it was just one of countless examples of mass genocide committed by imperialism against the people of the world.

Thursday, August 02, 2012


And another year starts

Aug. 2, 2003. The day of the first post on this blog. Not much happening here lately, probably not many readers any more, since I'm no longer posting regularly, and it's really only regular posting that keeps people showing up. I'm trying to do some tweeting these days to make up, but frankly not that much of that either. Blame it on Facebook, where I spend more time keeping up with my personal friends and, as a result, less time keeping up with the "public" (such as you are). Anyway, if you read this, thanks for checking in once in a while. I'm still around, and still keeping my left eye on the news.

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