This week is the finals in The Voice singing competition. I have loved almost every one of the young singers & just hate when they get bumped out. I have no favorites; they’re all too marvelous not to have singing be their calling in life. Here’s Chloe Kohanski doing a beautiful rendition of “Time After Time”.
Birds are the last animal in the world who should ever be held captive or bred for captivity. They are meant by nature to soar free. They suffer unbearably & often rebel by crying, screaming, or becoming despondent. If there is just one that becomes emotionally dependent on its caretaker, you often don’t see that behavior. But they’re mostly flock animals & glory in the companionship of each other. Most of mine are rescues who escaped or were let go because of the screaming. Many buy them for children but they aren’t a child’s pet because kids get mad when the bird recoils from their affections. They are afraid & often don’t like being petted. Many of my rescues won’t allow me to touch them even after years of courting their trust. They come when they’re ready. Sometimes they never do.
My little flock isn’t happy where I’m living because it’s too small for their adventuring. In nature they’d be soaring, migrating, nesting, foraging, caring for offspring. In cramped captivity, they can just eat, chew on books, hide in closets. But then I turn music on & the entire flock comes around perching on my computer, desk, shoulders to listen for hours. They like folk & rock best & of course the contestants from The Voice.
My little teacup Chihuahua Miss Penny began tossing phlegm & pooping blood. The vet said she would require hospitalization but my experience with hospitalizing birds & dogs has not gone well. In the past, against the advice of the vet, I’ve pulled them out & brought them home because they were getting worse away from their family. My brilliant avian vet in Colorado (David McCluggage, DVM) advises against hospitalization because several studies show that animals heal seven times faster when they remain with their caretakers. So I wasn’t willing to leave little Penny since I knew she’d be terrified & feel abandoned.
I instead took her to the shelter which has found families for my rescues & asked their suggestion for treating her. I’ve learned not to panic when an animal gets sick. They thought she might be constipated & suggested pumpkin puree baby food to loosen her up. Indeed that was the problem & my little diva is back to her normal pissy self. Keep pumpkin puree in mind if your dog gets jammed up. And don’t panic when an animal gets sick. My success rate in healing & keeping my birds alive is considerably higher than vets. But I rely on Dr. McCluggage’s book “Holistic Care For Birds” & sometimes consultations with him by phone.
The Indian occupying forces must have been certain the small Kashmiri boy was hiding an assault rifle in his backpack. Otherwise they would never scare the hell out of him by ganging up five soldiers armed to the gills against a little kid.
There is growing concern in the Indian government about the suicide rate of soldiers deployed in Kashmir & among veterans after their return to India. The Indian military claims it’s due to marital problems, debt, psychological issues but we know from the astronomical suicide rate among US soldiers & veterans & the growing suicide rate among Israeli troops in Palestine that what is unbearable to soldiers & drives them to suicide is the monstrous crimes they commit against men, women, & small children. Kashmiris can hardly be expected to empathize with the soldiers but an anti-occupation movement in India can use soldier suicides to build broad public opposition to the occupation.
End the occupation. Self-determination for Kashmir.
Recently I’ve seen several posts concerned about the growth of armed militancy among Rohingya refugees. That’s long been a reproach to Kashmiris fighting against occupation & of course charges of terrorism against Palestinians are a staple of Israeli propaganda. We’re supposed to fret up a storm about the spread of Islamist fundamentalism & Wahhabi, Saudi, & Pakistani influence among the oppressed.
Stuff that rubbish & let’s get back to basics here. Those sustaining war, occupation, genocide have the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Does anyone actually believe Palestinians should just stand singing freedom songs while settlers expropriate all of the West Bank & turn Gaza into uninhabitable? That Kashmiris should just mourn & bury their youth in silence & passivity? That the Rohingya have no right to fight back against genocide?
Those concerned that self-defense against oppression is more dangerous than war, occupation, & genocide need to take a closer look at their Islamophobic paranoia or they will end up on the wrong side of justice. Syria is the bellwether in that regard.
This is 21-year-old Mohamed Jabair at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh posing to show burn injuries he sustained when his house in Arakan state was torched. He was knocked unconscious & blinded for several weeks by the explosion & only survived because his brother & others carried him for four days to reach asylum in Bangladesh. The money sent by relatives in Malaysia has run out & he can no longer afford treatment for his burns.
Now the question is: what the hell are the UN & other humanitarian aid groups doing in the refugee camps if they can’t provide necessary free medical services, clean water, port-a-potties? According to volunteer doctors doing rotations in the camps, the conditions are absolutely deplorable. There are thousands of sick people with contagious diseases, infections, broken limbs, burn injuries, bullet wounds, knife & machete cuts. If the established organizations do not have the resources to handle the magnitude of need, they cannot remain silent but must demand in stentorian voices that all governments, especially those with investments in Burma, provide massive, immediate, emergency aid. Without health care, clean water, & sufficient sanitation facilities in the camps, a cholera epidemic is only a matter of time.
There are governments directly collusive in the genocide by selling Burma arms (China, Russia, India, Israel, & others). Other governments, including the US, Canada, the EU, Japan, Vietnam who invest in Burma, are directly implicated by refusing to impose sanctions on Burma. It is long past the time for diplomatic civilities & deceits when the Burmese military is engaged in carrying out the final solution.
Stand with the Rohingya people in opposing genocide & demanding human, democratic, civil, & refugee rights.
(Photo by Jorge Silva/Reuters)
Watched a video on Twitter of Israeli soldiers protecting settlers throwing rocks at Palestinian farmers in the occupied West Bank. You see a lot of those kind of videos on Twitter, posted by Palestinian activists. Can’t remember ever seeing photojournalism of settler aggression against Palestinians except in Palestinian media or social media.
In American politics, the first refuge of perverts is the Bible. The second is the Constitution & due process. If all else fails, they just cry “liar” to their accusers.
As for formal apologies, a la Al Franken: he was no callow youth when he sexually assaulted Leeann Tweeden. He was 55 years old. Stuff the apologies.
It’s been so long since I’ve given an update on Betty Windsor & her mutant clan of freeloaders. But this is where that ‘people who live in glass houses’ thing comes in. How can I rail against moochocracy in the UK when the US government is run by Trump & politicians at the developmental stage of primordial slime or what the youth might call swamp creatures?
Elephants are deeply emotional & loving animals who form intense bonds of love with each other. They grieve & bury their dead & return to the grave sites just as humans do. Because of poaching & safari hunting, elephants are now listed as endangered & thousands of elephants have been orphaned. Several reserves & orphanages have been set up to care for them, the most famous being the Sheldrick orphanage near Nairobi, Kenya. The trauma of loss is so profound to the elephant that the bond between caretakers & the baby elephants becomes intense. The caretakers actually sleep with the babies so they will survive. After the elephants come of age & leave the reserve, they often come back from the wild to show former caretakers their offspring. According to the caretakers, the love goes both ways. One caretaker said, “It’s not for the wages. The more you’re with them, the more you satisfy yourself. You just love them.” That love is more than evident here as the caretakers at Sheldrick take the elephants out to stroll.
Now consider that Trump has reversed a US ban so that poachers & safari hunters like his two nimrod sons can import trophies of elephants killed without being prosecuted. The photo below is Trump, Jr. holding up the tail & standing over the corpse of an elephant he killed on a safari in 2012. If the Mueller commission does its job right, the creep will end up in the penitentiary for his other crimes.
(Photo of Sheldrick caretakers & elephants by Michael Nichols/National Geographic)