The Duhalar people of Mongolia

Mongolian child with deer (Hamid Sardar-Afkhami) Feb 20 2015

This is a Duhalar child sleeping on the reindeer as her mother milks the herd nearby. Duhalars, who live in northern Mongolia along the Siberian border, are among the last nomadic reindeer herders in the world. They depend on reindeer not only for milk & transportation but also their shamanic spirituality. They are seldom eaten.

There are only about 40 Duhalar families remaining, about 200 to 400 people. The reindeer population has also decreased. This isn’t some sort of Darwinian extinction but bungled social policy by the Soviet Union which interfered with Duhalar tradition, forcing many young to move elsewhere. In the 1970s, the USSR halted the nomadic lifestyle, put reindeer under state control, & forced Duhalars into fishing & hunting collectives. That might qualify more as railroading than interference. The state also began harvesting reindeer antlers to supply the Chinese medicine market which is when the reindeer population declined.

When the USSR collapsed in 1991, the state had no money to pay the collective workers so the reindeer were handed back to them & they returned to the nomadic way of life. The loss of traditional herding knowledge took a toll on those remaining & many reindeer were lost to disease.

Much of their income today is from tourism & likely from putting up the anthropologists who come to scrutinize & document their demise.

Would that the tender relationship between child & deer prevailed in the larger world & bureaucrats would leave the Duhalars alone.

(Photo by Hamid Sardar-Afkhami)

The continuing farce of PBS news

If you’re having a weak moment & feeling down on yourself, go to the PBS website & check out PBS news. Their news commentators are all expensively educated leading figures of the Fourth Estate. A Stanford or Yale education costs a bundle. And still their parents must have had to kiss a lot of butts & call in a lot of favors to get their dummkopf kids a prestigious job in journalism. All that money spent to educate them down the tubes!

Mumble-mouth David Brooks, the resident expert on Islam who can’t distinguish ISIL from the local imam, is only the worst of them. The rest of them waste those educations on parsing the latest speech from Obama; discussing the latest moronic utterance from Giuliani; & trying to find ways to dance around the snow-job the Obama regime just pulled on undocumented immigrants–getting them to identify themselves & their location to the government on the hope of amnesty, & then getting a federal court to annul Obama’s executive order. Now immigration knows just where to pick them up.

Privilege does not serve society one whit. It only jangles our minds & makes us think we’re stupid when what they say doesn’t make a lick of sense. Down with privilege! But in the meanwhile, use it to buoy your spirits when you’re feeling low.

Racist profiling in Alabama: the case of Sureshbhai Patel

PBS news reported that in Madison, Alabama on February 6th, a 911 call came in alarmed about a “tall, skinny Black man” walking in the neighborhood. The caller did not report he was engaged in suspicious activity but a patrol car was sent to check out why a Black guy was walking down the sidewalk. Fifty-seven-year-old Sureshbhai Patel had just arrived in the US from India to visit his son & care for his 17-month-old grandson. He didn’t speak a word of English.

When the two cops confronted him, he was not a suspect in any crime, was not armed, & was unable to understand their questions. He said “no English”, & repeated his son’s house number. He made a slight movement & one of the cops took him down. Mr. Patel is now partially paralyzed from a spinal injury & faces a very long recovery.

In the tradition of PBS, they brought on two experts for comment. One was a woman from an Indian civil rights group in the US who spoke cogently about racist profiling, making connections to Ferguson & Staten Island. The other guy was a criminology professor from the University of Missouri & also a former cop. He became quite agitated in response to the Indian activist, insisting it was just a procedural mistake, having nothing to do with racism.

Half-witted legal eagles are questioning the criminality of this act & suggest it may be only a civil liability. Racism makes you think funny, approximating derangement.

Please consider contributing to the medical expenses of the Patel family while they pursue litigation against the Madison Police Department:

The 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center and international intrigue

1994 AMIA bombing mark the anniversary of the attack in 2006. (photo credit- AP:Natacha Pisarenko)  Feb 20 2015

Media is filled with reports about the January 18th death of Alberto Nisman, an Argentine prosecutor scheduled to testify the following day to a congressional committee about the role of president Cristina Fernandez Kirschner & foreign minister Hector Timerman in covering up the role of Iran & Hezbollah in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center (AMIA). Nisman alleged the cover-up was brokered in exchange for favorable oil deals with Iran.

Throughout this story one has to keep in mind that 85 people were killed & 250 injured. Two years earlier, the Israeli embassy was bombed, killing 29 & injuring 242. After the AMIA bombing, Israel immediately sent teams of Mossad agents, IDF personnel, & a forensic team & Argentina’s intelligence service went on red alert, sealing up the borders against terrorists. After that initial info we need a squad of forensic detectives, legal eagles, & masters of espionage to figure out what the hell happened.

It’s almost impossible to find a coherent narrative of how the Argentine government mangled the investigation & prosecution of this crime. The government has been accused of incompetence but accusations of cover-up are much more likely. The mangling was so egregious that in 2005 then president Nestor Kirschner called the investigation a “national disgrace.” The confusion compounds with Zionist accounts competing with nut-job & antisemitic libertarian conspiracy theories. And unfortunately, it’s possible Nisman’s allegations are also dubious.

Early on, Argentina, Israel, & the US claimed Hezbollah executed the attack master-minded by Iran officials, though both of course denied it. Nisman, a federal prosecutor who worked on the investigation, formally accused Iran & Hezbollah in 2006 (during the term of Nestor Kirschner) & in January 2015 came up with a 300 page indictment against president Cristina Fernandez (widow of Nestor Kirschner) & foreign minister Hector Timerman, alleging the oil deal. That is what Nisman was scheduled to testify about when he died from a gunshot wound. What the current protests are about is suspicion that he did not commit suicide but was taken out to prevent his testifying. Not improbable at all.

The problem is that Nisman does not appear to be a disinterested party. Santiago O’Donnell, an Argentine journalist, alleges that Wikileaks documents show Nisman colluded with the US State Department to charge Iran & Hezbollah with the bombing. That, combined with the framework of Israel’s conflicts with both Iran & Hezbollah, gives serious cause for doubt about Nisman’s allegations. Israel & Zionist media are involved in whipping up protests in Argentina alleging Nisman was murdered. That does not make Nisman a Zionist stooge but colluding with the US does.

We’re not likely to learn the truth about who bombed the community center because vested interests have big stakes in controlling the evidence. But it should be said that while Iran & Hezbollah do not have a history of terrorist acts outside the Middle East, Mossad & the CIA do. That’s not an allegation but Nisman would have to explain the anomaly & the motive of Iran & Hezbollah bombing a community center in Buenos Aires.

Behind all this espionage, double-dealing, & treachery, there are those who died & were injured in the bombings. Whoever did it should be hunted down & prosecuted but regrettably that won’t be done under the corrupt regime of president Cristina Fernandez Kirschner. The death of Nisman should also be investigated & not by the Argentine government, which is tainted. Human rights groups in Argentina are calling for commissions independent of the regime to do just that because those who were murdered & their families have a right to justice & for the perpetrators to be held accountable.

The photo is from a 2006 protest in Buenos Aires marking the anniversary of the 1994 bombing & demanding justice. The photos are those who died & their images will haunt justice until it is delivered.

(Photo by Natacha Pisarenko/AP)

PETA loves animals except for human females

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) hired these naked models to stand outside London’s Fashion Week to protest the use of fur in garments. At some point PETA decided misogyny was the best tactic to oppose animal abuse & that has been their schtick ever since.

Protests to PETA by feminists & potential donors are swatted away like gnats & considerable arrogance. That’s because misogyny pays off for PETA. They have solid connections with media, giving them regular coverage in all the big papers & magazines; they are the favorite nonprofit of many high-profile celebrities, musicians, & athletes; & they have many lucrative marketing partnerships with corporations.

Feminists who object to exhibitionism as a political method are taunted as blue-nosed & “sex-negative” anachronisms from 1970s feminism who’ve aged out of relevance. It’s hard to deal with misogyny & stupidity at the same time but still it must be repeated that using sex to sell is a capitalist cliche. Feminists are not opposed to female sexuality; no movement did more to liberate it from exploitation, degradation, & violence. PETA just doesn’t see the money in that.

Who are the “protesters” talking to here? The fashion industry, where nudity is an everyday banality? Or the passersby grateful for a free peepshow? FEMEN’s exhibitionism gained them 15 minutes of fame; Slut Walks was another flash-in-the-pan spectacle–both done in by racism & by demeaning the struggle for women’s rights.

Naked women are vulnerable women in a society intoxicated with female hatred. Power is what feminists are after & that requires involving women who won’t leave the house without their makeup as much as those who won’t leave the house without their niqabs. If you can only come to the revolution naked or in your underwear, there won’t be no revolution.

PETA doesn’t have to worry about all that; they’ve got corporate & media power on their side with movie stars as shills.

(Photo by Will Oliver/EPA)

The corrupting influence of Zionism

Anyone confused about the political character of Zionism should check out their umpteen sites on Facebook. There is such disassociation from reality, such belligerence, racism, & hatred that what at first can seem amusing becomes deeply troubling.

Most are convinced the US betrays Israel; they’re fixated on & demonize Hamas; & they repeat Israeli military claims like they come from scripture. It is laughable when they claim Hamas strapped explosives to a donkey to attack Israeli troops in Gaza during Israel’s carpet bombing last summer. The military claimed it opened fire, killing the donkey & detonating the explosives. That becomes more odious when they liken that to the Israeli claim that Palestinians use their children as human shields to justify targeting children in Gaza.

What’s disturbing about all this & not one whit funny is that Zionism has so twisted people psychologically, intellectually, morally, & politically that paranoia is their normal state of mind, that they believe crazy-assed ideas as though they were rational, that they hate so irrationally as they do.

If this assessment is wrong, please suggest a Zionist Facebook site where the theoretical & political level doesn’t look like farce on the surface, folly in the commitments, & tragedy in the corruption of young people.

The travesty of US justice

The US Justice Department (JD) is running two investigations related to the police murder of Michael Brown last August. One is whether the cop violated Brown’s civil rights during the summary execution. Because, so it’s claimed, it’s difficult to prove willful intent beyond a reasonable doubt, no one expects civil rights charges will be filed against the cop. Didn’t someone once say, “the law is an ass”? Shouldn’t those who parse law to turkey trot around justice be thrown out of the practice on their ears?

There are also reports the JD will file a lawsuit against the Ferguson Police Department for discrimination against Blacks. Future prosecutors take note: any trial will be a real study in legal maneuvering.

Just a reminder that the JD is still investigating civil rights violations in the vigilante murder of Trayvon Martin in February 2012. What’s that mantra about ‘justice delayed’?

Human rights crimes on the Mediterranean

Young immigrants ( REUTERS:Antonio Parrinello) Feb 16 2015

These are some of the young men who survived the horrific crossing from Libya to the island of Lampedusa where there is an immigrant processing center. The survivors are from the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gambia, Niger, Mali, & Mauritania, according to a UN immigration agency. They didn’t just survive the crossing but unlike 29 of their fellow countrymen, they survived the rescue by the Italian coast guard who use boats too small to accommodate people below deck.

The death of 29 immigrants rescued by the coast guard & forced to stay on upper decks in brutal weather for 18 hours has to be among the most horrific human rights crimes ever committed under EU immigration policy.

None of the damn officials from Italy, the EU, or the UN look anything but criminally stupid, incompetent, & vicious. But there are those in this otherwise bleak story who stand out for having some humanity. And not for the first time. In October 2013, when a boat carrying 364 immigrants mostly from Eritrea, Somalia, & Ghana sank off the coast of Lampedusa, local fishermen blew the whistle on the the Italian coast guard for intentionally bungling the rescue. When the Italian government moved the bodies of the drowned to Sicily for burial in scattered, unmarked graves, survivors were unable to attend the memorial service or hold funerals for their own loved ones. Residents of Lampedusa joined human rights activists, survivors of the accident, & detainees at the Lampedusa refugee center in protest.

Lampedusa’s mayor, Giusi Nicolini, has more than once publicly criticized the EU & Italian government for their immigration policies, including comparing them to organized crime & asserting that none of them cares if immigrants live or die.

These young survivors have just been put through hell & what’s remarkable to note is the air of defiance & dignity they still hold. Unless we rally to their defense as brothers & sisters, we should hang our heads in shame.

Immigration is a human right! No ifs, ands, or buts.

(Photo by Antonio Parrinello/Reuters)