Saturday, 31 August 2013

You Probably Didn't Know This About Any Of This..

I can understand why people hate watching and/or reading the news. I mean have you seen the news lately? It's HORRIBLE! The World can be such a depressing place sometimes.

No wonder people like to spend their time distracting themselves with their phones; watching Youtube videos; maybe reading this blog (hmm?); while ignoring what's going on around them. And I can't blame them. It's easier to concentrate on the trivial things in life.

You're probably not going to turn on CNN any time soon and the Breaking News is that “Today was a good day.” Nope..the good news is few and far between I'm afraid, it's usually filled with stories about conflict in various parts of the world; occasionally we're treated to the spectacle of a Royal Baby being born. And as nice as that is, sometimes I can't help get the impression that there's a lot of injustice in the World.

I'm not na├»ve; I've watched “The Wire.” I know that things don't always work out according to plan. Sometimes the good guys are the bad guys and vice versa. Sometimes they get away with crimes they committed. Of course when justice does prevail it doesn't seem enough somehow. But that doesn't mean we just sit quietly and let the injustice continue. My small contribution is to offer you my snarky opinion on certain topics. Let's begin.

Halliburton recently pleaded guilty to destroying evidence relating to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. And for lying the company will have to pay the government the grand sum of $200,000. That's not a typo, that was the actual amount they were fined; of course, Halliburton will also be donating $55 Million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

While I commend the executives for donating out of their good “conscience” the “punishment” feels like a slap on the wrist; especially when you find out that Halliburton made $7.3 Billion in total revenue in the second quarter of 2013. That'll teach em' a lesson.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government was more than happy to make an example out of Chelsea Manning; the soldier was recently sentenced to 35 years in prison. If you're slightly confused and wondering why I didn't mention Bradley Manning, then you definitely haven't been paying attention to the news (check the links below).

In a statement read by Chelsea Manning's lawyer she said that "When I chose to disclose classified information... I did so out of love for our country and a sense of duty for others. If you deny my request for a pardon I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society."

While I'm aware that she broke the law and is therefore considered a criminal I can't help feel sorry for her; when a government or a soldier does something that is morally wrong and if you ignore what's happening then you are part of that moral wrongdoing. It must have been difficult to have that burden on your shoulders. I don't know what I would've done if I had been in that same position. I will say that I admire Chelsea Manning for having the courage for doing what she did. Btw, good luck trying to get Edward Snowden now.

I wonder what ever happened to those Apache pilots in the “Collateral Murder” video. I get it, war is Hell; and in war mistakes happen. But I'm pretty sure that those men are spending time with their families and getting to sleep in their own beds at night. Chelsea Manning on the other hand will be spending her time in a cell for at least the next 7 years, which is when she will be eligible for parole.

Chelsea Manning's supporters have called on President Obama to give her a pardon. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen. Especially now that the President is busy with the issue of Syria and the governments alleged use of chemical weapon on it's own people.

In a recent interview with CNN, President Obama said that what has happened in Syria is “very troublesome”; in a separate interview the Secretary-General of the UN Ban Ki-Moon said that “Clearly this was a major and terrible incident. We owe it to the families of the victims to act.” The UN estimates that there have been over 100,000 deaths in Syria as well as over 2 Million Syrians made refugees from the fighting.

You won't catch me disagreeing with either of those two opinions, but why all of the sudden is there a rush to act now? Wasn't it “very troublesome” when there were 10,000 deaths? How about at 50,000 deaths? Why are governments so focused on the “red line” when it comes to chemical weapons? So basically you can kill 100,000 of your own citizens but make sure to keep using bullets and bombs? “We” owed the families of victims to act a really long time ago. But hey, international politics is complicated.

And in Japan the news isn't great as well. The Japanese government has criticized Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) ; the Japanese electric utility company which is operating the Fukushima power plant over it's handling of highly radioactive water which is leaking at the site from a storage tank.

We’ve allowed Tokyo Electric to deal with the contaminated water situation on its own and they’ve essentially turned it into a game of ‘Whack-a-Mole,’” Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters. “From now on, the government will move to the forefront.”

Tepco still has to deal with over 330,000 metric tons of water (enough to fill 132 Olympic-size swimming pools) with varying levels of toxicity that is stored in pits, basements and hundreds of tanks at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant.

On top of the leaking tank, Tepco admitted that irradiated water is flowing into the Pacific Ocean (from underground tunnels); which the government estimates at 300 tons a day. I'm not a doctor but I'm pretty sure that can't be good for you. But what do I know? It seemed to work fine for Spiderman. But maybe as a precaution stay away from Japanese Sushi for now. At least until Tepco gets its shit together.

Of course what everyone seems to care about this week is what Taylor Swift whispered at the VMAs; or how much the new Nintendo 2DS sucks; and that Ben Affleck would not make a great Batman. There's even a petition on to “Remove Ben Affleck as Batman.” As of writing this post it has over 80,000 signatures.

Meanwhile, the online petition sent to the White House to free Chelsea Manning has about 6,619 signatures. I saw another petition on asking to have all charges dropped against Chelsea Manning that has 102 signatures. And no, that's not a typo. Like I said earlier, it's a lot easier to focus on all the trivial stuff. Ignorance is bliss..

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Don't take my word for it; here are some links for you:

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