Author Archives: Fred Stopsky

Death Drones On In Yemen

A drone killed some people in Yemen over the weekend. Any discussion of drone attacks encounters the problem as to whether or not those killed were terrorists and the issue as to how does the United States definitely conclude that men riding in a car definitely are terrorists bound for some evil action. US officials insist that “at least nine militants are dead” as a result of a drone that was hovering over the area for at several days. According to the officiaL version, and who can contradict the official version, there was a car with “terrorist elements on board who were planning to target civil and military institutions.” Now, who can be against preventing such attacks, given that the information came from “officials” employed by the United States government?

I am slightly unclear as to what is meant by “terrorist elements.” Does this mean they were people or something that falls under the name of “elements?” How did the US know for certain these men were terrorists? Oh, a local medical doctor claims that at least three civilians who had nothing to do with terrorism also died. But, the good news is the civilians were not “elements” so who cares!

HEADLINES FROM WORLD PRESS

We offer samples of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our comments.

New Zealand, New Zealand Herald: “Pregnant Woman Carless After Crash”

I hope that is the only thing she lost.

Canada, Toronto Star: “Women Happier After Divorce”

And, in most cases, a lot poorer!

France, Connexion: “Man Lives In Beer For 12 Days”

A happy time with no cares.

UK,Guardian: “Car Crash App”

Is there an App for Heaven?

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Danes Are Retarded”

I assume this is from some retarded Swede?

Russia, Moscow Times: “Crime Starts To Pay”

As far as I know, here in America it never did stop-for those on Wall Street.

Pakistan, Dawn: “Drop Charges Against 9 Month Old Boy”

Hopefully, he was not charge with the crime of rape.

Netherlands, Dutch News: “Have You Seen This Seal?”

My lips are sealed about this.

Forever And A Day-Obamacare

Republican leaders reacted violently to President Obama’s comment that it was “time to move on” to some other topics in America, perhaps our crumbling infrastructure or our need to re-educate workers for 21st century jobs or a few issues in the Ukraine or the Middle East. House Republican whip Kevin McCarthy violently disagrees with such ideas because, “Republicans can not nor will not accept the law.” I imagine that in 2040 the main issue for the Republican party will be getting rid of “that law.” At this moment in time, America ranks about 25th in life expectancy because we have this fantastic free enterprise system of health care that has left fifty million with the Emergency Room doctor as their doctor of record.

In a sense Republican refusal to address the health needs of Americans is simply a symbolic example of their refusal to confront any issue other than the nonstop-We cannot reduce taxes because the job creators will …. they never do explain what the job creators will do if taxes are raised. Go to Russia with their money?

Latest figure is that EIGHT MILLION HAVE SIGNED UP. I expect that within the coming months Death Panels will be formed to begin the process of getting rid of excess folk in order to lower health care costs. Oh well, 2040, and we will still be fighting the battle of health care.

Mitchell Enhances His Interrogation

James Mitchell is a psychologist, you know, one of those people who sits and talks with you, poses questions to get your mind thinking of new ways to approach old problems, and views himself as a person who is committed to aiding others attain self knowledge. However, he was hired by the CIA to assist with designing the “enhanced interrogation” procedures which supposedly enabled the American government to capture bad people. A recent report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee argued that “enhanced interrogation” never led to arrests or aided in the war against terrorism. Naturally James does not have much faith in those who dwell in the halls of Congress rather than in the dark rooms of some prison. As he noted, “the people on the ground did the best they could with the way they understood the law at the time. You can’t ask someone to put his life on the line and think and make a decision without the benefit of hindsight and then eviscerate them ten years later.”

Fair enough. However, during WWII when the United States fought against the best army in the world, Nazi Germany, or a hard fighting group of soldiers like the Japanese, we did NOT employ enhanced interrogation methods. Our Intelligence drew upon psychological approaches that avoided torture and their results were outstanding. Sorry James, but during Basic Training in 1951 we were informed on at least three occasions that torture was NOT permissible. We were living in the aftermath of the Nuremberg Trials which sent those who employed torture to jail or to their death.

So, exactly what was not known about torture several years ago??

Online Crime A Crime

I work online writing this blog but spend few hours actually engaged in any sort of interaction with those whose lives is centered in chatting with people who may or may not exist in the world of the Internet. There is something strange about the process of talking with people who may or may not actually exist and sharing your intimate secrets. Mohammad Hasan Khalid was a 15 year old boy who was physically ill and decided that he wanted to become involved in the outside world. He contacted Colleen LaRose whose fictional name was, “Jihad Jane,” and these two teenagers decided to engage in the act of killing a Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilk, who had printed a cartoon in which the head of the Prophet Muhammad had been placed on the body of a dog. Silly, yes, criminal, no. The FBI monitored the two teens as they ranted and planned a crime that never was carried into action. Jihad Jane wound up with a ten year sentence while young Khalid was just convicted and sent to jail.

His lawyer, Jeffrey Lindy, noted that Mohammad was only fifteen when he began to plot something that would nor could ever become implemented. He was engaged in Internet bravado in which young people play at being heroes or villains. As Mr. Lindy noted: “The FBI used a kid who was extraordinarily vulnerable” and they wound up ruining his life, or should we agree the boy was encouraged to ruin his life.

No invention since the birth of humanity has the potential to transform children into villains and murderers. Of course, they never murder anyone, just with their words. Off with their heads!

People’s Republic Of Donetsk

Two days ago leaders from the United States, Europe and Russia met to discuss a process that will de-escalate the potential for violence in the Ukraine. Masked men, many wearing Russian uniforms have taken possession of buildings in eastern Ukraine and proclaimed the birth of nations. Denis Pushlin, the self proclaimed leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic is now the proud owner of a few buildings in eastern Ukraine which certainly makes him a president or a prime minister of a building or so. Denis insists he will not give up his nation until the criminals in Kiev surrender to him and allow the little man with the little Russian accent to become the big guy running the Ukraine. Meanwhile, in the Ukraine, the former crooked boss, Yulia Tymoshenko who spent a few years in jail on trumped up charges made by Viktor Yanukovych, has returned with her golden hair to urge on fighting for freedom. She wants to create a “resistance militia” to fight people like Dennis.

Time Out For Peace. The foreign ministers agree that war would be a disaster. They want to de-escalate the possibility of violence. It is time for Tymoshenko and Pushlin and all the other pseudo leaders to return home and allow some peace and quiet to reign. It is time for the children to return to their play areas and allow some mature people to design a process of peace.

Ferry From Hell

Every so often a story appears in the world media which leaves me bewildered and confused. A ferry which included a few hundred children somehow tilted which resulted in capsizing and leaving over 200 passengers, many of them school children, still missing. There are about 28 confirmed dead, but there are over two hundred whose presence is still unknown. I was raised on movies in which a gallant captain would remain at the wheel determined to get everyone to safety. It turns out that Captain Lee Jun-seok, and many of his brave crew were among the first to flee for their lives when the boat tilted. In fact, the captain wasn’t even at the wheel since he left that job to the THIRD MATE!This tragedy no longer is one of bravery or cowardice, but more like the story of a bunch of incompetents who were left in possession of a modern vessel of the sea.

The story becomes even more bewildering since supposedly hundreds of text messages were allegedly sent by students trapped in the vessel. It now turns out this was a massive hoax. Who are the people who could make up such text messages? A vice principal from the student’s school committed suicide as rescuers work in dark waters seeking any sign of hope. There are times when God does work in mysterious ways, that is, if there really is this thing we call, God!

Boko Haram Goes On Killing

The other day I printed a story about how the Boko Haram in Nigeria had kidnapped over 100 girls from the Governments Secondary School in Borno state in Nigeria. About twenty girls somehow jumped off trucks and disappeared into the dark where local villagers saved them and got them back home. The Nigerian army yesterday claimed at least 100 girls had been recaptured, but now admits the only “recaptured girls” are those who jumped from the truck. The stark truth is the so-called “Nigerian Army” is a collection of disorganized men led by a group of incompetent graft ridden collection of officers who best know how to steal oil in order to make gobs of money. It is estimated close to 30% of the Nigerian oil production winds up in the hands of corrupt officials. Nigeria is led by President Goodluck Jonathan whose only luck is to be the president so that he can ignore how friends –and enemies, steal and rob each day of the week.

My greatest confusion is lack of any comment from Nigerian religious leaders. Not a word,not a declaration of anger toward Boko Haram which kills in the name of the Prophet or of God of of their belief that anyone who desires a modern education is simply an unbeliever. Boko Haram translates into” Western Education is Forbidden.” But, these men drive in trucks made with Western education and blast away with weapons made with Western education and murder in the best Western education tradition. What exactly about Western Education do these nuts dislike?

And, where are the voices of men of God?

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT

We offer observations on the human condition from a 23 year old mind trapped in an 83 year old body.

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT

I have always waited for Godot.

Purple presence on hand reveals age.

Study an individual if you seek to study humans.

Long time since heard, “lean and hard.”

I often feel lost in America.

Jesus was right, turn other cheek away from hate.

I now carry a band-aid for my hand which easily bruises.

I trust the walk through the Valley of Death is in springtime with flowers in blossom.

Baggy pants do not become any woman.

Children enjoy playing with face of an adult.

Customers are allowed to talk with staff in McDonald’s.

We ponder a machine more than we ponder a person.

Young children clutch parent tightly around neck for safety.

Literally, these are heavy times for Americans.

I have an old fashioned worker mind, the boss IS the enemy.

There is a time to say, goodbye.

Sitting alone in McDonald’s is a time for peace.

Conversation With An Alien

I must confess to having been in constant contact with an alien from the planet of Xul. The Xulian selected me because there was interest on his planet concerning the strange life forms known as “humans” who reside on the planet of Earth. Each month we spend exactly two hours in which the Xulian anthropologist interviews me about some incident on planet Earth. This interaction is then sent to a panel of Xulians who are deciding whether or not planet Earth should be destroyed in order to prevent Earthians from spreading their violent behavior throughout the universe.

We recently discussed the situation in South Sudan.

X I gather this area of the planet has abundant oil and thus people should be able to live in sa prosperous manner.
M Yes, it along with countries like Nigeria or the Congo have plenty of natural resources so people should be well fed and housed.
X But, thousands of these people are starving. Explain.
M One group took over the government of South Sudan and got into an argument with another group while both these groups do not like the government of Sudan.
X What are they arguing about?
M Part of the argument is that some are Muslims, some are Christians and some just want to control the oil in order to get rich.
X Ah, your planet’s continual fighting and killing over this strange concept of a God who created them and now they believe God created some of them, but the others who were created by God insist their ideas about God are correct and thus they must kill those whose ideas about God are not correct.
X OK, I have previously heard this madness. So people who have resources will die.
M About a million will die although they have the ability to ensure none would die.
X Enough, some day we will find this “God” that allegedly created this mess.