Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Allies, Women, And The Oppression Of A People

We have the greatest allies in the world. From staunch dictators to war criminals to theocratic monarchs we have successfully made friends with the world's social and political pariahs. A good example of this comes from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this week King Abdullah granted the female citizens of Saudi Arabia the right to vote in the next election in 2015. This is largely symbolic anyway since the country is ruled by a King and a vote for lower level politicians who seek the approval of the King is a far cry from democracy. Should we, the citizens of the world, take our wins where we can get them and stop complaining? Not in this case.

While giving women the right to vote is a step in the right direction, it is hardly going to make a difference in a country that closes its people off from news of the world. This country should have been overthrown in the "Arab Spring", but the grip on the media would make China proud.

Saudi Arabia is a country ruled by a monarch that uses religion to imprison its citizens in themselves. Giving women the right to vote doesn't really mean anything when a woman can be tried and convicted for the crime of driving. Driving! Let that soak in for a moment. At least the King was merciful enough to commute the sentence of 10 lashes.

There are two overarching problems here: a ruthless monarch is doing what he can to not lose his grip on the country and religion is such an oppressive entity that it can be used by said monarch to suppress the people in his country. Isn't that always the way? Religion as a form of control is something to has been seen throughout our (human) history. The only way to overcome these obstacles and progress as a species is to not only smash oppressive and non-democratic governments but to smash the foundations of religion itself. Religion has, is, and will continue to cause nothing but harm and strife. All in the name of god.

Http:// - Women Given Right To Vote Http:// - Woman Lashed For Driving Http:// - Saudi Woman Spared Lashing

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Perspective On 9/11

While we all sit around tomorrow and listen to Lee Greenwood's rendition (sic) of "Proud To Be An American" over the events of 9/11, what we did afterward was a horrendous thing. 5000 dead when the towers collapsed does not give us any right to invade two sovereign nations, send thousands of our troops to their deaths, kill hundreds of thousands of Afghanis and Iraqis, and take away every single freedom that we have enjoyed in this country.

Since 9/11 we have seen the Patriot Act get put in place and supported by Democrats and Republicans alike who are unrecognizable as separate parties. We have seen the military industrial complex rise to a state of power that would make Joseph Stalin squeamish. We have paid with blood and treasure  for nothing more than the rights of corporations to make money in new lands. We have given up the freedoms that we used to care about. We allow "security" agents to molest our children, our elderly, our disabled, and ourselves when we go to airports for no other reason than to feel safe, regardless of how safe we actually are.

Am I in mourning on this upcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11? Absolutely. But I am in mourning for the country that we used to be, not for the people that we lost.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

So Long Environment, We Hardly Knew Ye

In a move that is unsurprising to anyone that pays attention to the current administration, President Obama has dropped his support for stronger environmental standards on ozone emissions. Citing the current economic climate, the president doesn't think that it is necessary to try to do something that would make a difference when it comes to pollutants that cause serious health problems.

This move is coupled with the president and the State Department putting their full support behind a new pipeline that will run from Canada to Oklahoma and Texas that will transport tarsands crude for refinement. This pipeline will run through the "heartland" of the United States and, more importantly, a major waterway where millions of people receive drinking water.  According to the State Department the Keystone XL pipeline will safely carry this crude oil because, you know, oil companies have such a stellar record of transporting oil without spills.

I fail to see how anyone serious about the environment can support this president. If this is a bad time to enact regulations that will actually do something to curb our destruction of the environment then when is a good time? It is going to be hard to create jobs in a country that is uninhabitable.

More promises from the Obama administration that have been refined to the point of non-existence.