More Babies in Fallujah

Justice For the Babies of Fallujah

I encourage anyone reading this blog to follow Fallujah Birth Defects on twitter – @FDefects. I am posting some of their recent pictures below. That all of these babies were born in Fallujah in just the past few weeks just doesn’t seem right. How many more babies have to suffer?  I am sickened and saddened that I live in a country that caused this and won’t take any responsibility for it. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. But I am sorry. All I can do is help them to show the world. We can all do that…

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Prelim report on training conference of staff of Baghdad pediatric oncology unit #PublicHealth #Iraq #بغداد_تنهض

For more information, read Paediatric cancer care in a limited-resource setting: Children’s Welfare Teaching Hospital, Medical City, Baghdad by Salma A Naji AL-Hadad, Mazin Faisal Farhan Al-Jadiry and Claudia Lefko.

This is the appeal Claudia Lefko the Iraqi Children’s Art Exchange put together to support the conference.

Good Intentions & Hard Work & Nothing Else: Is Amasa Delano’s Moral Blindness a USA Trait?

I’ve been listening to Greg Grandin‘s The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom and Deception in the New World. The book is full of historical tidbits (and here), and I hope to write a review of it after I’ve finished.

As I was listening to the latter part of the book, after Amasa Delano has returned to Boston to face his creditors, I thought about how much he resembled today’s liberal class in the United States.

He did not favor slavery, but, when presented with an opportunity to make money by capturing the slave ship The Trial from the Senegambians who had taken it over, he didn’t hesitate to use great violence to subdue them and return them to Spanish captivity. When his debts mounted, he began taking shipments of salted cod to the slave-based economies of the Caribbean. In other words, he had a moral position against slavery but did not hold it strongly enough to desist from attempting to profit from it.

So far, based on Grandin’s book, the only regret Amasa Delano ever expresses regarding his takeover of The Trial was the failure of Spain and its colonists in the Americas to compensate him as much as he thought his right. He never considers the impact his actions had on the enslaved Africans.

In fact, it seems that Amasa Delano’s inner life centers around understanding a universe which permitted his failure to achieve the success he thought he deserved by virtue of his good (in his mind, for himself) intentions and his hard (self-reported) work (later undertaken by slaves, undocumented workers & laborers in unsafe conditions around the world).

Likewise, when I tell people today that the entire political class should be tried for the war crime of invading and occupying Iraq, they typically respond with some version of “We meant well” and “The US army is competent and did its best in a difficult situation.” Good intentions and hard work. Iraqis. Oh, them. I hadn’t thought about them.

Ignorance Towards Syrian Refugees at All-Time High in South Carolina Hearing

A South Carolina Senate committee hearing on proposed legislation to restrict Syrian refugee resettlement included misleading testimony. Reporter Eva Moore authored this article published in the Free Times of January 27, 2016.

And one woman went all in on themes touched on by a number of other speakers.

“Not only is the federal government bringing South American and Central American foreigners to disenfranchise me,” she said, “But in their frenzy to import a more favorable voting bloc the federal government is compelling South Carolinians to accept Muslim refugees as well.”

She invoked the recent mass assault in Cologne, Germany, suggesting a deeper agenda to refugees’ desire to come to America.

“I find it curious that Syrian men of fighting age have abandoned their country in a time of crisis; American men did no such things during our bloody Civil War,” she said. “Could it be that wealthy older male Muslims have taken for themselves a disproportionate number of wives? Perhaps these older polygamists are only too happy to send their young men out to take women through conquest. And if they die trying, their imams have assured them that their deepest sexual and social frustrations will finally be satisfied. How disastrous that European men relinquished their duty to defend their wives and daughters and permitted their government to strip them of the means to do so.”

The racism & religious bigotry reported in this article are outrageous, but pointing that out hardly seems to matter these days. A few basic facts should be mentioned, however. Continue reading

Gov Deal Panders to Xenophobes

#1, refugees receive very modest aid. In general, government agencies provide income relief for 6 months, and, after that, the refugees are on their own.

#2, there is an onerous refugee vetting process for those entering the US. This is not a matter of the first 10,000 people to reach the ticket window. Refugees in camps in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and elsewhere begin application processes which take years, with preferences given to specific categories, such as those who have relatives in the USA or those who have helped US companies or military units, etc. In fact, the process is so long that my guess is that most of the 10,000 who enter the United States would have initiated their applications prior to the rise of ISIS.

#3, as of now, there is some evidence that 1 of the 7 (8?) attackers recently entered Europe along with the refugees. In my mind, even if that is proven, it would not be a good excuse to deny asylum to the hundreds of thousands in need.

Europe does have a vetting problem now because it has no system and there’s not an ocean separating Europe from western Asia. But that’s not a problem for the US.

People should read “Outcasts United,” a journalist’s account of refugee resettlement in Clarkston, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta.