Religious fanatics

Occupy Grand Rapids Poster for April 14th Rall...

Occupy Grand Rapids Poster for April 14th Rally and Really Really Free Market (Photo credit: OpenSourcerer)

We have the misfortune to be living our lives in a time of religious fanaticism, and I am not just referring to Muslim terrorists. Here in the US, we live with fanaticism of the religious Right as well as the fanaticism of free market capitalists. Now I think that it is obvious that free markets can do some things better than government, but it is also true that government can do some things better than private enterprise, especially those activities that promote the common good. Our problem is that there are too many millionaires in Congress and not enough representatives of everyman and woman. Those touting privatization believe that the free market is better because it pays THEM better than government service after they leave government. Bar them from working in the private sector after government service and then see their opinions change.


Pathan facts

帕斯顿人 / Pashtun People

帕斯顿人 / Pashtun People (Photo credit: Tianyake)

From Pakistan, A Hard Country by Anatol Lieven. The Pathan tribe in Afghanistan represents about 40% of the total Afghan population, and they are a sizeable minority, about 20 million, in Pakistan. Most Pathans live in the contiguous area separated by the Durand line which is the western border of Pakistan. The British created the artificial Durand line in 1893.

“The religious theme has therefore long flowed together with tribal yearning for freedom from authority–any authority, but above all of course alien and infidel domination. Or, as a Pathan saying has it: ‘The Afghans of the frontier are never at peace except when they are at war.'”

“As in Somalia, all the elements would seem to be in place to create a modern ethno-linguistic nation-state; and yet the Pathans like the Somalis have never generated a modern state-building nationalism; and have indeed played a leading part in tearing to pieces whatever states have been created on their territory.”

And these are the people we are trying to help with our nation building in Afghanistan. Time to withdraw completely.

Medical waste

When he was at Bain, Mitt and Bain invested $75 million in Stericycle,

English: Waste medical films from Turkey.

English: Waste medical films from Turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

a medical waste disposal company. I have no quarrel with that investment because medical waste must be disposed of properly. Some corrupt companies try to dispose of waste improperly to save money. That is why medical waste sometimes washes up on our beaches.

Medical waste can and often does include aborted fetuses. Some people are opposed to abortion and include in their opposition medical waste disposal companies. Mitt profited from that investment and probably still does, if he would release his relevant tax returns.

When Somalia’s central government broke down and lost its ability to police its coast, some unscrupulous European companies started dumping waste along Somalia’s coast. It fell to Somalian fisherman to try to stop the dumping by confronting the dumpers from their small fishing boats. Thus led inevitably to charges of Somali acts of piracy and then to the real thing. One act of lawlessness can and often does lead to another, particularly if there is a weak or no central government.