Another day, another report of a shoot out in the USA. This time two people plus the shooter are dead. It happened at a New Jersey store around 35 miles outside of New York in the early hours of the morning. The killer has been named as 23-year-old night shift worker
Terence S. Tyler.Around 3.30 in the morning Tyler left the
Pathmark grocery store where he was working only to return armed with a AK-47 automatic rifle and a handgun. As staff began to open the store for business shots rang out. Two people were killed in separate parts of the store. On the face of it these killings appear to be revenge or grudge attacks.The dead man and woman were also employees
. Media sources have reported that the victims were an 18-year-old female and a 24-year-old male, Early reports state the shooter entered the store weapons blazing. Tyler reportedly had only worked at the store a few weeks and was a former marine. A spokeperson for the military confirmed that a man of the name Terence S Tyler had been a marine for two years.
His service had ended in 2010 plus he had never served overseas.According to Reuters Tyler's facebook page carried a slogan, "Be optimistic all the people you hate are eventually going to die."The US has experienced a violent period this year. Maybe it always does and these incidents are just more widely repoted this year. As the country is in the throes of election fever such tragedies are used by both sides to further their campaign ends.If you research a little online the majority of US citizens appear to want relaxed gun laws and easy access to pirchase weapons which ultimately leads to more gun crime. Only one week ago
an unemployed New York City man shot
and killed a former co-worker, earlier in August a white supremacist opened fire in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin
, killing seven people and on July 2012 a gunman opened fire in a crowded Colorado movie theater,
killing 12 people. There are other incidents also.The price of the Right To Bear Arms?
If so is it a price worth paying?
Spanish people have been enduring mounting debt and record high unemployment, now some are also facing out of control fierce fires. Currently there are reports that two people have been injured and a man has died. He is not British. The area affected has a large British population plus other nationalities. Thousands of people have fled or been evacuated from the area.
Temporary shelters have been established.Marbella in Spain has experienced extreme temperatures in the last few months. The climate is always hot and sunny during Summer but this year the temperatures have sizzled. Strong winds added to the high temperatures and dry air have meant that the fire which started Thursday August 30 has proved difficult to hold back. It has spread rapidly taking all in its path.
250 firefighters, eight planes and nine helicopters dumping water on the flames have been working hard to get the situation under control. At time of writing the work continues.A slight change in weather conditions has given the emergency services a sense of hope that the fire will be under control soon.
The coastal region which stretches from Marbella to the port city of Malaga is a popular tourist area as well as home to many expats. In Spain the Summer tourist season is far from over, meaning the area will be full of displaced tourists as well as locals.,According to SkyNews "Spain has seen 1,500 square kilometres of land burnt in nearly 12,000 wildfires this year after suffering its driest winter in 70 years".Extreme weather causing extreme problems once more.Updates to follow.Good Luck to Spain and the residents affected.
The Republican National Convention is in full swing in Tampa, Florida. These conventions remind this Brit of the annual Party Conferences held in the UK by the leading political parties.
They are, in reality, a meaningless waste of time and money. Afer all those who attend, cheer and speak are all batting for the same side. Now if there were an open audience it would be a different matter. As it is on the whole the crowd agree with whoever says what.
In the UK Conferences there are Party rebels who at times make waves, before they are unceremoniously booted out. It was a similar scene at the beginning of the GOP convention. Those who might challenge the Party line were quickly shown the door. Thankfully so were a handful of racists throwing nuts at a black camera woman. That does not mean that those attending are not like minded sadly.
It is both a source of amusement and dismay that one of the latest speakers was a rambling Clint Eastwood. We know that B Movie actors and the GOP go hand in hand but down the years Clint has made some excellent movies.
Perhaps his speech was aimed at scuppering the Romney election campaign. It did it no favours when all is said and done.
In America these self congratulatory speeches and conventions can damage the opposition. They are pushed out into the mainstream media with a great deal of coverage. They will not change the mind of hardline voters but the many flip flop ones could be influenced. Floating voters in the UK are often the people who truly dictate the election result.
Clint ad libbed his speech which could have been a good choice. It was not. So many of the well rehearsed speeches such as that of Ann Romney appear robotic. She almost had that Stepford Wife appearance. Clint had the appearance of a maniacal character in a horror Movie.
Clint chose to address an empty chair which was supposed to represent him addressing President Obama. A one sided conversation is lunacy. It might have been brilliant but it was not.
As a now aged, veteran actor Clint may be forgiven by some. He has nothing to lose when all is said and done. He has made and amassed his fortune. The economy for him now will be all about protecting the wealth he already has. It will not be about assisting the vulnerable in society or the less fortunate.
This convention has said over and over again that the new generation have not fared well inder Obama. Would they fare better under Romney? Doubtful. They may of course have jobs which pay a pittance and have no worker guarantees but even that is doubtful. The world is in a mess and leaders will have to make bold choices, especially if they want to protect their own backs.
Clint began, “I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, what’s a movie tradesman doing out here? You know they are all left-wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that is what people think. That is not really the case. There are a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats, in Hollywood. It is just that the conservative people, by the nature of the word itself, play closer to the vest. They do not go around hot-dogging it.” Ad-libbing? No! Surely not. “So I — so I’ve got Mr. Obama sitting here,” he said, pointing at an empty chair. “And he’s — I was going to ask him a couple of questions.”
“I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem,” Eastwood said, which was oddly not the most tepid Romney endorsement of the convention so far. He then proceeded to grill the chair. “So, Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them? I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just — you know — I know — people were wondering — you don’t — handle that. Okay.”
On it went with the crowd at one point shouting "Make My Day" Presumably that means that those in attendance were keen to get a gun and blow someone's head off.
Each GOP speech now has the regulation. "American" in it plus a nod to the fact that each generation expects that their children will do better than they. The latter is a fine sentiment but hardly a reality in the World. If it was each person would be living a luxurious life with no-one left to work cleaning, clearing drains and emptying rubbish. Just like in nature we all play a vital part in this world, or we can do if allowed.
As for "American", the way the GOP voice it, it makes me wince. It has hints of their birther issues. A sad affair all in all.
After Clint put some fire in the belly of the GOP convention and some laughter into other sources Romney delivered his speech. It was more of his bland, wooden, non persuasive words. It is hard to tell which speech did the most good and which the most harm to the Romney election campaign
It will depend on the political leaning of the listener and whether that person is sane or not
Australia has suffered its worst military losses for almost 50 years. Early today in the UK there were reports that five Australian soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan
, in separate incidents.In the first, three soldiers were killed in what is often called a "green on blue" attack. These are when the killer or attacker is a local person in uniform and the victim a member of the foreign forces in the country. As the three men relaxed, at their base in
the southern Uruzgan province, an Afghan in uniform opened fire. The Afghan soldier turned his gun on them killing all three. Two more soliders were injured in the attack, in which an automatic weapon was used at close range. Other miltary personnel who were at the scene opened fire on the Afghan soldier but he escaped. A manhunt is underway. Hours later two Australian soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand province. Australia provides a large military presence in Afghanistan.
These forces are outside of the NATO alliance of countries and so forgotten by many in the media. Australia has 1,550 troops on the ground in Afghanistan.The bloody antics of insurgents in Afghanistan has increased this year. Thy appear to be targetting the "training" mission by launching a series of "insider" attacks. These "green on blue" killings undermine the training of Afghan military personnel and reduce confidence.Top ranking military personnel in the US claim that the war in Afghanistan is being won but it does not seem that way when you view the incresing number of attacks by disillusioned, angry or rebel Afghans. Early in 2012 there were incidents such as the burning of the Koran by US military personnel and the murder of 17 civilians allegedly by a rogue US sodlier. Green on blue attacks have increased since then.
Obviously a war lasting more than ten years will have many more incidents, on all sides.To date, so far in 2012, 45 soldiers have been killed in insider attacks This figure is much higher than for all of 2011
A book about to be published, No Easy Day, looks set to sell well and possibly make waves in America and beyond. It is written by a member of the American Navy Seals, who was part of the assassination squad who finally killed Osama Bin Laden
. The author is writing under a presumed pen name of Mark Owen. He claims to have been be one of those who shot the bullets into Bin Laden's already injured body, ending his life.His account of the events on that day vary from the official line previously circulated by the Obama administration.
According to the book's author Bin Laden had no weapons to hand. He claims that Bin Laden was shot and injured at the doorway to his room. When the author and other members of the team entered the room
they finished off Bin Laden. He claims they shot several rounds into the body of Bin Laden. A summary execution then if he is telling the truth. Judge, jury and Grand executioner.There have been so many lies, exaggerations and misrepresentations of the truth that it is hard to tell what went on.Americans appear to still have a thirst for information about the man blamed for the 9/11 terror attacks.
No Easy Day, the autobiography of a special forces trooper writing as "Mark Owen", was scheduled to be on sale from Septmeber 11, 2012. It would mark yet another anniversary of the tragic events in 2001. Proceeds from book sales are to go to military charities in the USA. The book release has been re-timed and is now planned for September 4, 2012.It is of interest to some in the US that the book is released early in light of the impending 2012 US Election. According to SkyNews, "A group claiming to be non-partisan called Special Ops OPSEC (Special Operations Operational Security) has launched a campaign with a 22-minute video attacking him (President Obama) for seeking to claim credit for long-planned CIA and special forces operations"."Ben Smith, a former SEAL, says on it: "Mr President, you didn’t kill Osama bin Laden, America did. The work that the American military has done killed Osama bin Laden." "…We’ll get Obama re-elected for sure. I can see him now, talking about how he killed bin Laden," Owen wrote.
"We all knew the deal. We were tools in the toolbox, and when things go well they promote it. They inflate their roles. But we should have done it. It was the right call to make. Regardless of the politics that would come along with it, the end result was what we all wanted," he adds.
Today’s news has carried yet more stories which appear to indicate that 21st Century America has too much hate. Whilst we are loathe to generalise about people, online in recent weeks we have come across many vehement words spewed out about the President and his election campaign.
We all poke fun at the opposition in elections but the campaigns have crossed the line too many times. The spread of hate
is one reason this story is extremely worrying and should concern us all. It relates to an anarchist militia formed by a group of American soldiers. The group was called FEAR which reportedly stands for Forever Enduring Always Ready. The choice of initials will not have come about by chance.
Four soldiers who belonged to this group are involved in a murder case. They have been appearing in a court in Georgia. As the case has unfolded allegations have emerged against the four men. It is alleged that the group plotted to overthrow the US government and assassinate President Obama. It is claimed that they planned to bomb a dam and poison crops in order to remove the government.
In order to carry out their plans it is also alleged that they bought $87,000 or £56,000 of arms. Now where did they get the money one wonders?
The four men, Isaac Aguigui, Anthony Peden, Christopher Salmon and Michael Burnett, are charged with murder. Their alleged victims were former soldier Michael Roark, 19, and his girlfriend Tiffany York, 17. For this they are tried in a civilian court. As active military personnel they will face a military court on further charges.
Burnett has already pleaded guilty to murder. The reason for the killing was claimed to be to shut Roark up, as he knew too much about the group and its activities.
Isaac Aguigui was the reported founder of FEAR. His pregnant wife died a year ago and he allegedly used the insurance money, $500,000 (£316,000) to form the group, plus buy weapons and land.
Whether the group is small or large is not known. There could be other members out there. The amount of vitriolic hate spewed by some in America would seem to indicate that there are.
Sadly America is no stranger to assassinations. It seems that when those with a beef, be it genuine or of the mind, cannot get their own way, many turn to the power of the gun. That also highlights once more the culture in the US which allows easy access to gun purchase and ownership.OPINION: This story highlights how events are not alw
ays what they seem. A group with a purpose in mind can set off a chain of events which will colour your opinion and may change the way you view something. Manipulation of the people and leading them this way and that, is done by all too many.Whilst we all need a military service we should never forget that in despotic countries it is they who prop up the tyrannts and rule the roost.
Mitt Romney is now the official Presidential nominee of the American Republican Party. You will be forgiven if you thought he already was. For the last few months his campaign has been Presidential and it was widely accepted that he would represent the GOP come the November 2012 election.
The Republican gang are busy in Florida attending their National Convention. It was somewhat delayed due to the impending visit of storm Isaac. Now it is in full swing.
Last night the party faithful accepted Romney as their leader in the race for the White House. Speeches were the order of the day, including one from his wife Ann Romney.
Perhaps it is usual business for the wife of would be President’s to speak to the crowd. Certainly wives, partners and husbands of political candidates are often scrutinised under a virtual microscope.
So how did she fare?
Well she passed the respectable, well presented looking woman test. She was carefully kitted out to pass the required inspections. Here words were obviously crafted into a well rehearsed speech, accompanied by rolling prompts, but that is what is expected of all in an election campaign.
Did her words have any substance? In reality? No. 62-year-old Ann praised her husband who she married in 1969. Would you expect her not to? She harked back to her grandparents in Wales and her humble origins but comparing different times never works. She tried to appeal to the rank and file of America, the less well off, the middle of the road and the wealthy. However we all know it is impossible to please everyone all the time.
She ptiched much of her speech at the women of America. As she said she is a "wife, mother grandmother and American". So?, we thought. Her words were in a way stirring but she is not the candidate. Neither is she an unbiased assessor of the man she has loved for more than 40 years. When you talk to a friendly, receptive audience, who are on your side though, it is much easier than speaking to a general crowd.
Still Kudos for her, for agreeing to speak. We wonder if the GOP will say the same should Michelle Obama follow suit.
The hope was that Mrs Romney could make her husband more appealing to the electorate. She tried to fill in the “charisma gaps” it seems. She said that Mitt woud not fail America but that ambiguous statement means nothing. Her words appeared to touch Romney as he tearfully hugged her. They will of course have touched many in America. They prove nothing.
In the end the battle for the White House will be between President Obama and Mitt Romney. The rest is just fluff and nonsense
The London 2012 Olympics were a successful event, no thanks to G4S security. They were awarded the contract to provide security for the Games but at the eleventh hour it was revealed they would not be able to fulfil the contract. The Firm however insisted it would not pay back the money it had received as this had been sunk into the cost of trying to provide the security personnel necessary.
In the end volunteers and a huge amount of military personnel were drafted in to plug the gaps. G4S still insisted they would not pay anything back but made a large token payment to the military. Whilst you can argue that the military would have to be paid whether they worked at the Olympics or were at base, that is not the point. It means that the British Taxpayer paid dearly for Olympic Security.
Perhaps one positive with the fiasco was that Defence Secretary Philip Hammond began to question the Tory Parties long standing belifef that the private sector has to be better than public services. Most UK Conservatives seem to think that public sector workers are overpaid and more. As these workers have now endured job cuts and pay freezes time and time again that will not be the case. In truth it never was except for a few high fliers.
Before we all let forth a sigh of relief though Hammond was only talking about the military. The government has plans to privatise part of the military and the police service. G4S was the group expected to take over selected roles. Hammond should bear in mind that it is not only G4S who will offer a second class service should they be offered government contracts. The public sector fulfills its obligations as best as it is allowed. The Private Sector will be full of company bosses with dual roles wanting to feather their own nests.
Perhaps surprisinglyy G4S will also be responsible for security at the paralympics which are due to start soon. They may have got their act in order by now, but do not hold your breath. The level of militarty cover is being reduced and G4S are picking up the slack.
Today G4S announced that the Olympic contract has so far cost it £50mil. Well the taxpayer has already stumped up more cash that it should have. What do G4S want a sympathy card?
They may claim to have lost £50mil, through their own incopmpetence might we add, but they still could recoup on the paralympics.Only in the UK could such a company, having shown a frightening level of incompetence still have a contract to run.
The dreadful yet Iconic image shown here was taken by Malcolm Browne in 1963. Today August 28, 2012 it has been announced that he has died.Browne captured this, and many other terrible images, during the Vietnam War. Those who are keenly pushing for more conflict in the World should view all such images day and night.The Vietnam War ended without achieving any real purpose. In simple terms the War was aimed at stopping the spread of communism. The war in Vietnam lasted from 1955 until 1975. Americans troops became heavily involved and young men in America were "drafted" plenty against their will. Draft dodgers in the sixties were often thought to be simply misguided hippies but a desire for peace is not a bad idea, is it?Wikepdia
reports the death toll from the Vietnam War as, "the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from fewer than one million to more than three million. Some 200,000–300,000 Cambodians, 20,000–200,000 Laotians, and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict."When the Americans left, the country followed its own path. The War had been in vain. The death toll, casulaties, loss of years, environmental damage and so much more was a price too high to pay.Looking at the image of the Monk who chose to burn himself to death, the impact is not dimmed by the passing of years. The information below, written by Mr Browne can be found in full here:"Because of what I knew of the Buddhist tradition in Vietnam, I realized that it had to be taken seriously. So while other correspondents got tired of the endless Buddhist street demonstrations that were going on all that summer, I stuck with them, because I had the sense that sooner or later something would happen. I became a familiar presence at the main pagoda in Saigon. The monks knew that I appreciated their cuisine. We were friendly. One of them was a Yale graduate, as a matter of fact. And I was sincerely interested in what they were doing, quite aside from the news value of it. One monk in particular would telephone me in advance the night before something was planned. One night he advised me to come to the pagoda at seven the next morning because something very special and important was going to happen. He sent the same message to half a dozen other American correspondents, but they all ignored it. I did not. That was all. That morning a Buddhist monk went out and sat down in a main intersection in downtown Saigon. Two of his fellow monks poured gasoline over him, and he set himself on fire and died. I was there, the only western correspondent present and taking pictures. I suppose I took six or eight rolls of 35-millimeter film"Check out the full report as it is worth reading. The monk never made a sound in spite of the immense pain he must have felt. THe black and white image is more powerful than a colour one would have been somehow. As Browne said each person who viewed the image chose to add their own interpretation of what the image portrayed. "The Chinese and the North Vietnamese regarded it as a wonderful propaganda picture, and of course they labeled it "A Buddhist priest dies to oppose U.S. imperialism and its influence in Vietnam." In the United States, it was regarded as a picture of a martyr who had died for a worthy cause, and therefore other Americans should support the overthrow of an autocratic Catholic government that had been supported by President Kennedy"Today we act in the same manner be it regarding a conflict or our political beliefs.
Blinkered and of narrow mind and vision.RIP
(April 17, 1931 - August 27, 2012) Malcolm Browne died from complications associated with Parkinson's Disease.
If you believe that the ISAF mission in Afghanistan has been successful perhaps you need to have a re-think. While it may have achieved part of its aims Afghanistan remains as volatile as ever. A bloody period in the country has resulted in many deaths including civilians, and soldiers of different nationalities.
The latest news, in a BBC report, reinforces the belief that Afghanistan is far from a settled country. 17 local people in the Kajaki district have been beheaded. The killers are not known. The victims were two women and fifteen men. The village had been used by both insurgents and foreign troops. The incident is being investigated.
10 Afghan soldiers were also killed in in the same region when their checkpoint was attacked by insurgents. Details of this attack are sketchy with claims that this attack was yet another case of an "inside" job. There are reports that another five soldiers opted to join the insurgents and took their weapons with them. Either that or they were kidnapped. 42 members of the ISAF have been killed so far this year. There are early reports of two more ISAF deaths today.
What have been called "green on blue attacks" have been on the increase in Afghanistan this year. Currently there are 130,000 ("blue") NATO troops in Afghanistan working alongside 350,000 ("green") Afghan personnel.
Opinion: This protracted war is becoming a killing fields. Local people will be embittered after being an occupied country for such a long time. Incidents such as that in which SSG Bales allegedly killed 17 civilians will have helped breed a new generation of insurgents.
Most people in countries that have troops involved in Afghanistan want their soldiers out of Afghanistan and home. They are gradually being withdrawn but the fear is that they will leave a hotbed of insurgency when they have left. It does look as if that is what will happen, whether the troops are withdrawn tomorrow or in ten years.
The West has not learned any lessons though. It is still keen to become embroiled in the Syrian civil war, with further action possible in the Lebanon and Iran.
Update: The latest information is that the 17 civilians who were killed had been party goers. Their bodies were all found at the side of a road. All had either had their throats cut or had been beheaded