Wednesday, April 25, 2007

In Honor Of Those Who Fought With Courage

April 25th, 1915, ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey:
"Those who wish to imagine the scene must think of twenty miles of any rough and steep sea coast known to them, picturing it as roadless, waterless, much broken with gullies, covered with scrub, sandy, loose, and difficult to walk on, and without more than two miles of accessible landing throughout its length. Let them picture this familiar twenty miles as dominated at intervals by three hills bigger than the hills about them, the north hill a peak, the centre a ridge or plateau, and the south a lump.

Then let them imagine the hills entrenched, the landing mined, the beaches tangled with barbed wire, ranged by howitzers and swept by machine guns, and themselves three thousand miles from home, going out before dawn with rifles, packs, and water-bottles, to pass the mines under shell fire, cut through the wire under machine-gun fire, clamber up the hills under the fire of all arms by the glare of shell-bursts, in the withering and crashing tumult of modern war, and then to dig themselves in, on a waterless and burning hill while a more numerous enemy charge them with the bayonet.

And let them imagine themselves enduring this night after night, day after day, without rest or solace, nor respite from the peril of death, seeing their friends killed, and their position imperilled, getting their food, their munitions, even their drink, from the jaws of death, and their breath from the taint of death, and their brief sleep upon the dust of death.

Let them imagine themselves driven mad by heat and toil and thirst by day, shaken by frost at midnight, weakened by disease and broken by pestilence, yet rising on the word with a shout and going forward to die in exultation in a cause foredoomed and almost hopeless.

Only then will they begin, even dimly, to understand what our seizing and holding of the landings meant."
Read the rest and more.

This is regarded as an historically accurate timeline of events, taken from the diary of Major Fred Waite DSO, surrounding the Gallipoli Campaign.

Test your knowledge of ANZAC Day by taking a short quiz.

Large crowds pay their respects at traditional dawn commemorations in Auckland, Melbourne, and just about every town on both sides of the ditch will host various ceremonies.

My grandfather served alongside Australians and Kiwis in WWII, as did my father in Vietnam. As a former US Marine, I, too, served alongside Australian and New Zealand troops in Somalia. On this and every ANZAC Day I salute them all and say, "Semper Fi."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

On AIDS and Immigration

PM Howard draws a line in the sand.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Prime Minister John Howard said Friday that people with HIV should not be allowed to migrate to Australia, and that the government was investigating whether it could tighten existing restrictions.
That sounds reasonable to me, but some are apparently pissed-off.
The comments triggered anger among HIV-AIDS workers, who accused Howard of xenophobia and of blaming sufferers for their illness.
That would be the typical reaction of lunatics and liberals. Sorry for being redundant.
"I think we should have the most stringent possible conditions in relation to that nationwide, and I know the health minister is concerned about that and is examining ways of tightening things up," Howard said.

Howard was asked about the issue during a visit to Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, where the state health minister said this week that 70 of the 334 new HIV infection cases reported in Victoria in 2006 were among immigrants who had arrived in the country with the virus.

Don Baxter of the nongovernment group the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations said HIV tests were already among health checks prospective immigrants were given, and most HIV-positive applicants were rejected on the grounds that they could pose an unfair burden on the public health system.

"It's very tight already," Baxter told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
It may be, Don, but 70 out of 334 is just over 20%, 1 out of 5. I'm sorry, but that is just way too much. How did those 70 slip through? I would agree that, at least in Victoria, there is certainly room to "tighten things up," but next up is a psychotic, self-loathing, suicidal dickhead who feeeeeeeels otherwise:
Chris Lemoh, an infectious disease specialist who is researching HIV-AIDS among African immigrants in Victoria, said excluding people with HIV should be condemned.
Oh, and why is that, Chris? Perhaps you don't want the flow of research subjects to dry-up. And speaking of research, just what kind of research? Is he an epidemiologist doing medical research, or is this "infectious disease specialist" a drug-addled, psychotic liberal performing some type of quasi-scientific, bullshit study under the auspices of the department of cultural anthropology at a university? I suspect that if he were the former, the AP would have referred to him as such (and that is not to imply that he is the latter.) Now, read more of what this genius has to say:
"It's a hysterical overreaction, it mixes racism with a phobia about infectious disease," he said. "To not allow people to come on the basis of any health condition is immoral, it's unethical and it's impractical to enforce."
Can somebody, anybody, please, please, tell me what fucking planet people like this come from?!?!?!?! "Racism?" Why, because the probability that an immigrant with AIDS comes from Africa is higher than that of non-African immigrants? Get fucked. "Phobia about infectious diseases?" Most OSH agencies use the ISO paradigm of risk management: Eliminate, Isolate, Minimize. If we apply that standard to AIDS, we realize that since the probability of everybody on the planet not having sex and heroin addicts not sharing needles is as close to zero as one could get, the risk of getting AIDS cannot be eliminated, but there is a lot that can be done to minimize and isolate. Strict HIV testing for immigrants is one way, and most civilized countries do reserve the right to deny applicants based on a variety of health conditions as one way of preventing their societies from becoming third-world shit holes. As an immigrant to New Zealand I had to undergo a two hour doctor's exam, a chest x-ray, and a complete blood work-up in addition to a criminal background check. Big deal; it's part of what I consider to be part of any sane, reasonable process designed to protect the safety of the citizens of a nation. And isn't that really what a responsible leader is supposed to do? You try to help when you can, but not at the expense of the well-being of your own people. To do that would be immoral and unethical. Chris Lemoh is a jerk-off.

I'm guessing that many of these immigrants in question are not only African but also refugees brought in under some UN absorption aggreement. There is a similar situation here in NZ with Zimbabwean refugees.
Zimbabweans who fled the Robert Mugabe regime and fear they may be HIV-positive, will be eligible for permanent residency in New Zealand even if they have the disease.

Yesterday the Government urged hundreds of Zimbabweans who fled the Mugabe regime to come forward and apply for permanent residency under a special scheme set up for them, even though part of the process is compulsory health screening.
As usual, Helen Clark's government fucked-up.
Of 1300 migrants, 500 had applied and 800 had not. HIV infection in Zimbabwe is around 20 per cent. Of the 500, 42 were found to be HIV positive (8.4 per cent).

Of the 800 people so far avoiding the scheme, up to 160 could be infected using the higher estimate of 20 per cent, said Mr Hodgson.

It was unlikely all would require antiretroviral treatment but if they did, it could cost New Zealand taxpayers $2.9 million a year.

There are 2474 HIV-positive people living in New Zealand.
And that's not necessarily a problem unless they behave like this guy:
(Shingirayi) Nyarirangwe was convicted in 2004 of having unprotected sex with four women. At least one later tested positive for HIV.
Great. If this is the price people are willing to pay for some feel-good bullshit that defies all common sense and logic, then we're fucked, boys and girls.

PM Howard has every right to draw a line in the sand. To do otherwise would be negligent and a dereliction of duty.

Monday, April 09, 2007

We're Back...(again)....

Kia ora! We're back! Mae and I didn't actually go anywhere, but you'll have noticed that posting has been light to non-existent the last few weeks for a variety of reasons that I won't bore you with. Let's just say family, work, and a general writer's block all contributed to taking a bit of time off from blogging. Regular readers from the old blog will already be familiar with our erratic blogging efforts; the rest of you now know, too. It's just the way it is.

I was going through the spam filter and found a few emails from way back when we got the "Yank" off the ground, and I sincerely want to apologize. We had the comment moderation set wrong, and that's how they got there. Anyway, a big shout out and thank you to WarWagon, American Daughter, jayd, TylerD, BobF, "Zelda", Vilmar, and the rest - you know who you are!

Blatantly Biased BBC

The BBC is apparently under fire for refusing to air a documentary on the latest recipient of the Victoria Cross, Private Johnson Beharry of the British Army.
Private Johnson Beharry's courage in rescuing an ambushed foot patrol then, in a second act, saving his vehicle's crew despite his own terrible injuries earned him a Victoria Cross.

For the BBC, however, his story is "too positive" about the conflict.

The corporation has cancelled the commission for a 90-minute drama about Britain's youngest surviving Victoria Cross hero because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.
Says an un-named, inside source:
"The BBC has behaved in a cowardly fashion by pulling the plug on the project altogether," said a source close to the project. "It began to have second thoughts last year as the war in Iraq deteriorated. It felt it couldn't show anything with a degree of positivity about the conflict.

"It needed to tell stories about Iraq which reflected the fact that some members of the audience didn't approve of what was going on. Obviously a story about Johnson Beharry could never do that. You couldn't have a scene where he suddenly turned around and denounced the war because he just wouldn't do that.
An un-named BBC spokesperson said:
...that it had abandoned the VC project but refused to elaborate.
Receiving the Victoria Cross from the Crown is like receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor in the US. These medals are awarded for bravery and courage that go way, way beyond the call of duty, and they aren't handed out like lollies. Private Beharry appears to be the real deal.
Pte Beharry, 27, who was awarded the VC in March 2005, was the first person to receive the country's highest award for valour since 1982 and the first living recipient since 1965. He was honoured for two acts of outstanding gallantry which occurred just over a month apart while he was serving with the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, in the Iraqi town of al-Amarah, in 2004.

He was cited for "valour of the highest order" after he drove a Warrior tracked armoured vehicle through heavy enemy fire in May 2004 to come to the rescue of a foot patrol that had been caught in a series of ambushes. The 30-ton Warrior was hit by multiple rocket-propelled grenades, causing damage and resulting in the loss of radio communications. Pte Beharry drove through the ambush, taking his own injured crew and leading five other Warriors to safety. He then extracted his wounded colleagues from the vehicle, all the time exposed to further enemy fire.

The following month, Pte Beharry was again driving the lead Warrior vehicle of his platoon through al-Amarah when his vehicle was ambushed. A rocket-propelled grenade hit the vehicle and Pte Beharry received serious head injuries. Other rockets hit the vehicle incapacitating his commander and injuring several of the crew.Despite his very serious injuries, Pte Beharry then took control of his vehicle and drove it out of the ambush area before losing consciousness. He required brain surgery for his head injuries and he was still recovering when he received the VC from the Queen in June last year.
It's pretty pathetic when the spineless jellyfish, Vichy propagandist surrender monkeys at the BBC just won't come right out and admit their anti-war agenda. They obviously care more about their lefty viewers than the non-lefties, so those viewers aren't going anywhere. And by their own decision to not air the film the BBC has alienated plenty already (and for those who don't watch the BBC because of their left-wing bias, this is just further confirmation.) So who are they worried about offending? I don't really care. Fuck the BBC and their fellow travelers.

This soldier has more courage and dignity in his thumb than that entire organization of Fabian socialists. Men like Pvt. Beharry are real heroes because in the face of overwhelming adversity and imminent death as each second passes, they don't shrink from the danger. They rise above their fears and face the danger head-on with little or no regard for their own well-being. They put it all on the line (and not in the cowardly, mindless fashion of the suicide bomber, in case any of you lefties want to make some idiotic comparison between "us" and "them"). They don't do it for a quick 15 minutes of fame. They do it out of integrity, a sense of duty, honor, loyalty, and commitment to their fellow soldiers.

Hopefully, ITV will pick-up the rights and finish production, which was indicated in the article as a possibility. Johnson Beharry deserves to have his story heard by all who want to listen. I suspect there are quite a few, and I am one of them.