Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, the largest non-nuclear conventional bomb in existence
Moab residents are not happy that the name “MOAB” is being associated with the massive bomb the Trump administration dropped on Afghanistan yesterday.
The largest non-nuclear bomb in the United States’ weapons arsenal, the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB). It was dropped yesterday, leading the acronym MOAB to be broadcast over national news repeatedly for the last 24 hours.
Asked about how Moab residents feel about the name of their town being associated with destruction, Moab City Councilman Kyle Bailey responded, “Mayor Sakrison and the Moab City Council sent a letter to Bush administration in 2003 protesting the association of the name [of this bomb] with Moab. Some people in Moab do like the association.” The city councilman sent a link to the February, 2003 BBC article about the mayor’s protest.
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox (2000-2006) has been trolling Donald Trump on Twitter and responding to Trump’s incessant Tweets in English, writing devastating responses questioning his legitimacy as president, telling him Mexico won’t pay for the (expletive) wall he’s been promising to build between the U.S. and Mexico, and much more:
The possibility exists for a President Donald Trump to be a powerful draw for terrorist attacks against the U.S.
There are lots of reasons why this could be the case.
1) Trump has shown the world that he is a coarse, boastful, arrogant, xenophobic bully, and exacting revenge against bullies is an age-old storyline. Throughout his campaign, Trump denigrated people of differing ethnicities, from other countries and of different religions, a situation that reflects negatively on the perception of the U.S. abroad and that practically invites a response from those he targeted with his broad, negative brush.
2) The “Trump” name looms large on a lot of towering, glittery, stand-out hotels and residential buildings around the globe, including many in places where terrorism has already been a problem, like Mumbai, India (the 2011 Taj Hotel attack), and the Republic of Georgia, where over 60 bomb threats were recorded in 2013. The U.S. Department of State Overseas Security Advisory Council currently rates the risk of political violence in Georgia as “high.”
Few people are aware of the extent of the fundamentalist Christian programs now going on in the U.S. Military aimed at turning our country’s Military into a global Christian mission for Jesus Christ.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), based in Albuquerque, New Mexico has working for years to draw attention to this situation. Mikey Weinstein, the head of MRFF, says these religious efforts constitute a “systematic program of indoctrination sanctioned, coordinated, and carried out by fundamentalist Christians within the U. S. military.” He writes that Christian programs in the military “[represent] a bona fide national security crisis” that is ongoing “throughout the entirety of the United States Air Force in particular, and the U.S. Armed Forces as a whole, whereby unchecked evangelizing activity is carried out on Uncle Sam’s time and the taxpayer’s dime.”
A shocking YouTube compilation of clips contains clips of videos created by the many parachurch groups that operate freely within the U.S. military shows military chaplains and fundamentalist preachers stating openly that they consider the military a hunting ground to recruit followers for Jesus Christ. They refer to military recruits as a “ripe harvest field,” and say the military offers them a “unique opportunity for a gateway ministry.”
Major General (Ret.) Bob Dees, Executive Dire actor of the Campus Crusade for Christ International’s Military Ministry, states, “The first strategic objective is to evangelize and disciple the enlisted members of the enlisted Air Force.”
Footage taken by AlJazeera shows Lt. Colonel Gary Hensley, the Army Command Chaplain in Afghanistan (the chief of all of the Army chaplains in Afghanistan) telling members of the military that they need to go on a recruiting drive for Christ. “Hunt ’em down and get ’em in the Kingdom, that’s what we do, that’s our business,” Hensley says.
A representative of the military branch of Campus Crusade for Christ states,
“Our purpose for Campus Crusade for Christ at the Air Force Academy is to make Jesus Christ the issue at the Air Force Academy and around the world, and I think that we’re seeing God do that. We’re seeing kids come to Christ, being built up in their faith and being sent out to reach the world. They’re government-paid missionaries when they leave here.”
All activities shown in the video are currently ongoing in the U.S. Military and are open violations of U.S. law. The rules regulating Air Force culture, Air Force Instruction 1-1 (pdf), state that “Every Airman is free to practice the religion of their choice or subscribe to no religious belief at all.” The regulations mandate that
…Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.
The activities shown in the video are shocking and need to be seen to be believed. You can support the efforts of MRFF here, or write to your own elected officials and express your opinion about this blatant violation of service members’ rights, Air Force rules and the U.S. Constitution.
After the April 8 announcement that former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had died, thousands of UK citizens poured out to spontaneous street parties to celebrate her death. A crowd of about 3,000 people gathered in the rain in Trafalgar Square to a celebrate Thatcher’s demise. Partiers chanted “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie! Dead! Dead! Dead!” Some swigged from big plastic bottles of milk to commemorate Thatcher’s abolishing a program that provided free milk to school children. Her decision to end the milk subsidy earned her the nickname “Thatcher the Milk Snatcher.” Trafalgar Square revelers drank, blew bubbles, sang and danced in a conga line in celebration of Thatcher’s demise. People in Brixton, South London, also turned out to a street party where participants carried signs saying “Rejoice!” and popped champaign bottles. A website, IsThatcherDeadYet.co.uk, now has a huge word “YES” on it and has gotten 235,396 “likes” on FaceBook. In addition to spontaneous street parties, a campaign is underway in the UK to get as many people as possible to download the song “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead” from the movie “The Wizard of Oz” to make it the week’s the top-selling track and push it to number one on the UK music charts. The effort seems to be working. By Friday, April 12, Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead had hit number one in the UK ITunes store and rose to number three on the official UK charts. All this put BBC radio is a tough spot, since the radio station usually broadcasts a Top 40 countdown program on Sunday afternoons, in which it plays every song from number 40 on down in its entirety.
AtheistShoes says their shoes are “kitten soft” and super comfortable. They’re only available through the internet.
Kickstarter, a crowd-source funding platform for creative projects, helped raise $60,000 for a group of atheist shoe makers to start an atheist shoe company in Berlin, Germany. The company, AtheistBerlin.com, also known as AtheistShoes, hand-makes trendy suede lace-up shoes with soles that say, in large, etched lettering, “Ich bin atheist” (“I’m atheist”) or “Loves Darwin.” Presumably, when a person wearing the atheist shoes walks through a puddle or on a dusty road, for example, the shoes will stamp “I’m atheist” or “Loves Darwin” onto the road with every step. Some of the shoe styles have irreverent names like “Naughty Schnitzel Pilz,” and they come in colors like “Candy Testicle” (a limited edition), or “Kitten Testicle Gray.” But after Atheist Berlin started shipping their shoes, they encountered problems with delayed and lost orders for shoes sent to the U.S. To diagnose the problem, AtheistBerlin conducted a study: They shipped two packages to 89 different people in 49 U.S. states using the United States Postal Service for final delivery. One package had the company’s branded packing tape on it that said “ATHEIST,” and the other was shipped with neutral tape. All packages were shipped at the same time. The results? Packages sealed with “ATHEIST” tape took an average of three days longer to arrive, and were ten times more likely to never make it to their destination. One package with the ATHEIST tape sent to Michigan arrived fully 37 days after the neutrally-marked package. The company conducted the same test in Germany and to several other European countries and found no similar bias. The results, they conclude, demonstrate a significant bias in quality of shipping in the U.S. against atheist-branded packages. The company stopped using atheist-branded packing tape on their shipments to the U.S. and have noted improvement in delivery times. Atheist Shoes also says that since they conducted the study, some people have expressed an interest in buying atheist packing tape. The company is looking into getting enough of it manufactured that they can sell it.
This 1993 Philip Morris marketing research report evaluates Marlboro advertising to find ways to make the imagery more appealing to young Saudi Arabian men. The idea was to find out what emotional, psychological and cultural needs and values young male Saudis have, and then determine how PM could exploit these in their cigarette advertising. Page 39 of the document (Bates No. 2501055413) reports on reactions of Saudi men to a Marlboro ad that depicted three cowboys leaning on a fence and talking. The middle cowboy held a coiled rope in his hand. The report says, “Values disliked [about this ad] were…the ropes, which gave uncomfortable feeling — ropes are used to bind people and hang them in Saudi Arabia.” In many places, the report generalizes about Saudi men’s tendencies toward violence, in one place noting “the private face of violence noted in the Arab personality.” Another passage in this vein reads,
“There is a strong thread of violence just below the surface of the Arab personality, linked to ideas of vengeance and the protection of property (including women) but there is at the same time a desire to suppress this in favour of the more acceptable public face of masculinity, which is more calm and controlled.”
The report defines values of Saudi men:
“The aspiration for them is very definitely to have friends who have status and wealth – and especially a big car. Belonging to such a peer group, even if you do not personally have the wealth, enables you to enjoy the reflected status. Cigarettes it seems are often shared, and within the peer group there is also pressure to smoke the same brand…”
A brief discussion of smoking and health in the report reveals that a belief existed among Saudi men that certain types of cigarettes were “healthier” than others, and indicates that Saudi smokers may, at that time, have lacked key information about smoking and health in general:
“There is ample evidence that smoking is regarded [among Saudis] as harmful, although this was not expressed directly, it was indirectly through the description of the personality of brands…For Marlboro Red smokers, if you smoke a light cigarette, then you are not strong/healthy enough to be able to smoke a strong cigarette. For Marlboro Lights smokers, if you smoke a strong cigarette, then you are stupid, ignorant.”
While it is not surprising that a corporation would do this type of research in an effort to tailor its advertising to appeal to foreign cultures, by the time this document was written (1993) tobacco use had already long been labeled by authorities worldwide as a major public health problem. Despite this, PM continued to emphasize spreading the use of tobacco in foreign countries, as well as in the U.S. It is also interesting to see how American cigarette companies scrutinize foreign cultures from a marketing standpoint, to pinpoint the emotional and psychological needs and held by people of these cultures to find ways of better exploiting them.
In 2011, the United Nations convened a high-level meeting to address the global burden of non-communicable diseases. Participants concluded that unhealthy commodities, specifically tobacco, alcohol and ultra-processed food and drink, are the major drivers behind the growing global epidemic of non-communicable diseases. Ultra-processed foods are those made from substances extracted from whole foods and the cheapest parts of remnants of animal foods. The contain little or no whole foods. Examples of ultra-processed foods include fats and oils, flour and starches, variants of sugar and products made from meat scraps and ground meat remnants, like hamburgers, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, frozen pizza, cereal bars, biscuits, carbonated and other sugary drinks and many snack products. What’s more, sugar is now being included as a major hidden ingredient in foods that people generally do not think contain much sugar. For example, he New York Timesreported February 20 that a single serving of Yoplait yogurt now has twice much sugar per serving as General Mill’s marshmallow cereal Lucky Charms, but people still think of yogurt as a healthy snack. Just half a cup of Prego Traditional spaghetti sauce now contains the equivalent of more than two teaspoons of sugar — more than the sugar contained in two Oreo cookies. The group found that transnational corporations are the major drivers of non-communicable disease epidemics like obesity, that the alcohol and ultra-processed food and drink industries are now using similar strategies to the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies and programs aimed at limiting their spread and use. The panel concluded that these industries should not be given a role in creating international policy to address non-communicable diseases, and called for public regulation and market intervention to prevent the harm caused by these products and industries. The top five food companies contributing to the epidemic in the U.S. are 1) Kraft Foods, 2) PepsiCo, 3) Nestle’, 4) Mars and 5) Kellogg. One major rule people can follow to avoid becoming obese? According to Michael Pollan, one of the best-known names in food-related issues, don’t eat any foods you’ve ever seen advertised on TV.
The owners of the Luna Blue Hotel on Mexico’s Caribbean coast reveal their experience with Expedia’s strong-arm tactics to try and ruin their business and push travelers to book at more bigger, more lucrative properties that have a more favorable relationship with the site.
Years ago, Tony and Cheri quit their jobs, left their lives in the U.S. and risked their entire life savings to pursue their dream of operating a small hotel on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Their quaint, 18-room place, the Luna Blue Hotel, took some hits from the swine flu scare and state-side reports of central Mexico’s drug wars, but the couple vowed to hold on and get through it somehow. During that lean time, a representative of the powerhouse travel website Expedia approached the couple and offered to help them recover some of their lost business by listing their place on Expedia. The couple agreed it might be a good idea to list with the site, and signed on as an Expedia “partner.”
But almost immediately the relationship turned sour.
The wall of separation between church and state in the military has completely disappeared. A network of hard-line Christian chaplains and fundamentalist parachurch ministries that operate inside the military are using it as a fertile recruiting ground for coercing soldiers to become Christians. A video posted June 15, 2012 by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation contains actual footage of military chaplains saying young people who enter the military become “government-paid missionaries when they leave here.” The missionaries’ strategy? Pounce on soldiers with the gospel at the most difficult points in their training, when they are most vulnerable. Army Ranger School Chaplain Major Jeff Struecker explains,
“Army Ranger School puts the Ranger student in the absolute worst possible conditions. Most of them will go a couple of days with no food. Some of them have gone as long as three days without any sleep whatsoever. My goal has been to meet them when they are at their absolute worst, when they’re coldest and they’re most tired and the most hungry that they’re going to be, because the more difficult the circumstances [a person is in], the more receptive the average person becomes to issues of faith. Many of them are … confronted with the gospel for the first time with no distractions, and I think that’s part of the reason why a number of them will respond.”
Activists opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad posted a startling YouTube video of the aftermath of the Syrian government’s May 25, 2012 massacre of 51 children and nearly as many adults. In the video, a man picks up the bodies of the dead and mangled children one at a time. As he shows them to the camera, a voice says “These are children, for God’s sake! Hey, World, look at Assad’s crimes! God is greater than you, you arrogant murderer!” English subtitles translate voices in the video that urge the international community to intervene to save the Syrian people. United Nations officials report Syrian government artillery and tank fire killed more than 90 people total in the district of Houla in the central province of Homs, which has been under almost constant attack by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad for months. Syria’s state-run news agency blamed the massacre on non-specific “armed terrorists.” The Syrian government restricts journalists from entering the country, and since several journalists attempting to cover what has been happening in Syria have lost their lives, amateur videos like this one posted on YouTube are the outside world’s main source of information about what is happening inside Syria. WARNING: The video is graphic.