9 Circles! Monday: The Last Safe Haven Nine Circles of Hell!

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Your bitter blind broke gap-toothed radio show host Chuck Mertz blogs ‘The Nine Circles of Hell!‘ every week day, Monday through Friday, at Noon (US central). It’s all the news that give you fits in print, nine reminders that ‘This is Hell!’

Click on any of the Nine Circles! in bold to go directly to the original article.

Iraq’s sectarian war is reigniting as expected.
The Associated Press reports, “A wave of bombings across Iraq on Monday hit a number of targets, including residents of ethnically disputed areas, killing 25 people and wounding dozens.
“The attacks deepen fears that militants are seeking to reignite ethnic and sectarian violence in the country, where tensions remain high over areas contested between Iraq’s central government and the Kurdish minority. Also, deadly violence continues between the two dominant ethnic communities — Sunni and Shiite Muslims.”
Sects listed to be fighting include “the Shabak ethnic group … [has] … their own distinct language and religious beliefs.” “Arabs, Turkomen and Kurds,” “Kurdish guards and Iraqi police” … “Also Monday, police said a roadside bomb hit a bus carrying Lebanese Shiite pilgrims near Samarra.”.
AP closes with, “On Sunday, a series of attacks targeting two other cities in disputed northern areas left at least eight dead and dozens wounded.
“It was unclear who was behind the latest violence, though Sunni Arab insurgents frequently use coordinated bomb attacks to try to undermine the Shiite-led government’s authority.”
A great gift for the Holiday is a pack of educational trading cards that will teach the recipient all the groups involved in sectarian wars throughout the region.
It’s my understanding the trading cards are violable through the White House.

Forced from their homes to live in a foreign land, refugees are on the run, again.
Reuters observes, “Hundreds of Palestinians refugees living in Syria flooded into Lebanon on Monday after clashes raged between Palestinian factions loyal to and opposed to President Bashar Assad in a district of Damascus.
“A Reuters witness at the border said they came in buses and cars piled high with belongings. A Lebanese security source said the refugees from Damascus’ Yarmouk Camp suburb had tried to flee on Sunday but the road was blocked by fighting.
“Opposition activists said Syrian fighter jets bombed Yarmouk on Sunday, killing at least 25 people sheltering in a mosque. They said troops and tanks were gathered outside the camp on Monday, and clashes inside continued.”
That’s what you need to know about today’s deaths.
Reuters also gives us a bit of background on the refugee camps with, “Syria hosts half a million Palestinian refugees, most living in Yarmouk and descendants of those admitted after the creation of Israel in 1948, and has always cast itself as a champion of the Palestinian struggle, sponsoring several guerrilla factions.”
Then there’s the juicy part.
Who knew the Palestinians were fighting in the Syrian civil war?
“Both Assad’s government and the mainly Sunni Muslim Syrian rebels have enlisted and armed Palestinians as the uprising has developed into a civil war.
“The camp, on the southern fringes of Damascus, falls within a swathe of outlying suburbs running from the east to southwest of the capital from which rebels have been trying to push into the city center and the heart of 42 years of Assad family rule. Assad’s forces have held them back.”
Reuters quotes Abu Khalil Jalili, a Palestinian who entered Lebanon with his family, saying, “We came here, but most people (Palestinians) sleep on the streets in Damascus.”
Reuters adds, “Heavy fighting broke out two weeks ago between Palestinians loyal to Assad and Syrian rebels, together with a brigade of Palestinian fighters known as Liwaa al-Asifah (Storm Brigade).
“Clashes flared again after Sunday’s air strike, between Palestinians from the pro-Assad Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) and Syrian rebels supported by other Palestinian fighters.”
I had no fucking idea how Palestinian refugees were getting played, again, but this time in Syria.
Reuters also has Yasser Abed Rabbo, general secretary of the Palestine Liberation Organization, saying, “Massacres in Yarmouk camp and everywhere in Syria requires sooner than later the international community to put an end to the regime of terrorism and killing in Syria before it sets the entire region on fire.”
Then there’s Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad saying, “We are following our people’s condition in Syria and will take all measures in order to protect our people and on all levels. [Sunday's bombing was] “a crime perpetrated by a regime that no longer has any legitimacy.”
I think in those trading card packs, Palestinians are wild cards.

Nobody will win the Syrian Civil War.
BBC News says, “Syrian Vice-President Farouq al-Sharaa has said neither the government’s forces nor the rebels can win the 21-month-old conflict.
“Mr Sharaa told Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar that the situation was worsening and a ‘historic settlement’ was needed.
“He said neither the opposition nor the security forces could bring about a decisive end to the ongoing violence.
“Meanwhile an Italian citizen and two others were kidnapped near the town of Latakia, Italy’s foreign ministry said.”
I had to add the kidnap story because crazy shit seems to be happening all around Syria.
Like …
“In a separate development, there are reports that a senior Lebanese politician has been blacklisted by the US for allegedly assisting the Syrian government to launch attacks in Lebanon.”
Getting back to Syrian Vice-President Farouq al-Sharaa saying nobody’s gonna win the war, BBC has him saying, “With every passing day the political and military solutions are becoming more distant,” he said. “We should be in a position defending the existence of Syria. We are not in a battle for an individual or a regime.
“The opposition cannot decisively settle the battle and what the security forces and army units are doing will not achieve a decisive settlement.”
BBC continues, “Mr Sharaa said any settlement ‘must be Syrian’ but also must involve regional powers and the UN Security Council, and lead to the formation of a ‘national unity government with broad powers.”
BBC adds, “The UN said it was alarmed by the ‘continued dramatic escalation of violence.’”
Yes, the war in Syria is getting worse.
The reason it’s not in the news as much as it once was is, well, we’re just bored with it.
That usually means we don’t understand it, but let’s say we’re bored with it so we can put our ignorance on them, not us.

Last week, Egypt’s opposition said that if the constitutional referendum passed, there would be violence.
There also were reports that anti-Morsi forces were cling for a boycott of the vote.
Now, Morsi’s supporters are saying the referendum has passed and his opponents have called for protests.
BBC News explains, “Egypt’s opposition has called for mass protests after Islamists claimed voters had backed the draft constitution in the first round of the referendum.
“The National Salvation Front urged people to ‘take to the streets on Tuesday to defend their freedoms, prevent fraud and reject the draft.’
“The coalition said ‘irregularities and violations’ marred voting on Saturday.
“Earlier, President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood said 57% had voted ‘yes,’ citing an unofficial tally.
“The result will not be known until after this Saturday’s second round.
“The opposition had demanded the referendum be postponed because the constituent assembly had approved the draft charter despite a boycott by liberals, secularists and Christians, who complained it did not adequately protect women, freedom of expression or religion.
“On Sunday evening, the National Salvation Front urged the organisers of the referendum to consider re-running the first round, during which it said thousands of violations had been reported by civil society groups.
“They said the violations included polling centres collecting votes without judges to oversee the process, civil employees illegally replacing the judges, ballot papers not being officially stamped, campaigning inside polling stations and Christian voters being turned away.”
If you know an Egyptian call them and tell them to go vote.

Bahrain’s war with protesters has gone off again.
The Washington Post tells us, “Security forces in Bahrain have fired tear gas and stun grenades to break up protest marchers after calls by anti-government groups to snarl the Gulf nation’s capital with demonstrators.
“Authorities set up checkpoints and expanded patrols across Manama before rallies Monday to mark an annual commemoration for two protesters killed in 1994.
“Separate groups of hundreds of protesters were chanting in the narrow streets of the city’s traditional market district. Some of the crowds were dispersed with tear gas and volleys of stun grenades.
“It’s the latest attempt by Shiite-led protesters to stage marches in the heart of the capital.
“More than 55 people have been killed in unrest since February 2011, when Bahrain’s majority Shiite escalated their fight for a greater political voice in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.”
Always remember, the Bahrain government is an ally of the US and the nation hosts America’s Seventh Fleet.
In fact, that link should be required in every news story on Bahrain, like warning during TV ads for boner drugs.

Investigation charges owner of Bangladesh garment factory that had deadly fire with “gross negligence and unpardonable crime.”
Al Jazeera informs us, “An investigation into the fire that killed more than 100 workers at a Bangladesh garment factory has found that it was an act of sabotage and that managers at the plant prevented victims from escaping.
“Main Uddin Khandaker, who conducted the inquiry, told the AFP news agency on Monday that the owner of the factory, Delwar Hossain should face murder charges for ‘gross negligence and unpardonable crime.’
The investigator said, “We have suggested legal action against him and nine of his mid-level managers who barred the workers from leaving the burning factory.”
Al Jazeera reminds us, “The Tazreen factory fire was the most fatal Bangladesh has seen. The factory, located on the outskirts of Dhaka, was supplying clothes to a variety of international brands including US giant Walmart, Dutch retailer C&A and ENYCE, a label owned by US rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs.”
As for the sabotage, Al Jazeera has the investigator saying, “There was no possibility of the fire originating due to an electric short-circuit or any other reason.”
But Al Jazeera adds that the investigator did not “[suggest] who might have triggered the fire or why.”
The investigator said, “there was no attempt to douse [the fire]. We suggested that the government set up a taskforce to find out the people responsible for this heinous act.”
Here’s another member of the inquiry, a Abdus Salam,saying the building lacked proper fire exits on the upper floors: “All fire exits led to the ground floor. The staircases were not enclosed or separated, which allowed the smoke to easily spread to the upper floors.
“The workers were trapped or just had to jump from the upper floors. Still the casualties would have been much less had the supervisors allowed the workers to leave the factory when the fire broke out.”
Al Jazeera closes with this stat: “Around 700 people have been killed in fires in garment factories since 2006.”
Why?
Because western apparel manufacturers insist on such a huge profit that the companies which are in compliance with labor and safety laws cannot afford to produce the end product.
So, they sub-contract to sweatshops.
The western apparel maker can say they only contract with safety compliant manufacturers and argue they are not responsible for subcontracting.
Y’know, like you’re not responsible for a murder if you use a hit man.
Anyway, enjoy that hilariously ironic Mickey Mouse Christmas sweater.
Your aunt got a great deal on it at Wal-Mart.

Today’s most dangerous natural disaster as of this posting is the cyclone that’s hitting Fiji.
Reuters observes, “More than 3,500 people evacuated to emergency shelters in Fiji as the biggest cyclone in 20 years swept across the Pacific island nation today, three days after the storm killed four people and destroyed thousands of homes in nearby Samoa.
“Tourist resorts on many of Fiji’s palm-fringed islands have been evacuated and authorities warned people to remain in shelter as Tropical Cyclone Evan battered the country, blowing over trees and destroying houses.
“Authorities said Cyclone Evan had generated destructive winds, torrential rains and was likely to lead to flooding due to a storm surge as it passes to the northwestern side of the main Fiji islands of Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, with wind gusts up to 170 mph.
“Fiji’s weather bureau said cyclone Evan was rated a category four storm, the second highest level, and was moving only at about 11 mph, meaning the destructive winds could last several hours.
“Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama ordered public servants to stay at home and he put emergency services on standby. Hospitals and health centres have been closed for all but emergency patients.
“Power supplies have also been cut to some areas as a precaution against falling power lines, including in the main tourist town of Nadi. Airlines grounded flights to and from Fiji, stranding about 1,900 visitors in the country.”
Bainimarama said, “I cannot stress enough how serious this is. Every Fijian will be affected but we must take preventative steps now.”
In case you are in Fiji …
PLEASE QUIT READING THIS AND FIND SHELTER!

Okay, there’s something creepy going on in Newtown, Connecticut.
Apparently, Newtown’s residents have been a little gun-happy lately.
The New York Times finds, “People in the rural, hilly areas around Newtown, Conn., are used to gunfire. In one woodsy stretch, southeast of downtown, the Pequot Fish and Game Club and the Fairfield County Fish and Game Protective Association, where members can fish in ponds and hunt pheasant, lie within a mile of each other, and people who live nearby generally call them good neighbors.
“But in the last couple of years, residents began noticing loud, repeated gunfire, and even explosions, coming from new places. Near a trailer park. By a boat launch. Next to well-appointed houses. At 2:20 p.m. on one Wednesday last spring, multiple shots were reported in a wooded area on Cold Spring Road near South Main Street, right across the road from an elementary school.
“Yet recent efforts by the police chief and other town leaders to gain some control over the shooting and the weaponry turned into a tumultuous civic fight, with traditional hunters and discreet gun owners opposed by assault weapon enthusiasts, and a modest tolerance for bearing arms competing with the staunch views of a gun industry trade association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which has made Newtown its home.
“The place that witnessed one of the worst mass killings in United States history on Friday, leaving 20 schoolchildren and 8 adults dead, is a bucolic New England town comfortable with its firearms, and not an obvious arena for the nation’s debate over gun control. But the legislative battle right here shows how even the slightest attempts to impose restrictions on guns can run into withering resistance, made all the more pointed by the escalation in firepower.”
Check this out:
“The gunman’s mother, Nancy Lanza, had collected several weapons, including powerful handguns and a semiautomatic rifle that she and her son, Adam, were fond of shooting, and it remains unclear where they took their target practice. Much of the gunfire and the explosions reported by residents to the police in recent months came from a spot less than three miles from their house. Police logs identified the spot as one of the town’s many unlicensed gun ranges, where the familiar noise of hunting rifles has grown to include automatic gunfire and explosions that have shaken houses.”
So everybody’s shootin’ off guns in Newtown.
“The police department logged more than 50 gunfire complaints this year through July, double the number for all of 2011, records show. Some of the complaints raised another issue. Gun enthusiasts here, as elsewhere in the country, have taken to loading their targets with an explosive called Tannerite, which detonates when bullets strike it, sending shock waves afield. A mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder, Tannerite is legal in Connecticut, but safety concerns led Maryland this year to ban it.”
Now, I ain’t saying’ that guns caused this freak to kill all these people.
I’m just saying’ that in the town where we just had one of the worst massacres ever, people have been shootin’ off guns in the last year way more than they ever had in the past.
And one of those people who had gun to shoot off was the killer’s Mom.
You can make what you want of it.
Here;’s what I make of it: that’s fucked up.

This week, as we get closer and closer to the end of the world, I hope to be able to help you in these final days with the top stories on our planet’s ad demise.
The last safe haven from Friday’s Doomsday is in Turkey.
Huuriyet Daily News kindly informs us, “Believers in the Mayan calendar’s doomsday prediction of Dec. 21 are flooding Şirince, a small village in İzmir. Some New Age spiritualists are convinced that the Anatolian town is the only safe haven from the impending apocalypse foretold by certain interpretations of Mayan hieroglyphs, Agence France Press (AFP) has reported.”
Turkish Cultural and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said, “According to our beliefs and scientific data, there is nothing like a doomsday on Dec. 21 but people who want to see such a beautiful region for this reason are all welcome.
“[These stories] makes the name of Şirince heard not only in Turkey but around the world. Those who cannot find a place may find a good chance to have a nice breakfast there on Dec. 22.
“I will ask my friends and Şirince artisans not to increase prices and offer bad products to tourists. This could be a good promotional chance because people may visit the region again if they leave with good impressions.”
İzmir Culture and Tourism Director Abdülaziz Ediz said, “Thanks to this doomsday belief, the number of people visiting Şirince and Selçuk has increased… We can’t ignore people who have such a belief but we cannot think that the doomsday will occur. State organizations must take necessary measures as the number of visitors will increase there. But shopkeepers should not turn this into a chance to plunder. They should take care of health and hygiene conditions as well.”
Huuriyet Daily News adds, “Turkish businessman Erkan Önoğlu produced a special ‘wine of the Apocalypse’ for Dec. 21, a product specially targeting superstitious survivalists, according to the daily Radikal.
“A resident of Şirince working in the hotel business, İbrahim Katan welcomed the enthusiasm of tourists in the village, hoping that local businesses can benefit from the boom. ‘The rumors floating around have increased the number of customers. We are only happy about it,’ he told AFP.”
That’s right, Doomsday’s good for business.
Sadly, the Doomsday business apparently profited grate from Nancy Lanza, the mother of the Newtown shooter.
I’m starting to think that there may be #anotheroption to these recurring American massacres.
Something beside the only two choices we are ever given: strengthened school security or tighter gun control.
Let’s stop fear.
Stop the business of fear.
Out those who peddle fear.
Reveal the fearmongers for the cowards they truly are.
Be not afraid and maybe then we will finally be secure.
Or is there #anotheroption?

Follow me on Twitter tonight during the US national network TV news @thisishellradio.

An hour after the news broadcast, come back here for my nightly Network News Re-cap blog!

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9 Circles! Monday: The Last Safe Haven
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