Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Another Slap In The Face For Our Troops

Just when we think that our troops returning from the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan can't be treated any worse than they already have been, a story and a YouTube video hits the web today about a father who went to Fort Bragg, North Carolina to greet his son, who was returning from his second tour of duty in a remote region in Afghanistan, only to be met with conditions we wouldn't force on death row inmates.

So remote was the area in which Sergent Jeff Frawley was serving that he and his fellow soldiers sometimes went eight weeks without being able to bathe or make a phone call. So remote, that the nearest U.S. base was a dangerous five hour drive away. Yet, for some of the soldiers stationed at this Forward Operating Base, this was not their second, but their third tour of duty. The third 15 month deployment into a fire zone and the new killing fields.

Never complaining, they did their duty, many having their vehicles destroyed by IED's. Many a purple heart was handed out to this particular group of soldiers, and according to Sgt. Frawley's father, Edward Frawley, that was as far as this nation's political leaders expressed their appreciation for the hardships endured and the service that was rendered by the Sergeant and his group of men.

Returning home to Fort Bragg, the soldiers were housed in the most decrepit, most deplorable conditions, that the Walter Reed debacle looks pale in comparison. Raw sewage backing up inches deep in bathrooms, paint peeling from walls and ceilings, rusted pipes and hand rails everywhere, broken toilet seats, the list goes on and on. Having become almost common place since the Bush Administration's massive cuts to the funds that go directly to helping our vets and for taking care of our on duty soldiers, one must wonder at how the company that was supposed to build the new barracks and renovate the old ones, got away with all of this.

Then we turn to the McCarty Corporation. In June,2006, this company was awarded first one contract worth 15 million dollars to build the new barracks, then one month later, secured another 16.5 million dollar contract to build or renovate even more at the Fort Bragg base. The McCarty Corporation is based where again? Ahhhh. They're based in Austin, Texas, you know who's old stomping grounds. Mike McCarty is a registered Republican, and donated to the Bush campaign. Plus, he also loves horses, being a member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and the proud owner of at least eight prized circuit winners. Wasn't there another Bush crony who loved horses?

We also have to look at the Weston Corporation. Although headquartered in Pennsylvania, it turns out they also have a major office in Austin. According to Weston's own web site, the company was awarded the lion's share of a 250 million dollar initiative by the U.S. Army to remodel older decrepit barracks on Fort Bragg. Here's a quote from their web site about the renovations: "WESTON met the challenges of a compressed schedule, completing all work on time and overseeing over 200,000 labor hours without a single lost-time accident."

Oh, really? According to the work orders and the claims made by Weston as to the actual work done, these barracks should have been clean and looking almost new. A sample of the claims of work completed by Weston on the very same barracks that Sergeant Frawley and his men had to endure should make all of us angry enough to heed the elder Mr. Frawley's plea for us to call someone. Claims such as:
Installation/refurbishment of mechanical systems, including pumps, motors, and heat exchangers in the mechanical rooms.
Removal and replacement of between 54 and 96 fan coil HVAC units per barrack.
Modifications to existing plumbing systems by replacement of between 12 and 96 flush valve toilets with bowl/tank types per barrack.
General carpentry, including removal and replacement of doors, windows, ceiling tile/grid, and floor tile, plus painting. For each barrack, between 5 and 10 doors were replaced, up to 160 windows were replaced or refurbished, up to 24,000 square feet of ceiling tile/grid was replaced, and approximately 2,000 square feel of floor tile was replaced.
Electrical upgrades, including replacement light switches, receptacles, and fan motors.
Removal/replacement of between 300 and 1,800 linear feet of piping insulation per barrack and various interior finishes.
Miscellaneous other interior construction.

And so when it comes to contractors working for our very much politicized military, we get the same type of contract work as they're getting in Iraq. None, or shoddy work done at best. They take the money, don't do the work, and when the fecal matter literally hits the fan, everyone points the finger at everyone else. It reminds one of the mafia no show jobs, where the company owned by a friend of a friend pays a mob guy to sit and do nothing all day, or not show up at all.

Make the calls that Mr. Frawley asks you to. Decency and respect for the men and women enduring hardship in our name demands it. Write to the media and ask them why they didn't bother to do one hours' worth of research to find out who the contractors were that were supposed to be doing the work, and why they didn't ask questions as to why the new barracks still in the construction stages on Fort Bragg were started in 2006. It doesn't take more than 2 years to build a barracks, unless you're taking your time doing it, in order to run up massive over costs. You might also ask why only CNN and the N.Y. Times reported this, as well as a few local North Carolina television stations.

This trend of treating our troops like dirt must end and it must end now. After Vietnam, we as a nation swore that we would never again let our returning men and women be treated like garbage, but yet we are allowing this President to keep gutting or diverting funding that is supposed to be used for our troops and their living expenses. Tell this administration that we demand no more no bid contracts to friends of friends, because if we wanted the mafia in the White House, we'd go to Brooklyn and hire our own thugs and goons.

Watch the video made by Edward Frawley below, and let your anger be heard.

Monday, April 28, 2008

And By Their Works I Shall Know Them

These few words spoken by Jesus should be all the knowledge required to be able to discern between the false prophet and the ones who truly can lay claim to the title of Christian. There were no caveats to this statement, something that said unless you claim to be a leader of politics or religion. No exemptions to the teachings of Jesus were handed out, but yet, throughout history, men and women both have claimed some form of divine communication that others can not hear, seen visions of God that no one else has seen, and been given new and ever more twisted commandments to enforce on the followers of Christ, commandments and pronouncements that run contrary to the words spoken by Jesus Himself.

Many a fundamentalist will argue that Jesus never said that we should not kill by pointing out a verse on Matthew wherein Jesus says that He is not here to do away with the words of the Prophets, but to fulfill them. The argument is a transparent attempt to assuage any related guilt for going to war in the name of God. Or for killing a burglar that you catch in your home. But that argument falls flat on it's face when one considers that He also said to turn the other cheek, and to forgive one's debtor not seven times, but seventy times seven.

You hear them every time you turn on the television these days. They call themselves 'saints', and sit on red velvet covered thrones while suckering you out of your money. In the name of Jesus of course. When Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple, I don't recall reading that it was ok to sell prayer wishes just so long as you called yourself a 'Christian.' Crosses and leather bound Bibles. A sliver of the Cross or DVD collections. Come on in! We've got the best selection! Just leave your wallet on the altar of greed as we siphon off all your dough.

Justifications come forth from these purveyors of falsehoods, as to why they live in 10 bedroom mansions, with chauffeur driven limousines and maids at their beck and call. Why the golden idols we were ordered to not worship, have become the adornment for virtually every relic and icon used in the rituals Jesus Himself said not to do. "But when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think they will be heard by their many words."

Speaking openly of the rich, we are taught by Jesus to sell all of our riches and give it all to the poor. To take up the cross and follow him. We learn that it is so difficult for a rich person to get into heaven that it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. But yet, we have so called preachers of the Word openly standing on pulpits, telling of the need for millions upon millions of dollars to spread the Good News, while they travel by 'church' owned helicopter to the five star hotels and eat lavish meals that none of their followers could ever hope to enjoy.

Jesus spoke about the lending of money or things and the need to not charge usury or interest on the amount that was lent, but our entire world system has been hijacked by the very same money changers who hold hostage the economies of the entire world. You see them in church every Sunday, proclaiming their love for the Lord louder than all, but these bankers are also false prophets, because they do the opposite of what Jesus called for, and encourage all to follow their example, instead of the example of God Himself.

We swear in our political leaders, the oath of office it's called. Likewise, when you are to testify in court, you must be sworn in. The writers of these laws were themselves more false prophets, as Jesus said we were to swear by no one nor anything, but to tell the truth in all things. He even went so far as to say that the swearing of an oath was from the evil one, and by that alone we can judge what our system is based on.

The old saying of going the extra mile comes straight from the mouth of Jesus, as does His telling us to take care of the poor and the sick. Yet, today, we shun the poor and damn them for the ills that befall us, all due to the lies of evil leaders, who claim they bankrupt us, while they themselves fatten the bank accounts of their friends and relatives with the ill gotten gains of wars they started in the very name of Jesus. They tell us the 'Christian' thing to do is to let them fend for themselves, when the Lord Himself commanded we do nothing of the kind.

They wield the Bible as a weapon, twisting words and phrases, and cherry picking the parts that suit their need of the moment. Using the tried and true tactics of terror, they warn that unless we do as we are told by them, the only ones who know the heart of God, we will perish in fire from the hand of an angry and merciless God. Yet two minutes after your money goes into the collection plate, the hucksters are preaching of the ways of love and compassion, something they themselves know nothing about.
Building theme parks that charge profit driven admissions, and calling out the words of hatred of others, such as Muslims, gay people, and any and all who disagree with the death and destruction Crusader philosophy, the true false prophets and the anti-Christian 'Christians' reveal themselves for the world to see. They call to the basest elements in all of us, laughing as they succeed in drawing the masses astray. Not only are these the false prophets among us, they are the wolves in sheep's clothing, the spawn of the devil, and when their time comes, they'll stand in judgement before One who will say "Depart from me! I never knew you". For the truth is that the Bible is but a guideline, not a set book of laws handed down by God. If this were the case, why are there so many Gospels hidden away from the eyes of those who follow the path of the righteous?

Gospels such as those of Thomas and of Mary, who said that the Kingdom of God is inside you, not in buildings of brick or stone. That the brick and the stone could shatter and fall, but the words of Jesus and the deeds that He did should be the same way that you conduct your own lives. The Bible tells us that God will judge us by the works that we do, not the claiming of permission to kill people on massive scales by calling on us to pray about the wars we perpetrate.

The next time you're in church, take a good hard look at the person behind the pulpit. Is he or she teaching of love, forgiveness, and kindness to others? Do you know if that person believes what he or she is saying? Or are they just there to collect your dollars, preaching the doctrine of hate and anger? Does your congregation give to the poor, or do the elders and priests turn away the homeless who come begging?

There really is no in between when it comes to following the teachings of Jesus. He said to love one another, not only those whom you agree with. He said to give to the poor, not store up massive amounts of wealth, or use all of your resources to build temples made of the finest marble and gold. He said to give up your coat if asked, not to turn away from a person in need. And what part of 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' do we not understand?

So it's very simple really. Who are the ones who are peacemakers, feeders of the hungry, caretakers of the sick? And who are the ones laying up riches beyond all reason, while allowing others to have none? The ultimate in false prophesying is the fact that although we call ourselves Christians awaiting the return of our Saviour, were He to show up right now, we'd arrest Him all over again as a 'terrorist' agitator, and send Him off to Gitmo for some enhanced interrogation. "Our Father, who art in Heaven......................."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Don't It Make My Red State Blue.............

In the elections of 2004, when many Nebraskans were misguidedly attempting to be patriotic in backing the President due to the fear tactics used by the Republican Party in the run up to the ballot castings, Bush carried the state by a wide margin, taking sixty four percent of the vote.

But as time has gone on and the lies of the administration as well as the Republican Party in general become so transparent that they may as well be made of glass, the voters in Nebraska are turning towards the Democrats in an attempt to right the ship of state.

No longer considered to be just the bumbling farm hands that politicos have usually assigned to the state's voters, Nebraskans find themselves in the unique position of bucking the entire established election grid of red state/blue state mentality, and in doing so, may help to bring other Mid-Western states along with them. Nebraska is but the first domino that may be about to fall.

A perusal of several local and state message boards, and social networking sites shows voter grumblings and dissatisfaction with the Republican Party, and what many are calling their 'stay the course mentality'. Making matters worse is the presumptive nomination of John McCain, who is seen by Independent voters in Nebraska as a bumbling buffoon with no plan whatsoever to get the nation out of the mess we are in.

Take for instance the upcoming vacant seat of Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. As time goes on and Mr. Hagel admirably was one of the few Republicans in the Senate to part with the Bush policies, the Democratic candidate Scott Kleeb, is poised to be the winner of that particular race. Although still in the primary stages, his major opponent for the Democratic nomination is Nebraska businessman Tony Raimondo, who switched parties before the primary, from Republican to Democrat.

No one is buying the attempt to rig the election this time around though. Nebraskans learned their lesson from the Joe Lieberman debacle in Connecticut, where he ran as a Democrat, was voted out, then voted back in as an Independent, but ended up shafting Connecticut voters by pushing the Republican agenda. So Kleeb would seem to be the candidate who will go up against Republican Mike Johanns, Nebraska's former Governor and Bush's former Secretary of Agriculture. A Bush crony to the very core, Johanns believes we must stay the course in Iraq, cut taxes even more for the wealthy, and, well, you get the picture. Surveys done by Nebraska's two main newspapers, the Lincoln Journal Star and the Omaha World Herald show that not only does Kleeb have the advantage among Democratic voters, but swing voters such as Independents and on the fence Republicans as well.

Upcoming gubernatorial elections have Republican Jon Bruning, Nebraska's Attorney General, as the only announced candidate thus far. But it doesn't really matter who runs against Bruning, another Bushie who just refused to enforce Nebraska's anti-discrimination laws because he doesn't agree with the law. Whichever Democrat runs against this would be state dictator will win. Only the far right fringe will vote for Bruning, and that group is growing smaller and smaller by the day.

Nebraskans support Obama as their Presidential candidate over both Clinton and McCain. One of the main reasons for the choice of Obama over Clinton was the fact that only Obama came to speak to Nebraska voters before the state primary, an event that drew more than 10,000 people in Omaha, while Clinton didn't feel that Nebraska was important enough to bother with. Guess who won the state's Democratic primary? They choose Obama over McCain for the simple fact that McCain has no plan for the economy, wants to continue and widen the wars we are in, is seen as the worst flip-flopper in decades, and is generally regarded as senile among the voters, especially the younger voting bloc in Lincoln.

With Nebraska poised to do a complete about face when it comes to voting either Republican or Democratic this upcoming election cycle and even the next, other bordering states are watching the trend closely. The people are 'bitter'. They're bitter about a government that has enriched it's elite friends and multi national corporations, while their stalwart supporters have been subjected to terror tactics to garner votes, shafted at every turn in the form of fuel prices spiraling out of control, and now being faced with the possibility of not being able to provide for their families in this, the food basket of America. Yes, Mid-Western voters are bitter all right. Bitter at being suckered time and time again by a political party that promises them the world, but delivers nothing save for division among the People and empty dinner plates for the region's lowest paid workers.

Don't believe the media pronouncements of this state is a traditional 'red' state, or that state is a traditional 'blue' state, because they have no idea of what they're talking about. They get their information from 'polls'. Check out your local web message boards, chat rooms, and blogs to take the pulse of any certain area. If the media did it now, there would be no more talk of the Republicans gaining ground due to the Democratic nomination process. And everyone would be surprised at the upcoming possibility of a voter revolt in the so called traditional 'red' states. When the elections do occur, don't be surprised to see the Republican 'red' state strongholds suddenly lighting up the television maps in nice cool blue.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Poor Little Rich Girls

A sampling of headlines from the major corporate controlled news outlets today has stories concerning Carmen Electra, Madonna, Shirley Temple Black, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, the results of the latest edition of American Idol, and who the finalists are in a dating show from MTV featuring former Poison vocalist Brett Michaels. Almost as an after thought, we learn that a U.S. ship fired upon an Iranian patrol boat that strayed too close, causing oil prices to spoke when word of the incident reached Wall Street.

Once respected news outlets all now follow the Fox News example of 'National Enquirer' types of reporting, going for what will titillate the reader or viewer, and skipping or glossing over the news that we as a nation need to hear.
News such as Israel's rejection of a 10 year ceasefire offer from Hamas, which would have had a profound impact for chances of a lasting Middle East peace. Mentioned in passing by the American corporate media, we learn from overseas sources that the true reason for the rejection is so Israel can continue to disregard the Geneva Convention in their plans to build more settlements in the Palestinian Territories.

Ashlee Simpson is featured on the cover of Shape magazine in a string bikini, according to a full page article on one news site. Ben has gotten revenge on 'Lost', Wesley Snipes is going to prison, and (gasp!) Tom Cruise is going to be on the Oprah show again!

When the newsboys of old used to stand on the street corners and yell out the old "Read all about it"!, it usually meant something of importance had occurred. A Presidential decision that would affect all of us, an act of Congress, or an in depth update from a war zone.

Today's mantra would be along the lines of what's happening to the poor little rich girls in high society, with important issues being shoved to the back burner. If it doesn't feature Paris Hilton in a sex tape, or Britney Spear's latest show of instability, it isn't news to our media.

But why would the media try to institute such a mindset in this country? Why are issues of extreme and vital importance glossed over, under reported, or not reported at all. Why would they forcefully push an agenda of fear into the minds of the people of this country, by reporting on every little word spoken by the fear mongers in charge of the government?

The answers are as simple as understanding that an uninformed populace can not make rational decisions for itself, and therefore must turn to either the media or the government for guidance. Simple as knowing that the defense contractor owned media in this country has to perpetuate the climate of fear and come up with a constant stream of new enemies and boogeymen for us to fear, or they're main business, manufacturing weapons, would go down the drain.

The recent revelations that the so called 'expert' military analysts that appear regularly on the mainstream media, to give the country an in depth look at the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, were actually working for the government in an attempt to lie to the people of the United States should have been the basis for Congressional hearings, outcries, and marches on Washington.

But none of this happened. It didn't happen because the stories were there one day and completely gone the next. All out warfare is breaking out in areas of Baghdad again, but yet we are treated to the news that Lindsay Lohan refuses to do completely nude scenes in her upcoming movie.

We hear the tit for tat jabs that the candidates are tossing at each other, with most media outlets only telling part of the story, and telling or printing quotes completely out of context. To tell us the entire truth would be a boring story, and so editors make sure reporters 'spice' up a story to sell more ad space. David Barsamian, a journalist and publisher, sums it up pretty well when he says "One of the intentions of corporate-controlled media is to instill in people a sense of disempowerment, of immobilization and paralysis. Its outcome is to turn you into good consumers. It is to keep people isolated, to feel that there is no possibility for social change."

Keep us immobilized and disempowered. Distract our attention from hard news on favor of bikini clad rich girls that we will never meet, so you won't notice the shenanigans going on in the halls of power, or the multi billion dollar robberies going on right in front of our faces in the form of no bid contracts. They give us this week's wackiest videos, while bombs rain down on our troops overseas. The media itself whores itself to the government and corporate interests by enjoying parties with the very same people they are supposed to be reporting on. Fair and balanced? In your dreams.

And so while millions starve in Africa, Russia reverts back to the old Soviet ways, China continues it's human rights abuses and our very own government destroys the pillars of the Constitution, you can go to bed tonight, safe in the knowledge that Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are making a new movie together and all of the poor little rich girls will be out strutting their stuff tonight. Just in time for the morning editions.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bush Rewards Yet More Incompetence

General David Patraeus has been tapped by President Bush to become the new United States Central Command leader, even as Petraeus's abysmal record in Iraq is held up to a place of esteem by this delusional madman in the White House.

As U.S. military deaths in Iraq reach 4,044, with two more brave marines cut down just yesterday, and with IED's exploding, rockets fired at the so called 'Green Zone', and all out warfare breaking out in Sadr City again, the President calls Patraeus's time as Commander of forces in theater a success.

As head of USCentCom, Patraeus will be responsible for all military operations covering an area between Europe and the Pacific Ocean. The post has been recently held by Admiral William Fallon, who gave a gloomy outlook to Congress for the success of introducing any sort of real democracy in Iraq, and stated that it was his belief that the best outcome that could be achieved was a coalition type of government made up of all the different fighting factions, including the Al-Sadr one. He also said he didn't believe that the U.S. was doing enough to secure Afghanistan, with the Taliban resurging, and the opium trade growing to record levels.

The moment those words left Fallon's lips, his days were numbered. Patraeus on the other hand, went before Congress and dodged many a question. He painted a rose colored glasses picture that everyone knew was little more than a parroting of Bush and Cheney's talking points. And so once again the Bush administration shows that it doesn't matter if you are capable of doing the job, nor the most qualified person for a given position. The President rewards on the basis of loyalty to him, and nothing else. He packs the high places of our military with the same blindly obedient types that he has packed our Department of Justice with.

Knowing what we know about Patraeus, one has to wonder at this sudden shift in the command structure when Bush only has nine months left in office. But all one has to do is take a glance at the world map to see the game that is afoot. Squeezed in between Iraq and Afghanistan is the real prize for these neo-con maniacs. Iran. Top military planner won't go along with your insane plan to bomb the Iranians? No problem. Just force him to resign and put a puppet political general in his place. Because that's exactly what they plan on doing despite all of their denials.

It was but a few days ago that Defence Sec. Gates told a group of cadets that Iran was hell bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and that we would not allow that to happen. He also was critical of army publications for printing the dissenting views of soldiers serving in theater, who believe the Iraq conflagration is a lost cause. That's right. No dissent means no dissent. So goodbye to Admiral Fallon.

In Iraq, the new Commander will be Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, another political hack, and Patraeus's right hand man. So now, instead of having military men who make decisions based on the reality of the situation on the ground, we'll have two generals in highly placed positions, doing the bidding of this would be emperor in the White House.

The Senate must still confirm General Patraeus's appointment to the CentCom command position. The same Senate which was angry and dissatisfied with Patraeus's answers during the recent round of questioning. Hopefully this time they grow a back bone, and tell this President that there will be no more rewarding of political loyalists, who do the bidding of the Republican Party, even if it means more Americans must die, more people will suffer unbearably, and our entire nation goes down the economic drain. We need people who will stand up and say that something is wrong, stick to their guns, and if need be, go public when this war mongering administration wants to do something that is against the interests of the People. Patraeus should not be confirmed and this Senate must just say no.

Because if they do cave in again and confirm this puppet general, they may as well just make the entire U.S. Military an arm of the political apparatus, a move that would cause the founding fathers to roll over in their collective graves.

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's Time To Boycott China Completely

The most recent round of orchestrated protests and calls by Chinese citizens for a boycott of the West, shows the world once again how the Chinese government attempts to stifle dissent against it's policies, wielding openly the economic threat they have at their disposal. Knowing full well that many a nation is now dependent upon their country for cheap goods and services, the government of China, usually quick to crack down on voices of dissent against their own citizens, now allows the West bashing to continue unchecked in a blatant attempt to silence those who protest the 'Chinafication' of Tibet.

Although it may very well be that the average Chinese citizen does not know the history of China's vicious military invasion of Tibet on October 7th, 1950, the Chinese government knows full well the atrocities it committed against the Tibetan people, having pushed across the border of a free and independent nation and killing half of their military forces in two days. So outraged at this blatant aggression by the government of Mao Zedong that the Indian government fired off a letter of protest to not only the Chinese government, but asked the governments of the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union to intervene on behalf of the Tibetans. Even after these same three countries declared the invasion of Tibet and illegal occupation and demanded the withdrawal of Chinese forces, the Chinese ignored the petitions for relief. India, refusing to go away quietly, petitioned the United Nations to intervene and force the Chinese to leave Tibet, but to their chagrin, the U.N. did what it still does today, absolutely nothing.

Hence the occupation of Tibet began, and the rewriting of history by the Chinese government, who now claims that Tibet was always a part of China, likening the country to little more than a breakaway province, when nothing could be further from the truth. Since the 1950's, the Chinese government has ruled Tibet with an iron fist, brooking no dissent, and treating Tibetans worse than mongrel dogs. They have forced Tibetans to give up their homes and their means of support in order to make way for the influx of Chinese migrants, who were rewarded for leaving China and settling in Tibet. Today, Lhasa, the Tibetan Capitol, is made up of a population of 93 per cent Chinese.

Moving into the modern day, all one has to do is look at the practices of China, and a stronger case emerges for the rest of the world to boycott this 'evil empire'. (Remember that phrase?)

They can sit and deny that they knew of the defective products sent to not only the U.S., but other western nations as well, but no one is really buying that story. The medicines that were tainted and potentially deadly could only have been allowed to go on with the nod from the central government, due to the absolute control that the Chinese government exerts over every aspect of it's society. Poisonous pet food, lead laden toys, and the wanton killing of it's own civilians makes for a government of goons and thugs, just as CNN's Jack Cafferty called them.

In Sudan, where the government of al-Bashir continues to slaughter the people of Darfur, the Chinese government could force an immediate end to the killing by threatening to pull out of contracts signed for Sudanese oil extraction and development. But to this day, they have turned a blind eye to the massacres, claiming they don't want to interfere in a sovereign nation's affairs.

But yet, when the election results in Zimbabwe did not show the tyrant Mugabe to be the clear winner, and it looks as though a run off election will have to take place, the Chinese government saw fit to ship Mugabe three million rounds of ammunition, rifles, mortars, hand held rockets, and land mines in an attempt to prop up the Mugabe government. The stake in Zimbabwe for the Chinese is the same as in Sudan, oil. They will arm a tyrant madman to the teeth to make sure they have access to oil, but will not stop the slaughter of the Darfurian people. Are you starting to see the pattern here?

Regularly threatening Taiwan with invasion, the people there grew so weary of being afraid of the imminent threat, and no longer trusting the U.S. to come to their aid, that small country just 'elected' a government that is more open to Chinese influence.

With the strengthening of the Chinese military to world projection capability and influence on the backs of U.S. workers who have lost their manufacturing jobs to China, one would think that we would stop arming the Chinese with our own money. Even as China declares loudly that their military is not intended to threaten anyone, they shadow our aircraft carriers with stealth submarines, and steam into American ports with brand spanking new battleships, even as they refuse port calls to American war ships.

And lest we forget the Chinese involvement of the crackdown of dissent in neighboring Myanmar, and their unwavering support of North Korea, maybe we should remember that China callously disregards international law and treaties they themselves signed by sending escapees from both Myanmar and North Korea back to their respective countries, where they face certain execution.

The time has come for the entire world to gain some back bone. The time has come for a complete boycott of China and all products made in China. All nations should boycott not just the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, but the entire Olympic games themselves. There was a time in world history not very long ago when the world used appeasement so as to not upset a rising military power. We all know exactly what that led to. This new appeasement of a regime that is one of the world's most brutal, most repressive, and most reprehensibly irresponsible, can only lead to the fruition of what many the world over see as the possibility for a new Armageddon.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

To Be A Fly On The Wall

Have you ever sat in your living room, watching a television show, and had the sudden realization that there was an annoying little creature perched on your wall? The little multi-eyed pain in the butt that moves much too quickly for you to get a good swat at, and so it sits there watching You as you try to ignore it. Have you ever wondered just what those damned things are looking at anyway? If the U.S. Military is successful in a new program they're coming out with, that fly on the wall may very well be watching, listening to, and transmitting back to home base all of your everyday movements.

DARPA, or the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, an arm of the United States Military, has been on the cutting edge when it comes to the development of new military systems for fifty years now. These are the experts that brought us the Saturn 5 rockets in response to the Soviet's launching of Sputnik. DARPA has also been the main thinkers behind not only the Internet itself, but they were the ones that came up with stealth technology, unmanned aerial vehicles, and night vision goggles among a few of their industrious accomplishments.

So we're not talking about some geeks in a back room laboratory fiddling away in the hopes of inventing something. These people are the real deal when it comes to new applications, and what they're up to now might give us all just a moment's pause.

The project known as HI-MEMS, short for Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical System, is the brain child of scientist Amit Lal, and his team is hard at work raising insects that will be implanted with electronic circuitry that will use GPS systems to guide these little cyborg fliers to their intended targets, where they will relay back audio as well as real time visuals through the use of microphones and mini cameras. Other potential uses could be using the bugs to detect poison gases, much in the way coal miners use canaries now.

The way they are accomplishing all of this is by introducing the mechanical elements into the larvae, caterpillar, and pupae stages, as they say this allows for the growth of tissue to form around the micro mechanics, and forming a reliable and stable tissue-machine interface. Dr. Lal also says that each of these new super cyborgs will be able to carry multiple sensors.

Ok. One can presumably make the argument that these things would be great for spying on the Chinese or whomever. But is anyone under any illusion that what the DARPA team is making will be used strictly for military purposes? In this day and age of data mining, tapped phones without warrants, renditions, and who knows how many domestic spying laws broken, one can be as sure as can be that these little beasts will find their way into the average American home.

One must imagine just who at the Pentagon sat in their chair one day musing upon how it would be awesome to be a fly on the wall in any household they wanted, and then said to the DARPA team, "Make it so". DARPA, being the brilliant scientists that they are, went ahead and did just that.

If all of this sounds like so much phooey and science fiction, think again. No less than Time magazine has reported on this, and they quote DARPA spokeswoman Jan Walker as saying that "living, adult-stage insects have emerged with the embedded systems intact." Forget the old newspaper swatting of these creatures. Call the exterminator. Keep the bug, bee, wasp, roach and whatever other insecticide that you can get your hands on around the house, because we're about to be invaded by not a massive army of killer bees, but a monstrosity of nature made in the good old U.S.A.

Next, they'll be taking infants in the womb and implanting them with this technology in an attempt to create the ultimate soldier. Oh, and don't you sit there and say it could never happen. Because even five years ago, no one would have thought it possible to integrate living tissue with machine, or twenty years ago, you would have been laughed at for talking about something called the Internet. Bearing that in mind, remember that the very same people that invented the Internet are the ones who have dreamed this baby up.

So the next time you see that annoying little creature buzzing around in your living room, swat it, spray it with Raid, kill it at all costs. Because that fly on the wall may not only be observing and listening, but may be showing what it sees to others.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hamas Must End Their Attacks

With a good part of the planet becoming sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, and with a defiant former President of the United States visiting with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Syria, bringing with him a surprise offer from Israeli deputy prime minister Eli Yishai to exchange prisoners, why on earth would Hamas decide that now would be a great time to ram bomb laden vehicles into a border crossing with Israel?

No possible good can come from this despicable act. Not one thing was accomplished by attacking the very checkpoint that is the conduit of goods and aid to the Gaza Strip save for three dead Palestinians and 13 wounded Israeli soldiers. There will be no movement from the Israelis due to suicide attacks, and indeed, their retaliation was swift and severe, as warplanes dropped more bombs that killed yet more civilians.

No longer satisfied with the establishment of a Palestinian homeland, Hamas pushes forward with an agenda that calls for the destruction of Israel. Understanding the anger and frustration of the Palestinian people, one must wonder at the callous disregard for the civilians by both sides, especially at a time when progress could have been made. When former President Carter is visiting with the Hamas leadership, and despite the snubs by top Israeli leaders, this could have been a chance for some sort of brokered peace deal, but that chance was frittered away with this latest needless attack.

The entire world silently cheered when Hamas blew a hole in the border wall with Egypt so that starving Palestinians could enter that country and gain access to food and clothing. Many of us were saddened when the Egyptians finally started pushing the Palestinians back into their walled in prison. Many a blogger shared outrage over the plight of the Palestinian people, and their barbaric treatment at the hands of the Israeli government. But all of the sympathy will dissipate like so much smoke on a windy day should Hamas not understand the reality of the world politic, and cease these never ending rocket attacks, car bombings, and kidnappings.

Having become so common place that they are no longer even considered newsworthy, Hamas and it's leadership must come to the conclusion that they are hurting their cause more than any Israeli air strike. People the world over just want to see peace in the region. They are tired of hearing of the killing of Israeli civilians, some of whom may have even been sympathetic to the Palestinian cause in the first place, but whose families now despise the very thought of a free Palestine on their border. The world is also sick to death of the wanton Israeli retaliation that is tantamount to war crimes being committed in the targeting of the civilian populations of the occupied territories. Deny it all they like, but those in the know can see for ourselves who the targets are. And if we reverse the equation, and Hamas declares that they are the speakers for the Palestinians in the Gaza, making them in effect the de facto government entity for the Gaza, then they also are guilty of war crimes in their targeting of civilians.

Hamas must come to the conclusion that they can not win this war, should it last for a million years. The Israelis are much too powerful, and should the Arab world ever even consider the unthinkable, the nations responsible would cease to exist. Therefore, knowing this, Hamas must end their attacks forthwith, if only to spare the lives of the innocents.

Most of us no longer buy into the mainstream media's nor either the U.S. or Israeli governments' portrayal of the Palestinian cause as a 'terrorist' operation. They have as much right to their own country as the Israelis do. But no one is going to buy the argument that what Hamas is doing now has anything to do with furthering the cause of their people. The only cause being furthered now is the march of hatred. Should world opinion turn away from the Palestinians because of these suicide attacks, then Hamas will have no one to blame but themselves.

Let the talks continue. Allow Fatah to gain concessions out of Israel. Place a ceasefire in effect, and vow that the Palestinians will not fire the first shot any longer. Tell the entire world that Hamas seeks peace and freedom for the people that they are supposed to be fighting for by laying down those guns, those bombs, and those deadly mortars and rockets. This is not a sign of weakness but of strength and conviction, and by doing so, the Palestinian cause would gain renewed world wide attention. Only this time the attention would once again be positive and sympathetic, and might even lead to enough pressure on both the American and Israeli governments to press forward on the establishment of a united and free Palestinian homeland.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Of What Democracy Do You Speak?

When the time is at hand that the Executive Branch of our government no longer feels it needs to answer to lawful subpoenas emanating from Congress, then the day has already arrived in which the very word democracy no longer describes the United States.

Long a bright beacon to the oppressed peoples of the world, a nation of compassion and rules that made life better for all, we can no longer boast of these things, as a President and his evil cadre lay claim to powers that are unconstitutional, subverting every law that used to hold the weight of checks and balance.

Asked questions several times over the past few years about how he could possibly answer for the mess he'd made in Afghanistan and Iraq, and how he intended to fix them, President Bush answered in a supposed to be glib manner that it would be much easier were this a dictatorship and he the dictator. Nervous laughter followed these remarks by reporters, but the questions that should have been asked should have been along the lines of why he and his administration are ignoring the Constitution, flouting international law and treaties, ignoring Congress and the will of the People, politicizing the Department of Justice, and allowing his corporate buddies to rape our economy.

He should answer to questions of high crimes and misdemeanors for the lies told by him and his criminal Vice-President, (as well as others throughout his entire administration), to rope us into this protracted and bloody conflagration in Iraq, the war that the far right wants to fight for decades to come.

When a segment of society, in this case the far right wingnut evangelicals, can overpower the political system into doing their bidding to the detriment and despair of the rest of the country, once again, it is no longer a democracy, but a type of bait and switch wherein one feels like they're free, but in reality you answer to the graduates of Pat Robertson University, the people who are running this fascist dictatorship. If you're a part of their group, (the rich, the far right religious), you get a seat at the table. The table where these fattened pigs gorge on the no bid giveaways to their friends and their friends of their friends.

If you can point these things out to what is passed off as media in America these days, and no one writes a word about the wrongdoing for fear of losing their jobs, you are not in a democracy any longer, because the first step on the road to dictatorship is to stifle free press.

Imagine an agency of the People, in this case the Department of Justice, refusing to uphold the laws of our nation under orders from the White House, and that Department of in name only Justice going along with this mad hatter President.

Or a Supreme Court that does the bidding of the Executive time and time again, only once in a while disagreeing with the President in order to put on a show for the populace. Ask any Pakistani. It's called dictatorship.

We used to make jokes about banana republics and their evil dictatorial ways. But the joke's come full circle, with the American people the butt of it, as they prey upon our fears in order to crush all semblance of dissent. Distortions and lies, smoke and mirrors, these masters of illusion pretend to have our best interests at heart, while the price of fuel spirals ever upwards, and even food becomes unaffordable.

What did anyone think was going to happen when they elected to office the very same criminals from the Nixon years? The very same traitors who wanted to chuck the Constitution out the window back in the 1960's for God's sake! Combine them with a bunch of corporate oil barons and the recipe for disaster was as plain as the sun in the clear blue sky.

And so we now come to the proverbial fork in the road of American history. The people of America must be the ones to choose between living in a free and open society, or by silently going along, acquiescing to the murdering wannabe dictators and Hitlers in our midst. That means taking action and raising our voices so loudly that even the tone deaf White House can hear us.

The alternative is more rights being taken away in the name of God, country, and security. The alternative is but another form of slavery to a government that was intended to the the servant of us all.