Sunday, July 31, 2005

Wal-Mart, Other American Firms Financing A Chinese Arms Race

China's help in the multiparty talks to eliminate the North Korea nuclear threat is much appreciated by the United States, but it also must be taken in a realistic regard. While attempting to eliminate any other Asian power from becoming members of the nuclear club, China is seeking to extend it's own military and that could include a buildup of nuclear arms to reach a parity level more similar to the United States 7,000 nuclear warheads in the future. Using the wealth produced in China by such corporations as Wal-Mart, China has added new nuclear tipped Sunburn cruise anti-ship missiles in the last few months, as well as six new naval destroyers to the People's Liberation Army Navy also within the last few months. Chinese military spending is now the third highest of any world nation. Chinese arms spending increases are now outpacing the growth of the Chinese economy. Chinese military spending may now top $90 billion a year. America had a $162 billion dollar trade deficit with China in 2004, up from the $124 billion trade deficit posted in 2003. Yet 32% of Chinese live on only $2 a day average. All the trade has yet to benefit many Chinese. Yet the Chinese military has greatly benefitted from this trade boom with the U.S.

While China only currently has a suspected 200 nuclear warheads, it is likely that this will grow to counter any American military strength from the 7,000 the U.S. has by weapons designed to defeat any missile shield antimissile weapons, and these could include producing a number of nuclear arms meant to overwelm America defenses, much like the 20,000 Russian warheads would in any potential conflict.

Two areas could become potential conflicts between the U.S. and China. The shortest term conflict could be over Taiwan, which seems to draw an irrational level of anger from Chinese officials. The other longer range area of possible conflict is over the growing need for world oil resources. While the U.S. economy loses many industries and continues to suffer major industry regression, still the American economy is dependent on world oil reserves, however the peak oil output of every major world oil reserve has come and passed, where production is now only kept at high levels by pumping seawater or gas into oil well reserves. In Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil well is only kept at high production levels by pumping 7 million barrels of seawater a day into this oil well and raising oil levels to the surface. And while Iran has many friendly arrangements with China, any attempt by the U.S. to have a conflict with Iran over their own nuclear program could be seen as a threat to Iranian flow of oil supplies to China. Iran and China have signed a huge oil and gas deal recently. In 2003, China imported 226 million barrels of oil from Iran, second only to oil exports from Saudi Arabia to China. But Iran controls the Strait Of Hormuz, of which all Middle Eastern oil must flow. Any attempt by the U.S. to attack Iran militarily, or by Israel to attack Iran over their own nuclear program, could worry China as a threat to their economy and supply of oil which they could fear could be falling under U.S. control, rather than independent control. The possibility for an oil based conflict are very real.

Under Bush, the U.S. seeked to prove it's power around the world by the Iraq War. But with the ground war failure for America, which proves the U.S. can only prove military dominance at a 30,000 feet air war, America has proven a weakness to other world states. Nuclear strength seems to be the key for nations such as North Korea to avoid a U.S. invasion, until a beneficial treaty with the U.S. is reached that provides security guarantees as well as massive financial aid. But Iraq further encouraged both China and Russia to maintain world "superpower " status by massive military strength, and nuclear arms are the easy shortcut to this status. Most of the G8 and other world economy members either gain world respect by a large growing economy, or some like Russia with 20,000 nuclear warheads but virtually no economy. China seems to be following a twin track effort to achieve this superpower status, a booming economy and a boomimg track of military spending both. And this may provide future conflict between the U.S. and China if Taiwan or oil flow concerns over Iran should take a bad turn. A continued trust between both the U.S. and China is vital. But a growing Chinese military does not give the U.S. experts much peace. And major U.S. corporations whose store shelves are packed with Chinese made goods are helping to fuel this military buildup.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bill Frist's Ideological Split From Bush On Stem Cell Research

There are several factors at work in Senator Bill Frist's break from Bush over the controversial issue of stem cell research. To those in the prolife community, research on these life products are akin to parting out some humans to repair others, a highly moral suspect position. But to others in the scientific community, and much of the public, the prospect at repairing damaged genetic codes which probably hold the key to many serious diseases may be found in the scientific study to use these human embryos, which would face destruction anyway, would appear to some as a moral use of these human life materials. Bill Frist finds himself as a doctor caught between these world's. As a prolife Republican, which argument has the greater moral value tears at Bill Frist.

From a number of factors, Bill Frist has come down on the side of embryotic stem cell research. One is his role as a doctor to battle human suffering. Another is that since these embryos would face destuction if not used, a good scientific use seems to hold some moral value. Another is those conservative's since the Reagan death, such as Nancy Reagan that believed stem cell research may have helped her husband. Another is the strength of companies in the stem cell research to influence this important political leader with large campaign contributions, and in another sense it makes George Bush a lame duck president, and raises the regard for Frist among many centrist voters for his own presidential ambitions in 2008. And after a wrongful videotape diagnosis in the Terri Schiavo case, that brought some critical attacks by some, Frist is in need of an issue that his medical expertise can forcefully represent. His education and background as a doctor can well state a case for a medical issue like this, and to champion it would not only help medical research, but allow a spotlight for Frist.

I have split feelings on the issue myself. I could use the stem cell research to help with the serious autoimmune problems I am having, but I am also concerned that it in no way will increase abortions or lead to a society of parting out some humans to help others medically. I'd rather die than violate that moral standard. But if the research can be morally and respectfully done to respect life in all regards, then I feel it may offer some hope to many with serious health problems that conventional medicine cannot help.

There are other life products such as male sperm that will pass with the urine if the prostate gland is full. And an egg is lost in the menstrual cycle with the female. So for a life product such as an embryo to be a subject of medical research, although a fertilized product may not be far from normal human body processes that dispose of extra life products normally. Yet I think this question still requires a prayerful guidance from God from all involved for the proper moral answer to this question.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Keystone Cops At Work

I have a great deal of respect for police agencies. Many police are loyal and go beyond the call of duty to protect the public. But this week my parents experienced the flip side of this.

My parents have a home they are intending to rent, probably as low income housing through HAP or a similar Federal program to a poor family. And a worker had been living in the house for the past few days to do room painting.

This week, several police agencies secured a search warrant to look for a wanted felon who does not even live at the house. And at 4AM, a couple days ago shot up the house, although not threatened or shot from inside. Besides bullet holes through a number of windows, a battering ram busted up the front door, and a dog belonging to the painter who did not even bark at the police was shot three times in the head and killed.

No attempt to apologize to the owner of the dog who was not part of any search warrant was offered. And no attempt to contact my parents before the search warrant was executed to inform them, or any attempt to offer to repair the extensive damage to this nearly new home were offered.

This was like the Keystone Cops at work, and not the usual high standards that I expect of law enforcement. Most police are very professional. Many are very compassionate to crime victims. How this screwy SWAT type mission went so wrong could be partially be blamed on no attempt to contact my parents who could have told them that no one like the person who the warrant sought even lived at the house. And the senseless murder of a loyal loving dog who was no threat, seems so tragic. I'm a vegan who deeply respects life, and I feel deeply sorry about this tragic murder of an innocent animal.

The Two Faces Of Chrysler

The German company that owns Chrysler, Daimler of Germany is running ads that make that make the company appear to be the American owned corporation of the 1980's where former CEO Lee Iacocca and actor Jason Alexander exchange some thoughts and the familiar. "If you can find a better car, buy it" line is used.

The problem is that this foreign owned corporation was once American owned. Daimler of Germany owns Chrysler now. And while Chrysler has a unique stable of intriguing products, and has higher profits that have improved from $698 million a year ago, to the increased level of $892 millon this year.

Current ChryslerDaimler CEO Jurgen Schrempp is stepping down early from Chrysler, and will be replaced by Dieter Zetsche who has been the executive behind many successful projects responsible for the Chrysler turnaround. The other major brand produced by ChryslerDaimler is the Mercedes nameplate. Yet the ads for Mercedes never note any connection for Chrysler. In this case such ads would not be a helpful connection. That is part of the strange advertising tightrope that DaimlerChrysler walks, to make the Chrysler nameplate appear to be American, although it is not, and make Mercedes seem German, although it is part of a globalized enterprise.

Lee Iacocca is a very fine man, and part of the money he receives from the ad spots go to a diabetes research project that Iacocca funds. His wife died from the disease. And Iacocca who supported Bush in 2000, but supported then John Kerry in 2004, has a flexible political outlook. However, it is sad that part of America's own automobile industry is now foreign owned. AMC which also become part of Chryler in the late 80's, had to seek a 49% financial stake by French carmaker Renault to survive until the Chrysler deal.

But the trend is clear, globalization of business is weakening the role of American industry in the world. Only in the area of military matters is America a real force. Yet the Iraq War proves a real weakness there. At 30,000 feet, with high tech aircraft America has a military dominance. In ground combat, poorly equipped insurgent fighters in Iraq seem to wear at American efforts to prevent any victory in Iraq from being achieved. And problems with the Space Schuttle program also call into question the American scientific or high tech product skills or abilities. With so many problems to this spacecraft, the more primitive Russian Soyuz spacecraft appears to be more dependable and reliable.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Third Way: Another Watered Down Centrist Organization Pretending To Be Progressive

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, would like to run for President in 2008. He has associated himself with yet another "centrist" Democratic organization similar to the DLC. And not all of the ideas or proposals of Third Way are entirely bad, but simply way to timid to confront serious economic policy, military, foreign policy and other concerns that need a more forceful response.

For example this organization praises work with so-called Republican "moderates" like John McCain. Yet never bothers to mention that McCain's record is often far from moderate. McCain voted against a hate crimes bill intended to protect against violence or murder based on race, sex, sexual orientation, disability or other reasonable standards, yet McCain voted against this bill, although conservative Republican Senator from Oregon, Gordon Smith was one of the bill's main sponsors. Does a "moderate" allow hate crimes against minorites, women or even homosexuals? Even your most conservative police chief will seriously prosecute any violence or murder in their community, buy some senators like John McCain are too cowardly to follow simliar standards against lawless conduct and violence.

And while some oil companies such BP recently reported a 29% jump in profits due to high oil products prices, Third Way offers no answer on important economic issues like this. In Portland, Oregon, the city council attempted to purchase Enron owned PGE to reduce power costs to consumers, however Enron has avoided this sale looking to market PGE to a Texas energy giant or a similar mega-enterprise. Former Enron CEO, Ken Lay would have received a $20 million dollar a year salary had he not been indicted for crimes. Third Way has no answer to important economic issues like this, which public utility district control or public ownership of energy companies would help to control prices and consumer abuse. Public control could also offer reduced energy costs to elderly or poor consumers, something that a privately run company usually never does. In fact some oil company executive were caught in a phone conversation laughing at a scheme to actually cost elderly poor more money for energy use.

And despite the serious problems with the Iraq War that the Bush Administration has gotten America into, and questions about the honesty of the arguments and credibility of the "intelligence" that sucked America into this endless conflict, Third Way offers little answers. The Pentagon has done little more than mislead the average American on the progress of this war. The Pentagon even claimed that only about 12,000 insurgents may exist in Iraq. Now they claim that 50,000 insurgents have been killed in the last 18 months, which means that maybe 100,000 to 200,000 insurgents exist in Iraq at any given time, as well as millions more from other Muslim nations who may join the conflict from these other nations.

And just like Rick Santorum and others who champion meaningless far right social issues while jobs are lost in America to unfair foreign competition, and the war wages on in Iraq and radicalizes many in Muslim states and increases terrorism danger by the day, Third Way has decided to champion their own social agenda similar to the religious right. Third Way made news yesterday on NBC's Today Show, by claiming that a study by their organization supported the highly suspect claim that the main users of adult entertainment sites on the Internet are 11-17 year olds, and not adult users. Yet unlike any reputable poll or study from Zogby, or a similar organization, no proof of study methodology was offered. And the "study" was used to support a bill by an Arkansas Representative affiliated with Third Way to levy a 25% tax on adult entertainment sites as well as providing a credit card age verification process. Yet the Supreme Court has already turned down a bill passed by Congress to regulate Internet speech before, and a tax or credit card verification probably would not pass the current court. This is not to say that these sites are desirable, but that the premise that children are main users was not backed by any credible evidence presented and that their solution of a 25% tax and a credit card verification process probably would not pass a Supreme Court case. Just like the Christian Right that offers absurd premises to support their agenda, Third Way seems similarly inclined. Third Way fails to consider that parents may easily purchase or even use filtering software from their Internet provider to block objectionable sites. And which sites qualify for a tax based on speech content or not, becomes an absurd question that the Supreme Court is nearly certain to reject if the bill should become law. Instead of serious economic proposals to protect the economic well being of families, Third Way is becoming identical to the Christian Right in promoting absurd social issues like this 25% tax on speech content. This is hardly the same agenda as promoting family issues such as decent jobs or safe communities. This is merely "Christian Right light" to promote likely unconstitutional bills that tax free expression.

And while Third Way offers some intelligent insight into some areas of the decay of the Democratic message in many parts of the country, including the South. Yet the organization is hardly progressive on nature. Or really offers any answers. It is a watered down "centrist" organization that somewhat mimics the Republican Right, but in a Democratic form. And nothing in this organization seems willing to tackle the big corporate donations that puppeteer both political parties. Third Way is like "Republican light".

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The White House Push For The CAFTA Mistake

NAFTA was supposed to hold great promises for the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico. Instead 900,000 textile jobs in America have been lost since the beginning of NAFTA. In Mexico, rather than the economy improving many wages actually fell, union organizing was suppressed, and due to dramatically increased pollution, higher rates of birth defects among infants and higher rates of hepatitis have been reported. In Canada, a huge increase in farm foreclosures has resulted from NAFTA as well as other job losses to this nation with a population smaller than the state of California.

From this trade mistake, it would only seem prudent to oppose a similar trade agreement with Central American states that the AFL-CIO says is a job loss agreement, will hurt smaller farms in the U.S., and could spell more problems for what little of the American textile industry remains. And in addition, the health, poverty, and financial problems aggravated in Mexico, only served to increase both legal and illegal emigration from Mexico as conditions have actually worsened there as a result of NAFTA. Yet the Bush White House is insisting that the NAFTA mistake be repeated and CAFTA be approved. The Senate may even vote this week.

NAFTA also increased rather than closed the trade deficit America has, and CAFTA will certainly do more of the same. And some absurd limitations on legal actions will allow some legal limitations on pollution or clean water controls by America. For example, a Canadian firm that produces a gasoline additive, MTBE is protected under the NAFTA international trade agreement and cannot be held responsible for damage to American water supplies by this harmful additive which has a history of leaking into many American city and town water supplies.

And CAFTA does nothing to provide any promise to South American workers whose labor laws do not meet international labor rights standards, to offer any improved working conditions, health threat or wage improvements. And with problems in the Central American coffee market which has hurt the local living standards, a new problem such as cheaply produced American wheat or corn could begin to flood the Central American markets and could only only worsen living conditions in the very nations that this trade agreement claims to benefit.

And environmentally sensitive areas of forestland could become more victimized by development. Rainforests and other wilderness areas in South America are environmentally important to world climate stability, and are homes to rare wildlife that is increasingly threatened. There are no sane reasons for CAFTA. Just like NAFTA, CAFTA is a huge international mistake that benefits a few corporations, and leaves many workers in the United States and Central America both hurting. And like NAFTA ,many Central American workers and their families will seek to emigate to America both legally and illegally as conditions worsen as a result of this bad trade agreement. This is hardly good for these workers and their families to have to flee their home country because conditions have become so bad.

All humans should be treated with dignity, and should be paid a fair wage. And a mother should be able to bear children without an increased likelyhood of birth defects. But like NAFTA, CAFTA promises nothing. America should learn from the NAFTA mistake and not repeat it with a CAFTA mistake. Compounding mistakes is no solution. And with Iraq and other Bush White House mistakes, the judgement of this administration on important matters should not be trusted.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Rick Santorum: The Senator Who Makes No Sense

For a $25 cover price, you can own a copy of Senator Rick Santorum's new book, "It Takes A Family". Yet between the covers is surprising little for the $25 cover price. Indeed reviews only give this flimsy logic book a barely fair 2 1/2 star rating. The average senator who writes a book usually leaves a historic legacy for the ages with it. But this book hardly is in the same league. It attempts to promote itself as "profamily". Yet for religious right Senator Santorum, he should read the Bible's own warning that "Faith without works is dead".

Senator Santorum's world operates in a contradictory vacuum that holds up the perfect image as the mother as caregiver who should care for the children, yet this Senator has done little in his career to make the lives of working mothers any better. As high paying steel jobs left his native state of Pennsylvania , as foreign competitors dumped steel to destroy this industry, Santorum has done surprising little to protect the economy security of the working families of his state or the nation. And rather than being any champion of women, Santorum has a very poor record on women's issues. He voted against a Federal program that offered financial assistance to businesses run by minorities or women, yet the SBA and other loans are available to men who create a business startup.

And Santorum has failed to protect families, especially poor families in high crime areas from gun violence. He has voted to block gunshow and other background checks on buying guns, although some of these could be purchased by persons with a criminal record to commit drug or gang related crimes who avoid gunshops because some may be convicted felons who are banned from gun ownership.

And when families are hurt by defective products such as defective baby cribs that have killed infants, Santorum was there to protect the companies who produce such deadly products by voting to ban class action lawsuits. And he further voted to limit the liability of those who companies that produce deadly defective products. And when families are forced into financial hardship because of extreme medical expenses, Santorum voted to sharply curtail the use of bankruptcy laws.

Santorum had the opportunity to support the education of children, yet was rated as supporting education issues for children only 27% of the time by the NEA. And supported a welfare reform bill that forced women on welfare to work, even if they were single, had several small children and could not afford child care.

And Santorum voted for "free trade" bills that allowed very cheap imports to flood the American shores, not the least concerned with working families and the staggering number of high paying factory jobs lost in his state and in the nation.

Santorum opposed campaign finance reform, and voted against a bill to limit "soft money" to 527s, which allows big corporations to promote anticonsumer and antiworking family issues. And the list of awful votes by this senator who is the worst of the worst goes on and on. Yet Santorum claims he is profamily and that his book, "It Takes A Family", supports families. The real truth is it really takes $25 to buy a book, that is merely a shallow promotion for a presidential bid by a Senator with a horrible voting record on issues that involve working families. For $25 the book costs it simply does not deliver what it claims. There is nothing really positive for working families in either the $25 book or in Santorum's senate record. Both are simply a waste. The $25 book is merely self promtion by one of the worst senators ever for a 2008 presidential bid. There is nothing inspirational in this at all, only cheap self promotion. Yet Santorum seems to be intoxicated at believing in his own self-goodness.

It would take a village idiot to accept "It takes A Family", as a meaningful document supporting the welfare and best interests of working families. It absolutely does not despite the misleading and very deceptive title.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Decline Of Labor In A Declining Economy

This weekend the American labor movement hit a new snag as four large unions are preparing to bolt the AFL-CIO organization. This is another huge blow to a united front by the working class to counter the huge dominance of business influence both in politics and driving wages down through mega-stores such as Wal-Mart who are nonunion, low paying and offer few benefits. And it could also be potentially bad for prospects for a revival in the Democratic party for a strongly prolabor candidate to emerge for President, as the influence of labor shrinks and more and more corporations, rather than unions gain influence in both parties. Indeed even former Republican, Hillary Clinton is sounding more and more Republican in her opinions, with a new report she'll probably support John Roberts for the Supreme Court, and an attack on a video game that had a minor bit of pixelated cartoon sex available as a Internet download. Her attack on this game was especially shrill, when one considers the minor bit of sexual content was a very minor part compared to an overwelming violent theme of shootings and murders, including of a prostitute. Hillary Clinton is championing small time nonsense issues like this, while the American union movement has slid to representing only 8% of American workers, down from a peak union membership of one third of all workers in the 1930's. And American industries are picked apart by predatory capitalist practices from Asian competitors.

Not only are mega-businesses and globlized corporations who have no loyality to any state or flag, only to their own internatonal power, squeezing out American labor unions. But the predatory capitalist business practices of Japan, Korea and China have spelled economic doom for many high paying American manufacturing jobs, and weakened the American economy down to a level of an increasing level of low paying service jobs.

After WWII, as a war damaged Japan sought to rebuild their battered nation, the generations of militaristic instincts remained. But instead of centuries of military conflicts with other nations, including Russia, China, Korea or other states, Japanese businesses instead focused on economic war against targeted American corporations to build their economy and to secure world economic dominance.

In the 1960's it was the parent company that produced Panasonic televisions, Matsushita Electric Company, that decided to target the American television industry for a Pearl Harborlike destruction and assimilation of defeated corporations. In the 1960's America had Zenith, RCA, GE, Maganavox, Quasar and Philco-Ford as television manufacturers. But today none survive as an American brand. And Quasar, one of Matsushita's targets, became assimilated into the Matsushita corporation. In fact Matsushita has assimilated 589 world companies, and now has equity in 81 more.

And the American automobile industry of the 1960's had six manufacturers, GM, Ford, Chrysler, AMC, Studebaker and Checker. As far back as the 1950's the American automobile producers were so powerful that when Hudson and Nash mergered in a mid50's mega-deal involving $191 million dollars, it was the biggest corporate merger in the history of the United States. Packard and Studebaker were also considering entry into this arrangement, but an unexpected death of a major executive, and some financial problems doomed not only this deal, but also Packard and Studebaker as a maker, although Studebaker did merge assets with other corporations. Given this strength, how could the American automobile industry also take a another hard hit, and hundreds of thousands of high paying union factory jobs disappear. First with Volkswagon, but then more significantly with Japanese automakers, American companies lost market share and now only GM and Ford survive as American brands. Some Japanese companies have only been building automobiles since 1966, such as Subaru, whose 1969 $1,297 dollar 360 model was the first entry into America. Now every block has Subarus, Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans and other cars including Korean Hyundai and Kia automobiles. Slowly $3,500 Chevrolets, Fords, Plymouths, Commanders, Marathons and Ambassadors sold less and less. While many Japanese automobiles such as Toyotas and Hondas are manufactured here, often they are in right to work states or other areas with far less than normal Detroit wages. Even the German name plate BMWs are produced in South Carolina for wages far way below the wages paid in Germany for workers building identical models for the European market.

From the experience of a culture that worshipped the warrior, rather than the teacher or preacher like other nations, a culture to develop an aggresive economic view of business developed in post war Tokyo. While most Americans believe in more gentle "free market" economics that believe in business startups that believe in more gentle competition. But since the role of Matsushita in bringing down the America television business, in which TV sets were sold for prices far below the comparable price for similar models in Tokyo, simply to undercut and destroy the American industry, the role of undervalued currency, product dumping, predatory pricing, unfair labor practices to cut production costs, and extremely cheap foreign labor have all been used to undermine and target American manufacturing for destruction by Japan, Korea or China.

China, the communist giant is hardly a true "free market" state like America, but a giant predatory capitalist state, although officially communist in government form. The yuan was deliberately linked to the American dollar which undervalued it by 40% on world currency markets, until this week, where China has agreed to finally let the yuan float against several world currencies, similar to the way most other world currency is valued. And the Chinese minimum wage of 40cents an hour was often not paid in factories, with many workers only paid about 24cent in many factories building products for export. And dirty and dangerous factory conditions, often in violation of Chinese law further cut costs to create unfairly low priced Chinese made products to drive American products off the shelf.

And even South Korea found that it has become so prosperous, that a South Korean bank actually loaned American television manufacturer, Zenith , operating funds in a loan agreement, but then pulled in the loan, and now Zenith is a Korean brand. And banks in Japan, Korea and China loan the American government billions of operating dollars by the bonds they hold.

In business, some will complain that American workers earned too much money and business could not compete, but no American wage cuts could compete with 24cents an hour Chinese labor, steel dumping, product dumping, predatory pricing, unfair labor practices, or any other unfair foreign marketing threats to American industry. Interestingly Japan, China and South Korea all had a culture of a generation or more raised in war. These hardened values were carried over to the modern world of economics where these three nations play economic hardball in shipping masses of goods into America with unfair practices to undercut American industry. By contrast, European states generally only erected trade barriers to American goods, and generally failed at successful marketing of most goods, except the sometimes successful Volkswagon into America.

I don't know where America labor unions are headed with their breakup from the AFL-CIO this weekend. But high paying jobs are disappearing in America. And entire American industries are being destroyed by predatory capitalist practices. And just a couple weeks ago, a Chinese government official proclaimed that "America has no business in the agriculture business", which means that the generally low paying jobs in American agriculture, many even held by recent migrant laborers, might also be threatened as well. There is no end in sight to segments of the American economy that will fall to the aggressive practices of predatory capitalism from Japan, China and Korea.

America is aggressive at protecting itself from Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Yet it leaves the front door wide open to foreign competitors who tell America that we have "no business" in certain industries that foreign countries think they should control in America. This makes no sense.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Progress For America?

Another shadowy 527 is back again, just in time to promote John Roberts to the highest bench. No one had ever heard of Progress For America until 2004. But taking advantage of the campaign regulation loophole that allows shadowy organizations like this to pop up out of the blue and promote single issues, Progress For America is using a high priced television blitz to put former corporate lobbyist attorney, John Roberts on the high court.

In 2004, some familar names in right wing politics popped up to support Progress For America with buckets of cash. And no doubt many of the same folks will be back again this year.

The Amway DeVos family gave $4 million to Progress For America in 2004. T. Boone Pickens, Texas oil tycoon used his cowboy boots to kick in $2.5 million. And Alice Walton, billionaire heir to the Wal-Mart fortune contributed $2.6 million. Ameriquest Capital contributed $5 million. A. G. Spanos Construction Company gave another $5 million. And many more top donors gave big amounts so that this 527 had a $44.9 million dollar warchest in 2004. This year after public disclosure documents are filed, it will be fascinating how much this organization raises to put Robert on the bench.

I call this website Progressive Values because I stand for values that promote a social progress for persons as well as spiritual concerns for the nation and world. On the other hand, Progress For America, is only a "progressive" organization if you consider putting a former corporate lawyer lobbyist for the coal industry on the Supreme Court who promoted the coal industry goals of gutting clean air laws and antistripmining laws. If you consider damage to the great earth that God gave as a gift as "advancement" then that is only meaning of "progress" one can stretch out of "Progress For America".

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Enron Is At It Again

One would have hoped that the old days of Ken Lay, meant an end to Enron antics. But this proves to hardly be the case. In Portland, Oregon, the City Of Portland was attempting a $2.65 billion buyout of Enron owned Portland General Electric. But Enron erected an artificial barrier of a $50 million deposit to insure that consumers in Portland would no be able to get cheaper electricity rates and any city negotiations would come to a grinding halt.

Mayor Tom Potter, the former Portland Police Chief, is a political progressive who cares about fair electricity rates for all of Portland's citizens. But Enron once before erected a hurdle to fair electricity rates. In a recent election, some voters attempted to construct a People's Utility District, however an Enron serving front political committee spend a huge sum of money on a misleading television advertising campaign to defeat the measure. After the election it was disclosed that Enron was actually negotiating with another mega-power company from Texas to sell PGE for even more money that the People's Utility District would have brought in. Spending millions on a deceptive advertising campaign was small change compared to even more money at stake with this possible major business transaction.

And as a firther obstruction to any possible deal from Portland to purchase PGE, a political front organization, "Ask The Voters First" that serves Enron's goals is now circulating a petition to refer the City Of Portland using public funds to finance the deal to the ballot, so that another large misleading television advertising campaign can be waged, while Enron seeks to shop PGE for even more money than the $2.65 billion deal would have brought in.

All of this proves that when corporations are far more powerful than governments, that corporations will be able to rule the day. Enron will sell PGE to someone probably very soon, but it will be to another mega-corporation that will keep rates very high. Former Enron CEO, Ken Lay was to receive $20.2 million a year in an $81 million 5 year deal. Another major CEO will receive a large salary when PGE is sold. This is where part of the high electricity rates go to pay, mega-salaries for mega-corporations.

Corporations That Influenced Government In June

Money is the mother's milk of politics. And in June, disclosed public reports from the political parties indicate which corporations are contributing funds in order to help influence policy. There are some notable corporations among the listed, as well as corporations hoping to shape debate on policies or to alter possible government regulations.

The Republican National Committee disclosed some large june donor corporations. These include defense contractor, Northrup Gruman which benefits from large military spending such as on the Iraq War, which gave $25,655 in June. Large pharmaceutical manufacturer, Pfizer, Inc. gave $25,180, and can benefit from numerous government policies towards the pharmaceutical industry including regulation or new product development. Technology company, AMD gave $25,000 in June. And Alladin Industries, which is heavily involved in refrigerator related products could benefit from relaxed government regulation of chloroflurorcarbons(CFC's) in their refrigerator product mananufacturing. And a long list of corporations donated to Republican causes including the Political Action Committee of Tom Delay.

The Democratic National Committee also disclosed some major industry political contributors as well in it's public June report. Bain Capital, gave two $26,700 donations. While invested in many industries, much of Bain Capital's funds are in pharmaceutical companies currently. American Standard Development also contributed $26,700 in June. And Aqvar Chemicals donated another $26,700. But better known, Warner Bros. donated $51,700 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which can have an impact on issues dealing with new technology such as file sharing software which large motion picture studies claims has hurt their industry. Another company, Shangri-La Entertainment contributed $26,700 to the Democratic Congressional Committee among many other corporate contributors. Many more corporations donated to Democratic causes as well.

And as of June this year, PACs(Political Action Committees) from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. PAC has contributed $328,500 to politicians or parties. Federal Express, PAC has contributed $518,000, Halliburton, PAC has contributed $37,000 among many corporate PACS that seek to influence politicians, parties or policy.

But the biggest winner for June, has to be William R. Timken, Jr. who is Chairman of Timken company. There was an organization of contributors to the 2004 Bush Presidential Campaign, called the Bush Rangers who contibuted $200,000 or more. And there was another group of contributors who only gave $100,000 or more called the Bush Pioneers. William R. Timken, Jr. was a member of the Bush Rangers who donated more than $200,000, and now is being named by Bush as Ambassador to Germany.

There is no real "liberal vs. conservative" political struggle in the real world of political influence, the one in that corporations influence government with big contibutions to parties and politicians year in and year out. Corporations seek to influence policy, stall regulation, or even seek tax advantages to advance their corporate efforts. And sometimes even are rewarded an ambassadorship as well.

Friday, July 22, 2005

More Bad News From Iraq

America's ticket home from Iraq depends on the ability of the Iraqi military to stand on it's own. But today that took another bad news hit. The Pentagon has long claimed that the American military has trained as many as 171,300 Iraqi soldiers. That sound impressive compared to the 136,000 American soldiers in Iraq.

But today the real truth hit the fan. The Pentagon finally admitted that only 2,500 of the claimed 171,300 trained Iraqi soldiers are actually combat capable to stand on their own without American military support. This is a pathetic statistic in that it means that Iraq's own military is similar to the failed "Vietnamization" of the Vietnam War. The South Vietnamese Army could stand up to light insurgent attacks, but complelely failed against North Vietnamese Army regular units. So far the military of Iraq has proven not to have the ability to stand up to light insurgent attacks or more heavy organized efforts. And the situation for Iraq's police force is even worse, where insurgents have taken out complete police stations, that often have little furniture or guns, and fall easily to organized insurgent efforts. And instead of there being pride in the local police, many Iraqi police still wear a mask so insurgents don't know their identity and could target their families. This pretty much tells you who is really in charge in Iraq. The police fear the insurgents.

All of this means that America will not be leaving Iraq very soon. Just like Vietnam, it was easy enough to enter Iraq. But being able to leave is the really hard part. America's ticket out of Iraq is for patriotic Iraqis to step up, show discipline, and to defend their own country. In all other world nations, a local military and police can defend their own country. Why it has not yet happened in Iraq is a mystery. But the longer America stays in Iraq, the more Islamic world terrorists it creates. The sooner Iraq can stand on it's own, the better for a positive outcome to the entire Iraq War mistake.

The Good News From London

Despite the outrageous incidents in London today, there still was plenty of good news. Compared to the attacks of two weeks ago that so far killed 56 and wounded 700, today's attacks looked like they were carried out by The Three Stooges by comparison.

The bombs appeared to be very similar to the bombs with the first attacks, two weeks ago. But the first bomb substances, basicly acetone and peroxide according to an expert interviewed on FOX news, could have all been produced at the same time as the first bombs, but lost their potentcy by sitting two weeks. This caused only the detonators to blow, but not the main bombs themselves. This is very fortunate because both Scotland Yard and MI5 now have a great deal of evidence to trace down the hardware or paint store that the bomb supplies were purchased at.

And instead of striking during the peak morning rush hour traffic in London, this bunch of cowardly terrorists decided to set their electric clock "snooze" controls and sleep in. They struck well into the 12 noon hour, when the subway and buses are very lightly used. Compared to full subway cars or buses at peak hours, a terrorist attempt this late in the day prevented many injuries with the light passenger load.

And since the suicide bombers failed to blow themselves up, this leaves at least four "wanted" persons to track down and to reveal more evidence and take down this entire terrorist organization in London.

The bad news may be that another four terrorist bomb attempts were made today. But the very good news is no real injuries, and plenty of evidence to take down an entire cowardly organization that victimizes mainly working people traveling to work. Thankfully this badly botched operation will probably lead to arrests and bring this entire network of political criminals to a swift end. Sometimes there is good news to report. And this is indeed very good news.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Second Thought:Corporate Power And The Court

Now that the dust has settled on the news of the John Roberts nomination, and new information and new thoughts start to settle in, some new realizations are taking place for me.

With only two years experience on his current court bench, Roberts was not chosen for his legal experience or even his supposed "conservatism" , as much as his dependable background as a corporate lawyer who was part of the coal industry lobby. Well qualified female judges really had little chance they would be nominated by the procorporate Bush Administration.

The Bush Administration is the most corporately driven administration in the history of the United States. 42 members of this administration are either former oil company executives, paid consultants or major stockholders in oil company stocks. And an additional 32 members of this administration are former defense contractor executives, paid consultants or major stockholders in defense contractor firms. And for the first time in American history, the Secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force all are former defense contractor executives or consultants.

Big money is the mother's milk in politics. And big corporations have found that their lobby efforts pay huge dividends in this current administration. While both parties are a party to the big money and corporate influence cycle and campaign financing addiction, in the current Bush Administration it drives major policy such as Iraq, or White House policy to limit lawsuits, to change bankruptcy law, or other legal changes meant to benefit single industries rather than the larger public good.

Government and the power of corporate lobbyists cannot be understated in Washington. At least 250 former congresspersons have allowed corporate lobbies to have so much influence in their offices, that after leaving congress they have become members of corporate lobbies themself. This is the revolving door in Washington; lobbies exert so much influence on the offices of politicians, with either political donations, paid vacations or trips for politicians, or even donations to pet charities that politicians support, and politicians become so involved with the lobbies that they often eventually become part of the lobby itself, and begin to lobby and influence other politicians, who in turn eventually become part of a lobby. This revolving door of corporate lobby influence to alter policy cannot be understated.

In the EU for example, 150 large corporations have had tremendous success at altering environmental law, labor and workplace safety regulations, consumer law, and other areas where corporate influence can alter policy and save big business vast sums of money.

John Roberts background was in legal efforts on behalf of the coal industry. He was paid by the coal industry to attempt to weaken clean air laws and to allow more strip mining by coal companies. It was ironic that Roberts brought his four year old son to the announcement event of his nomination with Bush, as it has been the efforts of Roberts to make air less clean and healthy for children such as his son to breathe.

Some will become distracted into groundless "conservative vs. liberal " discussions on the Roberts nomination. And Roberts may well be a "conservative", for whatever that is supposed to mean. But more importantly, Roberts is part of the corporate lobby world. Roberts is most likely being placed on the court as a political favor to the big corporations and their lobby efforts as a "thankyou" from the Bush Administration. The lobby efforts for a justice favorable to corporate interests was probably one of the most less understood forces influencing the judicial nomination process. The entire philosophy of the Bush Administration is not so much ideologically "conservative", as it is procorporate in nature. A few half hearted efforts to pander to social conservatives to draw their votes at election time such as a few words against "gay marriage" play far better than leveling with voters that the goals of the administration are to promote corporate goals.

Politics is an expensive business. Millions of dollars in donations from corporations also mean that corporations have tremendous influence. In fact, world corporations are such strong international influences that of the 100 largest world economies, only 49 of these are nations, the other 51 are corporations.

In the long run, neither conservatives nor liberals will be very happy with the Roberts nomination to the court. He will be very procorporate, and will decide decisions very much in favor of business rather than consumer or public interests. The term "conservative" to characterize Roberts is probably more true in the sense of being corporate minded and concerned, rather than meaning socially concerned like some conservatives.

Some may even be distracted of the role that Roberts once had in the antitrust action by the Justice Department against Microsoft, however remember that in 1998, corporate lawyers and lobbyists for Sun Microsystems, Netscape, IBM, Oracle and AOL were involved in lobby efforts at the Justice Department to limit the role of their competitor, Microsoft. Roberts role as an advocate of big corporate interests is nearly a flawless record. Even Chrysler and Toyota used Roberts legal efforts to promote their corporate agendas at one time.

The Republican Party's candidates have long had a relationship with corporate interests that best serves those interests, yet many rank and file social conservative Republican voters fail to realize that all but two Supreme Court members nominated since 1968 have been by Republican Presidents. Since this time abortion was made legal in the 1973 Roe v.Wade decision and other decisions that fail to make social conservative Republicans happy, yet social conservative voters have failed to catch on that using social conservative isues is merely an election-time ploy that plays out year after year to get their votes, and major change on issues to satisfy their social conservative agenda is actually unlikely. And until Bill Clinton, which only nominated two judges to the Supreme Court, all nine members of the court were registered Republicans.

Roberts will disappoint social conservatives with his procorporate rather than social conservative agenda on the bench. But liberals won't be disappointed because they have no reason to expect all that much in Roberts. At 50, Roberts may stay on the court for 20 or more years, or maybe less if a more lucrative corporate lobby job opens up.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Judge John Grover Roberts

Judge Roberts is certainly qualified. And he is certainly capable of assuming the duties of a Supreme Court justice. However there are several reasons to be concerned about his possible nomination to the highest court for the next 20 or 30 years.

Justice Roberts was a legal figure under both the Reagan and Bush Administrations. There will be many issues that may involve the Bush Administration as a party in legal disputes, such as Justice Department briefs. Can a justice who was formerly associated with an Administration faithfully and independently rule on such legal briefs. This raises some good questions. The original concept of the Founding Fathers was for an independent judicial branch, not associated with either the executive or legislative branch. To have a legal figure so closely associated with the arguments of legal rulings for the Bush Administration raises concerns for a judicial branch not truly independent of the executive branch.

And while I'm personally consistently prolife, antiwar, and vegan, I nonetheless recognize that any ruling against Roe vs. Wade may contribute to dangerous illegal abortions and may not serve the economic interests of poor women unable to afford a child at this time. Yet I recognize that the 44 million children killed by abortion since Roe vs. Wade is a great sin, and a huge moral wrong in itself. This would be a population equal to California, Washington and Oregon if these babies were allowed to live. Yet I have some concerns about the role of Judge Roberts in this role as a pivotal vote on issues related to Roe vs. Wade.

One website notes that Judge Roberts' wife is a member of a prolife organization. This raises the question whether he can independently judge cases involving this critical issue. And as a legal advocate of the Bush Administration, Roberts once contended that no "Constitutional basis" existed to support Roe vs. Wade. Yet in another instance, Roberts asserted that Roe vs. Wade is the law of the land, and opposed an overturn of this 1973 decision. So there is a huge question of where Roberts actually would rule on issues related to Roe vs. Wade.

Another problem is that Roberts is seen as very probig business, and the court already has a background of support for many rulings far too favorable to big corporate interests that hurt individuals and consumers.

A recent ruling allowed local governments to seize property for large projects such as a Wal-Mart, that local governments may feel can generate more taxes or benefits for a local government , or a so defined "public good". Other rulings allowed big HMOs to deny services to clients to save money. Another benefited big Hollywood by going after file sharing software, not the specific users who infringe copywrite laws. Another ruling denied the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco like all other drugs , which greatly benefitted the big tobacco lobby, which is a huge contributor to Republican Party politics.

With this history of rulings that benefit big business interests, and the history of John Roberts as a probusiness jurist, it is difficult to see any real benefit to the individual or consumers. And it raises the question of whether this justice would independently decide such cases fairly as well.

And there are legitimate concerns about the Roberts view of civil liberties. Some justices feel that offensive speech is not protected by the Bill Of Rights, others believe the wording of the First Amendment absolutely protects all politically unpopular speech. Does Roberts closely intend to follow the wording of the Constitution and Bill Of Rights, or does he intend to use the court to further his own political agenda.

Roberts will no doubt be confirmed. He is not as self-sinking figure as Robert Bork was, who even appeared on programs such as Pat Robertson's 700 Club and lectured the nation on what parts of the Bill Of Rights he didn't agree with, and what portions he thought to be invalid. Roberts is unlikely to behave as silly and self righteous as Bork, and sink his hopes. Roberts is a far more serious legal mind and judge.

Yet there are many reasons for the Senate to closely evaluate Roberts. His ambiguous views on Roe vs. Wade, his lack of true independence from the Bush White House, when some issues involving Karl Rove, may or may not have be decided by the Supreme Court, and his probig business views, his views on civil liberties, and other areas deserve a close Senate scrutiny, not a mere rubber stamp. Roberts is certainly qualified, but certainly not the independent jurist that the Founding Fathers had intended in their wise vision of seperation of power and government by checks and balances.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Peak Oil And The Problem Of Sky High Fuel Prices

There is a populist notion to blame the oil industry for unbridled greed that is creating the current high gasoline and heating oil prices. Yet there is a far more complex set of problems that is contibuting to this situation that is putting a severe financial squeeze on the poor and elderly of America.

For a poor person to drive to work, it may cost $40 or more dollars a month more than a year ago. And for elderly poor on a little Social Security check, many will have difficulty keeping their homes warm this coming winter. A fireman once told me that a danger for many elderly is that they require more heat and warmth as they age, and sometimes dangerous house fires can result from efforts to keep warm or even the opposite, those elderly who will freeze in their homes from the lack of funds to keep warm. There are some religious run heating assistance programs, such as the Catholic St. Vincent DePaul drive to collect donated automobiles to use for heating assistance for the poor and elderly.

But there is also some real world conditions that have caused the oil prices to become so high. There is a scientifically precise term known as "peak oil" which refers to point at which the highest possible easy production of oil has been reached, and once this point is passed, then extra means to achieve as high of production must be reached by more expensive injection of gas or water into oil wells or reserves in order to maintain production.

This "peak oil" point was reached about 1977 according to some geologists and other scientists in the world's largest oil field in Saudi Arabia, the Ghawar oil field. This field's production of 4.5 million barrels of oil a day is only maintained by pumping 7 million barrels of sea water into this oil field each day to raise oil levels .

And other major world oil wells and reserves offer equally dire news. The giant Russian Samotler oil field has decreased in output from 3.5 million barrels a day down to just 325.000 barrels a day. The Prudhoe Bay oil reserve has decreased from 1.5 million barrels down to 350,000 barrels a day. The Forty Field in the North Sea area has decreased from 500,000 barrels a day down to 50,000. And the once promising Cruz Beana oil reserve on Columbia, has decreased in output from 500,000 to 200,000 barrels a day. And in each case more and more extra means of gas or water injection is used to maintain output levels.

And another problem is that oil futures prices have topped $60 dollars a barrel recently. In one barrel, 46.4 gallons of gas may be produced, but only after 500 man hours of refining work per gallon of gas produced per barrel. So there are real higher fixed labor and production costsas well as higher raw product costs in one gallon of gas, thus raising the prices.

At one time there were either political or profit driven production cutbacks of oil to the U.S., such as one by Saudi Arabia in the 1970's. But the higher world commodity market prices for a barrel of oil, coupled with a world past the the scientific "peak oil" point, in which increased costs to maintain even current production levels must be done by more expensive gas or water injection processes, not needed at an earlier time only serve to create increased prices.

Certainly some in the oil industry appreciate it if less product can be used for higher profits. And with 42 members of the Bush Administration either former oil company executives, paid consultants, or major stockholders, there is nothing standing in their way if they seek to maximize profits. And the average local gas station only makes about 9cents on a sale of a $2.50 gallon of gas. And in the "good news/bad news" world of oil commodity and futures trading, any storm or international event only serves to increase oil futures prices.

The only real solution to this world past the "peak oil" point of production, which means that world oil supplies are getting more scarce and a booming economy like that of China with one billion citizens requires more and more of the world's supply putting further pressure on the world's strained supplies, is for a future of alternative powered automobiles.

Not only for the sake of oil scarcity, but for pollution control, fuel cell automobiles which are powered by hydrogen and whose only exhaust output is merely water are a future necessity. In the meantime, higher production of high mileage gasoline and gasoline/electric hybrid automobiles are necessary to reduce oil demand for future automobiles until fuel cell automobiles powered by hydrogen can be perfected. But in the meantime, the working poor will be stuck with older automobiles that offer poor mileage and stuck with high fuel prices. And this is indeed a serious concern. And all plastics related products will increase in cost and often shelf price as higher oil prices drive these once cheap products upward in price.

The poor will need compassion and financial assistance in the switch from high fuel consumption vehicles to a future of cheap and abundant hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles. And the MidEast may face further turmoil as the leaders of nation's such as Saudi Arabia watch oil profits disappear, and populations will sink into further poverty and may embrace more Islamic fundamentalism to cope with loss of hope and in turn could be a concern for more Islamic revolutions and conflict in the MidEast. This period may bring in great political or military problems for the Western world. Less dependence on MidEast oil may not pay dividends in peace, but be a cause for more conflict and war.

But in the meantime compassion for the poor. Support for religious heating assistance programs. And wise foreign policy towards the MidEast is greatly needed. And some serious prayer for MidEast peace is always needed.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Lakewood Church Miracle

This weekend saw yet another miracle for America's fastest growing moderate mainline Christian church, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, as it opened it's new home in the arena that formerly was home to the Houston Rockets. With seating for 16,000, this is now America's largest church. Compared to so many fundamentalist churches in America, who often become politically involved, the young Pastor Joel Osteen has been able to keep his church an upbeat church, that avoids controversial and divisive topics, and is home to all believers.

Pastor John Osteen suddenly died in 1999, after constructing a positive church that was open to all races and offered a positive life affirming outreach that appealed to many moderate Christians. His young son, Joel a cameraman for his father's religious programming suddenly found himself forced into the unlikely role of assuming the role of Pastor for this growing church. And with his winning smile, upbeat message, Joel was a magnetic force that attracted many new members to his church. And a very popular bestseller book, as well as a growing TV ministry, has made Joel a favorite new force in modern religion to replace aging Christian leaders such as Billy Graham.

The Christian church needs a great positive leader like Joel Osteen. The Christian right is a division force, where a moderate church open to all is vital today. The Christian church is not just a church for conservatives, but liberals and moderates need large mainstream churches with many services to meet their spiritual needs as well. And Lakewood now has the power to offer many services to the members of this church, including programs for children and familes, and missionary programs to help the poor in Africa and other places.

It is my hope that Lakewood Church will set an example for other churches, and it will grow into a moderate Christian movement that will sweep America. It will set an example for a moderate and positive Christian church revival in America. The Christian church needs this positive movement. The church is no place for political or racial divisions, and Lakewood Church sets a wonderful and positive example for a bright future. God bless and grow this moderate faith revival movement.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Dance Goes On

All well intentioned persons should want peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And much of the world including the U.S., Israel's strongest ally allowed Israel to get away with the excuse that there could be no peaceful resolution with Yasser Arafat as leader of the Palestinian Authority. And there was ample evidence of Yasser Arafat following a two-track policy of public statements of moderation, while encouraging radical acts to further political goals. But with the new more moderate Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, replacing the late Yasser Arafat, the barrier of Yasser Arafat is gone. Yet in the last few days, Israel and the Palestinians are on the brink of a dangerous and worsening level of violence. Coupled with the Bush disaster in Iraq, the election of a radical in Iran as President, and the worsening situation in Afghanistan, the American hopes for a peaceful MidEast are quickly breaking into chaos and in tatters. Major war in the MidEast could be just around the corner.

The reality is that Israel never wants to give Jerusalem to the Palestinians as a capital of their state, and the Palestinians have no legitmate historical claim to this city as well. So this sticking point will forever be a conflict. And another reality is that there is no way the government of Mahmoud Abbas can have good enough of intelligence to stop all radicals such as Hamas from committing acts of violence, but there is the flip side that any Palestinian government probably will not be completely serious to stop all Palestinian radicals either. So a type of dance goes on, where Israel is not serious to truly offer a Palestinian state, and Palestinians are not really serious at stopping all violence. This is why no peaceful resolution is in the cards for the MidEast.

The Book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament is an amazing book, in that it details the entire history of the Jewish people in the MidEast, all the way from ancient Judea and Sumaria to the re-establishment of Israel as a state in 1948, to a short period of peace, to the worst war in the history of mankind taking place with Iran(Persia) the main opponent of Israel, but drawing in many dangerous and powerful world armies in support. This war is detailed in Ezekiel 37-39.

The world is slowly watching the the MidEast break into the turmoil that will set the conditions for this serious war as foretold by prophet Ezekiel. Israel is preparing for a major offensive in Gaza within hours, and even an emergency visit by Secretary Of State, Condoleezza Rice, has been probably fruitless to stop this escalation into further violence and no peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Bush would have wanted his legacy to be peace in the MidEast. And this would have been a great legacy. Instead with Iraq, Afghanistan and a deterioration into chaos in Israel, and an Iran intent on nuclear weapons, the MidEast will only sink into further dark clouds of war.

The dance between the government of Israel and the Palestinians may go on a little longer. But soon the dance may stop, and all out war will replace this dance.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

When Obstruction Hurts People

With Oregon's term limits law, and the rheumatoid arthritis illness that fomer policeman, turned legislator John Minnis(R-Troutdale)suffers, forced him to leave the state legislature, his wife Karen decided to run for office. Eventually she became Speaker Of The House in the state legislature. And with a Democratic governor and state senate, Republican Minnis found she can wield great power in the Republican majority house by simply not allowing some important legislation to even be voted on.

All Democrats and two Republicans in the state senate voted 19 to 11 in favor of a gay civil unions bill. This was to seek a legal compromise for gay households to share benefits, allow hospital visits, share health isurance benefits, and other important duties and benefits for gay households, but Minnis will not even allow a house vote on the bill. In 2004, Oregon unfortunely followed other states in the nation and voted against gay marriage, but legislators recognized that the gay households in Oregon need at least a legal compromise to offer a fair share in many legal duties and benefits. But with the Minnis obstruction, gay couples in Oregon will continue to not share in health benefits or the ability to give medical consent in the case of hospitalization. These obstructions to fair and equal rights for gay citizens are simply a form of gay "Jim Crow" laws. They deny equal status to gay households and make second class citizens of these persons.

And in another piece of obstruction, Speaker Of The House, Minnis has sided with the big tobacco lobby, and has decided not to even allow a state house vote on a bill mandating self-extinguishing cigarettes. This would help stop many unnecessary housefires, needless deaths, injuries, and would even save the lives of some firemen and possiby even policemen who perform a rescue. Yet Minnis is siding with big tobacco and their lobby machine and thinks that only a national standard for cigarette safety should be the rule of law. Yet some other areas in America mandate only the sale of self-extinguishing cigarettes, with good results. And many large landlords can cite one or more housefires sometimes resulting in injury or death due to smoker's carelessness. Banning cigarettes for all the health damage they cause to both smokers and nonsmokers alike would be far better. But when the Oregon Speaker Of The House sides with big tobacco and allows needless housefires and deaths and injuries, this is immoral and pathetic.

Sometimes the power of obstruction to ruin the lives of people is a powerful force. Just ask Speaker Of The House, Minnis about the power of obstruction.

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Plurality Finds Bush Not Honest In New Poll

In a new Wall Street Journal/NBC Poll, a 45% to 41% plurality now finds that President Bush is not "honest" or "straight forward". This is a better late than never view by a plurality. For years the coutry has been mislead that limiting malpractice lawsuit would reduce medical costs by Bush, but this was disproven in a report this week. The nation was misled into war by the White House leading the intelligence to promote a premise in favor of war as a first resort, not the last. And now Karl Rove claims a reporter, knew of the identity of a CIA agent, when it was Rove, not reporters who have intelligence clearance.

While Bush has clearly misled America on so many issues, the Karl Rove affair will become a story with more details in the next few days. It will resolve whether Rove is attempting to deflect the problems he is in by now blaming Robert Novak, or whether reporters like Novak are routinely being given intelligence information about agents and other classified information, and Rove is actually innocent of any wrong doing. But nonetheless, the issue raises new honesty and character questions about the Bush White House.

Americans should be able to believe and trust in their government, but too many issues are beginning to tangle at the feet of the Bush Administration. A real attempt to build credibility by the White House is much needed. For an Administration that sought out the support of so many religious voters, the current state of falsehoods about issues including Iraq and the Rove affair raises nothing but character and basic honesty questions. This is very disappointing.

Killer Asthma Epidemic Created By Secondhand Cigarette Smoke

The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Caroma is concerned about the nation's asthma epidemic. And he should be, as 20 million Americans now have asthma, or three times as many persons as 25 years ago. Yet the nation shows no seriousness in outlawing the number one cause of new asthma cases, cigarettes or even public smoking.

And children are paying a very high price for the selfish nicotine drug addiction behavior of adults. There are 5,000 hospital emergency room visits required for asthma in the U.S. each day in America, costing the health care system $500 million a year. Many of these persons hospitalized are children. And one in eight American children now have asthma, the highest number ever recorded. And 1,000 persons become hospital admissions due to asthma each day. And some children or adults die each day from this serious breathing disorder, that could be greatly reduced if only politicians had the political will to ban smoking or at least ban public smoking.

And asthma is becoming an urban and inner city illness, where selfish nicotine drug addict adults exist in high numbers who refuse to stop smoking for the sake of children. These drug addicts, like all selfish drug addicts, only prize their next drug fix more highly than the lives of children or adults with illness. Cigarette smokers are a more serious and widespread abuse threat to children than any other form of child abuse. Yet government is not serious to stop this child abuse epidemic.

As any inner city epidemic, such as hunger, poverty, drug abuse or even gun violence, it is often the Black community that suffers most from inner city issues. This is only the latest way in which powerful Southern business tobacco interests are profitting from promoting misery in the Black community. It was tobacco and cotton interests who brought slaves to America from Africa, helped to launch some proslavery churches, helped to cause the civil war when slavery was threatened and other racist examples of harming Blacks to promote tobacco industry profits. yet many do no see this as another important civil rights issue against an immoral industry with a long antiBlack community racist background.

The U.S. Surgeon General seems to want to lay blame on those with asthma, claiming they don't manage the illness often very well. But this is simply blame the victim nonsense. There is no way for children or adults with asthma to avoid secondhand cigarette smoke. It is in the apartment buildings that children live in. It is on public sidewalks. It is at busstops. It is in the entrance of grocery stores. A child with asthma cannot even rent a cartoon video without smokers often hanging around in front of the neighborhood video store, making them ill. There is no way for children to avoid this menace.

The economy pays a high price for this with lost days from work or school because of asthma. And asthma costs $16 billion yearly in medical costs, that could be drastically cut if politicians would stop accepting tobacco lobbyist donations, paid vacations, and other tobacco industry favors to give tobacco a free ride from government regulation with real teeth.

Government should show the moral backbone to stand up for children, and to reduce unnecessary illness and medical expenses. All other products that have been proven to cause illness or injury, especially to nonusers, have been taken off the market. But tobacco is given a special rights status to profit by injuring and killing. How tobacco executives can sleep at night knowing they are injuring and killing children is amazing.

Children need action from government and prayer to deliver them from this evil.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Warning: The Bush Administration, Big HMOs, The Supreme Court And Big Tobacco May Be Hazardous To Your Health!

A new report now notes that Americans are paying 50% more for health care than the next world nation Switzerland. This is a depressing note and means that far more must be done to reduce both the cost access to these services. In the last year Bush, tried to promote the notion that malpractice lawsuits are the cause of high health care costs, but the report has proven this to be untrue. And The U.S. Supreme Court has even limited the right of users of HMO services to demand services that they need from HMOs, but HMOs refuse to pay for because of costs. And more and more mega-employers such as Wal-Mart have less jobs that offer health care benefits to the employees they have.

The Bush Administration uses the Justice Department and the Supreme Court to limit client access to health care services from their HMO. Big employers offer less jobs with health care insurance benefits. Congress may limit malpractice suits in the Republican controlled agenda. And Americans pay 50% more for health care than the next nation, Switzerland. For all sides more and more Americans are hard pressed when they require health care services, and many are forced into seeking public health care and social welfare provided services at taxpayer expense, which are sometimes under state and local budget constraints or facing cuts. Health care is a basic human right. It is an endangered right.


In another health care issue. The FDA will today consider removing several inhalers from the market that people suffering from asthma rely on, because a few persons have had counter-productive side effects on the muscle reaction of the lung muscles. On one hand the FDA is deciding on this issue involving asthma inhalers, on the other hand the FDA has been rendered powerless to regulate tobacco as a drug by the Supreme Court. It is very often the lung damage caused by secondhand tobacco smoke in public places that often causes asthma in nonsmokers. Many persons including children who were never previously diagnosed to have asthma, have developed asthma because of repeated exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and this starts a process of steady lung problems and eventual death.

Tobacco companies and smokers are given rights to injure and kill children and adults vy creating asthma and other lung conditions, yet the FDA is powerless to regulate this harmful product which contains 4,700 poisons and nicotine drug. And more than 600 substances may be added to cigarettes which emit heavy metals such such as nickel, cadmium, as well as tar. Eugenol is used in cigarettes to numb the throats of smokers so they cannot feel the damaging effects of cigarette smoke, but nonsmokers are not given the same protection, as secondhand smoke contains more damaging tar due to cooling effects of air, but are not "throat numbed" by the smoke and instead receive nasty sore throats, sinus burning and lung injury. The smoker is drugged not to recognize the damage being caused, but the nonsmoker receives some worse dangers and health consequences than the smoker. And some additives allow the smoker's lung to absorb more nicotine drug and cause lung dilation. But the nonsmoker, especially those with asthma or who are allergic to secondhand cigarette smoke suffer dramaticly less ability to breath, and require an inhaler or emergency room medical services or may face death in some serious circumstances.

Warning: Big business, big HMOs, big tobacco, the Bush Administration, the Justice Department and the Supreme Court may be hazardous to your health!

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

With so much negativity in the world, when some put their lives on the line to perform good works that better the planet, it is always a depressing note when these good works sometimes end up badly.

In Salem, Oregon, the 1042nd Air National Guard unit has proven themselves amazing at tough mountainside and other difficult area rescues. Since July 4, 7 persons have been rescued from very difficult areas such as mountainsides, or remote forests after receiving injuries from hiking, mountain climbing, and other recreational activties. The humble members of this wonderful unit may consider it to be only their job. But like firemen who rush into a burning building to risk their lives, while other men rush out, these brave members of the 1042nd Air National Guard have proven themselves to be great and humble heroes. They have saved many lives, year in, and year out.

Unfortunately because, this unit has proven themselves so good at rescues and helicopter skills, 25% of the members of this force and their copters are now being called into duty in the worsening situation in Afghanistan as freshly equipped fighters who have rearmed in Pakistan pour over the border to challenge American soldiers. In the case of the 1042nd, when you do a job so well, instead of admiration, in wartime you are called into duty. All in Oregon who admire this unit will pray for their safety in Afghanistan.

Yesterday In Iraq, another far worse example of "no good deed goes unpunished" was played out in sickening detail.

Most people in Iraq are decent good people. And many American soldiers recognize that many children in this nation with 70% unemployment are very nice and love candy as do all children worldwide. Some good hearted soldiers were distributing candy to children when evil struck. A car bomber sped into this act of kindness by some American soldiers and blew up the area, leaving 27 dead, including 12 children, some adults, one American soldier. More Americans and Iraqis were left wounded. An Associated Press photo by Khalid Mohammed of relatives of little 11 year old Mustafa Hassan is absolutely heartbreaking. The faces of women in extreme anguish and emotional pain sears the heart. It is a mother who carefully sacrifices for 9 months to bring a little life into the world, and it is evil that takes that life away in an instant of violence. This sadness is repeated for all 12 children.

When children and the American soldiers who took a few moments to distribute candy to them are seen as a legitimate target by suicide bombers, one can see the hand of evil all over the type of violence that targets children and American soldiers who offer them kindness in Iraq.

Sometimes it just seems that no good deed goes unpunished.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Negative Side Of Federal Deficit Reduction

Balancing the Federal Budget deficit should be a very important goal. Yesterday The New York Times in a feature story noted how an increase in tax revenues may whittle the $427 billion projected budget deficit by as much as 25%. However there are many ways in which the budget deficit is being trimmed that are not so positive.

For fiscal year 2006, many programs that the Bush White has campaigned on, or has visibly claimed to promote are now actually under the White House budget ax. This two-faced approach to budgeting is nothing new for this White House. Right after the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center site, Mr. Bush made sure he was part of a photo opt with firefighters. But almost the same day, Mr. Bush cut funds to fire agencies around the nation who relied on federal aid to afford firefighting gear such as hoses, ladders or even trucks that small fire departments need to function, but lack the local tax base to purchase.

With so many soldiers fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and such a flurry of advertising to recruit new soldiers to replace or rotate the troops, it would be expected that strong White House support for the Office of Veterans Affairs would be a prime issue to encourage new or existed soldiers to aid these war efforts, yet the White House is planning to ax $910 million in 2006 from the Veterans Affairs.

And some important social programs such as the Bush promoted Homeownership program is set for cuts. And other housing programs that provide low cost housing are either set for large cuts or transfer to other management to force major cuts. And medical research, a nutrition program for women, infants and children, job training, as well as the Education Department are all set for 2006 budget cuts by the Bush White House.

This is a classic "guns vs. butter" showdown for the budget. $500 billion for defense. $500 million for permanent military base construction in Iraq. A war that has cost $180.3 billion, or $1,623 per family or $721 per American so far. And also the cost of 1,755 American soldiers killed and 13,336 wounded. These are the only costs and expenses that are growth industry with the Bush White House. 32 members of the Bush Administration are either former defense contractor executives, paid consultants, or major stockholders. 42 members of the Bush Administration are associated with the oil industry, including former Chevron executive, Dr. Condoleezza Rice who even had a major oil tanker named after her. In the Bush Administration "guns" will always get funding and "butter" will always be wanting.

For so many religious voters who supported this Administration, who often are very kind hearted, the values of a budget so heavy in "guns" and so light in "butter", have to be a concern. For a country like America to cut back on programs like Headstart and instead reward Halliburton reconstruction and war contracting is a budget without a serious moral compass. The 2006 White House proposed budget is being financed on the backs of so many defenseless women, children and infants. Unlike the oil and defense contractor industries, these powerless and sometimes even homeless groups lack political clout in the Bush White House.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Wal-Mart's War Against Employer-paid Health Insurance

Many states, such as Maryland are fed up with large corporations such as Wal-Mart that have few high paying jobs and force many employees to rely on state funded services for health care. This drives taxes up, and provides little social upward mobility to workers to provide a decent standard of living to their families. Large employers who pay little to workers, and provide few workers with health insurance are a chief reason so many states have huge numbers of uninsured workers. This creates state budget problems and provides little social good that large umployers like Wal-Mart actually provide.

Many more responsible employers in America spend 10 to 20% of their payroll on employeee health benefits. This provides workers an important social good, and relieves state governments of added welfare burdens for state budgeted social services. But Wal-Mart provides health insurance to fewer than half of all workers, and spends a very insignificant 5 to 6% of payroll on employee health insurance costs. All of this prompted the state legislators in Maryland to act to pass a bill that all large employers must spend at least percent of company payrolls on employee health insurance costs.

All of this would make a rational person think that the Republican governor of Maryland, Robert Ehrlich would be quick to sign this bill. It would cut tax costs for social services for Maryland, it would use "private funding" of health insurance. Under normal circumstances a rational mind would expect that this would appeal the "Republican philosophy". But that hardly proved true.

After Wal-Mart threatened withdraw plans for a new distribution center in Maryland, the Republican Governor, Robert Ehrlich in an orchestrated "George Bush " syle staged propaganda event staged a veto of the bill requiring 8 percent of payroll for health insurance, with a major Wal-Mart executive looking on, and a high school band playing patriotic music. What this has to do with patriotism or even for the good of Maryland or for employees of large corporations is a very good question. It appeared to be little more than pandering to a large corporation that will offer little benefit or true social good to Maryland.

There are already studies that some large corporations like Wal-Mart do not offer any real constructive good for most communities. These mega-corporations tend to replace higher paying existing jobs with ones that pay less, and also offer the employees a reduced set of benefits including less employer paid health care. Even the Los Angeles City Council found in a study that one job is lost for evey lower paying job with less benefits that Wal-Mart or similar big stores claim to offer. The corporate advertising of Wal-Mart suggests they are a great employer. But when worker's standard of living and health care benefits actually decline with mega-businesses like Wal-Mart, then only the corporate heads benefit. The community is less well off, and government is under increased social welfare costs as more and more working poor are created and become social service clients.

It is not only in Maryland in which employer-paid health insurance have come under corporate fire. In Oregon a similar law that mandated some level of employer paid health insurance was repealed in 1993, after it became law in 1991. Big corporations do not want to pay health insurance costs. More and more part time jobs with lower pay and no health insurance benefits are becoming the rule for many corporations, where higher paying full time jobs with health care benefits are shrinking to less than half of some large corporate jobs.

The American experience with capitalism was supposed to promise great security and promise to rural families to sell the family farm and move to cities and count on corporations for jobs. Instead it has led to breadlines, homelessness, poverty and huge government costs for social services to provide a safety net to these unfortunate victims of the failure of capitalism to provide a decent standard of living to all as promised. It is the moral responsiblity for employers to pay workers as well as possible and to provide health care benefits to provide this essential benefit to workers and their families. This is only moral to do such.

Monday, July 11, 2005

North Korea Proves The Value Of Extortion

On one hand it is welcome news that North Korea has decided to reenter the 6 nation nuclear talks. Peaceful negoiation of issues is vital for all states. All issues should be open to peaceful resolution. But it is also sad how North Korea got to this point.

After saber rattling with the West, with claims of nuclear weapons, and leaving open the possibility of North Korean "preemptive action", this renegade state finally decided to reenter talks after the U.S. in the usual "nonlinked" official claim, has agreed to ship 50,000 tons of food to North Korea. All of this proves the power of nuclear extortion by small renegade states.

This is absolutely a terrible message for many renegade states to hear from the North Korean example. Any small state now realizes it can gain benfits from the United States, as well as wield power in the world solely by saber rattling some nuclear arms. The world's worst regimes can suddenly be treated as a major and respected state, simply because their capability to create damage is now feared. The irrational and crazy regimes of the world will unfortunately be inspired by this bad example.

Some of the world's worst regimes in Africa, the MidEast or even Central America may find the North Korean example a true inspiration. A sort of twisted Norman Vincent Peale tale, where a renegade nation can dream of greatness only by inspiring fear of nuclear damage, and Western states will send money or food support to pay a nation not to cause trouble.

The people of North Korea deserve enough to eat because starvation is immoral. And food aid from America is very good to help the hungry of the world. But any rewarding of nuclear extortion is a seriously wrong decision by any major state towards renegade states. As a principle this cannot stand and have an orderly and safe planet.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Teenage Unemployment The Worst Since WWII

The June 2005, unemployment report was another depressing sign of America in a state of economic decline. Rather than proving a recession, the jobs data proves the premise of America as a superpower in decline.

One depressing figure was teenage unemployment at 68%, the worst since WWII. With only 32% of American teenagers with jobs, few will be able to earn money or save for college this summer. And equally depressing is that many of these jobs are now being taken by older workers in their 40's, 50's or even 60's, as the American high paying jobs in the manufacturing base dry up.

One sided trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA and WTO steadily erode the American manufacturing base as more and more high paying American factory jobs leave America for good, and are taken up in labor cheap nations such as China with 24to 40 cent an hour wages.

American industry is down to only two automobile manufacturers, down from six in the 1960's. And many major American automobile components such as engines are now manufactured in places like Mexico with $1.50 an hour labor, so the average American automobile is only that in name only.

In the 1960's, many American television set manufacturers existed including Zenith, RCA, GE, Magnavox, Quasar, Philco(Ford), and few small brands. Today none exist as an American owned brand. All TVs sold in America are foreign manufacturer owned and produced.

In the 1960's to 1990's many American textile companies existed. Today virtually all are gone, with most textile production in China or other labor cheap states.

A top Chinese official a few days ago proclaimed that "America has no business in the agriculture business". Provisions in CAFTA and an agressive new plan by China will soon target American agriculture, and both China and Central America will attempt to destroy this American bread basket industry and make American farming a thing of the past. Soon store shelves will be filled with Chinese and Central American agriculture products with only a few locally grown organic agriculture products a novelty in specialty produce stores.

The current Whitehouse has failed to veto even a single spending bill, and continues to rack up huge budget deficits. Banks in Japan, South Korea and even China continue to buy billions in bonds to finance the American government and to keep America solvent and from bankruptcy and economic collapse.

With the current G8 Summit, Russia attended this conference simply because they possess 20,000 nuclear warheads, far more than America and the entire world combined. Only in terms of this military power is Russia a superpower. There is no comparable economic and manufacturing base power to back up this military strength. In the same way, the U.S. is fast becoming a similar state. A huge military that defines the U.S. as a superpower, while America has a fast declining manufacturing base, as many world economies surge, especially in Asia.

The June jobs report had little good news. Black unemployment in excess of 10%, as high paying urban factory jobs disappear to China, and push Black families away from home ownership, consumer strength, and the ability to better their children by sending them to college. And only 140,000 jobs overall were created in June. A depressing figure when 200,000 were expected, and at least 150,000 jobs are needed to keep even with American population growth which nears 300 million.

For all intents and purposes, the June jobs report was a portrait of America as a declining world power. America is not in a recession, but in a decline as a world empire. Any genuine patriot should be concerned about this decline. America cannot become like Russia, only defining world strength in terms of a strong military, but even that is question as insurgents in Iraq keep America from full victory with extremely low tech warfare. America is simply not strong enough to defeat insurgents who are mostly illiterate, poorly equipped, yet manage to use simple items like garage door opener remotes to set off homemade roadside bombs.

The challenge for Americans is to demand more jobs stay in America. To challenge politicians who support one-sided trade agreements that export jobs in mass quantity to labor cheap nations to benefit a few corporate leaders, but destroy the American standard of living for most.

Most major world powers only last about 200 years. America celebrated it's 229th birthday on July 4th. America is living on borrowed time without a sincere change in direction. God bless America and preserve her.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

State Sponsored Terrorism Linked To Many States

The U.S. "War On Terrorism" is not entirely an honest effort. The U.S. like many states who wish to further their foreign policy or political goals sometimes allow terrorist organizations to fundraise, create cells or even receive official state support. In the case of the organization that operated in Britain, it is probably a small group within the large Islamic community in that country. A full 13% of Britain's Islamic community is so radical that they voice support for the 9/11 attack against America in a recent poll. Britain has maintained enough of a free society that a large, and sometimes radical Islamic community may support goals far from what Britain officially chooses as a foreign policy path towards the Islamic world. Those that committed the terrorist attacks in London may only number a cell of 4 or 5 radicals. It is frightening that 6 bombs, of which 2 failed to detonate, and one perhaps even killed one terrorist, can cause so much damage. Some terrorism is by small cells of political extremists. Other terrorist organizations receive state support.

A feature today on Polipundit put forth the premise that because the Abu Nidal Organization received some aid from the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein, that the war in Iraq was somehow justified. Yet the truth is that many states help to sponsor terrorism or allow terrorists to form cells on their soil. Abu Nidal also has received safe haven and support from Syria until at least 1987, and may still continue to receive support from Libya. The premise breaks down in that many states including the U.S. support terrorist organizations, not only by private or individual efforts, but sometimes state sponsored efforts.

A good example is the Al Qaeda organization. Al Qaeda actually has it's roots in the covert CIA war against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that started in 1979 under Jimmy Carter and grew into a massive effort to establish, fund and train 100,000 Mujahedin fighters to battle the Soviets under the Reagan Administration. Osama Bin Laden was an agent of Saudi Arabia called to establish Mujahedin fighter camps in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, under Pakistani military intelligence, Saudi Arabian and U.S. CIA cooridinated support efforts. After the Mujahedin victory in Afghanistan, and the Taliban soon swept into power, the Al Qaeda organization turned against America in a form of Islamic fundamentalist crusade to rid the entire Islamic world of U.S. and Western influence. Many of the insurgent foreign fighter leaders in Iraq are former leaders of the antiSoviet invasion war in Afghanistan and can trace their roots to this covert CIA funded war.

An organization such as Hamas receives much support from some in Saudi Arabia. And Hezbollah continues to receive much aid from both Iran and Syria. Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya(Islamic Group, IG), the antiEgyptian government militany organization receives support from both Iran and Osama Bin Laden. Kach and Kahane Chai, the militant proIsrael organization receives financial support from radical right members of the American Jewish community. The IRA receives some support from members of the American Catholic community, and proIRA nespapers are even distributed at some Catholic churches. The Kurdistan Workers Party receives support Syria, Iran and formerly Iraq. The Palestine Islamic Jihad receives support for Iran and Syria. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine receives support from Syria and Iran.

But this state support for terror by Iran and Syria is also matched by American support for the the AntiIranian government Mujahedin-e Khalq. This organization has worked out a ceasefire fire agreement with the U.S. government, and is used by the CIA as major source of intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program. And at a recent fundrasiing event by an MEK front organization to help finance the terrorist activites of the MEK, major Bush Administration supporter, Richard Perle, acted as keynote speaker along with an address by videophone from Paris of MEK head, Maryam Rajavi. It does not seem to matter to the American government that the MEK has been involved in assassinations, rocket attacks or other violent forms of terrorism in Iran. The American government and some of it's strongest supporters like Richard Perle have found a terrorist organization they can support.

And not all state sponsored terrorism is by small criminal gangs of political thugs. In the Philippines, the U.S. offers financial assistance that is funding the murder of attorneys who aid peasants in land disputes with the corrupt Arroya government. And these funds also support the elimination of political opposition to the Arroya government.

It is not only states like Iran, Syria, Libya that offer support to terrorism, but also the United States to further any short term political or foreign policy goal it has as well. Any this presents not only the moral question that begs whether any support for terrorism isn't irrational and in the case of Al Qaeda helped to create a major threat that has turned on it's creator, the United States.

The Christian faith teaches that every person is a temple of God. And that every person should be respected as this temple of God. For terrorists to reduce any person to a mere political object to further their policy goals is both dehumanizing and evil. It is not only Iran, Syria, Libya and other states that deserve a critical view, but any U.S. support for terrorism as well. All terrorism is immoral. I doubt God could defend any aspect of terrorism no matter who sponsors it. The end simply does not justify the means.