Friday, June 30, 2006

U.S. Media Has Suprisingly Little To Say About Excessive Israeli Military Show Of Force

Yesterday when Israel decided to ratchet up their military incursion into the Palestinian area and attack both Hamas as well as Fatah offices and government members, it should have become major U.S. news. Yet it seems as if the July 4, holiday is far more on newsprogrammers minds than this significant MidEast event.

Israel doesn't seem to find either the Hamas or Fatah elements to be either that they wish to negotiate with. The old excuse was that Israel could not negotiate with Yasser Arafat after some falling off point. Now it's back to that standard once again.

The conflict over Jerusalem seems to trigger this. Israel is not really serious in allowing the Palestinians to really have their own government, and wants to maintain a paternalistic domineering of these people, where they will likely never be able to fully have their own government. And even if allowed just this level of self-determination, then Jerusalem is not really open to any real discussion as well.

This is the real problem. The Palestinians never want to give up any claim to Jerusalem, even though they have no legitimate historical connection to this city that was part of the ancient Israeli kingdoms of Judea and Sumaria. And Israel has no real intention of completing the peace process that the U.S. envisions for fear of having to negotiate on this historic city that they do have a legitimate historic claim to.

But there appears to be a racist nature at heart in Israel that seems to think of the Palestinians as less than human. Certainly much of their politics is radical. But still even among the more moderate forces, Israel still finds some way not to further the peace process. In the Israeli press there was a tremendous effort to villify Mahmoud Abbas the last few days. In the U.S. he is seen as a moderate by comparison. But in Israel, he was painted as a radical in disguise the last few days and on a twin political track just like Yasser Arafat. This gives Israel more years not to find anyone to negotiate with for the next few years.

It is surprising how much restraint that Egpyt has shown towards this latest Israeli military offensive which has pretty clearly gone way beyond any effort to secure the release of the captive 19 year old soldier. And the amount of violence proves a military planning of the event far beyond any effort pieced together within a few hours as a rescue mission to free this hostage.

Israel clearly does not want serious negotiations with any Palestinian government towards the U.S. proposed peace efforts. Piecemeal efforts to move away Isreali settlers, etc., only were able to show some showpiece "progress" to the U.S. and the world.

I certainly want peace in the MidEast, but there simply is not the will in the Israeli government to make any lasting peace last. And among the Palestinians there is not the will to contain all violence or terrorism. Even if most violence was substantially contained, then there would still be grounds for Israel to claim that not enough progress has been made.

This is the problem. There is a lack of serious intent on both sides. And the MidEast peace process ultimately will go nowhere, where a large war just like described in Ezekiel 38-40 will be the final result. I certainly hope and pray for the security of Israel. But there also has to be some reasonable accomodation for the Palestinian people as well. They are human beings and deserving of all dignity afforded a fellow person by others. There must be a change of heart among the Palestinians not to resort to violence or political extremism as well as a change in the heart of Israelis to treat Palestinians as a equal human being, not as some sort of lesser second class persons. Many of the people who came to Israel remember prejudice directed against them in Europe. And the Jewish faith teaches great values of equality and dignity. These citizens must extend dignity to the Palestinian people. No humans are perfect, but all are a creation of God entitled to respect and dignity. Mutual respect, rather than dehumanizing violence on both sides is an important first step. The racist dialogue from Iran is just as bad as the racism of Israeli bombs blowing up the Palestinian government, lawmakers, or innocent citizens on the streets or acting as file clerks.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Israel's Disportionate Military Response To Palestinian Militant Hostage Incident A Serious Threat To Future MidEast Stability

The people of Israel certainly have the right to live in peace without fear of violence from terrorism. And Palestinian militants should also realise that they hold the responsibility not to commit outrageous acts that provoke a strong response from Israel that hurt many of the Palestinian people. Many of the Palestinian people live in great poverty, and this current military situation harms their access to water and electrity, or makes it unsafe to go out to get food or medical attention.

Since the days of President Carter and his successful peace summit in which Egypt and Israel signed a document ending their conflict, there was the hope of building on that during the Bill Clinton years, after nothing substantially improved during the Reagan and Bush years. Yasser Arafat of the PLO was brought back from Northern Africa, and co-opted by the U.S. into becoming the leader of a Palestinian government of a sort by means of signing a "peace process" with Israel. Yasser Arafat hoped to eventually achieve the goal of acquiring Jerusalem through this process, but it became clear that Israel would never permit this, creating an uneasy and shaky peace process where the Palestinians would be given their own state and government in increments.

It was the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority government to make sure that police and military elements would control terrorism or violence if Israel gave back portions of "land for peace". But with the pullback of Israeli settlers from the Gaza area, serious security concerns were raised. And sure enough it has become a prime area for the launch of militant attacks.

With the recent attack and abduction of the young Israeli soldier, Israel found an opening to justify a wide ranging attack on militants and the Hamas government both. At least 60 Hamas lawmakers are now prisoners of the Israeli military. Israel was unhappy with the Hamas government to say the least, and Fatah which unexpectedly lost the election due to years of Palestinian disatisfaction with corruption and other problems, only felt forced into holding " free elections" because of the faulty and misguided Bush Doctine of free elections as the cure to all MidEast problems, failing to recognize that these nations are not ready for free elections due to many conditions such as poverty, illiteracy, radical religious beliefs, and no former tradition of democracy. The unexpected landslide win of Hamas over Fatah, shocked the world. And Israel looked for a justification to change this bad election result. Hamas had an obligation to accept Israel's right to exist and contain Palestinian terrorism. Only the morning before the huge new Israeli military offensive, did Hamas give a cautious support to some sort of recognition of Israel's right to exist.

The current situation is now very tense. Fatah could find themselves in better standing to retake power, but it is certainly not under the circumstances it would prefer. There is a shared resent and anger at Israel that unites a common Palestinian anger, rather than solely benefits Fatah and hurts Hamas. And the "in your face" fly-over of the Syrian President's summer home, only inspires a renewed conflict with Syria and Israel. Syria has a huge rocket force of chemical warhead arms and Israel has a big nuclear force. If this goes beyond mere hurt pride, then there could be some really unacceptable warfare like the MidEast has never before seen. It could go well beyond a few Palestinian teenagers throwing rocks rather harmlessly at Israeli armoured vehicles.

Israel apparently had no mere intention to mere seek a rescue mission for 19 year old soldier who was taken hostage. Israel is seeking to solve way too many issues and conflicts with both Hamas and Palestinian radicalism. This widespread military campaign as well as stirring up new conflict with Syria is a grave danger to MidEast peace. All sides need to restrain themselves and be on their best behavior very soon, This situation is way too dangerous to continue down this path of mutual violence and creation of more hard feelings. The MidEast peace process being in danger is the least of the worries with a serious regional conflict that could spin out of control if it continues much longer a far more serious issue right now.

Some right wing websites and blogs, even encouraged this latest military move by Israel. Like many issues that evade their limited comprehension, they failed to recognize the deep danger in this latest MidEast crisis. Fortunately the White House did recognize the danger and sought to warn Israel to retrain their efforts.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

London Religious Website Predicts Nuclear Terrorist Attack In NYC On Or Before July 4

A very curious Website in London by a former businessman who has nearly a PhD in computational aerodynamics from Oxford University has predicted based on his scientific mathematic analysis of the Bible that he is 98% sure that a nuclear terrorist attack will likely occur between June 20-July 4, 2006 in U.N. Plaza in NYC. A link on his Website estimates as many as 100,000 will be killed and as many as 400,000 could die within days of injuries or radiation exposure.

This curious Website is located at and is worth an alarming read. The writer is also an inventor with a keen scientific mind who even invented a form of magnetic levitation device and a new form of switched power supply for electrical goods.

But the writer is also a former disfellowshipped member of The Jehovah's Witnesses, and had past legal problems with mortgage fraud. But still the site is so detailed that it is alarming.

The writer from London is so confident of the nuclear terrorist attack that he has forwarded detailed warning letters to the Mayor of NYC, all the permanent UN missions in NYC, Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, and numerous other organizations. The writer actually predicts a total of 7 nuclear terrorist bombings in the coming future years, although not specifying where these will strike.

This scientific thinker from London has certainly put his credibility on the line with his predictions. He is certainly intelligent enough not to be considered a "crank", yet few really know God's true timeline and most men have been dead wrong in past predictions. We all cetainly hope that this scientist is wrong about his calculations, as the U.S. certainly does not need a terrible incident as this London scientist calculates and predicts. If he is wrong, which I most likely expect him to be, then his explanation will be more than interesting. But if he's right, then he's something of a prophet.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Washington War On The Constitution

President Bush and his supporters in Congress seem to be in the business of promoting democracy and support for writing constitutions almost everywhere else in world, but not in the U.S. Today by a slender 1 vote margin, a constitutional amendment to cut down the first amendment and to allow Congress to pass criminal sanctions against burning the American flag lost in the U.S. Senate. This vote just concluded a few minutes before I wrote this. Besides stripping away basic freedom for protests, this amendment could have opened up a tidal wave of new exceptions to the First Amendment.

In another very disturbing attack on the free press, some in Congress including Senator Pat Roberts(R-Kansas) and Representative Peter King(R-NY) seem to support some possible legal sanctions against the NEW YORK TIMES after they published a story dealing with a covert money tracking program that supposedly was used to track potential terrorists by tracking their international bank transfers.

It is interesting that only the more liberal leaning NEW YORK TIMES has been singled out for these conservative attacks. The moderately conservative WALL STREET JOURNAL that also printed a similar feature story has not been singled out.

The right wing claim is that somehow this feature story by THE NEW YORK TIMES has somehow hurt the U.S. while "at war". However there is no formal declaration of war against Al Qaeda or terrorists in general. All the actions against terrorism by the U.S. can be considered a form of law enforcement action meant to keep Americans safe from terrorist threats. The absurd argument that because the U.S. is "at war" being used to justify prosecution of THE NEW YORK TIMES is so outrageous. Fighting terrorism is an extremely long range goal of law enforcement. Unlike a real "war" this law enforcement policy will continue without a forseeable ending. There will be no surrender on a ship's top like WWII, or terms of a ceasefire because you're dealing with an international crime issue. THE NEW YORK TIMES has the right to report on crime related stories dealing with terrorism just the same as other crime related stories. The political right cannot vaguely refer to this as the "War On Terrorism", a political speechwriters own quote, merely to enforce a long term gag on America's free press. This type of prior restraint of the American media is totally unacceptable.

But Washington and Congress are not satisfied to trample all the First Amendment in this area alone. Congress boosted broadcast "indecency fines by 10 times recently. This has a chilling effect on borderline questionable content as "indecency" has not been clearly defined in law.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has requested Internet search records from Google, Yahoo and other main search engines for some very vague supposed project against Internet obscenity or other content.

Gonzales has also renewed the prosecution of a married couple in their 20's from California who operate an adult content Website called Extreme Associates. They distribute adult films just like thousands more Websites including Ebay and others offer. Yet this couple is being singled out for a Federal test case to see just how far the Federal government can go in bringing "obscenity" prosecutions against adult entertaiment on the WWW. This young couple would face 50 years in prison and millions in fines and property confiscation if convicted of using the WWW to distribute adult entertainment. This is equal to bringing a death penalty against these young persons only because they sell sexually oriented materials to other consenting adults.

On many levels there is a serious war on freedom of expression and the First Amendment from the Bush Administration and their supporters. Just how far they will succeed unless Americans are willing to speak out and defend the Bill Of Rights is a very good question.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Theology Of Superman

Most who grew up with the DC comics character Superman, or who loved the 1950's series staring George Reeves, failed to realize just how much the story borrows from the Bible. When the planet is due for destruction, the Superman baby is put on a small rocket headed to earth. This is similar to how the baby Moses was saved from destruction. In both stories, the baby is found and raised by foster parents. In both stories, both Moses and Superman grow into powerful leaders of mankind.

And while Moses leads the Israeli people to a better life and acts as their teacher for better values, Superman also leads the earth people to a better life and acts as their teacher for better values.

In the account of Jesus, he comes as a savior for mankind. The Superman story also shares this similar value. Jesus also comes as a teacher for mankind, as does Superman. Both Jesus and Super have superior intellects and understanding of all the failings of mankind, yet both only try to inspire mankind to better values by both example and teaching.

Both Jesus and Superman believe in the redemption of mankind. In the 1950's Superman series any former criminal who reformed was considered to have paid his debt to society, and considered worthy of forgiveness. With Jesus he paid our debt, and all who confess their sins to him are worhty to be forgiven.

Lex Luther, the opponent of Superman, comes across in a mixed way, appearing as a deceptively good man sometimes, but his hidden evil intentions also result in destruction. The actions of Lucifcer in the Bible are similarly described. What seems deceptively good often appears to involve the later destruction of those so deceived by Lucifer.

And the classic good vesus evil conflicts of Superman often inspire visions of the good versus bad conflicts in the Bible as well.

Whether it is merely the Christian culture that the Superman story was developed in that helped to inspire so many Bible based comparisons is not known. It is also a mystery whether faith was a factor in development of the story as well. But either way, the Superman story is a great inspirational story that seems more than inspired by Scripture.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Democrat's Penchant For Never Failing To Miss An Opportunity To Miss An Opportunity Only Continues

The Democrats have an amazing party. You'd think that they could take adavantage of all the disarray of the Republicans, "Culture Of Corruption", ineptness at the Bush White House, as well as screwball far right Republicans, such as New York Representative, Peter King, who on FOX News Sunday today actually called for the prosecution of the New York Times because of a recent story dealing with the covert banking intelligence program. Somwhow Mr. King supports prior restraint of the American free press, but fortunately it was a far wiser Republican Senator Arlen Spector who scolded King for this wacko viewpoint never before supported by a major U.S. court. Apparently the qualifications standards for Congress are far lower than the Senate standards. The Senate at least has a few wise leaders.

But last week, the Democratic penchant to never fail to "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity" were once again reborn. The Democrats promoted two failed attempts to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq that ended up putting them back on the defensive rather than taking advantage of the public disenchantment for the war.

John Kerry sounded so sure of himself when he argued for his convuluded reasoning to place U.S. troops outside of Iraq in a goofy "redeployment" proposal that won the support of all of just 13 senators. A littel less goofy "Sense of the Senate" proposal by Senator Carl Levin failed as well, with only 39 votes. Unfortunately Iraq is where so much of the MidEast problems currently are. And with Iran only earshot over the other side of the Strait Of Hormuz, just where in world Senator Kerry believes that U.S. should better deploy it's troops used is a really great question. But Iraq is unfortunately as close to possible to where many of the MidEast problems are now.

It is no mystery that likely the Bush White House will send some U.S. troops home just before the 2006 elections and reap some political benefit from this Even Senator Levin noted this on FOX today. Yet both he and Kerry pursued their losing amendments in the Senate. The Democrats managed to put themselves enough on the defensive this week to appear untrustworthy and "not ready for primetime" on foreign policy matters to more than a few voters. And even the "Miami Seven" arrests, which seem more like the Keystone Cops than anything, the capture of these Al Qaeda "wanna be's" only also strengthens the Bush White House's meddling into civil liberties as somehow justified in the mind of many voters. This hurts yet another Democratic talking point.

If the Democrats plan any sort of a comeback this November, then they will need far better issue management skills then they have displayed so far. Unlike Karl Rove who may represent the worst of the worst to many Americans, Rove at least has some great political instincts. The Democrats lack such a cunning strategist.

The Democrats have some great positions on domestic policy issues. But in the realm of foreign policy and Iraq, they only continue to leave themselves out to dry by promoting notions just this side of goofy and reckless, and unbelievably actually make even Bush look nearly professional and statesmanlike by comparison, which is quite an achievement.

The Democrats aren't done for yet. This was just one crummy week for them politically. But with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, pushing for a bold and sweeping peace proposal, which may allow for some U.S. troops to come home if it has any chance of success, the Democrats could find the voter anger over Iraq blunted somewhat as an issue, but leave some lingering questions about whether they can manage foreign policy or keep Americans safer than some voters may still think that the Republicans can.

If the Democrats continue to follow their awful penchant for never failing to "miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity", then they could end up far short of their hopeful expectations once again in the November elections.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Miami Seven More Evidence Of Religious Extremism

On one hand, the "Miami seven", the seven intended Muslim terrorists who planned to attack the Chicage Sears Tower and other buildings seem like a fairly benign organization. With no money or no weapons, their crazed antiU.S. philosophy hardly arrived far beyond mere lunatic fringe thoughts and words. They were like the "Keystone Cops" of Al Qaeda "wanna be's".

And some descriptions of them running around in Iraqi insurgent style uniforms in public raised more than red flags with law enforcement. Real terrorists like Al Qaeda are highly secretative and difficult to infiltrate. But absurd "wanna be's" are far easier to break up.

While most Muslims are certainly very decent and peaceful persons. I have both Jews and Muslims as friends myself, only a small fringe of Christians, Jews or Muslims could be described as dangerous wackos.

But in the case of the "Miami seven" it is absurd that any religious fringe dislikes their country so much that they wish violence on fellow Americans. To turn against your own country like this and plan harm against innocent persons is absolutely unacceptable. And the activity of Al Qaeda to murder innocent Shiites who worship at Muslim Mosques in Iraq is an equal sectarian religious hatred outrage. And the activity of the Kansas Westboro Baptist Church who hate Gay Americans so intensely that they protest at military funerals and wish harm to American servicepersons is also a religious outrage.

The real goal of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths is to bring a person closer to God, promote a respectable prayer life, and to make a person a more responsible member of the human race who helps the poor or the widow, as well as becomes a respectec community member as well. Any sect of the Christian, Jewish or Muslim faith that betrays these standards of conduct betrays their relationship with God. Responsible clerics and worshippers of all faiths deserve to offer mutual respect to each other, as well as to expect that fringe members get straight with God and fall into the mainstream fold and walk of faith.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Disgusting Funeral Protesters Intend To Picket Funeral Of Fallen Oregon Soldier

Fallen Madras, Oregon soldier, Thomas Tucker who was only 25 years old when Iraqi insurgent radicals abducted him and brutally tortured, murdered and multilated his body is about to face yet another outrageous indignity from the disgusting Kansas Westboro Baptist cult church of Rev. Fred Phelps. His cult of disgusting antiGay funeral protestors intend to protest at the funeral of this very nice and well loved Oregon soldier, and only add to the deep grief of his family, hometown and state.

The personality cult church of Rev. Phelps have a very distorted view of theology. The ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed because of the sin of homosexuality. The people in these cities were brutal savages who would rape travelers and conquests as a form of primitive display of subjugation of a defeated opponent. This primitive and brutal practice of raping a conquered person was a disgustingly violent form of humiliation. Of course , Rev. Phelps and his half-witted followers know nothing of the history of this violent practice from the decadent and brutal cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and instead erect a false theology where the deaths of American soldiers are somehow the divine retribution of God for allowing homosexuality. This is a warped and disturbed theology of the very worst variety.

Lot pleaded with God to spare these two wicked and violent cities if only a few good men could be found. When two angels disguised as strangers came to warn Lot and his family to leave the cities, a crowd of violent men gathered to demand to rape and violate the strangers as a form of subjugation. Lot offered the crowd his two own daughters to rape or sexually violate if only these two strangers would be left alone. The crowd refused Lot's offer, but it proved his intense righteousness and respect for kindness to strangers and proved him to be the man of God that God knew that he was. Lot had not known that the strangers were angels when they came to his door.

The Westboro Baptist Church, which is independent of any major Baptist affiliation, is merely the personality cult product of Phelps and his radical followers. And on the human garbage scale, both members of the Westboro Baptist Church and Al Qaeda have a little too much in common. Both share a deeply disturbed sense of religion that praises violence and death of American servicemen. On the Westboro Baptist audio message, a female member not only praises the deaths of American soldiers, but offers a ghoulish, "Thank God", comment praising IEDs(Improvised explosive devices) for taking American lives. This radical church is just one violent act away from being a full blown antiAmerican terrorist organization.

A group of patriotic bikers who are nearly all former veterans themselves plan to counter protest this radical religious group. Instead of being the respectful display of sorrow of this Oregon town, the personality cult of Rev. Phelps only promises to make this event a political hot potato, and could even invite a very angry response from some outraged Oregonians in this town who are deeply saddened by the brutal death of this very nice young man whose life offered so much promise.

Of all the tasteless events of the Westboro Baptist Church, this planned protest is perhaps the most disgusting and vile yet. Rev. Phelps and his screwball followers will be hardly welcome in this small Oregon town.

Possible North Korean Missile Launch Should Not Become A Pretext For War

The news of a possible North Korean Missile launch is certainly not good news. It is a great matter of distress when an erratic regime like the totalitarian one of goofball dictator, Kim Jong-il. There is incidently some conflicting reports of whether or not Kim is visiting Russia or not right now. However it seems very unlikely when his country is on the verge of a major missile test launch.

It also seems very unlikely that North Korea is seeking to start a war with the U.S. with only one missile of very limited technology. It is likely an atempt to launch a satellite in orbit. But North Korea failed once before towards this goal. And while North Korea may have up to 8 nuclear devices, it is also possible that none of them are compact enough to be used as a nuclear warhead for a missile.

But as erratic and disturbing as Kim Jong-il's North Korean dictatorship is, I also find it extremely disturbing some voices in the U.S. , who actually seriously are offering that the U.S. should shoot this missile down or even destroy the missile on the launch pad with a cruise missile. Either could push the wacky North Korean regime over the edge towards all-out conventional war.

North Korea has a huge conventional military and rocket force. This huge force could leave tens of thousands of South Koreans, U.S. soldiers or Japanese citizens wounded or dead. The last thing the U.S., Japan and South Korea need at this time is a huge war in Asia. Hopefully China would avoid entry in this conflict. But if China should side with North Korea instead of on the side of restraint, then the problems could take on nightmarish proportions.

Another serious problem is that it would be a terrible message of U.S. weakness and only invite more possible aggression towards the U.S. if the much touted antimissile system does not work. This would be a disasterous message for the U.S. to send right now. Rag-tag insurgent forces in Iraq have prevented the U.S. from stabilizing Iraq. Low budget Al Qaeda terrorists have made many Americans cower in fear since the outrageously bold 9/11 attack. 7 Al Qaeda "wanna be" types in Miami who had no money for any weapons or explosives have revived new homegrown terrorism fears. And the little nation of Ghana kicked the U.S. right out of contention in the World Cup Soccer tournament. The U.S. hardly needs to send any more messages of weakness at this critical point.

There is a huge flotilla of U.S. ships in the pacific right now with plenty of firepower to aim at any true North Korean aggression. But very likely the possible North Korean missile launch amounts to less than some fear. While the missile could likely threaten Alaska or Hawaii, and of course Toyko or Seoul, it is likely either another feeble attempt at putting a satellite into orbit or a lame effort to shake down the U.S. for some money, after witnessing the generous offer made to Iran of Western incentives for them not to develop their own nuclear program. Paying bad people not to terrorize only encourages more to behave badly it appears.

It is in the interests of no one for the North Korean possible missile launch to become a real crisis. The world hardly needs the U.S. to counter the erratic North Korean regime with an erratic military move at this point that could really topple the apple cart of world peace all over the floor. If North Korea only intends to lauch a communications satellite or something equally fairly benign, then this rigid Stalinist regime should at least be open enough to admit that to the world and alay the regional and U.S. fears. The inverse of this is to invite a military confortation with the U.S. that could spin out of control in the Pacific. World peace is simply too precious of a commodity to squander over a silly test of a North Korean missile that is Fred Flintstone in technology compared to the one's that the U.S. and other major states possess.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kerry And Levin Troop Redeployment Bills Voted Down In U.S. Senate

Both the John Kerry and Carl Levin sponsored amendments to $500 billion dollar plus defense bill dealing with U.S. troop redeployments have been voted down. The stronger langauge John Kerry bill garnered a mere 13 votes, while the Levin bill did much better at 39 votes in it's losing effort. While both bills no doubt encapsule the frustration at the war in Iraq that the American public is feeling, both bills really ignored the complex "catch-22" that we face in Iraq.

Certainly the war in Iraq was a huge mistake. I could all day explaining why this is so. But for strarters, you don't restart a 12 year old war because you failed to negotiate a good cease fire or terms of peace. The first George Bush was under Saudi Arabian pressure not to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and with this absurd limitation on his ability to enact unconditional cease fire terms, Hussein remained in power and was not brought to trial in 1991 like what should have been expected. Instead 12 cruel years of U.N. mandated economic sanctions only tended hurt the average person in Iraq, while Saddam's family found ways to steal "oil for food" funds for more palaces or riches for themselves. With only "no-fly" zones and UNSCOM mandated inspections and destruction of WMD materials, Iraq was contained militarily, and no real regional threat any longer. So much of Iraq's elite Republican Guard forces and equipment were destroyed in first Gulf War that they hardly constituted a serious military presense any longer. With so much pressure on Iraq, Iran was able to reconstitute it's military into an ever increasingly strong regional presense. And Iran controls the vital Strait Of Hormuz oil passageway which is a mere 12 miles wide at it's most narrow point. All MidEast oil flows from this vital oil passageway. All oil from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Iran flows through this pathway.

Many of the most important players in the Bush Administration's foreign policy, Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and others were members of a neoconservative organization known as The Project For The New American Century(PNAC) since 1997, members of this organization have been pushing for a restart to the poorly concluded 1991 Gulf War. In testimony to Congress in 1998, Paul Wolfowitz argued that a restart to this war would allow for placing the oil resources of Iraq under "international supervision". The restart of the old Gulf War could be justified by raising fears of the uncertainty of Iraqi WMDs. However, as we all know only the evidence of one old sarin shell and one old 1980's mustard gas shell were found by American forces in Iraq. Gen. Georges Sada, the second in command general of the Iraqi Air Force noted in a recent book that in passenger aircraft with the seats removed some very primitive chemical weapons agents were transferred or sold to Syria. Such primitive WMD materials could at best only kill about 40 persons in a direct hit on a very large crowd. Compared to explosives these insecticide based chemicals were a relatively ineffective weapon.

With 43 members of the Bush Administration with some ties to oil companies, there was plans from day one of this new administration according to former Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, to justify a military invasion of Iraq. Despite the claims of George Bush in a debate with Al Gore that he opposed "nation building", it was one of the primary goals of this new administation to start a new war in Iraq.

After WWI, Britain first invaded Iraq after oil assets were discovered there. Britain could not contain either the insurgent violence or the 300 year old sectarian conflict between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims. By the violent 1958 rebellion in Iraq, British forces were forced to withdrawal, because they had lost so much contol by then. Iraq has 113 billion barrels of known oil assets, but an additional suspected 220 billion barrels of more undiscovered oil assets. This is equal to a 98 year supply for the U.S. But instead of the current war in Iraq supplying more world oil assets, Iraq's production is now 900,000 barrels a day lower than during the days of Saddam Hussein. And the resulting regional uncertainty because of the U.S. entry into the new war with Iraq has only helped to fuel passions that elected the new radical government in Iran and raises nuclear tensions. A gallon of gas has also increased from $1.59 a barrel in 2003 just before the war to about $3.00 now. And a barrel of oil has increased from about $28 a barrel in 2003 before the war to about $70 now. In terms of increasing world oil supplies, lowering prices, or providing regional stability over MidEast oil supplies, the current Iraq War has failed on all levels. In terms of preventing a WMD threat, the weakess of all real reasons for entering Iraq, this has also been a gross failure.

What is left is a war of wills that George Bush invited with his stupid "cowboy" logic, "Bring it on" comment. Al Qaeda as well Muslim insurgent forces have made this war one of willpower. Both the Kerry and Levin amendments failed to recognize this fact. George Bush laid out a challenge to Muslim extremists that is difficult to take back. It is a sign of faith in Allah for Muslim extremists to stand up to a far superior force and to win. To back down to persons who behead hostages with a knife is a real sign of weakness, and a powerful sign that Allah blesses their violent actions. The U.S. and western world community hasn't seen terrorism yet like it will unleash if it backs down to this challenge that George Bush stupidly raised. New 9/11s could be very common in the U.S. and Western states around the world could face routine violence everywhere at any time.

For every possible reason the George Bush war in Iraq is a wrong one. But for every possible reason to contain more terrorism or more MidEast governments falling under control of dangerous radicals, some sort of U.S. success in Iraq to set up a democratic government that succeeds is needed to stabilize this region and act as a message to the Muslim radicals that Allah does not bless their version of theology based warfare.

The Kerry and Levin amendments just don't live in this realistic world. Although it is far more likely that the U.S. will fail in Iraq than succeed, still this war of wills that Bush invited needs to be concluded properly. The problems with terrorism and violence that the western world will see unless the Iraq and MidEast region can be restored to stability are simply too great. As much as I dislike the foreign policy of Bush, Iraq must be seen as his mistake. And Mr. Bush should be the one to conclude this mess, not the U.S. Senate. For lack of any better alternatives, the Bush policy in Iraq needs to succeed because the extremely high costs of failure are completely unacceptable.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Millionaire Controlled U.S. Senate Votes Down Small Minimum Wage Increase For Working People

The Federal minimum wage for working people will remain stuck at just $5.15 a hour. It has remained there since 1997. Today in the U.S. Senate, an organization where 2/3 of the members are millionaires, and accept all sorts of benefits from lobbyists, these well-heeled rich folks voted down a small increase in the wages of working people. The vote was 52 votes in favor, however 60 votes were needed for this bill to pass.

Gasoline has virtually doubled in price since the ill-fated war in Iraq. Today a 20 year former veteran of the CIA claimed that the U.S. cannot win this war on a cable news program, yet this war that cannot be won is a higher priority than working people. Home prices have skyrocketed. And inflation as a result of high energy costs drives up the cost of food, clothing and health care. Rent continues to increase. Yet the millionaires in the U.S. Senate could just not find it in their hearts to give a few crumbs to the persons who vote for them to represent them. We'll remember this in November.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Miami Heat Become First Team Since The 1977 Portland Trailblazers To Come Back From 2 Games Down To Win NBA Championship

I had a very serious post on the terrible situation in Iraq that got damaged and lost in my computer. I'll address this later. But for now, I'd like to offer the Miami Heat some praise for coming back from two games down to win the NBA championship. This is a remarkable feat last achieved in 1977 by the Portland Trailblazers. I personally expected that Dallas was headed towarding winning the series. I was very surprised at the outcome of this NBA championship. I'm unsure what happened to Dallas. They appeared to be the stronger of the two teams in my view. The narrow 1 point overtime loss on Sunday as well as the narrow loss tonight on their home court really stunned me. Avery Johnson is a great coach. And the Dallas Mavericks were an excellent team. I expected Dallas to win tonight and even the series, and to win game 7 as well. I thought this was going to be a game of homecourt wins. Who would have expected that Dallas would have a bizarre four game losing streak all of a sudden and unexpectedly.

What went wrong for Dallas will be debated all summer by basketball analysts, and of course fans, staff and players of Dallas. Maybe Miami was in the end the better team afterall. They pulled off a feat that really surpised me. Mark Cuban is probably not a happy camper tonight. His first NBA championship was so close and then slipped from his fingers.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Congress Out Of Touch With The Serious Real World Problems

Sometimes days remind me of the song by The Temptations, BALL OF CONFUSION, written in the turbulent year of 1970. Congress seems obsessed with indency fines against TV networks, banning Gay marriage or another flaky constitutional amendment because in 1984 some far out radical burned the American flag(probably made in China like most U.S. flags are) outside of the Reagan renomination convention. Based on their screwy obsessions, you'd hardly know that North Korea is risking world peace by getting a new missile ready that could hit parts of the U.S., or that Al Qaeda likely abducted two U.S. soldiers, and could release an execution video shortly, much like they did with captured Soviet troops during the Afghanistan war.

After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Mujahedeen, which included fighters trained by Osama Bin Laden proved themselves to be perfect students of some of the worst CIA methods of psychological warfare. And capturing Soviet troops and executing them on video, helped to shorten the Soviet invasion as young Russians either deserted or avoided service. Many of the Iraqi foreign fighters including the late terrorist, Zarqawi were Afghanistan veterans, and proved themselves real masters in the art of psychological terror.

8,000 American and Iraqi troops are attempting to find the two likely abducted U.S. soldiers, which includes one from my home state of Oregon. Today 7 U.S. soldiers lost their lives in this search effort. If these two soldiers were abducted as I fear, then the horrors of Iraq may be taking a new disgusting turn.

In domestic affairs, loan scams are a real growth industry. Almost everyone with a telephone or computer is bombarded with loan scam offers that seek to swindle persons out of their homes by balloon payment scams, or other dirty tricks. The $250,000 foreclosure mess that former child actor, Dustin "Screech" Diamond is involved in is typical of these scams. Anyone with bad credit buys a home through these white collar crooks, but can't make the balloon payment despite meeting the monthly payments and ends up as a homeless person, and their home foreclosed and sold as a trap to the next home loan victim. And the Republican Party faithful treated a ripoff artist who runs a string of payday and car title loan scam businesses, who donated more than $1 million to the Republican Party and candidates like a member of royalty during the last Republican National Convention. In Oregon, during a special session, Republicans pretended to support a "get tough" measure on car title, payday and other loan schemes, but built in a clause allowing the bill not to take effect until January 2007, allowing the new legislature to effectively gut the bill and allow their white collar crook friends a free ride.

Oh Congress can't be bothered with getting tough on white collar crimes like home finance scams, because these crooked legislators accept way too much in campaign donations from these white collar fiends. And both parties often have an out of touch foreign policy while fifth rate nations like North Korea seem to be able to play the U.S. for financial support. North Korea witnessed the money that the West is offering Iran not to develop nukes, and decided this shakedown seem like a pretty good idea right now.

Just like all the problems The Temptations seemed to conjure up in BALL OF CONFUSION, it seems the blue earth has progressed very little. Terrible nations like Iran or North Korea could easily take the smiles off our faces unless we continue to pay them extortion funds. Al Qaeda will continue to prove that cheap violence will continue to take U.S. lives or other lives. And white collar crooks are the best friend some legislators have.

Sometimes it seems like the only way to wake up with a smile is to go to bed with a coat hanger in your mouth.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"Screech" Dustin Diamond The Latest Former Child Star To Hit Hard Times

The latest former child star to fall on hard times is Dustin Diamond, formerly known as "Screech" in the very popular early morning teen sitcom, SAVED BY THE BELL. When this program first aired in 1988, adapted from the 1987 Disney channel teen sitcom, GOOD MORNING, MISS BLISS, starring Hailey Mills, young Dustin Diamond was a mere 11 years old. At least three years younger than any other cast member. Today at the young age of 29, he faces foreclosure of his home in Wisconsin unless he can come up with $250,000 in the next 30 days.

Dustin Diamond is the latest former child star to hit hard times in life after fame in his early years. Since SAVED BY THE BELL, Diamond has tried his hand at standup comedy, and as a bass player in a band, Salty and the Pocketknife. And besides a very few cameos on TV or in some movies, nothing has compared to his previous fame as Samuel "Screech" Powers in the old SAVED BY THE BELL series. Like nearly all former child stars, fame just doesn't seem to come around the second time.

In a very desperate attempt to rescue his home, Diamond hopes to sell 30,000 T-shirts at $15 each or for $20 with his autograph.

In recent years it seems like Diamond could hardly get a break. He lost a lawsuit over the rights to his domain name in which a 21 year old representing himself defeated the law firm that Diamond hired. And although DVDs of all the previous episodes of SAVED BY THE BELL are marketed and some royalties likely are coming the way of Diamond, it still just doen't appear to be adequate to bail him out of his problems.

If former child stars ever seem to prove anything, it's that lightning seldom ever strikes twice for them. It seems as though their Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame has long since come and gone. Former FULL HOUSE star Jodie Sweetin has recently survived a reported bout with crystal meth addiction, and hopes that hosting a new game show that involves strippers is a path to a new 15 of fame, or less at least a little less shame. For Diamond the fall hasn't been as disgraceful, yet having to appear on radio programs to plead poverty, and that his money is gone is no source of pride at all.

Diamond does have his detractors though. A poll in STUFF magazine rated him as the third most annoying TV personality. And a commenter on one blog even claimed that he had squandered away $2 million dollars by time he was 18 years old. But regardless of how he got into this situation, he does need some serious help right now.

It is likely that Diamond was a victim of one of the new home finance scheme traps, in which persons with weak credit ratings sign terrible home finance contracts that set them up to fail, and lose everything. Congress seems to be too busy debating Gay marriage and the stale old 1984 event in which a single radical burned an American flag outside of the Ronald Reagan renomination Republican convention, than to attempt to protect hundreds of thousands of home finance trap schemes. Republicans have gotten years and years of political mileage over this single 22 year old event in which a single member of the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party was arrested. Yet much meaningful legislation is never even given decent consideration such as protecting Americans from various home financing schemes.

Over at, Dustin Diamond has a pathetic almost homeless look with a beard, starved look, and a penny jar all clearly visible. For all the laughs he gave us over the years on SAVED BY THE BELL, it would be a great thing for the appreciative public to rescue Screech this time. Saved by his public would be a great act of appreciation.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Two Bad Political Parties

The last few days of action in Washington are just about enough to force any good citizen to seek out the political version of AA and swear off voting. It reminds me of the joke about why an old lady doesn't vote; "It only encourages them".

Although I still believe with every fibre of my body that the U.S. effort in Iraq is more likely to fail than not, still there has been a small amount of momentum for the new government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to make a good attempt at establishing the best hope for a new government in Iraq that could gain needed international support. A wide variety of nations including China, Russia and others certainly want to peace and stability in Iraq. Well stability anyway. Peace is a relative term in the face of a 300 year history of sectarian conflict.

Certainly the death of Al Qaeda in Irag head, Zarqawi, was indeed a positive. The information seized has resulted in this organization being heavily damaged, although Al Qaeda remains the smallest of the violence and instability problems that Iraq has. And many successful U.S. raids have heavily ruined this organization for the time being. So how does Congress respond to all of this? With an ill advised and politically devision debate on Iraq, which sends a clear message that the U.S. has more than one foreign policy at the same time, rather than accepting that a few things are presenting enough of a positive that if they could only be bolstered, that maybe, just maybe, this is the best possible way for most U.S. troops to be able to eventually leave Iraq.

With some momentum in Iraq, it couldn't seem any more ill advised than I could think of for many Democrats in Congress to voice support for setting a withdrawal timetable, or Republicans seeking to offer their two cents in politically moltivated, support proposal. Wise persons should just sit tight now that some recent new momentum seems to be moving ahead in Iraq.

This hardly means that the U.S. effort in Iraq is likely to succeed. Or the new government there will find it's legs and all will be hunky dory. But the U.S. only has one foreign policy at a time, the official one of the elected government, and this government does at least deserve the opportunity to attempt to resolve some of the problems it creates for itself. Iraq is the mistake of Bush. He at least deserves the first shot at resolving the mess he created.

But ill advised Congressional meddling in foreign policy is hardly the only reason for many Americans to get that sinking feeling that they are represented by fools. Bush made a Friday campaign visit to aid the ailing campaign of Rep. Heather Wilson. As many remember, including her own voters, she was the hysterical screw-up who looked like she was having a psychiatric meltdown during testimony about the Janet Jackson-breast-Superbowl nonevent. Apparently voters don't want to be represented by the mentally unstable, and Rep. Wilson is paying the price. But Congress and even the White House can't leave this foolishness aside, and resurrected huge new "indecency" fines just this week, and of course the morally hypocritical Bush signed on.

"Indecency" is such a vague term, meaning nearly anything as the conditions are not clearly spelled out. Even relatively harmless scenes on popular programs such as WITHOUT A TRACE have been the targets of FCC action, for vague and highly questionable violations of FCC indecency standards. Very popular "shock jock", Howard Stern was forced from the public airwaves with such absurd, subjective, and movable standards. And while all Obsecenity laws also violate the clear standard set forth in the First Amendment, which clearly does not allow for any government control over a free press and free expression, nonetheless, indecency standards are a much more murky area open to an absurdly wide interpretation.

And retiring Sen. Bill Frist, is pushing ahead a "flag burning amendment" as another affront to freedom of expression, futher shreding this important principle of political expression. Along with a ban on Gay marriage proposed amendment, the Republican leadership seems obsessed with right wing lunatic issues when at least the Democrats this week did propose a serious agenda of minimum wage increases, health care cost limitations, etc. if they regain control of Congress in November.

But still a progressive voter like myself is left with a heart sinking feeling that while the Democrats offer a better social and economic agenda than the Republicans, their foreign policy is not always very realistic, and could leave Americans with far more serious problems as a result of nonaction in some critical troublespots. But on the other hand the Republican foreign policy, domestic social and economic agenda is absolutely awful for the most part. But with the late events in Iraq with the death of Zarqawi, recent raids against Al Qaeda preventing at least some outrageous deaths of Iraqi civilians, and the good attempts by the new Iraqi Prime Minister to form a coalition government and reconcile some past insurgents into support of this government, it leaves me with the impression that many of the Democrats have a foriegn policy agenda that is "not ready for prime time". If every problem that the U.S. faces is merely domestic in the next few years that would be fine. But Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and many other nations will still top the headlines. And in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the leaders of both couuntries cannot only be the "mayor" of the capital city, while lawlessness rules in most of the surrounding countryside.

Both American political parties have gone a long way to proving their severe limitations in the last two weeks. It hardly gives a voter much comfort.

Back Again

Thankfully the severe recent computer problems that I was having may finally be over. It made it impossible to post the last few days here. Each day I want at least one new post or commentary. But it's very good to hopefully be back again.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Surprise Bush Visit To Iraq Is An Attempt To Salvage The So Far Failed Policy

President Bush's bold highly secretative surprise visit to Iraq is a serious attempt to salvage the so far failed Iraq War policy. It is a sign of faith and support for the new Iraqi government, as well as media ploy to seek a little more patience from the American public. Just today Congress has passed a new $95 billion dollar spending bill for the Iraq War, Afghanistan and some Katrina aid, just at a time that vital social services such as the Salvation Army are under going federal grant and aid cuts.

Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has made a decent attempt to appear as a serious moderate, and has appointed some Sunni Muslims to some high government posts as well. If his government can somehow succeed, then American troops can finally go home eventually.

All of this is not to say that the odds are likely against the new government of Nouri al-Maliki to succeed. British troops appear to have lost control to lawlessness in the vital oil producing province of Basra. Without this vital province under civil order, the economy of Iraq will remain flat despite some economic improvements in some areas such as Baghdad and support, investment and aid from many countries that even includes China. Many militia groups no doubt nearly rival the official Iraqi government in power. And in the mainly Sunni province of Anbar, a complete loss of control to insurgents, Baath loyalists and others has resulted in a rapid response force of 1,500 U.S. soldiers stationed in Kuwait to enter the province to rout the radicals.

While the treasure trove of information seized from the assault on Zaqawi has resulted in about 140 missions so far, Al Qaeda in Iraq was never the main problem in this troubled nation. At best estimates Al Qaeda in Iraq only comprises about 500 foreign fighters and 500 local Iraqi radical supporters. Sunni insurgents, Baath loyalists, Shiite militia groups such as the Wolf and Badr Brigades and Iranian backed Hezbollah fighters who are known for building the largest and most destructive type of roadside bombs, together involve hundreds of thousands of members and civilian supporters. But Al Qaeda does remain a major terrorist problem in Iraq because so much of their violence was directed at peaceful Shiite worshippers during their Friday holy day Mosque worship. With any containment of Al Qaeda violence, Shiiites feel a little more free to practice their faith.

The Iraq War policy was fatally flawed from the beginning. Whether it can possiby succeed is certainly highly in question. But most of the world community, not just the U.S. , wants to see peace and stability in Iraq. If it takes a highly secretative visit by President Bush, serious conversations with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and bold U.S. military moves such as the Zarqawi mission to give the younf Iraqi homegrown defense forces every possibility of success to stabilize things enough so that the Iraq at least has the remote possibility of success as a peaceful world community member, then these last ditch attempts are worth it. For now they stand as the best hopes that most U.S. troops can sometime in the near future be able to leave Iraq.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Ann Coulter Thinks The Only Standard Of Her Outrageous Comments Is Whether It Sells Books Or Not

Ann Coulter made a comment last week on Lou Dobbs program on CNN that seemed to say that her statements should be judged as to whether they sell books or not. This is an absurd standard for any serious journalist who should prize their integrity to present the most truthful perception that they can when writing.

Ann Coulter has become the right wing's own version of the WEEKLY WORLD NEWS. While this funny and fictional supermarket rag runs absurd fictional stories like DWARF DRACULA KNEE HIGH ANKLE-BITER TERRORIZING SEATTLE, HOW TO TELL IF YOUR PROSTITUTE IS AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL, ALIENS CLAIM JACKO IS THEIR SON, ALIENS MOON NASA SPACECRAFT, SAN FRANCISCO HIRES NUDE WOMEN TO PROTECT GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, or other equally laughable fiction writings, Ann Coulter feels that the same standard of absurdity and sensationalism and wholesale lack of truth is the honorable path to widespread book sales.

Her fictionalized account of how former Senator and Veterans Affairs head Max Cleland lost three limbs in Vietnam is exhibit A. Even Colin Powell's own secretary issued a sharp rebuttal to this absurd and ghoulish attack on a true American hero. Even right wing commentator, Bill O'Reilly has attacked Coulter last week.

Last week, Coulter even compared herself to Mark Twain or H.L. Mencken while on Lou Dobbs program. That's a far stretch to compare some of the brilliant satire of Mark Twain of H.L. Mencken to crazed and recklessly irresponsible foolish talk by Coulter who has wished harm to a member of the Supreme Court and to Bill Clinton while he was president, or referring to four 9/11 widows as "witches". Misaligning the values or beliefs of the politically liberal is another favorite tack of Coulter.

Coulter even reportedly once dated magazine publisher Bob Guccione, Jr. , the son of the former PENTHOUSE publisher. It is no wonder that Coulter would be associated with such a controversial family of publishers. Whatever it takes to sell books is the guiding ethic of Ann Coulter, the same ethic PENTHOUSE once used by publishing outrageous content or sensational articles to sell magazines.

But any decent journalist should be concened about their character and journalistic integrity. A standard of journalistic conduct that only values whether or not it sells books is morally unacceptable. I don't dislike Coulter personally, but I can't understand why her journalism shows so little integrity. She doesn't seem to understand how much dishonor she does to the profession of journalism, robbing it of it's implied tradition for courage, integrity and truth.

Bush More Honest After Zarqawi Death About U.S. Role In Iraq

One unpredicted, and surprising outcome of the successful mission to get Zarqawi has been a more honest Bush assessment of the war. Gone are the bloated brags of "Bring It On", or other loose "cowboy" talk in favor of a far more realistic assessment of the U.S. role. This is what many Americans have wanted all along. A president who talks plainly and truthfully.

In the case of Bush it may be a matter of too little too late. But better than never is still a good standard. The American people appreciate a president who talks plainly and truthfully to them.

It is still highly questionable whether there can be peace in Iraq between the Sunni and Shiite Muslim religious sects. Some historians can trace 300 years of conflict between these sects. And certainly since the British role in occupation of Iraq after WWI, serious sectarian conflict was a major problem for the British forces. But it is also likely if there's any possible way for the U.S. to exit Iraq and leave most security up tp Iraqi homegrown forces, then most U.S. troops would likely leave. Even Reagan pulled U.S. Marines out of Lebanon after their peacekeeping mission was shattered by a huge suicide bombing attack. Even the most militaristic of the right no doubt would bail out of a bad war if things are not working out at some point. And if the religious sects in Iraq have been unable to find peace in the last 300 years, then it is highly unlikely that there is any appetite in the U.S. to fight insurgents that many years without handing the situation over to homegrown Iraqi forces. Few Americans would sipport a war that takes the lives of their sons, grandsons or great grandsons, for generations. For the remote control channel changing constantly and instant satisfaction mentality of Americans, patience is certainly not a virtue.

The biggest problem is the Iraqi will. Many insurgents have very little training but great will. But the homegrown Iraqi forces often lack a similar will. If homegrown Iraqi forces really care about their country, then they'll step up to defend it. Otherwise the U.S. is simply stuck in Iraqi for a long time with no "honorable" way out. It's extremely easy for any nation to enter a war. But it's always very hard to gracefully exit one.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Michael Berg On The Death Of Terrorist Leader Zarqawi

Michael Berg was forced to watch the terrible video of his peaceful son, Nick Berg, being beheaded by Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with a handknife. He had every reason to hate this disgusting individual with no regard for human. And news reports that Zarqawi intended to murder as many Shiite Muslims as possible because he was opposed to their free practice of their faith, also made Zarqawi seem completely unworthy of the right to live himself. Yet Michael Berg has not lost his respect for human life.

Despite the sheer evil of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Michael Berg regretted that more loss of human life was required to bring him to justice.

Nothing better displays a huge difference in the quality of character between Micheal Berg and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as this. Even someone whose heary is totally cold and has done great evil , still commands a basic respect for life itself from Michael Berg. This is an amazing show of faith in the human race despite every reason to be disappointed in some members of that race.


I had a far longer analysis of the Zarqawi incident yesterday, but problems with my computer as well as technical problems at Blogger destroyed the feature, so it was lost despite some very good work I did on it. I hope to soon resolve at least the computer problems that I have been having. Losing work isn't a great thing, and leaves you with that sinking feeling.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Queen Of Mean: Ann Coulter

Satan's own Barbie doll, Ann Coulter is at it again. This time her poisonous venom is set on the 9/11 wives. The minute anyone offers even a remotely mild critique of any Bush Administration policy, then Ann sharpens her knives and goes in for her highly partisan kill.

Coulter was so offended that some of these crime victims of this terrible mass murder of innocent Americans during the 9/11 attack even dared to offer any critical thoughts on the Bush conduct of the War On Terror that by tearing down the victims seems to be the only way for Coulter to satisfy her blood lust for partisanship gone wild. Everyday is like a professional sports game for Coulter, where she does what she can for the day to day partisan battle to score imaginary points in her own mind, no matter how vile or disgusting her outrageous attacks are. Attacking the victim's families of men who burned or were crushed to death in the terrible World Trade Tower attacks certainly sets a new low, even for Coulter.

This should not mean that Coulter is not capable of some very low attacks. Her lies about how Vietnam vet Max Cleland lost two legs and an arm supposedly on the way to drinking, when the truth was that a handgrenade was shot off a soldier's belt during a jump from a helicopter during the Seige at Khe Sanh in which 450 Marines were surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese troops. Even Gen. Colin Powell's office was so offended by Coulter's falsehoods that Powell's Secretary, himself a decorated military officer issued a strong rebuttal of the false claims by Coulter.

Coulter has really read America wrong this time. Every victim of 9/11 is held in high regard by most Americans. Many such as the passengers who attempted to save the Capitol building from the fourth plane as well as police, firemen and paramedics who lost their lives when the Twin Towers collapsed on them are true heroes. While other men ran from these buildings, brave police, firemen and paramedics rushed in to save lives.

While many heroes rushed in to save lives, Coulter offers just the opposite of character. To defend her political beliefs no disgusting or false attack is simply too bad, vile, or just plain low. If she has to attack crime victims, the disabled or anyone else who gets in the way of her politics, then watch out.

Many things are beyond politics, Coulter. Respecting the dead and respecting true heroes for one thing. But respect is something that Coulter doesn't know much of anything about. America holds the victims and heroes of 9/11 in high regard. Smearing these heroes makes Coulter just as nasty as the worst of the terrorists.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Where Was Bush Yesterday?

Yesterday was almost literally the world going to heck in a handbasket, any sign of Bush concern on several critical issues with major implications for world peace, the world oil supply or the health of the U.S. econmy was as scarce as "Where's Waldo" on anything important to say on these earth shaking issues.

In Somalia, the capitol city was overrun by a radical Muslim militia who are allies with Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is now likely to use Mogadishu as a new short of Taliban-run Afghanistan base to stage violent terrorist attacks in africa and around the world. Despite U.N. and U.S. peacekeeping efforts in Somalia, the U.S. Marines left in 1993 after militia members shot down a U.S. Blackhawk helicopter and a total of 18 U.S. soldiers were killed in the crash and rescue attempt. When a capitol city is so bad that even the police leave, then you know it's a lost cause. Any claimed Bush "War On Terror" suffered a significant defeat and loss yesterday, and Al Qaeda gained a huge victory. Yet Bush was nowhere to be found on this very important issue.

In Canada, big news is still the 17 members of a radical Islamic organization who attemped to buy 3 tons of ammonuim nitrate to create bombs big enough to level several buildings including the Canadian Parliament and Stock Market building, and had contact with at least two American terrorists in Georgia, yet Bush was no where to be found to comment on this important issue.

In Iran, a leading cleric threatened to cut off the 40% of the world's oil supply that passes through the narrow 21 mile wide Strait Of Hormuz. All oil shipments from the Mideast pass through this narrow sea passage. All oil from nations such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Bahrain pass through this seaway. During the 1980's Iran-Iraq War, Iran proved it's intent to use machine gun boats to leave oil tankers burning in flames. Now Iran has advanced torpedos, submarines, missiles and maybe even Silkworm or other antiship missiles. This threat was part of the nearly 200 point drop on Wall Street, yet Bush could not be found to comment on these very important issues.

In Iraq, a day after terrorists executed high school students, 50 more persons were kidnapped in a terrible terrorist attack and disappeared, proving that both the U.S. and Iraqi troops are not able to contain the violence. In the Anbar province, the U.S. has lost control of this province to Sunni sectarian insurgents and Al Qaeda. And the Prime Minister of Iraq has declared an emergency in Basra as the British trrops have lost control to insurgents and Al Qaeda. Yet Bush had no comment on these major military defeats to insurgent or Al Qaeda terrorist forces.

Fears of both inflation as well as real slowdown in new housing starts by a full 40% and other critical economic concerns helped to also witch Wall Street yesterday, also contributing to the 200 point drop. Yet Bush was not able to offer any comment on these important issues.

Where was Bush yesterday? He was stumping for an absolutely doomed proposal in the U.S. Senate that will not pass to ban Gay marriage simply to pander to his slumping support among social conservatives. On the 25th anniversary of the first case of AIDS being discovered, Bush made a tasteless and blantantly offensive attempt to oppose monogamy and safe sex practices within the American Gay community, which is a key issue towards containing any new AIDS cases. Bush's actions would be akin to an obscene affront to Holocaust victims on an anniversary of these terrible events. Bush's actions against the American Gay community on Monday would have been like a wholesale offensive act towards American Black Community on Martin Luther King's Birthday or the day celebrating the end of slavery in America. Bush's performance on Monday was a disgusting act of bigotry on a sad day that was an anniversary of this terrible disease first being discovered, yet Bush had nothing but vile to pass along . Bush was too busy spreading hate and bigotry on Monday to be bothered by a major Al Qaeda victory in Somalia, the huge drop on Wall Street, the very serious world oil supply cut threats from Iran, new problems for the U.S. economy, or concerns from the Federal Reserve. If any day ever acted as a testament to an inept president, absolutely out of the loop, wholly ineffective and nearly useless, then Monday was indeed exhibit A.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Cynical Politics Of Psychological Manipulation

This weekend's radio address by President Bush turned out to be little more than a very cynical game of psychological manipulation aimed largely at stemming the slippage among his most conservative supporters. His seeming "strong support" for an antiGay marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution was neither genuinely sincere to his most conservative supporters and mean spirited low life weasel bigoted politics meant as a slap at America's Gay community, with the dirty fingerprints of Karl Rove all over it.

Not only is the amendment humiliating and hurtful to the Gay community, and smacks of big government intrusion into the private lives of individuals, but it is also an amendment that is sure not to pass in the Senate. Yet both Bush and Rove know this, so by throwing in their two cents supporting such a bigoted bill, it gives "lipservice" to the most conservative of Bush supporters who are abandoning him after his position on illegal immigration.

Of course Bush used to address to take a swipe at "activist" judges at the state level who believe that regulations on marriage are to be decided by states or at the local level level. But this is little more than conservative hypocrisy. When local or state governments decide something that conservatives don't like, such as assisted suicide or Gay marriage, then there is a call for Federal intervention. When abortion is not liked, then overturning Wade v. Roe is supported to turn the issue back to the states or local governments. There is no consistent standard among conservatives, who simply support whatever means to their end goals.

But with the antiGay amendment doomed to near certain failure in the Senate, the entire bigoted radio address by Bush becomes little more than more of the Rovian politics of psychological manipulation of the most conservative of supporters, hoping they lack the intelligence to tell they are being made complete fools of. Such is yet another typical day at the office in the Bush Administration where the most stupid of justifications or positions is taken at face value by his duped supporters, unable to filter out the fact from the fiction.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Canadian Police Foil Possible Large Scale Terrorist Attacks

In raids conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the Toronto Area, 17 members of a suspected terrorist organization were arrested that apparently attempted to purchase as much as 3 tons of ammonium nitrate. The homemade ammonumium nitrate and fuel oil bomb that destroyed the Federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma back in 1995 was only a one ton bomb by comparison. This much material could have leveled or destroyed as many as three or four large buildings.

It appeared that this terrorist organization operated independently from Al Qaeda, but was angry at Western treatment of Muslims as a moltivational factor. In another action, British police were searching for a possible dirty bomb that some terrorists may have already assembled somewhere in London.

In the coming days much more will be known about this massive Toronto area raid or the possible dirty bomb in London . But it is always fortunate when police can save lives by preventing a bomb from going off. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure in such cases.

The only civil liberties concern at this point is that the Canadian arrests may foster an over-reaction for border security. In the near future, a passport will be required for Canadian citizens to cross the border as tourists or to shop in the U.S. And even tighter rules could result as a fear reaction. On the other hand, about a year ago, a Canadian dismemberment murderer crossed the border into the U.S. through a checkpoint with a bloody chainsaw, axes, large knives and T-shirt, and was only arrested while walking along a roadside in Massachusetts when a policeman on patrol noticed the bloody T-shirt. From way too lax to a possible over-reaction to overly tight border security is always a possible leap.

Friday, June 02, 2006

A Purple Heart For Wounded CBS Reporter Kimberly Dozier

Some stories really touch your heart. A young U.S. soldier who was wounded two years ago really respected the compassionate style of CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier and thought she was a very nice person who deeply cared about the welfare of the U.S. troops. This soldier was deeply touched by the kindness of this very excellent and professional reorter. Now that she is seriously wounded, he wanted to repay her kindness by giving her his very own Purple Heart medal.

It really touches the heart that the kindness this reporter displayed to others is so greatly respected that a soldier feels she deserves the Purple Heart as much as any wounded soldier. CBS reporter Kimberly Dozier is greatly missed from her excellent reports on the war. All good persons pray for her full recovery as soon as possible. Like no other war, more journalists have been killed or wounded in this war offering news coverage to a public who wants to know about their loved ones or whether there is any progress towards peace to report. All good persons also pray for peace in Iraq as well.

The Diplomacy Dance

When the President of Iran sent a wordy and long letter to President Bush, it appeared that there was a chance to open the door to some sort of dialogue to prevent a military conflict in Iran. But then the Bush Administration managed to quickly slam that door. Now a number of nations with the possible cautious support of Russia and China may be opening the door to a real dialogue with Iran. And Iran has found ways to so far rebuff this opening. So begins the diplomatic dance.

Certainly there are many serious issues, including Iran's nuclear intentions as well as Iranian support for terrorism that need to be openly discussed in a dialogue. And at some point a real dialogue must take place. Iran's letter may have public relations to weaken any chance of sanctions, but it has put them on the defensive to respond to what appears to be the response of the U.S. and some world community states. Some real talks need to take place.

It is encouraging that the diplomacy door has been kicked open just a little. But it is up to Iran whether they will seriously respond to talks the same way North Korea has done. Just like North Korea, Iran is being offfered a laundry list of aid if they respond positively, or sanctions if they do not. But any chance to prevent a hot MidEast war with diplomacy deserves praise. Maybe Iran never intended for the U.S. to really respond to their letter to begin with, but now they've put themself on the defensive to have to respond to the U.S. and world community offer. If Iran turns this down, then they will really lose face and could strengthen any goals of military action against them, which could mean a dangerous and disasterous MidEast war. But a little hope has been raised in the first baby steps of the diplomatic dance.


Normally CBS has great programming instincts, partially because of the brilliant programming instincts of Les Moonves and others at CBS over the last few years. This has made CBS the nation's number one network, despite appealing to a slightly older demographic group than the other leading networks. By all appearances a new primetime gameshow entitled, GAMESHOW MARATHON, looked to be the CBS answer to the wildly successful NBC primeime gameshow program, DEAL OR NO DEAL, but GAMESHOW MARATHON has managed to fail on every possible level and simply become an embarrassing and bad summer TV show replacement series.

While DEAL OR NO DEAL works on many levels by the surprising effective role as comic Howie Mandel as host, 26 models who are like 26 "Vanna Whites", and carefully screened contestants who are interesting and life story scenarios and family members carefully choregraphed to provide some real audience empathy and human interest to the show not seen since the days of THIS YOUR LIFE, GAMESHOW MARATHON is simply a complete letdown and mess by comparison. Last night's episode made an especially weak and lame intro to one of the best and most grity CSI episodes of last seaon.

The first night of the competition, the audience was filled with B-list celebrities who looked like they would be playing for charity. Many in Hollywood are very kind hearted towards earthquake and flood relief, or helping the disadvantaged, and the audience was simply filled with recognizable celebrities. But soon it became clear the game was rigged where only a small group that included B-list celebrities such as former SNL member, Tim Meadows, Lance Bass, Leslie Neilsen, and others would be playing the games every night for the next few nights for charity or for a lucky home viewer who could enter a sweepstakes throught their cell phone for 95 cents a call. The first night one audience celebrity, Adam Carolla, was seen talking to a woman next to him and walked out during the filming for some reason. By night two, all but the five prearranged celebrities were gone. But it turns out that Adam Carolla and some other celebrities will be brought back later in the series to play other classic gameshows, which change each night.

And unlike the surprisingly effective Howie Mandel of DEAL OR NO DEAL, finds no equal whatsoever in Ricki Lake, who manages to underwelm and underplay every possible moment of gameshow drama, where every game has no interest or drama whatsoever. Unlike Bob Barker, Monty Hall, Bill Cullen, or any other gameshow great, Ricki Lake simply fails to carry along a gameshow with any effectiveness compared to her past popular long running talkshow. Bill Cullen, by the way was a very effective gameshow host despite a lifelong battle with polio.

In the U.K., GAMESHOW MARATHON is a hit. But this U.S. version lacks the audience involvement of DEAL OR NO DEAL, the effective hosting, the carefully selected group of B-list celebrities provides no drama, and the miserable show simply fails on every possible level. GAMESHOW MARATHON had a real opportunity to be a major summer hit and each episode become a "must see" event like DEAL OR NO DEAL, but in it's current form it is simply a huge failure. A greatly revamped version in which the celebrites are chosen at random, or members of an audience and TV viewers can both win prizes could work. But Ricki Lake must go as host. She simply is not effective at all in summer replacement mess.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Dixie Chicks And Leftist Politics

The Dixie Chicks have managed to embroil themselves in some more controversy with some antiwar statements, but compared to some of the politics represented in music, especially in the 1960's and 70's, their political statements seem pretty tame. It is perhaps only because they choose to market themselves in a country music styling that their political comments seem to overshadow their music for some fans, and create a buyer backlash among some. But then again for the conservative country western market, that only years ago made Lee Greenwood's, "God Bless The USA" a major hit, and with solid sales in the South, the strongest homebase of George Bushism, it almost seems as though The Dixie Chicks may be bitting the hand that feeds them.

Of course there is no monolithic single political identity for all musical performers with country music or any type of music for that matter. But for the conservative country western market, some of the antiwar comments of The Dixie Chicks are a bit too much to take. But in the rock music world, those left leaning comments seem really tame.

During the 1970's, the Communist Party USA's official newspaper, THE PEOPLE'S WORLD, did a record review of the new Isley Brothers album, GO FOR YOUR GUNS, and praised it as a "class conscious" work. The radical band, Elephant's Memory which recorded some material with John Lennon in N.Y., was known for radical pieces such as the single, "POWER". John Lennon released, "POWER TO THE PEOPLE", one of the most revolutionary singles ever to get popular airplay. Jim Morrison of The Doors, penned some radical songs such as the prorevolutionary single, "TELL ALL THE PEOPLE", and the radical anthem, "FIVE TO ONE", which includes the lines, "They've got the guns, but we got the numbers. Gonna win, yeah, we're taking over". Country Joe McDonald was famous for the sharply antiwar, "I FEEL LIKE I'M FIXIN' TO DIE RAG", which included the lyrics, "Be the first one on your block to have your son come home in a box. I don't give a damn, next stop is Vietnam". During the Woodstock concert, he did a more outrageous version of the "FISH CHEER", substituting another "F" word for "F-I-S-H" in the original studio album version. Country Joe later added the sharply antiNixon song, "TRICKY DICKY" to an album. Despite all his sharply antiwar and leftist leanings, Country Joe McDonald is himself a Navy Vet. Even Jimi Hendrix who did his controversial version of "THE NATIONAL ANTHEM", was a former Army paratrooper who injured his back in 1963 and was in constant pain, contributing to later drug abuse problems to control the pain.

The blues rock oriented group of the 1960s, Canned Heat performed many antipolice and leftist leaning songs. "Sic 'Em Pigs", was a sharp assault on police. Lyrics in another song are "Police in Denver don't want no longhairs hanging around". "ELECTION BLUES" was an antiNixon piece. And the album FUTURE BLUES, Featured the group stranded on the moon in space suits with the American flag upside down.

John Kay of Steppenwolf penned some some strong thoughts in the song, "MONSTER". And in "JUSTICE DON"T BE SLOW", on the 1974 SLOW FLUX album, a strong antiNixon message recommended that Nixon be jailed for his crimes.

Folk music has seen some of the strongest protest songs, including some sharply written lyrics by Bob Dylan. Woody Guthrie, the lifelong socialist, penned the people's power, "THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND". Guthrie like many socialists and Communists during WWII, was one of the first to join the military. Many Communists were the first to fight Hitler and fascism by fighting as private soldiers during the Spanish War just before WWII, in which the Catholic Church gave some approval to both Franco and Hitler, and the German Luffewaffe began bombing the people of Spain into submission. World Communists volunteered to fight on behalf of the Spanish people to resist the axis of the Catholic Church, Hitler and Franco long before the U.S. officially entered the war against Fascism that overrun nations and murdered six million Jews and others in extermination camps. Joan Baez is another big name in protest folk music, and still appears at major protests and performs.

Some conservatives have been circulating a "50 top conservative songs" list recently on some blogs. It includes Bruce Springsteen's, "BORN IN THE USA", Paul Anka's, "HAVING MY BABY", The Beatles, "Taxman" and Alvin Lee of Ten Years After, who penned, "I'D LOVE TO CHANGE THE WORLD", which seemed nearly as concerned about Gays as taxes. Many British performers left England during the 1970's made a tax exodus to the U.S. or other places because British taxes could run up to 99% of a high income.

The Dixie Chicks seem to be drawing many arrows in the back right now for their antiwar or antiBush comments. But likely it is only because of the narrow and constrained music form of country music as well as the conservative buyers of this market that such barbs are being drawn by fans. In other music forms, sheer radicalism once flourished and still could, depending on how much social conditions degenerate because of war or poverty. Some of Woody Guthrie's best works were penned in the poverty of The Great Depression. Frustration and having your back against the wall because of problems that you feel powerless to control seems to inspire protest music every few years when major events act as a catalyst.