Monday, July 31, 2006

96% Of Cats Euthanized In Mutnomah County Animal Shelter

A recent news story on KATU in Portland, Oregon brought up a very sad statistic, 96% of cats are euthanized at the Multnomah County Animal Control Shelter in Troutdale. This is absolutely heartbreaking. Cats are wonderful little friends and companions.

I have a cat that grabs me when I walk by and wants to give me a hug. If I fall asleep on the sofa, he jumps up on my lap, and tucks his little head under my chin. He loves for me to turn on a faucet just a little so he can get a drink. He then uses a curtain like a napkin, and wipes his little mouth. I ask him if he "gives a kitty kiss", and he wants to rub his forehead against mine. I ask him if he "gives an Eskimo kiss", and he will rub noses with me. He's a real joy and as intelligent as a small child. Wonderful animals like cats deserve to be loved. They are intelligent, and give persons like me with no children a little friend to love. Cats deserve far better than to be euthanized because there is too many or they are too old.

Dogs fare a little better at the Troutdale shelter. Only 50% of them are euthanized. Do yourself and an animal favor, adopt a little friend today and save a little life. Seek no-kill animal shelters for your area.

A Catholic priest once described animals as God's little creatures. Like all of God's creation, animals deserve to be treated with all the respect and love of any of God's creation. Disrepecting creation is to disrespect God himself. Life is a great entity, and a great mystery and deserves profound respect.

Mel Gibson Shows His True Colors

I've always enjoyed the movies of Mel Gibson. But in recent days, he proved that he had an evil self locked away at home that the public had not previously witnessed. And it turns out that this evil self is not very nice at all.

His movie, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, raised some suspicions among some that he was antsemitic. This film seemed to portray most Jews except for Jesus in a very poor light, but was embraced by many Christians. But with his drunken antisemitic tirade, Gibson unfortunately proven who he really is.

Alcohol makes some people very honest. It loosens their tongue. But what they really think isn't always very good.

Thankfully Gibson is now getting help with his alcohol abuse problems. But it will be a long time before many will be able to see him in the same way again.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Bloody History Of Tobacco

From it's early days in use by the Mayas and other groups, tobacco originally only had a limited use during limited religious ceremonies or in use during a peace agreement with a former opponent. But soon the White man discovered that this highly addictive drug could be marketed worldwide for huge profits. Both American and English interests sought out larger imports of the crop, and looked to expand the labor pool through slavery. By trading guns to waring tribal leaders in Africa that conquered other tribes, and creating more war in the African continent, slaves were sold to American and English interests.

Entire families of Africans who were conquered in war, soon found themselves chained in slave ships only to toil for free for wealthy American and English tobacco interests.

To help justify slavery, the wealthy tobacco interests along with cotton interests in the South helped to establish The Southern Baptist Convention. By manipulation of faith in God to justify the evils of slavery, this version of the Baptist perverted the honorable history of the faith, twisting it into a brainwashing instrument to justify something that clearly clashed with Scripture. The account of Exodus in the Old Testament, in which ancient Jewish slaves are frred from Egyptian slavery stands as God's strongest word against this practice, yet the Southern Baptist Convention twisted this message.

By the time of the American Civil War, Southern tobacco and cotton interests were heavily involved in the Southern separatist movement as a means to keep slavery. This war killed and wounded hundreds of thousands.

Today the tobacco industry still trades in human exploitation and bondage, speading their highly addictive drug throughouty the world and especially ruining cultures in Asia and other poor and developing parts of the world.

Far from it's intended use by the Mayas during limited religious services, today the average user is far from any Native American or anyone engaging in a religious ritual. Today the it is the poorest and lest educated of Americans that are enslaved to this drug that is is just as addictive as heroin.

42% of high school dropouts smoke, whereas only 7% of college graduates do. Roughly 80% of mentally ill persons smoke. Nearly 100% of drug addicts who use crack, meth, heroin, smoke. Smokers largely comprise the least educated of society, many have criminal backgrounds, are more likely to have been involved in violence and child and wife abuse that the average public member by far. Tobacco executives aren't stupid, they know that this is their target audience. They send out representatives into some of the worst taverns in America to give free tobacco gifts to persons already often suffering from excessive alcohol abuse. Tobacco executives only interest is in fostering a second drug addiction to these persons whose lives are out of control.

Tobacco executives also know that they profit from a deadly and defective productive, but these bloodthirsty and money hungry drug paddlers simply don't care. 50% of all smokers will die from their drug use. Smokers live an average of ten years less than nonsmokers. Smokers rob health insurance companies of billions of dollars of extra funds needed to pay for diseases caused or made much worse from cigarette smoking including, lung cancer, oesophageal cancer, mouth and tongue cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, pancreas cancer, and many more disorders. Philip Morris Company even openly admits that secondhand smoke from their products injure or kill nonsmokers with asthma, emphysema, asthma and even small babies with SIDS. Yet Philip Morris refuses to remove their defective and dangerous product from the store shelves of America.

Like all defective and dangerous products, tobacco products should face tighter government regulations. The sale or manufacture of tobacco products that produce smoke or fumes that ruin the health of persons other than the intended user should be banned. Only licensed pharmacies should be allowed to sale tobacco products, and a consultation given that it is an addictive drug and is meant to be used in the privacy of one's own home only.

The public use of tobacco products in public places such as on crowded sidewalks or in automobiles in traffic should be banned. Using a highly addictive drug while driving is not wise. Studies indicate that smoking while driving increases accidents, although some other causes such as intoxicated driving rank even higher.

Gas stations should be banned from selling cigarettes or allowing smoking anywhere on their property. Besides static electricity, smoking can contribute to serious fires or gasoline explosions. Any attempt to limit possible death or injury around these highly explosive fumes is wise.

Smoking on public sidewalks spreads foul dirty smelling fumes as far as half a block in all directions, and leaves a filthy, dirty taste in the mouths of all nonsmokers who have to walk through this cloud of filthy pollution. Unlike automobile pollution, cigarette smoke contains allergens that make many with health problems avoid crowded shopping places, costing American businesses millions in lost sales every year. Persons with asthma, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, prone to ear, sinus, or lung infections, or who are allergic avoid shopping in crowded areas because it is not worth risking their health or needless health expenses to be exposed to cigarette smoke.

The use of cigarettes on any public sidewalk or any store parking lot should be criminalized. Many panhandlers, who are often only seeking money for a drug or alcohol addiction, use smoking at store entrances to beg for money and loiter. This cycle of drug addiction could be broken somewhat if these drug addicts were removed areas where begging for money only worsens their problems. They will never get the needed professional help that they need when smoking only acts to worsen their other addictions and begging gives them access to drug money.

Consumer product safety organizations need to crack down on tobacco just like any other dangerous and defective product. Fines and possible arrests of tobacco executives who fail to comply with safety standards or produce products that injure and kill user and nonuser alike need to be enforced.

Smoking kills roughly 50,000 in the U.S. each year. Close to the number of U.S. Servicemen killed in 12 years of war in Vietnam. Smoking causes an average of 30,000 housefires each year. More than 800 persons, sometimes innocent persons living in crowded apartment building die from smoker caused fires. Many average large scale landlords have had several fires and a great deal of property damage from smokers. Up to 80% of all cancer may be caused by tobacco products both in smokers and nonsmokers, but housefires are another leading cause of death. Hundreds of grass and forest fires result in most states each year from careless smokers.

Lawsuits against stores that sell cigarettes, refuse to stop smoking in their parking lots, etc. will get the message across. Some public pressure for store to stop selling magazines such as Playboy resulted in their removal even though there was no known problems from these magazines, yet smoking which is related to so much injury, societal costs, and other ills is allowed to continue. Many stores only operate not so much to sell food, but to contribute to alcohol or smoking problems in the local community. These stores don't realize how much alcoholism or other problems tear families apart while they profit from this.

Yesterday I had to do a little maintenance on my car and a smoker walked by, and I caught one single breath of this poisoned air. I had tightening in my head and heart chest and ear problems. Today nearly 24 hours later, I'm nearly as sick. My lungs and ears feel terrible. My tongue still has that horrible dirty taste of tobacco on it a day later, and drinking water or eating doesn't remove it. For animals like dogs ity must be far worse. I might have to see a doctor because of a variety of poisoning effects from this exposure to tobacco smoke. This should not be allowed. Smoking is a form of criminal assault on nonsmokers with health problems. Both those who use and sell tobacco products should face criminal and civil sanctions for the problems that they cause.

Everytime a nonsmoker is assaulted with cigarette smoke they should file complaints with government consumer agencies. Government will eventually act if nonsmokers will speak up.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Freelance Terrorism In Seattle

Friday's freelance, independent act of terrorism at the Jewish Federation Center in Seattle was very unsettling. Only one day after Al Qaeda's #2 called for acts of Muslim terrorism around the world, a Pakistani-American Muslim took it one himself to shoot six women at this Jewish organization and take one life.

There seems to be some sort of political reasons not to call this act of terrorism for what it is, pure and simple terrorism. But that's exactly what it was.

The threat of freelance acts of terrorism is extremely high, in fact far higher than larger organized acts by organizations such as Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda seems larger forced to only issue tthreatening video and audio tapes these days except for Iraq. More and more low level, smaller acts of terrorism, sometimes organized by one radical individual may become more common. This is a great threat.

It has always historically been the loner screwball and extremist that has become the assassin or other dangerous political or religious criminal personality. The situation in Seattle is very alarming for that reason. One single individual may plan and carry out an act of terrorism. In the wake of the ongoing Iraq War and the Israel/Hezbollah/Hamas clashes and warfare, the entire envoronment is greatly heightened.

In Seattle, the Jewish Federation Center helped to organization a rally event a few days ago to support the military action of Orsael against Hezbollah in the MidEast. This likely was a final straw to the radical Muslim who was involved in Friday's shootings. It is a good time for such rallies and events in support of the MidEast fighting to cease and allow events to be isolated to just the MidEast and not have the effect of spillover here in the U.S. There could be a copycat effect among Muslim extremists if several events start to feed on themselves. This is a good time not to allow such a trend to build and endanger lives here. It is also a good time for American Jewish organizations to tighter security.

Friday's terrorist incident may be an alarming preview of the face of future terrorism. Radical loners rather than large scale organized efforts may be the future of this radicalism. These events may be smaller in scale, but they are hardly much less deadly to the victims of this dangerous sort of political crime. The longer the warfare situation drags out in the MidEast, the greater the danger grows. And any major act of terrorism in the U.S. could anger the American public and cause the U.S. to enter the conflict in some way, which would be extremely dangerous to the prospects of world peace.

A suitable peace must be eventually found somehow in the MidEast. All militia and terrorists need to be disarmed some way. This situation of radicals with arms causing violence and either the U.S. or Israel reacting, only creates a circular cycle of violence that feeds on itself and worsens. This has a serious nature as it could spill into a far larger and out of control conflict.

Friday, July 28, 2006

It's Like Deja Vu Time In The MidEast Again.

Maybe politicians feel that history books are for suckers, and this explains why they don't bother to read them very much. But after the Vietnam War disaster for the U.S., Israel had plenty of opportunity to learn, but instead invaded Lebanon in 1978 and for a longer time in 1982 and for years after, becoming it's own Vietnam. The U.S. had an opportunity to learn from all of these examples, but instead followed the one man foreign policy of George Bush to start a new war with Iraq in 2003, leaving our nation in a new Vietnam in Iraq, with terrorist and radical Muslim elements right between a red hot rising sectarain conflict. Israel had the opportunity to learn from all of these examples, including their own past experience, but instead opted against better judgement to repeat their own mistakes of the past.

And already Israel is facing a similar situation as the U.S. experience in Iraq, where Israeli vesrions of John McCain are already beginning to argue that "not enough troops" have been called up and that's why the war with Hezbollah terrorists is dragging out without much success. Instead of reasoning that the war was a bad idea to begin with, the countervailing wisdom is to claim that "not enough troops" were involved in the military mistake. That sure makes a great deal of sense.

Just like the U.S., public support for the war is slowly dropping in Israel, down from 94% ten days ago, to 84% now. Support the troops efforts are already beginning, with efforts to send Kosher meals to the front lines troops. Israeli flags are seen all over Tel Aviv and other cities to bolster patriotism and the war effort.

But like the U.S. problems in Iraq, Israel is finding that one of the best armies in world has so far failed to stop just 2,000 or 3,000 Hezbollah terrorists, and about 100 Hezbollah rockets still fall on Israel each day. And ground combat with these terrorists is difficult and bloody. And the more Israel does to combat Hezbollah, likely more young men volunteer to fight for this terrorist militia.

If anything, the political leadership of both Israel and the U.S. seem intent on repeating the failed model of the Vietnam War, where a losing long term effort of a first rate military fighting low budget guerillia forces who seem to win the war by simply withstanding the best efforts of the U.S. or Israel after they tire of a conflict and eventually walk away.

I don't claim to have all the answers. But something different is needed, because repeating the same mistakes over and over has not achieved very much. It's like Deja Vu all over again. The same predictable outcome once more.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sugar May Become The Next victim Of High Gas Prices

Due to high oil prices worldwide, Sugar may become the next unlikely victim. High oil prices may encourage large sugar exporters such as Brazil to pull a great deal of sugar off the world export market to process into ethanol with the growing popularity of E85 in the face of growing profits for oil product replacements. The result of less sugar on the world commodity market will likely result in higher prices, and could force more manufacturers to move to using corn based sugar substitutes such as the Japanese based process for corn sweetners.

Such has been the recent history of many foods, sodas and candy products that use sugar products, that have slowly switched over to corn based sweetners.

But both corn and soy are also looked at by scientists for production into gasoline substitutes. Corn has had a long history of limited use as gasohol to stretch oil supplies farther. And while soy processed into biodiesel is not yet cost effective, home based equipment allows an individual to purchase the needed items to create biodiesel from used fast food restaurant vegetable based cooking oil used for french fries or onion rings. The used cooking oil must be mixed with lye and methanol to achieve the proper product PH, and to allow the soy oil molecules to attach to the methanol molecules. Harmless glycerine drops down from the bottom of this process and can be used as a nontoxic liquid handsoap or boiled into soap bars. Amazing the highly poisonous lye and methanol allows this harmless gylerine to drop out as a waste product from this process, increasing the cost effectiveness of the conversion of used soy oil into biodiesel.

While most large scale manufacturers have shyed away from the large scale production of biodiesel because the process currently requires more energy than it produces, both Volkswagon and Archer Daniels Midland have taken a keen interest in producing soy based fuels. Archer Daniels Midland is the largest corporate producer of soy products in the world.

An unlikely cooking oil already finds it's way into the food supply. Cottonseed oil is made from the seeds of the cotton plant after removal of both the seeds and a poisonous substance known as gossypol, which is used in pesticides. Cottonseed may have allergic qualities to some. One Oregon allergist also noted that rapeseed/canola oil products have also resulted in some of the very worst allergic reactions that they have ever seen. But corn, soy, cottonseed and rapeseed/canola oils are increasingly finding their way into food products as cooking oils. Peanut oil is used in some potato chip brands, however with many serious peanut allergies and the low cost of cottonseed oil, this "vegetable" oil is becoming more popular. Persons with cottonseed allergies are finding it more diificult to avoid the use of this oil in more and more shelf supermarket brands of products. However health foods tend to stay away from cottonseed oil due to health questions including transfats when hydrogenated. Cottonseed oil will sometimes trigger allergy reactions if a person is allergic to nuts for example. Sunflower oil is healthy in low levels, and includes a healthy level of vitamin E. However in a large quantity, this can kill lab rats as perhaps a toxic vitamin E level is surpassed. Wheatgerm oil is extremely high in vitamin E, but is only generally used as a health aid, and not as a primary oil. Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamin E, and contain far more vitamins than white potatoes.

With more and more food science research, more vegetable products may find their way into use as cooking oils or gasoline substitutes and sugar may see more use as ethanol as this fuel replacement grows in popularity. Increasingly the lab is replacing what took nature millions of years to convert rotted dinosaur and plant remains into petroleum oil.

More often than not, that sweet tasting food you crave may not be sweetened by sugar, but by a corn substitute as the sugar cane is increasingly being used as ethanol as high world oil prices make this crop more and more cost effective to replace oil.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Activist President Uses Signing Orders To establish An Out Of Control Imperial Presidency

It was thought up to recently that the Stem Cell Bill veto was the only veto of the Bush Administration, but an investigation by the American Bar Association has uncovered at least 807 examples of "signing statements" by Bush. These "signing statements" are an "interpretation " of the legislation on the part of the White House to ignore and fail to enforce portions of these bills.

During all of the Presidential Administrations in the history of this nation, only a little over 600 signing statements have been used. Many were during the serious time of war during the FDR years, and some could probably be justified in terms of national security.

A signing statement cannot be overridden by Congress like a veto. A signing statement effectively guts portions of the legislation and makes the presidency an "imperial one". It is executive branch activism at it's worst.

Without the benefit of the constitutional balance of powers and checks and balances, the White House has made itself untouchable in authority, and Congress no balance of power to control outrageous abuses of this form of imperial presidency.

The argument of ABA is that the White House should be in contact with Congress and let them know which portions of a bill are unacceptable. But signing statements are an unfair rebalancing of the historic balance of powers, giving the White House an imperial nature and way overstepping their given authority. Even conservative members of the ABA such as Bruce Fein find this overstepping of White House authority wholly unacceptable.

Israel May Be Losing Moral High Ground With Attack On U.N. Forces And Allegations Of Dirty Warfare Weapons

It should normally be easy to side with a modern democratic country like Israel compared to cowardly terrorists. But Israel is doing a good job giving up their moral high ground with the attack on U.N. forces and their rescuers Tuesday. If this is found to not be accidental and deliberate, then the world community should vote tough economic and arms sanctions against Hezbollah and Israel both. The terrorist attacks of Hezbollah are unacceptable as are any attacks on U.N. forces by Israel if proven not accidental.

Further there is some evidence that Israel may be using weapons similar to white phosphorus, incendiary, Mark 77 fuel gel or napalm to clear away Hezbollah from their deep bunkers. This is resulting in some horrific burn injuries to civilians including children whose faces have been virtually melted from the use of such horror weapons.

Surgeons are also reporting terrible injuries from shrapnel from some sort of new Israeli weapns that leave only a small entrance hole, but blow out a huge exit hole, and leave tiny sandlike fragments of shrapnel that be toxic matter or even radioactive, and usually destroy internalorgans or result in limb amputations.

Much of the world offered some sympathy to Israel when Hezbollah terrorists targeted Israeli civilians. But this moral high ground is quickly being lost in the wake of the attack on U.N. forces and the increasing allegations of dirty warfare weapons.

Like all wars, civilians including women and children appear to be paying the highest price. On both sides far more civilians than combatants have suffered injuries or death so far. This is a dirty and disgusting war, and is doing long term damage to Israel's reputation. Hezbollah has no reputation. so they can't slip much farther in world opinion. But Israel stands to lose the most. In recent years they have gained respect in Russia or other formerly hostile states. Israel can't afford to lose this new found respect. But attacks on U.N. forces and allegations of dirty warfare are very corrosive to world sympathy.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Tina Fey Will Be Greatly Missed From SNL

This past week, head comedy writer for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, Tina Fey has announced that she will leave after 9 years of work to concentrate on her new upcoming Fall 2006 NBC series, 30 ROCK.

Tina Fey started worked with SNL back in 1997, and by 1999 found herself elevated to the show's head writer. Under her strong writing talents and direction, the show became very good again. With other talented actresses such as Amy Poehler, Rachel Dratch and Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey had a tremendous pool of talented actresses to work with. The male pool of talented seemed to be somewhat drained after the departure of the very skilled Will Ferrell some years ago, but Tina Fey managed to reconstruct SNL into a very good program using the actresses very effectively. The strongest male actors at this point are probably Horatio Sanz whom is sort of like a Hispanic "John Belushi" and Darrell Hammond, a talented impersonator. The other male talent pool is mostly weaker compared to the actresses. Rachel Dratch is leaving SNL to work on Tina Fey's new show and other projects, and will greatly missed as an excellent talent and a very funny woman.

What SNL must do this year in the wake of the departure of Tina Fey is to maintain the strong comedy writing that was her characteristic. Both the male and female talent pools need to add at least one or two strong personalities who are so good that they will breakout in the future as a major entertainers. So far few recent personalities have matched the level of talent of Eddie Murphy, Billy Cystal,Bill Murray, Mike Myers, Martin Short, Will Farrell, Chris Farley, Gilda Radner, Chris Rock, Jane Curtain or others who became legitimate celebrites long after their SNL years.

In 2005, SNL had a renewed contract with NBC up until at least 2012. It's up to the new writing and drection team to find the talent to lift this program into the next years and beyond. But one thing is clear, Tina Fay will be missed. She served as not only the longest running Weekend Update anchor at 6 seasons and 118 episodes, but also became one of SNL's best head writers ever. Hopefully SNL will find the talent to be decent enough to survive and remain the late night TV fixture that it has become for the future.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Kevin Smith's CLERKS II Is Getting Good Reviews Despite Joel Seigel

Independent filmmaker, Kevin Smith has been getting strong reviews for his latest film, CLERKS II. According to the current tally of the nation's film critics, 66% like the new film, while only 34% do not.

This film is typical of the controversial and low brow humor that Kevin Smith is known for, yet that endears some fans, although turns some others off. Film critic Joel Seigel actually walked out of the film due to the raw humor, and it created a radio call-in confortation on-air that continued on Kevin Smith's blog. But regardless of what you think of the humor, you have to admire that Kevin Smith does at least take the time to stay in contact with his movie fans through his blog. How many stars bother to do this outside of Gilbert Gottfried and his self promoting blog?

Maybe instead of sending Condoleezza Rice to the MidEast for diplomacy, she needs to mend the ongoing war between Kevin Smith and Joel Seigel which has only continued today on his blog. Smith is still defending his movie against Seigel, although with 66% positive reviews he hardly needs to do so. The film may not be for all tastes, but Smith does have his fans, including Ben Affleck who has been involved in six of Smith's films as a prime example.

Jay Leno and others have given Smith good coverage this week, only insuring that CLERKS II will be a hit for Smith. With so much fan support, Smith can't fail, regardless of whether Seigel or others think that this film is gross garbage or not. When Smith can even get booked on REGIS & KELLY, a show that is about as mainstream as you can get, where few of the average housewife types that watch will even bother to see any of Smith's films, outside of his more conventional JERSEY GIRL.

Smith should have a fairly strong weekend. He seems to be endeared as the nation's favorite independent filmmaker, which isn't a bad position to be in at this point.

You can check out Kevin Smith's blog at and read more about the Smith/Seigel CLERKS II review feud.

Condoleezza Rice's Slow Ride To Diplomacy

Condoleezza Rice could not be moving more slowly towards going through the motions of diplomacy in the current MidEast conflict. There is no fast track effort to stop the killing at all, but rather to let Israel have as much time as possible to decimate Hezbollah until some sort U.N. or other international buffer zone is eventually established in Southern Lebanon. In fact the Bush Administration is even putting a delivery of new percision guided bombs headed to Israel on the fast track, that will no doubt beat Condoleezza Rice to the MidEast. When diplomacy is on the slow track and new bomb shipments are on the fast track, then you can pretty well judge where this administration's goals actually lie.

Hezbollah is certainly a problem. This terrorist militia only has used past peace lapses to resupply and grow stronger and stock up on rockets or arms. And rocket attacks on Israel are completely unacceptable. But the region needs to be returned to peace as soon as possible because of the unacceptable level of civilian deaths and destruction to Lebanon which could destabilize this government and allow for a group such as Hezbollah to take control of Lebanon. The dangers for the entire region only grow as this situation drags on.

Hezbollah should not threaten Israel, and any peace agreement should provide a safe buffer between these states. As soon as possible the human suffering of this war should stop. thousands of refugees a day are pouring into Syria, including 50,000 in just one day. This sort of destabilization must come to an end very soon. For the sake of humanity, the people of the MidEast must learn how to live with each other, or otherwise they risk destroying each other.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Israel's War With Hezbollah Will Likely Ruin U.S. Iraq Effort

It is an unfortunate fact, but more likely than not, Israel's battle with Hezbollah wil likely ruin any U.S. hopes of success in Iraq. As bad as the violence in Lebanon is, in Iraq things are far worse since this new warfront with violence up dramaticly. An average of 100 persons are losing their lives each day in Iraq now. Violent attacks on American forces are up 40% since this new warfront. Even a serious rift between the Iraqi government and the U.S. government is beginning to develop over Israel's involvement with battling Hezbollah.

And this situation is not likely to soon blow over. If Israel really intends to prevent Hezbollah from creating any new potential for future violence, then a long ground war that could become like another Vietnam for Israel battling Hezbollah for weeks, months or years could continue. And both Syria and Iran may find new ways to resupply these Hezbollah fighters with supply lines, risking a wider war.

Violence between Israel and Hezbollah may have lightened up a little while a flood of refugees of floods into Syria or out of Lebanon. today 50,000 refugess invaded Syria, many leaving homes and jobs behind, and not all wealthy tourists. How ling before massive tent cities in Syria are needed may be within days.

This latest battle with Hezbollah by Israel was intended to solve a terrorism problem. But instead it leaves a wide swarth of collateral damage, including destroying the prospects of the U.S. to achieve setting up a moderate democratic government in Iraq, and only invites more MidEast radicalism. The U.S. just seems too close to Israel, and too much in lockstep with their goals, which hurts the U.S.'s own foreign policy goals which may not always be exactly the same as Israel's.

Only days ago the U.S. was able to garner international cooperation against the irresponsible North Korean missile launches. Now with the U.S. seeming to want to give Israel a free hand to battle the Hezbollah terrorists no matter how much damage takes place, part of the collateral damage may be U.S. credibility on foreign policy, which already has suffered immensely under Bush. Problems in the MidEast are only likely to worsen as a result of all this, and the U.S. influence in world affairs really suffer. This doesn't serve the interests of world peace at all.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Little Known Flying Intelligence Center Monitors MidEast War

A little known high flying intelligence center, the RC-135 is monitoring the current MidEast war situation and nations such as Iran. The RC-135 Rivet joint reconnaissance aircraft is an extremely high altitude craft that flies far beyond the ceiling height of antiaircraft weapons and missiles, and is a mobile command center for a crew of 34, including a cockpit crew of five, three or more electronic warfare officers, 14 intelligence operators and four inflight maintenance crew members.

This mobile airborne intelligence gathering command center is able to have a wide radar window over much of the MidEast. It has detected at least one Iranian submarine off the coast of Lebanon likely involved in intelligence support of the 100 or more Iranian Revolutionary Guards elite forces that support Hezbollah(The Army Of God) that Iran established in Lebanon to fight a proxy war with Israel. These elite Iranian guards likely fired the radar guided missile that heavily damaged an Israeli warship.

The RC-135 has also detected some movement of missiles within Iran that is highly suspect. Whether this movement is intended as a defensive move or could be transported to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon to provide the range required to hit Tel Aviv is not yet known at this point. While the military of Syria has declined in quality over the last several years, Iran continues to improve it's weapons and has based some longer range missiles off of North Korea designed missiles that were reverse engineered.

It is certainly unlikely at this point that Iran wishes to join the war with Hezbollah at this point in anyofficial manner, but covertly will attempt to resupply this terrorist revolutionary Shiite militia with new weapons to assist their fight with Israel. Longer range or more effective rockets or missiles are likely arms transfers. And although the Iranian submarine likely has both missile and torpedo firing capability, it likely is an intelligence gathering unit, and will not join the war officially.

But the American public is far from safe from Hezbollah. During the Reagan Administration, 241 American Marines were killed in a suicide bombing of their barracks. In Iraq, Hezbollah is thought to be responsible for new roadside bombs highly fatal to even the most bomb resistant U.S. vehicles. In the U.S., the FBI is monitoring suspected Hezbollah cells to prevent any terrorism at home that could help to drag the U.S. into a larger MidEast war.

It probably will not benefit Hezbollah very much at this point to directly draw the U.S. into a larger conflict at this time. But the intentions of Iran can never be certain, as they are a radical and unpredictable state. If Iran feels that it it serves some purpose, then Hezbollah could act in terrorist acts against Americans to further worsen this MidEast conflict.

War is a terrible thing. And when Hezbollah firmly believes that they are carrying out the will of God, then there is great potential for things to carry to any extreme. Religious radicalism is one of the most dangerous factors in the world today. Religious radicals act with great extremism that most secular persons would shy away from.

Conservative Federal Judge Overturns Maryland Law Requiring Wal-Mart To Spend More On Employee Health Care

With the packing of America's courts with right wing, conservative judges, big companies like Wal-Mart find they can override the intentions of state governments to control huge public health expeditures and force large companies like Wal-Mart to provide a minimum of just 8% of their employee payrolls on health care benefits.

In Maryland, the state legislature sought to control the ballooning Medicaid budget of $4.6 billion dollars and passed a bill intended to limit the public having to subsidize large employers such as Wal-Mart only paying near the minimum wage for employees and failing to provide a decent percentage of these employees with health care benefits. A bill intended to provide that at least 8% of the company payrolls should be provided by Wal-Mart. This bill faced veto by Republican Governor, Robert Ehrlich, at a ceremony arranged by Wal-Mart executives looking on, and a high school band hired to play patriotic music. It was typical right wing class warfare against the working poor. Wave the American flag, and play patriotic music while employees are condemned to low wages and largely seeking assistance from public health programs when they become sick. Some big companies expect to pay very low wages and have others pick up the tab to provide a minimum of basic essential services to their less than living wage exploited employees.

The Maryland legislature was able to override the veto of right wing Gov. Ehrlich, but Wal-Mart was not done with their legal options to avoid providing many of their employees health care benefits. By appealing the law to the Federal Courts, Judge J. Frederick Motz, who was appointed to office by Ronald Reagan, sided with Wal-Mart and struck down the law, leaving the public with subsidizing the health care of many Wal-Mart employees who are now forced to seek out public welfare services to subsidize their low paying jobs with some sort of health benefits.

This is only the latest act of class warfare against the working poor of the U.S. Daily they are exploited for their labor to make some wealthy materialists billionaires in the U.S. , while the working poor stand in welfare lines to seek a minimum lifestyle for themselves. 2/3 of the U.S. Senate are millionaires, yet they have failed to raise the minimum wage since 1997 for the working poor of America, while Congress gets a yearly cost of living increase. Gasoline for example has nearly doubled in price since the start of the 2003 Iraq War, and Congress gets extra compensation for this war that they voted for that nearly double gas prices, but stubbornly refuse to offer the working poor of the U.S. the same sort of actual cost of living increases in wages to keep up with hyperinflation in energy prices, rent and medical expenses.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

AntiGay Marriage Amendment Falls Short In U.S. Congress

While serious problems drown this nation and planet, Congress spent more time on divisive politics today. An antiGay marriage amendent to the U.S. Constitution fell short of the required 2/3 vote in the U.S. House earlier today.

Basicly, right leaning politicians will take the message of this home and banter this around instead of offering intelligent answers to voters about gas prices that have nearly doubled since the 2003 Iraq War, the North Korea or MidEast crisis, or the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Interestingly, because a state court in Massachusetts acted in accord with the separation of powers given to the states within the context of the U.S. Constitution to decide who is qualified for seek marriage within the state, then right wing politicians feel that the Federal government must step in. But with abortion because the U.S. Supreme Court has decided this issue at the Federal level with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, then the political right would like to overturn this ruling and give the power back to the state and local governments and courts to decide. There is no consistent reading of the separation of local, state or Federal powers with the political right, just whatever tends to serve their purposes at any given moment. And to confuse and to confound matters, useless political terms such as "activist" judges are banterted around that offer no real understanding or meaning at all.

The "S**t" Heard Around The World

Yesterday, Mr. Bush unknowingly used an explictive beginning with "s" into an open Russian press microphone at the G8 conference to British leader Tony Blair to describe his frustration at the nonsense of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Well, fair enough, that represents just how frustrated Mr. Bush has become at the tactics of this Iranian formed terrorist organization that has compiled thousands of rockets and arms to create terrorism against Israel.

Certainly when a third party state such as Iran sets a terrorist army to create a proxy war against a nation, and this entire nonsense triggers a regional war in the MidEast such as we now see with death and injuries on all sides, then there is a real sense of frustration.

Yet it was only a few days ago, that Mr. signed into law a bill passed by Congress to dramaticly increase the broadcast indecency fines. It's funny if a few celebrities on TV or radio choose to represent themselves in less than pretty, and graphic terms, then the FCC should walk in with broad police powers to mow down celebrities or fine TVor radio shows off the airwaves. But when a politician chooses to express themselves in similar frustrated terms, then the public should look the other way.

Freedom of speech standards needs to work consistently for all. Not just for the politicians.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Rising International Problems May Be Altering 2006 Election Landscape Again

With the North Korean missile tests and now the open warfare in the MidEast, the public approval rating of Bush seems to be rebounding and benefitting. According to the very authorative and methodology sound, Rasmussen Reports polling, Bush hit a recent low of 38% back on July 7, and has now rebounded to 44% approval in today's poll. The climb back has been steady with many of his former supporters coming back. Other polls will likely state the same as they are released soon.

Being the outside party, Democrats are at a clear disadvantage to take benefit from national security or foreign policy issues at this point. Only if things go badly for the U.S. are such events likely to hurt a sitting president. But historically a sitting president tends to benefit from national security concerns with voters.

Democrats will likely be hurt in the November 2006 elections if turbulent international events moltivate a fear factor in voters, and drive them towards the President. Republican candidates will likely benefit from a moltivated pool of voters, as well as questions about some Democratic candidates viable, workable and realistic foreign policy goals. Even in Israel much of the both the left and right find themselves currently united in a common goal of wanting to see Hamas and Hezbollah threats end, which makes a quick and easy diplomacy goal look far off at this point. Democrats will always a pool of left leaning voters, but may suffer real support shortfalls in November if moderates and independents swing back towards the Republicans. As many moderate and independent voters tended to shy away from Democrats in recent years.

The largest alternative paper in Portland, Oregon, The Willamette Week, noted that as Republican and Independent voter rolls have greatly improved over the last 20 years, Democrats have seen little increase, leaving Oregon barely a "blue" state. Only the independent voters swinging towards Democrats in state races has kept Democrats from electoral failure in recent years. But these independent voters tend to support right leaning ballot measures, so they are hardly a reliable force if Democrats lean too far left on issues.

When massive public opposition to the Iraq War has built, then Democrats were able to take advantage in pre2006 election polls. But now with a rising tide of international problems, Democrats could appear too "dovish" to many moderate or independent voters and simply not strong enough in the face of real or perceived international threats. This could leave Democrats once again stuck in the political wilderness of wandering more years as the outside party in American politics.

News from Iraq has quickly been replaced as the top international news when serious war news from the MidEast or renewed threats from North Korea replace the Iraq headlines of gloom and doom. These new threats have managed to change the discussion from Iraq, as well as likely make many moderate or independent voters run towards Bush, and likely the Republicans as well.

It is still early as the November 2006 elections are still some time off. Higher gasoline prices will tend to hurt the Bush White House, while rising tide of international events based fear level only benefits. But politics is real unpredictable. Unless the Iraq War and domestic issues can again dominate the political debate, then Democrats should only expect more disappointment in the November elections.

The View From Space

Today the Space Shuttle astronauts return to earth. For the past few days they were impressed at how impressive God's universe is and how blue and perfect the earth is. After spending several days in the awesomeness, a reporter from MSNBC really brought them down to earth by telling them that major warfare had broken out in the MidEast. They had received no such news the entire time they were in space.

The view from space made the earth seem so wonderful. Little did they know that evil in hearts of mankind were at war with one another on what appeared to be God's perfect planet. The view from space only sees the beauty of the planet, not all the suffering.

And the daily news seems so bad that many persons probably also wish for the peace those in space felt for the last few days. Not wonder so many would like to be astronauts.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Israel Deploys Patriot AntiMissile Systems

Israel has deployed the American-made Patriot Antimissile systems as of today. These large size antimissile weapons are intended to stop large missiles such as Scuds or No Dong missiles such as Syria or Iran could launch. Whether this indicates that Israel intends to widen the war to include Syria and Iran or not is a very important question. These antimissile defenses are not intended to shoot down smaller rockets, only larger missiles. Against smaller rockets these antimissile weapons are not cost effective, and are far larger than the rockets themselves, leaving a larger mass to fall and cause damage.

Whether the deployment of these antimissile defenses is merely prevention against any possible launches by Syria or Iran is one thing. The other is that it may prove that Israel has a larger military intent against Syria or Iran. That should be enough to send a cold chill up the spine of any who wish for a ceasefire or for peace in the region.

Could Israel Bombing Iran's Nuclear Program Be Next?

Israel seems intent on making a case to the world community that far beyond both Hamas or Hezbollah, that it is both Syria and Iran that are ultimately responsible for a proxy war against Israel. This may prove a dangerous intent to prepare international sentiment to dampen the shock for military action against Iran's nuclear program or against Syria. This could blow the MidEast apart into a huge regional war.

So far the only positives in this conflict are that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan do tend to blame Hezbollah for creating frictional problems in the region. But sectarianism can partially explain this, as Hezbollah is a Shiite religious group whereas these other states tend to be Sunni Muslims.

But regardless whether or not the moderate Sunni Muslim states of the MidEast tend to oppose Israel in this action or not, the size and firepower of the Syrian and Iranian armies is more than enough to invite a very serious regional war. Syria has a big inventory of longer range missiles that could deliver chemical or biological warheads deep into Israel. And Iran has a massive conventional army. Yesterday, Iranian revolutionary Guard forces did serious damage to an Israeli wardhip with a drone explosive device. Despite some very modern warships, the fact that Iranian soldiers could damage an Israeli warship suggests that both Iran and Syria could transport fresh arms or troops into Lebanon from Syria.

If Iran and Syria choose to resupply Hezbollah through Syria, then Israel could be caught in a type of Vietnam, where it is difficult to stop new supply lines without triggering a huge regional war. If Israel tries to attack either Syria or Iran to stop these supply lines then a huge regional war is risked. If Syria or Iran would stage a huge conventional counterattack, then Israel could even resort to use of their nuclear weapons.

Israel has nuclear landmine trenches dug to stop hundreds of Syrian tanks from pouring in to Israel. But the use of so much nuclear weapons so close-in in the the MidEast is sometimes referred to as the "Samson Option". Samson in the Old Testament had no way out other than to use his great strength to bring down the entire palace that he was prisoner in on both himself and captors. This "scorched earth" military viewpoint that you destroy both yourself and your enemy both so that no one wins is very unsettling and fatalistic. It means if Israel cannot exist, then the MidEast cannot either. This is very disturbing.

Unfortunately the Bush White House seems to be in the business of defending Israel's actions instead of warning of the consequences of so much warfare that could lead to a huge regional war. We could soon be witnessing a nuclear war in the MidEast unless there is a serious attempt to prevent this war from expanding. Israel seems intend on blaming both Syria and Iran. Just how far that they intend to carry this is a very good question.

One Gaza businessman commented that Bill Clinton promotted peace in the MidEast unlike George Bush. He said he respected Bill Clinton and the American people, but that George Bush is nothing like Bill Clinton. That is to say the least, an understatement.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Send Former Senator George Mitchell To Negotiate MidEast Peace

Former U.S. Senator, George Mitchell is an effective negotiator. He has proven success before and has a great deal of respect on all sides because he's also an Arab American. Today on a cable new broadcast, Mitchell hinted that he would gladly help to negotiate peace if called to do so by the Administration. This is an important opportunity not to be missed.

George Mitchell offering his services may be the most important step that could be done to bring warring sides to a ceasefire and prevent this conflict from adding both Syria and Iran to the conflict if it continues to worsen over the next few days. When high oil prices start to hit here, or MidEast oil supplies are threatened by a widening war, then even the average American will understand the huge worldwide impact of this serious conflict.

George Mitchell stands unique in his clout and respect to secure a ceasefire before more innocent persons are injured or killed on all sides. 220,000 Israeli citizens including children spending this Sabbath weekend in fallout and bomb shelters is no life at all. Likewise Arab children facing violence or danger is no life either. For the sake of the children of the MidEast, the adults need to pull back and have a ceasefire and learn to respect each other. This constant cycle of MidEast violence must stop. As long as George Mitchell is willing to offer his services, then it would certainly be wise to accept his offer.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

World Geopolitical Events Are Spinning Out Of Control

For the last year, I have been offering some alarming features on dark clouds that I have seen collecting in geopolitical events. Now with the U.S. stuck with a foreign policy weak White House partially due to the tremendous harm done to American international clout as a result of the grossly failed policy of starting the 2003 war in Iraq, we have a real diplomacy power vaccuum. Mr. Bush continues to hold out hope for a diplomacy that the U.S. has less and less real involvement in. As serious as the current MidEast crisis is, any hope for less that a huge regional war is entirely pinned on a three man delegation from the U.N., who are likely to get only a polite response at best from the warring factions involved. Neither Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah or any others are likely to suddenly veer from their paths or positions as a result of this. And as serious as the North Korea missile incident is, inflaming a Japanese self-defensive passion not seen since WWII, once again the U.S. is not a major diplomacy player, and the only thing that prevents warfare breaking out between Japan and a North Korean response to a preemptive attack is a frail hope in China having some diplomatic pull.

Today oil prices have gone over $77 a barrel. And if Iran and Syria are drawn into a widening MidEastern conflict, then Iran has the power to shut off the entire MidEast oil supply by choking off the narrow Strait Of Hormuz. And Syria has many chemical warheads and rockets, and could attempt to poison gas Israel. Israel would respond with nuclear weapons such as their Star Of David missiles or nuclear landmines to stop Syrian tanks from advancing on their nation. Then things will get really interesting.

In many ways the failed Bush policy in Iraq has both created this crisis as well has prevented it from going into full blown war at the same time.

In response to the failed American war in Iraq, Iran's radicals were able to wrest away control from more reformist leadership. With radicals in control in Iran, both Iran and Syria have been emboldened to support both Hezbollah and Hamas radicalism. With a money and weapons trail that leads right up to the doors of both Iran and Syria, just how long before both become involved in this escalating situation is a very serious question. At this point, the war will become huge.

Israel has been emboldened bu so many U.S. troops in the region due to the Iraq War which has only encouraged their violence on one hand. But on the other hand both Iran and Syria have so far stayed out of this widening conflict with other than proxy support for Hamas and Hezbollah out of fear of the U.S. But how long this stands is a good question.

The world stands on the brink of huge regional wars in the MidEast and in Asia. The smaller unstable conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan now look suddenly less important. But how the majority Shiites in Iraq will feel about the Shiite Hezbollah elements facing continued conflict is another serious issue to ponder.

With so much geopolitical conflict at hand, even the Pentagon is making contigency plans if the situation continues to spin out of control. Pandora's Box has been opened when the current government of Israel lacked the restraint of former Prime Minister Sharon after his office ending serious stroke, and a new government with less military experience took power.

All of this witches brew of geopolitical events are more likely to grow worse than before they grow any better. Whether this leads to a huge regional war cannot be known at this point. But what is known is that there are more serious geopolitical events in the air currently than those that started WWII. There is a great need for both restraint and ceasefire by all sides. And prayer is very important as well. Very serious times are at hand unless these crisis points drawback.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Corrupt American Congress Votes To Ban Internet Gambling After Intense Lobby Efforts By American Gaming Interests

In the guise of a pseudo-morality or even "consumer protection", our corrupt Congress has sided with huge lobby efforts from the American Gaming Association, and other big casino interests to protect large Las Vegas and Atlantic City gambling interests, and supported a bill intented to ban internet gambling.

Certainly most internet gambling is by off-shore interests which can easily make the games corrupt or fixed, where it is nearly impossible to win. But with huge political contributions to both Democrats and Republicans, the real intent of Congress was to eliminate any competition for Las Vegas or Atlantic City hotels and casinos. Congress was hardly acting out of any genuine attempt to protect consumers or even respond to morality or addiction problems related to gambling. It was sheer greed on the part of American Gaming Association interests that pushed along this legislation.

According to the American Gaming Association's top lobbyist, Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., former Republican Party Chairman, the gaming industry faces a "triple threat" from tribal casinos, internet gambling and the NCAA call to ban sports betting. Fahrenkopf referred to the attempt by Congress to ban internet gambling as a "significant victory" before a gambling trade association event attended by 700 top American gambling industry executives. leaders and fellow lobbyists.

Some huge American casinos such as Mirage Resorts gave $601,500 to politicians, split $262,00 for Democrats and $337, 500 to Republicans. MGM Grand split $294,337 as $155,000 to Democrats and $139,337. Park Place Entertainment, Mandalay Resort Group, Anchor Gaming, Harrah's Entertainment, Station Casinos Inc., Boyd Gaming and International Game Technology were among other high buck political contibutors to both Democrats and Republicans, as American gaming interests sought favor to ban internet gambling or limit tribal casino growth.

Historically both Republican Senators John McCain(R-AZ) and Trent Lott(R-Miss) have received the most in political contributions. McCain was involved in previous campaign contribution scandals involving accepting contributions as one of the "Keating Five" during the Lincoln Savings Scandal. Charles Keating, Jr. apparently sought to divert attention from his personal corruption by becoming an ant porn crusader, hoping this would give him moral cover for his corruption. One term NJ Democratic Senator, Robert Torricelli, knicknamed "The Torch" used to receive the largest amounts of gaming industry contributions, but after an unrelated bribery scandal involving Chinese businessman, David Chang, Torricelli did not seek reelection. Interestingly, both Democratic Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid(D-NV) and Edward Kennedy(D-MA) round out the top money bag men from American gaming industry interests.

No doubt American gaming interests are celebrating their victory in Congress over their internet online gambling competition. It once again proves that this govenment in Washington is the best government "money can buy".

This Week's Most Pathetic Cigarette Smoker

In judging the most pathetic cigarette smoker of the week is very difficult. There are so many examples of absurd and outrageous obnoxious conduct to go around. But I believe I found this week's winner:

An Oregon woman walked into a 7 -11 Store and asked for a pack of cigarettes, and instead of paying for it, displayed a handgun. She now faces armed robbery charges, and under Oregon's Mandatory sentences law, known as Measure 11, now faces as much as seven years and six months in prison.

Is being a nicotine drug addict so important that facing a lengthy prison term is risked because the drug addict doesn't want to pay $4 for nicotine drug fix? It also proves that like other dangerous drugs, nicotine addiction has close ties to criminal conduct. Examples such as this should concern lawmakers and realize that that this drug needs to be cracked down on by government. Any drug that inspires violent crime is indeed dangerous and a threat to a civilized society.

Any drug that inspires a person to use a gun to commit armed robbery is indeed a serious drug with severe psychological consequences for users who cannot control this addiction. This proves how powerful and dangerous some "legal" drugs are. There is no such thing as "safe" drugs. They all have effects, with some being more dangerous than others. Society needs to recognize this.

Mumbai 7/11

For some reason, terrorists have three times chosen the 11th day of the month to strike with deadly terror against innocent civilians. The deadly attacks in the U.S. were 9/11. In Madrid, Spain, it was 3/11. And in Mumbai(formerly Bombay), India, it was 7/11.

These latest attacks seemed to professional to be the work of Kasmir separatists. Dawood Ibrahim, who has ties to Al Qaeda seems more likely by world terrorism experts to have had a hand in these attacks.

In all three cases, it seems like some Muslim extremists are at religious war with any faith other than their own. The Christian, Jewish and Hindu faiths all have been targets of this violence. For the most part, the Hindu society of India is very peaceful. India has provided some noncombat peacekeepers in Afghanistan, but not Iraq.

But taking 174 innocent lives as well as injuring as many as 454 other persons is an outrage. It proves the cowardly nature of terrorism, that targets innocent civilians who have no real say over foreign policy that a government has. Responsible persons lobby a government, not target it's citizens with violence.

Every cowardly act only results in another society turning tougher against terrorism. In Russia the top Chechen terrorist leader who organized both the school as well as movie theatre attacks was killed the other day. And Osama Bin Laden seems to have his movements greatly limited after 9/11.

As more and more nations become victims, tougher dealings with terrorists give these radicals less area to hide. There is plenty of violence to go around, but peaceful societies are getting smarter at new ways to prevent violence from these radicals. This is not to mean that future violence will not happen. But a repeat of the same sort of violence becomes less likely.

Hopefully someday this outrageous type of crime will be erased from the earth. There is no excuse for political extremists to express themselves violently, when peaceful channels exist to voice their concerns. Terrorism is nothing more than crime. And it needs to be stomped out like any other sort of crime. Civil societies cannot have lawlessness like this continue to take innocent lives. Instead of persons becoming sympathetic to the political aims of these terrorists, they only instead hate them. Societies that have been victims of this type of violence will only pull closer together, and put aside any political differences. A common goal to erase these type of crimes and make the lives of innocent persons secure is of utmost importance.

Monday, July 10, 2006

It's Up To China To Prevent War With North Korea

China has been given a few days to try to make North Korea see the light about their missile tests by U.N. Security Council member states. Unfortunately this is probably all that stands between preventing a major regional war with North Korea.

Japan has the strongest feelings about North Korea and considers this hostile nation to be a real threat to their nation. Japan is currently studying their postWorld War II constitution whether it allows for a "premptive strike" on North Korea's missile launches or missile program. Rather than securing more peace in the region, this will only trigger a huge Asian war with North Korea, and will certainly draw in the United States. Whether China will sit this out, or join in with North Korea is a big question. And what the role of Russia is also a huge question.

Any military action against North Korea is exactly the wrong response to their missile tests. North Korea has opened a real "Pandora's Box" with these actions. And with years of mutual dislike between Japan and North Korea and China, any outcome of military action by japan will almost certainly trigger a huge war in Asia. South Korea and U.S. troops will become quickly involved. And as many as one million persons on all sides may die within the first 24 hours according to some experts on military affairs.

The world needs to hope and pray that China can successfully prevent this situation from spinning out of control. This situation will hit a critical mass if Japan attempts military action against North Korea. Japan may view this as defense. But it could become the first shots of World War III if the situation grows beyond a regional Asian war. The world doesn't need this right now. And since many Asian nations such as Japan, China and South Korea are preventing the U.S. government from bankruptcy and economic collapse by holding hundreds of billions in U.S. Treasury Bonds, the impact on the U.S. is very uncertain. The U.S. may find itself economically ruined by this war, and a second class nation as a result of this war. The U.S. military is probably strong enough to win a huge war, but the American government may not be able to withstand such a huge economic hit and every American's lifestyle may take a giant hit.

Bad times like the U.S. has never seen may be ahead if China fails to prevent Japan and North Korea from going to war. Hopefully the dice has not been tossed yet.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The High Cost Of Unforgiveness

Unforgiveness has a high cost to both heart and soul. Few know this as well as Rev. Julie Nicholson, a Vicar in The Church Of England over in London. One year ago her daughter, Jenny, who was only 24 years old was one of those killed in the London terrorist bombings in a Subway attack.

With those in clergy positions always called to a higher standard, and to inspire higher values in those in which thet lead, Rev. Nicholson just could not bring herself to forgiveness for this terrible crime against her family. This internal conflict eventually led her to resign her post as the Pastor of the St. Aiden With St. George in Bristol parish church.

It is extremely difficult to deal with a great wrong went it is brought upon you. Yet it is the will of God that every believer find it in their heart to extend forgiveness to others. Even part of the survival of those caught up in the Holocaust in WWII was to be able to cope with the bad situation they were dealt with, and then to manage effective forgiveness years later. All caught up in these concentration camps dealt with the same cold and lack of food. But whether they survived was often determined by the ability of the heart and mind to cope. You could choose to be bitter and angry, and it often resulted in death to the elements at hand.

Ken Lay, the embattled Enron CEO, died this week from the stress of his conviction in the wake of the Enron scandal. As a boy, he could cope with living in poverty, raised in a home that did not have even have running water. And for many years could find satisfaction in his heart, despite doing without the things that most others only took for granted. But the public embarrassment and stress of a trial and conviction, and internal upset at this conflict with the values of his religious upbringing only tore at him and broke his heart, causing death. How we choose to think and feel, has this much impact on our hearts.

Part of what tears apart the heart and soul of Iraq is a lack of forgiveness on the part of Sunni and Shiite Muslims after 300 years of sectarian conflict. While many have moved on, and even married one another, forming loving family bonds, others continue this ages old sectarian conflict and endanger the chances for a lasting peace in this struggling nation. This morning for example, a Shiite Mosque was attacked with Sunni violence, and within hours, 40 Sunni residents were checked for ID by Shiite militia members and then shot dead. This cycle of violence fueled by a heart of unforgiveness only rots at the very core of Iraqi society and has helped to make this situation a real disaster for even the best of U.S. efforts to restore peace, calm and stability. Iraq has become almost unrulable because a cycle of unforgiveness, fueling a cycle of violence has become the rule of law.

It is of vital importance that all persons find it in their hearts to move on. Deep bitterness can well up in the individual and only have a terrible final outcome.

It is important to take a clue from the suffering of Jesus. A totally innocent man, who performed great miracles for the sick, and was beloved by masses, faced great abuse, torture and death, and yet found only forgiveness in his heart for the mankind responsible for his suffering. We are all called to a similar high standard of conduct regardless of our faith because unforgiveness is like a cancer or ticking time bomb, that only brings us to ruin if we cannot find it in our hearts to forgive those who did us wrong. We have the power to choose to be happy or to be sad. We have the power to feel joy, or to feel bitterness. The power to forgive is in our hands. And it does a heart good.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

North Korea Reality, And Why Neither Sanctions Nor Military Action Will Work

Many Americans took great comfort that the long range North Korean missile test failed earlier this week. But that is hardly any reason for comfort. North Korea has many missiles that can hit a range of 2,000 miles from submarines. And with as many as 35 submarines, some of which are missile launch capable, North Korea simply has to mount nuclear warheads on these missiles and pull within 1,500 miles of Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle or Portland coast lines. This is hardly any reason for comfort.

And with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez planning a trip to North Korea soon, that could even result in future missiles in South America that could be brought within range of U.S. targets. This could result in a new Cuban style missile crisis, like the frightening standoff of 1962.

And with a constant effort of propaganda to anger and enrage the North Korean masses against the U.S.. the prospects for a deadly border clash along the DMZ, spinning out of control into a serious incident triggering a giant war are more likely than since the 1950 war. With thousands of North Korean rockets and missiles, chemical, biological or even a few nuclear weapons, and a one million man army, it is likely that anywhere from tens of thousands to as many as one million persons could die from a serious incident triggering an attack on South Korea and American forces there.

The North Korean missile launches were a cry for attention. The country is in deep poverty where hunger and starvation are two of the nation's largest growth industries. In anger, Japan wants sanctions. And the U.S. is probably closer to that viewpoint as well. For the wrong reasons, both China and Russia oppose sanctions.

Opposing both sanctions and military action is probably the right course. If North Korea is in deep poverty, economic incentives such as entry into the World Bank funds or other economic outlets should be offered in exchange for a UNSCOM inspection efforts to destroy long range and nuclear weapons technology. There needs to be more North Korean contact with the outside world, along with world community business investment. Right now this is impossible in a nation that still executes citizens by firing squad for any contact with the outside world.

China needs to prod North Korea in the direction of becoming a capitalistic state like they have done so well in recent years. For all intents, the Chinese Communists are currently the world's best capitalists. North Korea should learn from this example.

China regularly has international travelers and tourism. North Korea should also learn from these examples as well.

North Korea needs to be pragmatic and realize that Communist governments in China and Vietnam have found that attracting foreign investment, increasing the wealth of affluence of the people, makes for a happy population, not ruthless control over the lives of persons who are brainwashed with "dear leader" propaganda 24/7. This old line Stalinist regime, needs to see the light.

Using missiles to get the world's attention is absolutely the wrong way for North Korea tp resolve any of it's problems. But making constructive steps towards geniune change at home to becoming a better nation is needed. China might be in the best position to prod this along. But sanctions or military action of any type could likely only worsen the situation at this point. Neither the U.S., nor the world community should do anything that could provoke a military response from North Korea that could trigger a serious regional war. War needs to be avoided at all costs. including shooting down of any missiles unless the U.S., Japan or South Korea are actually threatened.

Efforts to integrate North Korea into the world community, not isolate it, probably are the best course. Hoping that more starvation or poverty in North Korea will creat a govenment collapse is cruel wishful thinking. A more integrated North Korea that becomes a responsible world community member, where more outside world contact and foreign investment and mutual business dealings similar to either Vietnamese or Chinese Communist government examples must be intended goal of the world community. The people of North Korea have suffered more than enough from their radical Stalinist government, and do not need more suffering to further enrage and strain their relationship from the rest of the world.

Friday, July 07, 2006

"I (Don't) Want To Be Like Mike"

A Northeast Portland, Oregon man, Allan Heckerd, bares a striking resemblence to former NBA basketball great, Michael Jordan. So much so in fact, that about three times a day people on the street stop him and ask if he's Michael Jordan.

If a person was so blessed to resemble a celebrity so closely then you would expect them to cash in some way. Maybe working as a professional impersonator or something. Instead, Heckerd claims looking like Michael Jordan has ruined his life, and has filed two $400 million dollar lawsuits against both Michael Jordan and Phillip Knight and his Nike Corporation which promote Michael Jordan in advertising for their sports and basketball shoes.

No one has asked Heckerd why he continues to run around with a shaved head similar to Jordan, or help to contribute to the resemblence. But a lawsuit based on the fact that your gene pool sum somehow causes you to have some resemblence to another famous person is whole crazy new twist on lawsuits. Normally you have to show some real injury in a lawsuit. And to claim that you simply look like a well loved celebrity lowers the intended purpose of lawsuits to a whole new level of absurdity. Everyday, perfectly good lawsuits for real injuries are turned down by attorneys, sometimes because of lawsuit damage caps which leave no money for the victim or attorney to collect after legal costs to hire expert witnesses or research work.

And some caps on lawsuit limits, such as a special one with the state of Oregon and OHSU even prevented a doctor who was permanently injured in a major surgery mistake from finding any attorney willing to seek fair compensation f or his injuries. This lawsuit limit is set so low that an injured patient cannot recover damages after legal costs including expert testimony are hired for trial. An injured person cannot recover even a dime under this salary cap law that applies to this single health care provider. This injured doctor attempted to represent himself he could not find a single attorney willing to work for free, or the injured client sue only to accept no damages. Without any legal representation this Doctor found no success in his uphill court case against OHSU lawyers. And while OHSU is an excellent medical research and health care provider, all medical providers do have some accidents or mistakes. I personally have had excellent health care from OHSU and I'm entirely satisfied with both the service and doctors. But everyone has a different experience with providers in the free marketplace.

The family of actor John Ritter recently discovered that a doctor ordered Xray was never done after he was rushed into the emergency department after a collapse on the set of show in Los Angeles a few years ago. Because this xray was never done, a tear in a main heart attery was not seen, and a huge dose of blood thinner was instead given. This blood thnner caused the blood not to clot, and was a death sentence causing Ritter to bleed to death at the age of 55. If the ordered xray would have been done, the blood thinner would not have given, Usually after a heart attack, blood thinners are given. And emergency staff treated Ritter as if he had a heart attack, even the problem was a far different heart problem. Even the best medical providers somehow make stupid mistakes that cost lives.

A medical doctor who taught allergies at the Oregon State Medical School, had his good lung removed in a mistake during lung cancer surgery. He fell into deep depression, knowing that his life would soon be over because of this.

Lawsuits have forced many medical providers to use identification bands and for staff to read these before tests are taken or medications are prescribed. This has cut down mistakes dramaticly, resulting in far greater patient safety. And careful computer records also have dramaticly improved patient safety as well.

There are some serious cases of defective products such as flammable children's pajamas, that only lawsuits took off the market after the government failed to act. Women were dying of toxic shock syndrome due to feminine hygene products and the government failed to act, so lawsuits forced warning labels on these products, contributing to far less consumer deaths. Other lawsuits forced defective baby cribs or other items from the marketplace when government failed to act.

The courts are a serious place and need to be respected. Lawsuit damage caps only hurt consumers or those who suffer real losses. Lawsuits in some cases are the only way to force dangerous and defective products from the marketplace when corporations fail to act responsibly. Lowering the seriousness of the courts down to level where lawsuits are launched because you resemble a celebrity is a whole new level of foolishness. Either praise or blame your parents if you resemble someone famous, and leave the courts out it. The courts are for serious issues and serious cases. "I (Don't) Want To Be Like Mike", is hardly the proper grounds for a major lawsuit.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cola Espionage? What's In That Cola Anyway?

It hardly rises to the level of the fictional world of James Bond battling the fictional villain, Goldfinger, but the FBI has become involved in some corporate espionage scheme involving three men who attempted to "sell trade secrerts" from Coca Cola to rival Pepsi for over a million dollars. Pepsi tipped off the government by turning over a letter about the scheme.

But it is hardly completely secretive just what ingredients have found their way into cola products and just why people crave them.

Cola products have always contained habit forming or psychoactive products that have a function on the brain to increase the buyer demand for the product. Caffeine is the most commonly used chemical to create a habit demand so that buyers will both crave and continue to purchase more of the product. It is very difficult to break a caffeine habit. Some users who try to quit find themselves climbing the walls and battling headaches and other drug withdrawal type symptoms. At one time it was even purported that some cola products even contained some cocaine around the 20's or 30's, before this product was removed from cola products. Caffeinism is just as real of a habit and a drug problem as alcoholism or drug abuse for some. Oregon State University offers some insights on caffeinism at which should convince anyone of the habit and withdrawal problems related to caffeine products.

Some cola products add coca or chocolate related products. Especially in the female brain physiology, chocolate related products add a sense of pleasure or well being that the male brain physiology is far less receptive to. This sense of pleasure creates a market demand for chocolate related products by female buyers. As much as 25 pounds of chocolate would create a marijuana-like high for female users of chocolate products, while males would require a higher level yet. But still the National Institute Of Health research does find that both the active ingredient in chocolate, anandamide does activate a pleasure sensation upon the same brain cell area as does tetrahyrocannibinol(THC). The similar effect of these two drugs to create a pleasure related demand for products such as colas that include these simply cannot be ignored.

Other products in some colas that should raise concerns are alcohol derived products. These products have a potential impact on both brain cells and the liver which is not desirable at all. Some alcohol related products are far worse than a small amount of a quality wine. Wine will at least have some positive effect on the heart. However, nonalcoholic grape juice is likely just as effective. In fact both grape juice or grape seed extract do have some positive heart related benefits. But other alcohol related products could tend to be much less safe.

Phosphoric acid is another common ingredient in some cola products. If you ever drank a large cola and ended up with a stomacj ache, then there is a good reason for this. Phosphoric acid is so potent you can dissolve an iron and steel composite nail in it over a few days time.

Some spices such as cinnamon or netmeg may find their way into some cola formulas. Glycerine from either an animal or vegetable source may even find it's way in. Usually the glycerine from animal sources is from pig byproducts, and the vegetable based glycerine must be substituted in Israel or Muslim nations where eating pork is a violation to religious dietary law. Adding glycerine from an animal source makes colas less than vegetarian. Any vegetarian or vegan who insists on drinlking a cola product should only purchase "natural sodas" from their local health food store. This way you avoid so many dangerous additives as well processed sugars, alcohol, or or caffeine additives.

With so many habit forming substances or other less than healthy additives, that cola product you crave may be far less good for you than you realize. But the inclusion of habit forming substances also explains why the cola industry is big business. It also explains why even the government gets involved in protecting "trade" secrets of this industry. But the public has the right to know what they're putting in their bodies. Food allergies, sensitivities, or other concerns demand that consumers be wise as to what chemicals they are putting in their body, and why their brains demand more and more of these products, creating billions in sales for big corporations

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

North Korea May Create A Political Tidal Wave In The U.S.

Things had looked far better for Democrats this November. They had a great chance on capitalizing on the public discontent with the Iraq War, as well as inspiring voters with generally far better positions on domestic issues than many Republicans. But North Korea has decided to create a tidal wave of fear politics across the earth in order to further some political goals of this rigidly hardline Stalinist regime.

Now national security issues that generally favor the Republicans or more "hawkish" Democrats more in the style of Joe Lieberman may find themselves far more in the public favor than "dovish" and antiwar Democrats. Suddenly Iraq may fall back to second place in issue concerns, if nuclear or war fears from North Korea become a top voter concern.

This morning, FOX News is even raising the question whether the North Korean missile crisis could even lead to world war. The Dow Jones average is down nearly 100 points. World oil prices are up slightly to a little over $74 a barrel.

Being "dovish" is not in vogue if a hostile regime such as North Korea could be on the verge of creating a serious war, unless the situation calms considerably. Just like the aftermath of 9/11, both the White House and Republicans stand to gain the most from appearing strong on national security issues. Democrats have painted themselves as good on most domestic issues that Americans care about, but a serious war threat could certainly change this playing field. Provided that the Bush Administration constructively engages North Korea, and the situation does not spin out of control into a full blown war, then both the White House and Republicans will see a huge public approval bounce that will probably last well through the November election cycle.

The political landscape is always open to sea changes based on events. And nothing shakes up this landscape like a serious war threat. Americans like a good minimum wage and other domestic concerns, but could certainly shift back to preferring Republicans once again if this party makes them feel safer from a North Korean threat. George Bush had a nearly 90% approval in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

With submarines, North Korea does not need to be able to launch an intercontinental missile. Their submarines can fire a missile 2,000 miles and leave West Coast American cities looking like burned toast if they have the technology to mount a nuclear warhead on these missiles. This is indeed a very frightening prospect. Even potent chemical or biological warheads should put a cold chill down the spine of the average American. This situation with North Korea is indeed very serious and where it is headed is far from certain. It would be a mistake to assume that it may be indeed be little more than mere posturing from the Pyongyang regime. This regime is both hostile and sharply antiU.S. It has been the fond dream of Kim Jong Il to defeat the U.S. in a war since his childhood. It is not out of hand to assume that if this regime thought it could match the U.S. in enough in military regards or has a strategy that North Korean generals feel is viable, that it could launch a serious attack of some sort in the Pacific and create a huge regional war.

London Religious Website Now Predicts NYC Nuclear Terrorism On July 28,2006

The religious Website from London that predicted a nuclear terrorist incident in NYC at the UN Plaza in Manhattan for July 4, 2006, now has issued an apology for their mistake and now claims that July 28, 2006 is the real date.

The Website,, claimed that they do not adhere to a principle such as "Papal infallibility". But I think the problem is far more obvious. You cannot assign numerical codes to the Bible or analysis to Scripture in this way. Any translation of the Bible will differ somewhat in the exact language, but not the intended meaning. And the page layout of the words will differ from edition to edition. Analysis of the Bible in this way almost reduces Scripture down to a level of a crossword game or a similar level. The Bible interprets itself. It is highly doubtful that secret codes are hidden in it. God's word to mankind is upfront in it's intent. However the book of Revelation is cloaked in very mysterious language.

There might have been a keen spiritual feel from the London Website that some serious internationa event was at hand. This vague spiritual perception could have tipped off the London Website about some incident in the making, and of course North Korea added a little July 4, excitement yesterday, although the terrorist incident that was expected was miles off base.

Hearing the voice of God may mean that you do not get the specifics right. No man really knows the future these days, except for the geniune prophets who penned the Holy Scriptures. But this also hardly means that you do not have the spiritual perception to know that a great danger may be at hand. This part may indeed be a warning from God.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

July 4, 1776's Forgotten Patriot, Haym Salomon

Jewish American businessman, Haym Salomon(1740-1785), a Prussian born immigrant, is one of the most important reasons that we in America even celebrate our freedom today, instead of being simply a colony of England.

Salomon was a very good friend of American Revolutionary Army General and Chaplain, George Washington. But with only 5,000 men who were bery poorly equipped with few good guns, uniforms or boots, Salomon saw little chance of an American victory over England. Salomon loved the commitment of Washington to freedom of religion for both Christians and Jews and sought to make this dream for a land in which Jews could settle here to worship in peace a reality. Discrimination against Jews throughout Europe had long been the rule.

Salomon raised a huge no interest loan from wealthy Jewish families in Europe such as the Rothchilds and Sassoons. Salomon was able to not only buy new guns and uniforms for the American Army, but hired a 7,000 man mercenary army from Europe to fight England in the war. Eventually Washington commanded about a 17,000 American Patriot Army.

There are serious historians who claim that Haym Salomon designed the Seal Of The United States, which may account for it's appearance based on the Star Of David. It is al;so claimed that the first draft of the U.S. Constitution was also written by Salomon.

Salomon raised about $3.5 million to fund the establishment of the U.S. as an independent nation, and may have loaned as much as $600,000 of his own money, most of which was never repaid to him leaving him dying in poverty in 1875 in Philadelphia. In 1975, Salomon was honored on a U.S. stamp as the "financier of the United States".

Today most young people know little more about the July 4, Independence Day history of the U.S. except family picnics, beer drinking, hot dogs or fireworks. But in 1776, great Americans such as Haym Salomon helped to establish this great nation, and deserve great respect as one of our very most important of the early Founding Fathers.

A very happy and safe July 4, Independence Day to all. God bless America.

So Far, So Good

Last Wednesday I wrote about the religious Website from London that used some sort of strange "Bible code" math to predict a nuclear terrorist attack at U.N. Plaza in NYC on or before July 4. Well so far, so good. Only today to get through. And I very likely expect nothing of the ordinary to happen in NYC or anywhere in the U.S. today. Certainly Osama Bin Laden has issued a few more tapes recently. But he is is so weakened that a few audio cassette threats is the best that he can recently organize. Even the late terrorist, Zarqawi, was able to upstage him on a near daily basis until the U.S. put an end to his murderous life.

North Korea has been voicing more threats than usual the last two days. But likely any serious July 4 "fireworks" from this wacky staunchly Stalinist state are very far fetched. Certainly this nation could cause both South Korea and Japan considerable harm from their huge conventional force. But North Korea is very unlikely to have any nuclear device small enough to mount as a warhead on their 8 or more long range missiles that could conceivably hit the U.S. West Coast. At least living in Portland, Oregon, a potential target city, it is my hope that my home town is safe. I wouldn't particularly want to end up deep fried today.

But maybe the most likely bad event today, with the closest odds are the aged and troubled Space Shuttle craft. This 1970's designed space vehicle is 100% likely to have some parts such as foam to fall off. With 115 flights into space, already 13 astronauts and one school teacher have been killed. This means a 1 out of 57 chance that this troubled space vehicle will be fatal to the crew. While there is a 56 out 57 odds that nothing bad happens, which I certainly hope, as a smooth return to space to complete the international space station is very important.

But this 1970's space vehicle is very unsafe compared to the old Russian Soyuz craft, whose old fashioned kerosine based launch engine is both reliable and very safe. Even the old Apollo program was very safe, after the fatal 1967 lauch pad test fire tragedy that killed three astronauts. For every problem that the Apollo 13 vehicle had, the crew was still brought home safely.

The Shuttle has had problems with the bad "O" rings which were fatal to the 1986 Challenger crew, and a falling piece of foam allowed hot gases to fatally end the return to earth of Columbia in February 2003. Grim pieces such as Shuttle parts and burnt body parts ended up all the way from California to Lousiana. In Texas a farmer had a burnt space helmet fall into some land that he owned.

After the 1986 disaster, terrible stories of a cash strapped Space Shuttle program emerged. Awful tales of a space vehicle even kept running from parts laying around someone's garage, purchased on Ebay, even emerged. Some of the old fashioned parts for the Shuttle have not been produced since 1978. The computer and other items are very aged.

Hopefully despite all the serious faults, and the sheer embarrassment of the Space Shuttle as not the very best example of "American know-how", today's launch will be very routine and uneventful. The Mars Rover has been such a technology success by comparison. But if a new serious problem develops, then the American Space program could be in serious problems and new delays for the next couple of years.

Here's to a fond hope and a prayer for God to make today uneventful and a happy July 4, holiday. May the the only fireworks be those at some family picnic.

Monday, July 03, 2006

American Worker Wages Lagging Behind Growing Inflation

Congress believes in yearly cost of living salary increases for themselves, but not for the American worker who has had their federal minimum salary stuck at a mere $5.15 since 1997. Every since the Newt Gingrich inspired Republican take-over of Congress, American worker wages have been stuck at the bottom of the barrel.

Real hourly wages for low-wage workers actually declined by 1.9% just between 2004 and 2005. Among middle-wage earners the decline was by 1.3%. But among high-wage earners, their salaries actually increased by 0.6%, although even this lagged behind real inflation growth.

Among non-union workers, the problem worsens as these workers have seen real wage decreases in 18 of the last 20 months.

Since the start of the 2003 failed Iraq War policy of the Bush White House, a gallon of unleaded gasoline has soared in price from about $1.57 a gallon to about $3.00 today. This is nearly a 100% price inflation in just three years as a result of a grossly failed foreign policy that sought to put the U.S. in control of the suspected 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil assets in Iraq, or a 98 year supply for the U.S. With the 220 billion barrels of undiscovered oil along with the known 113 billion barrels of known oil assets. Iraq is actually the most oil rich nation of the world. But with the complete failure of stability and peace in Iraq, oil production from Iraq is actually down by 900,000 barrels a day from even the dark days of Saddam Hussein and 12 years of tough U.N. mandated sanctions. All of this instability in Iraq as well as lower oil production has only led to dramatic price inflationfor all goods and services in which an oil cost can be related. Yet Congress doesn't believe in giving American workers any relief from the foreign policy that they voted for that is driving prices up.

Few items in American society have ever seen a 100% inflation like oil. And this inflation ripples all through society. But Congress just doesn't care how tough life is for working people. Remember this when you vote this November and ask the candidates where they stand on increasing your wages.

Political Code Language

When the White House or Congress speaks out, it is often in political "code language" meant to paint a patently false impression and sway some gullible voters. I'll give just a few examples:

When The New York Times published their recent story on the money tracking of terrorists, the Bush White House described the program as "secret" and "classified" and rebuked the newspaper. But this was merely political "code language" to describe that on numerious occasions, President Bush has publicly claimed that the Administration is tracking "finances" of terrorists or on numerious other times the U.S. Justice Deepartment has let it be known that they track large scale cash transactions over $10,000 for illegal activity such as drug trafficking, organized crime or terrorism activity.

When right wing political commentator, Rush Limbaugh also made a "national security" crisis out of The New York Times story, also claiming that the program was somehow "secret" and "classified", this was political "code language" for his listeners to forget that Limbaugh withdrew several transactions of $9,999.00 for his illegal prescription dealings. Limbaugh knew that a $10,000 transaction was examined by government, but not $9,999.00. If the government program is so "secret", then why did Limbaugh know enough about it to evade detection for his drug addiction dealings. There is no consistent standards for such right wing nonsense political arguments.

When Congress made a recent political "crisis" out of American Flag burning, and hysterically pushed a constitutional amendment. This "crisis" turned out that the last major case of flag burning in the U.S. was way back in 1984 by the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party member, Gregory Johnson, outside of Ronald Reagan's Renomination Republican National Convention. This invented political "crisis" may mean that once every 22 years some knothead will choose to burn the flag of his country, and this once-in-a-great-Moon event deserves a quickly rushed through response right now this second from Congress.

New examples of politically inspired "code language" emerge all the time. During an election cycle it will only grow far worse.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Comcast Cable Vs. Consumers

Nothing bugs me more than all the money that Comcast Cable spends on attack ads against digital dish services. With so much negative attacks ads you would expect that Comcast would offer a really great quality product. But this is hardly the case. The quality of their service in the Portland, Oregon area varies greatly depending on weather and many times during the day. Some channels such the 2, the local ABC channel is so incredibly bad in quality, that you need an a VCR in another room to tape off the air with an old fashioned 1950's rooftop antenna if you wanted to catch that last NBA playoff game or that last night's episode of Nightline.

And my complaint's of rotten product quality pale against even worse experiences with Comcast. My sister who is an RN, fell on some lean times recently when she broke a hip and required a hip replacement surgery. She was unable to work for months until her doctor considered her able to do normal duties of her job such as moving patients. She fell a few days behind on her cable bill, and right away Comcast demanded entry into her apartment and not only disconnectec her cable service, but even cut up cable connections to her TV that were her property, not that of Comcast. Destruction of property not owned by Comcast is a consumer outrage. Some cable, DVD and VCR connections can be sort of expensive, and it is not the duty of Comcast to vandalize private property of consumers. Next to breaking legs, this seems like a real strong arm business practice. A person has a right to run a cable to their VCR or TV. A person is paying for the services.

After the $60 bill was paid, Comcast has not reconnected the service. Instead each day makes a harrassment call to demand payment that only stops when you tell them for the millionth time that this bill has been paid. Check their records.

And the consumer complaint's against Comcast are not particular to just the Portland, Oregon area. A consumer Website, The Rip Off Report or Bad Business Burea has complaint's listed all across the U.S. at local Comcast providers. An individual named Mark who lives in a Dallas suburb has a complaint that he even carried to the PUC officer that regulates his local Comcast that they failed to honor the advertised promotional upgrade price that was advertised. So far this consumer has received no "ethical" response from Comcast.

A Maryland consumer of Comcast had problems with the company seeking rental fees for unnecessary equipment, as normal nonpremuim or nondigital cable only requires a cable ready TV or VCR to pick up the signal. For many cable consumers this is entirely adequate and no extra monthy fees for a cable box are required. But this local Comcast made it difficult for this consumer to get consumer service and made consumer entry to their consumer service difficult by an unfair"password" roadblock. Paying consumers find it difficult to get needed service due to this roadblock.

Another Maryland consumer had serious service problems with nearly nonexistent service for two months before a second tech finally corrected the problem. They also purchased the Comcast internet service as well. But Comcast expected full payment for the two months in which no usable service was available to this consumer either with cable or Internet, and then shut off their service for "nonpayment" when the consumer refused to pay for the two months of delay fixing their broken service.

A Georgia consumer, Jennifer found out it took three months for her cable installer to show up and wanted double the quoted price. Another Georgia consumer, had problems with only one cable box brought out when they ordered two, and not all channels were available as promised. This angry consumer had nothing but diffulty and finally went to a dish installation instead, and is now very satisfied.

And Comcast continues to bill different customers different prices for the same services. It is as if the regular customers are having to unfairly pay more on their bills to subsidize promotional offers by Comcast. This seems highly unethical.

Comcast is one of the big cable TV providers who are involved in a lobby of Congress to change cable service regulations in their favor. Comcast nationwide seems to have buckets of money to spend to lobby Congress or to run attack ads against dish provider services. But it would be nice if at least part of this money would be better spent on improved customer services and easing consumer complaints. It is no wonder that cable TV service is one of the biggest areas of consumer complaint's.