Wednesday, November 15, 2006


We'll begin with a bit of history regarding the Apocalypse. Note how often, throughout history, people have been wrong about the timing regarding it.

Why is this imporant? Because more are predicting the American Apocalypse will come from stuff like this.
TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday his country expects its uranium enrichment program to be ready by February to meet Iran's nuclear fuel needs, the national news service IRNA reported.

"We will commission some 3,000 centrifuges by this year end. We are determined to master fuel cycle, and commission some 60,000 centrifuges to meet our demands," the president said at a news conference closed to foreign reporters.

"Today the Iranian nation possesses the full nuclear fuel cycle and time is completely running in our favor in terms of diplomacy."

Ahmadinejad said Iran hopes to celebrate its nuclear success during the "Ten-Day Dawn" festivities at the beginning of February, which mark the country's victory in the Islamic Revolution, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
[full story]

Personally I feel that the burden of proof is now on us to prove the lie, as our recent allegations regarding banned weapons proved wildly off the mark. The IAEA is working on it, but so far hasn't been able to draw conclusive evidence.

Luckily, the U.S. is quickly headed down the wrong road all by our lonesome.
Washington - A couple's ill-concealed sexual play aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles got them charged with violating the Patriot Act, intended for terrorist acts, and could land them in jail for 20 years.

According to their indictment, Carl Persing and Dawn Sewell were allegedly snuggling and kissing inappropriately, "making other passengers uncomfortable," when a flight attendant asked them to stop.

"Persing was observed nuzzling or kissing Sewell on the neck, and ... with his face pressed against Sewell's vaginal area. During these actions, Sewell was observed smiling," reads the indictment filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
[full story]

I mention these two stories in particular, because I think the greatest antitode, and stalling tactic, against Apocalypse is to have a good society. The fear/terror generated by 9/11 and the ensuing rights grab by our government has done nothing, IMHO, but push us closer to the brink.

I also mentioned "American Apocalypse" previously becuase it is my general opinion that American culture is one of, if not the only, major world culture to have to experience such a thing. Like all the others before us, we arrogantly assume that our apocalyptic premonitions apply to the whole world, but like everyone else before us...we're wrong in that assumption. It will come only to us.
Another reason it is getting closer? We refuse to speak truth to power.
WASHINGTON: The US President, George Bush, has warned against holding talks with Syria and Iran and beginning a withdrawal of troops from Iraq, two key proposals for a new Iraq strategy that are gaining support at home and abroad.

After a meeting with members the Iraq Study Group, a panel led by a former secretary of state, James Baker, looking at options in Iraq, Mr Bush said he was open to "new ideas" to reinvigorate his Administration's approach to Iraq. But he cautioned against proposals for gradual or phased troop reductions saying that no military option would work unless it recognised "conditions on the ground".
[full story]

Arrogance and idiocy are a dangerous combination. We are slowly figuring out this ancient truth once again.
For something completely different, watch one of your fine childhood memories fade in a bout of cynicism and reality.
Outside of reality, but well within the realm of cynicism, we have this article regarding the real problem between Islam and the West (according to a U.N. report) [hint: it's all about the Benajmins].
"This report is important because it debunks certain myths about an increasing polarisation between the West and Islam," explained Ali Alatas, former foreign minister of Indonesia and one of the authors of the 40-page Alliance of Civilisations report.

"One of our major conclusions is that the divide is not religious or cultural but political."

The authors of the report, who were drawn from a wide variety of religions and cultures, argue that divide can be closed. They reject the theory of an inevitable clash of civilisations outright.

"That is a total misnomer. There are tensions, there are even hostilities but they are not caused by religion, by culture or by civilisations," Archbishop Desmond Tutu insisted.

"They are political causes: when people are poor, when people are hungry or humiliated. But religion is morally neutral."
It's as easy to understand as this....

Israel: GDP, per capita: $25,000
Gaza Strip: GDP, per capita: $600
West Bank: GDP, per capita: $1,100

That's it. In a nutshell. Everything else is rationalization.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Desktop Clearning Link Dump

Let's start off with evolutionary morality.
Primatologists like Frans de Waal have long argued that the roots of human morality are evident in social animals like apes and monkeys. The animals’ feelings of empathy and expectations of reciprocity are essential behaviors for mammalian group living and can be regarded as a counterpart of human morality.

Marc D. Hauser, a Harvard biologist, has built on this idea to propose that people are born with a moral grammar wired into their neural circuits by evolution. In a new book, “Moral Minds” (HarperCollins 2006), he argues that the grammar generates instant moral judgments which, in part because of the quick decisions that must be made in life-or-death situations, are inaccessible to the conscious mind.
[full story]

Ohh, I don't think they are inaccessible to the conscious mind...but I would say they are inaccessible to most conscious minds. Some of us can't stop thinking about 'em.

And those of us like that end up talking about it a lot. Then, if we turn out to be correct...others believe us, write it down, and we get new religions. That's the simplified version, but that, most certainly, is the outline for the process.
The 13 Enemies of the Interwebs The following countries are doing their darndest to avoid the coming Information Age (it already is's coming to them...whether they like it or not)
Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egpyt, Iran, North Korea, Suadi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam
Quit making your people stupider, dumbasses.
Speaking of non-democratic actions...
The head of the Virginia Board of Elections, Jean Jensen, tells MSNBC that “the FBI is now investigating allegations of voter intimidation and voter suppression.” State officials have documented “dozens of phone calls that were made to heavily Democratic precincts in which the people who were receiving the calls were either given incorrect information about polling sites [or] misdirected about election laws.”
[full story]

This is, undoubtedly, part of why Allen conceded in Virginia.
Call me what you will, but this is a mark of a good leader.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Friday he would step down as Palestinian prime minister if that would persuade the West to lift debilitating economic sanctions.

His offer appeared to be another indication that the Islamic militant group and the rival Fatah Party of President Mahmoud Abbas were inching closer to a national unity government made up of independent experts — a coalition that presumably would present a more moderate face to the world.

The West and Israel have withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and tax revenues since Hamas took power in March in an effort to pressure the ruling group to moderate its violently anti-Israel ideology.

The sanctions have prevented Hamas from paying a large portion of the salaries owed to 165,000 government employees, causing widespread hardship in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
[full story]
The (closer to) full Pat Tillman story. I'm still happy he got his birthday wish.
Later, Donnie, you unbelievable bastard.
-- nice...only 150,000 dead innocent people. It's only like 50 9/11s.
A stunning new death count emerged Thursday, as Iraq's health minister estimated at least 150,000 civilians have been killed in the war - about three times previously accepted estimates.
[full story]

This guy does make the same mistake as Bush though (no...not invading a country that wasn't a threat), he doesn't realize the Lancet study was about all Iraqis, not just non-combatants [more on that point].
Poor Donnie. Maybe okaying torture wasn't such a good call after all.
Just days after his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Couldn't be happening to a nicer warmonger. You would think, after using torture as a reason to invade, we could have avoided doing it ourselves.

You'd think...
Understand history, understand the present...
Because covert operations are usually kept secret, it is unlikely that any public hearing will ever be held to determine how many CIA associates were killed in Iraq. But this much is clear: the agency's reputation has been demolished. "It may be that the CIA actually made tremendous efforts to protect its people," says Baram. "But the perception among Iraqis is that having anything to do with Americans is dangerous to your health." The rout will make the CIA's future tasks in the Middle East--and perhaps the rest of the world--harder still to achieve.
[full story]

That's a bit of prophecy from Time Magazine the neocons somehow totally missed.
And here's another reason Bush and His Buddies are failures.
Maybe Bush can run this place after the investigations and his resignation. Keep an eye on that 'out jury' and all.
Finally, a pretty fitting closing paragraph.
A final note. I just read somewhere that some of the families of dead American soldiers are visiting the Iraqi north to see ‘what their sons and daughters died for’. If that’s the goal of the visit, then, “Ladies and gentlemen- to your right is the Iraqi Ministry of Oil, to your left is the Dawry refinery… Each of you get this, a gift bag containing a 3 by 3 color poster of Al Sayid Muqtada Al Sadr (Long May He Live And Prosper), an Ayatollah Sistani t-shirt and a map of Iran, to scale, redrawn with the Islamic Republic of South Iraq. Also… Hey you! You- the female in the back- is that a lock of hair I see? Cover it up or stay home.”

And that is what they died for.
[full post]

Friday, November 10, 2006

How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic (and big flare)

This is a wonderful guide for talking to the irrational about the fact that we only have one planet, and should probably be kinder to her than we have been.

Also, just to help you understand how fragile life can be and how quickly a "climate" can change, check out this story.
Scientists using NASA's Swift satellite have spotted a stellar flare on a nearby star so powerful that, had it been from our sun, it would have triggered a mass extinction on Earth. The flare was perhaps the most energetic magnetic stellar explosion ever detected.

The flare was seen in December 2005 on a star slightly less massive than the sun, in a two-star system called II Pegasi in the constellation Pegasus. It was about a hundred million times more energetic than the sun's typical solar flare, releasing energy equivalent to about 50 million trillion atomic bombs.

Fortunately, our sun is now a stable star that doesn't produce such powerful flares. And II Pegasi is at a safe distance of about 135 light-years from Earth.
It looks like they got a nice picture of it too.

AT & T, NSA Continue to Fight for Right to Spy on You

NEW YORK, Nov 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. government and AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote, Profile, Research), fighting against a lawsuit accusing the telephone operator of illegally allowing the government to monitor telephones and e-mails, won the right to argue for dismissal of the case before a U.S. Appeals Court on Tuesday.

In January, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a privacy advocacy group, sued AT&T, saying it collaborated with a National Security Agency spying program it said involved eavesdropping on phone calls, reading e-mails and gathering call records of millions of Americans, without warrants.

In July U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker rejected a request from AT&T, the head of U.S. intelligence and other officials to dismiss the EFF suit.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday agreed to hear an appeal by AT&T and the government of Judge Walker's decision.
FSM bless the EFF.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Republican Lose Congress, Bush Just Loses

I have to say that I'm pretty damn happy about the election. It good to see that the age old adage still holds true; "You can fool all of the people some of the time [2004], some of the people all of the time [R], but you can't fool all of the people all of the time [2006]."
Now let's get on to doing some real good....
...and holding some serious investigations into what exactly these people have been doing in the name of our country (and with all that money). I think it is probably going to end up making baby Bush and the noecons cry...

....but it's about time they felt some of the pain they have brought to so many.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Understanding the U.S. Problems in the Middle East in Two Easy Stories (updated to full circle)

Many people have a hard time understanding why the U.S. has such a difficult time in making progess in the Middle East. It's really quite simple. Let me use two recent news stories to demonstrate.

First up, the typical U.S. position.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday said it saw signs that Syria, Iran and Hezbollah militants were trying to topple the Lebanese government and warned them to keep their "hands off."

White House spokesman Tony Snow said in a statement that the United States believed one of Syria's aims was to prevent the Lebanese government from setting up a tribunal to try those accused of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

"Support for a sovereign, democratic, and prosperous Lebanon is a key element of U.S. policy in the Middle East," Snow said.

"We are therefore increasingly concerned by mounting evidence that the Syrian and Iranian governments, Hezbollah, and their Lebanese allies are preparing plans to topple Lebanon's democratically elected government led by Prime Minister (Fouad) Siniora," he added.
In a briefing with reporters, Snow declined to cited evidence of the U.S. accusations, saying the information was classified.
Essentially, we treat countries in the M.E. (all but one) as little children. No explanation, no argument, simple commands and a "we know better than you" attitude. That first story continues with more, shall we say "overwhelming", hypocrisy.
"And if you have the example of a stable democracy that's able to fend off terror -- in the case of Lebanon, from Hezbollah -- then you have an opportunity to create an entirely different set of circumstances in the Middle East," Snow said.
The strange thing is that Hezbollah recently won kudos (locally) from fending off Israeli terror that was trying to topple their entire country.

Now we move on to the other story.
Four Palestinians, including two civilians, have been killed as Israeli forces launched a second day of strikes in Gaza, continuing one of the largest raids in the strip in recent months.

Helicopter gunships, backed by tanks and ground troops, tightened their grip on Beit Hanoun, said by the Israeli army to be a base for militants launching rocket attacks into Israel, with 300 fired from the northern town in recent months.

In response, the Palestinian President urged the US to intervene to stop the raid, which has so far killed 12 Palestinians in total, including seven militants, as well as an Israeli soldier.

Today helicopter gunships sent missiles hurtling into the town, while about 50 tanks patrolled and other tanks fired several rounds from the other side of the Israeli-Gaza border.
[full story]

The death toll for the latest incursion has recently jumped dramatically since I ran into that story. The updated version.
BEIT LAHIYA,Gaza Strip - A 17-year-old student was killed in a Gaza air strike on Monday, as Israel pressed an assault against militants that has left 50 Palestinians and one soldier dead in six days.

The offensive, the latest in four months of Israeli operations in the territory where more than 300 Palestinians have been killed since a soldier was captured in late June, has been condemned by the international community.

Student Mahmud Ashrafi was killed and nine other Palestinians, two of them five-year-olds, wounded when an Israeli aircraft fired a missile on the town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, a medical source said.

Witnesses said the militants who were the presumed target of the air strike escaped unscathed but that the missile exploded near a bus carrying children to school.
[full story]

So..on the one hand the U.S. is warning Iran and Syria against intervening in the affairs of another country. One the other hand, the U.S. unilaterally invaded a sovereign country and plunged it into choas. One the third hand, the U.S. stands by as Isreali bombs the crap out of Lebanon, and does the same in Gaza.

Now, is it any wonder the U.S. has become so very reviled in the region? And is it any wonder that our word is now shit there?

It shouldn't be. If we truly want peace, we must do more to stop those who would continue to escalate it.

UPDATE: Understanding terror.
A young Palestinian woman has blown herself up in a suicide bomb attack on Israeli troops in northern Gaza, injuring one soldier but also wounding a number of civilians.

The suicide bombing came in the northern town of Beit Hanoun, and Israelis will see it as further evidence of a terrorist menace there.

But many Palestinians will regard the attack as an act of desperate resistance.
In the past six days more than 50 Palestinians have been killed in northern Gaza. Most of them have been militants, but civilians are continually being caught in the violence.

And nowhere has the hardship been greater than in the town of Beit Hanoun.

It has been under the very tight control of a large force of tanks and troops who have ordered the tens of thousands of local people to stay off the streets for all but very brief periods.

A senior United Nations official, John Ging, has described the atmosphere in Beit Hanoun as one of "death, destruction and despair".

People are living in constant fear.
And all Palestinians would argue that Israel grossly over-reacts to the missile attacks from Gaza.

The crudely made rockets often cause panic and minor injury, but they very rarely kill.

In response, though, Israel has launched a major military operation that has gone on for more than four months and led to the death of around 350 Palestinians - many of them civilians.

During that time, three Israelis have died. All of them were soldiers, and one of them was shot accidentally by his own side.
[full story]

And the cirlce of violence goes on...much like the circle of life...just down instead of up.

UPDATE: You want terror, you got terror.
At least 19 Palestinian civilians were killed and dozens were wounded following an Israeli artillery attack on the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, the Israeli daily Haaretz reports.
The Israeli army confirmed that an artillery battery fired 12 shells, aiming at a Qassam rockets launching pad. The shells diverted one kilometer from their destination. Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered the army to investigate the incident and present him with the conclusions.

The town of Beit Hanoun is located on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, only a few miles from Israeli communities. Its citizens are caught between Palestinian terrorists who are using its location to fire at Israel, and Israeli troops who operate against them.

Hamas is now calling to resume terror attacks in Israel. Palestinian Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyya, called on the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss the "massacre in Beit Hanoun."
[full story]

UDPATE: Full Circle Finish.
THE United States vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution yesterday that condemns an Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip and demands Israeli troops pull out of the territory.

Ambassador John Bolton said the US was "disturbed" that the Arab-backed draft resolution is "biased against Israel and politically motivated".
A few things on this...1) I can't wait until that Neocon idiot is gone. 2) Umm,'s biased against a country that sluaghtered 19 people last week. 3) If you want a political solution, you need to be politically motivated.

The jackass continued...
He told the council: "This resolution does not display an even-handed characterisation of the recent events in Gaza, nor does it advance the cause of Israeli-Palestinian peace."
Ummm, so it didn't point out that no one has been killed by Palestinian rocket fire since mid-2005 and over 300 Palestinians have been killed during the same period? Guess what...the situation is NOT "even-handed". It would have advanced the peace, what it doesn't advance is the idea that Israel can do no wrong and is justified in their killing of innocent people because they are trying to kill terrorists. That kind of "end justifies the means" logic is the reason the U.S. lost in Iraq, and is creating more terror in the world.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Clear the Desktop, Because Adoby Crashed

Red wine might be VERY good for you. I always wondered why winos lived so long.
Dallas Morning News columnist Frank Shaeffer is leaving the Republicans because he is sick of their lying b.s. That b.s. is currently being used to try and retain the power they obviously don't have the responsiblity to wield.

I'm a Christian, a writer, a military parent and a registered Republican.

On all those counts, I was disgusted by an e-mail I just received that's being circulated by campaign supporters of Republican George Allen, who's trying to retain his Senate seat in Virginia.

The message goes like this: "First, it was the Catholic priests, then it was Mark Foley, and now Jim Webb, whose sleazy novels discuss sex between very young teenagers. ... Hmmm, sounds like a perverted pedophile to me! Pass the word that we do not need any more pedophiles in office."Democrat James Webb is a war hero and former Marine, wounded in Vietnam and winner of the Navy Cross. He was writing about class and military issues long before me and has articulated the issue of how the elites have dropped the ball on military service in his classic novel Fields of Fire. By the way, that's a book Tom Wolfe calls "the greatest of the Vietnam novels."

Mr. Webb's son is a Marine in Iraq. That's an uncommon fact in this era in which most political leaders' children act as if it is only right and proper that it's someone else's war to fight.
But enough is enough. I've had it with Republican smears.

The Webb e-mail is the embodiment of the cynical Republican strategists, some of whom must know the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Was Agatha Christie a murderer because she wrote about murder?

According to the Allen camp's logic, God would be a pedophile, too. After all, we Christians believe God inspired the Bible. And God-the-author chose to include the "sleazy" story about Lot offering to send out his young virgin daughters to be raped by the men of Sodom.

The Bible has masturbation scenes, rape, pedophilia and God's favorite man – King David – warming himself with a young virgin in his old age. He's the same man God tells us committed murder after he indulged his peeping Tom fantasies.

Lucky for God-the-author that He's not running against George Allen.
Well said, and here's a welcome from the third (at least) of the country that finds both our parties useless..and the Republicans in power now damn near evil.

I'm not a Democrat (I don't think anyone even pretending to be a journalist should be registered with a party), but I am advocating voting a straight (D) ticket next week.