Saturday, July 15, 2006

Hezbollah Declares Open War On Israel

Hezbollah has now declared open war on Israel. No surprise, since Israel has been waging war on the group for years, however the surprise is that it looks like other Arab states may join this war and that means big problems in the Middle East.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the chief of Hezbollah group was quoted after Israel rockets destroyed his home, "You wanted an open war. You will get an open war." In a telephone interview.

Related news stories report that as many as 15 Lebanese were killed in a rocket attack yesterday including women and children.

Why do I get the feeling that this is going to go far beyond the usual border skirmishes we’ve seen in the past? Again both sides, with the encouragement of the world community need to calm down and take a time out. They are behaving like bratty children. Bratty children with very deadly weapons and the potential to drag the world into a very ugly and foolish war.

Friday, July 14, 2006

US and Israel - Worshiping The God Of War

As the US and Israel bow before the statue of Mars I wonder where the commandment about "having no other gods before me" went. We share many things in common with the people of Israel, our faith among them. Unfortunately few Jews or Christians in power seem to be taking the teaching of their faiths very seriously, instead we worship the God of War.

Beyond the imperialist dreams of American politicians, our current war has much of its roots (or at least its justification) in vengeance. The burning desire for revenge is the same motivation for the Israeli’s attacks on Lebanon. Using force to settle differences comes up short on success when examined closely, yet we and our Israeli brethren continue to try it over and over again.

As a member of a 12-step program, I was often reminded that the definition of insanity is "trying the same thing over and over again expecting different results". It’s time the US and Israel and the rest of the Middle East stepped up and took a sobriety chip. They are drunk on the intoxicating spirit of revenge and until they put it down, there will never be peace.

Unfortunately, the opportunists have every reason to keep the wars going. They make billions of dollars on the death and destruction. Until we can find a way to make war unprofitable, I suspect we will continue down this long road of self-destruction. It is a slow motion death, because the war profiteers don’t want total annihilation, they just want "controlled conflicts" where they can sell their bombs and guns. The sad truth is that this is really death by a thousand cuts. Little by little we loose our ability to bring the world back from the brink, and unless we do something soon, Mars, God of War, will be the only idol left.

My hope is that people of faith can persuade our leaders and the leaders in the middle east to give up this suicidal activity and sit down to real peace talks. Everyone knows what needs to happen. Israel needs to assure the Palestinians that they will have a sovereign country. The Palestinians must assure the Israelis that they understand the reality of the situation and Israel has a right to exist. The last one will be tough, but people of faith and conscience can do it, and that is to make Jerusalem an "international city", governed by a coalition of religious and political leaders from around the world.

Will it happen? I hope so, but it will only be possible when we put down our guns and missiles and start to talk to each other like equal human beings. A Jewish Rabbi once said, "blessed are the peacemakers." Time to listen to that message before it is too late.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Lewis Black Demands End To The "Crawl" on CNN

The vein-popping anger of one of my favorite humorists, Lewis Black got directed at CNN yesterday in an interview with Miles O’Brien. He directed his comments directly at the management of CNN and said, "…you guys have got have got to…take the thing off the bottom of the page. Take the words off the bottom of the screen! There are people talking here." Amazingly the banner and crawl disappeared for the remainder of the interview.

Black voices the frustrations that many American’s feel in his commentary, myself included. The barrage of sound bites, crawling half-sentences and numbers scrolling onscreen convince us that we are getting lots of real news. What we are getting is crap. Edited, censored, distilled crap that will raise our blood pressure and convince us that we need to stay glued to the screen incase something really important happens and we miss it.

Here’s the news. We won’t miss it. In this age of home video, 24-hour news and more no event goes undocumented and it will eventually reach our eager eyes soon enough. Just because we missed the first bomb falling on Baghdad during the first Gulf War, we didn’t miss seeing the anti-aircraft rockets replayed millions of times on the news channels for the next 14 years.

In reality it really doesn’t make any difference. Our power to stop things like the current crazy war is not dependent on seeing it happen sooner than anyone else. Though "breaking news" may offer a distraction, it rarely offers anything useful unless it concerns eminent danger such as an approaching tornado. Real news needs to be analyzed and considered to be useful. To see events in perspective and to see the bigger picture we need time to think critically. Critical thinking is the antithesis of the modern 24-hour news machine. Critical thinking requires that we actually do some of our own research to form a cohesive and valid opinion on unfolding events. Sound bites and press releases are not news; they are tools of marketing departments.

We have commoditized our information and treat it like buying gas. We go to where we can get it fastest and cheapest with as little time spent understanding it as possible. That is why our nation is in such a mess. The kind of stuff Lewis Black rants about is precisely what we need to be examining closely. Otherwise we are just buying whatever is fed to us without question and are nothing more than a nation of sheep.

Thanks Lewis for getting CNN to drop the crap for at least a few minutes. Lets hope your voice is heard on a higher level and real journalism and news returns to the airwaves someday.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

FCC Seeks To End Live Broadcasts

Today the FCC has started requesting tapes of live broadcasts in order to comb them for "dirty words". For example, a spectator shouts something at a ball game and the network would become liable for broadcasting obscenity.

"It looks like they want to end live broadcast TV," said one executive, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. "We already know that they aren't afraid to go after news."

This could effectively end live TV and make everything broadcast subject to scrupulous censorship. The effect on the industry will be appalling. I suspect many networks, seeking to avoid fines and censure by the government may stifle political dissention as well just in case.

Upon hearing this I screamed at the top of my lungs, "ENOUGH"! I pledge to devote as much time and money as possible to defeating these "Big Brother" thugs who have taken control of our country in November. If you understand the draconian implications of this latest move, you will do the same. Otherwise, just shut up, hide and wait until they come for you for not marching in goose-step with them.

Cost Of War Just Went Up Another $110 Billion

Buried in the mid-session budget review, the White House requested an additional $110 billion for the war in Iraq. Having proudly trumpet the deficit reduction, actually the 4th highest deficit in history, Bush now wants even more money next year to continue the futile war.

As Iraq descends into full-scale civil war, Rumsfeld pops in for a surprise visit and to rally the troops. Another photo-op in the battle of photo-ops that this administration seems to be waging.

Where will this leave us? Deeper in debt, further embroiled in the Middle East and less safe than before. More importantly, where will this leave the people of Iraq? In even worse shape than us, with little infrastructure, more dead and wounded and no stable government. Anybody trying to plan and end game for this? Probably not with elections here coming up soon. In the end I guess we are left to pray for the troops, the Iraqis and ourselves, because no one in Washington seems to be listening.

Welcome Pentagon Folks!

Dungeon Diary got an unexpected visit from the Pentagon this morning researching Donald Rumsfelds recent statements that he was surprised the law applied to him. (Click log image at left to see full sized.)

Welcome folks, take your time and look around a little more next time. You might find something more interesting than the same old propaganda memos you get from the brass.

So I guess this means someone at the Pentagon is surfing in their spare time, or they are looking for terrorists. Sorry, no terrorists here, just an average American who wants to keep the rights of the Constitution intact. I do know that the folks over at the Project for a New American Century might qualify. They have big plans for American world domination and that sounds pretty terrifying to me.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Israel Hate Groups Offer Bounty For Killing Gays

Flyers being distributed in Jerusalem offer a NIS20,000 reward for killing gays marching in the International Gay Pride Parade scheduled there next month. The flyers even go so far as to suggest fire bombs and give detailed instructions of how to build them. The parade has generated much opposition from radical religious groups in the city and police may block the event if they deem it a security risk.

How convenient? The radical Jewish groups anonymously pass out leaflets to insight violence then show them to the police. The police deem it a security risk and bingo, no parade! I hope this tactic doesn’t become popular with Christian hate groups in this country. Strange how radical fundamentalists all look very much the same when you take away the crosses or stars of David or crescents.

Pioneer In Gender Reassignment Dies

The renowned and sometimes controversial doctor who coined the terms "gender identity" and "gender role" died from complications of Parkinson’s Disease last Friday. He was 84.
Dr. John Money conducted research at John Hopkins Hospital for almost 50 years, where he was a professor of Medical Psychology. He was a pioneer in work with gender reassignment and gender dysphoria.

The controversy surrounding him came from his work with parents of intersexed children (sometimes referred to as hermaphrodites). He often suggested parents raise their child as one sex or another. The most notable case was of David Reimer, who Dr Money suggested be raised as a girl after a botched circumcision. At age 15 Reimer discovered his true identity and rejected any further treatment and lived the remainder of his life as a man. He died of suicide at age 38 after several failed investments.

As with all pioneers, there is good with the bad, but for the field of gender studies, Dr. Money opened many doors on a previously hidden aspect of human sexuality.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Republican Hoekstra Says Bush May Be Guilty

Peter Hoekstra, Republican Congressman and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee wrote a scathing letter to President Bush in May in which he states that the Administration may have broken the law with it’s spying activities. Specifically the failure to brief congress on the spying was mentioned.

The letter obtained by the New York Times includes the following tersely worded summation:
"The U.S. Congress simply should not have to play Twenty Questions to get the information that it deserves under our Constitution."

His evident anger suggests that the once lock-step support Bush had in Congress may be faltering. Or it may simply be Hoekstra trying to distance himself from a President with such low approval ratings. Either was it is obvious that not only Democrats think Bush may be guilty of illegal activities.

If so, let the impeachment hearings begin!