Sunday, May 29, 2005

Does Viagra Cause Blindness?

Millions of men take impotence drugs like Viagra. Now reports that 43 of them have developed a not-too-rare form of blindness have health officials examining if the drugs might play any role.

There`s no evidence yet that the drugs increase risk. Indeed, the same types of illnesses that lead to impotence are linked to this type of vision loss.

Still, "we take this seriously," said Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Susan Cruzan, as the agency disclosed Friday that it was talking with the makers of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra about what the labels of those drugs should say about the reports. Cialis` maker recently, and voluntarily, added a one-line mention to its label.

At issue is sudden vision loss when blood flow to the optic nerve is blocked, a condition called NAION or non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. Seven such instances were reported in a March case review by two University of Minnesota ophthalmologists. The report by Dr. Howard Pomeranz and Dr. Abdhish Bhavsar was one of the first warnings of a possible link, informs Twin Cities.

In a statement, Pfizer said that a review of 103 clinical trials with Viagra involving 13,000 patients found no reports of the sudden blindness, known as non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION). "There is no evidence showing that NAION occurred more frequently in men taking Viagra than men of similar age and health who did not take Viagra," the statement said. Full story at PRAVDA.

Friday, May 27, 2005


to capture the world in a thought

Political correctness shortchanges intellect

How did it come to be that "political correctness" has become the social force of collegiate institutions? Rather than directing young men and women to be original thinkers, colleges and universities are sucking creative intuition from their minds and replacing it with "thinking that would bring accolades from the status quo."

There was a time when our college campuses were infused with creative thinkers. Young people spoke out against the social norms and blazed their own trails of social reform. What happened? Where is the fluent words of passionate discourse that moves a nation to change?

Today, the young intellectual is hesitant to express his or her views in writing or through dialogue for fear of rejection and ridicule. Furthermore, to do so would be misconstrued as a political stance against one thing or another. This is evident in collective think-tanks around the world. Many intellectuals of the day have traded in their professorship at some university to join this highly selective group that caters to government's dealings with foreign and domestic policies. And of course, these organizations are categorized as either liberal or conservative. The danger here is that intellectuals must adjust their basic beliefs to coincide with the ones who are buttering their bread. Yes, even genius can be bought.

As mankind moves forward in science and technology, is his individuality regressing back towards the dark ages? Will mankind experience another Renaissance? One would hope so.

May the passion of discovery and new ideas be the guiding light for those who repose at the feet of long-ago philosophers whose intense creative ideas shaped the thinking of today. Depose political correctness and force yourself to think creatively, answerable to no one or group other than your genius self!


Thursday, May 26, 2005

The world in the palm of their hands: Bilderberg 2005

Oh the theories and speculation about the infamous, super-secretive group, the Bilderberg. This group supposedly runs the world with full access to military arsenals, world armies, bottomless-wells of available funds. This group has always fascinated me. Here is an in-debth article on the Bilderbergs, with pictures. ONLINE JOURNAL

"The discussions they will engage in this year, from deciding how the world should deal with European-American relations, the Middle East powder keg, the Iraq war, the global economy and how to stave off war in Iran, and the consensus they reach, will influence the course of Western civilization and the future of the entire planet. This meeting takes place behind closed doors in total secrecy, protected by a phalanx of armed guards."

saturate

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I perceive my reality; my reality perceives me

I find myself re-defining these words that have become a part of my life: to know, to dare, to will, to keep silent. There are times when a simple explanation isn't enough to understand a confusing or senseless thought- humans continue to re-create themselves to find their truth based on their perception of reality. This exercise is necessary for the survival of the individual for to ignore or fear new realities can result in a stagnant mind.

We are continually re-creating our reality, whether we are aware we are, or not. This is part of our intrinsic make-up. That man has the knowledge, indeed, the thought/ability/capacity to change, is remarkable and remains a mystery.

Can we then play a passive role in the environment that surrounds us? Are we able to change our world around us? Do we believe that we have the power within us to do so? Why is man dependent on a Supreme Being if he has the tools within him to alter his reality?

Can the bearer of bad news turn it into something that is pleasing to our pleasure center? When do we actually stop creating our reality? Is there anyone out there who has the answers to these questions? Does anyone care? I seek the questions because the answers are there. If a question is perceived, then there must be a corresponding answer. Don't you agree?

To know: to know that which is the make-up of my environment; all those sensory perceptions that affect me and those around me in a meaningful way-- for good or for bad.

To dare: to perceive these thoughts and their meaning in my life and what I choose to do with these thoughts. Will I risk all that I am, all that I believe, to search for a new truth?

To will: Shall I direct my thought to the next level in which I am aware of the ability to manifest my will so that it directly affects my environment? Do I perceive this to be a good or bad thing and even then, choose to direct my efforts towards an outcome?

To keep silent: And so, after I have directed my will towards that which is tangible-- that which I have manifested, shall I make my triumph known to my fellow men? Or shall I keep it to myself, safe in the knowledge that all that I am is a perception of my realities and all that which I manifest within my realm of dreams.

And then after this, what is the next step? Is there another realm that I can explore-- that I am able to perceive? How will I know I have reached a level of development that I am able to perceive, or is that new reality still a glimpse of dreams and possibilities not yet manifested?

Ahh... I love being human. I love the very act of thinking, of knowing. To know; to dare; to will; and to keep silent.

In Remembrance, Jason S. Cruz

A neighbor's son who served in Iraq came home today... in a plain box and the American flag draped over it. He was a native son of Guam and a proud U.S. citizen-- a young soldier who served his country with honor. Maria, his mother, cried. She cried and cried and cried. He was only 21 years old.

Jason was attending the University of Guam and planned to major in business administration, when a thought entered his head... it was his duty to serve his country. He enlisted in the Army and provided for his mother and siblings by sending money home every pay day.

With his dream of a promised college fund from the military, after college, Jason planned to open his own car detailing business. A carefree, young man, Jason had a quick smile and a big heart. The oldest of three, he was the man of the house since his father passed away years ago due to a heart attack.

This post is dedicated to Jason S. Cruz, a native son of Guam, who died in Iraq.

A son who loved his family and cared for them.
A man who loved his country and died for it.
A soul whose faith sustained him in his hour of need.
R.I.P. my friend. You will be missed.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


sacred lights

I will triumph over mine enemies

The heckling, the jeering voices,
Trapped in my head
Fatigued thoughts jostling
against the sharp walls of memory

passages of visions contort my face
cannot escape the carnage of emotions
that threatens to wither my peace

hide it behind my wall of silence
until another day, where the pain is endured
I remember the faces whom I sought to destroy
for they shall never forget mine

time I shall store until the moment is right
then shall I rise and smite my foes
passage of years will not detract my goal

I shall never forget the taking of my spirit
shall never forget the breaching of my soul
What is left but despair and revenge?

After the hunted season is through,
Then shall I earn the right to peace
I shall embrace my half-life and
Seek what happiness is left.

Other seasons will come, but this one, ah.
My heart will answer to the whispered one
Who will show me the way to freedom
I shall not falter, for strong is my faith

I shall render what is due them who caused me harm
I shall slay them, besmirch their words,
And triumph in my moment of glory.
Selah

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bush vetoes stem cell research; concern over cloning in South Korea

President Bush on Friday said he would veto legislation that would loosen restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and expressed deep concern about human cloning research in South Korea.

"I'm very concerned about cloning," the president said. "I worry about a world in which cloning becomes accepted."
White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy said the work in South Korea amounted to human cloning for the sole purpose of scientific research. "The president is opposed to that," Duffy said. "That represents exactly what we're opposed to."

South Korean researchers, funded by their government, reported producing human embryos through cloning and then extracting their stem cells. It is a major advancement in the quest to grow patients' own replacement tissue to treat diseases, tells the Washington Post. For more info on South Korea's efforts on stem cell research, click here (earthtimes).

According to the Guardian Unlimited, The president also threatened a veto of legislation that would clear the way for taxpayer money to be spent on embryonic stem cell research. Full story at Pravda. Click here for an Op-Ed piece on stem-cell research from the Ayn Rand Institute.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Author Dan Brown. Jordanian authorities reportedly confiscated copies of the controversial bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, for slandering Christianity.

"Da Vinci Code" confiscated in Jordan

For what it's worth, I enjoyed reading the "Da Vinci Code". However, readers in Jordan will not have the pleasure of reading it after copies of the book were confiscated.

AMMAN--Amman's daily Al Ghad said that copies of the book were seized from a publishing house in the Jordanian capital and its owner, Ahmed Abou Tawk, was summoned for interrogation.

The paper quoted the president of the state's Publication Department, Ahmed Kodat, as saying that other titles were confiscated in addition to The Da Vinci Code for undermining religions.

"This book is largely harmful for Christianity and was banned from many countries, including Lebanon," Kodat said, noting that Christian clerics in Jordan demanded the ban.

Jordan, a mainly Muslim country, has a Christian minority. Full story at Middle East Times. Visit author Dan Brown's website.

Monday, May 16, 2005


Illustration of Chamorro women fishing with surround nets

The Plight of the Chamorro; My People

Gather round my children and listen closely to my words,
The story of my people of long ago
who lived and died on this island we call Guahan

My Chamorro ancestors were tall and strong
Proud bearers of Micronesian and Polynesian descent
These hardy people traveled by flying proa, guided by the stars
An island they saw in the distance and knew it was their home
They settled and bore strong children,
tradition and culture were born.

Their ancestors, the aniti and taotaomonas,
the ancient spirits of past
watched over the people--the proud ones
From the land, they harvested taro, papaya and tapioca
From the sea, they gathered fish, eel and crabs
Every evening, they came together
and praised the gods for their good fortune
But it was soon to end.

One day, the Spanish with their Bibles and guns,
sailed into the harbor
They killed the mighty warriors
and taught the villagers to deny their gods
And replaced them with a man named Jesus Christ

With the Spanish came the plague that killed half of the Chamorros
The strong grew weak in health, heart, and spirit
The women were dying at childbirth
and the children lived with the manamko
Then the Spanish left,
but indoctrinated their Catholic legacy.
But it was soon to end.

One day, soldiers from the Land of the Rising Sun
flew warplanes over our sky and dropped deadly bombs.
Many islanders were in Church,
worshipping the Legacy of the Spanish priests and soldiers.
All ran to save their families, but alas, many died,
and many more marched as sheep to slaughter
to live in concentration camps.

Women were raped and men were humiliated in front of their family,
just to see a smile on a Japanese soldier’s face.
But it was soon to end.

Uncle Sam came and took Guahan from the Japanese,
driving them away
And the Chamorro people cheered. The war was over.
The Americans stayed and inculcated their western ways
Today, we eat hotdogs, drink beer, drive Chevrolets
Our children’s Chamorro heritage is learned in books,
Strangers to their language and culture

Our children see the old Chamorro ways
as backward and old-fashion
The ways of the ancient ones have been replaced
by televised ads of slim bodies,
white skin, and perfect teeth.
This is the way of our culture, of our heritage,
from our once proud ancestors
whose generation grows weak and die young, day by day.

The Chamorro people, a distant memory in my mind;
the distant echoes of the ancient ones lament,
for the spirits no longer protect and bless us.
Ancient Chamorro lands desecrated with impunity
in the name of economic growth.

Listen well, my children and re-learn the ways of the forgotten ones.
Their blood runs deep within you. Reclaim your heritage.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Massacre in Uzbekistan, 500 feared dead

"The Independent" - - Hundreds of protesters are reported to have been gunned down in bloody clashes with government forces that have ravaged eastern Uzbekistan.

One human rights observer in the eastern city of Andizhan said that up to 500 people may have perished in the shootings and the gun battles that followed. A doctor spoke of "many, many dead", witnesses said 200 to 300 people were shot dead, and an AP reporter saw at least 30 bodies in Andijan. As night fell, tension was high, with armoured vehicles positioned at crossroads and trucks blocking main thoroughfares. Terrified demonstrators tried to flee the country, seen as a key ally by Britain and the US in the war on terror. Full story at ICH.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

A Note from the Hermit

I lost the entire contents of my blog a few days ago... actually, somehow, it was partially deleted. Blogger managed to retrieve it, but alas, I lost all my links. I'm making a list of all lost links and posting them back to my site. This is a tedious process. I hope I don't forget anyone.

Now I realize how addicted I am to blogging. Surreal depression quickly set in and honestly, I felt like I had lost a loved one. Hmm.. this is one for the books.

Technology reveals the face of King Tut

Thursday, May 12, 2005

King Tutankhamun's Face Re-Created

The famous boy king, Tutankhamun-- has a face, thanks to the reconstruction efforts of forensic artists and physical anthropologists. Fascinating.

National Geographic--Scientists have created the first ever bust of the ancient Egyptian King Tutankhamun based on 3-D CT scans of his 3,300-year-old mummy.

Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, led the effort, joined by forensic artists and physical anthropologists from Egypt, France, and the United States. Three independent teams created busts of Tut.

"In my opinion, the shape of the face and skull are remarkably similar to a famous image of Tutankhamun as a child, where he is shown as the sun god at dawn rising from a lotus blossom," Hawass said.

The study will be featured in the June issue of National Geographic magazine.
Full story, National Geographic
Another story of the reconstrution process, National Geographic
Related story, "Egypt's 'King Tut Curse' Caused by Tomb Toxins?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Surreal tapestry of a fallen angel

K is for Kill (or be killed)


Oh man, shed blood, life
think murder or be murdered
better him than me.


Kill: To commit murder. Murder or be murdered. There is no other way to describe war. The shadow of Americans dying in Iraq haunts the family table as military recruiters hustle to convince young men and women to enlist, indeed, sometimes even bribe. But even the incentive of a $20,000 bonus is not enough. It is ironic that now, more than ever, the opportunity for men and women to enlist is easier than before, the benefits are better, and the military as a whole, seems more human… and desperate.

The National Guard is hurting especially and can’t seem to convince even the older folks to join. Even young folks from low-income families aren’t convinced. They’d rather take their chances on the streets where they grew up than in a war zone far away from home.

Does this imply that Americans are cowards? That they are not patriotic? No, of course not. Mom and Dad worry about their children dying in a foreign country. Young people know they have a future ahead of them and by going to Iraq, well, that future is cut in half. Furthermore, Americans now believe that the situation in Iraq is a protracted war and can only lead to more deaths and eventual failure.

Is $20,000 enough to kill, or be killed? Only if the soldier is fortunate enough to survive. And if they do, is the emotional and mental abuse worth it? Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is proliferate, on the rise, and is affecting the entire family in a very negative way. Our servicemen are coming home without an arm, a leg, an eye, missing half a brain…can the United States put a price tag on these missing extremities? But more importantly, can the United States fix the damage and make it all better like it was before they left to fight a war far away from home?

The kill zone... kill or be killed- but at what price?

Click here for: Iraq War: Cheating for Enlistments
Click here for: Army, Marines Miss Recruiting Goals Again


Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Unveiling

Most Beautiful Mummy

Archaeologists have unveiled "the most beautiful mummy ever found in Egypt," according to Zahi Hawass, the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. Revealed Tuesday, the 2,300-year-old male mummy was discovered two months ago under 20 feet (6 meters) of sand near the pyramids at Saqqara.

Its pigments still vivid, the mummy's nearly intact wooden sarcophagus offers a glimpse of ancient rituals and everyday life: The mummification process is depicted in detail, for instance, while, Maat, goddess of truth and balance, hovers above with wings outstretched.

One thing the paintings don't reveal is who lurks inside the sarcophagus. The gold mask and the mummy's location, a royal burial complex, suggest the deceased was a man of great wealth. The rest is up to science. Hawass, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, told reporters that an upcoming CT scan should unlock secrets of who the mummy was and how he lived. More information on Egyptian mummification at Smithsonian Institution.

—Ted Chamberlain, National Geographic

Monday, May 09, 2005


Isn't this gorgeous and mystical? The famous Horsehead Nebula sits amid the Orion molecular cloud complex. It's a protrusion at the edge of a larger region of dust. The dust obscures background stars, some of which light the fringes.

I'm awed by the universe. Reminds me that I am just a speck in the entire cosmos. This photo is inspiring. Perhaps the most famous nebula of all is the Eagle Nebula, or M16, immortalized in this 1995 Hubble photo. The Pillars of Creation in the image contain dense, compact pockets of interstellar gas called evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs). This is where stars are born.

Extreme Makeover- Home Edition sets its sight on run-down classroom

The extremely popular, "Extreme Makeover-Home Edition," has its eyes set on a Washington D.C. classroom that has been selected for a makeover this fall, along with its teacher who will also be treated to a personal makeover. Teachers from schools in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta will also be chosen within the coming months and may submit an entry. The show's sponsors said nominations will be accepted starting Tuesday on the website for "O", the Oprah Magazine (www.oprah.com/omagazine), and the winner selected over the summer. Full story at the Washington Post.


Leave Your Politics At the Door, All Ye Who Enter This Church, Or Be Voted Out

Extreme politics creates division and misunderstandings, but should it cause the same in one’s local Church? Rev. Chan Chandler of East Waynesville Baptist Church led the charge to vote out nine members of the congregation because they did not vote for George W. Bush, voting for John Kerry instead in last year’s presidential election.

"This all started over politics and our right to vote for whoever we wanted to," said Thelma Lowe, who has been attending the church for 42 years. She and her husband Frank, a deacon at the church for 35 years, were among those voted out. Full story at CNN.



daemon est deus inversus

Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Story

One day, a kind and good king took off his splendid robes and dressed himself in beggars’ rags and left his palace with an alms bowl in his arms.

Walking for several miles, he entered the city walls and began wandering the city square in a slow, uncertain manner, holding out his bowl in a show of mercy. Men and women of stature who had dined with him on several occasions in his kingly palace gave him looks of distain and even his lowliest subjects scoffed at him and showed him no compassion.

With a downtrodden spirit, the king left the city and walked back to his palace. Days went by and the citizens of the country were alarmed. They had heard that their beloved king was sickly. Palace pages pronounced that the king had contracted a mysterious disease.

The Palace seers said that the king was feverish and delirious, proclaiming that every sin in his countryman’s heart produced a diseased black spot that appeared on the king’s skin, causing him great pain and suffering.

The king’s citizens were sad for they loved their king. He was a fair and generous man. At the announcement, hundreds of people trekked to the palace to pay their last respects to their beloved king.

As they paid him homage, they recognized the beggar man in the square who had begged for alms. Ashamed and weeping, they begged for forgiveness. His royal highness in a somber and measured tone replied, “I will always love you, no matter if your heart is hard. Do not weep for me for where I go, beggars and thieves will dine with princes and kings. Never forget this.”

After his death, the country people became the most compassionate and patient people in the land. The End.


Happy Mother's Day

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Israeli linked to AIPAC probe to leave post

The significance of this story and others that are soon to follow will no doubt be a question of national security. Will the hard questions be asked? It seems unlikely according to this story. The article can be found at ICH. Another related story may be found at CBS News.

By Nathan Guttman
WASHINGTON - Naor Gilon, the head of the political department at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, whose name has been linked to the Pentagon analyst charged with passing classified information to unauthorized personnel, will leave his post during the summer.

Gilon has been at the embassy for the past three years, and a spokesman in Washington said that he was leaving "for personal reasons." No employee of the Israeli Embassy has been quizzed in the affair, U.S. authorities have not notified the embassy itself about the inquiry and no one there has been asked to cooperate with detectives. That said, Israeli officials in Washington say that since the affair was made public last year, work relations with their American counterparts have become strained, and there is a new guardedness in conversations with U.S. officials.

Officially, the Israeli Embassy in Washington has been at pains to stress that it is not part of the investigation, and that its employees have never broken the law in their contacts with officials in the capital.

© Copyright 2005 Haaretz

Pentagon Analyst Larry Franklin Arrested in Probe

It wasn't a barely kept secret. An investigation began, talk generated and finally Larry Franklin was arrested. How deep is the probe and will major players be named?. According to Franklin's attorney, Franklin is expected to plead not guilty. What will this man reveal? Stay tuned. This story is presented in its entirety and may be found at Newsfactor Technology News Another related story may be found at Yahoo! News.


Larry Franklin, a 58-year-old Air Force Reserves colonel who once worked for the Pentagon's No. 3 official, is the first person charged in a long-running investigation into whether Israel improperly obtained U.S. secrets.

Twice last year, FBI agents searched the offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying organization influential on U.S.-Israeli relations.

It was once thought AIPAC might be a target of the probe, but that's not the case, according to two knowledgeable people. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because the probe is still under way.

One of the people is someone familiar with the group's role in the probe; the other is a federal law enforcement official. They said the FBI is focusing on whether any classified information reached Israel.

An FBI agent's affidavit that accompanied the criminal complaint against Franklin does not suggest that the disclosure endangered U.S. troops, but said intelligence sources could have been compromised.

There is no allegation of espionage by Franklin. He faces a single count of disclosing classified defense information, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said his country was not involved.

"Israel does not carry on any activity in the United States which could harm, God forbid, its closest ally," Shalom told Israel's Channel One TV.

Israel has said it imposed a ban on espionage in the United States after the scandal over Jonathan Pollard, a civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy who was caught spying for Israel in 1985.

AIPAC declined comment Wednesday on the Franklin case. Previously, the group has said it had done nothing wrong and was cooperating with the investigation.

Franklin turned himself in Wednesday morning. He made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., and was released on $100,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing was set for May 27. Franklin's lawyer, John Richards, said he expected his client would plead innocent.

Franklin, who specialized in Iran and Middle Eastern affairs, had clearance to review top-secret documents. He gave classified information to two people without such clearance at a luncheon meeting at a restaurant in Arlington, Va., in June 2003, FBI Agent Catherine Hanna said in the affidavit.

Franklin's top secret security Latest News about Security clearance was suspended in June 2004, the Justice Department said. He formerly worked in the office of policy undersecretary Douglas Feith.


Japanese Outcry Over Blood Type Prejudice

Adolf Hitler’s premise of race distinction predicated on one’s blood type lives on in Japan and is negatively affecting the lives of many Japanese. It doesn't get more fundamental than this: "Type A's are perfectionists and make good accountants; Type B's are sociable but selfish." The classification of the individual's strengths and weaknesses based on blood type is causing some groups to protest.

Ryoichi Kikuchi of the Broadcasting Ethics and Program Improvement Organization, says his watchdog group has fielded hundreds of complaints.

"Viewers are now complaining about their children being bullied at school, couples breaking up and bosses treating underlings unfairly -- all because of blood type prejudice," he said.

The theory has been around for decades, but its dark past is little known.

The discovery of blood types in 1901 was one of the greatest advances in medical history, but the breakthrough was then perverted by the Nazis to claim the superiority of Germans -- mostly types A and O -- over Jews, Asians and others with a larger proportion of type B blood.

The theory reached Japan in a 1927 psychologist's report, and the militarist government of the time commissioned a study aimed at breeding better soldiers.

The craze faded in the 1930s as its unscientific basis became evident. But it was revived in the 1970s with a book by Masahiko Nomi, an advocate and broadcaster with no medical background. The rest of the story at Newsday.


Friday, May 06, 2005



Karte-Sakhi, Kabul- Reminder of War- One of the saddest things is that many women and children who are mourning the loss of their loved ones are coming to graveyards on Thursdays.

Taliban rises from the ashes, more resources, more money, better organized

The United States, if human, would have many nightmares, and one of them would be the re-emergence of the Taliban, which is exactly what's happening today. What does this mean for the U.S. and its containment efforts to fight terrorists in the Middle East? Read the full story at Asia Times, Online.

KARACHI--The US, content in the belief that all support systems for the Taliban had been withdrawn and their financial lifelines completely dried up - and with moderate Taliban being drawn into the mainstream political fold in Afghanistan - has been shocked by a new phase of fierce Taliban resistance this spring.

The visits of Lieutenant-General David Barno, commander of US troops in Afghanistan, and chief of US Central Command, General John Abizaid, to Islamabad and their insistence that Pakistan restart a powerful campaign against al-Qaeda and the Taliban is the result of a new realization that the Taliban problem is back to square one.

Not only are the Taliban primed in the latest techniques in guerrilla warfare, they have also got their hands on fresh resources - both in terms of personnel and supplies - which the US had believed were choked off.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


77th Plenary Meeting of the 59th General Assembly session

The United Nations- can the international community live without it?


How effective is the United Nations in international affairs particularly in disarmament and peace keeping missions? The answer is, not effective at all. It has proved virtually ineffective to prevent endemic skirmishes between neighboring nation-states and among international nation-states.

Here is another question: Is the United Nations necessary in spite of its failures? The answer is yes and the reason is because there is no other international forum of comparable importance and almost global representation. The United Nations is effective only if its member nation-states obey its edicts and participate within set parameters.

Members continue to employ the United Nations as a useful conduit in diplomatic issues and debate at government levels, and although this is the case, the United Nations has no practical power or influence in matters dealing with war and peace.

What is the reason for its ineffective role? It is because of the egoism of member power nations- the United States, the Soviet Union, China, Japan, Italy, France, and so on- that deprives it of the power to operate decisively. The veto power held by members of the Security Council hinders the United Nations in fulfilling it role and gives license for powerful countries to invade weaker ones with impunity. Furthermore, the Second United Nations Special Session on Disarmament held in June, 1982, is a pathetic failure as witnessed with the proliferation of arms trades around the world.

No matter what critics espouse about the United Nations, it must be strengthened from within no matter how dismal its record for peacekeeping and other such issues. Today, the United Nations must re-gain the trust of the international community, and the only way to achieve this is to demand reform from top to bottom. Its members must abandon pride and work together to bring about peace. There is still hope for the United Nations, an institution that, even with its impropriety and failures, world leaders continue to address debate and discuss issues affecting their nation-state and its role in the international community.


Illustration: Michael Leunig

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Remember

Remembering Kent State, May 4, 1970


Kent State University was placed in an international spotlight after a tragic end to a student demonstration against the Vietnam War and the National Guard on May 4, 1970. Shortly after noon on that Monday, 13 seconds of rifle fire by a contingent of 28 Ohio National Guardsmen left four students dead, one permanently paralyzed, and eight others wounded. Not every student was a demonstration participant or an observer. Some students were walking to and from class. The closest student wounded was 30 yards away from the Guard, while the farthest was nearly 250 yards away.

The divisive effect of the Vietnam War on American society was especially evident on campuses throughout the country. At Kent, the day after the announcement to send U.S. troops into Cambodia marked the start of a weekend of anti-war protests that began on campus and spilled into the city of Kent's downtown. Broken windows and other damage to a number of downtown businesses prompted fear, rumors, and eventually a call by the city's mayor to the governor for assistance.

The National Guard arrived Saturday night. That day some students assisted with the downtown cleanup. That night some other students set fire to the campus headquarters of the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). Sunday morning the governor came to Kent and in the city's firehouse held a press conference saying the University would remain open. After a Sunday of relative calm, an anti-war rally at noon on Monday brought 2,000 to 3,000 people to the University Commons area. When the Guard gave the order to disperse, some in the crowd responded with verbal epithets and stones. The Guard answered with tear gas, but when the spring winds altered its effect, the Guard attempted to enforce the Ohio Riot Act with raised bayonets, forcing demonstrators to retreat. The Guard then changed formation. As the Guard approached the crest of Blanket Hill, some Guardsmen turned toward the Taylor Hall parking lot and between 61 and 67 shots were fired. Four students were killed and nine wounded. That afternoon, University President Robert I. White ordered the University closed.

The University continues to remember the four students who died -- Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, and William Schroeder -- through scholarships in their names and in the words inscribed on the May 4 Memorial: "Inquire. Learn. Reflect." The Memorial site is next to Taylor Hall, on a hill overlooking the Commons, near the site of the shootings. Pamphlets are available at the site. (Kent State Massacre)

This link (informationclearinghouse) takes the reader to another insightful post of the Kent State massacre. Well written and profound.



"...And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange even to the men who used them." The World Set Free. H.G.Wells 1914

Report says U.S. unprepared to defend its citizens from nuclear attack

Does the fact that the United States is not prepared to defend its citizens from a nuclear attack frighten you? It should. This report from the Washington Post discusses the failure of Homeland Security to devise a comprehensive, full-proof protocol for the United States and its citizens in the event of a terrorist nuclear attack. Furthermore, Homeland Security's website for U.S. citizens, Ready.gov gives ambiguous advice on how protect onself from a nuclear attack and experts say its advice is misleading.

To the Point:
·
…more than 3 1/2 years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. government has failed to adequately prepare first responders and the public for a nuclear strike, according to emergency preparedness and nuclear experts and federal reports.
· Although hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved by rapidly evacuating people downwind of a radiation cloud, officials have trained only small numbers of first responders to prepare for such an event, according to public health specialists and government documents. And the information given to the public is flawed and incomplete, many experts agree
· Members of the public who seek information from Homeland Security's Web site, Ready.gov, may not be getting the best advice, experts said.
· U.S. officials say they are only in the first stages of planning ways to communicate with endangered downwind communities, via radio, television or cell phones.
· Homeland Security officials point with pride to the nuclear response training given to 2,200 first responders. But domestic defense experts point out there are 2 million such firefighters, police officers and emergency medical personnel nationwide.
· The government also has failed to communicate well with the public about nuclear dangers, terrorism experts said.
· In late 2003, months after the debut of Homeland Security's Ready.gov Web site, Rand Corp. released a detailed study advising individuals on responding to various attack scenarios - but with starkly different recommendations. Ready.gov gave almost no information on which to base a hide-or-flee decision, beyond advice such as to "Quickly assess the situation" after a nuclear blast. In general, it advised going inside, underground if possible, and fleeing by car rather than on foot. Rand, which in the 1950s was an architect of U.S. nuclear doctrine, said going indoors "would provide little protection in a nuclear attack." It said Ready.gov's suggestion that people in the blast zone head underground after a blast is "misleading" because few people would have time to take that step. Ready.gov made no mention of the critical factor of wind. But Rand advised that if wind is carrying smoke and the mushroom cloud toward people, they should immediately head perpendicular to it, on foot, for at least a few miles, to get out of the plume's path. Driving would be futile because of impassable roads, Rand said.
· "Guidance from Ready.gov fails to indicate the time urgency involved," said Lynn E. Davis, a former undersecretary of state for arms control who was the Rand study's lead author. "We must act in a matter of minutes to survive."
·
"Ready.gov treats a nuclear weapon in this case as if it were a big truck bomb, which it's not," said Ivan Oelrich, a physicist who studies nuclear weapons for the nonprofit Federation of American Scientists. "There's no information in Ready.gov that would help your chances" of surviving a nuclear blast or the resulting mushroom cloud, he said.

Full story written by John Mintz (Washington Post)/Story appeared in the "New Hampshire Union Leader"

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Prisoner No. 777

Planned US-Israeli Attack on Iran

Here is an important site regarding US-Israeli plans to attack Iran. This site contains various articles from various sources. If interested, check it out. Click US-Israeli Attack on Iran.

1 in every 138 Americans behind bars

This article deals only with numbers; even then, it is an interesting read. The numbers reveal the decay of societal structure in the United States and other countries.

By Alex Jones
--The US prison population, already the largest in the world, reached a new high of more than 2.1 million last year, with one in every 138 residents of the country now behind bars, according to new government statistics.

The data, made public by the Bureau of Justice Statistics on Sunday, put the US far ahead of countries like China and Russia, whose combined population is about five times that of America.

"The numbers are pretty consistent with what they have been in the last few years," Justice Department statistician Paige Harrison, a co-author of the report, said. "We are seeing continued growth in prisons and jails, but at a lower rate than we had about 10 years ago."

The study shows the number of inmates across the country rose an estimated 48,452 people, or 2.3 per cent, in the 12-month period ending on June 30, 2004.

In other words, the system was adding to its ranks on average 932 individuals every week. The rate of incarceration reached a record of 726 inmates per 100,000 residents — up from 716 a year earlier.

By comparison, the current incarceration rate in Britain is 142 per 100,000 citizens, in China 118, in France 91, and in Japan 58, according to the Justice Policy Institute.

US federal prisons that house most drug offenders accounted for the largest increase of the prison population — 6.3 per cent. (Infowars.net)

Monday, May 02, 2005


Monument to Party Foundation (Sickle, Hammer and Brush), P'Yongyang, North Korea/ Notice the hammer (middle) resembles a concrete phallus.

What's Up, North Korea?

North Koreans are proud nationalists which defines the unique way they interact with other people. North Koreans take themselves very seriously, do not take criticisms lightly, and are easily offended. Furthermore, they trust no one. North Koreans believe that the United States is trying to “push them around”; that the U.S. has “no respect”; and that the U.S. is “trying to take over the world”. The North Korean government believes that the U.S. is a terroristic country, with its own terrorist network, worldwide.

North Korea is the center of attention once again, after apparently testing a short range missile, Sunday.

On CNN, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card said this,

“North Koreans "are living in poverty -- many in concentration camps. They do not have any exercise of democracy or freedom. They are not allowed to contact the outside world. [Kim] is not the kind of leader that is comfortable with the rest of the world."

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Card portrayed North Korea as a target of U.S. efforts to inspire democracy around the world.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure that the people of North Korea recognize that they're being cheated and denied opportunities that come with freedom and democracy," he said.

Card’s statements exemplify the extreme ignorance of the Bush Administration about North Koreans. Americans will never understand the reasons behind the madness that North Koreans exhibit—will never understand the nationalism that North Koreans pride themselves. The very idea of nationalism has been openly challenged by Americans for decades. But even then, Americans do not push the envelope. They question authority, but do not seek to undermine it. (With the exception of the Oklahoma City bombings and a few others and even then, these were Americans killing Americans. A tragedy which leaves many with one fundamental question: Why? Was Timothy McVeigh’s “inalienable rights” being threatened? Was democracy being threatened? Will we ever know?)

To North Koreans, nationalism is their foundation of tradition; the basic principles of their family way of life. They are saying, “if you want us to work with you, you must treat us with respect, accept our way of life and leave us to run our country the way we see fit.”

North Korea acts this way because its government feels threatened by extinction of its values--its people—its way of life; therefore, the government is compelled to show that it will not be pushed around by another “foreign” country.

Bush knows that the United States cannot incur another war-- but he should have looked ahead and planned his foreign policy accordingly. Today, his aggressive (arrogant) foreign policies have polarized the U.S. from other countries and their leaders. The U.S. has made itself a self-appointed “watch dog” of the world. The constant drivel of “in the name of democracy/a better future/freedom from the oppressed, is bulls+++.

North Koreans ask, if the U.S. is the shining example of democracy, then why are millions of Americans living in poverty; why are there tens of thousands of homeless Americans; why is crime high and cannot be contained; why do Americans defraud their government; why does America have a drug problem; why can't Americans take care of their elderly; why is the suicide rate high in America; why is racism still an issue; why is AIDS rampant in America; why do Americans pay so much for healthcare and what happens to Americans who can't afford healthcare; why are millions of Americans unemployed; why is there an overflow in American prisons; why do Americans fight about unborn fetuses; the right to live or die; why do political candidates spend multi-millions of dollars on campaigns, then argue about poverty. KISS... keep it simple, stupid... and lastly, "if America thinks it can fix other countries problems, why can't it fix its own?"(a 10-year-old niece of mine contributed this last piece). Do these social and economic issues define democracy?

Bush is now aware that the United States has to fight many wars, topple many governments, kill and destroy many lives, all in the name of “Democracy”, but really, the agenda is to take over that country's natural resources. Does the U.S. have plans to bring democracy to North Korea? What does the U.S. have to gain if it invades North Korea? We all know what's at stake in Iraq and Iran.

As the U.S. continues to foot the bill of the Iraqi War and drive itself to ultimate bankruptcy, other countries, even those that are pro-U.S., are finding lucrative ways to finance their government coffers and this means making deals with countries that are anti-U.S.

Today, North Korea prepares for war against the U.S., if the U.S. decides to “bring it on” the shores of North Korea.

Canada approves cannabis-based painkiller; U.S. unlikely to follow

Congress should review federal regulations, lighten strict laws, and give this drug a chance. Granted, protectionist laws play a heavy hand for U.S. pharmaceutical companies, however, there are drugs manufactured outside the U.S. that are on the cutting-edge that should be available to U.S. health consumers. This move will drive down the price of medications and force U.S. pharmaceutical companies to lower their prices.
Another interesting story about this "liquid marijuana" can be found here.(Colorado Libertarian Party)

By Aaron Smith, CNN
NEW YORK
-- A cannabis-based painkiller for sufferers of multiple sclerosis is expected to be in Canadian pharmacies this summer, but whether it appears on U.S. pharmacy shelves is a key question. But if the past is any indication, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might go tough on a cannabis-based drug.

Sativex, which is sprayed into patients' mouths, is produced by the British firm GW Pharmaceuticals. It was approved by the Canadian government on April 19.

“A great number of multiple sclerosis sufferers have experimented, sometimes illegally, with herbal marijuana in the past," said Mark Rogerson, spokesman for GW Pharmaceuticals, whose scientists extract cannabis from greenhouse-cultivated plants. "We are confident that many patients will prefer a pharmaceutical or a scientific solution to the problem rather than crude herbal marijuana." Full story at CNN.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


I could sell this

Firm investigated for bilking millions from U.S. government

Custer Battles LLC, a contract security group in Iraq, is under investigation by the U.S. government for allegedly scamming millions of dollars from the federal government. Did this company undergo a background check? Is it a well-established company? Were its customers happy with its service? Were any of these questions asked before awarding the bid to this wild-west-mentality security group? What's not acceptable is that Amercians in Iraq exhibit neanderthal acts against each other... they are all far away from home, but they don't seem to give a damn. It's enough that they have to live, survive in a hostile country. Where's the support for each other? Uberdorks, thy name is idiot. How many other contractors in Iraq bilk the U.S. government? Halliburton, of course, but how many more. Land of the oppressed, home of thieves (Iraq).

This information was taken from Yahoo! :
Custer Battles wants its customers to understand the risks of doing business in difficult environments. The company provides security services, risk management consulting, and other services including business intelligence, litigation support, and security-related training. It has provided security services to companies involved in reconstruction efforts in Iraq. Co-founders Scott Custer and Mike Battles are former US Army Rangers.

By DEBORAH HASTINGS

His career in Baghdad was brief. And it ended badly.

On a blistering July afternoon, three MP5 submachine guns were pointed at Robert Isakson. The men carrying the weapons wanted his money and his security pass.

As Isakson tells it, they also wanted his guns, leaving him unarmed in a mess of a country and banned from its safest haven.

``We were defenseless,'' says the former cop and FBI agent. He had come to Iraq to help rebuild the devastated country, accompanied by his 14-year-old son, Bobby. Now, after less than a month, they were being expelled at gunpoint.

By Americans.

The gunmen and Isakson all worked for Custer Battles LLC, a Rhode Island-based contracting firm now mired in lawsuits and a criminal investigation by the Pentagon. Isakson claims company employees ordered him out because he refused to help defraud the U.S. government.

It is one allegation on a long list.

Custer Battles security guards have also been accused of firing at unarmed civilians. They have been accused of crushing a car filled with Iraqi children and adults. They have been accused of unleashing a hail of bullets in a Baghdad hotel, only to discover, when the dust literally settled, that they had been shooting at each other.

The company is under investigation by the Department of Defense for allegedly overcharging the government millions by making up invoices for work never done, equipment never received, and guards who didn't exist. Full story at CBS.