Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Ugly Face of Capitalism

They profit while the hungry die - Los Angeles Times:
"The Canadian government recognized this and last month increased the share of its food aid open to local and regional purchases from 10% to 50%. The U.S. is the only donor nation that still avoids local and regional purchases.

Congress nonetheless blocked the overdue reform. Why? The Iron Triangle — the nickname given the coalition of big agribusinesses, shipping companies and nongovernmental development and relief organizations, or NGOs, that lobbies for food aid. Big agribusinesses and shippers earn above-market profits from selling food aid and transoceanic shipping services to the government. They don't want to sacrifice those windfalls, not even to save lives."
When profit is set as the primary value, a Nation has been enslaved in the service of Mammon. That is the problem at the root of our current crisis. When politicians begin to put the well being of people, -all the people- not only wealthy Americans at the center of their policies, then and only then, will they be able to speak credibly about democracy and freedom. Else it will continue to be only propaganda and self deception.

The War Dead

Americans Contemplate War's Milestone - Los Angeles Times:
"In dozens of interviews across the country, sadness was a universal theme as people contemplated the loss of 2,000 American service members. Many also were angry — or anxious — as they talked about how long the war might go on. Some said the only way to honor the war dead was to finish the job that was started when the U.S. invaded Baghdad in March 2003."
The only way to honor "the war dead" (a much higher number on the Iraqui side than on the American side) is for the Bush administration to admit its crimes, and back off responsibly from its war of agression, so that no more soldiers die or kill in the pursuit of the crooked neo-conservative agenda, which even now is plotting to engage Iran and Syria.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Cheney for Torture

Cheney Plan Exempts CIA From Bill Barring Abuse of Detainees:
"'This is the first time they've said explicitly that the intelligence community should be allowed to treat prisoners inhumanely,' said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. 'In the past, they've only said that the law does not forbid inhumane treatment.' Now, he said, the administration is saying more concretely that it cannot be forbidden."
Why would a government commited to the ideals of democracy and freedom advocate exemptions to allow torture?

The problem of the double standard shows once more its ugly face. Human dignity is non negotiable. "Love your enemy" still holds. Christian supporters of the Bush administration should hold it accountable to Christian principles, or face the fact that they have been manipulated to conform to the spirit of this world in the name of "family values" which apply only to an American wealthy elite.

Let the Christian Right Bush administration hear it clearly. Torture is sin. The CIA should not have a free pass to immoral behaviour in the name of national security. Fear is not the foundation of freedom. It is a terrorist tactic, and must be rejected as such.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Creative Chaos? : "Aide Says FEMA Ignored Warnings"

Aide Says FEMA Ignored Warnings:
For 16 critical hours, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials, including former director Michael D. Brown, dismissed urgent eyewitness accounts by FEMA's only staffer in New Orleans that Hurricane Katrina had broken the city's levee system the morning of Aug. 29 and was causing catastrophic flooding, the staffer told the Senate yesterday.

Marty Bahamonde, sent to New Orleans by Brown, said he alerted Brown's assistant shortly after 11 a.m. that Monday with the "worst possible news" for the city: The Category 4 hurricane had carved a 20-foot breach in the 17th Avenue Canal levee.

"FEMA headquarters knew at 11 o'clock. Mike Brown knew at 7 o'clock. Most of FEMA's operational staff knew by 9 o'clock that evening. I don't know where that information went," said Bahamonde, a 12-year FEMA staffer who has worked full time since 2002 as a public affairs official.

President Bush, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Richard B. Myers, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have all said they were told that the city's flood walls did not fail until Aug. 30. They said they assumed that the worst was over during a day-long window when operations could have been launched to rush aid to the Louisiana Superdome or rescue more than 50,000 residents and tourists before streets and homes were flooded.

"President Bush, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Richard B. Myers, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have all said they were told that the city's flood walls did not fail until Aug. 30. They said they assumed that the worst was over during a day-long window when operations could have been launched to rush aid to the Louisiana Superdome or rescue more than 50,000 residents and tourists before streets and homes were flooded."
Is this conduct the result of incompetence alone? Or was it intentional criminal neglect?

There was a time when we could excuse these administration's failures as simple mistakes due to incompetence and would not entertain the possibility that high racking officials of the Bush administration could be lying to promote an agenda, when denying something unbelievable for us. But that trust has been long eroded. As with Iraq and the WMD, we later learned that there was intentional deception resulting from ideological planning, so it may be the case with the Katrina aftermath.

So, we need to ask if the destruction of the City of New Orleans, which the Bush Administration did nothing to stop, does not fit with the neoconservative ideology of creative chaos, (or 'destruction' 'revolution') i.e. the idea that destruction is the precondition for a reconstruction according to their radical-right agenda for the future (if you are not aware of what I am talking about read:
Flirting With Facism). This would also help to explain 9/11 'intelligence' failures, as providing the ocassion to begin to practice the notion of creative chaos at a great scale level.

You may think that I am making things up, but ever since vietnam, I have not known any other administration with as much chaos related to their failures. Is this an accident or is it ideologically driven?

It is scary to think that people with such a mentality would be ruling the USA, but it is a thought which cannot be discarded out of hand anymore.
The German People did not realize the mess the got into until it was too late, are we willing to take the risk by ignoring the signs?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Reality Strikes Again: "Oil For Dummies"

Missteps Hamper Iraqi Oil Recovery - Los Angeles Times:
"Current and former Iraqi oil officials expressed disappointment, frustration and anger at the U.S. performance.

They said that rather than tapping Iraqi state oil company officials, the U.S. program was overseen by American officials with little experience in the oil industry. In an interview, one senior U.S. official managing part of the restoration effort jokingly described his knowledge level as 'Oil for Dummies.'

Iraqi officials also said KBR relied too heavily on foreign contractors, conducted lengthy, unnecessary studies and failed to deliver promised equipment. They acknowledged that Iraq needed to spend more on its oil industry but wondered why the U.S. investment had not had more of an effect."
. . .

The parts will arrive perhaps by next summer, KBR officials told him.

Ibraheem said he had expected more.

"Frankly speaking, I am not satisfied with KBR's work. What I saw from KBR, their performance is not what we had expected. We heard a lot about KBR, but we're not satisfied.

"The results have meant nothing for us."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chosing Our Babies

The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have. By Patricia E. Bauer: "The abortion debate is not just about a woman's right to choose whether to have a baby; it's also about a woman's right to choose which baby she wants to have."
There is a lot of pressure against parenting in our society.

To be a parent, you first have to overcome the presure of selfishness that defines children as a hindrance at best.

Once the child is concieved, comes the pressure of making sure that the child has no potential dissabilities, or has the right sex.

After birth, comes the pressures of looks and wealth which grow with time and the pressure of socialization performance at school which will define the value of the child based on her ability to conform to the arbitrary tests of "success" imposed by our society.

With the advances in genetic engenering and our growning abilities to expand the range of choice, surely the amount of pressure to use that power will increase at all levels, even to chose features like race, height, eye color, atheletic performance and intelligence.

The potential for the engeniering of a society in which every individual conforms to the specific pattern that is perceived the best, (i.e. The eugenic dream come true) is drawing nearer and nearer to us.

Our choices are bound by our values. When our values are wrong our choices will not be right. Our posmodern society acknowledges no standard to discriminate between right and wrong, but power in the hands of whoever excercises it. (We are back to square minus one "might makes right" in ethics) If we link the implications of these two features of our spiritual situation we may recognize the potential abyss we are approaching fast. (remember Natzi Germany)

We have learned to value the life of a suffering or dissable person as "not worth living" as if we knew what we are talking about.

This is just plain prejudice, based on wrong values.
The mystery of life is much to great for us to pass judgment over which life is or not worth living.

As the article quoted well presents, there is a whole range of life experience that is conveniently left out of the equation by prejudice and pressure. It would be wiser for us to trust the giver of life in our attitudes towards what we are willing to consider a life "worth living" before it is too late and we wake up living or being put to death in a "Brave New World" of our own making.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Manufactured Lifelessness : How Technology May Empoverish Life

Beethoven's Paper Trail - New York Times:
I had to spend a few weeks earlier this year looking down from my window at Christo's orange hangings in Central Park, and got back from them nothing but a sense of manufactured lifelessness.

"I worry that further withdrawal of the body will increasingly depersonalize creativity in our computerized age. It is already a given that many young architects can't draw, relying on circuitry to do their imaging for them. Nor can many of them model, never having built things with their hands as children, and felt the pliancy and fragility of structures, the interrelationship of empty space and solid mass. Recently my wife and I bought a country house designed by just such an architect. It looked great until we discovered that the main floor sagged in the middle because it lacked the kind of central support that a child, 40 years ago, would have sensed was necessary in the foundation.

Writing does not, of course, rate high on the tactile scale of things. But a screen of glass impregnated with pixels now gleams in front of practically every young person who wishes to commit words to - I was going to say paper, but will avoid the anachronism. Today's words, dit-ditted downward, flash off somewhere at the speed of light and assemble themselves in electronic limbo. Seen through the glass darkly, they look seductively perfect, every character proportional, every paragraph in alignment. Why mess around with them? In any case, if their orthography is not quite correct, a default 'word processor' (ghastly phrase) will alter them to its liking."
Arquitecs who cannot draw, teachers who can not think, students who cannot write or add. Children who can not imagine. Is there anything in common among all the above?

Yes, technology is ready to provide the crotch that may keep us all artificially producing above the mediocrity line under which we thrive. But there is a price to pay, a chunk of life, the beauty of the soul will be diminished.

At the end the most important things in life will not be blogs, emails, Power point presentations, jpg or doc files. Rather, It will be things like, the hand written diaries, the poems, the drawings, the music, the great meal, the conversation with a friend, the thoughts flowing from a loving heart living at its fullest.

Technology is great as a tool, but a tool is only as good as the purpose it helps to achieve. Let technology be the servant not the master, do not let it impose artificial limits to your life, rather put it to service to open new doors that lie beyond technology itself. An imitation may be a good thing, but it is never as good as the real thing. Let us go for the best.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Thank God for the Internet. Why I do not Trust US Press as an Unbiased Factual Source Any More

The Screwing of Cynthia McKinney By Greg Palast, AlterNet :
"Months before the 2000 presidential elections, the offices of Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of State Katherine Harris ordered the removal of 90,000 citizens from the voter rolls because they were convicted felons . . . and felons can�t vote in Florida. There was one problem: 97 percent of those on the list were, in fact, innocent.

They weren�t felons, but they were guilty . . . of not being white. Over half the list contained names of non-whites. I�m not guessing: I have the list from out of the computers of Katherine Harris� office -- and the �scrubbed� voter�s race is listed with each name.

And that�s how our President was elected: by illegally removing tens of thousands of legal African American voters before the race.

But you knew that . . . at least you did if you read the British papers -- I reported this discovery for the Guardian of London. And I reported again on the nightly news. You saw that . . . if you live in Europe or Canada or South America.

In the USA, the story ran on page zero. Well, let me correct that a bit. The Washington Post did run the story on the fake felon list that selected our President -- even with a comment under my byline. I wrote the story within weeks of the election, while Al Gore was still in the race. The Post courageously ran it . . . seven months after the election.

The New York Times ran it . . . well, never, even after Katherine Harris confessed the scam to a Florida court after she and the state were successfully sued by the NAACP.

So, I can�t say the New York Times always makes up the news. Sometimes the news just doesn�t make it."

At BBC Television, we had Florida�s computer files and documents, marked �confidential� -- stone-cold evidence showing how the vote fix was deliberately crafted by Republican officials. Not a single major U.S. paper asked for the documents � not from the state of Florida nor from the BBC. Only one U.S. Congressperson asked for the evidence and made it public: Cynthia McKinney of Atlanta.
Many years ago, a friend at the university commented to me on how weak the American Press reporting was.

I did not take him seriously.

Later, in England, I meet an Indian student and commented to him that I was reading CNN on the Internet. He openned his eyes in disbelief that I would still listen to American Press. I asked, why? He said that it was controlled by particular interest, and did not tell the truth. I resisted to believe.

It was only after the fiasco of the reporting of the non existen WMD and the non-reporting of the Downing Street Memo, that I was finally forced to face the facts.

I was under the spell of "all the president men's" success story, where American journalism would risk anything for fullfilling their democratic mission of keeping the public well informed. But, regretabbly I have had to face the reality that now such is certainly not the case.

Of course once you have been burnt by trusting professionals in a field with such powers, one becomes suspicious of all media. Is any one telling the truth? I am being guilty of conspiracy theory paranoia? or is it true that voices of dissent in the USA are ably disabled through effective mass propaganda and character assessination?

The more I read, the more I become convinced that that is the case. That is why every time I found some new piece of evidence of media deception, in my Internet browsing I post it in this blog. Because I do not want to be the victim of ideological blindness. I want the truth, where ever it may lead. And so far it is leading me to conclude that the USA government and the mainstream media are not to be trusted, but to represent their own vested interest. Bill O'reilly's illusion of 'fair an balance' is not only his. It is widely held accross the spectrum of American Press Opinion, which not always deals with reporting fairly both sides of an issue, and has been instrumental in misleading the American public with ideologically loaded mis-information.

I want truth. If I cannot get it, at least I will not stop with the official mis-information. Now we have the Internet to search for the other sides of these equations.

How To End The War by Paul Craig Roberts

How To End The War by Paul Craig Roberts: "There still is a way to bring reality to the Bush administration. The public has the Internet. Is the antiwar movement well enough organized to collect via the Internet signatures on petitions for impeachment, perhaps one petition for each state? Millions of signatures would embarrass Bush before the world and embarrass our elected Representatives for their failure to act."

Is anybody out there listening?
The Internet is our last hope to generate awareness of the dangers this administration is fostering upon our future. We need to start and support the "No More War" movement.

The patriot acts: Why we should be Worry.

The Police State Is Closer Than You Think by Paul Craig Roberts:
"President Bush claims the power to set aside habeas corpus and to dispense with warrants for arrest and with procedures that guarantee court appearance and trial without undue delay. Today in the US, the executive branch claims the power to arrest a citizen on its own initiative and hold the citizen indefinitely. Thus, Americans are no longer protected from arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention."

This statement is true. And we should take the situation more seriously. Have you heard about Army Chaplain James Yee? He was wrongly accused and emprisoned without any of legal protections we take for granted. His crime? serving as chaplain in Guantanamo, and informing about the complaints of prisoners for abuses,
especially those regarding the handling of the Koran.

You may read about it here: Fmr. Army Chaplain James Yee on the Abuse of Prisoners at Guantanamo, His Wrongful Imprisonment and Anti-Muslim Sentiment in the Military

This is what is at stake:

When the protective features of the law are removed, law becomes a weapon. Habeas corpus, due process, the attorney-client privilege, no crime without intent, and prohibitions against torture and ex post facto laws are the protective features that shield the accused. These protective features are being removed by zealotry in the "war against terrorism."

The damage terrorists can inflict pales in comparison to the loss of the civil liberties that protect us from the arbitrary power of law used as a weapon. The loss of law as Blackstone�s shield of the innocent would be catastrophic. It would mean the end of America as a land of liberty. October 8, 2005

Thursday, October 06, 2005

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Bush calls for patience on Iraq

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Bush calls for patience on Iraq: "'The United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbour them because they're equally as guilty of murder.'"

I have patience on Iraq, I have no patience with Bush's double standard.

There is only one distinction willingly made by the United States, no act of terror will be so named, regardless of how immoral, or destructive as long as it can be seen to work according to alleged American interest.

The illegal invasion of Iraq; the torture of war prisoners, the disregard of Geneva conventions to deal with 'terrorist', The use of depleted uranium bombs, the disregard for innocent civilian victims of the war, (not even caring to count their numbers), the lies and propaganda campaign, are all acts, and support of, terrorist tactics. Nothing has furthered more the cause of extremits in the middle east than Bush' war on terror.

The US Government will never find peace without justice. For as long as it helds to a double standard; one for 'us', another for 'them'; one for our "freedom fighters", and another for the rest of the world, there will be people ( 'insurgents' and 'terrorist') willing to sacrifice their lives to oppose such inmoral abusive behavior.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Right to Live in a World Where Not Everything Goes

The Right to Die - New York Times: "Oregonians voted in favor of the Death With Dignity Act in 1994, and three years later they voted against repeal. The Oregon law allows terminally ill people who are likely to die within six months to receive drugs to end their lives. When John Ashcroft, a longtime opponent of assisted suicide, became attorney general in 2001, he issued an edict that doctors who prescribe drugs that are used to commit suicide can be prosecuted under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The state of Oregon and a group of terminally ill patients challenged this Ashcroft directive and won."

"Opponents of assisted suicide have never been able to persuade Congress to outlaw assisted suicide directly. In the absence of a Congressional law, Mr. Ashcroft had no authority to interfere with the decision of Oregon's voters."

It is happening before our eyes. As the difference between right and wrong is no longer a matter of ethical principle but of political consensus and majority vote, 'Thou shall do no murder' is dropped to the trash can of religious opinion.

There are worst evils than temporal pain.
There is no mercy in terminating life to avoid temporal suffering. Life is more than avoiding suffering. True mercy comes from him who willingly suffered pain upon the cross. And, paradoxically pain may draw us nearer to him, as so many mystics and saints often told us, especially as we become aware of the truth of our mortality in that precious time nearing our death. But that is a truth drowned with pain killers, hidden from the eyes of our hedonistic and narcisitic society.

He said: come unto me all ye that travail and are heavy laden. I will give you rest. In the world you will suffer affliction but trust me I have conquered the world.
In Oregon the law says it is ok for me to kill you, or help you kill yourself, if I am a Dr. and perceive that your burden is to heavy for you to carry or for me to contemplate. Whose word will you trust?

This is just the beginning of the tyranny of political correctness. And we wonder why Americans are so comfortable waging an inmoral war of aggression. The reason is simple, from Democrats to Republicans there is no real moral compass, but only economic interest and power.

When there is no difference between truth and falsehood but personal interest and majority vote, it is just a matter of time for us to find ourselves living in a world where anything goes.