Saturday, July 12, 2008

You Can't Spell Bush Without BS

It has been a while since my last post, primarily because I have not had the stomach for all of the BS emanating out of Washington and particularly from the mouth of soon to be former President George Bush. Hey I just realized that you can't even spell Bush without the letters appropriate.

On Friday the BS administration rejected its own experts' conclusion that global warming poses a threat to the public welfare, launching a comment period that will delay action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least until the next president takes office. For those unfamiliar with what I am talking about...the Environmental Protection Agency published a 588-page examination of the issues surrounding greenhouse gases but then refused to adopt its staff's findings that such gases could cause disastrous flooding and drought and affect food and water supplies in the near future. In their infinite wisdom President BS and his administration portrayed the EPA publication as "onerous command-and-control regulation" that "would impose crippling costs on the economy" without reducing the gases widely held responsible for the warming climate. Even though EPA staff members concluded that regulations reducing greenhouse gas emissions could save $2 trillion through lowered gasoline costs and other benefits over the next 30 years. That's $2 Trillion with a T.

The impetus for federal action came from a Supreme Court decision in April 2007 that rebuked the BS administration and ruled that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases were air pollutants subject to federal regulation under the Clean Air Act. If the EPA found they were a threat to the public, the court said, the agency was required to produce regulations to reduce the risk. California's Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the administration has never believed in global warming nor in doing anything about it. Interestingly enough, one day earlier, a former EPA official, Jason K. Burnett, said that Vice President Richard "DICK" Cheney's office had worked to alter sworn congressional testimony provided by a federal official in January to play down global warming and head off regulation of greenhouse gases. By not taking a stand on the health impact of the pollutants and seeking new public comment instead, the BS administration purposely extended the period before the government can act well beyond Jan. 20, 2009 -- when the next president will be inaugurated and current President BS will have ridden off into a heavily polluted Texas sunset, special interests groups and big business well placated and his legacy as the worst President in the history of the United States etched in stone.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Don't Tase Me Bro

I've heard from a number of people on the subject of Andrew Meyer and the tasing incident at the University of Florida. Some people share my view on the matter or a portion there of and some don't and thats cool. It is impossible for any of us to have all of the facts and I understand that. The problem is that those who deem the police action acceptable need to realize it also. We weren't there and as such can only formulate our opinions base on what we hear and see or by what is reported. So what may or may not have transpired before or after the actual tasing is merely speculative. I can only go by what I saw on the video and discuss my thoughts about what I saw. People are more willing to speculate on the kids motivation than taking the video at face value. It is clear from the video that the guy was not violent. He didn't aggressively rush the podium like the French storming the Bastille. The guy was asking questions of an elected official during a public forum, sponsored by a public university that the kid attends. Seriously, quality of the questions aside, what right do the police have in physically accosting the kid? He did not break any law, he was not acting violent or menecing and at the time he was grabbed by the police, he had not been charged with a crime. Certainly you understand the implication? Tasers are to be used when an officer feels that he or she is in imminent danger and a gun would be considered excessive force. Watch the Meyer video and tell me which officer felt that he or she was in imminent physical peril? You had six officers verses one mouthy journalism student. I can certainly see the need for the additional firepower. The video shows that at the time of the tasing, Meyer was physically restrained and was not a threat to anyone. People say the kid was an idiot. That he could have shut up and he wouldn't have gotten tased. So we should just shut up when our constitutional rights are violated? We should be fearful of physical abuse if we are non-compliant and non-violent in the face of intimidation? Bull Shit.

Do you think that this is an isolated incident? How about the case of Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student who was repeatedly stunned with a taser and taken into custody because he did not exit the campus library in a timely manner. It seems as though the campus police or community service officers as they like to call themselves asked Tabatabinejad to produce his campus ID during a "routine" identity check of people in the library. Apparently Mr. Tabatabainejad did not produce ID because as an Iranian-American, he was outraged by the thought of being racially profiled (as no one else in the library was asked to produce ID). Regardless, he was stunned several times with a taser, each time for three to five seconds, with the police continuing to tase him even though he was restrained and in handcuffs. Tased while in handcuffs? Are you kidding me? The guy was tased for not showing his ID at a library and that is OK? I know what your thinking...if he would have just shut up? Or perhaps he should have realized that as a person of Iranian descent he must expect to be scrutinized by the police at a campus library at 11:30pm on a Tuesday night. He had it coming right?

Go to and ask yourself if this is acceptable to you? What if it was you? Now I realize that in situations like this, when you are looking at video, it doesn't always show the full picture. But I also know that in the few minutes that we can watch, it is obviously an unacceptable, excessive and illegal amount of force to use on someone being escorted out of a building or an event because they asked goofy questions at a public forum or refused to show their library card.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Free Speech Is Not A Crime

I am stunned by the recent video showing University of Florida campus police physically assaulting a student with a taser gun. For those of you who have not yet seen the video, which has already been posted on numerous internet web sites, I can only say that it is disturbing. The video clearly demonstrates the use of excessive force by campus police and is another small example of how our society continues to devolve from democratic-republic to police state. Where do these people get off?

Basically you have a 21-year old college student questioning Senator John Kerry during a forum sponsored by the university. The student whose name is Andrew Meyer, was asking Senator Kerry about impeaching President Bush and if he and Bush belonged to the secret society Skull and Bones, when they were students at Yale University. Forum organizers immediately pulled the plug on Meyer's microphone and campus police walked up and physically grabbed the student. What makes this incident particularly disturbing to me is that it happened at a state university, during a forum specifically designed to have the speaker answer questions from the audience. Meyer stood in line, waited his turn and had a question to ask. He did not disrupt the forum, he was not shouting from the cheep seats, nor was he confrontational, that is until the police assaulted him. You see the man broke no law, he committed no crime, he simply asked a question. He was not profane nor was he disruptive until the police intervened and physically restrained him. Again, physically restrained for asking a question at a university forum...unbelievable. What makes this situation even more surreal is that you can hear Senator Kerry saying in the background that he wanted to answer Mr. Meyer's "very important question", even as more police officers descended on Mr. Meyer. You hear Meyer asking why he was being assaulted, asking what had he done to warrant his arrest? Then as six or so officers physically took Mr. Meyer's to the ground and placed him in cuffs, they pulled out a taser gun and zapped him. A criminal and cowardly act. Perhaps this is why they are campus police and not real ones. Florida law is very specific about police use of a taser gun...the officer must be in fear for his or her personal safety. Right, six trained police officers against against one handcuffed journalism major, they must have been petrified.

University of Florida President Bernie Machen told members of the media assembled at a campus news conference that UF officials will take a number of steps following Monday's incident. "This is a university, and we want to have civil discourse," Machen said. "The fact that it didn't occur is as troubling to me as it is to our students." That may be Mr. Meachen, but it is my hope that you, the university and the officers responsible for this cowardly act will have legal problems to add to your troubles you as well. You see Mr. Machen, free speech is not a crime, but the unlawful use of a weapon against an innocent man is.

Good luck, I think you'll need it.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Its Not Prosecutorial Overreach…Its Governmental Stupidity

Have you ever heard of Jose Compean or Ignacio Ramos? Ramos and Compean, who are currently serving 11 and 12-year prison sentences, were guarding the Mexican border near El Paso, TX on February 17, 2005 when they intercepted a van carrying 743 pounds of marijuana and attempted to stop the illegal drug-smuggler from crossing the border. Although they successfully prevented the man from crossing into the U.S., they were convicted for allegedly shooting one bullet into the buttocks of the drug-smuggler and for failing to report the discharge of their firearms—acts which call only for an administrative reprimand! After presiding over a Senate hearing earlier this week, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has decided to ask President Bush to commute the sentences of Ramos and Compean. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. who will chair a similar hearing in the House July 31st said that he believed the session helped revive flagging interest in the case as Ramos and Compean have spent over 180 days in prison while awaiting their appeals. Representative Rohrabacher would prefer a pardon, but said he is pleased that Feinstein is taking action. The congressman also said that he finds it ironic a "liberal Democrat" would do more than some "squishy Republican senators," and that he was gratified and overwhelmed with admiration for Sen. Feinstein. Rohrabacher asserted that the hearing "made clear this case is, on the face of it, rotten." "I think it has a lot to do with an attitude in this administration that refuses to admit any mistakes and protects its own clique but nobody else," he said. Many supporters of Ramos and Compean have argued that if the president could pardon or commute the sentence of former White House aide "Scooter" Libby, he should show mercy to border agents who were prosecuted while a drug smuggler went free. The president commuted Libby's 30-month prison sentence earlier this month.

Congressman Rohrabacher will examine the alleged involvement of the Mexican government in the decision to prosecute theses agents and others, including Texas Deputy Sheriff Gilmer Hernandez. US Attorney for the Western District of Texas Johnny Sutton, the idiot who decided to prosecute Compean and Ramos, also prosecuted Hernandez, who was convicted of violating the civil rights of two illegal aliens injured from shell fragments that struck them as the officer shot at the tires of a van in which they escaped from a routine traffic stop. The van driver had tried to run over Hernandez. Rohrabacher confirmed that Mr. Sutton, who was appointed to his current position by President Bush in 2001, has refused to testify at the July 31 hearing of the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and that he also has refused to provide information concerning a special visa, or transit pass, given to Aldrete Davila in an immunity deal, allowing him to travel back and forth across the border in order to testify against Ramos and Ignacio. It appears that the pass was used in an alleged second attempt by Aldrete Davila to smuggle marijuana into the U.S., eight months after the February 2005 incident at the center of the Ramos-Compean case. When confronted with the fact that the information about the alleged second smuggling attempt was kept from the jury, Mr. Sutton argued that the judge in the case made the decision. Real ballsy Mr. Sutton. Perhaps you should be charged with aiding and abetting a felon in the smuggling of illegal drugs into the United States. Don’t worry though Mr. Sutton, because if you were indicted, charged and convicted, I am sure that the President would commute your sentence immediately and that you would not have to spend 180 days in a prison surrounded by the very people you put there. I don’t know how you sleep at night.

Don’t bother logging a complaint at the White House because Bush is an idiot and the administration doesn‘t care. Call your Senators’ and Congressmen’s’ offices and let them know that you expect them to support a presidential pardon for these agents! Call them Today! Capitol Switchboard: (202)-224-3121

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Pope is Irrelevant to Non-Catholics

Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation. Wow! This guy is unbelievable. This is the second time in a week that Benedict has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-1965 meetings that modernized the church. On Saturday, Benedict revived the old Latin Mass - a move cheered by Catholic traditionalists but criticized by more liberal ones as a step backward from Vatican II.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Benedict headed before becoming pope, said it was issuing the new document Tuesday because some contemporary theological interpretations of Vatican II's ecumenical intent had been "erroneous or ambiguous" and had prompted confusion and doubt. The new document - formulated as five questions and answers - restates key sections of a 2000 text the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, "Dominus Iesus," which riled Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the "means of salvation." The commentary repeated church teaching that says the Catholic Church "has the fullness of the means of salvation." "Christ 'established here on earth' only one church," said the document released as the pope vacations at a villa in Lorenzago di Cadore, in Italy's Dolomite mountains. The other communities "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession - the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles - and therefore their priestly ordinations are not valid, it said. The document said that Orthodox churches were indeed "churches" because they have apostolic succession and enjoyed "many elements of sanctification and of truth." But it said they do not recognize the primacy of the pope - a defect, or a "wound" that harmed them, it said.

Apostolic succession? Is he really talking about a sacred line connecting Jesus and his apostles to the pope? Are we talking about the same apostolic succession that produced Pope Alexander VI whose surname became a byword for the debased standards of the papacy during the renaissance? Pope Alexander VI who had seven illegitimate children as a cardinal, which he openly acknowledged. Pope Alexander who as the newly-elected 61 year-old pontiff, had an affair with the 19-year -old Giulia Farnese, who was herself a married woman? How about Pope Pius XI who ordered German Catholics to drop their hostility towards Hitler and backed Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia? Another instance that has often been cited to show the corruption of the Church is the Great Western Schism (1378- 1417). Although this was only a brief interlude in the long period that the Middle Ages span, and although it was certainly not the first time there had been two (or even more) popes in Western Christendom, this episode certainly did hurt the notion of apostolic succession, which by the way is the foundation for the current pope's claim. Upon the death of Gregory XI (1370-78), who had brought back the papacy from its time in Avignon, France to Rome (another instance which clearly illustrates the illegitimacy of the current popes claim of apostolic succession), the cardinals were divided into two factions, Italian and French. Under pressure from riotous crowds in Rome, Urban VI was elected, while many French cardinals were still at Avignon. The Italian Urban VI was not exactly a tactful personality, and insulted and threatened the French cardinals, who eventually decided that the election was made under pressure and was not valid. They elected another pope, Clement VII, who took up residency Avignon. Apostolic Succession?

It seems to me that the Bishop of Rome, as the head of the catholic church, ought to concentrate on the moral decline of his own flock while withholding comment on “defective” denominations which he considers to be illegitimate offshoot branches of Christianity. How about concentrating on the immorality of your clergy and the propensity of the church to cover up child abuse. I would rather bet my eternal soul on a penitent life, filled with love and humility and as a practicing Presbyterian, than follow the absurd pronouncements of an old man serving as the leader of a morally bankrupt and self serving institution. An institution that when faced with a developing chasm between the word of God and its own antiquated self interests, will truncate, embellish, edit or omit the word as to reconcile its actions with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

In the end it is easy to understand how the Catholic church can continue to ignore its own untidy house while commenting on the houses of others. It is the church that decided which books would be included in the bible, as commanded by Pope Damasus at the Council of Rome in 382 AD. He commissioned Saint Jerome to produce a reliable and consistent book by interpreting and translating the original Greek and Hebrew text into Latin. This translation became known as the Latin Vulgate Bible and was declared by the Church to be the only authentic and official Bible. So how do you become the official bible? Well its is pretty simply really. All you have to do is pick the books that are favorable to the church, brand all other teachings as heresy, and when translating those books from ancient Hebrew and Greek into Latin, you selectively interpret their words to reinforce your church as the only true church of Jesus. At that point you become the official church with the official bible, and establish yourself as ground zero for all of Christendom.

Just connect the dots.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Can We Talk?

I have not been writing as much as I did last year, because of my profound disappointment in the state of world affairs and the realization that we are truly moving toward the brink of a global catastrophe. There is so much white noise coming from all angles that it completely overwhelms the average person and events are spinning out of control so quickly that most Americans have lost the ability to recognize it. At home, President Bush is stripping away the rights and protections clearly spelled out in the Constitution and nobody cares. The government can spy on us, arrest us, silence us, and intimidate us all in the name of homeland security. Folks we live in a fascist police state. Fascism is defined as a political philosophy, movement or regime that exalts nation often race and stands for a centralized autocratic often militaristic government. Does this sound familiar? This administration feels that it has the moral high ground to bully, intimidate and attack not just foreign countries but its own citizens and often does so with impunity.

Never in our countries history have we the people been under such an attack. Never in our history have so many been so apathetic. Never before has the United States of America been so universally despised, distrusted and feared as it is today. We are the 800 pound gorilla; we are the elephant in the room. We dictate terms to everyone on the planet and bristle when they do not kowtow to our demands. We refuse to talk to governments that we have problems with. As if talking was an unacceptable concession or could be construed as a major blow to national security. To the rest of the world, we are a bellicose and arrogant people, whose national self interests are placed above everything else on the planet. The rest of the world hates us because we are often deserving of that loathing. That is the reality of where we are today. Don’t let media bias or political sound bites influence your ability to look beyond the crap and evaluate the real issues. National Security would be easier to achieve if we were not the focus of so much of the worlds hate and if we stopped making ourselves the poster child for everything that is wrong in the world. Everywhere you go, you see American influence, everywhere where you can make a profit that is. The United States is seen as the greatest “Has” on the planet, dictating policy to the rest of the worlds “have not’s”. We dictate to others about the evils of nuclear proliferation, while possessing the most deadly arsenal in the history of the world. Can you see the double standard? Can you see why it is easy for rouge foreign governments to seduce their people into believing that we are the Great Satan? Remember the old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We are unmatched militarily and economically; we have achieved true hegemony and thus absolute power. Now…do you really wonder why we are universally hated?

Think About It.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Beginning of the End

What is it going to take for us to finally realize that we destroying the ability of our planet to support life as we know it. At what point do we rise up and stop policy makers from continuing down a road that will ensure our certain destruction. Wars will be fought over water, not oil, religion or ideology. The harmful effects of global warming are already showing up, and within a couple of decades hundreds of millions of people won't have enough water to survive as millions of others will be flooded out of their homes as the Earth reels from rising temperatures and sea levels. Tropical diseases like malaria will spread. By 2050, polar bears will mostly be found in zoos, their habitats gone while pests like fire ants will thrive.

Changes in climate are now affecting physical and biological systems on every continent. Changes are happening faster than scientist originally expected and the scientific community is highly confident that many current problems - change in species' habits and habitats, more acidified oceans, loss of wetlands, bleaching of coral reefs, and increases in allergy-inducing pollen - can be blamed on global warming. North America is already experiencing substantial ecosystem, social and cultural disruption from recent climate extremes, such as hurricanes and wildfires. However, the present is nothing compared to the future as we are truly are standing at the edge of a mass extinction event.

What can we expect in our near future? Hundreds of millions of Africans and tens of millions of Latin Americans who now have water will be short of it in less than 20 years. By 2050, more than 1 billion people in Asia could face water shortages. By 2080, water shortages could threaten 1.1 billion to 3.2 billion people, depending on the level of greenhouse gases that cars and industry spew into the air. Death rates for the world's poor from global warming-related illnesses, such as malnutrition and diarrhea, will rise by 2030. Malaria and dengue fever, as well as illnesses from eating contaminated shellfish, are likely to grow. Europe's small glaciers will disappear with many of the continent's large glaciers shrinking dramatically by 2050. And half of Europe's plant species could be vulnerable, endangered or extinct by 2100.

By 2080, between 200 million and 600 million people could be hungry because of global warming. About 100 million people each year could be flooded by 2080 by rising seas. Smog in U.S. cities will worsen and "ozone-related deaths from climate (will) increase by approximately 4.5 percent for the mid-2050s, compared with 1990s levels," turning a small health risk into a substantial one. Polar bears in the wild and other animals will be pushed to extinction. Many - not all - of these effects can be prevented if within a generation the world slows its emissions of carbon dioxide and if the level of greenhouse gases sticking around in the atmosphere stabilizes. The future is now and it is all up to us…what are you going to do?

Think about it.