Monday, July 31, 2006

Syrian President Bashar al-Asad to Army: "Raise Readiness."

BREAKING NEWS:

Reuters is reporting that Syrian President Bashar Alasad has informed the army to "raise readiness, preparedness" in regards to the Israeli-Hizballah conflict.

This obviously takes the tension in the region up a notch. Has Syria finally had enough of watching the conflict between their close neighbor and Israel? What does this announcement mean? Is it only saber rattling or a more serious threat?

I have long worried that Syria would be drawn into the Iraq war from the conflict in al-Anbar province in eastern Iraq. Not only does Syria share a border with Iraq but they sympathize with the Sunni and Baathist insurgents within Iraq. Now, war is not only at the doorsteps of Syria's eastern border but it's western borders as well.

It appears that Asad's announcement is simply a defensive move/announcement but it is still extremely troubling.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bush Admininstration Should Talk with Syria

I am frustrated with the current administrations unwillingness to engage in diplomacy to end this Israeli-Hizballah conflict with countries that they disagree with such as Syria. What is the point in diplomacy if you do not talk to your "enemies??" Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage agrees:

"I think [the Syrians] want to get involved," Armitage says. "I think they want to become more central to the solution and you might as well give them the opportunity."

"We get a little lazy, I think, when we spend all our time as diplomats talking to our friends and not to our enemies," he adds.

GOI: I also think that engaging in direct talks with Syria could help us further isolate Iran. In not talking with Syria we are increasing the divide between our two countries and pushing Syria increasingly into the arms of the radical Iranian government.

It never hurts to keep talking. The minute countries stop talking is the minute assumptions begin emerging, things start falling apart and soon bombs are flying back and forth.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

War? What War??


American Idol contestants meet with Dubya in the White House today. The Whitehouse press office said that the President was "aware" of the show. Yeah kind of like he is "aware" of foreign policy. A quick phone poll was taken on who was the favorite, (including Bush) and surprisingly, Al Gore won!! Wow.

After the photo Bush purposed that the "Idols" be sent over to the Lebanon-Israel border to be the peace keeping force.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolton on Stem Cell Research.


Here's Bolton on Meet the Press this morning talking about stem cell research:

RUSSERT: Karl, Karl Rove the President's chief political advisor said that adult stem cells show far more promise them embryonic stem cells and the White House did not identify any scientist who could confirm that. Is, do, does the President agree with Mr. Rove?

BOLTON: Um, ah, [unintelligeable] i'm no scientist [unintelligeable] not, not qualified to speak on it but, ah, I think the point that Karl was getting at is that there are alternative means, uh, to achieve some of the promise of the, of the embryonic stem cells...

RUSSERT: (interrupting) Though he said far more promise can you, can you cite any scientist who believes that adult stem cells have for more promise then embryonic stem cells.

BOLTON: Well, I can't cite scientists on either side of it but what I can tell you is that adult human, adult human stem cells have already shown enormous utility, in, ah, the amelioration of disease in this country, ah, embryonic stem cells, ah have, have yet to fulfill the promise that many see

(GOI: Yeah, because people like you and your boss, President Bush refuse to allow federal funding to help find out if that promise is there!! How can we know, if there is no large funding effort to fuel the research?!!)

but there, but there is a legitimate promise there and that's why the President has struggled so much with that difficult...

RUSSERT: (interrupting) But, is there any evidence that you are aware of (or the President's aware of) that says adult stem cells show far more promise then embryonic.

BOLTON: Ah, adult stem cells have already demonstrated for, in the amelioration of disease...

RUSSERT: So you agree with Mr. Rove?

BOLTON: Ah, um, like I said i'm not a scientist and I don't...

RUSSERT: (interrupting) Well, I don't think Karl Rove is either!

BOLTON: Well, uh, he knows a lot of stuff (Russert laughs under his breath).

(GOI: Bolton continues to drone on a bit about how they are funding the NIH (National Institutes of Health) to continue research of stem cells that does not include embryonic stem cells. And then the interview ends).

Wow, crack staff we got up there in the White House. They don't need any stinkin' scientists!!!, they have KARL ROVE!!! After all, he knows a lot of stuff!!!

Be afraid, be VERY, VERY afraid.

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Bush Stem Cell Madness

By now we all know that GW Bush has used his first veto to ban federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. This despite the bill passing both the House and the Senate including backing from uber-conservatives Mormon Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah and Senator Doctor Bill Frist from Tennessee. The Bush veto also ignores polls that show support for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research as high as 72%.

Just about everyone of us knows someone with an illness or disease that could benefit from this research: Brain disorders/mental illnesses, alzheimer's, diabetes, spinal cord injuries, parkinson's disease, AIDS, etc. According to the Alliance for Stem Cell Research there are 70 diseases and illnesses.

Does that picture of a collection of embryonic stem cells have a brain? No. Do they think? Do they have a heart? No. They have the potential for life. They could develop into a brain, heart or spinal cord cells but they are not in and of themselves any seperate, living "being". Again, according to the Alliance for Stem Cell Research, Embryonic stem cells are blank, unspecialized cells found in a blastocyst. A blastocyst is a mass of 150 or so cells that is smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.

Bush told us that it is wrong to use life to save another life so what about the donation of an organ by someone in a vegetable state about to be unplugged from life support? According to such asinine logic, wouldn't the donation of a kidney to help another person be murder as well? Seems to me that it would me an even more heinous case of murder as it involves an entire organ! Then there is the donating of blood to help another person live. How is that not murder? After all this is the intentional spilling of blood (blood which is the essence of life) for saving another.

What about the waste of sperm cells by a couple trying to have a baby that do not fertilize an egg? Not every sexual relation involves the conception of life so isn't that murder by not using every sperm cell for life?? Or how about getting a tan as that involves the killing of some skin cells which are alive? Or how about a woman's monthly cycle being murder as she does not use all her eggs to create life?

Sure the donation of these things does not necessarly kill the person who donates them but then neither does the creation of extra embryonic stem cells! The women who create them go on to create life, (and in many cases lots and lots of lives with the use of fertility drugs!) not die or kill life. So how can this all lead to murder when the couples get a baby (or more then one) and others get improved life from the left over stem cells!! Nothing in this equation is being killed!! In fact, there is only the transformation into life!!! The only killing would come if we waste these cells and toss them into the trash. So it seems to me that the anti-embryonic stem cell research lobby should be all over stem cell research as it involves the saving and creating of all kinds of life!!

This whole anti-embryonic stem cell lobby is absurd, illogical and irresponsible.

What is so frustrating is that one man's signature can kill off the voices of 3/4's of the American public, the lives of people suffering and dying from terrible diseases and the majority of Representatives and Senators. Talk about murder!!! Grrrrr.

Speaking of Bush and stem cell research he showed up here in Denver today to support an anti-embryonic stem cell research candidate. A pro-embryonic stem cell research rally was staged by Congresswoman Diana Degette which the state GOP chairmain dismissed. He said the protest was a diversion from issues that people care about.

Sooo according to him, people don't care about embryonic stem cell research. Even though a HUGE majority of Americas are for it??? How clueless can these Republicans get?!! I think that this is going to be big issue in the out come of the November elections. I know a few people who are going to vote against the sitting Representative of our district because she voted against the stem cell research bill.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

From Israeli Children with "Love"


An Israeli child signs a bomb as other children wait for their turn in line while the military stands by.

Photo caption: Israeli girls write messages on a shell at a heavy artillery position near Kiryat Shmona, in northern Israel, next to the Lebanese border, Monday, July 17, 2006.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)




"From Israel and Danielle."


Notice the writings on the bomb which say:

"Nazrala (I'm sure they meant Nasrallah: The Secretary General of Hizbullah in Lebanon) whit love,"

Look at the glee on the faces of these girls. What kind of message does this reinforce in these children?? Hate, that's what. Allowing children to sign messages of hate on bombs meant for Lebanon is actively watering the seed of hate in the next generation. Surely these young children were encouraged to sign these bombs and that is disgusting. How did these children find their way into the zone of the military? It appears that they were purposefully brought in for the signings. And if they DID come on their own (possibley by their parents) why were they not turned away?? Especially since military installations are dangerous places during a time of war!!! Such lack of concern for their lives and fragile, impressionable minds!!! Children learn hate from adults.

There is a great amount of coverage and denouncement (as well there should be) of muslim children learning to hate Jews in textbooks in the madrassas. Yet here we see Israeli children being indoctrinated in a similar way. How can we ever expect the hate to stop with such brain washing on both sides?? This is abuse of children by both sides.

I post these pictures to show that Israelis are not exactly the "chosen people of God" that they claim. We are always told here in the west that Israel is ALWAYS the victim and whether it is unpopular to say or not the Palestinians have (and always have had to a certain extent) been victims themselves. And while I denounce the actions of Hizballah and Hamas with the strongest words and back Israel's right to defend themselves (and their captured soldiers), I can not sit by and say that Israel is never to blame.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Possible Regional War in the Middle-East?

MSNBC News Services

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Israel has hit hundreds of targets in Lebanon as part of its effort to force the release of two soldiers captured by Hezbollah guerrillas, a top Israeli general said Thursday.

Meantime, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said the country has information that the Lebanese guerrillas who captured the two Israeli soldiers are trying to transfer them to Iran.

"We have concerns that they could be taken out of Lebanon to Iran. Those concerns have a basis," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev. He did not disclose the source of his information.

GOI: There goes the neighborhood!!! Now Iran could possibley become involved by hiding some of the soldiers taken captive. This is in addition to Iran funding Hezbollah. As if we didn't have enough on our hands with Iran.

Some of the Israeli bombing raids have hit near Syria which could threaten bringing that country into this conflict. Especially since Syria has long been a defender of Lebanon and another source for the financing of Hezbollah. The United States has joined Israel in blaming Iran and Syria in addition to Lebanon and Hezbollah for the kidnapping of the soldiers. The middle-east seems to be blowing up into a regional war, a sentiment expressed today by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israel certainly has a right to defend itself but I just wonder where this will all end??

The escalation of violence in the Middle East pushed crude oil prices to a new intraday record of $75.88 a barrel.

GOI: There needs to be a cease fire brokered by the United States and the U.N. to help reduce the threat of a regional war breaking out from Israel to Lebanon to Syria to Iraq to Iran and perhaps even into Afghanistand and Pakistan. It is especially important i think that America should be involved in working for a cease fire as to not appear only caring about Israel's interests.

We need to send special envoy's of former President's and current senators who have statesmen like clout around the world to help stabilize and cool off all of these hot spots.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Indiana a Terror Target

WASHINGTON, July 11 — It reads like a tally of terrorist targets that a child might have written: Old MacDonald’s Petting Zoo, the Amish Country Popcorn factory, the Mule Day Parade, the Sweetwater Flea Market and an unspecified “Beach at End of a Street.”

[...]

The National Asset Database, as it is known, is so flawed, the inspector general found, that as of January, Indiana, with 8,591 potential terrorist targets, had 50 percent more listed sites than New York (5,687) and more than twice as many as California (3,212), ranking the state the most target-rich place in the nation.

The database is used by the Homeland Security Department to help divvy up the hundreds of millions of dollars in antiterrorism grants each year, including the program announced in May that cut money to New York City and Washington by 40 percent, while significantly increasing spending for cities including Louisville, Ky., and Omaha.

We don’t find it embarrassing,” said the department’s deputy press secretary, Jarrod Agen. “The list is a valuable tool.”

GOI: Okkkkkk, well they obviously then do NOT have any "shame in their pork spending game."

[...]

In addition to the petting zoo, in Woodville, Ala., and the Mule Day Parade in Columbia, Tenn., the auditors questioned many entries, including “Nix’s Check Cashing,” “Mall at Sears,” “Ice Cream Parlor,” “Tackle Shop,” “Donut Shop,” “Anti-Cruelty Society” and “Bean Fest.”

GOI: However, the Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building and Times Square are NOT ON THE LIST!! Well, beans are a threat to Islam I guess as we all know that beans go with pork and pork is a no-no for Muslims. And Osama wants to hit mules because mules are the way that he and his crew gets around these days and thus are his version of mass transit. And the petting zoo? This one is obvious as we all know what "heavy petting" leads to. The tackle shop is all about fish and the fish is one of the main symbols of Christianity so Osama must be targeting the tackle shop in a sly and ingenius way of attacking Christians!!!! As for Nix's Check cashing? Osama wants to hit them as they wouldn't cash his out of state, out of country, second party checks. Especially since they caught on to his alias Albert Qaeda.

Even people connected to some of those businesses or events are baffled at their inclusion as possible terrorist targets.

Seems like someone has gone overboard,” said Larry Buss, who helps organize the Apple and Pork Festival in Clinton, Ill. “Their time could be spent better doing other things, like providing security for the country.”

Angela McNabb, manager of the Sweetwater Flea Market, which is 50 miles from Knoxville, Tenn., said: “I don’t know where they get their information. We are talking about a flea market here.”

GOI: Amongst the other things named as terrorist targets on the master list include 718 mortuaries. After seeing the movie, "Night of the Living Dead" Osama assumed that our dead can rise up again and attack by command. Thus (he figures) that the Pentagon is going to send these American zombies over to the rugged mountains in Afghanistan to hunt him down. The flea markets are important because if we don't buy good old American macrame then the terrorists win.

[...]

One business owner who learned from a reporter that a company named Amish Country Popcorn was on the list was at first puzzled. The businessman, Brian Lehman, said he owned the only operation in the country with that name.

I am out in the middle of nowhere,” said Mr. Lehman, whose business in Berne, Ind., has five employees and grows and distributes popcorn. “We are nothing but a bunch of Amish buggies and tractors out here. No one would care.”

But on second thought, he came up with an explanation: “Maybe because popcorn explodes?”

GOI: I guess al-Qaeda values our heartland because all the cows produce methane gas and they want to use them as bombs. This is all so absurd and shows that they are playing games with our national security. Ahhh FEMA. The folks who brought you the Katrina debacle and the hits (no pun intended) just keep on coming. We desperately need new leadership folks.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

The al-Jihad Massacre


By KIM GAMEL Associated Press Writer
AP Photo/ASAAD MOUHSIN

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- Masked Shiite gunmen stopped cars in western Baghdad Sunday and grabbed people off the streets, singling out the Sunni Arabs among them and killing at least 37, police said. UPDATE: WashPost is reporting the number of dead at more then 50:

They set up checkpoints to stop cars, burst into homes, and singled out Sunni Arab residents for execution, witnesses and police said. Some of the corpses were handcuffed and pocked with bullet holes while others were pegged with nails, witnesses said.

[...]

An official in a Sunni political party in al-Jihad said he saw Mahdi Army fighters riding in the same vehicles with Interior Ministry commanders. He took his family out of the house because he feared it would be raided by militiamen. Outside, he said he saw 15 bodies.

"Some of them were tortured with drills," he said. "Some of them were hanged by ropes."

[...]

The attack in the Jihad neighborhood apparently was retaliation for the car bombing of a local Shiite mosque the night before.

[...]

Deputy Prime Minister Salam Zikam Ali al-Zubaie, a Sunni, called the attack "a real and ugly massacre."

He blamed Iraqi security forces that are widely believed to have been infiltrated by Shiite militia.

[...]

An Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said Shiite militiamen wearing masks and black uniforms were roaming the neighborhood, checking people's identity cards, presumably for Sunni names. "They are killing civilians according to their identity cards," he said.

The Sunni Arabs were singled out and driven away. Their bodies were found later dumped on streets throughout the neighborhood, Abdul-Razzaq said, adding that police had collected at least 37 bodies.

GOI: Can anyone doubt anymore that Iraq is completely lost? Some 3 and one half years after the start of this war the Iraqi security forces are STILL unable (or unwilling) to defend their own country and purge themselves (and the government) of militia presence. The Iraqi's are determinded to brutally fight and kill each other. How can we prevent such actions??? What are we supposed to do in the light of these events besides helplessy sit by and watch?? We are spending all this money to keep our troops there as basically armed journalists. Let's pull back to Kuwait and let the Iraqi's figure out how bad they want Democracy. If they want to continue to fight it out amonst themselves then so be it. Trying to play mediator in a civil war doesn't work and isn't working. It is only making us the target from both sides.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Free Sticker

We received a free sticker in the mail from Al Gore that says, "Had Enough? Vote Democrat in 'O6" but we already bought a simliar one a few months ago. Sooooo if anyone wants a free sticker I'll mail it to ya! It sticks on the inside of your car window. First one to reply (and preferabley from a "red state") gets it but you have to promise me you'll put it on your car (It isn't the same as the sticker image shown above but similar).

Peace.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Man Freed After 21 Years in Prison

GOI: A "prisoner" freed after new evidence emerged giving yet another reason to abolish the death penalty. There are simply too many examples of wrongfully accused people serving decades in prisons to keep the death penalty. There are many reasons to end captial punishment but wrongful imprisonment is one of the most logical reasons to halt the practice:

A judge signed an order Thursday freeing a man from prison where he had spent 22 years after being wrongfully convicted of the brutal rape of a 25-year-old woman.

[...]

The nonprofit Innocence Project and prosecutors from the Bronx district attorney's office had asked for Newton's 1985 conviction to be vacated based on recent testing on a rape kit used for the woman after the incident.

Newton, now 44, was convicted of raping the woman in an abandoned Bronx building in June 1984. He was sentenced in 1985 to up to 40 years in prison.

In 1994 he filed a motion asking that new DNA testing be conducted, but the request was denied because the evidence was unavailable, the Innocence Project and prosecutors wrote in papers filed to the court.

A similar request was granted four years later, but testing of the victim's clothing "failed to yield the presence of male DNA," the papers said.

[...]

Despite what Innocence Project lawyers and prosecutors said were earlier claims that it was lost or had been destroyed, officials found the kit, which was tested for DNA by two labs earlier this year.

The result "conclusively excludes" Newton as the assailant, according to the papers.

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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Peace on the 4th of July



Albert Einstein said it best, "You cannot simutaneously prepare for and prevent war."

Thank-you to our soldiers who have gone and served our country through out history. Thank-you to the soldiers in Afghanistan.

It is especially important today to remember our troops in Iraq who have been forced to fight in a bogus war. May they be safe and return home to us in one piece and as soon as possible.

I think it is also especially important to remember the men and women who fought and died in the Revolutionary War to bring us this great country.

On this day I think it is also important to re-read The Declaration of Independence. I am going to make it a habit/tradition to re-read this historic and monumentous document every 4th of July.

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

New York Times Fires Back and I Say, "Hear, Hear!!"

(CBS/AP) Published reports that the U.S. was monitoring international banking transactions were not news to the terrorists who were its target because the Bush administration had already "talked openly" about the effort, The New York Times' top editor said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation.

GOI: Yeah, how many times have we heard Bush saying proudly that we are/have freezing/frozen the bank accounts of terrorist organizations?!!

[...]

President Bush said the latest revelation was "disgraceful" and did "great harm" to the country. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, reiterated his view on CNN's "Late Edition" on Sunday that The Times should be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act for repeatedly revealing classified information.

GOI: Now, the NYT is guilty of "treason," and "espionage" for reporting the obvious and the Bush administration isn't guilty for outing a CIA operative working in the critical area of national security/WMD in Iran?!! GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!

"The Times can't have it both ways," King said. "They can't on the one hand say there's no harm in releasing this. Everybody knew about it. But on the other hand, we had to put it on Page One because it was so top secret."

Keller, on Face the Nation, said it is the government that "likes to have it both ways... They confide in us when they want to advertise the programs that are successful. And then they rebuke us if we write about something they would prefer we didn't write about."

He added that he is only a little surprised by the level of criticism the paper is receiving.

"I mean, it's an election year. Beating up on The New York Times is red meat for the conservative base," Keller said. "But I don't think this is all politics. I think the administration is a little embarrassed. This is the most secretive White House we've had since the Nixon White House."

"But this was a case where clearly the terrorists or the people who finance them know quite well, because the Treasury Department and the White House have talked openly about it, that they monitor international banking transactions. It's not news to the terrorists," he said.

GOI: VERY well said and right on. If you agree with what Keller is saying I urge you to send an email (as I am going to do) to the New York Times saying that you whole heartedly support them.

By the way, "Hear, Hear" "is an abbreviation for "hear, all ye good people, hear what this brilliant and eloquent speaker has to say!""

I thought that was an interesting thing.

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