Friday, June 30, 2006

Work / Middle East

Was following updates in an emergency session of the UN today regarding the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the hostage situations (Pal.militants have an Israeli soldiers, the IDF kidnapped half the Palestinian govt.) The UN and Red Cross are pleading with Israel to let humanitarian workers in as the Palestinians are now surviving on one meal a day. As I was reading this I noticed some guy walking around the office I work at saying hello to everyone. "Oh shit," I thought. "He might introduce himself to me, and try to shake my hand, and see the bump/blisters from my poison ivy."

I then began trying to shake my hands with eachother to see if it was noticable by touch (its only on my right hand) I could somewhat feel the blisters (mainly in between my fingers but some on the right side of my right hand, and yes its uncomfortably.) As I was doing this the man came into my office and introduced himself, and extended his hand!

As I had been practicing, I curled my right hand tight which would give a firm shake but not a good grip (which is different from the 'dead fish' shake.) Suddenly the man (italian?) grabs my right hand with his other hand and opens my hand to reposition it, saying "ah we need a good grip get a good shake!" luckily he was looking at me, and not my hand, as he did this. I laughed uncomfortably. I dont know if he felt the poison ivy but after he left he had a funny conversation with the receptionist outside my office.

As he went to talk to her she mentioned how she had shingles which mayve resulted from childhood chick pocks being innoculted. He then rushed a good 10 ft away from her saying he couldnt get anywhere near her as he has never had chicken pox! They continued talking (with distance) and he went on to say he never really had any of those well known childhood diseases (I wondered if poison ivy was included) and how he was terrified of getting them. I found all of those humoursly ironic.

I also laughed to myself when, during his conversation I heard him say "yeah I've never had chicken pox, never had.. uh, Ive never had measles or mumps or rubella..." I was real close to shouting from my office (in a friendly manner) that he's never had measles, mumps or rubella because we arnt in a third world country and everyone receives the MMR vaccination as a child." The reason I didnt was because I wasnt sure if those vaccinations were available in the 50's when Im guessing he was a kid. So I looked it up and was semi-right.

For those who care; the measles virus was contained (in the US) by 1954 with the vaccine available by 1963. The mumps vaccine was first liscened in the US in 1948 and used from 1950-1978. The Rubella vaccine has been available since 1968. And the all-in-one MMR shot has been going since the 1970's. A few fun facts I learned while looking this up: Cuba eradicated rubella by the early 1990's, while the USA did not fully eradicate it until 2005 (Cuba has a world renown healthcare system.) Also, Rubella is also known as German Measles, but not from 1917-1918. During the Great War, in the US it became known as "Liberty Measles." Thus during this period, Americans came to associate uncontrolled infectuous diseases with "liberty" instead of the hated Germans.

If you think thats assinine; dont forget 2003. When France didnt follow in line with the Iraq War, the US Capitol cafeteria changed "French Fries" to "Freedom Fries" at the behest of Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC) despite the irony that the French govt. was not following the US war agenda because the overwhelming majority of its people wanted it that way; a unique concept of a people living in Freedom. And if you think Congressman Jones is an idiot for doing something so juvenille, you are correct, but he is now one of the most vocal ANTI-war critics in congress, stating he wish he hadnt authorized the war and co-sponsoring a bill with Dennis Kuncinich calling for withdrawal.

Condemn Israeli Actions

Am trying to make these briefer so here goes:

I wanted to bring attention to Israel actions in Gaza this past week. Here is a background on what the Gaza Strip is for those who dont know:
-Small, about 5 by 20 mile strip on southwest edge of Israel. Was part of historic Palestine and part of Arab State in 1948 UN Partition, annexed by Egypt in 48/49 and occupied until 67 when Israel occupied it as a result of war. Was occupied until last year, but basically still under Israeli control. Home to 1.5 million Palestinians living in poverty and misery. Humanitarian crisis fueled this year; Bush pushed on Israeli's for new elections (because Bush claims democracy solves all). Israel wanted to exclude Hamas from elections, Bush said 'no, democracy solves everything'. Elections held, Hamas won. Hamas is a large scale organization that has a huge terrorist wing, but also is a huge social net for Palestinians providing security (somewhat), health services, food, daycare etc. But still a terrorist organization behind most of the suicide bombings. As a result the EU and USA cut off all humanitarian aid to Palestinian people (so they can just starve) and the Israeli govt, who collects taxes on 'behalf' on the Palestinian govt, refuses to give them their tax money.

Reason to condemn current Israeli actions:

Israeli attacks in Gaza during early/mid June, including shelling a beach and bombing a highway, left 19 people dead (including children) and dozens seriously injured. In response Palestinian militants kidnapped an Israeli soldier. In respond to that, Israel did this:

-Sealed off Gaza
-Sent in supersonic planes in the middle of the night (why would you need supersonic planes for a 20 mile strip? becauase they create sonic bombs that wake everyone up and shatter their windows, and scare the shit out of every child there)
-Bombed several highways, bridges and electrical facilities; Essentially CUTTING OFF ELECTRICITY AND WATER FOR ALMOST ONE MILLION PEOPLE
-Invaded with tanks, crushing the roads
-In the midsts of shelling/bombing towns across Gaza, the IDF went in and kidnapped 20 lawmakers and a third of the Palestinian cabinet

This is called "collective punishment" and is a war crime, and its not only illegal but quite evil. My position is exactly that taken by Israel's leading newspaper, Haaretz, which had an editorial today codemning the insanity, stating "The government wishes to convince us that all these actions are intended only to release the soldier Gilad Shalit. " The actions I believe are more intended to cripple Hamas, punish the Palestinians for electing Hamas, and, of course, show that new PM Ehud Olmert is just as bad-ass as his comatos predescesser, General Ariel Sharon.

The Haaretz Editorial can be found here:

For those who care (if you are American you should care; its actually an Israeli-American attack as its done with American weapons/planes/tanks sent to Israel by America with the intent to use on the Palestinians, and funded by America), United for Peace and Justice recommends:

1) Call the White House (202-456-1111) and the U.S. State Department (202-647-4000) to demand that the U.S. take immediate action.
2) Send a letter to your local paper and speak out against the latest assaults by the Israeli government on the people of Gaza.
3) You can help get much-needed medical supplies to Gaza -- click here for more information and to make a donation.

There is also a UN resolution pending that condemns the attack. My guess is its voted something like 185-3 in the General Assembly (with US, Israel and some random Pacific Island that the US bought off voting no) and a veto in the Sec Council, and no media coverage of the resolution

24 and other stuff

Last week, Sec of DHS Michael Chertoff, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Rush Limbaugh, among others, were at an event at the ultra-ring wing Heritage Foundation to host a panel on the television show 24; some cast, producers, writers were there to discuss it. It was mainly about issues of terrorism. Im not joking, this actually happened.

Limbaugh apparently spoke about how Cheney and Rumsfeld love the show and how all these conservatives love it because it shows their message; that terrorists are evil and torture is necessary and what a wonderful show for conservatives. Although its stupid that the Heritage Foundation would hold a panel for 24 with prominent republicans praising the show; stupid because its a FICTIONAL show with outrageous plots and unrealistic behavioral tendancies (ie not eating, urinating, sleeping), because Heritage gave its take on the show, so will I:

President David Palmer: The show's early hero (beginning in season one) is Senator David Palmer, running for president. Palmer is black and is a Democrat. We know this because his crazy wife said something like "David, you are about to become the nominee for the Democratic Party for president". He becomes President, and he is also one of the most moral characters on the show, choosing mainly to be 'honest' about his scandals. He is popular and great and loved by all!

President Charles Logan: Unforunately, David Palmer is killed by an assasin working indirectly with Charles Logan, who knew about the assasination and tried to cover it up. President Logan is trying to get the country to have a military intervention in Central Asia under false pretenses in order to secure America's insationable appetite for oil. (Sounds like Bush?) He does so by working with terrorists, supplying them with weapons (Sounds like Reagan?) When Palmer finds out, he kills him and covers it up. Perhaps this is why Republicans love 24.

And a note on the idea that 24 shows that torture is ok. From what I can see a lot of the torture done by Jack Bauer is off protocol and illegal and not always effective. When they used torture methods against Nina Myers, it didnt work, and she ended up breaking free and killing a bunch of doctors and nurses and almost killed Kim Bauer! When they used torture on Chris Henderson, it didnt work, and he ended up breaking free and killing Tony. Lastly, when they used torture on Audrey Raines; they were doing so under the false belief she was working for terrorists, which she was not. Thus we watched as a beloved character was innocently tortured. But perhaps Republicans like that too?

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Per suggestion by Jo Schad that the blog should be personal/funnier/entertaining I will try to do that, though still try to keep it political. So here is the Entertainment/Humor section:

Perhaps people will find this funny:

-I've just gotten another outbreak of poison ivy, the second this month. This is mainly due to the fact that for "chore day" I have to weed the entire yard, which encompasses a lot, and because there has been so much rain, there is a lot of poison ivy I keep hitting. Last time (beginning of June) it was on my chest, legs and feet. This time its all over my right hand, including every finger, my neck, my face and behind my right ear. Im not sure when people at work are going to begin commenting but Ive avoided the issue thus far. They may think its acne. Ha ha!

-Monday at work, I realized I had no lunch and was starving. I had no money and hoped I could make it home and back (from Framingham to Milford) within my 60 min break. Although my gas light was on, I thought I had money at home and it would be ok, so used my only $2 for an iced coffee. When I got home, I realized I had no money and no gas to get back to work. So I stole the gas can used for the lawn mower and tried to pour that in the car, but the neck was too short and i spilled it over myself. I had to then transfer the gas to another canister, spilling more because I was now late for work, then put it in the car. I quickly washed up but still smelled like gas. I had to rush back to work, now with almost no gas, and had to keep the windows up (even though it was 85 and humid and my A/C doesnt work) to keep the car fuel efficient. When I got back to work I had to sit with some woman as she showed me a computer program, and although i washed my hands/arms completely, i still strongly smelled gasoline. Then I realized... it was my shoes. She gave me a lot of weird looks. I didnt know how to explain so I didnt.

-Today (Thursday) due to traffic and cell phone usage, I missed the exit from the Pike for 495. Suddenly, my gas light went on (ive been pretty broke as of late.) I traveled for another 15 miles before I found an exit, went to the next gas station and put in the only $2 I had, then asked to use the bathroom. I encountered the grossest bathroom Ive ever seen, without exaggeration. The stench was overwhelming, and the toliet was splattered with feces and filled with a lot of urine. Try to picture a portapotty at a concert after its been used, only I think this was worse. Because those portapotty's are cleaned after every concert. The way the urine looked, I strongly suspect it was weeks if not months since the toliet was last flushed. The smell was so strong that putting my shirt over my nose would not suffice, I literally had to pull my shirt over my nose, then cup my left hand over my mouth/nose and use my right hand for everything else. I held my breath for most of it (30 secs max) but found even with my shirt and hand over my nose, I had to resort to quick inhales via the mouth because the stench was that strong.
Im not sure if any of this is funny. Thats why I try to stick to political blogging.

In celebrity news: I saw ABC's Good Morning America give a half-assed farewell to John Gibson, who is moving to ABC's World News Tonight. However this was probably more tasteful than the ridiculous send off Katie Couric got, which was a strange attempt to hightlight her "journalist" credentials even though she is moving to a different network.

The lesbians on The View appear to be fighting a lot. Almost every show on television sucks, no matter what time it is. Im very tired of American Idol ripoffs, even though I hate American Idol. I firmly believe with a steady supply of the drugs of my choice I could write a top 10 show, be it drama or comedy. Oh yeah, and Im very sick of MTV's lineup. During my unemployment phase (from mid-may to last wednesday) I got really fed up of MTV switching between Next and Yo Mamma marathons. I have a basic idea of the script they follow on Next:
-After making assinine comments about themselves on the camera, the contestants board the bus. The producer then chooses one to say "So how do you girls think you are going to win the date?" or something. Then one person says something stupid like "Ill dance and shake my booty." Then the producer points to the girl in the middle, and she says something like "Well bitches Im up first, dont wait up cause imma gonna win!" and the other girls say "waheva!". Finally, when the first girl leaves for the 'date', the producer points to another girl, which means she is supposed to say "So how do you girls think Shavando will do?" It goes on like that for a while. And on Yo Mama, its worse.

Quick Note on Iran

Today Iran said they would respond to the Bush Offer (suspend uranium enrichment now and we will give you the privledge of multi-lateral talks) by August, Bush said no we want an answer sooner.

Was reading an article on Iran the other day (will find it later) where an Iranian official made a statement to the tune of "we would be happy with a system of nuclear energy for all under the proper international supervisions". I believe he was commenting on the fact that recently (last year?) a proposal in the UN was passed in the General Assembly about 180-1-2 (2 absentions). The proposal said fissile (nuclear) material would go into the hands of an international committee and if individual countries wanted to use it for nuclear energy, they could appeal to the committee and then get some fissile material, and the UN would go in and monitor to make sure it was just for peaceful purposes. Iran voted yes for this, the US voted no and vetoed it in the Sec.Council, the two absentions were Britain and Israel. The US does not care to be held to the same standards it insists (with the threat of war) that everyone else be held to.

Also a quick comment, while Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,it is not in violation of it. The NPT gives non-nuclear states the right to enrich uranium for energy purposes (hence why Iran keeps saying this is its 'right', because it technically is.) However the US, UK, France, China and Russia (all signed the NPT) are in violation because the treaty states that signatories that ARE nuclear powers must work to reduce and eventually eliminate their nukes. They are not doing that.

More on that later

And soon to come, a blog link to Jo Schad's blog!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Banking Survelliance

A few thoughts on the Bush Admin's secret program to monitor banking transactions for 'suspected terrorists'.

Watching the actions of the right wing and right wing media to the NYT; I strongly suspect, its almost obvious actually, this is a PR move orchestrated, from the top, complete with talking points and an attack plan. Here is why:

1. The NYT, LA Times and Wall Street Journal all reported on this secret program last week. However the right wing media and political figures are launching an all out attack on only the NYT. The idea that its a planned and orchestrated attack is obvious, the President, Press Secretary, Vice President, various politicians, and right wing media began a media assault on the same day (yesterday or monday), even though the story broke on Thursday. The reason for the delay? Time to plan an orchestrated media offense, write up and disperse talking points.

2. Why only the NYT and not the WSJ and LAT? Because the NYT is accepted by the GOP's crazy base as "liberal" and its a way to "rally the base"; and although the LAT is also considered liberal, the WSJ is extremely conservative and it might be a bit TOO obvious to exclude only the WSJ from the attack, instead of the WSJ and the LAT (LAT is less prominent then NYT or WSJ anyway.)

3. What makes this attack an obvious political stunt? Just listen to the nature of the attack! They are saying the NYT is treasonous, is endangering Americans, could result in another 9/11, should have its press credentials revoked, should be PROSECUTED. Here is why that is laughable, for those who didnt read the NYT article, this is the main jist of what they say regarding the program:

"The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database."

There are no real specific details about this program. It is essentially what one would assume the Bush Admin was up when they said a million times after 9/11 that they would be tracking financial transations, domestic and international, to track down terrorists

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Blog Is Back!

Having recently graduated school and entered the work-force as an interim before I return for a higher degree, I found myself missing a forum in which to give my political opinions. Although a blog isnt quite the same as have a captive audience inside a classroom full of students who may or may not be doing sudoko, it does provide an outlet for my thoughts/frustrations and comentary on contemporary society. Alas, my blog is back (albeit on a new sight and title.) I also hope to influence opinions of anyone who reads the blog; or at least spark a debate with opposing views, so hopefully soon I'll figure out the format for that.