Monday, August 13, 2012

Thoughts on the War on Terror

Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I am an old fart that has been around the block a time or two. I am known to be wrong from time to time and my views are continually evolving.

The war on terror is a declared war. On September 20th, 2001, President Bush addressed both houses of the Congress declaring a War on Terror. Congress has continued to budget the military aspects of this war. Unlike other formal declarations of war, this war was not declared against a specific country but a network that is worldwide.

Like it or not, the President has the legal authority to target terrorist abroad in countries that have requested our assistance and even in countries that do not formally ask for assistance. As in other wars, American citizens have enlisted on the side of the enemy. In traditional wars they become military targets. Even though there is no formal battlefield, they become legitimate military targets in this war as they have in wars in the past.

Unlike other formal declarations of war, there is no formal battlefield. Also today drones are used that enable the targeting of specific targets limiting the amount of civilian collateral damage. Our enemy does not concern itself with limiting civilian collateral damage and targets areas where large numbers of civilians gather.

Terrorists exist because of real and perceived injustices. I would prefer that our war on terror tackle the real causes of terrorism. To often America is seen as the enemy because we back regimes that oppress their own people. I had hoped that President Obama would tackle this aspect of the war on terror. In some cases he has, but there are still to many oppressive regimes being supported by the United States. Our support of Israel's occupation of Palestine, our support of the repression of people by the governments of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other countries around the world are examples.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Genetically Modified Food

Disclaimer: I am an old fart. I do not claim to be an expert in the field of genetically altered organisms and neither are 99% of the people that read this blog. I have however been around the block a time or two and have noticed some things while attempting an intelligent discourse on numerous topics.

I refuse to jump on the anti-Monsanto bandwagon. I see many flaws in the arguments against genetically modified agriculture. The first is that we have been randomly altering both crops and animals since we domesticated them. Even today they are being modified in ways that we do not know by nature. We do not know whether the results are harmful or not because we do not test naturally modified organisms before consuming them.

The anti-Monsanto movement seems to be motivated by gut feelings and prejudice rather than science. We live in a changing world that continues to grow in population every year. People are starving. Regardless of your opinion on population growth, it is inhumane to allow people to starve at the level that they are today.

Monsanto may be seeking a profit and may use unethical methods in doing so, but their research in the field of genetically altering produce is what mankind needs. If small alterations which can be duplicated and researched helps mankind, it is a plus.

Farmers have been genetically modifying their crops and animals since they started farming and domesticating animals. Nature does the same. No testing was done to ensure that their methods were safe. This is ongoing and continues even today.

Which is best? Random mutations that are not scientifically controlled and not tested or scientifically controlled mutations that can be duplicated and tested?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Random Thoughts

So, big brother is spying on us when we use social media sites. I am not surprised. I also refuse to tone down what I say when I rant about something that I find wrong. So be it! Until the day comes when they come to take me kicking and screaming away, I will refuse to change. I must add the disclaimer that my life is not threatened to the extent that some are in other parts of the world. I fully understand that some people cannot do this and that is the reason that I must.

Who knows the true meaning of freedom of speech? A Syrian who protests a corrupt government publicly knowing that he will probably be captured, tortured, shot and killed or an American who is afraid to loose his privileges if he publicly protests the corruption of his government and does not risk anything to do anything about it?

Allowing tax deductions for church tithes as charitable deductions is government sponsored religion through the back door.

It has been said that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats so it doesn't matter who you vote for or whether or not you vote.

I want to know what state legislatures controlled by Democrats are passing laws taking away workers' rights, women's rights, voters' rights.

I want to know what Democrat controlled House since the 60s have held hearings on women's issues without inviting women, hearings on Muslims without inviting Muslims and the other shit they are doing.

Yes it does matter. I understand that all Democrats are not as progressive as I am or would like them to be, but I'll be damned if I will allow the myth that they are both the same go unchallenged.

People look at what is happening in places like Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan and say that chaos prevails and we shouldn't do it again. They claim that interfering in Syria will cause the same chaos. I see people attempting to build a new country and new form of government. It takes time and is sometimes imperfect. Mistakes are made. But it is free people attempting new directions for themselves.

When we win the battle and Russ is off the air waves, we must not lose sight on the war. The conservative right have been waging this war for years and have been winning. They took on labor and won. They took on civil rights and have eroded many rights. They took on gays and lesbians and only lost in 8 states. They have lost a battle here and there but they have been winning the war. Now they feel strong enough to take on women. We always have looked the other way. I hope that now there is a real awaking. We lose this war at our peril.

I am an agnostic and do not believe in any sacred being separate from ourselves. I do hold life sacred, whether human, animal, plant or any yet undiscovered. I am anti-war, I am against the death penalty and I am pro-life. This life we have is the only life we will ever have so we must do with it what we feel is best.

My beliefs are just my beliefs and nothing more. I do not require anyone to hold these same beliefs. You may share some, you may totally disagree with all.

What happens when free speech and the right to protest no longer exists in the United States? We become the same as Libya, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, many of the former republics of Eastern Europe and most of the rest of the world. Has it stopped people in these countries from protesting? No. Even though they are imprisoned, tortured, even killed they continue to protest. I am beginning to think that maybe we need to lose these rights to enable our fight for human rights and social justice for all. I for one, will continue to fight for human rights and social justice no matter what.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Formula 1 and Bahrain

I was unable to find the official websites of some of the sponsors. I was also unable to identify some of them. Please help if you can and spread the word.

Formula 1 held their race in Bahrain in spite of the blood in the streets, in spite of the imprisonment of human rights activists. I am starting a year long campaign to fight against this happening again. I am going to research and expose the corporate sponsors who ignore the people. Two I can identify immediately. Red Bull and Lotus. I want these and other corporate sponsors to pledge that never again will they participate until real change is made. I want them to also pledge to donate an equal amount of money to the Bahrain Human Rights Watch the amount of money they spent on Formula 1. We need to boycott these corporate sponsors of injustice.

The following is a list of sponsors for Formula 1 that held their Grand Prix in Bahrain in spite of the human rights abuses of the Government of Bahrain.

I ask everyone to contact these sponsors, demand that they refuse to sponsor any future events in Bahrain until human rights are respected and the jailed human rights activists are released. I also demand that they contribute an equal sum to the Bahrain Human Rights Watch that they spent for the race in Bahrain.

Altria (Marlboro)

Benetton Group

Beta Tools


British American Tobacco

Brooke Bond Oxo
A Tea Company, no official website found.

Unknown corporation. More research needed.

Ceramiche Ragno



Computer Associates
Unknown Corporation. More research needed.


Credit Suisse


No official website found.

Essex Petroleum
No official website found.

Federal Express (FedEx)

First National Bank

Fondmetal SpA


Gallaher Group


Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank

Hugo Boss

Imperial Tobacco

Japan Tobacco (Mild Seven)

Martini & Rossi



PlayStation (Sony)

No official website found.

Red Bull

Reemtsma (West)

Saudia Airlines

SEITA (Gitanes & Gauloises)
No official website found.


No official website found.


STP Corporation






Villiger (Tabatip)
A tobacco company. No official website found.


Warsteiner Brauerei