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27 September 2007 @ 11:24 am
Violence is becoming so prevalent in our society. It's gotten to a point where we almost ignore it. That means it's gone too far.

Last night I had the opportunity to participate in a March/Rally for victims of violence and sexual assault. Take Back The Night is a rally held annually all over the country, and last night it was held in Oshkosh.
While it may have originated from the radical feminist movement, it is an important reminder of that women should not have to be afraid to go out at night. It was beautiful to see all those people gathered together for a cause.
I will post pictures as soon as I can!

The other thing I wanted to talk about was Sophie Lancaster.
She was brutally murdered in England over the summer, supposedly because of her appearance. Things like this are a reminder of how our world is falling apart. Things like this make me so very sad.
Her family has started a campaign in her Name, called S.O.P.H.I.E. which stands for Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere.

It's time to take a stand.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Current Music: Alkaline Trio- - - You're Dead
23 September 2007 @ 12:35 pm
And they are planning on letting this pass??????

Current Mood: angryangry
Current Music: Reel Big Fish- - - S.R.
14 September 2007 @ 02:42 pm
A masterful artist and activist, Serj Tankian continues to deliver thought provoking music even after the hiatus of his band System of a Down. This video is beautifully thought provoking. This is what we are becoming.

Current Mood: gloomygloomy
Current Music: Serj Tankian- - - Empty Walls
12 September 2007 @ 03:03 pm
Rusia prueba bomba gigantesca

BBC Ciencia

Las fuerzas aéreas rusas probaron con éxito una bomba gigantesca que, según fuentes militares, podría ser el artefacto explosivo no nuclear más potente del mundo.

La detonación mostrada en la televisión rusa
Su eficacia y potencia es proporcional a la de un arma nuclear
General Alexander Rukshin

Según informa el corresponsal de la BBC en Moscú Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, la televisión pública rusa mostró cómo una bomba de siete toneladas era lanzada desde una aeronave, causando una gigantesca bola de fuego al explotar.

El artefacto destrozó completamente un bloque de apartamentos de siete niveles de altura, según Wingfield-Hayes.

Los militares rusos sostienen que se trata de la bomba convencional más potente jamás producida, más poderosa incluso que su más directa rival, la MOAB, desarrollada por Estados Unidos.

Bombas de aire-combustible

Este tipo de artefactos explosivos está diseñado principalmente para destrozar objetivos subterráneos.

Técnicamente se conocen como bombas termobáricas y generalmente explotan en dos fases: una pequeña explosión inicial crea una especie de nube de material explosivo que después es encendida con un efecto devastador.

La bomba mostrada en el Canal 1 de la televisión estatal rusa
Se cree que la bomba no ha sido utilizada en combate.

Esta bomba termobárica rusa, también conocida como bomba de combustible o explosivo de aire-combustible, contiene unas siete toneladas de explosivos, una menos que la estadounidense Moab.

Sin embargo, el artefacto ruso podría ser hasta cuatro veces más poderoso que su "rival", ya que utiliza un nuevo tipo de explosivos desarrollados mediante nanotecnología, según informó el Canal 1 de la televisión estatal rusa.

"Los resultados de la prueba de esta nueva arma aerotransportada han demostrado que su eficacia y potencia es proporcional a la de un arma nuclear", declaró en el canal de televisión el general Alexander Rukshin, vice jefe del estado mayor de las fuerzas armadas de Rusia.

"No hay igual en el mundo", dijo.

Valor psicológico

Según Robert Hewson, editor de la publicación militar Jane´s Air-launched Weapons, las afirmaciones de Rusia son plausibles, dado el historial del país en el desarrollo y utilización de artefactos termobáricos.

Rusia usó este tipo de bombas en los conflictos en Afganistán y Chechenia, dijo Hewson.

No hay igual en el mundo
General Alexander Rukshin

El editor sospecha que el gobierno de Moscú diseñó la súper bomba recién probada para el conflicto checheno, pero que nunca llegó a utilizarla por prudencia ante la escala de destrucción que causaría.

Hewson cree que la explosión de prueba es una suerte de "declaración" por parte de Rusia, comparable en su intención psicológica a la que Estados Unidos hizo con la presentación de su bomba MOAB antes de la invasión de Irak en 2003, una demostración de poder que nunca fue seguida de un uso práctico.

"Pura propaganda"

Según informa el corresponsal de la BBC en Moscú, algunos analistas creen que esa demostración de poder está dirigida a modo de propaganda no al pueblo estadounidense, sino al electorado ruso.

En menos de seis meses habrá elecciones presidenciales en el país y muchos esperan que sea el ex ministro de Defensa y actual vice primer ministro, Sergei Ivanov, quien sustituya al presidente de Rusia, Vladimir Putin.

Según el corresponsal Wingfield-Hayes, algunos analistas en Moscú comentan que tal vez Ivanov esté lanzando de esta manera su campaña electoral: con un gran "bang".


Source: BBCmundo

Current Music: Riverboat Gamplers- - - The Gamblers Try Their Hand At International Diplomacy
23 August 2007 @ 04:49 pm
I have often stated in my arguments, especially to my Catholic friends, the words of the late Pope John Paul II regarding the War in Iraq.
Here is the official article:

Pope John Paul II calls War a Defeat for Humanity: Neoconservative Iraq Just War Theories Rejected

by Mark and Louise Zwick

The most consistent and frequent promoter of peace and human rights for the last two decades has been Pope John Paul II.

From Iraqi War I to Iraqi War II, he has echoed the voice of Paul VI, crying out before the United Nations in 1965: War No More, War Never Again!

John Paul II stated before the 2003 war that this war would be a defeat for humanity which could not be morally or legally justified.

In the weeks and months before the U.S. attacked Iraq, not only the Holy Father, but also one Cardinal and Archbishop after another at the Vatican spoke out against a "preemptive" or "preventive" strike. They declared that the just war theory could not justify such a war. Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran said that such a "war of aggression" is a crime against peace. Archbishop Renato Martino, who used the same words in calling the possible military intervention a "crime against peace that cries out vengeance before God," also criticized the pressure that the most powerful nations exerted on the less powerful ones on the U.N. Security Council to support the war. The Pope spoke out almost every day against war and in support of diplomatic efforts for peace.

John Paul II sent his personal representative, Cardinal Pio Laghi, a friend of the Bush family, to remonstrate with the U.S. President before the war began. Pio Laghi said such a war would be illegal and unjust. The message was clear: God is not on your side if you invade Iraq.

After the United States began its attacks against Iraq, FOX News actually reported the immediate comments of the Holy Father, made in an address at the Vatican to members of an Italian religious television channel, Telespace: "When war, as in these days in Iraq, threatens the fate of humanity, it is ever more urgent to proclaim, with a strong and decisive voice, that only peace is the road to follow to construct a more just and united society," John Paul said. "Violence and arms can never resolve the problems of man."

Americans were largely unaware of the depth and importance of the opposition of Church leaders to an attack on Iraq, since for the most part the mainstream media did not carry the stories. In the same way, many Americans were unaware that Pope John Paul II spoke against the first Gulf War 56 times. Media in the United States omitted this from the commentaries on the war. Many have also been unaware of the number of Iraqis killed in that war (not to mention the war which recently "ended"). In February 2003 Business Week published an interview with Beth Osborne Daponte, a professional demographer who worked for the Census Bureau. The first Bush administration tried to fire her because her published estimates of the number of Iraqi deaths conflicted with what Dick Cheney was saying at the time. She was defended by social science professionals and was able to keep her job. Her estimates: 13,000 civilians were killed directly by American and allied forces, and about 70,000 civilians died subsequently from war-related damage to medical facilities and supplies, the electric power grid, and the water system.

In the past few years, Catholic neoconservatives have been attempting to develop a new philosophy of just war which would include preemptive strikes against other nations, what might be called a "preventive war." George Weigel has published major articles defending this position since 1995. First Things magazine published his articles and editorially agreed with this point of view. The present Bush administration has used these writings to defend the strike against Iraq. Shortly before the war began, through the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, President Bush sent Michael Novak to go to Rome to try to justify the war to the Pope and Vatican officials. Catholic News Service reported that the two-hour symposium was attended by some 150 invited guests, including lower-level Vatican officials, professors from church universities in Rome and diplomats accredited to the Vatican. Since with one voice Rome had already rejected the argument for a preventive war, Novak took the approach that a war on Iraq would not be a preventive war, but a continuation of a "just war," Iraqi War I, and actually a moral obligation. He argued that a was also a matter of self-defense, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, was an un-scrupulous character, and therefore it was only a matter of time before he took up with Al Qaida and gave them such weapons.

Novak did not succeed in convincing Church leaders-in fact, some commentators reflected that his efforts might have had the opposite effect. Novak's credibility in this argument was perhaps under-mined by his employment at the American Enterprise Institute, heavily funded by oil companies, some of whom began advertising in the Houston Chronicle for em-ployees to work in Iraq even before the war began. Administration officials denied for months that the goal of the war on Iraq was related to oil. On June 4, 2003, however, The Guardian reported the words of the U.S. deputy defense secretary, Paul Wolfowitz (one of the major architects of the war). Wolfowitz had earlier commented that the urgent reason given for the war, weapons of mass destruction, was only a "bureaucratic excuse" for war. Now, at an Asian security summit in Singapore he has declared openly that the real reason for the war was oil: "Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defense minister said: "Let's look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."

John Paul II has sought to distance the Catholic Church from George Bush's idea of the manifest Christian destiny of the United States, and especially to avoid the appearance of a clash of Christian civilization against Islam. Zenit reported that in his Easter Sunday message this year John Paul II "implored for the world's deliverance from the peril of the tragic clash between cultures and religions." The Pope also sent his message to terrorists: "Let there be an end to the chain of hatred and terrorism which threatens the orderly development of the human family." As he had done in his invitation to religious leaders from many faiths to Assisi at the beginning of 2002, he reached out again to leaders of other religions: "May faith and love of God make the followers of every religion courageous builders of under-standing and forgiveness, patient weavers of a fruitful inter-religious dialogue, capable of inaugurating a new era of justice and peace."

Catholic World News quoted the Latin-rite Bishop of Baghdad, Bishop Jean-Benjamin Sleimaan as saying in the Italian daily La Repubblica that the Pope's high-profile opposition to a war on Iraq has helped to avoid a sort of Manichaeism that would set up an opposition between the West and the East, in which Christianity is linked to the West and Islam to the East.

While the Iraqi War II turned out to be "short," violations of "just war" principles abounded. Bombing included such targets as an open market and a hotel where the world's journalists were staying. While most television and newspaper reports in the United States minimized coverage of deaths and injuries to the Iraqi people, reports of many civilian casualties did come out. CBS news reported on April 7 stories of civilians pouring into hospitals in Baghdad, threatening to over-whelm medical staff, and the damage inflicted by bombs which targeted homes: "The old, the young, men and women alike, no one has been spared. One hospital reported receiving 175 wounded by midday. A crater is all that remains of four families and their homes-obliterated by a massive bomb that dropped from the sky without warning in the middle afternoon." The Canadian press carried a Red Cross report of "incredible" levels of civilian casualties from Nasiriyah, of a truckload of dismembered women and children arriving at the hospital in Hilla from that village, their deaths the result of "bombs, projectiles."

As talk escalated about a U. S. attack on Iraq, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, began stating unequivocally that "The concept of a 'preventive war' does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church." His comments had been published as early as September 2002 and were repeated several times as war seemed imminent.

Cardinal Ratzinger recommended that the three religions who share a heritage from Abraham return to the Ten Commandments to counteract the violence of terrorism and war: "The Decalogue is not the private property of Christians or Jews. It is a lofty expression of moral reason that, as such, is also found in the wisdom of other cultures. To refer again to the Decalogue might be essential precisely to restore reason."

Preparation of a new shorter, simpler version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church will soon begin and, according to reports and interviews with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, it will probably include revisions to clarify the section on just war, as the official version has done against capital punishment in a civilized society. Cardinal Ratzinger will head up the Commission to write the new catechism. In an interview with Zenit on May 2, 2003, the Cardinal restated the position of the Holy Father on the Iraq war (II) and on the question of the possibility of a just war in today's world.: "There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a "just war."

In almost every one of his addresses to groups large or small and in each visit to other countries, such as his recent visit to Spain, John Paul II has cried out for peace.

At the Ash Wednesday Mass this year the Pope reemphasized the theme that peace comes with justice: "There will be no peace on earth while the oppression of peoples, injustices and economic imbalances, which still exist, endure." He insisted that changes in structures, economic and otherwise, must come from conversion of hearts: "But for the desired structural changes to take place, external initiatives and interventions are not enough; what is needed above all is a joint conversion of hearts to love."

In his Easter message the Holy Father drew attention not only to the Iraq War, but to "the forgotten wars and protracted hostilities that are causing deaths and injuries amid silence and neglect on the part of considerable sectors of public opinion." The official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano carried the Pope's Easter message of peace with a headline in very large letters, Pace (peace), taking up a quarter of a page. He has asked Catholics to pray and do penance and ask Christ for peace, a peace "founded on the solid pillars of love and justice, truth and freedom."

Houston Catholic Worker, Vol. XXIII, No. 4, July-August 2003.

Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
05 August 2007 @ 12:45 pm
Check out this article title:
"Congress Gives Bush More Eavesdropping Leeway"

Think they have an opinon on that? Oh, CNN... (As a note: The title of the BBC Article was "Congress backs foreign wiretaps")

I can't say that I disagree with them though. It really is just what we needed. More wiretapping. That will stop the terrorists. I am sure of it. 

More than that, I love the caption under the photo. 
"President Bush demanded Congress expand his surveillance authority before leaving for vacation."
Like it's not big deal... "Be sure all the windows are locked before you leave for the weekend." or maybe like he was insisting that his parents let him have friends over when they left. 
Who knows. 

My frustration is this:
The bill actually gives the power to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. This is, I must say, exactly what he needs. The man "cannot recall" what he had for dinner last night, and we are trusting him with "intelligence"? 
Much thanks the the Democrats for insisting that the bill be expanded to allow in the Director of National intelligence rather than the Attorney Genaral alone. The GOP was being a bit ridiculous to think that would go over well at all. 

18 July 2007 @ 11:54 pm
I know it doesn't go with the political tone of this blog, but I would just like to post something really quickly, in the hope that more people see it and more people can take note....

My mom has cancer, a form of lymphoma to be exact. From what they are saying it isn't much to worry about, since they should be able to remove it with surgery. She will probably have to undergo some chemo though. That is most of it. I guess the biggest problem right now is the fact that they send her to a different doctor almost every time, and it seems like none of them can agree on the seriousness of the cancer, or exactly how to treat it. They all have a little bit different of an answer. To top it all of, today she was informed that another area also has the same lymphoma. It's just all a bit maddening right now. I hope that once they stage it they can figure out where to go from there and she can at least get on the path to recovery.
Please keep her in your prayers.

X-posted to verovladamir
15 July 2007 @ 10:59 am

I found an interesting quote this morning, and it brought about a desire to know more. 
Here are some interesting quotes on governemt, andmy thoughts on them
- - - - - - - - -
"A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have."  
- Thomas Jefferson
An intersting thought to say the least, and one that I am sure many people have overlooked. We often look to the government to give us everything we need, everything we want, but fail to realize that in asking these things we are, in a way, becoming vulnerable to tyranny. 
- - - - - - - - -
“Freedom of the person under the protection of habeas corpus. I deem one of the essential principles of our government.”
-Thomas Jefferson
Smart man, really. Oddly enough, the wonderful right of habeas corpus is being denied to criminals once again, thanks to our current administration and their use of words like "enemy combatant". Apparently if you don't call them a criminal they don't get the same rights.
 "The November 13, 2001, Presidential Military Order gave the President of the United States the power to detain a non-citizen suspected of connection to terrorists or terrorism as an unlawful combatant. As such, it was asserted that a person could be held indefinitely without charges being filed against him or her, without a court hearing, and without entitlement to a legal consultant. Many legal and constitutional scholars contended that these provisions were in direct opposition to habeas corpus and the United States Bill of Rights.
"In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004), the Supreme Court reaffirmed the right of United States citizens to seek writs of habeas corpus even when declared enemy combatants."
I guess in the end we are making some progress, as the supreme court has upheld the right to seek a writ of habeas corpus, but I find it deeply distrubing that our goverment ever thought that they could suspend that right in the first place. How, in any sense at all, could you think that it would be ethical to detain people, and not even tell them what they are being held for? Can you imagine being locked in a prison, and being denied the right to even know why you are there?
- - - - - - - - -

Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Current Music: Led Zeppelin- - - Black Dog
20 June 2007 @ 09:44 am
I came across this video this morning, and I was truly surprised. I encourage you to watch it, and to share it with others. It really brings to light a situation that is at the center of our world today. Please watch the whole thing. You will be glad you did.

Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
Current Music: Anti-Flag- - - Cities Burn
18 June 2007 @ 06:25 pm
Whenever you are searching for something to do and cannot seem to come by it, I would greatly suggest that you seek out the plethera of information that is wikipedia. I try to visit it at least once a week.
I am sure this leads to one major question for many of you.
Why should I visit this site?Collapse )
While exploring the greatness that is this encyclopedia, I happened across an article on Swabian Children. For those of you who aren't avid readers of wikipedia, I will explain how the experiance works. Each article, like the one I just listed, is filled with links to other articles. Often, reading one article can lead to another, and another, until you are onto something seemingly unrelated. This is usually how it works for me. Today, however, The article itself reminded me of something, and I chose to search on my own.
I war reminded, by this article, of the Desaparecidos of Argentina. 
The Dirty War, or Guerra Sucia, took place in Argentina between 1976 and 1983. Over this period of time, some 30,000 people simply vanished from Argentina. 
Those that were taken were political dissidents during the time of Juan Peron. They were drugged, kidnapped and taken in a plane over the Atlantic ocean, where they were thrown out of the plane. It was thought that if no body could be found, it would not be considered a murder. 
You, are, I am sure, aware of where I stand on issues like these. I consider this a genocide. The offical definition of genogide is the "systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group." I believe that by being dissidents from the "peronistas", it was plenty of political motivation. Once again, a desire for power drove a government to exterminate its own people. 

So what really brings this genocide to my attention? What makes this different from any of the others that have gone on?
Madres de Plaza de Mayo, or Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. They are a group of women who's children dissapeared under the military rule from '76 to '83. They march in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires each Thrusday to protest the loss of their children,  and to demand answers from their government. They have been doing this since the beginning, for more than 25 years. That, in my opinion, is commitment at its finest.

Their offial "Final March" was in January of last year, as they believe the current government is no longer hostile or indifferent to their situation, however they contintue to march each Thursday in protest of similar situations. 
It is a valuable lesson for us. We should never say there is nothing we can do, or that we cannot stand up for our belifs. These are mothers that have been marching for over 30 years demanding answers for the wrongs that have been done, and they deserve to be comended.
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
Current Music: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists- - - Shake the Sheets