Enjoy The Silence

Sorry for my inactivity - this week poses a super, wickedly busy schedule for me so I won't be able to do any quality posting or debating until Friday at the earliest.

Holidays.....In the meantime, Enjoy The Silence.


Reply to Sonia

Wow, OK, there's a lot to be done here...please read the links, when you have the time.

Yes, Bush waving a red flag with a hammer and sickle would definitely make him a villain in my book...

Even some of the most staunch opposers of communism Nicolas Werth and Jean-Louis Margolin, authors of The Black Book of Communism disagree with your opinion that the rallying symbols, and indeed ideologies and actions of communists even compare to that of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Thats saying something.

If Mother Teresa and Gandhi were waving a flag with swastica in Israel, they would be seen as villains there as well...

Grouping the likes of Bush in with people like Mother Teresa and Gandhi is not only laughable, but a huge insult to Mother Teresa and Gandhi.

Lincoln suspended habeas corpus for American citizens to fight slavery.

This is a half-truth.
Lincoln did suspend Habeas Corpus in 1861, to only a handful of states, then nationally in 1862. In 18866 Congress ruled that this act was unconstitutional and illegal.

Contrary to popular misconception, neither the Civil War nor the suspension of Habeas Corpus had anything to do with ending slavery. His suspension of Habeas Corpus was aimed at suppressing peace movements, and activists who tried to impede enlistment. From Lincolns own pen:

"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause." The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume V, "Letter to Horace Greeley" (August 22, 1862), p. 388."

Bush never did.

Uh, yes he did. In the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Bush suspended Habeas Corpus.

President Bush suspended writs of habeas corpus through his support and signing into law of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. The bill grants the President of the United States almost unlimited authority in establishing and conducting military commissions to try persons held by the U.S., and considered to be "unlawful enemy combatants" in the Global War on Terrorism. In addition, the Act suspends the right of "unlawful enemy combatants" to present, or to have presented in their behalf, writs of habeas corpus.[1]

Geneva convention applies only between countries that recognize each other (Taliban and Al Qaeda don't recognize Geneva convention when they capture American soldiers neither).

WRONG. In the Geneva Convention it states:
"Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof."

It continues to state:

"Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."

And goes on to say (just in case the combatant may not be protected):

"When prisoners of war do not benefit or cease to benefit, no matter for what reason, by the activities of a Protecting Power or of an organization provided for in the first paragraph above, the Detaining Power shall request a neutral State, or such an organization, to undertake the functions performed under the present Convention by a Protecting Power designated by the Parties to a conflict."

Which, even if some of the detainees fall into this category, Bush has still not complied with Geneva Convention Laws.

And further states:

"No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

The Geneva Convention goes on and on and on...and Bush has violated so many of the laws its beyond counting or quoting.

One more link about Geneva Convention violations

I never heard Bush "praising and supporting" Pakistan.
Then you haven't been listening. Frederick has listed some good quotes, to add to that I'll add:

"CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush stepped up praise of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf Saturday, hailing "positive steps" the general took by promising to lift emergency rule, resign as army chief and hold elections.

"and that wouldn't have happened without President Musharraf honoring his word."

"Benazir Bhutto fully understands the dangers of al-Qaida. By far the vast majority of people in Pakistan want to live in a free and peaceful society, and they understand the dangers of al-Qaida. ... I believe we will continue to have good collaboration with the leadership in Pakistan."

Earlier today, President Bush cited Pakistan's help in working together "to stop the world's most dangerous men from getting their hands on the world's most dangerous weapons,"

"Working with Great Britain and Pakistan and other nations, the United States shut down the world's most dangerous nuclear trading cartel, the AQ Khan network,"

The president also said that "we're working with friends and allies to deny the terrorists the enclaves they seek to establish in ungoverned areas across the world."

Pakistan gained the status of Most Favored Nation from the United States following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979."

And the list goes on and on...

Nobody in history has ever started a war on "true" pretenses.

Defend that statement.

What the hell is "posse comitatus act" ?

Ah, I see why you are confused about the issue of martial law, if you don't know what the Posse Comitatus Actis. The short of it is this: it was passed in 1878, preventing the use of US military force inside the borders of the US. Overturning this act allows the President to go forward, should he choose to, with enforcing Martial law using both the US military, and military contracted private companies like Blackwater.

Bush never declared martial law.

I guess its a good thing that I said "extending the ability to enforce martial law", and not "declared martial law". I did choose those specific words for the very reason of their inherent meaning.

Here are some links about Martial Law in the US:

John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2006 (section 1042)

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (HR 1585)

Military Commissions Act
Independant Media repost
A blog report

He never overturned any constitutional rights neither.

Wrong again. Law discussion on Patriot Act

Among many others that I have listed on my personal blog here.

Really Sonia, you should check your opinions against facts before you post them, if you plan to continue to posture your opinions as facts.


A Quick Note

In light of the drastic temperature change, my hands are killing me, making it hard to type tonight. They're useless! Its like typing with lead-laden fish lure for fingers. So pardon the typo's, and the shortness of my posts tonight. I'll try to catch up on comments and replies and such - but no promises!

In the meantime go visit Professor Smartass's blog and watch the animation in the post. It should get a good chuckle out of you.


Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned

A break from revisionist history.

Inspired by a debate comment on Renegade Eye's blog, I thought I would delve into the history between US - Cuban relations, and the reasons behind an embargo that should have ended decades ago. In part, as an answer to Sonia, and in part as a further revelation in the sordid history of international economic domination on behalf of the United States. As many of your know by now, I'm a huge fan of John Perkins. The reading that I have been doing about US relations with Cuba prior to 1959, and indeed prior to the turn of the century tells me just how long this country has been practicing the art of economically forced political alliances (AKA economic hitmen), and Dealing with the Devil, among other forms of shady international dealings.

It all starts around 1818, after trade lines opened up between Cuba and the US. Although Cuba at the time was still a Spanish colony, the United States began to see Cuba as something to be bought, had, and controlled - like a buxom woman in a tight gown. [1]

In 1820 Thomas Jefferson thought Cuba "the most interesting addition which could ever be made to our system of States" and told Secretary of War John C. Calhoun that the United States "ought, at the first possible opportunity, to take Cuba."[2]

In 1854, under the document titled the Ostend Manifesto [3] US diplomats drew up plans to acquire Cuba from Spain for approximately $130 million dollars. The Manifesto failed when it was made public, due to anti-slavery concerns from the North. [Hugh Thomas. Cuba : The pursuit for freedom. p.134-5]

Again, in 1897, President McKinley offered to buy Cuba - this time for $300 million, and was rejected, leading into the Spanish-American War. [4] This war was fought by the US, to help Cuba gain its independence from Spain, when Spain refused to end the conflict peacefully, allowing Cuba to come into its own. As noble as this sounds, the US had ulterior motives, as always. Due to growing industry trade, considering the US now accounted for more than 80% of Cuban export and was a monopsony with regards to Cuban trade. Desire to make Cuba part of the US was evident enough for Henry M Teller to propose his amendment Teller Amendment which prevented the US from annexing Cuba once it was independent from Spain. It allowed for US military presence until the conflict was over, and until the government was stable, but leaving all aspects of governance to Cuba and its citizens.[5]

At the end of the Spanish-American War, references state this:
On the 10th of December 1898 Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris and in accordance with the treaty Spain renounced all rights to Cuba. The treaty put an end to the Spanish Empire in the Americas marking the beginning of United States expansion and long term political dominance over the region. Immediately after the signing of the treaty, the US-owned "Island of Cuba Real Estate Company" opened for business to sell Cuban land to Americans.[9] U.S. military rule of the island lasted until 1902 when Cuba was finally granted formal independence.
The economic dominance begins in earnest.

The neutral and somewhat vague Teller Amendment only lasted until 1901, when the Platt Amendment replaced the Teller Amendment with constrictive regulations on trade, sales, governance, and ownership of property in Cuba.
The amendment ceded to the United States the naval base in Cuba (Guantánamo Bay), stipulated that Cuba would not transfer Cuban land to any power other than the United States, mandated that Cuba would contract no foreign debt without guarantees that the interest could be served from ordinary revenues, ensured U.S. intervention in Cuban affairs when the United States deemed necessary, prohibited Cuba from negotiating treaties with any country other than the United States "which will impair or tend to impair the independence of Cuba" or "permit any foreign power or powers to obtain ... lodgement in or control over any portion" of Cuba, and provided for a formal treaty detailing all the foregoing provisions.[6]

Although US military occupation in Cuba ended in 1902, Cuba quickly became the playground of the rich. In fact, the surge of Americans taking advantage crumbling economy due to thirty years of conflict had started long before this point, but with stricter trade agreements and property rights under the Platt Amendment, the US was ready to unofficially, and economically annex Cuba.

By 1926 U.S companies owned 60% of the Cuban sugar industry and imported 95% of the total Cuban crop,[10] and Washington was generally supportive of successive Cuban Governments. However, internal confrontations between the government of Gerardo Machado and political opposition led to a military overthrow by Cuban rebels in 1933.[7]

Machado's replacement, Grau nullified the Platt Amendment, presumably because it was unfair. Our government recognized this as a threat to US interests, and refused to acknowledge the Cuban government under his rule. [8, 9]

Enter in the puppet president, Batista. A general in the Army gave rise to a de facto president, and was supported by our government. (Sound familiar? We have continued this pattern in recent times.) Consider this, Grau was dismissed by our government as communist, yet Batista was actually funded and supported, at one time, by the old Cuban Communist party. Batista was also known for opening up Cuba to American gangsters, and gambling, while tightening restrictions on Cubans.
Due to growing popular opposition and unrest, manifested by the Cuban people with increasing acts of civil disobedience, and in order to appease the growing concerns in Washington, Batista held an election in 1954 in which he was the only legal candidate. Without opposition, he obviously won, becoming president of Cuba in 1954, prompting yet even more waves of civil unrest.[...]By late 1955 student riots and anti-Batista demonstration had become frequent. These were dealt with in the violent manner his military police had come to represent. Students attempting to march from the University of Havana were stopped and beaten by the police, and student leader José A. Echeverría had to be hospitalized. Another popular student leader was killed on December 10, leading to a funeral that became a gigantic political protest with a 5-minute nationwide work stoppage.

Instead of loosening his grip, Batista suspended constitutional guarantees and established tighter censorship of the media. His military police would patrol the streets and pick up anyone suspected of insurrection. By the end of 1955 they had grown more prone to violent acts of brutality and torture, with no fear of legal repercussions.

In March of 1956 Batista refused to consider a proposal calling for elections by the end of the year. He was confident that he could defeat any revolutionary attempt from the many factions who opposed him.

This is important to note, Batista was seen as a dictator, who suspended constitutional rights at least twice, and operated under the strict guidance of the US government. It is clear that Cubans objected - sometimes violently - to his rule. During his reign he allowed the US to buy up companies, and land from Cubans, regardless of the civil and economic unrest it caused with the citizens of Cuba.

Batista had always leaned toward the United States. I don't think we ever had a better friend. It was regrettable, like all South Americans, that he was known-although I had no absolute knowledge of it-to be getting a cut, I think is the word for it, in almost all the, things that were done. But, on the other hand, he was doing an amazing job.[12]

The move was vehemently opposed by U.S. ambassador Earl T. Smith, and led U.S. state department advisor William Wieland to lament that "I know Batista is considered by many as a son of a bitch... but American interests come first... at least he was our son of a bitch."[13]
In reference to the US opting not to support Batista by supplying arms to Cuba while Castro lead the revolution that led to Batista's political demise.

Hey, at least the guy was honest about it.

When Castro with the aid of Che Guevara overthrew the US puppet government, they immediately sought changes. First and foremost, they wanted the US political influence and power plays out of Cuba. Some of the first actions taken by the new government were documented by Castro, which you can read here: The case of Cuba is the case of all underdeveloped countries. They worried about the state of the Cuban economy, and sought to nationalize companies that had been allowed to be owned by US companies. A list of companies that had been nationalized can be seen here. It should be noted that most companies are still alive and kicking today - the nationalization of said companies didn't prevent them from prospering in business outside of Cuba.

More about the nationalization of US companies can be read here. Basically, to answer Sonia's query about "taking back" companies, yes Cuba was indeed taking back companies that had been sold out from under them while being under constitutional restrictions akin to Martial Law, topped with decades of war and poverty. They didn't just take back companies however, they took back their country. The Platt Amendment had put Cuba into a trade based strangle hold, an economically crippling tactic, still used by our government today. Think about it in these terms, if someone holds you hostage, takes your things, and you get free, whats the first thing you're going to do? Get yuor things back. Thats what.

The US government sought not only to punish Cuba for its national infidelities, but other countries who sought trade with Cuba as well. Then the US froze Cuban accounts, and used the money in them to file lawsuits against Cuba. This was purely a revenge tactic.

The fact that the UN has repeatedly asked for the embargo to be stopped doesn't make a difference. The fact that other countries have come to resent the US for its stalwart position on global trade rules with Cuba, doesn't make a difference. The fact that the vast majority of Cubans enduring the punishment in the here and now had nothing to do with political power plays, revolution, or nationalization of companies doesn't matter on whit to our Government.

If the US can't have Cuba, no one can have her.

This is the Disintegration of Our Country

People who are opposed to criticisms of the war resort to personally attacking Veterans for experiencing depression and other post war symptoms. That Vet would be my husband. From Drinking Liberally in New Milford

In the comment section. I will simply cut and paste the comments, as they are, in sequential order.

Me: I just left a comment about this subject over at an average american patriot.

I watch my husband carefully for the signs, always now.

The "you wouldn't understand" retort gets me every time. Although I don't fully understand, I'm sure I could be somewhat sympathetic - so this is an issue close to my heart.

cPalm: If i went over to a foreign land, lived like an animal, was prepared to offer the ultimate sacrifice for my God and Country, and then returned home to hear the pessimistic, disrespectful, feminizing jargon that spews from the likes of people such as yourself - I too would shoot myself, square in the face.

Me: You don't like my opinions? Then attack my opinions, but I'll be damned if people crack jokes about Veterans committing suicide.

Let me enlighten you asshole, my husband is an Iraq Veteran Against the War - he too spews the "pessimistic garbage" that I spew. In fact he is the very reason I began "spewing my garbage" all over my blog. My support of him, and his opinions through my own has helped him in his healing process. Being vocal about what is going on and trying to do something about it is one of very few things that has got him on the right track.

Maybe if you grew a spine, and went over there, you'd actually know what you were talking about. As it stands, you are seriously uninformed about the link of depression, PTSD, DU and this war.

But if you think suicide is funny, maybe you should try the punchline on yourself sometime.

Because I sure as hell don't think its funny. And I sure as hell don't think that any one who has a loved one suffering from depression or PTSD, both of which my husband has, plus possible DU contamination from this God damned war thinks its funny.

You're awfully brave to insult a VETERAN and his WIFE online, randomly on a forum about a damn serious subject, when you don't have the balls to go over there yourself and expose yourself to the physical and psychological dangers.

But hey, you're more than happy to send more people off to do it for you, aren't you?

Tell me, am I over reacting here?


Watch the Video

With thanks to Its my Right to be Left of the Center for bringing these videos to my attention, I ask that you all now sit down and watch them. For the details, go to her blog!

Straight From the Horse's Ass

From an article by AP journalist Anne Flaherty,

'The White House said in its statement that the Geneva Conventions shouldn't apply to "captured terrorists who openly flout that law."' In response to the House's request that interrogators abide by the Army Field Manual which was updated in '06, and is based on the Geneva Convention.

Really now, and here I thought Geneva Conventions set the standards for international law for humanitarian concerns. The main concern is the treatment of non-combatants and prisoners of war. Maybe its just me, but terrorists who are caught amidst a war (supposedly) started because of terrorists would, in fact, be considered prisoners of war. Thus the Geneva Convention applies to them too.

Not to mention the fact that they are also humans, and the US shouldn't want to come across as behaving the same way terrorists do by treating other humans with little to no respect for human life.

Apparently, the US doesn't give a rats ass if they mimic the enemy.

In Other News

Bush plans to veto the new bill for $50 billion, with the stipulation of bringing home troops and a deadline for ending the war. He doesn't want a timetable...no surprise there. It would be much harder for Bush to slip troops into Iran, ahead of schedule and largely unnoticed by the US, if the troops are all coming home.

Catholic bishops: church teaching should shape how parishioners vote in 2008

The Church is basically threatening its congregates with eternal damnation if they don't vote for the candidate who best fits it's doctrines. Citing the intentional loss of innocent lives as the foremost important issue of the day, unless that loss of life happens while trying to catch terrorists. The articles continues on to state: "The bishops urged Catholics to only use voter resources approved by the church." As opposed to booklets and voter resources that may come from "Left leaning" churches or ideologies.

In heartbreaking news, African Crucible: Cast as Witches, Then Cast Out

Mainly as a Mother, but also a practitioner of Witchcraft, this news is terrible, and heart-wrenching.

From the Idiot Pages

Some people seemingly do not understand the difference between legal privacy (as in, the fourth amendment), the use of monitoring systems for law enforcement, and cameras used by the media.

No wonder our constitutional rights are crumbling, citizens don't even know what they are to begin with!



At the request of my husband I came across this blog on myspace, he insisted I read it. So I did.

Holy paranoia Batman!

First, there must be some sort of serious misinformation out there that the cold war is still on. Second, I'm not entirely sure that the author, or his readers are clear on how a Democratic Republic actually works. Or the fact that it is actually bi-partisan by design. Third, the - I'm at a loss for words right now, I don't really know how to describe it - the use, misuse, and abuse of illogical information compared with fallacy driven wild abandon of common sense is astounding. I'm boggled. I'm baffled. I'm actually almost speechless. Almost

Now, I'm not here to bash blogs. Thats not my intent. However, every so often one comes across something so...so unbelievable, so out there, so...wild that shaking one's head simply doesn't have enough force to get over what one has just read.

From wild and panicked "the Earth is flat" type passages about how the Democratic party's boss is really moveon.org, to complaints about how the Democrats are no longer trying to act or sound like Republicans, to some guy named Richard who, apparently has convinced this man of the Communist's plan to take over, and coincidentally ruin the world - all the way to the utmost of racist comments like "Obama might still be a Muslim - how dare he run for president!" This man is all over the darned place.

Oh, I forgot, the extreme right-wing fascist party has come to town, under the guise of Patriotism (re: severe nationalism) with the belief that all politicians should be republicans (no more of that bi-partisan crap!) and everyone should be Christians (or, in the words of Ann Coulter, "perfected Jews"), and anyone who dissents is a Communist (regardless of the fact that they may in fact be a Democrat, a Socialist, an Anarchist or anything really but a right wing fascist).

My husband wants to reply to this man, talk some sense into him. My stance is that it can't be done. He's too far gone. If he's convinced that the world is flat there isn't a fact in the world that will convince him otherwise.

On the other hand the blogs are on the older side, and he hasn't blogged in a while - maybe the commie-boogyman he is so afraid of jumped out from his closet and black-bagged him.

Well, its for the best really. I couldn't imagine living in so much fear all the time.

But really, the best way for me to describe my utter incomprehension of people like this is to show a short, profanity ridden scene from Boondock Saints:

Happy fucking Wednesday!


Veteran's Day

Taking a cue from Enigma's blog Watergate Summer I think we should all take a moment to reflect on this day, and what it means.

To some, peace above all else is a mantra. It is my philosophy that unfortunately this is something that can't happen. Ideally it would be wonderful, but taking into consideration the inherent duality of human kind - and indeed, all creatures big or small on this planet, the need for force is sometimes inevitable. This is why I do support the troops (contrary to popular right wing beliefs) and this is why I do respect Veterans.

The men and women who have put their lives on the line for the protection of their country - and more importantly their fellow humans, their loved ones, their neighbors, friends and co-workers - are a noble group.

However, and this is a big however, the act of force is something that should be considered gravely and seriously. The right to protect oneself, and one's country is inalienable in my opinion. That is why I understand the need, and certainly the honor in serving one's country. The "big however" comes into play with regards to the use of said service. To defend, to protect is honorable. To bully or for gain is not.

In my profile the random question is "How is an ankle unlike a consequence?" My answer, "You can break an ankle." This is a life lesson learned in a silly question. Every choice yields consequences, every action, the possibility of repercussions. Unlike a bone, what's done is done and cannot be broken. It cannot be reset, it cannot be fixed. There are no casts or band aids that can repair or fix the result of one's actions. So it behooves those in the position to decide which consequences, and what repercussions we will face to think soundly and clearly.

That responsibility however, resides squarely on the shoulders of our government. Not our soldiers.

So lets not talk of war anymore today. Lets simply thank the brave men and woman around the world, who have stood up to fight whatever battles they faced during their lifetimes and service.

Hopefully, this world won't make too many more Veterans, as honorable as the title is, it it comes with a hefty price tag.


Hold On to Your Hats Folks

The news that the dramatic rise in oil prices redistributes wealth may just shock you.

Or not.

Look for yourself, from WashingtonPost.com:

"With crude oil prices nearing $100 a barrel, there is no end in sight to the redistribution of more than 1 percent of the world's gross domestic product. Earlier oil shocks generated giant shifts in wealth and pools of petrodollars, but they eventually faded and economies adjusted. This new high point in petroleum prices has arrived over four years, and many believe it will represent a new plateau even if prices drop back somewhat in coming months."
read more

I'll need to read more before I can comment - but I thought I'd throw that big fact shocker out there first...


Lesser of Two Evils

It is amazingly annoying to me that the US plays devil's advocate, politically speaking, so often that one looses track of who our Allies are, and who our Enemies are. Its eerily Orwellian.

Today, Charles Krauthammer wrote an op-ed piece about just that, with regards to Pakistan - US relations. His take is that

"Bhutto (Harvard '73) is a good student of American politics. She caught Bush's democratic messianism at its apogee, the same inaugural address in which he set "the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

Universal democratization is lovely, but it cannot be a description of day-to-day diplomacy. The blanket promise to always oppose dictatorship is inherently impossible to keep. It always requires considerations of local conditions and strategic necessity."

He continues with:
"Pakistan is not the first time we've faced hard choices about democratization. At the height of the Cold War, particularly in the immediate post-Vietnam era of American weakness, we supported dictators Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. The logic was simple: The available and likely alternative -- i.e., communists -- would be worse. Critics of America considered this proof of our hypocrisy about defending freedom. [article continues]"

In other words we make deals with the Devil when it suits us. Got it. Actually, this is nothing new to me, although I had not been aware of just how frequently we make deals with the Devil.

From a Daniel Markey interview in February of this year, we are to gather the fact(s) that the US worked, trained and funded Pakistan to help fight Soviet invasion.

What Markey fails to mention in his interview is that the US was working with another Chief of Army staff, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who had - big surprise - placed Pakistan under Martial Law and suspended elections from 1977 to 1985.
"Under General Zia's Martial Law, there was steady economic growth favoring the private sector, and efforts were made to Islamize the political, legal and economic structures. Pakistan gained the status of Most Favored Nation from the United States following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. Vast amounts of military equipment and aid were donated to Pakistan to help the four million Afghan refugees who crossed into Baluchistan and North West Frontier Province."

The next leader of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif came into his political career under Zia's Martial Law rule as finance minister, and then chief minister. He became Prime minister in 1990 (subsequently losing to Bhutto in '93, then regaining the position in '97) when the US decided not to work with Pakistan any longer because, according to Markey,
"They say we abandoned them in 1990, once the Cold War was over and we no longer needed them to combat the Soviet threat. Against our express wishes, they went ahead with the nuclear weapons program, no longer making it possible to cooperate with them in quite the same way. We cut a number of ties. This included a decision not to deliver the F-16s they had purchased in the early 1990s."

Prior to Sharif being overthrown in a coup in 1999, US - Pakistan relations had cooled to a clear chill, based on the fact that Pakistan had, and some say still do support or sympathize with the Taliban. Pre - September 11th US-Pakistan relations are described as

"Chilly. Experts point out that Pakistan used to be a world pariah: censured and sanctioned for its nuclear ambitions, which culminated in five successful nuclear tests announced on May 28, 1998. It also actively supported the Taliban and was one of very few countries to recognize Taliban rule in Afghanistan as legitimate."

Two years later and post September 11th Pakistan changed its tune to an anti-terrorist stance, siding with the US. Only the initiative to actually seek out terrorists didn't really occur until about 2004, and lasted for about two years before Pakistan gave up, with approval from the US.

From Markey's inteview:

"Of course, immediately after 9/11 you saw a switch, and the immediate response from the Pakistanis was not to make a heavy involvement in that tribal belt region, but to try to use existing mechanisms and existing ties.[...]After a couple of years the United States found that it wasn’t very effective. Many of these tribal agents were not interested in cracking down on the bad guys, so we had a disconnect in terms of interests.[...]While it immediately paid some dividends—they were able to hit some of the bigger targets, some of the obvious training camps and other headquarters, especially for Uzbeks and other foreign militants—the Pakistani military took serious casualties and the longer they stayed, they began to be seen more and more as an occupying force. The army itself isn’t all that effective as a counterinsurgency force. They started to alienate the population to such a degree, it was felt, they were actually counterproductive.[...]In the past five months or so, Musharraf’s government decided this was not working, and we tended to agree."

I don't know if I need to point this out or not - but when a military presence is seen as an intrusive or occupying force, is alienating the inhabitants of the country they are in, has been fighting beyond physical, emotional, and financial capacity - the US thinks it OK to walk away from the fight and try something different.

Let that thought sink in for a moment....

After two years they felt it was OK for Pakistan to go back to softer hitting tactics to fight the war on terror. We have managed to long overstay our welcome in Iraq, long exceeded reasonable financial constraints to fund the war, and soldiers are losing morale left and right, and coming home with serious post war problems ranging from the physical to the psychological. The vast majority of the country wants out of this war - and yet walking away or trying different means would be "Soft on Terror".

More like "Soft on Profits" if you ask me.

Pakistan is under Martial Law again during a time when our government supports them the most. Pakistan still sympathizes with the Taliban. Yet, we support them.

Hmmm.... I'll leave you with the closing statement from Markey's interview, a little something to chew on.

"Why are so many people in the Pakistan intelligence and/or military believed to be pro-Taliban?

There are those who actually sympathize in terms of the goals and aspirations of the Taliban, but I would say that’s a relatively small group. There’s a much larger group who have been sort of whiplashed by the historical changes that have taken place just before their eyes. At one point these folks who we’re calling Taliban, or at least some strain of these groups, were called mujahadeen. When the Soviet army was in Afghanistan, they were regarded as freedom fighters and we supported them with weapons and money. A number of the individuals who are working in the Pakistan intelligence services, but also in the military, very vividly recall that some of these people were allies to the United States. They simply question how reasonable it is to shift gears so quickly and turn against individuals who were once allies."

Edited to add:

I need to add one final thought on this. The US has played this game with Pakistan, with Hussein's Iraq, with Iran, and many other countries. The general idea is that the US aligns itself with countries when it serves our needs, and when it doesn't, we leave their keisters swinging in the breeze, If they really make us angry, we bomb them.

I understand what Krauthammer is getting at, common enemies make for strange bedfellows. What history is showing me however, is that the US isn't a strange bedfellow. It isn't even a sometimes secret lover. Rather, we are an abusive, co-dependent spouse.


Pardon Me, But I Think We're Going To Need A Larger Handbasket.

Tonight I would like to take a trip down hypothetical lane, that is to say I would like to look at the very real "what if" dilemma that is facing our world at the moment, and in the not so distant future.

World Without Oil

It started out innocently enough, on a dreary storm filled night, watching honest to goodness cable television, my husband and I caught a special called We Were Warned: Tomorrow's Oil Crisis on CNN. Here is a snippet of what the program offered:

Program Overview

It is September 2009. A Category 5 hurricane roars through Houston, destroying oil refineries, drilling platforms and pipelines--the complex system that provides a quarter of our nation's daily fuel supply. Three days later, terrorists attack two key oil installations in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest supplier. In the days and weeks that follow, gasoline prices hit record highs, food prices soar as trucks cannot afford to make deliveries, and Americans begin to realize that their very way of life is in peril.

In We Were Warned: Tomorrow's Oil Crisis, CNN's Frank Sesno explores the potential ripple effects of this frightening scenario. The events depicted are hypothetical, but oil experts believe the scenario is entirely plausible. His interviews with energy experts reveal that we are nearing the point at which the world, led by the U.S. and China, will begin to consume more oil than can be pumped from the ground and the oceans. Tracking the global race to find new pools of oil, Sesno also considers the viability of alternative fuels, such as ethanol, which is used as fuel for 40% of cars in Brazil. Throughout his investigation, Sesno tries to find out whether any of these ventures can solve our looming energy crisis or whether we are already too late.

We got to thinking about this for a few days. What would an oil crisis, world wide, truly entail? How would it affect us locally, nationally, globally? What role would current politics and foreign relations play?

In 1973 the Untied States and European Allies felt the squeeze of an oil shortage, or more specifically and embargo against us, that lasted for only eight months. In this relatively short period of time the shortage resulted in much higher gas prices, a dramatic loss at the stock exchange, recession, and high rates of unemployment, and in some cases, permanent unemployment. We recovered, due to the lifting of the embargo. It bears mentioning as well, that the crisis directly affected only a few countries, but indirectly affected many others who were not experiencing an oil shortage.

What would happen if the crisis was global? This wouldn't be an embargo that could be lifted. This wouldn't only affect a few countries, while others were still operated relatively smoothly. There wouldn't be anyone, or any country who could really get us, or anyone out of the mess. You can be sure that it would last longer than eight months too. Oil is a non-renewable energy source, so once its gone we would have to wait millions upon millions of years before we could begin to use oil again.

First, and foremost every country would feel the hit of a mass shortage of oil. Starting with energy and utility companies, gasoline companies, and the stock market, sliding over to major industries that rely on oil for production, moving on to shipping and transportation - which would further tighten the noose on industries that make products that need to be shipped to store shelves (as well as needing the parts shipped to make said products) - airlines would become so expensive it would be cost prohibitive for the majority of people to fly, thus restricting any foreign and international business, and finally affecting the Average Joe Citizen, who couldn't afford to get to work, or heat their home.

All of this would have massive economic repercussions mainly because of the stock market and large amounts of shareholders who would panic at the very thought of the losses. It would likely be the perfect set up for another Great Depression, only worse.

At first though,I think people in wealthy countries would be alright. Coworkers would carpool more, people would conserve at home, businesses might cut the workday short, but not shut down altogether. This however, would not be sustainable. On top of tight restrictions and conservation, people would grow weary of it, or get desperate. Crime would rise, unemployment would rise, and in the poorest of countries (who would be hit the hardest at first) death tolls would certainly rise. The shortage of oil would result in a shortage of food, supplies, and other life sustaining necessities. Hospitals couldn't operate properly, homes wouldn't have heat, electricity, perhaps even proper water, garbage collection would eventually cease - it would be a CDC nightmare. Think of how many people died because of shortages due to natural disasters, when supplies were on the way. Think about what will happen if no supplies are on the way?

No country is more than three meals away from a revolution.

World Politics, and The Fight For the Middle East

The oil crisis mentioned above is placed in the year 2009, thats one year, one month, and 22 days away. Provided that this will happen around hurricane season, I'd give it a year and a half, tops. We will still be in Iraq, and will have probably moved on to Iran at this point in time. If you haven't read Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins, you should. It outlines the use of global economics as a tool for forced political alliances. This is an important topic with regards to the Middle East. The US will have or should start offering monetary reparations, loans, grants and other economic and social developing programs which will enable us to gain some control over oil production, cost, and disbursement. Provided that we are still in a war zone scenario, we will probably have even more control than that. Its a commonplace procedure in war torn countries to make such offers, with stipulations. I see no reason why it won't happen.

In the CNN program it is speculated that if an oil crisis hits, both the US and China will be at odds for oil. The theory is that China will offer Iran Nuclear Weapons (and/or supplies) in return for oil. Obviously, exchanging Nuclear Weapons or technology for oil is a bad idea for the world, regardless of who is giving, and who is receiving. But we are hypothesizing that the US will have a say in the matter, so lets take a look at the possible chain of events that would follow.

If it isn't obvious that the US would block (or attempt to block) the exchange of Nuclear Weapons for oil, it should be. On the surface this seems like a good thing. But that is on the surface, lets dig deeper. China gets denied, because Iran's Big Brother is on the lookout for ne'er do wells, China gets angry because China is the second largest consumer of oil, and they want the oil. What do they do? The Chinese/American trade business has left both a deficit (with US) and a surplus (China) with which the Chinese Banks use to buy American bonds, which helps us recoup our losses, of which the US now borrows upwards of $550 billion annually. China isn't the only contributer, but with the trade disparity, the US could be in a lot of trouble. To see the Numbers Behind US-China Trade just click the link.

So China starts calling the money, and adding insult to injury, further destroys the American economy. In order for America to cough up the money needed, not only are taxes raised (on an already strapped economy) but we make a desperate call to the World Bank, and US loans are called in world wide. There are one hundred, eighty-five countries around the globe that work with or borrow from the US via the World Bank - calling in these loans could cause much more damage to the rest of world on top of an oil crisis than is even remotely reasonable. However, with China on our tails, what is the US to do?

In the meantime, while we're scrambling to get money, Iran, and the rest of the Middle East has decided that they've had enough of the US (don't forget, they have loans that would be called in by us as well) and decides to regain total control of their oil.

The US bankrupts the world, and Iran trades oil for Nuclear Weapons anyway. China gets their money, gets some oil, we've lost control of the Middle East, the rest of the world now hates and despises us for bankrupting them - and World War Three starts with a vengeance.

But this time around, there simply will not be any big players left after the destruction of wars plus famine, plus revolutions, plus natural disasters. There will be no country left with the ability to initiate something like the Marshall Plan. Without it, war torn countries won't be able to rebuild.

Third world countries by this point will have seen the worst of the worst - death toll contributions include everything from famine, and possible pandemics to war and genocide. Wealthy countries will not be exempt from such horrors either. It'll just take longer to get here. Martial law will have been put into play long before actual wars started, just to quiet the revolutionaries and survivalists.

In fact, as corny as it sounds, I envision the world behaving much like the scenes painted in movies like "Children of Men" and "V for Vendetta", only without the reproductive problems and one elite country. There will be immigration crisis all over the world, making it virtually impossible to escape.

It will be Hell on Earth.

What Then?

After the dust settles, and there is no more to fight with, or even fight for, rebuilding will have to begin. The question is who will survive, and exactly what will rebuilding entail? There are a few theories to work with. I think the world will revert to a tribal style of living once again. If you are a Marxist, True Communism would rise from the ashes like a phoenix, sans any real domination of any sort. The wealthy elite and world rulers will have (supposedly) been taken down like royalty during the French Revolution. In other words, they won't be eating any cake, because they won't have their heads.

There is another, less plausible theory, that the wealthy elite will somehow survive, intact, and enslave us. I'm thinking its not likely, but I'll throw it out there anyway.

In the End

This is all theory. It is hypothetical. It is a prediction, but in the sense of a chess game, and not one of prophecy. I have no idea if any of this will come to fruition. I hope not, but it is something to chew on for a while.

In my opinion, I think its best that the US go back to a lightly isolationist state of being for a while. To be frank, I don't think we should start poking the dragon, and we ought to leave the Middle East alone. In the long run, it just doesn't seem to be in anyone's best interest.

Sources:(some sources have been included in the text)


Peace and Violence - An Open Thread

First, some thoughts on the duality of peace and violence - then, I'd like to see some open discussion about it.

In every human there is an inherent juxtaposition of peaceful behavior, and aggressive behavior. This is typically called "flight or fight". Where the point of balance lies for the respective behaviors in every individual varies as greatly as the number of people on this planet. To be certain however, the duality exists in each and everyone of us regardless of the biological makeup, personal creed, or doctrine of the individual.

As equally varied are the reasons stated in the social strata or activist arena for a greater amount of support for one camp over another. One person who typically opposes violence may support, or even engage in overt acts of aggression if the situation warrants it. Self defense, or protection of a loved one comes to mind. Conversely, an aggressive person may support the cause for peace during a time period when violence is seemingly the only solution.

I would hope that most people choose not to paint themselves into a corner by supporting aggression or peace by matter of rote behavior. I would like to think that people act as their conscience dictates, or simply put, use critical thinking. That said, we all know that there are still far too many people in the world who do not listen to their conscience at all.

The question however, can violence really produce peace? Can peace really solve violence?

In my opinion, there are some situations where violence can yield peace, and peace can stop violence. Sometimes turning the tables on a violent person, in defense of oneself, could and should theoretically help change the mindset of the violent person. A schoolyard bully who finally has someone stand up to him or her and maybe even, get a punch in the nose may just be the swift kick in the rear that he or she needs to change his or her behavior.

On the other hand, sometimes doing that can provoke a long line of retaliation, a battle of "tit for tat" if you will. In that situation, a peaceful resolution would work best.

In conclusion, it is in my opinion that each and every person should think critically about what possible types of behavior could become the end result of your own, and choose peace or violence based on future repercussions or results, and not strict dogma.

What about your opinions?


Without Master

Often times people think that Anok means Anarchy and Anarchy means chaos. This isn't exactly the truth. In fact for those of us who really follow it, it isn't true at all. Anok is actually translated to mean "Without Master". This however, also brings up questions, or better yet, visions of people rioting as they please all over the street and ruining neighborhoods that were once considered "good", again with the idea of chaos. Society at large has a hard time coming to terms with the idea that no one need be in control of their actions whatsoever. Yet, in terms of many aspects of life people operate on this principle without even realizing it. Granted these Anarchist excursions are small and meek trials, they are practice none the less.

As an Anarchist, and a Pagan the idea of operating without a master is an easy one to grasp. I realize that regardless of legal prohibitions enacted by my country, there are other laws that cannot be circumvented, ignored or out run. These are the natural consequences of life - the physical manifestation of "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" law. Some people call it Karma, others the three fold law, and others yet just plain old science. When I turn thoughts into action, I will have affected others in a way that will affect me. If I hit someone, they will hit me back or might, or might call the police, or might have their bigger, meaner brother come teach me a lesson, the means matter not, because the ends will be similar enough.

If I am in complete control of my own actions, then I am also accountable for other's reactions. That is to say, being one's own master comes with a great deal of responsability and personal accountability. You may be asking yourself, what am I babbling on about? To be frank, I'm babbling about the first ammendment. Or, more specifically, the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

I had watched an interview with the father of a deceased soldier, and his reaction to the church that often protests these funerals. He stated that while we did have freedom of speech, it comes with great responsability.

Thats a sentament that I cannot only get on board with, but agree with completely. Many people simply do not understand that they are not "free" to say or do as they please. Of course, we can all literally say and do as we please - but it is the reprecussions that mold our decisions and restraint. So while groups cry and complain about the actions of Anarchists (most recently this particualr Anarchist), it should be made known that the actions of anasrchists are often (not always) thought through and done with the utmost of purpose and conviction. Done, full well knowing what consequences of said actions could bring.

This Anarchist however, is also letting it be known that even if a person is not an Anarchist, is not a Pagan, does no tbelieve in Karma, Three fold laws or the like - they are still responsible, and accountible for their actions. This is the way the world works.



I would like to apologize, first, for my extended absence. There has been a lot going on at the moment, but most regrettably there has been a devastation in my family. (Thanks you for the concern Anon. It is greatly appreciated)

I would like to take a moment to reflect on life, and what it means. Many, if not most of us live our lives daily worrying about daily things. Errands, tasks, deadlines. Laundry, holidays, money. More often than not these day to day worries take over our lives and sometimes, I think, we focus on them far too much, and we miss out on the more important things in life. The important things are often shrugged off as trivial or even inconvenient. We assume that the little things, the tiny moments will always be there for us tomorrow. We procrastinate when it comes to the greatest gifts we have in life - each other. We say things like "I'll call so and so later", "I'll take my kid to the park next week" or "I'll see Mom and Dad when I'm done doing what I want to do".

We focus on work, and let play time with the kids slide. We focus on our "life" and let connections to family, parents or close friends disintegrate. We just feel that there is more than enough time to do those less important things - after all, with deadlines and hectic schedules, what more is expected of us, right?

Life is not so patient. A family member of ours went to bed complaining of a headache.

And never woke up.

It is the third unexpected death in the past year for us. And it is devastating.

Life is not to be missed, moments are not to be brushed off. Take care to revel in the little things, and let the damn bills slide for a while.
I'm confident that in 40 days time there will be a brand new light born into this world, with all of the grace and love that was learned during this lifetime. And it will be a beautiful sight. But for now, it is time to help heal the sorrows left behind.

Tears in Heaven