Sunday, July 31, 2005
Is this the only newspaper left in the country that does serious in-depth investigative reporting?
There really isn’t much to add to the Toledo article. Leaving aside the police situation as a civil affair, it is hard to fathom that these things have occurred for so long, bringing reproach on the Christ, the Catholic church, and the body of Christianity in general, but especially those Catholic Priests that are actually trying to the jobs they are ordained to do. We can wish that it did not occur in other denominations, but the sad fact is that it is more common place than we wish to admit.
Ultimately this is an abuse of power, which targets the weakest amongst us, the young. I could articulate the Scriptural remonstrations to those in authority, yet as some have said they are not subject to any other authority except that of their own. As one who has authority also, I will only remark sir, that you are badly mistaken in your opinion, and that these things will not continue to be as they have been. I will warn you one more time, God is not one to be mocked. Is it not enough that you should wear out mankind with words, that you should also wear out the Living God as well?
While I am on a roll, I have noticed a growing tendency amongst the non believers to misquote Scripture for whatever political or moral argument they wish to make, much as many of the apostate clergy and body of the Messiah do as well. You amuse no one but yourself with your ignorance. Tread lightly on ground you do not know, and speak carefully about things you do not understand.
To the clergy, quite unable to go beyond the higher critics of the text, leave us while you can as you contibute nothing but deception to the discussion. You do not understand the things of the earth or the physical universe, how shall one teach you of the things of heaven?
To the sons and daughters of Noah, may you have peace. These things will go on only for a short time longer as mankind reckons time. Be peaceable with one another, seek out goodness, love one another intensely as though the stranger was of your own family, with all chasteness as to the flesh. Love does not seek out its’ own advantage, love does not work evil to ones neighbors, love overcomes all things. In the day of calamity it is better to have a friend nearby to flee to than a brother or sister across town.
posted by EZSmirkz at 8:42 PM 0 comments
Boom Boom Out Go the Lights
Think Progress � Leaking Scandal Encircles More Administration Officials Than Previously Believed
Ouch, this is going to sting. Maybe NotEZ was on to something.
Now we’re learning that Rove, Libby, and others learned of Plame’s identity well before journalists knew who she was. The newest information asserts that White House officials learned of Plame after Walter Pincus of the Washington Post wrote an article on June 12, 2003 detailing evidence that existed prior to the State of the Union which should have prevented the President from suggesting Iraq was acquiring uranium from Africa. This information corroborates Robert Novak’s claim in his infamous July 14, 2003 column that outed Plame which said the White House sprung into action after “Walter Pincus revealed in the Washington Post June 12 that an unnamed retired diplomat had given the CIA a negative report.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 4:11 PM 0 comments
Let the Recriminations Begin
James Wolcott, like BillMon, would be worth reading if he were discussing arranging shoes in one’s closets. Check out the links too.
posted by EZSmirkz at 3:02 PM 0 comments
Sunday Talk Shows- For whites, by whites, with whites
The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Study: Sunday talk shows lack black guests
WASHINGTON — Only 8 percent of the guests on the major Sunday-morning talk shows over the past 18 months were African Americans, with three people accounting for the majority of those appearances, according to a new study by the National Urban League.
Black guests — newsmakers, the journalists who questioned them and experts who offered commentary — appeared 176 times out of more than 2,100 opportunities, according to the study. But 122 of those appearances were made by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state Colin Powell, and Juan Williams, a journalist and regular panel member on “Fox News Sunday.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 1:54 PM 0 comments
Tomgram: A Thief on the Court?
TomDispatch via MotherJones
At a black-tie dinner for the visiting prime minister of India in the White House State Dining Room that night, [White House Chief of Staff Andrew] Card ran into Justice Clarence Thomas. ‘You’re going to love who the president picks,’ Card assured him.” (Peter Baker, Unraveling the Twists and Turns of the Path to a Nominee, the Washington Post)
” (Remember, this was at a moment when the governor and the Republican-dominated legislature in Florida were considering a rather unique solution to the crisis — calling a special legislative session to select the state’s presidential electors and so throwing the election to George Bush.)”
posted by EZSmirkz at 10:57 AM 0 comments
Talking Points Memo:
Joshua Marshall has a heads up on the The Man Who Made Kathie Lee Cry Charles Kernaghan, on the WaPo. He is the guy that articulates why Americans can buy so much crap for the landfills.
Read the article and head on over to the NLC for the lowdown on the Greed is Good crowd. Or is ignorance bliss?
posted by EZSmirkz at 10:39 AM 0 comments
The Religious Left Fights Back
AlterNet: Start Making Sense
Nothing I can add to this, just go read it.
posted by EZSmirkz at 8:17 AM 0 comments
Orwell meets Kafka
The Boston Globe Op-ed By Robert Kuttner
“Left and right are bitterly divided today. But if there is one issue that unites nearly all liberals with principled conservatives, it’s that we must resist the assault on precious rights. In exploring the views of proposed Supreme Court nominees, the Senate should give the issue of rights priority above all others, since the courts are the last bastion of our freedoms.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:29 AM 0 comments
New State Department stats contradict media’s narco-war hype
So the number of U.S. citizens murdered in Nuevo Laredo for the first six months of 2005 is exactly the same as it was for the same period in 2004 — which was before all the media hype started. Also, the overall murder rate for U.S. citizens in Mexico is actually down between 2003 and 2005 during the comparable six-month periods.
This morning Tim Russert was asked about the Democrats obstruction of John Bolton’s nomination to the UN and not one word about his lying to the Senate, yet the media is busy with this kind of crap. I suppose the American media should just be renamed the Liars Club, because that is what they are. They must be learning something from the pulpit.
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:22 AM 0 comments
It’s never too late to start all over again
For the kingdom of Heaven is like a man, a housemaster, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace. And he said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you. And they went. And he went out about the sixth and ninth hour and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, Why do you stand here all day idle? They said to him, Because no one has hired us. He said to them, You also go into the vineyard, and you shall receive whatever is right.
So when evening had come, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, Call the laborers and pay them their wage, beginning from the last to the first. And when they who were hired about the eleventh hour came, they each one received a denarius. But when the first came, they supposed that they would received more; and they also each one received a denarius. And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, saying, These last have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and heat of the day.
But he answered one of them and said, Friend, I do you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take yours, and go; I will give to this last one the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I want with my own? Is your eye evil because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, but few are chosen.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:05 AM 0 comments
Pricing system may increase electricity costs
The Victoria Advocate:
“A complicated pricing system being proposed by large power companies will only cause electric bills to rise and could wipe out any benefit resulting from deregulation of the industry, local city and power industry officials said.”
Another GOP Turkey comes home to roost.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:02 AM 0 comments
Energy prices fuel high payouts for top execs
“The top two spots in the Houston Chronicle’s annual survey went to outgoing leaders — Continental Airline’s Gordon Bethune and ConocoPhillips’ Archie Dunham, with pay packages totaling $34.3 million and $19.1 million, respectively. Most of that compensation was related to their retirements.
Eugene Isenberg, chairman and CEO of drilling company Nabors Industries, a top four finisher in five of the past six years, ranked third with $15.7 million in total pay, including a $2.2 million bonus.
Burlington Resources’ Bobby Shackouls came in 4th with a $14.4 million pay package, including $8.6 million in long-term incentive payments.”
Minimum Wage purchasing power unaffected by Inflation The Headline you won’t see.
posted by EZSmirkz at 5:55 AM 0 comments
Cash boost for starving children
BBC NEWS | Scotland
The money from the Hunter Foundation will be used to help 29,000 children in two of the worst affected areas.
It is part of the £6m pledged by chairman Sir Tom Hunter to the Band Aid Appeal.
Sir Tom said: “It seems almost criminal that if this crisis was being predicted months ago, that something was not done to avert this human tragedy earlier.”
He added: “Unicef’s mid-year review indicates just how little, despite all the talk of Africa and other severely impacted nations, is being done in proactively intervening to prevent needless suffering.
“We must ask why and who is responsible.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 5:49 AM 0 comments
Marines BAH to Lose Hundreds in Pay Monday
Marine Corps News
The change, outlined in Marine Administrative Message 315/01 and slated to take effect Monday, shelves a DoD policy enacted nearly five years ago. The old policy allowed servicemembers to retain higher housing allowances even when they moved to cheaper neighborhoods, said Master Sgt. Ervin Ramos, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge for the Consolidated Personnel Administration Center, Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base.
posted by EZSmirkz at 5:41 AM 0 comments
The world has turned away – but Darfur’s misery goes on
The Observer | International
“Two million people. Six hundred thousand babies.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 5:31 AM 0 comments
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Faithful flock to church in China – World
“One woman told a gathering of hundreds at Kuanjie official protestant church in Beijing last week: ‘My brother’s daughter had a virus which doctors had never seen before. She was on a ventilator and everyone had lost hope. But I prayed for her, and she recovered. Now her family follow Christ too.’
The association of Christianity with healing powers may be embarrassing in the West, but in China it is one of conversion’s driving forces, particularly in rural areas that lack health services.”
Where science leaves off…No one embarrassed here, mate.
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:17 PM 0 comments
Japan stockpiles plutonium as threat of nuclear escalation spreads across Asia
By David McNeill
Politicians have more recently become bolder in challenging the nuclear taboo. A senior opposition figure, Ichiro Ozawa, said in 2002: “We have plenty of plutonium in our nuclear power plants, so it’s possible for us to produce 3,000 to 4,000 nuclear warheads.” The same year the chief cabinet secretary, Yasuo Fukuda, stunned the nation by claiming Japan’s “pacifist” constitution did not prohibit nuclear weapons.
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:04 PM 0 comments
General Glut’s Globblog: 3.4% if you can keep it
Flirting with disaster
residential investment now contributes 6.0% of overal US GDP — the highest quarterly tally since 1955.
American consumption has finally all but outstripped American income. In the second quarter American consumers managed to not spent a mere $18bn of their income garnered. You also have to go all the way back to 1955 to find a number that low — but that’s in nominal terms. In 2005:II, US savings out of income totaled a nearly invisible 0.2% (in 1955:I it was 6.4%). And no surprise in that over the last year total US disposable personal income has risen 5.1% (in nominal terms) while total US personal consumption expenditures are up 6.5%.
Per the BLS, US petroleum import prices jumped 7.6% in June. Combined with a stronger dollar (broad dollar up 1.1% over May), China’s record $9.7bn June trade surplus, and strong retail sales (up 1.7% over May with auto-related sales up nearly 5% — and the auto sector makes up about 15% of US goods imports), we could see a real blow-out for the June trade deficit back into the high $50bns.
Greed is Good
Baby Boom goes Baboom
splatters debt around the room
somewhere in dark I hear a sigh
No one told you to buy, bye bye.
posted by EZSmirkz at 3:04 PM 0 comments
You object to profiling? Fuhgedaboutit
Herr DAVID GELERNTER :
“You might argue that dark-skinned people are a special case, given the way the United States has treated them. I agree — we have treated them so solicitously, and worked so hard to suppress racial prejudice, that dark-skinned people owe their country the benefit of the doubt.
The U.S. doesn’t deserve gratitude for not doing wrong. But no nation in history has ever worked harder to correct a fault than the U.S. has to end racial prejudice. We’ve earned the right to expect everyone who fits a security profile to grin and bear it.”
Apparently the LA Times has become like the old LAPD, Big, Fat and Stupid
posted by EZSmirkz at 2:26 PM 0 comments
Cloning: When word games kill
American Bioethics Advisory Commission Dianne N. Irving, M.A., Ph.D.
The American Bioethics Advisory Commission appears to be a counter part to the NBAC, and so presents arguements that do quite agree with the conventional wisdom and whose arguements have been mainly restricted by our buddies in the mainstream press, (big surprise here folks,) and so I will drag them out.
I would urge my fellow liberals and pro embyonic stem cell folks to read these articles as the open minded people that you pretend to be, which is in all honesty open for debate as well. Note the highlight in the following paragraph and you’ll see who you have allied yourself with, and I would ask you why Liberals are lining up with the Rumsfieldian Neocons on this issue.
“For example, in “clarifying” remarks before a recent Congressional hearing, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), echoing the position of many self-appointed bioethicists and others in the pharmaceutical industry, “explained” in effect that the immediate product of cloning is only a group of cells with two significant “potentials”. First, it is a “potential human being”, and only becomes an actual human being (and embryo) if it is implanted in a womb. Second, it is a “potential source of biological research material”. So, as long as it is not implanted it could be ethically used to cure diseases, and advance scientific knowledge.
In earlier bioethics debates on human fetal research, the term “pre-embryo” was coined by theologian Richard McCormick, S.J., and Clifford Grobstein – a frog embryologist. They acknowledge that there is a human being prior to 14-days, but agree that there is no human individual there yet (and therefore no “person” there yet), because before 14-days it may become twins (two individuals). Also, they say, only the inner layer of the 4-7 day blastocyst will become a human adult, because its outer layer is “all discarded” after birth. Therefore, they assert, before 14-days there is only a “pre-embryo”, or a “pre-implantation embryo” (a “potential person”); after 14-days twinning cannot take place, and only then is there definitely an “individual”, and therefore an existing “person” entitled to ethical and legal rights and protections. Congressman Waxman here takes an extra mis-step and denies there is a human being or embryo during this period.”
I would urge the American people to do something that they have failed to do in many other life and death situations such as the Iraqi War, and study the issue before you join the other 89% of those who wrong about that too. I am somewhat surpprised by the credentials of the oposition as I had assumed that it was lacking in background when compared to the pro embyonic stemm cell research lobby. This is not the case. ( Nor does it mean that I no longer hold to the views that a) most college degreed people have been educated beyond their intelligence, b) intelligence is not the sum of ones education, hence IQ test can’t really tell us anything about intelligence.) More on this later, of course.
posted by EZSmirkz at 10:47 AM 0 comments
Whiskey Bar: Sucker Pitch
Billmon rides again
Billmon is almost worth posting his entire articles most days. You really should check him out.
posted by EZSmirkz at 8:48 AM 0 comments
Judy Flotsam not Jetson
The Huffington Post | The Blog
A social acquaintance of Miller told me that, once, when she spoke of Wilson, it was with “a passionate and heated disgust that went beyond the political and included an irrelevant bit of deeply personal innuendo about him, her mouth twisting in hatred.”
One reason I don’t link to to the Mainstream presses anymore. It is perfectly within thier rights to print and babble what they wish to, but it would be nice if they would at least drop the fair and balanced, yada yada. They are propaganda outlets for whatever toad they are serving, whether one considers them librul or Fox. It is not without merit that Anne Coulter says “we have the media”. What is without merit is the American people accepting the mainstream media as “news”, when it is so blantantly not.
posted by EZSmirkz at 8:43 AM 0 comments
Ariz. Guard blogger punished
Army Times – News – More News
In civilian life, Clark is a kindergarten teacher, activist and perennial candidate for public office. In the Guard, he is a member of the 860th Military Police Company. The Arizona Republic reported Clark, a Democrat, filed papers to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Jon Kyl. Clark previously ran for the Arizona House of Representatives and state Senate.
posted by EZSmirkz at 8:26 AM 0 comments
Deep Background (Cheney’s Nukes Iran)
“In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons.”
“A CIA internal review of the agency’s performance prior to 9/11 is harshly critical of former CIA Director George Tenet, former Director of Operations James Pavitt, and the former chief of the Counterterrorist Center, Cofer Black, for not doing everything possible to confront terrorism. Pavitt, who was reluctant to take on risky missions against bin Laden encouraged by the National Security Council during the second term of President Bill Clinton, is particularly criticized.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 8:20 AM 0 comments
A Matter of Science
Abortions of the Rich OK:
“‘ This matters, as Mr. Frist said, because ’embryonic stem cells uniquely hold specific promise for some therapies and potential cures that adult stem cells just cannot provide.’ Moreover, alternative techniques that could produce useful stem cells without requiring embryo destruction, although worthy of funding and further study, remain too uncertain to justify blocking use of existing embryos. ‘It’s not just a matter of faith, it’s a matter of science,’ Mr. Frist said.”
As I said last night I will look into the issue a little more deeply, but since then I have discerned that the embryonic stem cells are the only ones that can be used for cloning, which is a little different than using stem cells from umbilical cords that can be used to regenerate nerve cells and brain tissue. Until I have more information on the ethical and moral safeguards however, this bleeding knuckle liberal will have have to side with the President on this issue. The whole thing smacks of eugenics and the master race research of the Nazis.
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:36 AM 0 comments
U.S. Evicted From Air Base In Uzbekistan
Yeah right Donald:
“‘We always think ahead. We’ll be fine,’ Rumsfeld said Sunday when asked how the United States would cope with losing the base in Uzbekistan.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:26 AM 0 comments
US announces German base closures
BBC NEWS | World | Americas |:
“Five sites in Kitzingen in Bavaria will be handed back to German authorities, while three bases in Wuerzburg near Frankfurt in central Germany will be shut, said a statement by the US European command.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:16 AM 0 comments
Bad debts force Lloyds TSB to raise cover
Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian :
“Banking analysts were disappointed by the extent of the rise in bad debts for retail customers. However, Michael Lever, a banks analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, expects an increase in such charges to be a theme of the bank reporting season, which carries on into next week, when figures from HSBC, Barclays, HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland are due to come out.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:15 AM 0 comments
Error in law saves parliament protester
Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | :
“The new rules state that, from August 1, anyone wanting to demonstrate in the area must have authorisation from the police ‘when the demonstration starts’. Mr Haw’s lawyers pointed out that his demonstration had started four years ago and argued that he did not have to apply for authorisation, even though the law was targeted at him.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:12 AM 0 comments
Freak wind leaves locals with a sense of sheer disbelief
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports
There is a subtle difference in POV in the Brits reporting on a fellow named Paul and his faith, than in the American press.
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:10 AM 0 comments
Vatican in terror dispute with Israel
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports
Pope Benedict XVI was yesterday immersed in the first big diplomatic crisis of his papacy after the Vatican issued an unusually blunt statement criticising Israel for its response to Palestinian attacks.
The Vatican’s stinging rebuke came after Israel demanded to know why the Pope did not refer to a Palestinian suicide bombing in remarks he made on Sunday condemning terrorist attacks in London and Sharm el-Sheikh.
In a 1,300-word communique, the Vatican said: “It has not always been possible to follow every attack against Israel with a public declaration of condemnation.”
It said one reason for this was that “the attacks on Israel were sometimes followed by immediate Israeli reactions not always compatible with the norms of international law … It would thus be impossible to condemn the [terrorist operations] and pass over the [Israeli retaliation] in silence”.
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of Jehovah has spoken.
How has the faithful city become a harlot? It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it, but now murderers. Your silver has become dross, your wine mixed with water; your rulers are rebellious, and companions of thieves; everyone loves a bribe, and is pursuing rewards; they do not judge the orphan, nor does the cause of the widow come to them.
And the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts, the mighty One of Israel, says, Alas! I will ease Myself of My foes, and avenge Myself of My enemies. And I will turn back My hand on you, and purge away your dross as with lye, and take away all your alloy. And I will restore your judges as at first, and your counselors as at the beginning; afterwards you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her returning ones with righteousness.
And the downfall of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together; and those who forsake Jehovah shall be consumed. For they shall be ashamed of the oaks which you have desired, and you shall be ashamed for the gardens which you have chosen. For you shall be like an oak whose leaf fades, and like a garden that has no water. And the strong shall be like tow, and the maker of it as a spark, and they shall both burn together, and none shall put them out.
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:05 AM 0 comments
Friday, July 29, 2005
Khaleej Times Online:
“The collection of stem cells from the umbilical cord has been hailed as the biggest breakthrough since antibiotics. ‘The reason for collecting the cells from the umbilical cord is quite simple,’ explains Dr Daly. ‘The umbilical cord is a rich source of stem cells and the cells, at the time of collection have yet to find their path and can therefore be treated to become any type of cell needed. It is possible to extract the cells from adults but this is a more invasive process and the stem cells are more differentiated compared to the pluripotent umbilical cord stem cells. Basically, there is no guarantee of finding the correct type. The cells we collect however have the potential to treat almost any illness imaginable.'”
What I find interesting here is that this is the only article I found using “Pluripotent umbilical cord stem cells” in google, and will look later into the multipotent stem cells that are usually associated with umbilical stem cells. All in all the situation is a little weird, since the public has been lead to believe that a stem cell is a stem cell, inwhich case there is very little reason to antagonize large portions of the population with this issue.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:33 PM 0 comments
Investigation into Shelby leak likely to end in the fall
By Alexander Bolton
Two potential witnesses told The Hill earlier this year that they would be reluctant to cooperate with the Ethics Committee unless Roberts recused himself because he is chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and inherited senior aides from Shelby, the previous chairman.
As per the previous post
posted by EZSmirkz at 4:30 PM 0 comments
Casting Aside Justice
by William Norman Grigg:
“British statesman Edmund Burke warned that ‘criminal means, once tolerated, are soon preferred.’ “
Something to think about, via Antiwar.
posted by EZSmirkz at 4:19 PM 0 comments
Condoleezza Rice at the Center of the Plame Scandal
The Source Beyond Rove by Roger Morris
Roger Morris was Senior Staff on the National Security Council under both Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, until resigning over the invasion of Cambodia. An award winning author, he has written extensively about the Presidency and American foreign policy.
Pretty long article, via Truthout
posted by EZSmirkz at 3:54 PM 0 comments
Luis Posada Carriles Denied Bond
But as the hearing wound down, the judge dropped a bombshell in the courtroom. He informed both the attorneys for Posada and for the U.S. Government that he would issue a pretrial order in late July or early August requiring counsel to brief the court as to whether or not Posada’s actions in support of the Bay of Pigs invasion could be construed as terrorist actions under U.S. statutes governing detention and deportability of aliens. Abbot then pointedly noted that he looked especially forward to the government’s brief on that matter.
posted by EZSmirkz at 3:31 PM 0 comments
Third Plame Leaker ?
Case of C.I.A. Officer’s Leaked Identity Takes New Turn – New York Times
Mr. Pincus has not identified his source to the public. But a review of Mr. Pincus’s own accounts and those of other people with detailed knowledge of the case strongly suggest that his source was neither Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s top political adviser, nor I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, and was in fact a third administration official whose identity has not yet been publicly disclosed.
posted by EZSmirkz at 3:22 PM 0 comments
Nominee Is Linked to Controversy
Nominee for deputy U.S. attorney general Is Linked to Controversy
Timothy E. Flanigan, 52, chief counsel of Tyco International Ltd. since 2002, appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week and acknowledged supervising Abramoff’s work for the Bermuda-based firm. However, he declined to answer questions describing what the lobbyist did for the company.
At the heart of Abramoff’s work for Tyco was an intensive effort to block the Corporate Patriot Enforcement Act and similar bills designed to penalize American firms that incorporated outside the U.S. to avoid taxes, according to records and sources familiar with the lobbying campaign.
posted by EZSmirkz at 3:12 PM 0 comments
Muslim scholars condemn terrorism
The Victoria Advocate
Following deadly bombings in Britain and other nations, American Muslim scholars issued an edict Thursday condemning religious extremism and calling terrorists “criminals, not ‘martyrs.'”
This story was in the Morning edition of the Advocate, which has now been picked up by the Guardian, via Tom Paine.
posted by EZSmirkz at 3:08 PM 0 comments
Whiskey Bar: Austin City Limits
But even if some of the CAFTA scam’s perpetrators are throwbacks to a more rustic era (DeLay’s character could have been lifted directly out of the pages of Huckleberry Finn) this is corruption on a much grander scale — an imperial scale. It almost calls for something like Gibbon’s description of late Roman Senators lining up to accept the emperor’s stipends, while quibbling over the cost of feeding the legions guarding the frontiers.
posted by EZSmirkz at 12:18 PM 0 comments
Hackett for Congress
Hackett for Congress
Probably not a flaming Liberal like me, but apparently a lot more honest than his opponent. Iraqi war vet, has endured some slime from the Swift Boat Veterans ala McCain and Kerry. Via TPM, and Atrios.
posted by EZSmirkz at 12:10 PM 0 comments
Democrat Chris Bell announces bid for governor
“My sense, in traveling around the state for the past several months, is that Democrats are ready for the fight in 2006 and they are ready for a new voice and some new vision,” Bell told the Chronicle.
Bell has been exploring a run for governor for six months. He will launch his campaign officially on Aug. 14 in Austin.
He told the group at Vera Cruz restaurant Tuesday that he was shunned by members of his own party when he brought ethics charges against Rep. Tom DeLay.
“The system is broke in Washington. Leaders in my own party even asked me to back off,” he said. “When I met Tom DeLay, I met the whole corrupt culture of Washington. You only have to be in Washington ten minutes before you get things shoved down your throat to vote for what you don’t want to.
“Perry and others are working so hard to create the same kind of environment in Austin. I did the right thing and what I felt was right and filed that complaint.”
“I’m in,” Bell said in the e-mail and on his Web site
posted by EZSmirkz at 9:22 AM 0 comments
Now That the Chips Have Fallen
For those who may not have noticed, I have been undergoing a rather intense period of my life, which has had a profound impact on my spiritual self. Forget the kid deciding out of the clear blue sky that he was going to join the Navy, just as the wife started treatment for cancer, and life was really pretty calm. The dove still flocked in every morning to get their pound of sunflower seeds, and of course the blue jays and cardinals want their seeds too, as do the yellow finches, red wings et al when they migrate through, all immediately after I am done walking the dog, before dawn of course.
Anyway the treatment appears to be successful and her health and out look are restored, so she is going back to work. I am reconciled to the sailor, and to be honest I am proud that he decided to do his own thing, against my better judgment about volunteering for duty in war time. Like all enlisties his motives are complex and varied, so those of you who think that the dregs are the only ones entering the military at this time are quite mistaken, and should be aware that I am quite good at ad hominem, which I will direct at you as you do these kids. Otherwise I shall save my fire for those who would lead, but more especially for those who would rule, reminding them, as Thoreau said, “I am and American, I was not born to forced”.
There will be some maintenance on the blog, like links and colors, but nothing too grand, as I really don’t want to spend a lot of time mucking around in HTML.
Anyway I have come to grips with my faith and politics, and so here I am, ROCKIN’ LIKE A HURRICANE.
posted by EZSmirkz at 8:13 AM 0 comments
Worth it to read the comments too.
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:44 AM 0 comments
Pastor charged with secretly taping girls, women
“A Baptist pastor has been accused of sexual exploitation and peeping after investigators found videotapes showing at least 10 women and girls at his church undressing and using the bathroom, a Pitt County sheriff’s investigator said Wednesday.”
This sort of thing is one of the most difficult things for folks like me to get a handle on. It is just so counter intuitive to the faith. It is not that Priests and preachers aren’t human, but how can they preach and teach, knowing that they practicing this sort of behavior? No wonder secularists are so hard to reach, between the perversions of sex, evolution and theology one recalls the words of the Christ, “Will I really find the faith when I return?”
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:33 AM 0 comments
“We Regard Falluja As a Large Prison”
Via Informed Comment: “Eight months after the second invasion of Falluja, there is hardly a street that does not still feature a building pulverized during the assault. I had not been in the city since last July, when I was escorted out by three cars of mujahedeen — that’s when things were still relatively nice — and though I had expected it, the destruction was still shocking.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:16 AM 0 comments
When the President Talks to God
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:12 AM 0 comments
Reality Bites Back
“It would be silly to expect an open acknowledgment of failure in Iraq, or even to acknowledge that the governments strategy or tactics are changing. As they did in Baghdad, when Rumsfeld and Jaafari changed course abruptly, they will speak of the growing effectiveness of Iraqi security forces, of the taming of the insurgency. They will say this is the culmination of what has been U.S. policy all along. Speaking of spring 2006 will not be construed as setting a deadline, but as simply acknowledging that conditions are improving enough to speak of drawing down U.S. forces, and this is a likely estimate – which could change if conditions change – of when it will be ‘responsible’ to start the withdrawal.
It would be foolish to try to parse all the sanctimony and hypocrisy that will accompany this shift in policy. I would just as soon let them have their hypocrisy, let them pretend that nothing has changed in their devotion to democracy and fighting terrorism, so long as they do what they seem to have decided to do – begin extracting U.S. resources from the quagmire, or sand trap, or whatever.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:10 AM 0 comments
Ex-agent says CIA squelching his book
The Seattle Times: Nation & World:
“The CIA is squelching publication of a new book detailing events leading up to Osama bin Laden’s escape from his Tora Bora mountain stronghold during the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, says a former CIA officer who led much of the fighting.”
A Republican and avid Bush supporter, Berntsen, 48, retired in June and hasn’t spoken publicly before.
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:01 AM 0 comments
Pope mourns a ‘dying’ church in developed countries
Perhaps the Pope ought to read the History Of Christian Theology
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:53 AM 0 comments
Culberson plan would authorize border militias
Morons at it again: “Gov. Rick Perry indicated he is open to Culberson’s idea.”
It has 46 Republican co-sponsors.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:50 AM 0 comments
Second blast at BP refinery this year frays Texas City’s nerves
HoustonChronicle.com Although monitoring conducted by the company and the city’s hazardous materials team detected no pollution past the company’s fences, the company said there was a risk of hydrogen sulfide gas in the smoke and haze.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:46 AM 0 comments
The Truth About Abu Ghraib
The Truth About Abu Ghraib
On Wednesday, the former warden of Abu Ghraib, Maj. David DiNenna, testified that the use of dogs for interrogation was recommended by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the former commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison who was dispatched by the Pentagon to Abu Ghraib in August 2003 to review the handling and interrogation of prisoners. On Tuesday, a military interrogator testified that he had been trained in using dogs by a team sent to Iraq by Gen. Miller.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:41 AM 0 comments
Mail & Guardian Online
Report calls for overhaul of US food aid programmes
United States food aid is inefficient, wasteful and designed in most cases to benefit domestic constituencies, particularly US-based agribusiness firms, shipping companies and some non-governmental organisations (NGOs), more than needy people in developing countries, according to a new report released this week by the
Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).
The 47-page report, “US Food Aid: Time to Get It Right,” calls for a major overhaul of food aid programmes, including “untying” the assistance from US-origin and shipping requirements, as well as the practice of monetisation — that is, providing food to NGOs or local governments for sale so that the proceeds can be used for aid work or other purposes.
The United States, which provided a whopping 56% of all food aid last year, is far and away the largest supplier. It is followed by the European Union with 20%, Japan (eight percent), and South Korea, Canada, Australia, and China, each of which accounted for about 2,75% of the global total.
Apart from South Korea, the US is alone among donors in selling part of its food aid, instead of giving it away.
SA dinosaur embryos the oldest in the world
Dr Michael Raath, a palaeontologist at the University of the Witwatersrand who was involved in the study, said the two embryos are the oldest known embryos for any terrestrial vertebrate from anywhere in the world.
“These are the oldest known dinosaur eggs and are about 190-million years old,” Raath said.
“The embryos are also the oldest known for any terrestrial vertebrate and thus the oldest embryos in an amniote egg known from anywhere in the world.”
Why Swaziland’s maize pricing needs a revamp
While Swaziland’s soaring HIV prevalence and the spending habits of King Mswati III are issues that often land the country in the headlines, problems also loom on another front: about a quarter of Swazis are currently dependent on international food aid.
Just more than 100 000 tonnes of the staple food, maize, will have to be imported in the coming months, according to a crop assessment undertaken by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in April and May.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:00 AM 0 comments
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Distant object found orbiting Sun
Astronomers have found a large object in the Solar System’s outer reaches. It is being hailed as “a great discovery”.
It is at least 1,500km (930 miles) across and may be larger than Pluto, which is 2,274km (1,400 miles) across.
Vegas heading for ‘dry future’
Las Vegas is world-renowned as a city of fantasy, flaunting its reputation for excess.
It appears a green oasis of refrigerated plenty, set in a blazing desert.
But environmentalists warn water supplies could run dry within the next 50 years; while urban sprawl is out of control and development is encroaching on protected areas.
Local hotels account for just 7% of the area’s total water usage, according to the Southern Nevada Water Authority.
posted by EZSmirkz at 5:51 AM 0 comments
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | India floods death toll nears 700: “Around 370 of the 696 confirmed deaths were in Mumbai – formerly known as Bombay – and the surrounding area in Maharashtra state, officials at the government’s emergency control room said.
On Tuesday, Mumbai, India’s financial centre, was hit by 94cm of rain – the heaviest rainfall since India began keeping weather records in 1846.
Most of the Mumbai victims drowned, were crushed by falling walls, or were electrocuted as they trod on exposed wires hidden under flood waters.”
Pictures of the Crisis in Niger
28.07.05: Food supplies in Niger, already low after a drought and locust plague swept through the west African country last year, have reached a critical level. Aid agencies have said that up to four million of the population of 12 million might be affected by the crisis. Tens of thousands of children risk death by starvation. These photographs demonstrate the impact of Niger’s looming food crisis.
Tornado wreaks havoc in suburbs of Birmingham
Roofs were ripped off houses, cars hurled across roads and trees uprooted after a tornado struck high street shops and suburban streets in Birmingham yesterday, injuring at least 12 people.
posted by EZSmirkz at 5:42 AM 0 comments
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Hackers look outside Windows for flaws
Security vulnerabilities are on the rise with a 10.8 percent increase in vulnerabilities over last quarter, according to a study from the SANS Institute. There were 422 new vulnerabilities in the second quarter of 2005, compared to the 381 reported in Q1 2005.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:21 PM 0 comments
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
A Critic of Christianity and a Warning
THE COMING TRADE WAR, Part 4
Scarcity economics and overcapacity
Sometimes it takes a non believer to articulate the failure of the faith, because they do not have a vested interest in preserving the status quo. While this article is full of misconceptions about the Biblical teachings, it is because they are the misconceptions taught by the clergy to Christians, and the results of that teaching in Christian behavior toward other faiths cultures and individuals within their own faith.
It is not without reason that the Apostles warned us of the wolves in sheep’s clothing, whose works are herein exposed. May Jehovah rebuke those who have subverted the Good news, the Gospel, for the thing that we see now, this chimera of Christianity called the church.
The natural events, earthquakes, droughts and famines, hurricanes of extraordinary circumstances, along with the continual warfare of the “Christian” nations amongst themselves and now inflaming the world were foretold two thousand years ago, and whether we like it or not, that wicked and vile generation is our generation. Whether they like it or not, the world is as the seminarians have made it to be, and one need only look at their works, the fruitage of their tree, to see this is so.
May Jehovah rebuke the Alexandrian theologians. You have sown the wind gentlemen, and your flocks are to reap the whirlwind of your lies and philosophy. You should prepare yourselves to meet your God oh son of man.
posted by EZSmirkz at 7:31 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The changing face of poverty
An emblematic image from the third world perhaps? An African famine or children kicking a makeshift football around the streets of a South American shanty town.
“We have come a long way in terms of measuring poverty. But whichever way it is measured, roughly 20% of the population suffer deprivation, while a hardcore of two to three million are in deep poverty,” Mr Hirsch said.
And the plight of these two to three million would be recognisable to Seebohm Rowntree.
“Many of those people in deep poverty will go without food today so that that their children can eat, in some respects not that much has changed in the past 100 years,” Mr Hirsch said.
At least 2.5m people in the three countries need food aid and like Niger they were hit by drought and a plague of locusts last year.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:49 AM 0 comments
Friday, July 22, 2005
I have concluded that I need a break from the internet and so I am out of here. I really am proud of those of you who contributed to the UN’s plea for funds for Niger, may the peace of God be with you. Anyway I am off to seek that which is beautiful in life, that which is pure, and to be frank the internet is a wonderful source of bad news, and things which do not build up and are no longer uplifting to me. I’ll be back after I have regained my center. Peace.
posted by EZSmirkz at 3:09 PM 0 comments
Listen.. A Voice in the Wilderness -Blessed is he who comes in the name of Jehovah
There is a convergence of events that are going to overwhelm the governments of the world and it would behoove the Christian to drop the pretense that they can have any positive effect on events, as they will invariable find themselves in opposition to God. Few preachers, pastors, ministers, priests, bishops… ad nauseum speak truthfully to their flocks about these things, because they derive their wealth and power from the congregation’s willingness to contribute money to whatever pet project the aforementioned man of cloth is most interested in,( which one may surmise is first himself, and then a basketball court or new church building to keep up with the Jones’,) and so they tickle the ears of the believers with smooth tales of whatever they discern the congregation will endure. Pretty much what the politicians do, and so it is little wonder that we find the ministry in bed with the politicians in almost every nation on earth, and this is one time that I will allow my criticism to go beyond those of my own faith.
I don’t think that these words will by any means turn things around either, but it is more important that they be spoken than that they be heard. The faithful have ears, but they cannot hear, and eyes, but they cannot see, because they have loved it that way. That is why their men of cloth tell them lies, because they people themselves love the lies. They love the lies because it absolves them of responsibility for their brothers and sisters. That is why the wrath of God remains upon them as well.
Christians have no need of me to expound on the reasons that they have wars and fights among themselves, having read the Bible, and perhaps having made sense of the letter that James wrote us, so one must assume that modern Christians have become wiser than the Apostles and Christ. Otherwise they would be listening to them, and one need only glance at the world to discern that this is not the case. They then have a form of Godly devotion, but their own activities reveal that they are false to its’ power. So the world continues to spin out of control, and careens towards the awe inspiring Day of Jehovah, with little or no note of the root cause of the wrath that is coming upon them.
God through the ages has exercised His power both directly, as in the case of Noah, and Moses, and indirectly, as in the case of the destruction of unfaithful Judah and Israel. So it is little wonder then that the destruction of man coming upon us is in the form of famine, pestilence and wars. Yet even when presented with the preponderance of evidence their own eyes and ears discern, the Christian for the most part goes blithely about their affairs and hope that the other person will correct their behavior as they are quite sure that the error is someone’s, anyone’s, but their own. If the righteous are being saved with difficulty then where is the room for the unrighteous?
Even a sinful man such as myself has tried to encourage and cajole the church to return to the love that it once had from the beginning, that we might soften the face of Jehovah, and keep on living. If I have failed in this it is indeed my greatest failure, and I am a man prone to failure. Few of you have been allowed to fail as often and in so many ways as I have, few of you have deviated so far from the teachings of Christ as I have, and so few of you have come to know the love and mercy of the Living God as I have. All these things have taught me that love conquers all things, that even I can change my heart, seek out the love of God that He has told us is in loving one another as ourselves. This failure is my greatest sadness too, because you are going to die in the hardness of your hearts and the stiffness of your necks, because you do not listen to healthful words. You are in fact babes as to goodness and fully mature in evil.
Look around yourself, oh son of man and tell out the Kingdom of God in your works, where is it? The hour is rapidly approaching you, oh son of man, and you have but two choices before you. Repent and love your enemy as yourself, or prepare yourself to meet your God. Know this, that the irresistible force of God’s will will without fail meet up with the immovable object of his promise. You need to repent, and in so doing learn how to duck.
posted by EZSmirkz at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Avian Flu Update – Tamiflu resistant H5N1
Another one of those good news stories that really isn’t as good as one would hope.
WASHINGTON, July 18 (Reuters) – Roche’s influenza drug Tamiflu suppresses the often deadly avian flu strain seen in Vietnam, which experts fear will soon cause a human pandemic, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
They said tests in mice showed the drug, licensed for use against influenza in general, could suppress the newest strain of H5N1 virus that is sweeping though flocks of poultry in Vietnam, Cambodia, China and elsewhere in Asia.
Public health experts say the avian flu virus is mutating and fear it could develop the ability to spread easily from person to person and kill millions in a flu pandemic.
The risks posed by an outbreak of flu passed from chickens in the Far East, in coutries such as Vietnam and Thailand, burst into the news in February. But now they’ve passed out of the news. Since then we’ve had more important things, like the Crazy Frog ringtone, to concern us.
Time to worry. And the scientists are. In fact, they’re edgier than I’ve seen them since the BSE outbreak was in its earliest days and people were wondering if it might pass to humans. Quite a few scientists stopped eating beef at that point. Oh, you didn’t know?
Now, their reaction is to write papers and watch what’s happening, very closely. If you read the scientific journals (we do, so you don’t have to) the articles are piling up. Last week the journal Nature pulled together an entire online resource on the threat of avian flu.
That’s the trouble with scientists. They get an idea into their heads – CFCs and ozone, carbon dioxide emissions and the greenhouse effect, the transmission of BSE to other species such as humans – and they worry away at it until they determine what the answer and the mechanism is.
Here’s what’s they’re worrying about now. The First World War killed seven million people. But the strain of flu that followed it – incubated, experts reckon, in pigs that were kept near the front lines to help feed the troops – killed up to 100 million, helped by the movement of troops returning home from the war.
The formation of a separate cluster of virus from northern Viet Nam and Thailand raises serious questions regarding Thailand’s claim to have no human H5N1 infections in 2005. The number of 2004 H5N1 isolates at Genbank is large. There are 610 gene sequences from 156 isolates and additional 2003 sequences. Most of these sequences are from Vietnam and Thailand. Analysis of these sequences reveals regional polymorphisms, as well as polympohisms found in isolates from Vietnam and Thailand, but not in other H5N1 isolates. These plymorphisms however, are found in mammalian isolates and are associated with human H5N1 infections.
In 2005, isolates in northern Vietnam appear to have recombined with less lethal isolates from China and Japan, resulting in a virus that is more transmissible to humans, but more difficult to detect because of primer mismatches. The Institute for Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi collected 1000 samples for analysis, and many or all were shipped to the CDC in Atlanta for analysis last month. Although the results of this analysis have not been formally announced, an urgent meeting in Manila was held several weeks later. Media comments strongly suggested that many or most of the samples would be positive, and support efficient transmission of H5N1 to humans.
The development of Tamiflu resistance in a H5N1 patient in northern Vietnam casts serious doubt of the success of a Tamiflu containment strategy for H5N1.
posted by EZSmirkz at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Thursday, July 14, 2005
O sing to Jehovah a new song; sing to Jehovah, all the earth. Sing to Jehovah; bless His name, bear news of His salvation day by day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonders among all people.
For Jehovah is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols; but Jehovah made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.
Give to Jehovah, O families of the people; give to Jehovah glory and might. Give to Jehovah the glory due His name; lift up an offering and come into His courts. Oh worship Jehovah in the beauty of holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth.
Say among the nations, Jehovah reigns; and, The world shall be established, it shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples in uprightness. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and the fullness of it.
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; then the trees of the forest shall rejoice before Jehovah; for He comes; for He comes to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His faithfulness.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:45 PM 0 comments
One of the most difficult aspects of my faith has been to take its’ precepts and internalize them so that I can share them with other people not of my faith. I have had to deal with those of my own faith as well, because some of the most fundamental aspects of our shared faith are being ignored or overlooked in the distribution of our attentions. By this I mean it is far more important to feed the poor, than to place the ten Commandments on the courthouse walls and/or steps. It is more important to clothe the naked than it is to discuss Islam or Judaism or any other religion or philosophy, and how they relate to Christianity, or don’t.
We as Christians should not be naive about the works that Christ did when he walked amongst us in the flesh either. When he opened the eyes of the blind, he opened their eyes spiritually as well as physically. When he cured them of illness he cured them of spiritual and physical illness. The spiritual always led the physical, yet they were inseparable. When he feed the five thousand and the four thousand he first feed them spiritually, in his discourses, then physically. It is in each of us as individuals to understand the meaning of the twelve baskets and the seven baskets of crumbs gathered up after all had eaten and all were satisfied. Recall the Samaritan women who told the Christ that even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall off of the table? The spiritual food was that God loves us all, and loved us first. The Bible can in this instance be compared to a letter from a great grandfather that he wrote us before our parents were born. You should try that, writing a letter or short note to the great grandchildren. How would you express your love for them?
Whether one has interpersonal problems near at home, or far at work, small as a family or large as a nation we are under obligation to listen to the Christ as our first counselor, before we start to discuss the situation with our earthly ones. On the other hand we cannot expect others to do so, and so we build our own faith in God, and Christ, by listening and following their counsel, because their counsel if internalized has the power to overturn the logic and reasoning of the non believers and those of the believers who are not exercising their faith. This of necessity requires us to read the Scriptures, to aquire the counsel, and then internalize the teachings through meditation and prayer. The Christian then finds out, just as Job did, that no matter what his or her estimation of any given situation might be, they could very well be wrong. It is a far better thing to learn about righteousness from the book of Job, than from the hand of God himself. Love does not assume an attitude of superiority, yet it proves its’ own superiority in the activities of those who posses it.
One of the most disgusting traits of the politically active is their hatred of those who oppose their political views. One of their worst habits is resorting to half truths to win a debate. It is inherent in the political system to destroy the opponents argument, and if that means destroying the opponent then so be it. It also inherent in the faith to love ones enemies, so that by learning to hate ones opponent, and desiring to destroy ones nemesis, one destroys their own faith and subsequently their own selves. Suicide bombers do not merely detonate physical bombs and kill and maim physical bodies, but they also detonate spiritual bombs and kill and maim spiritual bodies. We cannot control the activities of others, yet we must control our own selves. I urge you then brothers and sisters, to leave off hating one another, whether your hatred is great or small, because the suicide bomb invariably kills the possessor.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:50 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
“Where Does This Go?” The Note:
Ethics is based on the assumption that man is a person possessing rights and having duties–responsible therefore for his intentions as well as his actions. It is concerned not simply with what a man is or does, but more particularly with what he should be and do.
posted by EZSmirkz at 3:09 PM 0 comments
Dividing the Antiwar Movement
It is a difficult thing sometimes, for me to discern which way the Sovereign Lord Jehovah would have me go, although in my own heart I wish to leave you alone, or at least avoid the notoriety that comes with being noticed by such a fickle and boisterous people as those in America, my Lord and the Christ, Jesus sometimes have different plans than those of my own heart, and so I must listen to them over my own self. There are some of you who may think I am quite deluded at this point, and having been amongst you agnostics as a fellow traveler I do not blame you, but encourage you to continue reading this projection nonetheless, if only for the hoped for ammunition to ridicule another Christian opinion. To one and all then, may peace be upon you from the Most High God.
The leaking that is occurring from the British government may be seen in more than one light, either there is an anti-Blairite mole, anti-Bush mole or a disinformation campaign afoot. The Downing Street Memo has caused and continues to cause untold damage to the publics perception of Misters Blair and Bush pre war arguments amongst the pro war public, while not really surprising any of us who were in the anti war movement from the beginning. The current document details British and American plans to draw down their forces in time for the American mid term elections, which seems a little too convenient depending on ones ultimate perception of why these documents were leaked. The second document may in fact be an effort to expose the DSM leaker. One must look at the repercussions of the policy however, as though the second memo were genuine.
The second memo puts the opposition in the sticky spot of either supporting a partial withdrawal from Iraq or supporting the status quo, the only policy options discussed. The policy of partial withdrawal may in fact be designed to split the antiwar opposition while leaving the over arching policy of a military presence in Iraq intact. Note that nothing is discussed concerning the mercenaries either, while a force of 66,000 American troops leaves America with a enough bases in Iraq for any rapid deployment required for an invasion of Iran or Syria after the mid-term elections, or in the next administration, which will assuredly be another neocon Republican due to the broken democracy in America. Sorry folks, but your votes really don’t count, so deal with it. The mercenaries will probably be the American force that deals with the remainder of the insurgency, or the repercussions of an Iraqi civil war. In any case the Americans intend to maintain, or perhaps more apropos contain, control of Iraq, and will do so with air power.
At this point American policy collides with my eschatology, so I would assume that the American leadership will, despite their pious rhetoric, not change course and so the blood of the dead that are coming will be on their hands and those who support them. Indeed it is a bit ironic that in the judgment day Sodom and Gomorra will stand up and condemn this nation and this generation, who are in voice the most pious of all Christians, and will probably remain so until the blood finally rises to their drowning noses. Dan 2:30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living man, but so that the meaning might be made known to the king, and that you might know the thoughts of your heart.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:42 AM 0 comments
Monday, July 11, 2005
No to Fear, No to Terror
Psa 21 To the chief musician. A Psalm of David.
The king rejoices in Your strength, O Jehovah; and how greatly does he rejoice in Your salvation. You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the prayer of his lips. Selah. For You will precede him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold on his head.
He asked life from You: You gave to him length of days forever and ever. His glory is great in Your salvation; You have laid honor and majesty on him. For You have set blessings for him forever; You have made him rejoice in the joy of Your face. For the king trusts in Jehovah, and in the mercy of the Most High; he will not be shaken.
Your hand shall find out all Your enemies; Your right hand shall find out those hating You. You shall set them as a fiery furnace in the time of Your presence; Jehovah will swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire will devour them. You shall destroy their fruit from the earth, and their seed from the sons of men.
For they stretched forth evil against You; they imagined a plot; they cannot prevail, for You shall make them turn the back; against their faces You shall make ready Your arrows on Your strings. Be exalted, O Jehovah, in Your strength; we will sing, and sing psalms of Your power.
posted by EZSmirkz at 2:42 PM 0 comments
So you and the 3 Letter boys will know
As of today let it become known that I will not post anything on the internet, or else where for that matter using the nic EZ, EZSmirkzz, EZSmirkz, etc, except here on this blog.
I have really done my best the last couple of years to stay out of political discussions because in the short run they are just a lot of trouble for my family and me. The American people invariably like to believe that other people are as honest and open minded as themselves, which is quite true, without acknowledging just how corrupt and narrow minded they really are. The bigotry of the left is more easily understood when the bigotry of the right is understood to be a national characteristic, and not exclusive to any particular wing of the political spectrum. Americans really may be just as tribal in thinking as the Iraqis, they just wear a different turban.
In the end the objective of my politics is to help make America a better place to live, and that requires making the American people a better people to live with. It is only by looking at our ownselves objectively that we can make some necessary changes in our behavior whether on a personal or national scale. These sorts of changes are hard to initiate and even harder to maintain over the long run, even on a personal scale, because so many forces are at work against you. To translate a personal revelation onto a national scale requires one to overcome not just the egos and inertia oneself and the few, but the economic expectations of millions wrapped up in the greed of a few very powerful people. The power of these few is not the power to do good, but the power to do bad.
Left to their own devices the mass of mankind would do well, and so it is the few who are the problem, not the many, but is the masses that must be convinced of their own goodness because of their ability to overcome their own selfishness. The few will never be convinced, because they derive the benefits of the peoples own inability to see the worth and value of the contributions of others that do not directly profit themselves. These few then lead governments, media outlets, religious organiztions, corporations etc. etc., in the many diverse ponzi schemes they themselves call civilization. Civilization then is exploitation of the many for the few, in such a manner that is anything, but civilized. Perhaps that is why the homeless veterans under your bridges rarely talk about civilization, and are rarely talked about by the civilized like the Popes and Presidents. Their field of self delusion is much limited by their circumstances.
Fortunately nicknames are as easy to come up with as the next tune on the radio,( Jac, of course,) and as I’ve said before, education is ambidextrious and it always hit its’ mark.
posted by EZSmirkz at 8:45 AM 0 comments
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Feel Free to Love
Gal 5:12 O that the ones causing you to doubt will sever themselves.
For, brothers, you were called to freedom. Only do not use the freedom for an opening to the flesh. But through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Lev. 19:18 But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you are not consumed by one another.
But I say, Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another; lest whatever you may will, these things you do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under Law.
Now the works of the flesh are clearly revealed, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, fightings, jealousies, angers, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and things like these; of which I tell you beforehand, as I also said before, that the ones practicing such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. Against such things there is not a law. But the ones belonging to Christ crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.
posted by EZSmirkz at 6:44 AM 0 comments
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Intelligent Design and Evolution or When Ignorance Rules the Debate
I am posting this up because there seems to be so much ignorance surrounding this issue. I would have thought that the “reality” based side of the debate would have a better grasp of the mundane, which I have failed to discern in their tirades against the equally ignorant and unqualified Intelligent Designer crowd who seemingly think it more important to aggravate the non-believers and agnostics with their insistence on public education of their theory at taxpayers expense, to the detriment of preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, which is their true calling.
I can only request that those Christians that do not wish to follow the Great Commision kindly refrain from making it impossible for those of us who do. I would hope that the atheists and agnostics amongst us would also better research that which they claim to believe, so as not to appear as much the fools as those that they contemn.
Introduction to Evolutionary Biology:
“The word evolution has a variety of meanings. The fact that all organisms are linked via descent to a common ancestor is often called evolution. The theory of how the first living organisms appeared is often called evolution. This should be called abiogenesis. And frequently, people use the word evolution when they really mean natural selection — one of the many mechanisms of evolution.”
posted by EZSmirkz at 8:45 AM 0 comments
Friday, July 08, 2005
Counsel and Knowledge
Have I not written to you yesterday and the day before with counsels and knowledge, to cause you to know the certainty of the words of truth, to return the words of truth to those who send to you?
Rob not the poor because he is poor, and oppress not the afflicted in the gate. For Jehovah will contend for their cause, and will plunder the soul of their plunderers.
Do not feed a possessor of anger, and do not go in with a man of fury, lest you learn his ways and take a snare for your soul.
Do not be one of those who strike the hand, those who are sureties for loans. If you have nothing to repay, why should he take away your bed from under you?
Do not move the old landmark which your fathers have set.
Do you see a man who is prompt in his work? He shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before obscure men.
A Psalm of Praise, of David. I will exalt you, my God, O King; and bless Your name forever and ever. I will bless You every day; and I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Jehovah is great and to be greatly praised; and to His greatness there is no finding out. Generation to generation shall praise Your works; and shall declare Your mighty acts. I will muse on the glorious honor of Your majesty, and the things of Your wonderful works. And they shall speak of the might of Your awesome works, and I will declare Your greatness.
They shall express the memory of Your great goodness, and they shall sing of Your righteousness. Jehovah is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great mercy; Jehovah is good to all; and His tender mercies are over all His works.
All Your works shall thank You, O Jehovah; and Your saints shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your might; to make Your might known to the sons of men; yea, the glorious majesty of His kingdom. Your kingdom is a kingdom to all eternities; and Your rule in all, generation and generation.
Jehovah upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all hope to You; and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Jehovah is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His works.
Jehovah is near to all who call on Him, to all those who call on Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of the ones who fear Him; and He will hear their cry and save them. Jehovah watches over all who love Him; but He destroys all the wicked. My mouth shall speak the praise of Jehovah; and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.
posted by EZSmirkz at 10:06 AM 0 comments
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Concerning the Silent Doves
And all the crowd sought to touch Him, because power went out from Him and healed all. And lifting up His eyes to His disciples, He said: Blessed are the poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are those hungering now, for you will be filled. Blessed are those weeping now, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they cut you off, and will reproach you, and will cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man; rejoice in that day, and leap for joy; for, behold, your reward is much in Heaven! For their fathers did according to these things to the prophets.
But woe to you, rich ones, for you have your comfort! Woe to you, those having been filled, for you will hunger! Woe to you, those laughing now, for you will mourn and lament! Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers did according to these things to the false prophets.
But I say to you, Those hearing: Love the ones hostile to you, do good to those hating you, bless those cursing you and pray for those insulting you. To those striking you on the cheek, turn the other also. And from those taking your garment, do not keep back the tunic also. And to everyone asking you, give. And do not ask back from those taking your things. And according as you desire that men should do to you, you also do the same to them.
And if you love those who love you, what thanks is there to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thanks is there to you? For even the sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what thanks is there to you? For the sinners lend to sinners so that they may receive the equal things.
But love the ones hostile to you, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be much; and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the unthankful and evil ones. Therefore, be merciful, even as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and in no way be judged. Do not condemn, and in no way you will be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Give, and good measure will be given to you, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, they will give into your bosom. For the same measure which you measure, it will be measured back to you.
And He spoke a parable to them: A blind one is not able to guide a blind one. Will they not both fall into the ditch? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who has been perfected will be like his teacher.
But why do you look on the chip in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the beam in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, allow me to take out the chip in your eye, not yourself seeing the log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the beam out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the chip in your brother’s eye.
For there is not a good tree that produces bad fruit, nor a bad tree that produces good fruit. For each tree is known from its own fruit. For they do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. The good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart. And the evil man brings forth evil out of the evil treasure of his heart, for his mouth speaks out of the abundance of his heart.
And why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? Everyone coming to Me and hearing My Words, and doing them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug and deepened, and laid a foundation on the rock. And a flood having occurred, the stream burst against that house and could not shake it, for it had been founded on the rock.
But he who heard and did not perform, he is like a man having built his house on the earth without a foundation, on which the stream burst, and it immediately fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
To the chief musician. Concerning the silent dove, those far off. Of David, a secret treasure (when the Philistines seized him in Gath).
Favor me, O God, for man snuffs me up; all the day fighting oppresses me. My watchers panted for me all the day; for many are proudly fighting against me. The day I am afraid I will trust in You.
In God I will praise His Word; in God I have trusted; I will not fear; what will flesh do to me? All the day they pervert my words; all their thoughts are against me for evil. They stir up strife; they hide; they observe my footprints as they wait for my soul.
Is escape for them by iniquity? In anger cast down the peoples, O God. You have counted my wandering; O put my tear in Your bottle; are they not in Your Book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day I call; this I know, for God is for me.
In God I will praise the Word; in Jehovah I will praise the Word. In God I have trusted; I will not fear; what will man do to me? On me, O God, are Your vows; I will render to You thank offerings.
For You have delivered my soul from death. Do You not keep my feet from falling, so that I may walk before God in the light of the living?
posted by EZSmirkz at 9:21 AM 0 comments