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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Racial Cards

In casinos, the cards are regularly changed. This prevents all sorts of embarrassing situations from occurring.

I sure wish America would put the whole pack of racial cards away.

I related a story yesterday about asking while teaching a class, with a group of adults – and one 7-year-old, if they could name one Lee Greenwood song. Only the 7-year-old could do it. He said, “God Bless the USA.”

It’s an interesting thing to have been born during a time, which that 7-year-old couldn’t even imagine – and yet, the kid has heard –and likes Lee Greenwood. But to have lived during a time when a dime could get you a phone call, when men were walking on the Moon, and when so much turbulence was occurring in society as I walked barefoot in a small fishing village in the summers – it is a sobering thought. The world was changing around me – and I never even noticed. For that 7-year-old last night – I wonder what he notices? Does he see or feel the change in society or are these his barefoot summers. I kind of hope the latter is the case.

And lately, I have begun to wonder if we’ve changed at all. Things are way out of control. People pointing at each other – and much worse – using the term “Racist?” I know there are groups out there who would gladly jump on that particular crazy train, but it is important to realize that the really virulent creatures out there, are not identified by the way they look or talk – just by the way they hate. That’s why it is possible to find them. Just look at the tenets of their organization – or their personal views as evidenced by their comments. But when you do that, you have to take in the whole picture – not just the things you “want” to see.

It is not the late 60s – not even the 70s, when I grew up. How I wish it was most days. I wish for those sunlit barefoot, ocean bleached and broken streets, the nights I would spend fishing – and the knowledge that if I stayed out late enough, my dad would always make that midnight walk out to the State Pier to tell me it was time to pack it in. Always.

There was a certain perfection to those days which despite my age and experience, now, I cannot put my finger on. Call it innocence, I guess. Maybe we are all there at some point in our life.

And then, you get a few more years tucked under the belt, and you realize the world isn’t all sunshine and beaches. There is real anger out there – anger for nothing. Perhaps the anger is there for its’ own sake, and nothing more. Like a parasite, it grows fat on our indifference, until it can exert its’ own brand of influence.

People die that way. Because they are the wrong religion, the wrong color, because they do not speak the language, because they are in the wrong political party, the wrong family, they die – or are forced to into terrible things. If they have no voice, or no influence, they are ground beneath the wheels of a terrible machine. It can be called a machine because it has no soul and no conscience, but it might as well be called a mob – or a pack of dogs. Because a person can be reasonable – people, on the other hand, are not.

Some will note the name Shirley Sherrod – although a few days ago, not many would have known her. She has had an interesting couple of days. Shirley might have earned herself an earlier column here on my website – but I must say, that as a former newspaper reporter, I like to wait until all the facts are in-hand, before I get out the hammer.

And all the facts were not in a couple days ago.

Yet, oddly, we have had the White House involved with the woman’s dismissal? They couldn’t wait for her to finish driving home. She was asked via mobile phone, by her boss (who allegedly had no real contact with the White House) to pull over to the side of the road – and send her resignation immediately.

But Shirley didn’t do the things they accused her of. And when I use the word “they” – in this instance, I am speaking to all the bickering children out there. All the self-important, all the “I’m right and you’re wrong” – or at least, left. I’m speaking to all those alleged leaders we have – from the Big O, to the crackpots who want to refer to themselves as “leaders” because of their “ethics.” Here’s a quote from a Marine Gunny I know:

“Shut the Hell up.”

That about covers it.
Shirley used her life experiences to illustrate how a person can change for the better. Look up the entire speech she gave – not the sound-bite offered to fuel anger and cause more divisiveness. Sherrod’s message in the speech was clear – if she can be a better person, and if she can find a way, anyone can.

Try listening to each other for a change. Try waiting – in this near-instantaneous-dataflow world we live in – just a little while longer before answering. Multi-tasking is a lovely concept, but if you slow things down a little bit, there’s time to do everything – and focus all your attention on each thing as it comes.

That “waiting” is something I’ve only just recently learned how to do. It has taken a lot to realize I just need to allow a little grass to grow, in-between comments and actions. The 7-year-old in last night’s class could have told me that, I think. He did say "God Bless the USA." And that was worth more to me than any lesson. It gives me hope - and that's such a rare commodity.

But I should have always known these things, and I should have always been able to follow these simple guidelines. But I am no wise man – and sometimes, not even a very good person. So I forget, and lapse into bad habits and old patterns. I am often a needle in a groove – and my life is a 45, not a 33. That statement will confirm when I grew up. And for those who don’t know what it means. Just take a breath. Calm down and turn on your iPod or iPad – or whatever the hell it is that has some music on it. Take out a deck of cards and if you don’t know solitaire, build a little house. It’s good to build steady hands and patience.

But take out the regular cards - not the racial ones.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Room 101 - revisited

I offer you these two articles, which I first wrote in August 2009. They have new relevance today, now that the idiots at the Washington Post have decided in their lofty self-image, to reveal the underpinnings of America's Intelligence gathering capabilities. Back when I first wrote these, I was still hoping that our government wouldn't slide as far as it has. It seemed at the time that the push for nationalized health care and National Socialism (the very definition for the NAZIs) would not take root here. But it has. And we're quickly approaching an end-game of Biblical proportions.

Don't believe me?
That's OK.
Read what I said in 2009.

Above: a post card requesting the release of a political prisoner from
the clutches of the corrupt Somali government which collapsed, leaving
the country in ruin, and precipitating international
intervention in Operation Restore Hope 1992-93. This card was found
on the floor of the corridor of the vacant parliament building
amongst piles of millions of such requests.

Your health care is history. Your lives are being crushed. You just can’t see the ceiling yet, but it is falling, and we are all underneath it.

I’m going to paraphrase Orwell again – why? Because, we are living in a time where we are sliding faster and faster into the dark “future” of 1984. Orwell wrote that most of the material that you are dealing with has no connection with anything in the real world, “not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie.”

Statistics, he wrote, are “just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version.”

So where is the truth? Truth is currently whatever those in power want to call it. We who live outside of Washington and all the groups connected, contracted and in collusion with the country’s alleged leadership, have no voice. No matter how many town meetings we sandbag – or how many Congressional offices we stand outside of, we are the Proles of 1984. We are the ignored. We are derided and dismissed.

Now, we are the re-educated, reformed and failing that, interrogated or tortured.

No longer will most of the old agencies be part of the political process. We have czars for everything. We have provided unlimited funding to hidden groups – and some not so hidden, like ACORN. Now, no longer will the Central Intelligence Agency have the ability to do a major part of its job. Someone else will be managing all interrogations. Allegedly the new unit will focus specifically on key terror suspects – and yes, it will have its’ own czar.

In 1984, Winston does not know why Withers and the FFCC are disgraced and disbanded. Heretical tendencies are at question, but “what was likeliest of all -- the thing had simply happened because purges and vaporizations were a necessary part of the mechanics of government.”

Many are saying that this change in the interrogation scenario will have a chilling effect – that is, new interrogators hired by the fledgling group will be very cautious – overly cautious, so as not to lose their jobs in the future and become the targets of prosecution.

But, the polar opposite is also true. By removing something as dark as detention and interrogation from a system which has oversight to one which only is answerable to the President – and subsequently no real oversight, you end up with the same kind of system which exists in Third-world countries. Don’t believe it? You don’t have to. The disappeared can’t speak for themselves. They have long ago faced the horrors of their torture chambers – the Orwellian “pain-giving dial,” and are now buried with thousands – perhaps millions - of their fellow citizens; and they are all buried in lost landfills around the globe. I know it because I have stood in the corridors of the former parliament building of the ousted President Siad Barre of Somalia. I stood knee-deep in postcards each requesting the release of a different particular political prisoner. The corridor was thousands of feet long, and filled from one end to the other.
I can still feel them against my legs – like the fingers of the lost dead.

And dear reader, you think it can’t happen here? What then happens now?

One thing is for certain, the cattle-like media will now follow this CIA topic and will allow their albeit meager attention to waver from the story of the failing health-care reform legislation. And of course, the administration knows they are currently losing that battle. Or are they?

With attention split between the hot-button of interrogation and torture and previous policy versus current policy, a possible window will open through which some version of health care reform will be stuffed through. Meanwhile, the CIA, which in recent months has gone head-to-head with skin-walkers like Nancy Pelosi, will be reduced in authority and power.

And all that power and authority will be delivered into the loving hands of Big Brother Obama, who could stop the impending prosecution of CIA personnel and others – a modern day witch hunt – in its’ tracks. But he won’t, because he only stands to gain from the avalanche his friend, Eric Holder, has put into motion.

Make no mistake, though. We are already in Orwell’s Room 101. We are strapped to the chair and are completely immobilized. We cannot move our head. And the interrogator O’Brien is with us.

'You asked me once,' said O'Brien, 'what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.'

What’s the worst thing in the world to you, dear reader? Is it the loss of everything that once made us America? For poor Winston, it was rats. Rats like we have in Washington right now.

'Do you remember,' said O'Brien, 'the moment of panic that used to occur in your dreams? There was a wall of blackness in front of you, and a roaring sound in your ears. There was something terrible on the other side of the wall. You knew that you knew what it was, but you dared not drag it into the open. It was the rats that were on the other side of the wall.'

But they’re not on the other side of the wall any more, dear reader. They are here with us all. They are in our government – by the dozens – by the hundreds or thousands. They are preparing us for Room 101. The worst thing in the world varies from individual to individual, wrote Orwell. And he was right – it could be burning alive, impalement, drowning or a thousand other things. But our rats are smart. They’ve found the most terrible thing to inflict on all of us – something truly universal, which every American dreads.

They are stealing freedom.


And another article from 2009.
A nightmare.

The first thing they teach you in journalism school is to maintain a narrow focus. If you go after too big a subject, you risk confusing the reader. The second thing they teach you is not to exaggerate – report the facts. Let the facts stand on their own. Maybe, the third thing is to keep yourself out of the story. You can report effectively while keeping the article neutral and objective.

Sorry about this. I’m going to break every one of these rules.

But it’s OK, because the fourth thing I remember them teaching us is that if you know the rules, then you can break them – or you know when your breaking them… or something like that. I was sleepy that day.

Anyway, here goes. Some will read this and call it alarmist crap. Some will read it and label me a whack-job. Some won’t even get through it before they feel compelled to pick up their field glasses and scan the skies for the “black helicopters.” And of course, some, who have likely been considering putting me on a watch-list, will now just wave their hands dismissively and stamp “whack-job” on that file folder in the black helicopter headquarters.

I’m going to paint you a picture of words – a picture, which normally would be found inside science fiction novels. Here – in this sentence, ends any humor. What follows is your sci-fi scenario:

Very soon, people will be found dead, who have been standing in line overnight, waiting to get into the emergency room. Some type of universal health care will pass because no one prevented it. The complicated, ridiculous system will simply kill people at street level. Others will be found dead in their homes, knowing that the wait will be too long, and they may as well die in the comfort of their homes, instead of dying in the 21st century “med” lines.

Very soon, the news will be reporting incidents where killings have picked up outside the crammed primary care and emergency clinics because the criminals will have discovered an easy, soft target to acquire free drugs – simply take it from those too weak and sick, to resist.

Terrorists will carry out their publicized threats to use the Mexican border to carry through satchels of chemical and bio weapons, releasing them from the tops of skyscrapers perhaps, in densely populated areas during high traffic times during the day.

Plagues will create “sanctuary” cities of the dying – people who cannot be helped by the already overburdened first-responder and the rest of the top-heavy, socialized health-care system.

Those still moderately productive and not relegated to slow death in these places, will be relied upon to provide for everyone else – especially those insulated at the top of the political and financial ladders. They will be taxed mercilessly and the result will be a blossoming black market.

Police will be used to break up peaceful demonstrations and meetings, using a variety of excuses cloaked in the truth that any protests or claims against them will never make it into court – or if they eventually do, will not have any significance. Dissenting voices on the air will be silenced one way or the other – perhaps simply by using the rest of the “house” media and “new media,” to chip away at the opposition until they can no longer continue. Or perhaps they will be quieted through application of astronomical buy-outs using appropriated funds from untraceable public funding – in which the new owners simply replace the entire organization with more controllable reporters who will “toe the line.”

Congress will become irrelevant. Czars and committee dictators will replace the political process – especially for issues, which various groups want shoved-through into law without interference.

The new laws will include legislation to tell us how we can live and what we are allowed to think and say. Thought policing will take place through a “civilian” para-military arm of the government, which reports only to the President, perhaps through a handful of czars.

Presidential term limits will be eliminated. The massive powers newly taken up by the government would become more and more centralized until we arrive at a true dictatorship.

Outside the U.S., countries will become more and more nervous as a world superpower becomes more insulated and less controlled.

Growing internal unrest will lead the new dictatorship to levy heavier and heavier controls on the population. Resistance groups will be labled, “enemies of the state.” Peaceful rallies will be broken up by members of the massive civilian para-military group, which will by then, have massive power. People will be “disappeared.” Further confrontations will lead to further organization by resistance groups, pitting the overweight government apparatus against its own citizens.

I know. It's science fiction, right?

But make no mistake – if things continue on the path they are currently on, we will become subjects. We will become slaves. We will become the lost. Welcome to my nightmare.

Do something to stop it.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mathematics, life - and horrible patterns

It can alter our very existence. Physics in it’s many guises, chemistry and biology – things unknown – all either bend before its’ strength, or bend in spite of it.

Words pale in comparison. Unless you consider the poetry of motion, the perfection of good poetry, the quest for perfection. And I once thought these things to be very separate. Perhaps that’s the nature of our lives – to contain and separate. In that way, things make sense and when they make sense, there is order – not chaos.

Some folks see patterns in things, which others refuse to look at. Patterns are built into us – or they’re built into the universe and don’t notice us at all. There’s so many contradictions in a good conspiracy theory that people caught in the intoxicating web of pattern, can’t help but wait for the spider.

I am no conspiracy lover – and mysteries I love because they exist. But there are both good mysteries and bad mysteries – like everything in this world, they are polarized. A good reporter counts only on the facts. An error in fact, after all, is an error, which calls into question other people – and the word of other people. And so I am going to pose a question based on facts. You may answer it… or not.

The question is based on the researcher in the previous article.

This particular doctor is an interesting individual in that his studies seem to cross the threshold of various disciplines. He is also interesting in that the very things he studies, seem to cross at a variety of creepy levels.

But forget about all that for a moment. Let’s concentrate on condoms. Specifically, please turn your attention to condoms as they relate to the following facts: Xaioming Li receives a $2.6 million grant to do a study on the connection between Chinese prostitutes and alcohol – all funded by the United States. The study is allegedly a five-year study, and will focus on more than 100 venues (brothels) in Guangxi.

So – back to mathematics: 100 brothels (let’s say they’re badly managed and only have 20 girls each). That’s 2000 girls. Then let’s say that during a given day, each group of 20 girls visits with ten men – that’s busy, but not crazy town. Even so, that’s 20,000 condoms a day – if you want to keep them well-supplied. That’s 500,000 condoms a month, six million a year and 30 million over five years. How much does a pack of Trojans cost at the market? Please ask yourself with what money they intend to pay the people involved in the research project – even if you’re only handing out 1/10th of the money in supplies to the locals.

Not odd enough? Consider then, Li himself. Wayne State University,  School of Medicine. Dr. Li will head the program to train prostitutes and pimps in Guangxi, China. So it’s not odd to find him connected to Psychology. Nor is it odd to find him connected to HIV/AIDS studies - and as with all coincidences, patterns form. What those patterns tell us when we are not in full possession of the facts, is a subjective individual choice. Skip back two articles in this blog and you will read about a myopic monkey. The question here, is whether the coincidences in this case, are a real pattern and what does the pattern represent?

Because Li appears to have some connections in Bethesda, Maryland (a locale long-associated with biomed research in the U.S. - much funded by the NIH, which is funding Li) – and Li’s studies have involved children, in the past – small children. In some instances, the study of the fetus and its’ mother – and chimeric cells which are exchanged between the two.

If you read further, you will find that Li’s interests involve epidemics and pandemics and how they are associated with culture and behavioral change. Previous slants for this research cross the boundaries from STD research and intervention, into mental health research.

According to a news release by the university, “The HIV/AIDS pandemic scene in East Asia is largely dominated by China. While AIDS is not considered an epidemic in China, the infection rate has risen sharply in recent years, and the potential impact of a serious outbreak would be disastrous for both China and the world’s economy.”

Acquired Immuno Deficiency Virus has no clear source. According to various theories and research, its' beginnings coincide with a variety of changes in the world. What is known as fact is that some versions of HIV very closely match SIV, which is found in some primates. The discovery of the disease in the 1980s has led to a great deal of research suggesting transmission of the first case or cases via bush-meat (hunters killing and eating infected monkeys), or inoculation programs using dirty needles in unsanitary, overpopulated environs, thus infecting large numbers of people - and remaining undiscovered until it made its' way out of the country of origin. Regardless, the disease now has spread to all corners of the globe - even China.
And so, grant money flows from the U.S. Government – and interestingly, China is willing to allow a U.S. medical study to proceed in country. Even more interesting, are some of the other headlines coming out of China. In the incidents, which have made it past government censors, in just the last eight weeks, 17 are dead and 80 wounded.
They all involve children – being murdered during multiple attacks – school children. Their attackers have in every case, been wielding knives.
And so far, there’s no explanation for the pattern.
Reasonable advice would be to simply do the math. How many crazies do you recall in recent history – all attacking a singular target group within the population – without clear motive – with no connection with each other – and with exactly the same weapon and exactly the same means and method.
How many? It does, after all, come down to simple mathematics – but mathematics as it applies to psychology, biology, chemistry, genetics – and human life itself.
Where is the real spider in this particular web? Is it a potential epidemic connected somehow to HIV in one of the most populated places on Earth – in a province known for its’ tourism and potentially a center for STDs - or is all of this just coincidence and bizarre, horrific occurrences? If it is a potential epidemic or pandemic, are the murders a disconnected product of it - or potentially a direct result. Is Li's group really there to talk to prostitutes about drinking and safe-sex or are they there to gather data and investigate a disease or social breakdown due to disease - in situ?
Answer the question or not – the choice is yours.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gatekeepers and Keymasters

I wasn’t going to write about this topic for a myriad of reasons, which will shortly become apparent, but I see no way around it. It must be approached head-on. Sorry – that was a pun, which you do not currently understand, but which will in just a few more paragraphs, cause you to:

a.     blush
b.     laugh
c.      both
d.     do both – then check your schedule to see when you can arrange a trip to China.

I apologize to my one Chinese reader – there’s always one. And I apologize to the entire industry, which I am likely about to insult.

Now, to the meat of the thing – which is another pun.

First, I should preface this by saying that the Guangxi District is a lovely multinational locale in southern China, which boasts beautiful scenery, and a multitude of cultures. Indeed, tourism is big in Guangxi, so you won’t be alone if you book your flight right now. Face-to-face communication with various cultures is said to bring you unexpected happy surprises.

There are sights to see in Guangxi which include Reed Flute Cave, Seven Stars Park and Fu Bo Hill – all real places, but also possible double-entendres. I apologize to the spirits of those places, should they be reading my articles. Please don’t haunt me – I already have so many ghosts flocking about, that the place is starting to look like the new locale to shoot another poltergeist movie.

I should also say, however, that lovely Guangxi also features Yangshuo, which is  a peaceful town with plenty of local appeal, but also western restaurants and hotels. It’s called “The Earth Village.” My belief is that Al Gore and friends would subsequently feel at home in sleepy Yangshuo.

Yes, it is a great place. And it’s going to be made even better by 2.6 million in American tax dollars. Why not? After all, China is bankrolling most of our economy. We should lay down some bread for our friendly Chinese brothers and sisters, right? Oops – there’s another pun.

You see, Guangxi has a lot of great things going for it. And among them is its’ very busy population. Real busy. And I mean that in the best possible way – the Guangxi folks may have a lot of fantastic destinations available for daytime tourism – but it’s the night life which has everyone talking.

Almost three million dollars will be spent on a program to help Guangxi prostitutes with their choices in booze and condoms – and it even offers training to their pimps! Yeah, baby. But pimps and prostitutes are such old fashioned terms. It’s kind of like “climate change” instead of “global warming.”  The researcher who secured the crazy grant money for the study, is instead calling the pros, “Female Sex Workers” or FSWs and their managers, “Gatekeepers.” Presumably, that would make their clients “Keymasters,” but they apparently didn’t think of that one.

What they did think of is amazing, though.

Allegedly, using the study on Guangxi FSWs and their Gatekeepers, will benefit the United States because prostitution occurs in conjunction with alcohol in the U.S. – and oddly, the formula is also present in China! It’s like going to a fast-food joint and ordering a combo-meal. Just don’t super-size.

Alcohol has been apparently a part of sex practices for many, many years. No – you didn’t know that, because you don’t live in Guangxi, where apparently they are having a lot of sex. But the HIV virus, which is no laughing matter – affects 1.2 million Americans! And it affects the Chinese of Guangxi too! But probably the 1.2 million Americans with the virus aren’t all having sex, like the folks in Guangxi.

And fortunately, the project exists at the “exploration” stage. What is that exactly? It’s really quite simple. According to the researcher heading the project :), the study is a venue-based intervention program which is not aimed at eliminating the prostitution. That would get the researchers beat up by the Gatekeepers – a process which is often called “rolling,” here in the sexless, boring West.

In fact, the work will entail teaching FSWs new communication skills, including negotiating and limit-setting (oh, the imagery in those few words), and will throw in a basketful of behavioral skills which include using latex in appropriate ways and a variety of “individual” skills. A second, more mysterious phase is still being planned. My bet is that it teaches FSWs how not to strangle their Keymasters accidentally, resulting in dead Hollywood actors. Of course, this is Guangxi – not Taiwan, where they don’t know how to have proper sex.

And there’s so many different venues that will benefit from your taxes! There’s nearly 100 commercial sex venues which will be so much improved by the personal attention given the researchers. And it’s all backed by the National Institutes of Health.

Got your plane ticket and travel itinerary yet? Remember the whole HIV thing, though. Aside from the reaction of my wife – the whole virus thing is a deal-breaker for me.

I have now no doubt, been barred from visiting Guangxi - and will probably be rolled by the Gatekeepers and FSWs should I show my face there. It's a tough world out there. If only we had better prostitutes - or better alcohol. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Killing and dying.

A long time ago I had an unusual job.
It dealt with 96 nuclear-armed, ground-launched, cruise missiles.

When you deal with weapons like that, on mobile systems – basically all-terrain tractor-trailer units, you have to deal with some very real threats. So, your training has to encompass those things.

Within this framework I’d like to paint you a picture of a portion of this training. Let me tell you about the end of the world.

If you’re hit by a nuclear weapon – hell, if it’s anywhere nearby, you’re a ghost before you even knew something bad happened. If you’re further away, you get shards of material blasted at near the speed of sound, through the walls of your house. If you’re in front of a window, the glass will shred you, and you’ll die of blood loss before you can even register the burns – and mercifully before the radiation causes you to hemhorage. The weakness and sickness and loss of hair, bodily function and finally bleeding, will kill those less lucky – those not close enough for instant vaporization, but far enough away to seemingly have escaped. They will die within days or a week, staggering through the ruins.

And a terrorist’s dirty bomb is very good at producing the latter effect, on a smaller scale. But those who die, will die badly. Very badly. Consider your own home – think about everyone sick at the same time – no one to care for them. No ability to care for each other. That is what a nuke – dirty or otherwise, produces.

All warriors are cold warriors. The truth of these things is never far from your mind. But worse truths lay in wait. Let me share them with you.

Consider a perfect day, not too much wind, not too much sun not too hot or cold. It’s a good day to be outside, walking the streets of your city. But as night approaches, an aerosol is dispersed. It won’t happen high up. But the chemical will come as a fine mist. It will stick to surfaces. There are about 70 different variations of what you just breathed or got on your skin. It may affect your vision, or your nervous system as a whole, but here’s the highlights: In as little as a few hours you and your family members will be suffering from blindness, hideous blisters which will burst and cause more blisters, lungs which are irreversibly damaged, will likely fill with fluid and you’ll die – if you’re lucky. If not, involuntary urination, defecation, vomiting, twitching, and unstoppable convulsions will precede your demise – and the death of everyone around you.

And that’s just the simple stuff.

Biological Hell is worse. With this end-of-world scenario, aerosol delivery is also very viable. The results are however, much more terrible. Weaponization of these diseases produces resistant strains with methods of delivery designed to have the greatest effect possible on the target. They are also combined and are generally existing as almost a talcum-powder consistency. Anthrax, ebola, Marburg, plague, cholera, tularemia, brucellosis, Shingella, spotted fever, typhus, psittacosis, yellow fever, hemhorragic fever, encephalitis are all known as having been considered for weaponization – or already existing as such. Most are transmissible. Bio-warfare can include variants which act against vegetation, cattle or other animals, collapsing food chains.

An SUU-24/A dispenser – which is ancient technology – could infect 50-percent or more of a population in a 16-square-mile area with Tularemia. After the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Iraq officials admitted to UN inspection teams that the country produced botulinum toxin in amounts considered to be three times what is necessary to kill the entire human population of the Earth by inhalation. One gram of the toxin evenly dispersed is enough to kill one-million people, albeit technical factors make this somewhat difficult. But despite this, terrorists have already attempted its’ use in Tokyo, Japan.

Nevertheless, death by botulinum toxin is singularly horrible. Once absorbed, it binds irreversibly in the neuromuscular junctions of the synapses. Difficulty seeing, speaking or swallowing begins the process. Dry mouth and hyperventilation start as it becomes obvious that paralysis is taking place. Loss of head control, weakness. But you are not confused. You know exactly what is happening to you, and you can experience every awful moment. Without treatment, you will die. And a microbe modified, could possibly make the toxin transmissible.

So if you have read this far, understand this: Congress is attempting today to cut $2 billion from bioterrorism prevention, claiming the probability of such an attack is low. Probability figures only matter to those whom a thing does not happen to. And I would suggest, we are already seeing the effects of world-enders: witness Sept. 11, Katrina, or the most recent Gulf Oil Spill.

The end of the world doesn’t have to come with trumpets and the return of the messiah. World-enders happen all the time, to average people everywhere. They happen, because of insane acts, drunk drivers, inattentive pilots, faulty equipment, simple, unavoidable sickness and injury, and long days in a hospital waiting for some kind of hope.

Hope is rare at the end of the world.
A long time ago I had an unusual job. The ramifications surrounding the necessity of such a job are staggering. Then Ronald Reagan stood up and asked the Soviet Union to tear down a wall. The world pivoted on that moment.

But the devices and the material and the desire is still out there – a desire to kill others, whatever the cost.Consider this deeply. You are already a target, be it by those claiming “holy war,” or those just claiming it is right to hurt you because of the color of your skin – or because you speak a different language – or because you come from a particular place. Rhetoric has been ratcheted up – even by our country’s leadership, as they take away the money to treat you and your family, should a pandemic occur. The project which would be discontinued if Congress gets its’ way, has already purchased 29 million doses of anthrax vaccine, 20 million doses of smallpox vaccine and 200,000 doses of botulinum toxin treatment. But it will be discontinued because "probabilities" are low. Thousands of people dead on Sept. 11 attacks - but that's not enough. We should stick our heads in the sand and not worry about it. 

I have heard that in the a certain holy text, a specific line suggests that if a man is coming to kill you, you should wake up earlier and kill him first. This passage doesn't speak about protecting your family - it asks you to get to killing earlier.

In our greatest texts – in the things considered revered and timeless, we speak of killing on profound scales. I suppose we’re good at it – it’s the dying part that’s difficult.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In the eye of the tiger

What constitutes a police state?
If you look at history, there's a whole lot of examples. In some cases, this brand of government has gone hand-in-hand with other things which humans do to humans - oh so well.

Police states in other cases have led to mistreatment, despair, protests, long-simmering hatred and the killing of innocents, numbering into the thousands - and some cases , the millions. I have personally stood knee deep in letters and cards requesting the release of political prisoners, emptied and left to rot in the corridors of a parliament building in a third-world capitol.

We, as a species, kill and cause pain on an epic scale. More tired examples, but certainly more terrible, come to mind. Do I really need to enumerate them - to list them here? If I do, will you not simply stop reading - not because these things are not fact, but because they are so familiar? Isn't it sad that they should be?

Sadder still is the ability of humans to lose sight of things when they are indeed right before them. It is like some small monkey from prehistory, out of the trees and standing in the tall grass for the first time. The tiger is close enough that his breath can be felt, yet because the monkey's pattern-recognition is poor, he can't see the predator. And so, he is a small brunch snack, his DNA is not passed forward, and that is probably good, because if it were, millions of myopic monkeys would exist only as tiger food.

Similarly, we today are having a pattern-recognition problem. Consider the tiger that stands before us. It is a top-heavy, muscle-bound creature built for only one purpose - to eat us. The current administration has all the money it will ever need (it's printing it). It has control of the press. It has all the power it will ever need, and if nothing changes, it will conclude with a situation not unlike what New York currently has - a version of Bloomberg, the perpetual mayor. Those who have read the articles I have written over the past year, understand that the last ingredient for a civilization lost - is the suspension of term limits. At that point, you have a dictatorship.

But I have begun to wonder if we don't already have that. Consider our own personal tiger once again. How many details of the Gulf BP oil spill, are being allowed to meet the public eye? BP private security is working so closely with Homeland Security in the South, that many reporters have confused the two. Some have been threatened, their persons and belongings searched and seized. While the management of the actual disaster was practically non-existent, the management of the on-scene locale following the alleged end of the disaster is total and comprehensive. The story - the facts, and the very history and data surrounding the event are being sifted and scrubbed and the rights of average citizens simply don't matter. Those rights haven't mattered since a guy named Joe, asked a guy named Barrack a simple question - they probably haven't mattered for years, and because of our bad eyesight, we haven't really seen it.

Kings love that. They enjoy total power, and they don't have to listen to, or even see the suffering of their subjects. Dictators love that, too. They just exterminate and bury whoever gets in their way.

Tigers have always loved it.

All predators enjoy their spot at the top of the food chain. And sometimes, they enjoy it so much, they just live to kill.

Remember that.

Want to see something which will pick up your spirits?

Have a look at this link if you're feeling a bit down...

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