Monday, May 31, 2010

Colombians vote for 'safe pair of hands' as president

Most Americans don't understand the historical reasons for South America's anti-America feelings. From the United Fruit Company's exploitation of Central and South American lands to CIA backed right-wing juntas, US involvement with South America has been decidedly one-sided.

The warm embrace of President Obama from Hugo Chavez notwithstanding, the US is seen as having backed some of the most notorious dictators in South America. The US typically backed right-wing dictators under the assumption these leaders would further democracy, as opposed to the left-wing Marxist leaders who were vociferously anti-American. Unfortunately, most of the left-wing leaders are seen by the fellow countrymen as fighting for the people and the return of lands, while the right-wing leaders were often seen as aligning with the US or US backed corporations.

Colombian production of cocaine is supported in large part by workers that believe the United States is an evil, capitalistic empire that has done nothing but exploit them. By supporting cocaine and the drug cartels, the workers feel they are able to strike at the heart of the United States by helping to feed its drug habit.

The latest Colombian election does nothing to change the situation. President Santos is viewed as supporting the United States. Hugo Chavez has branded Santos a threat to the whole region. Ecuador has indicted Mr. Santos on charges of bombing a FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces Colombia) camp killing 26 rebels.

The oil spill in Gulf Coast will be viewed as further evidence of corporate greed of the United States. South Americans will view the lack of response by the federal government as further indictment of US policies. The Gulf Coast is primarily occupied by the low income, working class...the same demographic that has felt the wrath of right-wing dictators in South America. If we won't take of our own people, why should South Americans feel the US has anything but contempt for them?

BBC News - Colombians vote for 'safe pair of hands' as president

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gulf oil leak may continue until August

How many attempts and now we are looking at August? The Obama Administration has done nothing during this crisis. The people of the Gulf Coast have been asking themselves, would this be the case had the oil spill been threatening New York or Los Angeles?

The State Department has been trying to pick a fight with Iran for the last several months. Now it looks like we may also be headed towards a confrontation with North Korea. Reports also show a new bombing campaign against the Taliban in Pakistan (which still boggles my mind, how do we launch attacks against a nation that isn't at war with us?). Iran and North Korea must feel even more steeled in their resolve after watching the completely inept way the Obama Administration is handling their first major crisis.

White House says gulf oil leak may continue until late summer -

Saturday, May 29, 2010

US Apologizes to Billionaire Added to Terror No-fly List - ABC News

Thanks to Yussi Pick for the following story.

I've written about Abdulmutallab before and how despite being a suspected terrorist did not manage to end up on the no-fly list. Both the CIA and MI5 knew about Abdulmutallab but for whatever reason the National Counter-terrorism Center (NCTC) did not add his name to the no-fly list.

The NCTC and other intelligence agencies are now rightfully sensitive to missing another underwear bomber so Mr. Chagoury was put on TWO no-fly lists. How did billionaire philanthropist/businessman/former ambassador manage to get on TWO no-fly lists? Mr. Chagoury's company banks with Abdulmutallabs father.

Chagoury spokesman Mark Corallo: “Everyone understands that after the December attempt, the government re-examined a lot of travelers. Ambassador Chagoury has no problem with the government taking a second look at him, and he’s pleased that he’s been cleared to fly to the United States. What he doesn’t understand is the decision by someone in the government to disclose his name to the media and to unfairly suggest that he was a potential threat."

ACLU's Ben Wizner: "This is a secret, unchecked executive power with absolutely no due process for people who are on the list. You can wake up one morning and find yourself unable to fly without ever being told why and without any meaningful opportunity to challenge it."

The best systems are the ones that are constantly being evaluated where ineffective practices are eliminated or corrected. As this story illustrates, our homeland security system is still unable to evaluate its processes even in the face of overwhelming evidence.

US Apologizes to Billionaire Added to Terror No-fly List - ABC News


The metrosexual is a term coined during the early part of this century to describe males who like to spend their money on their appearance. I'm not talking about the basics such as shaving, haircuts and hygiene. Think more along the lines of Ryan Seacrest; facials, manicures, skin peals, etc.

Let's call a metrosexual what he really is, a narcissist. They love themselves and with the blessing of the media their focus is increasingly remaining on themselves.

The favored behaviors of metrosexuals is opposite of what has traditional be held as masculine. I know, wake-up we are after in the 21st Century. Thought that might be, I fear that the metrosexual trend has serious implications for society and thus our national security.

Societies need a balance of male and female influences. Think of the Chinese principle of yin and yang. Two different energies harmoniously flowing in a circle. Too much of one disrupts the flow of the other resulting in disharmony.

Beauty is a feminine attribute and females pursue activities to make themselves more beautiful. Men appreciate beauty by protecting their society and allowing beauty to flourish. Yin and yang.

Because metrosexual behavior is narcissistic, it takes males away from protecting beauty and focuses the man on himself. He loses focus and becomes enamored of himself without an awareness of his role in society.

We now see the more insidious side of the metrosexual phenomenon. Males who identify with metrosexual activities are put-off by macho ads. The prefer ads with more feminized images of males.

In today's culture, we are not encouraged to be alarmed by this development. Males are flowing with the wrong energy and it will create, or perhaps already has, disharmony. A healthy society needs to balance both energies.

Creating a generation of feminized males leaves no one to protect society for they will all be too busy worrying about getting their nails done or hair styled. It sounds silly when you write it but the implications for our national security are grave.

Macho Advertisements Are Putting Feminine Men Off Products, Research Says

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Warning Too Late

Reports of Islamic items being found along the border with Mexico started surfacing a few years ago. It was speculated early on that radicalized Islamic terrorists could be entering the United States along with other illegal immigrants.

The result in part was the rise of the Minuteman Movement. The movement consisted of concerned ranchers and citizens along the border that felt the US government was not doing enough to address the issue of illegal immigrants.

Now DHS is alerting the public to this threat. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you can smuggle illegal immigrants in through the border, smuggling a terrorist isn't any more of a challenge.

We've known for sometime that drugs and weapons are also illegally smuggled into this country through the border. It isn't much of stretch to assume terrorist weapons are also being smuggled in. I hesitate to use the term "weapons of mass destruction" as I think it diverts our attention from the fact the choice of weapon isn't as important as how well the attack is planned and executed.

The attempted bombing in Times Square and the attack in Mumbai are a study in contrasts. Times Square used a WMD but it was poorly executed and was detected and neutralized before anyone was hurt. Mumbai on the other hand used a well coordinated attack of trained rifleman and bombs in 2008 to kill 173 people and injure 308. Mumbai did not really use a WMD but the effects were on par with the bombings in Madrid in 2004 (193 killed) and London in 2005 (93 killed, 350 injured)

The article goes on to point out the connection between drugs and terrorists. Why is this news? The Soviet Union was the primary funding source for terrorists groups during the latter part of the 20th Century. Terrorists group were then primarily aligned along political ideology such as Marxism or Communism making them a potential weapon for the Soviet Union to use against the Democratic West especially the United States.

When the Soviet Union collapsed, the funding source for these politically aligned groups also collapsed. Around the same time, Pam Am Flight 103 was blown up over the skies of Lockerbie, Scotland. The event signaled the beginnings of terrorist groups aligned with radical Islam. It would be until 1993 and the first bombing of the World Trade Center before the United States public would recognize this new threat.

Terrorist groups formed around radical Islamic beliefs benefit from being primarily based in the Middle East. They do not need a sponsoring super power such as the former Soviet Union to get financial backing. Most members of these new terrorist groups can get funding through the sale of oil. Osama bin Laden was an independently wealthy Saudi before he became the world's most famous terrorist.

However, not all groups are based in the Middle East or receive funding through oil. These groups turn to drug cartels which have as much money, if perhaps not even more, than the oil cartels.

Countries such as Colombia and Afghanistan generate huge profits through the sale of illegal drugs. In turn, many of the local populace in these countries are hostile or at least unsympathetic to the United States.

In much of South and Central America, the United States is blamed or supporting right wing regimes which often resorted to torture to maintain power. The right wing regimes were in-turn viewed as puppets of American colonialism in the guise of the United Fruit Company.

The resentment for atrocities committed by former colonies generates support amongst the locals for drug cartels and terrorists groups. None of this though is a new phenomena, any student of political science or international affairs knows this.

Our government seems to be behind the power curve again. We need to stop worrying about building up the border. We need to finding out who is already here. Of course this opens up a very nasty potential for the government to become even more intrusive into the lives of US citizens. - Feds Issue Terror Watch for the Texas/Mexico Border

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

M4 Vs. AK-47: Is U.S. Army Outgunned in Afghanistan?

In WWII and Korea, the US Army and Marine Corps carried .30 caliber rifles. The M-1 Garand fired the 30-06 using a 180 grain bullet. Rifles of the era and before where based on hunting calibers. The British Enfield fired the .303 British another devastating round with both range and stopping power.

In the 1960s, the US Army started using the M-14 which fires the .308 Winchester (7.62mm). The 7.62mm fires a 180 grain bullet but has a shorter cartridge length than the 30-06.

The M-14 took advantage of this and had a much shorter action than the M-1 Garand and is able to use a 20 round box magazine.

The problem is with a 20 round magazine, the M-14 was heavy and carrying it around in the steaming jungles of Vietnam was extremely tiring. The result was a move to a lighter rifle that still could carry 20 rounds and hence the adoption of the M-16.

The shorter ranges faced by jungle warfare suited the .223 (5.56mm). It fires a 55 grain bullet making the M-16 one of the lightest rifles American forces have ever carried. A combination of light weight and recoil buffering spring allow even the most timid shooter the ability to shoot decent groupings with the M-16.

The first M-16s were plagued with stoppages. The harsh jungle conditions had not been factored into the initial design. Numerous modifications came along to improve reliability. However, what did not change was the lack of stopping power of the 5.56mm compared to the .308.

By the time the war in Vietnam was over, the M-16 had become the standard issue rifle of all branches of the US military. The military has selective memory and though the record of the M-16 in Vietnam was still in question, its cost and ease of shooting won over any doubts.

The M-16 would be used in every conflict proceeding Vietnam.

In Desert Storm and Somalia, there continued to be reports of poor stopping power and reliability issues (the sand in Iraq and Kuwait is like powder and could seize the action).

The insurgents in Somalia were hopped up on khat and the 5.56mm Teflon coated roads would pass through the target seemingly without effect. (The Teflon rounds had been adopted as a means of defeating light armor.)

Iraq and Somalia were the first widespread urban warfare encountered by US forces. The result was a call for a shorter version of the standard M-16 resulting in the M-4. Yet again the US military adopts a specialized weapon as the standard issue.

The shorter barrel of the M-4 means less muzzle velocity putting the already light 5.56mm round, and hence servicemember, at a disadvantage.

Unlike Iraq, US servicemembers in Afghanistan aren't always engaged in urban warfare. Often they are in the mountains where targets would have to be engaged at 300 meters or longer distances. The short-barreled M-4 with the shorter and the 55 grain 5.56mm combination are just not designed for such situations.

Now the US Army is going back to the drawing table to design another rifle/caliber combination to answer the problems in Afghanistan. The old school solution of the Afghanis is to use WWII or older era rifles chambered for hunting rounds. These give them long range rifles with tremendous stopping power. A soldier or Marine armed with the M-4 is at an extreme disadvantage in terms of range and stopping power.

Instead of one size fits all, it seems to me units need to have a combination of M-4 and M-16 sized rifles. I really like the 7.62mm but realize the muzzle blast in a short barreled rifle of that caliber would be tremendous in close quarters.

The compromise seems to be something like the 6.5 Grendel. The round has terrific weight to velocity ratio allowing it to serve as a long range rifle as well as an assault rifle. Hopefully the decision will be more towards a flexible response rather than trying to make a one size fits all. - M4 Vs. AK-47: Is U.S. Army Outgunned in Afghanistan?

Posted using ShareThis

Jamaica: 11 dead in Kingston

Jamaica's economy is based solely on tourism. Ads run on TV with the sleepy calypso soundtrack encouraging "Let's get together and be alright". Now the US war on drugs has turned Kingston into a modern day Tombstone. The war on drugs has spent millions of taxpayers dollars with no effect on the flow of drugs. Our prisons are crammed full with drug convicts but our streets remain full of replacements. I have no idea how the situation will be resolved in Jamaica but the rest of Caribbean will undoubtedly blame the deaths and injuries on the US.

Jamaica: 11 dead in Kingston hunt for Christopher Dudus Coke | Mail Online

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Soldier's Story

My brother forwarded this to me. It is one of those emails that get sent around but I found this one especially poignant for Memorial Day.

He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.

And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Bob has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life..
He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories
>From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.
It's so easy to forget them,
For it is so many times
That our Bobs and Jims and Johnnys,
Went to battle, but we know,

It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier--
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline
In the paper that might say:

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Last Thursday was May 13th and also the 25th anniversary of the Philadelphia police dropping a bomb on MOVE headquarters.

The bomb consisted of four pounds of C-4 plastic explosive and resulted in 11 deaths and 65 homes being destroyed.

No one from city government was charged despite an investigative commission that found, “Dropping a bomb on an occupied row house was unconscionable."

In a 1996 civil suit in U.S. federal court, a jury ordered the City of Philadelphia to pay $1.5 million to a survivor and relatives of two people killed in the incident.

MOVE was founded in 1972 and its members were primarily African-American who believed in a radical form of the green movement and opposed modern science, medicine and technology.

Their anti-technology, animal rights stance led members to compost garbage (including human waster) at their commune. This practice attracted rats and other vermin as well as the wrath of their neighbors.

Needless to say, the police and MOVE had a “history” going back to 1978. Essentially relations between the police and MOVE continued to deteriorate until the events in 1985.

The police were supposedly responding to complaints against MOVE and began to lob tear gas bombs into the MOVE headquarters. For reasons that I have never heard, the police then sent in a helicopter armed with the C-4 and dropped it on the roof of MOVE headquarters.

It sounds like something out of a bad movie but this really happened. Supposed “peace officers” decided to go military on civilians. Unfortunately for the MOVE members, the police had no idea how powerful four pounds of C-4 can be.

Twenty-five years later, have we learned much? FBI sharpshooters kill Vicki Weaver and her son in 1992. The following year (1993), the BATF engage in a stand-off with members of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. Ultimately, six Branch Davidians and four agents were killed.

Today we have a higher distrust of our government since perhaps the Vietnam war. Speaking of, new evidence is coming out about the shootings at Kent State University where four students were killed and nine others wounded by the Ohio National Guard. The shootings occurred 30 years ago on May 4th.

Our overseas friends aren’t fairing much better with the economic collapse first in Iceland and then later in Greece.

Britain just voted out Gordon Brown and now has a coalition government for the first time since WWII.

No, I’m not packing my family up and moving to some mountain retreat. However, I can’t help but feel out elected leaders are not learning from the mistakes of the past and we are heading into some very chaotic times. The US government seems to respond by taking even more of our civil rights away in the name of security. I doubt this practice will either make us safe or eliminate the chaos that seem to be pervading the world.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

American flag shirts ignite firestorm

Abdulmutallab will forever be remembered as the underwear bomber. He will also be remembered for re-igniting fears of terrorist attacks involving airliners. He was also the first terrorist to make the news as we entered the second decade of the 21st Century.

Last month, members of the Hutaree, who define themselves as a Christian survival group, made the news when they allegedly threatening a Muslim. The federal government immediately seized their weapons echoing earlier incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

New York City got back into the news when a Pakistani built a bomb out of pyrotechnics and attempted to detonate it in Times Square. The bomb was called "amateurish" but it effectively got the citizens of New York to think about their own mortality (at least for a while)

Another bomb scare on a bus in New Hampshire followed however reports thus far have ruled out another terrorist attack.

As though we needed yet another reason to fear one another, Live Oak students decided to get into the picture. Hispanic students at the school got mad because non-Hispanic students wore American Flags on Cinco de Mayo. The Hispanic students felt this was insulting on their holiday and that the non-Hispanic students had no right to wear the American flag on that particular day (less this escape your notice, Live Oaks is a school in California which I last checked was still part of the United States).

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican army's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It has become a day to celebrate Mexican pride, however it is NOT a celebration of Mexico's independence. Mexico's Independence Day is Sep 16th (Grito de Dolores). Personally I think Cinco de Mayo has become a commercialized excuse to market Tex-Mex food and alcoholic beverages.

Given that Cinco de Mayo celebrates a battle unfamiliar to most non-Mexicans, I'm not certain how wearing the American flag was disrespectful. Certainly the French flag would have historical significance but the American flag? Regardless, we now have yet another reason for people from two different cultures to find fault with one another rather than commonality.

Mexico won its independence from Spain and the United States won its independence from Britain. What's next? Students from Mexico or of Mexican heritage running around with Mexican flags on during the 4th of July? Stupidity is a universal commodity that knows no boundaries. I am sure there are groups already whipping themselves up into a frenzy over this issue and you will see some stupid shit come July.

I am very concerned that people's attention spans are so short they can be drawn into action without fully understanding what all of the fuss is about. | American flag shirts ignite firestorm

Posted using ShareThis