Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ahmadinejad Believes He Can Bring About the Apocalypse

A fascinating article, you really should click on the link, read this article. Apparently, Ahmadinejad has declared multiple times that he believes that in this era, in Iran, the Hidden Imam will return to save the Muslim people and bring the end of days. Even scarier, he believes that The Hidden Imam, or the Mahdi, can be brought to Earth by the actions of people. A rumor says that Ahmadinejad and his cabinet have signed a “contract” to work for the return of the Mahdi.

So what works does Ahmadinejad need to do to bring the Mahdi down to earth? “His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed. After a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.” So to me, that sounds like if Ahmadinejad causes the cataclysmic confrontation, the Mahdi will come.

In his first speech to the UN, he was already speaking in speaking of the “evil West” who want to impose “the logic of the dark ages, and to divide the world into light and dark countries.” He ended the speech with this appeal to the Mahdi: "Hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace".

This is a leader who wants to start a war, who wants to bring about death and destruction. We cannot let Ahmadinejad continue his nuclear program. The breaking of the IAEA seals is not acceptable; we need to answer this issue immediately. Take it seriously, President Bush, and blow this plant up before Ahmadinejad has weapons of mass destruction.


Posted by Scottage at 5:34 PM / | |  

Friday, January 13, 2006

Iran Threatens not to Comply with UN Inspections

A friend and I had dinner the other night, and got into a discussion on the threat that Iran poses should they develop nuclear weapons. I think of myself as normally a dove, but I am a realist, and understand that the Iran is just too dangerous with a nuke. Not only do I think that Israel would be wiped off the map before long, but I fear Iran’s close ties with terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, and wonder how long before we would see nuclear terrorist attacks.

I am a proponent of a quick military strike, take out the plant quickly. It’s a show of strength, perhaps the only real currency that’s respected in the Middle East. My friend prefers an approach where we negotiate the consistent inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities to assure that only nuclear fuel is being produced, and to assure that Iran doesn’t gain nuclear weapons.

Sorry, but this view just doesn’t ring as realistic to me. The same type of cat-and-mouse games we saw with Iraq in the 90s will happen in Iran, and they will do everything they can to develop a nuke. Doing so would elevate Iran’s status in the Middle East, and their status against the US. This is their goal, there is no doubt in my mind.

Now they have clearly indicated that if UN sanctions are imposed, they will not submit to UN inspections. Take the sign: they are not going to anyone prevent them from creating their nuke. They are making whatever space they can to wiggle through, so that they can make the nuke without interference. And Iran with a nuclear weapon is a very scary thought.

We can’t be soft with Iran. They already see us over-extended in Iraq, and it leads to the obvious thought that the US and the international community cannot enforce any edicts which it may decry against Iran. So what’s to stop them from developing the nuke and gaining significant power in the Middle East? Only the guts to take swift action, now, before Iran has a chance to develop weapons.


Posted by Scottage at 10:39 PM / | |  

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Blair Taken to Task over Involvement in Iraq War

A leading British army officer has publicly stated that Tony Blair should be impeached for his involvement of Britain in the Iraq war, and the officer is not the first to say it. General Sir Michael Rose, former UN commander in Bosnia, says “I think the politicians should be held to account…my view is that Blair should be impeached. That would prevent the politicians treating quite so carelessly the subject of taking a country to war.

Rose sites a recently released memo stating that Blair was committed to regime change in Iraq 8 months before the war. He also points to the lack of a mandate from the UN Security Council and not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 23 British lawmakers filed a motion for Blair’s impeachment on charges of “gross misconduct” in Iraq, and a BBC former war correspondent is also outspoken in calling for Blair’s impeachment.

So the US’ chief ally in the war in Iraq is facing serious fire from all sides for their involvement in Iraq. Hasn’t the time come to question our continued presence in the country? Instead of using rhetoric and talking about the virtues of this war, isn’t it time for George Bush to answer serious questions on the lack of weapons of mass destruction, and his real reasons for invading the country? We, the people, deserve the truth.


Posted by Scottage at 12:42 PM / | |  

Ex-Syrian VP Khaddam Plays the International Community

Here we go again. The US and EU have rushed to embrace former Syrian VP Abdul-Halim Khaddam as he publicly denounces Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government. True, his denunciations come with implications of the Syrian government’s complicity in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. But as the world clings to the hope of more moderate leaders in the Middle East, sympathetic to issues of the Western world, we forget that we are getting into bed with the devil himself.

There is little doubt that Khaddam has political aspirations of his own, and coupled with his anger over dismissal from the Syrian government, it is not surprising that he is now willing to point fingers at his former boss in the Hariri incident. From most accounts, Khaddam played a major role in the carpet-bombing of Hama in 1982. He has been a strong and outspoken proponent of using brutal tactics, including torture, to root out opposition to Syria’s government while he was the right hand man to President Hafez al-Assad, a brutal dictator. And to the Arab world, he’s always been a politician with an agenda.

The EU and US are anxious to implicate Bashar al-Assad in the assassination of Hariri, and I have little doubt that Syria played some role in the murder. But in this situation, we are being asked to back one potential tyrant over a sitting tyrant, and that situation will never turn out well. By backing the likes of Khaddam, we help destabilize a government that, while we may not like, at least we know and can work with, to support a government which I believe is totally unpredictable. And every time we try to back one government or another in the Middle East, we only serve to incur hatred from the citizens of the region.

Let’s take this opportunity to back off of the situation, and not try to play a role where we don’t belong. Let’s use the excuse of Khaddam’s ruthless behavior, and not back a leader who could potentially drastically destabilize the region. Because the more we try to shape the Middle East into a region which we would appreciate, the more danger we face in a political arena that we still do not know how to operate successfully in.


Posted by Scottage at 10:25 AM / | |  

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Iran Doesn’t Care About UN Sanctions

It has become obvious that Iran does not care about the potential for UN sanctions. The removal of the UN seals at their nuclear plant in Natanz is only one in a string of remarks and actions which state that fact clearly. With the American military spread thin with obligations in Iraq, there is no real threat which the international community can make which will give Iran reason to pause their present determination to have nuclear weapons.

Are we heading for another Cuban missile crisis? Present missiles have longer range capabilities and better accuracy than when Kennedy had the issue to deal with, but then again the target may be as close to home for Iran as Israel. And should Iran develop nuclear weapons capability, do we really expect them not to sell bombs to terrorist groups, especially groups that they back?

We need to find a solution to this issue, and now! If we do not, it won’t be long before we have much bigger issues to worry about.


Posted by Scottage at 11:22 PM / | |  

The Deadline

You know the feeling; 24, 48, maybe 72 hours until a major project is due. Your mind is continually racing, your heart pounding. You taste the adrenaline consistently in your mouth, and sleep is but a distant memory. And there is the feeling of dread, the impending doom if you cannot meet the deadline.

These types of all-encompassing deadlines were less prevalent for me when I left college, but they still happened occasionally, a big work project, getting ready to go away on a long trip with much to do before I leave. These situations are fewer, for sure, but no less real or scary, sometimes even scarier because the implications of failing are worse.

My modus operandi is to shut myself in a room, away from all distractions, away from all other people, and plow through it, get the job done. Let’s face it, I can be tempted too easily by the distractions of the outside world. So, I go into solitary mode for a bit, and try to put out my best work.

This time has been particularly challenging. First, the stakes were particularly high: a full-paid scholarship to grad school. It would be like a dream come true, going back to school, furthering my education, all on someone else’s dime. Pretty great stuff! Add in that I had been sick for a week before hand, putting me not only behind but also secluded from the world for a week before the final push on the paper, and you can see the challenge.

The presentation is due today, and I finished it last night. I still have to run through it a few times, polish it up, and make it look its best. But the relief I feel, having finished it, is immeasurable. And I must say that, even if I don’t get the scholarship, the feeling of exaltation I felt last night and today at having finished the project may be worth the worries associated with The Deadline.


Posted by Scottage at 9:14 AM / | |  

Monday, January 09, 2006

Daily Meme's Random 10

I had a ton of work to do this weekend, along with being really under the weather, so the music was constantly on great tunes. Here were my top 10 songs from the weekend, and the picture sums up how I felt:

1. Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers
2. The Weight – Aretha Franklin
3. The Core – Eric Clapton
4. Why Didn’t You Call Me? – Macy Gray
5. Sing a Song (Live) – Earth, Wind & Fire
6. Give Me One Reason (Live) – Tracy Chapman and Eric
7. Pour Some Sugar on Me (Live, Accoustic) – Def Leppard
8. Border Song – Elton John
9. Hey Jude – Wilson Pickett
10. Thunder Road (Live, Accoustic) – Bruce Springsteen &
Melissa Ethridge


Posted by Scottage at 11:18 AM / | |  

You Mess with the Mouse, You’ll Get the Tail End of It

Animal rights activists will love this one. A guy finds a mouse inside his house, and catches it. He could have let it go outside, or done something humane with the mouse. Or, if he decided to kill it, he could have chosen some painless way (though I couldn’t hope to tell you painless ways to kill a mouse, never killed one, hope to never have to).

Instead, 81 Year Old Luciano Mares decided to have a bit of fun, and be cruel to our small fury friend; he decided to burn it. “I had some leaves burning outside, so I threw it in the fire.” Unfortunately for Mr. Mares, however, the mouse had a sense of justice, and while burning, ran back to the side of the house, where he set the New Mexico house on fire.

No one (but the mouse) was hurt in the incident, but Mares’ house and everything inside was destroyed. Next time, maybe he’ll think twice before being that cruel to a defenseless animal.


Posted by Scottage at 10:49 AM / | |  

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Mob Cop Takes Interview with 60 Minutes

On 60 minutes tonight, they had an interview with alleged mob cop Stephen Caraccappa. If half of what CBS reported turns out to be true, and with the evidence they showed I’m not sure how it could not be true, this guy deserves whatever punishment the legal system can throw at him.

I grew up in the Frank Rizzo era in Philadelphia, so I know the wide-spread implications within the police system. There is a real sense of futility when your police force is crooked, knowing that in a time of crisis engaging the police can be more dangerous then not calling the police. And certainly you didn’t want to get caught doing something wrong if your cop is crooked; there is a sense of invulnerability for crooked cops that often allow them to go outside the limits of acceptability.

But these guys appear to have been way worse then just cops living outside the law; these cops appear to have used their badge, and the trust that went along with it, to kill a crime family’s opposition. If this is true, these cops are despicable. Make an example of them, and show the country that this behavior will never be tolerated.


Posted by Scottage at 11:34 PM / | |  

Reject Palestinian Call for Peace Negotiations

Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for Palestine, today called for a resumption of peace negotiations with interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. I’m sure this sounds like a great idea to you, and very convenient for your political aspirations in the upcoming Palestinian elections, but this is the worst possible concept for the region.

In a month, the Palestinian people will elect a new governing body that may or may not honor any agreements formed between the two people. And the Israelis will elect their own governing body in March with the same implications. What’s more, Olmert has never been elected to the office of Prime Minister; should he really represent the will of as divided a people as the people of Israel without having been elected by them?

Engaging in peace negotiations now can only serve to help both sides posture themselves for the upcoming elections. Do what’s right for the people, and first allow them to decide who they want negotiating. This is also a clear sign of what direction they want the negotiations to take. Listen to the people; they will lead the two countries towards a brighter future.


Posted by Scottage at 11:09 PM / | |  

Mayhem at the Mexican Border

Two months ago, one of my best friends started talking to me about the Mexican border. He cited it as “the issue”, the one issue the republicans will harp on in the next election to make the American people afraid. My friend says that the Republican Party keeps power because, when they have control of such a powerful spin machine, they can generate the type of fear in the American people that will make it impossible to elect the ostensibly weaker democrat.

Today I read the ABC News report on the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo border, linked to above, and at the very least I’m beginning to feel the fear over the border issues. While I’m not sure that I buy into the conspiracy theory yet, there is no question that the report paints an ugly picture of an area out of control and lawless.

Not surprisingly, the Mexican side is far worse than the US side. The drug cartels in Nuevo Laredo evidently has fair control over the city, feeling free to commit whatever crimes it sees fit with little fear of being brought to justice. 170 people have been killed over the last year, including a city councilman, 13 police officers, and the city’s police chief, who lasted a full 7 hours in office. The new police chief, Omar Pimentel, takes a far healthier attitude than his predecessor: “The local police department’s job is to prevent robberies. People think our job is to fight the drug cartel, but it’s not.”

The US side, Laredo Texas, is not much better off. Kidnappings have become so regular that there is a growing market for kidnapping insurance. I lived in the Middle East, and I’ve never even heard of kidnapping insurance. A few weeks ago a man was gunned down in front of his pregnant wife, and the sheriff’s department cites that as the type of brutality becoming more and more regular. And more drugs are seized by the more than 1,000 border patrol people at the Laredo border than by any other federal agency.

Both sides point the fingers at one another, the Mexicans saying that huge demand and inadequate monitoring of the border by the US contributes to the problem, providing the promise of easy money for the Mexican drug lords. And I think back to what my friend said; could we be contributing to this situation, perhaps passively, to provide “the issue” to the Republicans, to ensure their next electoral victory? I don’t know if I it goes this far, but I’m sure I wont be the only person watching this situation closely over the next two years.


Posted by Scottage at 10:45 PM / | |