Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Still Big Brother? Yep.
"In his address last week, to a conference of historians, [Gen. Micheal] Hayden acknowledged that the papers 'provide a glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency.'"
Honestly, what's so different about the CIA now and the CIA then? Still arresting, interrogating, and imprisoning people overseas? Yep. Still tapping people's phones and investigating civil rights protestors? Yep. Still plotting against foreign leaders at the behest of Presidents? Yep. Yep. Still conducting all these operations during an ideologically unsound war? Yep. Still Big Brother? Definitely. Anyone duped by this publicity stunt to believe the CIA has cleaned up its act deserves to be. That's my take anyway.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
After 9/11 the President's men all said,
"we must go to War."
But few thought hard about what we
were really fighting for.
Caught up in the fervor after such
a horrific travesty
The War on Terror became linked
with our Nation's destiny.
To root out evil wherever it reared
its humanless head
To route out all possible terrorists
and kill them dead.
And so many Americans gave of themselves
and some more than they knew
For Afghanistan was just the beginning of
the trouble that was to brew.
But of the citizens and soldiers who volunteered
to risk their lives and go
How much of the murky and sordid history
did they really know?
Were they ever taught in their high school
that back in '68
During the hell that was Vietnam
and before Watergate,
That the CIA covertly backed
an Iraqi coup
Putting Sadam's Baathists in power
and him in as #2?
And did they know in the '80s the U.S.
gave guns and F-16s
To Sadam so he could fight the Shah in Iran
as a go-between?
So, how many do you suppose knew
just that little bit?
Would you still have stepped forward
knowing that shit?
Or would you have dropped your gun
and walked away,
Determined to come to the solution
Coups never work out the way they are
planned to be.
Why is that so hard for all the people
in America to see?
Because we never look for the truth
until after the fact
And even then we're too busy stabbing
others in the back,
Pointing fingers and saying to each other,
"It's all HIS fault!"
"He promised us loads of the sweetest sugar;
instead we got salt."
So many of us bought into the miriad of lies,
But we can't shed all the blame on to others
for ourselves being deluded.
It's our job as the PEOPLE to be vigilent and keep
the government in check.
No one else is going to protect our rights for us;
we have to stand and demand respect.
Thoughts on God and Life
As time stealthily keeps slipping on by,
People the world over continue to die
From disease, hunger, andlack of shelter
War making the political climate swelter
People keep telling me that it's all part
of God's plan
The tell me all the suffering is just the
condition of Man.
That all the toil, the sweat, the blood
and the tears,
From which he has suffered all of these
Is his just burden after an untimely fall
And in his mortal shame, he cannot but
hide his face.
And they tell me God is right here, walking
He could be the man on the street or maybe
one on a bus
Waiting for people to do for Him
a good deed
To recognize of the least of His people
their many needs.
But if a God indeed exists who is so merciful
Then why does He let all the shit happen to me
If you were Him, omniscient, and You knew
All the pain, suffering, and pestilance that would
plague the land,
Would You still do it the same way? Would You still
If You knew everything about man, all the hairs
on his head
And You knew for eternity who would be where
when they were dead
And you knew that compared to the billions of people
only a few would chose You
The rest sentenced to eternal damnation in a lake of fire,
what would You do?
Does that sound just to you? Does it sound like we really
have free will
When we are forced to worship the Son of God or be accused of
My question then to those of you who would like
Is why do I need a God to tell me about the truth
that I see?
Can I not see when my fellow man is troubled
and in need?
For me the joy of helping others has always followed
True enough I am not God and in my life
I will surely fail
But a man who died for MY sins and then resurected
is too tall a tale.
But isn't it prideful to believe that of my sins
I can forgive myself?
I can tell you this: the remorse of poor decisions made
is my own personal hell.
And that's the way I believe it always
Thus the burden to do what is right will
be on me.
Because in the end, it always comes down
to a choice
And in this life we are responsible to find
our own voice.
No matter where you go and whatever
The decisions are always yours; it is always
up to you.
There may be things in life that are out of
But that doesn't mean some divine being is
watching life unfold.
It's what we each choose to do, all the choices
That rock our boat and leave love or hate
in its wake.
So, whether or not you believe God does
And live and die hoping to find your name
on His list,
We still have to live out each and
We still have to struggle and strive to
find our way.
We have to find out what it is that helps us
That makes us whole inside and keeps us
Find something that teaches each of us
Be it family, mankind, or a good and holy
But remember that you can find beauty here on Earth
to make your heart sing
And know that you have the strength inside of you to know
and do the right thing.
And when the time comes for us
each to die,
We'll know how well we lived by the way
we feel inside.
So live the best you can for from yourself
you cannot hide.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
In the past few months, numerous scientific reports have been released documenting the phenomena of global warming. Despite their reputable authors, these reports have recieved criticism from opponents skeptical about human contributions to climate change. Regardless of whether or not global warming is taking place, there are plenty of reasons to curb the use of fossil fuels, namely petroleum, and increase the use of alternative energies like ethanol. So, forget about the validity of global warming for a minute and consider some of the other consequences of our oil "addiction."
Currently, with only 5% of the world's population, the United States uses more than 20 million barrels of oil each day, approximately one-fourth of the world's production. Over half of that amount is imported and roughly 25% comes from the Persian Gulf. According to Milton Copulus, president of the National Resource Defense Council, the true price of these imports when factoring in direct and indirect economic costs, disruptions in oil supply, and military expenditures, currently cost our nation $825.1 billion annually, which if paid at the pump would raise gas prices by $5.04!
The situation will worsen by 2025, when our level of consumption will have risen to nearly 30 million barrels of oil per day, with imports making up as much as 70% of that amount. Over this same period, developing nations around the globe, most notably China and India, will also be increasing their own oil use and world demand will rise from its 2004 level of 84 million barrels a day to 111 million barrels (EIA AEO 4). Supplies are predicted to remain tight, which will increase competition, and considering political situations in oil producing nations like Iran and Venezuela, our dependence on oil makes us extremely vulnerable.
Then there's the pollution. Again, forget about global warming for a minute. According to the EIA, in 2004 the transportation sector produced 33% of the annual U.S. carbon dioxide pollution, which is around a quarter of the entire world's CO2 emissions. 60% of that amount came from burning motor gasoline. Vehicle emissions also produced carbon monoxide pollution, nitrogen oxides, hydrofluorocarbons, as well as other particulate matter that helps to form smog and according to the American Lung Association, 150 million Americans live in urban ares with unhealthy levels of air pollution. This condition is responsible for an estimated 4,000 premature deaths each year and a rise in asthma among children and the elderly.
Finally, to combat the decline of domestic oil production, protected lands and waters are being threatened with oil drilling and the inevitable pollution that follows. For example, in Alaska, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a critical breeding ground for millions of animals and the final 5% of the state's coastline not open to drilling operations, is in jeopardy. Current surveying techniques like 3-D seismic imaging will require an intensive grid-work of roads. Oil spills will contaminate ground water. Trash will increase the populations of predators like foxes and gulls, which in turn will threaten other species' populations. And oil reserves, which are spread over a large region, dramatically increasing the area of impact, will have only a minor effect on reducing dependence on foreign oil, cut the trade deficit by just 15 billion dollars and produce less than 90,000 jobs.
On the other hand, investing in alternative and renewable energies, such as ethanol, will reduce dependence on oil, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and clean up not only the environment, but the image of the U.S. around the world. The authors of "Winning the Oil Endgame," which is a detailed plan of how to eliminate oil dependence by 2050, estimate that by 2025, approximately 9.5 quadrillion BTU per year of ethanol could be provided without a major impact on the current agricultural system. That is the equivalent of 4.6 million barrels of oil a day and would require only an investment cost of $36 dollars per barrel, much cheaper than the current $55 to $60 price of a barrel of oil.
For starters, by 2012, an annual production of 5 billion gallons of ethanol—only 1.8 times larger than production in 2003—would displace 1.6 billion barrels of oil, cut $34 billion from the trade deficit, create 214,000 new jobs, generate $5 billion of new investment, boost farm income by $39 billion, and save the budget $11 billion in farm subsidies.
Another part of the authors' plan includes increasing the efficiency of oil use in the transportation sector by making cars from carbon composite fiber and new steel alloys, all of which are already in existence and much lighter and stronger than materials currently used. Such a move could revitalize the U.S. auto manufacturing industry, giving it back the market edge of previous years.
By any account, it is hard to deny the often negative effects of global industrialization on the Earth's environments. And given the evidence presented, dependence on fossil fuels ought to be a thing of the past. But, rather than hinge the entire argument on the merits of global warming, I challenge anyone who reads this to think of in terms of finding a more sustainable way of life that will preserve the resources of the natural world for our posterity.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that the world belongs to the living, and the dead have neither rights nor power over it. Therefore, a man can only use what can be replenished during his lifetime or he creates a debt to be paid by future generations. If this principle can be thought of as "generational tyranny," then we commit a grave injustice by not doing all that is possible to make the world a healthier place for everyone.
(For a complete Works Cited list, please visit www.noojournal.com and check out my essays in issues 1, 4, and 5.)
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
This night, while we are all safely tucked in our beds
Others sleep on the pavement, a rock for their heads.
Tomorrow no one is likely to give them a hand
All alone on the street corner they'll stand.
They'll watch all the Benzes and Hummers go by
A cup in their hand, perhaps a tear in their eye.
Just clothes and cardboard to chronicle their plight.
No doubt, they'll still be alone come tomorrow night.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
War with Iran
Did I call it or what, not that I like to be right,
But a war with Iran is now in plain sight.
All the makings are there, just like with Iraq:
A dictator with weapons? It's time to attack.
I can hear bush now, my word is that man loud
"the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud"
So, America, it's crunch time again.
If we go into Iran, you think we will win?
What would happen if an army invaded the U.S. of A?
You think anyone would hesitate to stand in its way?
Now put yourself in the shoes of the people over there.
You think they'll just fall over, you think they won't care?
Oh, we'll bomb them and put our troops on the ground,
We'll get in the humvees and chase them around.
But we'll never beat them by beating them, you see.
You cut off one head, and now you have three.
Three more "fanatics," all willing to die
And then in a flash, it's all gone awry.
Then we'll step up the ante and bring in more men,
And the vicious cycle will start all over again.
There will always be an enemy when you won't sue for peace.
If you can't trust the other guy to stop, when will it cease?
Monday, February 05, 2007
The Human Index
So now we'll be indexed, the War on Terror's latest.
Mouths swabbed or fingers pricked, entered in as data.
No longer a person, just a long unrounded number.
"Don't worry," they'll say, "it'll be without blunder.
This is the latest sure thing; it'll go off without a hitch.
Anyway, if you haven't been arrested, why do you bitch?
It's just for those who have something to hide.
That's not you, right? So, just let us inside.
After all, you've nothing to fear but fear itself.
Except, perhaps, that your DNA will be on a shelf.
Ready, for when we need to find someone, you see.
Now, be quiet, you hear, and repeat after me:
Criminals are wicked, the scourge of the earth,
We need someway to stop them, so why not at birth?
Just weed out the ones that'd fall on their own.
We can't give them a chance, wait till their grown.
Cut them down now, before they reach their prime,
Trade one life for another; it's all to prevent crime."
So, dear friend, when the time comes, will you get in line?
Or will you stand up for yourself, maybe grow a spine?
The Man is coming for us all, why can't you see?
He's moving right along with the REAL ID.
One card for us all, it's easier to track down
No matter where you live, no matter what town.
One day everything will have gone too far,
No one will be safe, no matter who you are.
Call me crazy, no doubt you already have.
Just another loony; oh, it's too bad.
My only response is to look back at our history.
Always a progression toward central authority.
People will say, "oh it can never happen here.
Not in America; we value our liberty too dear.
We won't give it up, that is not without a fight,"
But your neighbor disappeared only last night.
Drug out of his house for no reason at all,
No chance for a lawyer, not even a phone call.
Flown over to Europe, part of a RENDITION.
His story will never be told on Late Night Edition.
So, just sit and wait, and act like nothing's wrong.
Go plug in your headset to hear the latest pop song.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Fifty Dead in Iraq
Fifty people died in Iraq yesterday,
No ambulances to haul them all away.
Bodies torn apart by the falling mortar shells,
The survivors now trapped inside living hells.
A holiday, like our Christmas, turned red,
Now a memorial for the living to the dead.
Spilled blood of the victims becomes a battle cry,
Spurring on new violence; more will surely die.
What's to become of the memories of lives lost?
Will monuments be enough, regardless of cost?
What can replace the life held in a beating heart,
Stopped cold before it really had a chance to start?
How can a line be drawn when it is painted in blood?
Peace is the only answer; anything else is just a dud.