Guns, politics, engineering and the miscellaneous pursuits of my life.
Email Mike: m_hanson76 [at] hotmail dot com
Email Me! m_hanson76 [at] hotmail dot com
Sunday, June 29, 2003
Oh Dear God!
Although I would agree that a granola eating hippie like Dennis Kucinich
needs all the help he can get in his presidential bid, people like this only enhance the Kucinich stereotype.
Back from BWCA Vacation
And I would highly suggest it to anyone who enjoys the outdoors.
Just remember a fishing pole, because I have never caught more fish in my life.
Thursday, June 19, 2003
Cynthia McKinney Revisited
Greg Palast seems to think
that former [ha ha!] congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was smeared by evil rightwing agents.
Yow! And why is McKinney dangerous/loony/disgusting? According to NPR, “McKinney implied that the [Bush] Administration knew in advance about September 11 and deliberately held back the information.”
The New York Times’ Lynette Clemetson revealed her comments went even further over the edge: “Ms. McKinney suggest[ed] that President Bush might have known about the September 11 attacks but did nothing so his supporters could make money in a war.”
That’s loony, all right. As an editor of the highly respected Atlanta Journal Constitution told NPR, McKinney’s “practically accused the President of murder!”
Problem is, McKinney never said it.
That’s right. The “quote” from McKinney is a complete fabrication. A whopper, a fabulous fib, a fake, a flim-flam. Just freakin’ made up.
Palast is referring to the spin put on McKinney’s March 25th, 2002 interview with Dennis Bernstein on KPFA.
Made up, or is Palast the one shoveling the bullshit?
I have just called KPFA radio and ordered a copy of the tape.
For Palast’s sake, he better be right, or he is going to look like one big asshole [again considering his love affair with revisionism].
The Iranian Revolution
The protests which have been taking place over the past several days in Tehran and all over Iran, gives me hope that perhaps the first modern Islamic Republic’s time may be at an end. Slightly over half of Iran’s population under the age of 21, the majority of the Iranian population had no direct knowledge of the 1979 revolution and subsequent installation of the Ayatollah Khmoeni. Couple this with Ayatollah unfriendly Iranian ex-pats broadcasting uncensored news into Iran and a large number of normaly rebelous youth youth begin to ask why they have to live like dogs under the heels of the Mullahs.
One would think that a grassroots, student led protest movement for democracy would get more attention from the left.
Well, you would be wrong, as Andrew Sullivan points out
Something truly extraordinary has been going on in Iran these past few months and especially in the past couple of weeks. A grass-roots, student-run, anti-theocracy movement has reached some sort of critical mass. The enemy is the religious right of Iran, the group of murderous mullahs who have run their country into the ground and now have to answer for their godly tyranny to a new and populous generation of under-30s. Suddenly, we have the possibility of regime change in a critical country without war and without the intervention of the United States.
You'd think that this would be the central story on the left in this country. As blogger Don Watkins explained: "Here are a bunch of brave souls fighting a tyrannical regime through the old liberal favorite of massive protests. Here's the chance for them to get behind the cause of freedom without having to support war."
So take a look at Indymedia, one of the activist left's prime Internet Web sites. Blogger Meryl Yourish did. What did she find on the armed struggle against theocracy? Nada. Zilch. The top stories on San Francisco's Indymedia site were as follows: "Rally & March Against War in Iraq, Philippines & the INS; Anti-war Movement Audio Retrospective -- The Struggle Against Empire; Thousands at punk rock heroine Patti Smith anti-war benefit; Beat Generation Bookstore's 50th Anniversary Draws Huge Crowd."
Makes you wonder just how commited to democracy and freedom these people are if they can so casually and deliberately ignore what may be the most important political story to come out of the Mideast in quite some time.
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Another reason to shit can forced retirement.
What is most interesting about this guy is that even though he retired back in 1996 [at the age of 80!] he does not wast his time on the golf course.
Octagenarian inventor's vest repels armor-piercing bullets
Based on Norman Shorr's way of thinking, the best way to stop armor-piercing bullets and rocket-propelled grenades isn't with clad-metal armor. Using engineering chutzpah, Shorr is proving that crime and terrorism can be repelled better with plastic, glass and marbles.
The 86-year-old Mt. Lebanon man, who holds a doctorate in engineering, and his associate, Richard Parobeck of Brackenridge, relish the skepticism they generate when they describe Shorr's lightweight glass-plastic laminates and compounds that repel armor-piercing bullets and rocket-propelled grenades.
His new-age bulletproof vest can protect a person against any handgun bullet, and he's working on a composite material he hopes will protect infrastructure against terrorist attacks.
During test firings at the H.P. White Laboratory in Street, Md., 16 Kozap bullets -- described by Shorr as the world's hardest 9 mm armor-piercing handgun projectiles -- were fired at his 6 1/2-pound vests without one failure. The laboratory tests bulletproof vests to determine whether they meet National Institute of Justice standards.
Monday, June 09, 2003
Finnish Human Shield Finally Gets it
Well, sort of. Teijo Virolainen a Finnish human shield was left rather surprised and confused at wars end. Aside from the fact that he was one of only a small handful of non-Muslim human shields, the war has left him with some mixed feelings
When he talked to people on the street, Teijo noticed that they were speaking quite differently than before. Most of the people turned out to oppose Saddam. It was a very confusing experience.
Some were clearly happy that the Americans were there.
"We were surprised about that. If they had wanted the Americans to come here, and we were against the Americans, and now we... It was all very complicated."
Not that complicated Teijo, but compare this to what poor Teijo said before the war began
Virolainen sees the personality cult of the Iraqi leader as mainly symbolic. "When people shout slogans in favour of Saddam Hussein, they are actually shouting for Iraq. I do not see this country as a police state. The Iraqi people really are free", Virolainen ponders.
"One thing that has become quite clear to me is that Iraq cannot be occupied. To do so it would be necessary to kill every citizen, because everyone here wants to defend this country to the last."
Defend it to the last indeed. Poor Teijo watched too much Iraqi TV.
Friday, June 06, 2003
June 6 1944
Two kinds of people are staying on this beach - the dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here!
Colonel George A Taylor Omaha Beach
In case you did not know, today is also the 59th anniversary of D-Day.
Al Jazeera, the most trusted news source in the Arab World
Many call Al Jazeera the CNN of the Mideast, and considering CNN’s admission
that it intentionally refused to disclose egregious human rights abuses in order to maintain a presence in Baghdad, they may have a point.
Al-Jazeera TV chief sacked
May 28 2003
The director general of the controversial Arab satellite television Al-Jazeera has been sacked, Qatari sources said yesterday, amid allegations he worked with Saddam Hussein's intelligence services.
Mohammed Jassem al-Ali had held the top job at the Doha-based station since it launched the Arabic-language channel in 1996.
Al-Jazeera and Ali have been accused by Western media of collaborating with the former regime in Baghdad.
Ali visited Iraq before the US-led war and met Saddam during an hour-long interview.
Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the American-backed Iraqi National Congress, has accused several Al-Jazeera journalists of working for Iraqi agencies, based on documents found in state archives in Baghdad.
Ali, who has denied the charges, could not be contacted.
A replacement was expected to be announced shortly, the Qatari sources told AFP.
Al-Jazeera enjoyed a special status in pre-war Iraq, being allowed to work independently of the information ministry, which strictly controlled foreign media.
Wednesday, June 04, 2003
Why did they want us to loose?
Before and during our quick and relatively painless victory over Saddam and his Bathist thugs, many voices were heard to be screaming “quagmire”, “Arab street anger”, “terrorism rising”, “a million Mogadishus” [personally, that was by far the most disgusting] and dozens of other slogans prediction eminent doom for allied forces in Iraq. I remember flipping through an old copy of Newsweek at my gym last evening and reading in the arrows up/down section that Rumsfeld was a “childish for thinking his roadmap for the war would work”. This issue also happened to be the April 2nd issue. But never the less far too many voices were rooting for an Iraqi victory and relishing in the unraveling war strategy of the dastardly neo-cons.
In fact, if all you did was tune into the Arab and European press to see how the war was going, the revelation that Iraq actually lost would have come as quite a surprise to you.
And why does the left still scream for a US defeat in postwar Iraq? Whether you read the headlines over at the stalwarts of leftist mindspeak [The Nation, AlterNet, Motherjones, Salon, Commondreams etc…], or in discussions with anti-war types there seems to be this irrational exuberance, to borrow a phrase, over anything, big or small that seems to go wrong. Every time a chopper goes down, every time a soldier is killed, whenever an Iraqi riot ends in a shooting, there seems to be this knee jerk reaction to proclaim it from the tops of the mountains, follow with the “I told you this would happen”.
It almost smacks of schadenfreude, a malicious satisfaction in the misfortunes of others, the way they dangle these things in the faces of the public. What they don’t realize however is that in the grand scheme of things the misfortune of the their opponents is also their own misfortune.
Sound preposterous you say, well then hear what Gary Kamiya Salon.com’s executive editor had to say
I have a confession: I have at times, as the war has unfolded, secretly wished for things to go wrong. Wished for the Iraqis to be more nationalistic, to resist longer. Wished for the Arab world to rise up in rage. Wished for all the things we feared would happen. I'm not alone: A number of serious, intelligent, morally sensitive people who oppose the war have told me they have had identical feelings.
Kamiya’s comments say much about this new “peace and justice” coalition that has been built [more like scavenged] over the past 18 months or so. They believe that if all went/goes smoothly in Iraq, that it will mean a re-election for Bush. They seemed to be so focused on their hate for the Administration that they will stop at nothing, and I mean nothing, to discredit it.
Its pettiness on such a disgustingly low level that it sickens me.
Tuesday, June 03, 2003
From the Files of . . . . . .
Forget the facts, we already have our minds made up. Courtesy Deborah Blum of the LA times
From his Pentagon podium, Army Col. James Naughton expressed unreserved admiration for the big silver-colored bullets. Or at least for their ability to take out the enemy.
You might think of this as just another chest-beating exercise by us American warrior types. But Naughton and his colleagues in the U.S. military have a particular need to praise — or rather defend — depleted uranium bullets. The real purpose of the recent briefing was to counter "misinformation." Translated, that means other people don't like our choice of tank-killer devices.
The critics, ranging from environmentalists in Europe to scientists in the Middle East, say that in all our recent engagements — the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Kosovo, Bosnia and now the latest Iraqi conflict — we left our poisonous, uranium-dusted footprints all over other people's homelands. They worry that the chunks of radioactive litter scattered across former battlefields have already caused a variety of illnesses. They worry, too, about the potential for future harm.
This image of the U.S. as a major military polluter is not the one we want to cultivate abroad. And the Pentagon doesn't seem to like making nice in response. Naughton, for instance, snappily suggested that Iraqi critics are merely political subversives: "They want it to go away because last time we kicked the crap out of them. I mean, there's no doubt that DU gave us a huge advantage so wouldn't it be great if we [the Iraqis] could convince the world to make the U.S. give up DU?"
As always, it's a mistake to think of a battleground as something that can just be tidied up. What conflict hasn't produced decades' worth of hazardous war souvenirs? You can still occasionally dig up the rusting bullets of our 19th century Civil War in the mountains of the Southeast. There remain regions in France still marked by the chemical poisons of World War I. The land mines placed in wars, small and large, continue to maim the innocent in Asia and Africa. And in Japan, the destructive effects of World War II's ultimate radioactive weapon may be repaired, but they have certainly not been forgotten.
Should DU bullets be classed in this company? Rationally, of course, there's no comparing antitank munitions with the legacy of the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan, "Fat Man" and "Little Boy." Some remnant tons of slightly radioactive metal should barely flicker on the environmental threat meter. If the rest of the world would just be more rational, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
That kind of exasperated reasoning approaches the position of the Pentagon and, in fact, many independent scientists. Robert L. Park of the American Physical Society is downright sarcastic on the question: "I always figured it would be a lot better to be shot with a uranium bullet than a dum-dum — it should make a good clean hole. Physicists don't spend much time worrying about natural uranium, and DU is even less radioactive by about 40%."
There's another way to look at depleted uranium, and that's as a problem that can really, really linger. Uranium 238, the primary heavy metal in DU bullets, has a radioactive half-life of 10^9 years. Wimp radiation or not, the fragments and shells and uranium-loaded bits and pieces are the kind of war souvenirs that can bother people for a long time, making them edgy about us, our battle tactics, and what we casually leave behind.
It also means we can end battles quickly, surely a good thing. If by doing that DU bullets save lives, and if the radiation is a minor issue, it's fair to ask why other people dislike them so much. For one thing, radiation is only part of the problem. Like other heavy metals, such as lead, depleted uranium is chemically toxic. Absorbed by the body, heavy metals can damage kidneys, break down nerves and cause chemically induced cancers. The Pentagon actually considers this a greater risk. Military doctors have been watching Gulf War veterans, braced for those illnesses. But they haven't uncovered such signs of evil.
In the 12 years of testing, they've found no such poisoning, no radiation-linked cancers, no patterns of uranium-sparked disease. United Nations studies conducted in Kosovo and Bosnia came up similarly empty on health effects. That doesn't mean these are benign materials. Studies in cell cultures and microorganisms show even low-level toxicity does harm at the cellular level, that even wimp radiation kills and deforms cells. A few studies have suggested DU might be worse than passive metals like lead, that the radiation and toxicity could work together to cause genetic damage. Perhaps. So far, though, only the Iraqis have noted severe effects in humans, from birth defects to cancers, but they have also refused to allow the United Nations to independently verify the claims.
So give us some credit here. One of the reasons this hasn't been a high-profile issue in this country is that no one has produced consistently convincing reasons for worry. And then take some credit away — we haven't responded to the real issue behind the criticism. The rest of the world doesn't trust us on this one. Not even our allies: "But what if they [the Americans] are wrong?" the British science magazine New Scientist asked in April.
When it comes to depleted uranium weapons, I vote for the high moral ground. Let's acknowledge that perception of risk can sometimes be as frightening as risk itself. Let's invite U.N. environmental inspectors to do an independent assessment in Iraq. And as a matter of principle, let's clean up our mess. It may look like it's someone else's problem. But it's really ours.
I see, so the experts claim DU to be safe, by your own admission. Field studies in Kosovo and Bosnia turned up nothing, also by your own admission. The Iraqi claims of DU poisoning cannot be independently verified, once again by your own admission. You even go so far as to claim that it may just be the perceived risk of DU poisoning that is causing all the hubbub but you still see it as a ‘threat’?
That is indeed a case of don’t argue me with the facts, because my mind is already made up.
And this is the caliber of a Pulitzer prize winning journalist?