Archive for February, 2006

Quick Iran News Followup (Update)

February 19, 2006

Just a quick link drop for today.

First, if you are so inclined, Sharon Jumper at DKos has a post up about Iranian infiltration in Afghanistan. The most important link in her post in my opinion is one to the Centre for Research on Globalization which discusses quite a bit about the consequences of an invasion. I would read that article even if you read no other link here today.

And second, as I posted earlier, everytning seems to be riding on the Russia-Iran meeting tomorrow. There is a lot of speculation about what if anything will come out of the meeting.

I will update this post through out the day as more informatiom comes out.

Oh, and check out this article about Bush wanting to build a nuclear coalition to stop the spread of nuclear weapons to rogue nations. Too late buddy, we already have them here.

Update- Well, it seems we will have to watch another invasion unfold on CNN. The Russia -Iran talks have stalled, and though there is talk of possible continued meetings, things don’t look good. Iran is trying to do more damage control, claiming the Iranian president’s comment about wiping Israel off the map was taken out of context. And India, which had its own nuclear ambitions held over its head concerning Iran, has given in to pressure so it can get technology from France and the US. Funny, just a few years ago France was our mortal enemy after the invasion of Iraq, but now they are doing our bidding.

I am not supportive of the current Iranian government, but an invasion of Iran will not happen like it did in Iraq. Unlike the Iraqi military, the Iranians have a strong sense of nationalism. They will fight to the death. This is going to be a bloody year.

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Today’s Iran News Roundup

February 18, 2006

The buildup for war with Iran is gaining speed. While I am not a supporter of the current leadership in Iran, I don’t think more war is the answer. Look at how Iraq and Afganistan have turned out. These invasions have only added to the terrorist forces and are no doubt largely the fuel that helped flame the cartoon protests.

That said, here is the news as it stands today. India is on board with the West, and the leadership of that country is trying to convince its people this is not a Muslim issue but a security issue. India has a large Muslim population, so image is everything in supporting actions against Iran.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking wider support for his government’s policy on Iran, held a meeting of the full council of ministers on Thursday to convince his colleagues that Iran had violated the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and that India just could not afford to have another nuclear nation in its neighbourhood. It was clear from the meeting that there was no change in the government’s position despite protests by the Left parties. The Prime Minister will make a detailed statement on Iran in both Houses of Parliament on Friday.

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According to sources, Dr Singh obtained the support of his ministers who are now prepared to face the Left parties and the Samajwadi Party in Parliament with what a senior minister said was “sufficient ammunition.” The US-India civilian nuclear agreement also came up for discussion, and here Dr Manmohan Singh, on a weaker wicket, sought to assure ministers that the government would not compromise the “sovereignty” of the nation in any manner. As the sources pointed out, there was wider opposition to the nuclear deal than to the government’s stance on Iran, with the BJP as well as senior Indian nuclear scientists opposed to several aspects of the agreement. The government is not clear when exactly it will make a statement on the India-US nuclear agreement in Parliament, with sources pointing out that it had still to be decided whether this would be before or after the visit by US President George. W. Bush.

European countries, who initially led the effort to try and reach a peaceful solution with Iran are changing their tune. France has openly accused Iran of having a nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, the British are busy rubbing elbows with the Germans to make sure they are on the same sheet of music concerning Iran. Britian and Iran are currently engaged in a back and forth over the issue of British troops in Basra, with the Iranians accusing the British of causing unrest on the border and the British accusing the Iranians of trying to draw attention away from the real issue.

The Iranian government is trying to make a last ditch effort to fend off international support for military action by getting its parliament to ratify a UN accord allowing for inspections. I think this is a case of too little too late.

I also think China is the Wild Card in all this. China and Iran are in the process of striking a major oil deal between the two countries. China needs oil for its growing economy in a bad way. They made a similar deal with Venezuela. A destablized Iran would not help this, so even though China agreed to send Iran to the Security Council, they are still calling for negotiations over military intervention.

Russia and Iran are set to meet Monday to discuss an enrichment deal between the two countries. Everything is ridng on the outcome of that meeting. If Iran can keep Russia and China on its side, it will be very hard for the West to get UN support for an invasion. The US claims it will be happy with the deal, but I still am not convinced considering Iran and Israels relationship.

Its Saturday Baby! (Update)

February 18, 2006

About fucking time. Christ in hell this has been a long week. My lazy ass hasn’t had to get up and perform in a while. I finally got to catch up on all the blogging I’ve missed this week. As you are all no doubt aware, there is a lot out there to read and discuss. I won’t waste your time revisiting this week in the blogosphere. Instead I just want to share some posts I enjoyed this morning.

First, from DarkSyde via Unscrewing The Inscrutable, a great if not chilling post on the wonders and dangers of our solar system, in particular the left-overs of its development. The sky is filled with everything our species needs to survive, from water to metals, but it would only take one big piece of that to whipe us out.

Meteor Blades at DKos has an interesting post up about the pros and cons of the Democrats gaining majorities in the House and Senate in 2006.

Attaturk sheds some light on a difference between the Left and the Right-one side makes a living spreading hate.

Juan Cole, who as always is on the ball concerning all things Iraq, has two posts up concerning the Plame affair worth checking out. The first gives a great round up of the story, and the second talks about Valerie working on Iran counter-prolifetation efforts and if this had anything to do with her being outed.

Holy Shit! Billmon finally posted again. Just had to throw that in because I was beginning to think he might have been taken off to a “reeducation” camp by our government.

This one is a little old, but Glenn Greenwald discusses the changes in ideaology amongst conservatives.

And last but not least, I made the first round of the 2005 Koufax Awards for Most Humorous Post for my annatopia post Homegrown Terror. I don’t expect to make the second round, but just being nominated at all is pretty cool.

Anyhow, there was a bunch more on MyDD, BOR and the rest. But these were the ones that jumped out at me this morning. I will do a news round up later. Happy Blogging!

Update- This is a great post by Paul Rosenburg from My Left Wing. He is discussing the importance of a decent math education to our society. If you think you are math challenged, go read it. If not, read it anyways.

Lite Friday Nite Post

February 17, 2006

Because the news is just too damn depressing to read anymore tonite. My mind is a mess from my first week at work. I have become a lead project engineer overnight. While I am thrilled about the opportunity, I am feeling a little overwhelmed. But tomorrow is another day, so for tonite let us think of beauty. In particular, this beauty:

I have always thought Marilyn Monroe was beautiful, and I find this series of photos by Milton Greene called the Black Sitting to be the best pictures of her. Milton did a lot of photo sets of Marilyn, but the Black Sitting is my favorite.

Check out Milton’s archives for much more, or here is the link to a fan site that leads to a world of Marilyn.

Clueless

February 17, 2006

Two articles from Asia Times show the lack of understanding our government has concerning the situation in Iran. Or maybe they give a glimpse of the true nature of US actions in the Middle East. The administration is, at least on the surface, still looking at Iran as a country controlled by the old guard clerics who support theocracy and are against modernization. The US government is trying to engage in covert actions to undermine the clerics.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s request for extra funds marks a nearly eightfold increase in the US government’s current expenditure on Iran and signals the beginning of a new period of concerted diplomatic pressure by the United States against Iran, a country that President George W Bush included in his infamous “axis of evil” speech in 2002.

In seeking an additional US$75 million from the US Congress to fund Iranian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that promote democracy, human rights and trade unionism, Rice is broadening the range of non-military options at Washington’s disposal to weaken from within Tehran’s clerical regime.

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“The United States will actively confront the aggressive policies of the Iranian regime,” Rice said. “At the same time, we will work to support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom and democracy in their country.”

First of all, the current president of Iran is in power despite the clerics. But we will return to that in a minute. There is one more part of the article that needs to be addressed first:

One of the militantly anti-clerical-regime groups that could stand to benefit from the new windfall is the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), a Marxist-Islamist organization that is hated within Iran because it sided with the Iraqi dictator against Iran during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War.

The MEK has been registered by the State Department as a terrorist organization for the past 10 years, but now neo-conservative factions of the Bush administration are lobbying hard to remove it from the list. Should the MEK end up benefiting from US pro-democracy largesse, it would send a clear message to people inside Iran that Washington funds groups that engage in terrorist activity. Some reports quote unidentified US officials as saying that the MEK would not receive any of the new funds.

“Most of the groups which will be suckling from this new taxpayer teat include designated terrorist organizations such as the MEK and ancien regime agonists, all with their own agendas which are not limited to outreach to Iranians, as these groups have little if any traction or credibility in Iran today,” said Donald Weadon, an international lawyer specializing in Iran.

Because the US supports terrorists when it benefits us. This country has supported countless dictators (like Saddam) over the past 50 years. And this is just one more example of the hypocracy of the Bush administration.

But the real reason none of this will work is because Iran is not under the influence of the old guard alone any longer. It is in fact beginning to be run by the folks who came of age during the Iraq-Iran war, the one where we financed the Iraq side. And the new leader may be very Muslim, but he is also in favor of changing the way Iran is run, replacing the old school clerics with second generation revolutionaries who want their turn in the seat of power.

Lack of progress on the economic and social-justice front notwithstanding, Ahmadinejad has introduced massive changes to the face and operations of the executive branch. Virtually all provincial governors have been replaced by Ahmadinejad loyalists, who tend to be young and hail from the Islamic Republic’s security establishment, in particular the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC – or the Sepah-e-Pasdaran).

Moreover, Ahmadinejad has replaced most senior bankers and other important figures in charge of the country’s finances. Furthermore, many of the country’s most experienced diplomats have been recalled from abroad and replaced by less experienced figures, with backgrounds in the Sepah-e-Pasdaran and other security outfits.

At a superficial level it appears that the Ahmadinejad government is preparing for conflict and is reordering the entire machinery of government accordingly. But the changes introduced since August have a deeper meaning; they signify the coming of age of so-called “second-generation” revolutionaries who were propelled into a position of leadership by Ahmadinejad’s surprise election victory last June.

The most important feature of the second-generation revolutionaries is that they developed their political consciousness in the battlefields of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, and not in the revolutionary struggle against the Pahlavi regime. While they are intensely loyal to the memory of the late ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (the leader of the Iranian revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic), the second-generation revolutionaries have tenuous ties (at best) to the conservative clerical establishment that controls the key centers of political and economic power.

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The central question is how the second-generation revolutionaries led by Ahmadinejad view potential conflict with the US. The answer to this question lies in a better understanding of the second-generation revolutionaries’ background, ideology and socio-economic agenda.

The key personalities in this vast network are former IRGC commanders; this includes Ahmadinejad and nearly all members of his inner circle. This military-ideological background is accentuated by a strong sense of Iranian nationalism and Shi’ite supremacism. Some influential second-generation revolutionaries (including Ahmadinejad himself) even harbor millenarian beliefs.

While they do not welcome conflict, they see it as an opportunity for a full-scale catharsis. To men like Ahmadinejad, the Islamic Republic is unconquerable; with its ability to project power well beyond its size and resources, rooted in its “undeterrable” nature.

On a more practical level, the second-generation revolutionaries may see conflict as an opportunity for entrenchment and a context-generator for their long-term socio-economic policies. They would certainly see it as an opportunity to reverse Westernization and bring Iran more in line with developments in the wider Muslim world (where anti-Western feelings proliferate and Islamic movements are increasingly on the rise).

This movement is a direct result of Western meddling in Iran. And the West has learned nothing from all this. Before the “Axis of Evil” speech, Iran was looking towards real reform. But now there is a nationalist agenda taking hold, one that believes it must fight back against the evil forces of Western governments who have shown little desire to actually spread democracy in the Middle East. And the author of the article goes on to explain how just like in Iraq, war could destablize Iran enough to create opportunities for organizations like Al Qaeda to prosper.

It amazes me that in the War Against Terror this administration is in fact creating more terrorists. But then again, more terrorists is exactly what Bush needs if he and the far Right are to keep the US public scared and in check. Another attack in this country would help cement the Bush agenda. And destabilizing the Middle East is the best way to ensure another one happens.

Spreading democracy by destroying democracy, it’s the American way.

Today’s News Roundup

February 16, 2006

Another wonderful day in the news.

First, we find out today that a United Arab Emirates state owned company is buying up ports around the globe, including several in the US. Using our money we gave them to get our oil fix, the UAE is buying our ports. The UAE is a Muslim monarchy. They supported the Taliban. And they are buying our ports. Wonderful.

Of course the ports were run by a British company, so its not like we owned them. And Britain supports our terrorism around the world, so I am not sure one is neccessarily better then the other. What does bother me about this is that not unlike the Chinese, Arab countries, also flush with our money, are buying our country piece by piece.

I am not a fan of either. I don’t want to live in a country owned by supporters of communism or radical Islam. Its bad enough to have to deal with our own religious fundies, neo cons and corporate facists. Let’s not add to the pile.

In other news being financed by US consumers, China is building up its military, no doubt to counter our own. And some countries in the EU are seeking to lift a ban against selling weapons to China. Wonderful. Because one military capable of destroying all life on this planet isn’t enough.

Just what we need, another communist super power. Because the USSR was so good for humanity. Thank the gods the US, who is against selling the Chinese weapons, is financing the whole affair with our Walmart purchases. Good thing we shipped all our jobs over there.

One country I haven’t posted on is Nepal. Its a little monarchy on the edge of the Himalayas. The country has been going to shit for some time, and things are at the breaking point. From what I can tell, our government has been supporting the monarchy, no doubt because of Nepal’s close proximity to China, and now the Maoists are trying to take over. Maoists are old school commies, and a quick read will fill you in on how lovely those folks were in China after the revolution.

Meanwhile, our Congress is busy trying to rev up support for war with Iran. Its this kind of agression that is leading to all the other shit in the international arena against us. Thanks to the apathy of our citizens, the corruption of our government and the greed of our corporations our country is a fucking joke. I am beginning to think a Democrat lead government could do nothing to stop this slide into oblivion our country is experiencing. I think it may be time to stock up on guns and buy some land, because there may very well come a time in the near future that citizens of this country are going to be left to fend for themselves.

Geek Out Moment II

February 15, 2006

Kick ass. For those of you who follow dog shows (like anyone else does, but hey, it’s my blog dammit), a wonderful bull terrier (colored) named Rufus won Best In Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this year. I saw him in the AKC Show (select group winners and then scroll down on the next page to see the dogs) last month and thought he should have won Best In Show there, but he got beat by an Alaskan Malamute named Costello.

Rufus won the the terrier group at Westminster over Coco, who I wrote about last year. Coco was brought out of retirement for the Westminster Show, which was kind of a surprise. But as much as I loved Coco, Rufus looked really good this year.

Anyhow, congrats Rufus. I hope his owners send him to Britian for the Crufts Show, which Coco won last year.

Quick News And Rants

February 15, 2006

Well, things are going quite well at my new job. I have met so many people I’ve forgotten my own name. And I have jumped straight into a project that is running full gear, so this is, as one guy put it, “baptism by fire.” Lovely. All in all I am pretty happy so far, and as long as we are busy I have job security so I can’t bitch about the work load.

As for the rest of the world, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to blog as of late. I pretty much come home, jump on the treadmill (me and anna are trying to get in shape), and watch some Olympics before going to bed. But I do want to comment on a few stories.

First, I heard that the farmers in Florida are sueing FEMA to get trailers and money for the illegal aliens that work their farms who were affected by the hurricanes. Let me put this as simple as possible, FEMA money comes from taxes, and I do not pay taxes so illegal aliens can get free shit. I don’t care what you say about being humane, that tax money needs to go to American citizens. We have enough shit in this country to deal with concerning our own citizens, we can’t take care of people who are here illegally. And come to think of it, why are the farmers not in jail for hiring these people anyway? You want to fix the illegal alien problem? Arrest the owner of every company that employs illegal aliens while millions of citizens are jobless. Throw their butts in jail and see how long it takes for them to get the message. If they quit giving illegal aliens jobs, eventually the illegal aliens will get the message that they are not wanted.

We have to take care of our citizens, not worry about other countries citizens. America is sick right now, and as much as we may want to help the world community, we have to heal ourselves first. We need to employ our own, fix our health care and education systems, and get control of our government. The extra burden of millions of illegal aliens, many of whom mail their money home instead of putting it back into our economy, is only weighing us down right now.

Second, I think the reason Vice President Cheney waited a day to report the shooting is because he was drunk, or at least under the influence. And so Cheney waited, and now he’s using FAUX NEWS to tell his little tale. Propoganda and lies.

Next on the list, Muslim protests and Abu Ghraib photos. I am glad that more photos surfaced because it keeps this story alive. Too bad the people at the top got off at the expense of a few enlisted folks. As for the continuing protests over the cartoons, get the fuck over it already.

I don’t care if the Muslims are offended over the cartoons. Protesting like this over the torture photos would make a hell of a lot more sense. Those are real people being tortured, not fairy tales like religion. Or how about protesting like this against terrorism. I mean if most Muslims are not fundies, then why not unite and drive the terrorists out into the open and show the world Islam is not a hateful religion. The Muslim community keeps saying the extremists don’t represent all Muslims. Fine, turn against terrorists yourselves. Show the world you mean what you say. Otherwise those people get to keep defining the image of your faith in the world. Just like how America deserves to be seen as evil because of the torture photos and the reelection of Bush. Pot and kettle.

Let’s see, what else? I am also glad the lack of response by our government concerning the Hurricane Katrina and the destruction of the coast is still in the news. It would be fun to watch everyone pass the buck if there wasn’t real American citizens being affected.

Last one. Commies. It seems several internet companies are selling their souls to the Chinese communists. And don’t give me that shit about the country changing into a capitalist nation. The government there, as shown by this news, is still very much the old commies we fought against for 50 years. Google, Yahoo and the rest are fucking assholes. What they are doing is helping the enemy. Just like Walmart. Just like the oil companies who do business with the Saudis, who happen to really hate democracy too. Of course the biggest culprist in all this is everyone of us that buys pretty much anything in this country anymore because damn near everything is made in China.

Meanwhile all the jobs we don’t give to illegal aliens we ship overseas, and much of that oil money goes to ruthless dictatorships who support the religious fundamentalism that generates terrorism.

Funny how things work. Once this country stood against communism, now we enrich the communists. And we finance the terrorists that want to kill us. And we employ, educate and give aid to the illegal alien epidemic that leads to wage suppression.

Sigh. At least some things haven’t changed and give us images of the good old US of A we all remember and love. We still fuck with other countries governments, sometimes with our military, to push our own agendas. We still have plenty of racism, poverty and pollution. We still have a divided, ineffective government controlled by corporate money. And we still have plenty of our own issues with religion and government.

Hooray! Now, go back to being apathetic America. Because we will last forever, just like the Romans. Me, I’ll be busy working for the military industrial complex, because its the only fucking industry left for engineers to make a living in.

Blog Vacation

February 7, 2006

I am taking a blog vacation to get myself in the mindset to start my new job. I need a break. I am too wound up in all that is the blogosphere, and need to focus on my real life. I will be checking the comments, in case anyone actually decides to leave one.

I will be back in a week or so.

Cartoons, Free Speech, Respect

February 7, 2006

I have been trying to understand the issue with the cartoons that have caused such a stir in the Middle East. At first I simply saw this as a free speech issue, and could not understand or accept the Muslim response. What bothered me most was the call from some Muslims to have their “justice” imposed upon westerners. And I was particularly bothered by certain governments in the Middle East calling for western governments to deal with this situation.

But what I think is most important about this whole issue is this: what was the intent of the cartoons? Now, before anyone starts into a rant about free speech not needing an intent, just bear with me.

Free speech, or freedom from physical retribution, is a very vague subject. In the west we want to be able to say any damn thing we want any place, at any time. And while I agree with this notion, I also believe that for society to work, there have to be self imposed barriers.

I for one want to live in a polite society, a civil society. We can’t create such a place if we allow our emotions to get out of control. Also, we cannot have the conversations we need to be having if everyone feels they can just go off and shout each other down. Which is pretty much how things are going right now.

There has to be a mutual respect between all people if we are ever going to break free of the viscious cycle of wars we have been trapped in for thousands of years. What is going on today is just one more example of what keeps people apart. Divided we fall.

The religious side does not respect the secular side, and vis versa. This is the cultural clash the founders of this country were trying to avoid in the Constitution. By seperating government and religion, they hoped to avoid the mistakes of the past. Give people freedom to worship, but leave governing to the mundane world.

This does not exist in the Middle East. Religion is government, or at least government cannot exist without a big nod from religion. And the Muslim faith is different from the Christian faith our founders were dealing with. So it is very difficult to blend the western secular ideals with the Middle East realities. A whole new way of thinking must be developed.

But all that aside, what we are faced with is an issue of respect for all ideas, and the challenge of finding a balance. Religion and government cannot be mixed. Sounds easy, but the reality of such a split is nearly impossible. Religious people hold their views very close to their hearts, and an insult against thier religion is seen as an insult against their person. In contrast, secular governing tries to give all people the freedom to believe what ever they want while at the same time ensuring that no one group imposes its beliefs on any others.

This is where respect comes in. If respect does not exist between groups, conversation cannot exist. Tensions rise because no one is talking to each other, and eventually everything falls apart.

To me, religion is something to be practiced in the home or church, while government is to be practiced in the community square. That is not to say relgious people should check their beliefs at the door, but they must remember that not everyone believes what they believe. And the same is true for the other side. Non-religious people must realize that religion is very imortant to some people, and the quickest way to stop a conversation is to start offending their religion.

That is where boundries come into play. And unfortunately I don’t think we as a society are muture enough to self regulate. Everyone wants to be right, everyone wants to have it their way. But with six billion people on the planet and growing, that is impossible. And as long as each group holds onto the notion that theirs is the right way and everyone else is wrong, friction will exist, and war is inevitable.

Take the cartoons. What was the intent of printing them? To prove a point? Intent is everything. And I believe the intent of these cartoons was to prove that there is a split in ideals, and that point has been proven. The problem is that now both sides are so caught up in screaming their side is right, there is no conversation going on.

I am not saying one side is better then the other. I think both sides are infact in the wrong here. The religious want others to obey, or at least respect, their laws. The west wants the Muslims to understand their laws. Which would all be fine if this whole debate was being held with the belief that there can be a compromise. Which it isn’t.

From what I have read the free speech advocates want to be able to say anything and everything and everyone should just deal with it. But aren’t the religious people just exercising their free speech right in preaching their beliefs? And the religious people want everyone to believe their religion is right, but they do not feel the need to respect any one else’s beliefs.

We all need to grow up. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should. And your beliefs are no better or worse then the beliefs of the person standing next to you. Just because you think you have the whole universe figured out in your head doesn’t mean it will make sense to anyone else. The ability to discuss ideas is both a gift and a curse. It means we can share our thoughts, but it also means others can share opposing views. And when we take the opposing view as a direct insult, all further conversation ends.

Add to this the need by some people to use speech strictly to insult and the inablilty for others to understand they let themselves be insulted, and you end up right where we are. The more I think about this issue, the more I see that free speech involves a level of maturity that the human race as a whole has not reached. It involves the ability to see others points of view while understanding that nothing is final. And as long as we all believe we are right and need to tell others how wrong they are, we will continue to fight.

And I don’t see this as a let’s all agree to disagree type of situation. There has to be some give and take on both sides. We all have to let go of our egos and look at the intent of our words. Am I saying something with the intent to argue, to offend, to discuss or draw attention?

The whole notion of free speech is a concept way ahead of its time. The human race is not quite ready for it. We all hold onto our perspective too tightly and cannot let others share their perspectives for fear it will unravel our grip on reality. If they are right, then we might be wrong, and then all our justifications for our actions are in danger of being exposed.

I think there is a need in humanity for concrete answers, something to grasp hold of, to soften the blow of the short lives we live and all of its mysteries. There are so many unanswered questions, so many uncontrollable events, that we build our walls around us and defend them to the death so we can feel secure. We need our ideals and beliefs to give us a foundation, or at least the sense of a foundation so we can deal with the day to day events of life. We need to develop a sense of purpose so we can try to control the confusion of our emotions in this ever changing world.

And it is these walls, this search for answers that leads us into conflict. If I spend my whole life building my wall and you walk up and show it to be based on a false premise, I might very well slip into chaos. My whole notion of self could be lost, my jusifications exposed and my own guilts forced to the surface. I will be exposed and naked, lost in the wilderness and alone.

Language gives us a gift to share and seek answers together. With the ability to share, we can connect with each other and even if we don’t ever find the answers we seek, at least we are not alone. But to do so we must accept each other as equals, we must listen to each other, and at the end of the day realize that what is in our head is not the same as what is in the heads of those around us. Mutual respect is nothing more then the acceptence of the individuality of each person.

It is the division of humanity that leads to conflict. It is the inability to believe that every person has a unique perspective that is part of the greater whole that keeps the cycle of war going. We must be aware of our intent every time we open our mouths and understand that justification is just a way to convince us we are right, because if we need to justify ourselves, something deep inside knows we are wrong.

I wish I had some inspiring words to share here, but that would just be my ego talking. I have never claimed to have any answers. I am just trying to stand back and view the whole of this stuation, to try and see as many sides as possible and understand how these conflicts arise.

Everything presented here is just my own little perspective. I believe humanity has great potential, and with that potential comes great responsiblity. We can destroy ourselves or grow beyond our present dreams. I think it is up to us. But as long as we continue to fight, as long as we keep ourselves divided, that potential will not be realized.

My own beliefs? I will wrap them up in a simple phrase: We are all alone, we are all we have, and we are all we need.