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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Here's My New Site

Here's My New Site



Hey guys, as I said a long time age, my site has permanetly moved so I want to give you a link to my new site: The Elephant's Ass.

Make sure to stop by there and read on folks!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Thank You and So long!

This is the last post I'm making here for this blog. It has been quite an experience but I'm relocating my site to a different URL. I'll let everyone know the new one shortly. Thanks and sorry for the interruption this may have caused.




Michael Ajitsingh

Sunday, August 28, 2005

How the Bush Administration is Allowing Islamic Crazies To Determine the Fate of Iraq


How the Bush Administration is Allowing Islamic Crazies To Determine the Fate of Iraq Posted by Picasa



As we progress through many incivilities in that arid land which we call Iraq and sacrificing nearly 1900 servicemen and women, one must ask them self “what are we really fighting towards?” Our Commander in Chief states that “we must stay the course...democracy will have a home in the middle-east,” but during the current state of affairs in which we continually find ourselves the Islamic insurgency not only has sabotaged the movement of allied forces and civilian development but also impregnated themselves into Iraq's transitional government and their constitutional delegations. As all this takes place the Bush administration has continuously denied the scope of reality that our fighting forces have to deal with and now we and the Iraqi civilian population have to live with the grim reality that we're probably headed towards compulsory civil war in Iraq.
In the want of a drafted constitution and the appearance of a stable government, the Bush Administration has allowed fundamentalist Islamic sects and their powerful Mullahs into the discussion on how the future Iraq is to be governed. President Bush has spoke time and again of the importance of allowing Iraq's religious community a voice at the bargaining table but many of those who are currently involved in the constitutional drafting are really in fact part of the Iraqi insurgency.
In the spirit of political expediency President Bush and his supporters are trying to oversimplify the asymmetrical nature of Iraq's rehabilitation and thus, opting to
persuade us that it is we who are trying to create the conditions for a democratic and free Iraq against those who want to annihilate it. Although al-Qaeda and other extremist militias are bombing our forces and Iraq's common people into obliteration, it's all to easy to understand the position the Bush Administration has took.
But the reality is that these deplorable forces really want to shape the country's political climate to suite their needs and are using senseless random terrorist attacks as a smoke screen to cover up their involvement in drafting Iraq's constitution. This smoke screen has a dual purpose: a) to intimidate the American military a persuade them to leave and thus undermining the transitional government's authority by using senseless terrorism as a leveraging tool, and b) to integrate themselves and their ideology into the drafting of the new Iraqi constitution. As it is right now the transitional Iraqi governing body is dealing with the reality that such democratic guarantees as the freedom of speech and equal rights for women are probably going to evaporate in the aether. The Sunni political minority (which is largely behind the insurrection) is positioning themselves in order to stall the adoption of the constitution and end the American ideals of what a democracy in Iraq should be.
They want to create a repressive theocratic sheikdom in which secularism gives way to sectarian fascism, and pluralism gives way to ethnic purging. The will of the Sunni minority is to force the Shiites into capitulation from their clear majority, much as it was when Saddam Hussein was in power but with the adoption on the Qur'an as the basis of law in a narrow framework of an Islamic fundamentalist interpretation.
While our troops are fighting for the illusion of a democratic and free Iraq, Sunni Mullahs and their followers are using the democratic process to create their theocratic sheikdom, using our forces to do their bidding by pretending to work with the Shiites, the Kurds and others while driving the country into abysmal repression.
Although that's not what we want, that's where the country is heading. Creating a true democracy in a country which has never known anything as such is a herculean challenge and will take many years-if not decades-to perform. After all our own country had many diversions from equality before we arrived at this point in our history, and we're still working to the betterment of a more unified nation. But the conditions currently exhibited in Iraq are far different then when this country was founded and the countries which neighbor Iraq won't stand to have a democratic nation in their own backyard; it is a threat to their status-quo and contrary to their interests: they will try anything to see democracy falter in such a nation.
So what are we to do then: we're fighting to create freedom but in actuality fighting to damn it, our enemy and the enemy of the common Iraqi seems like our friend and we can't tell who we can trust and who we can't. Much of the answer lies in the fact that we must make a bigger presence in the country if we are to win it at all, and that's something that nobody wants. For example, after WWII we had to bear a heavy hand upon the Japanese and the Germans. During the rebuilding of those two nations, insurgent forces kept threatening our authority and the civilian population because they didn't want to see freedom in those countries. But we governed them under Martial Law to snuff out the resistance and improve the lives of millions.
What we need to have in Iraq is nothing short of a McCarthy-type figure who can establish law and order through any means necessary. Though again, that's something nobody wants to do even though we're sure to fail the Iraqi people if we don't do it.
We can't afford to keep our footprint small under these circumstances, a large fighting force is needed, and the Iraqi's aren't even close to being able to defend their own country. Since none of these things are happening at the present moment we have to rely on the country's religious leaders to law down the law for now and a great many of them don't want to see a true democracy in their own country. If we decide to wage war with another country then we need to wage war and ignore others who may be offended.
Now I'm certainly not pro-war (I despise the thing greatly) but war isn't pretty, war is cruel and ignoble. But if our resolve is to win then we must, we must extend our presence there and get rid of there Sunni Mullahs who are using us to their advantage; they are not working to establish order, they're simply using their influence to undermine our efforts. Tough choices for our Commander in Chief, but nevertheless, war isn't kind.

Monday, August 15, 2005

“Tutoring Toddlers Before Preschool?”...Give Me A Break!

“Tutoring Toddlers Before Preschool?”...Give Me A Break!








As every preceding generation implants their ideals and ambitions upon their children, so too they bear down their insecurities unto them. Quite recently it's become quite fashionable for upper and middle-class families to tutor their toddlers before preschool, in the hopes that their kindred will embrace a passion for learning and effectually grow up to become something like doctors, lawyers, or some other form of learned scholars.
Fueling this fad is the parents undue insecurity about their child's competitiveness in the areas of higher education and in the corporate workforce, and thus wanting the very best for their children, they stick their little one(s) with a private tutor in the hopes that they'll excel in preschool which should pave the way to a life long passion for learning and success. Three, four, and even five year-olds are now being expected by some parents to read, write, and demonstrate some basic skills in arithmetic. Rather than waiting for their child to start preschool or kindergarten to learn these skills, these parents believe that if they don't start now at this tender age, then their child will not academically excel above their peers and fulfill their parent's dreams of having a doctor in the family (among other prestigious occupations).
But unknown to the parents, this recent practice is nothing more than an example of deceptive marketing practices devised by companies which make a buck or two from offering assistance for students with their homework.
Among the many companies in this industry, two of the most notable and leading are the “Sylvan Learning Centers” and the “Kaplan Learning Company.” Both of these companies offer tailor-made educational services to students ranging from the elementary to the post-graduate level, and for the most part they offer a fine service to the students who need and can afford them. But what is happening here is that these companies are inducing a synthetic demand (to create a new demand for something which is not needed or demanded for by the consumer) for pre-preschool education for toddlers; manipulating the natural fears of parental expectations as a driving force to fuel the demand but doing so at the detriment of the child. The simple fact is that these companies are “for profit” institutions and are motivated by the prospect of additional gains in profits. They want your money, not your child's well being.
In the field of child psychology, the last 40 years has conclusively shown through study after study, that children in this age group learn best by just being kids and playing to their hearts content.
It is through play and exploration that toddlers gain an elementary understanding of how the world works, acquire healthy social habits and discover new interests. It is through play that toddlers learn best: laying the foundation for higher learning capabilities. Without this foundation which only play can create, the child will enter into the kindergarten or first-grade phase without the necessary skills enabling them to gain an understanding of what comes next. Rather than excelling above their peers, they'll be playing catch up well below them.
So yes it may feel so fine and dandy to have your three-year old jump right in to reading and arithmetic, but without the necessary component of play, the child will not master higher skills.
Through the immense data collected by early childhood studies, it has been shown that pushing toddlers to learn these skills is much too early for them and consequently the child becomes disenfranchised with school: they end up underachieving academically because they've become jaded with all their classwork and the relentless pressure to out perform their peers.
If you want your child to make the best of themselves as adults, then you- as the parent- need to facilitate your child's imagination and passion about the world. Evidently in toddlers, this can only be achieved through play and exploration. Why did the doctor choose to be a doctor or the physicist choose to be a physicist? Through smarts, yes, but more fundamentally through their imagination and wonderment. They didn't choose their occupation simply because their smart, they chose their work because of their fascination with the universe around them, and it is because of this that they became what they are.
Toddlers were designed to explore and play, not sit around and toil with the rudiments of mathematics and reading comprehension. Allow your toddler to do what comes naturally for them and just sit back and watch them soar!
But just remember this: Sir Issac Newton , the inventor of the calculus and modern physics, didn't have flash cards as a child.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Way To Go Discovery! The Space Shuttle "Discovery" Lands Safely Without A Hitch!

The Space Shuttle "Discovery" Lands Safely Without A Hitch!



Diverted to Edwards AFB due to aversive weather conditions in Florida, the Space Shuttle "Discovery" landed safely at about 0512 PST today. NASA officials and members of the public applauded Commander Collins as she made a perfect landing on runway 22 about 54 minutes before sunrise.
The steep angle of the Shuttle's re-entry trajectory brought it over the Pacific Ocean just north of Los Angeles. NASA purposely avoided bringing the Shuttle over urban areas and instead opted to fly it over rural sections of southern California.
All in all the space flight was a mammoth success bringing new supplies to the International Space Station and performing unprecedented repairs to the undercarriage of Discovery.
Way to go guys!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Statements by Rove and Libby are being studied for Perjury and Obstruction.

Statements by Rove and Libby are being studied for Perjury and Obstruction.





Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in charge of the Valerie Plame-CIA leak case, has shifted his focus from whether White House officials have violated a law against exposing undercover agents to studying whether perjury or obstruction of justice charges are merited.
Fitzgerald and his team haven't decided as of yet if indictments should be sought but are studying statements to the Grand Jury and the FBI from two top White House aides, Karl Rove and Lewis Libby to see if their statements are consistent with one another.
It's been discovered that Karl Rove didn't mention his conversation with TIME magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in his fist interview with the FBI, according to lawyers close to the case. Rove has been interviewed by the FBI twice and made three appearances before the grand jury. Although the investigation into who leaked the undercover agent's identity hasn't been scrapped, the investigation into possible perjury and obstruction charges has increased significantly according to sources close to the case.
The reason for that is because it's probably easier for the prosecutor to prove obstruction and perjury violations than to prove violations associated with who leaked Ms. Plame's identity, but a new and separate law may make it easier to convict an official with security clearances to pass along information.
Stay tuned for new posts on further developments.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Did Karl Rove Do It?

Did Karl Rove Do It?



Deny it as he may, I'm very much convinced (99.9%) it was Karl Rove who ratted out CIA Operative Valerie Plame, which is something I suspected months ago.
After all, this is the same man who was fired by George Bush Sr. for for allegedly leaking information to journalist Robert Novak in 1992, and now 13 years later we see the same crap happening again.
It's one thing to burn other players in politics, but quite another to commit treasonous acts such as compromising those who are protecting our country out of political spite. Although it hasn't been proven in a court of law, my gut instinct tells me that he did comprise our national security by soliciting the identity of a CIA Operative to a reporter. Furthermore, from what I've seen I believe that TIME has told the truth in this matter and Rove's defense is incredibly weak.
Did Rove do it? I certainly believe so, and he needs to spend some time thinking about his unthoughtful actions in a Federal prison (just as anyone else would have to do for doing the same thing). If the Bush Administration wants to gain some credibility with the American people, then they have to do the right thing and get rid of Karl Rove.




Guns, Germs, and Steel

Guns, Germs, and Steel



Has any of you seen the PBS mini-series Guns, Germs, and Steel. If you haven't it's certainly well worth your time to watch it.
The thesis of the show examines the theories of Dr. Jarred Diamond in that the reason why some nations are technologically advanced and some are not has to do with geography and climate.
Essentially if a nation's climate and geography supports fast-growing, nutritious crops and easily tamable livestock, then those nation's can create a surplus of food supplies and support other individuals within the nation who work on non-agricultural works, such as equipment building, the sciences and the arts; which advances the nation technologically and intellectually. But if on the other hand a nation's climate and geography doesn't support such conditions, then the people will spend much of their time hunting and gathering food which cannot create such food surpluses, and thus cannot support other advances such as those mentioned.
The show's extremely fascinating and leaves you with the feeling that Dr. Diamond has got it right. Watch it for yourself and see what you think.

In other matters, for the past 10 days I've been exceptionally busy working on getting my registration application ready for the University of Phoenix. I decided to go back to school recently and that has taken much of my time. But don't worry, I'll keep publishing my essays while completing college work, so you can expect much more to come.
I'll be back soon!





Stay Tuned!

Stay Tuned



More Great Stuff Comming!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Tragedy in London

Tragedy in London



I 'am disgusted and angered at the news coming from London today, and I just want to express my respects to the British people out there. Although I wasn't surprised that it had happened, I don't think you ever get used to the sickness that you feel when you see an abomination like the world had witnessed today.
I used to live in England-the people and country are very dear to me-so I take something like this personally.
I just want to say to the British people that we'll get whoever did this and make them pay for what they had done.









Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Conservatives Not Backing Bush? What's Wrong Here?

Conservatives Not Backing Bush? What's Wrong Here?



Just when I thought Pres. Bush walked the easy street when it came to support from his party, a news report from the Associated Press has changed much of that belief I once had. It has to do with Bush's Supreme Court Nominee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and the backlash it has stirred from many of his own party members.
The iniquity revolves around Mr. Gonzales' support for abortion rulings when he was on the Texas Supreme Court and his view to protect Roe vs. Wade as the "law of the land," as acting U.S. Attorney General. Granted this would naturally stir up a bit of controversy from hard-line conservatives, but it flies in the face of what they have been asking from the President all this time.
Pres. Bush has continually stated that he has no "litmus test" for selecting Supreme Court nominees and that he wants to select someone who will "interpret the constitution as it is written and not legislate from the bench," which has gained much support from his own party and others.
But when he does this and selects someone who has some opposing views to his own (obviously no "litmus test" here) his staunch Republican allies are becrying foul at his selection for a nominee. The contradiction here is obvious: Republicans say that they want him to select someone who will stick to our laws and not abuse his authority but when he does select someone who has a track record of doing that very thing, their crying foul.
Look, whether you like it or not, a woman's right to choose is currently the law of the land and Mr. Gonzales is simply preserving the rule of law, period. He isn't legislating from the bench, he's just enforcing the laws which have been enacted by the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches. This is what they've asked for and this is what they got, someone who strictly follows the constitution as it is written.
It seems to me that the only "litmus test" for a Supreme Court nominee is the United States Senate, that the legal philosophies and personal beliefs of any given Supreme Court nominee must agree to their own personal world view. Unless Mr. Gonzales has a proven track record of over stepping his authority then we should get rid of him.
But that's not the case here, what's at issue is that he is simply upholding the laws of our country as they currently stand; that is what they wanted, and that is what they've got.
If they don't like that then tuff, that's the "law of the land."



How I Spent My 4th of July

How I Spent My 4th of July




I had a blast this past 4th of July, rather than watching the usual fireworks shows I witnessed history in the making live on NASA TV. It's amazing to me that we posses the technological capability to send a little satellite from earth's orbit, zoom in on a comet and smash it to hell! Now that's what I call entertainment!
The data gathered from this mission will help us understand the origins of life in the solar system, since scientists think that comets contain the same essential materials that went into the creation of our home earth and our neighboring planets. Think about it: 100 years ago train travel caught the imagination of the world, 50 years ago a man hurtling at super-sonic speeds was unimaginable, 40 years ago many said walking on the moon was impossible, and now we're smashing comets at will, deciding when we're going to hit and where we're going to strike. This is progress my friend, progress. Just think where we'll be in the coming 50 to 100 years, maybe walking on Titan, world peace, who knows?
Now if we can just solve this Iraq problem...

Friday, July 01, 2005

“POP Music” or Junk Food for the Soul

“POP Music” or Junk Food for the Soul



You may call it Pop Music but it makes me sick! P-Diddy, J-Lo, Britney Spears, Vanilla Ice, ABBA; it's all the same to me. Just some cheap music written by an Accountant, performed by a moron and packaged for an all too naïve pre-teen audience. Perhaps you like Pop Music, I don't. It's music that tastes great, easily digested, but only to become tomorrow's shit. One week it's J-Lo and her new hit single, the clothes she's wearing, her unstable relationships. Week after she's clichéd, blasé, the butt of jokes...old-school. Now here comes (insert any name here) who is fresh, a driving force in a new artistic form, cool, hip, dressing flashy, everyone and their sister is singing their tunes. J-LO is out, (insert any name here) is in. This is the life of a Pop phenom.
I hate this music because it's cheap: the melody's are too simple, the lyrics too predictable and juvenile, it's life is short-lived. One week the nation is dancing to the tune, in the next everyone denies even liking the song. Something else is in... hip.
This music is created by venture capitalists who hire professional song writers or who write the material themselves. Next they hire some unknown talent and sign them to an unreasonable contract. They book time in a studio, record the song and heavily promote their “new wonder kind” to every 12-year old in the country who wouldn't know any better. They plaster their “wonder kind” on backpacks, lunch boxes, sell their 50-page biographies, and film them for an upcoming reality TV show. The darling new “wonder kind” eventually turns into a super-bitch diva or some pampas-asshole, and demand the world's respect since the course of history revolves around them.
Female “wonder kinds” wear hardly nothing at all so every prepubescent boy will jerk-off to their likeness; this sells albums you know.
Young girls follow suit who want to look as stunning as their half-nude idols so they can impress the boys, this of course sells albums as well. Male “wonder kinds” follow a different route, they dress neatly in expensive garb, they play up the sensitive guy thing and etc. Young girls dig this, considering that they never met a real guy who acts like this. Their boy classmates make fun of their idol, only to solidify the young girls commitment to their male “wonder kind”. This is how they sell their music or as we should more accurately say, “cash-flow”. A simple melody, elementary lyrics, and glamorous imagery. It's not about the music-they don't care about the music-it's all about the cash-flow my friend.
This is music that dumbs one down to the lowest-common denominator. Pop Music managers took a lesson from tobacco companies, where they reasoned that if cigarettes are “nicotine-delivery systems,” then they can turn music into “cash-flow delivery systems.” It's not about the artistry, it's about the promotion of feel good devices (images, lifestyles, power, a comfortable tempo) in order to make a buck or two. Those who don't care for this crap are relegated to the out crowd, which gives the Pop Music fan another reason to buy this garbage: the need to stay cool. Quantity goes up while quality goes down, get my point?
This is why I hate Pop Music and that cool factor they try to sell us. Personally I don't care what is cool or what is hot (I thank my punk roots for that). I like music that is honest and is the sole-expression of the composer/performer. I like music which represents things that are important to me, things that I can identify with such as being yourself and doing what is important to you. I like everything from hardcore punk to baroque classical and almost everything in between.
Pop Sucks!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Question of the Day

Question of the Day
With hundreds or even thoudsands of missing children and teens that go unreported each year, why is it that Natalee Holloway has got so much attention?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Think Your Home Is Your Castle...Well Think Again!

Think Your Home Is Your Castle...Well Think Again!



Think your home is your castle? Well think again buddy! Your right as a property owner to be secure in your home has successfully been pissed down the drain, all courtesy of our very own Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has abolished your right as a home or property owner to thrive and be secure in your land, home, and possessions; all for the sake of economic development and under the guise of “eminent domain”.
In a recent decision regarding the case of Kelo vs. City of New London, No. 04-108, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision has declared that a state or local government has the right to “take” privately owned land or property and transfer ownership to another private owner or entity: so long as the government can show that the public benefits from the action.
The case involved a group of 15 low-income homeowners who were forced from their properties by the City of New London, Conn. in a move to bulldoze their houses in order to use their land for private development.
The City of New London made a decision in 2000 to condemn the houses so they can make way for a research & development center, a conference hotel, new residences, and a pedestrian “riverwalk.”
The project is to be built and leased by private developers for a maximum benefit to the city from a $350 million research center built near the Pfizer pharmaceutical company.
City officials complained that the neighborhood was a blight to the community and the number of people living there has dwindled over the years.
The owners of the 15 homes in the Fort Trumbull area include a woman who has lived in her house for 87 years, and thus the homeowners have refused the city's attempts for compensation.
What in the hell is the Supreme Court thinking? Now all it takes for some developer to take your property is to convince your city or town that their planned development project will produce new jobs by luring businesses to operate and expand in the area. And if your property is in their way, then too bad! They'll just have their city henchman forceably evict you from your land and compensate you for what “they” deem your land is really worth; thus overriding your ability to sell your property under a fair market value.
Traditionally the principal of eminent domain has been used to evict homeowners from their properties to make way for public works projects such as dams, highways (remember Boston's Central Artery?), military bases, and etc. But now eminent domain has been extended to private-non public-owners who promise to turn the captured properties into money-making ventures such as shopping malls, & business centers. The only public benefit here is the additional tax base a city would receive from the business expansions. So if your city council feels that your town making isn't keeping up with the Joneses, then all they'll have to do is commission some study to target the have-nots to justify their action, look for a private developer and run you from your home. This isn't the American way, this is a crime! No one as far as I'm concerned has the right to take your home unless you agree to do so, and thanks to the Supreme Court every developer now has the means to steal it from you.

Those Justices In Favor of Stealing Your Home:

1)Justice John Paul Stevens
2)Justice Stephan G. Breyer
3)Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
4)Anthony M. Kennedy
5)David H. Souter

Those Justices In Favor of You Keeping Your Home:

1)Justice Sandra Day O' Conner
2)Justice William H. Rehnquist
3)Justice Clarence Thomas
4)Justice Antonin Scalia

Friday, June 24, 2005

It's About Time! Good News from Down Under.

It's About Time! Good News from Down Under.



A Perth businessman has been arested for sending out unsolicited junk e-mails, which is the first time in Australia that someone has been charged with the new anit-spam law over there. If convicted, he could pay a fine of AUS. $220,000 for each day he sent out the junk e-mail. The man said he "will clear his name."



...And In Other Matters



This has to be one of the dumbest quotes I've ever read in my life:

The Ku Klux Klan is a "peaceful organization" that did a lot of good in Mississippi over the years- from a defense witness in the Edgar Ray Killen's trial.

Just a word from me: this is IGNORANCE from some ignorant peasant.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Question of the Day

Question of the Day



Does China have "hidden" motives in buying up US corporations?

Democrats Pissed Off At Karl Rove For 9/11 Comments

Democrats Pissed Off At Karl Rove For 9/11 Comments



At a fund-raiser in Midtown Manhattan, NY, Democrats were outraged at certain opinions expressed by Karl Rove, the President's Lead Domestic-Adviser. "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," remarked Mr. Rove at a gathering for the Conservative Party of New York State.
This comment sparked an all-out assault by leading Democrats who reacted aggressively on Thursday to the remarks, with some Democrats demanding an apology or resignation for Mr. Rove as a White House adviser. "Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said, 'We will defeat our enemies,' " continued Mr. Rove, "Liberals saw what happened to us and said, 'We must understand our enemies.' "
In a statement Democratic minority-leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada responded, "Karl Rove should immediately and fully apologize for his remarks or he should resign... dividing our country for political gain is an insult to all Americans and to the common memory we all carry with us from that day."
The White House quickly denied the Democrats demands for an apology or resignation and defended Mr. Rove's comments stating that they were taken out of context.
"Karl was simply pointing out the different philosophies and different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism," said Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, "If people want to try to engage in personal attacks instead of defending their philosophy, that's their business." Mr. McClellan proceeded, "But it's important to point out the different approaches to this when it comes to winning the war on terrorism. That's all he was doing."
Other Democrats who attacked Mr. Rove included Senators Charles E. Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Senators Jon Corzine and Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey; and Senators Christopher J. Dodd and Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut.
About three hours later Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City remarked , "we owe it to those we lost to keep partisan politics out of the discussion and keep alive the united spirit that came out of 9/11." Mayor Bloomberg's comment didn't incite further criticism of the White House's stance, but offered a neutral position on the issue.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton called on Governor George E. Pataki to denounce the comments of Mr. Rove but instead, Gov. Pataki remarked, "I think it's a little hypocritical for Senator Clinton to call on me to repudiate a political figure's comments when she never asked Senator Durbin to repudiate his comments."
Although I'm personally not a fan of Mr. Rove, I do have to say that his observations are correct... at least halfway.
Yes we must defeat our common enemy, and yes we must also understand our enemy; since we cannot fight what we don't truly understand. We must know what our enemy is "thinking", what he is "planning", what he is "doing" and so-forth. That's how we will defeat him.
So why are the Democrats bitching about this? It's true that the language of most Republicans has been loaded with words which describe the actual fighting of our enemy (such as: defeat); and although Democrats have been criticizing the GOP for this, their use of language is usually loaded with such words that describe actions as: using our legal process to fight the terrorist threat, what can be done to "understand" the terrorist mind, and etc.
Differences aside, both sides are correct here since both strategies are needed to neutralize and destroy the current terrorist threat, but Democrats need to stop whineing and crying faul for something which accurately describes what they generally do. So lets get on with it and quit nagging about what Karl Rove said or what you think what he really meant... Get Back To Work This Shit's Stupid!

Source: The New York Times

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Another Reason To Get a PDA and Other Matters

Another Reason To Get a PDA and Other Matters



Did you know that about 50% of my writing I do on a "Palm" PDA? Really. I like the freedom of being anywhere I want to be and not stuck here at my keyboard if I don't want to. I just write my pieces as a memo on my PDA, then transfer them to a word processing document when I come back home (on my desktop computer), and then transfer them to my site for all your viewing pleasure.
Recently I've been tied up in other matters and it's prevented me from writing as much as I'd like, but don't worry, there's much more to come. I have plenty of material to report to you on so stay tuned!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Johann Sebastian Bach: An Elementary Discourse on His Life and Influence on Western Music

Johann Sebastian Bach: An Elementary Discourse on His Life and Influence on Western Music



On 28 July, 1750, a sickly and exhausted old man was found dead while recuperating from eye-surgery. Viewed by his peers as outdated and irreverent, he would eventually be regarded as one of the greatest musical genius’s who ever lived, nearly 80 years later (Mellers). Today, we know this man as Johann Sebastian Bach, a virtuoso organist and prolific composer from the baroque era of classical music; whose works spanned over 1000 musical pieces and influenced entire generations of western music schools of thought (J.S. Bach). Bach’s importance to western music development wouldn’t have been noticed by his contemporaries, who mostly favored the preclassical styles of homophony which were harmonically simpler in tone and structure (Mellers). His sphere of influence had affected many important composers whose names include: Felix Mendelssohn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven; who themselves made major contributions to the preeminence and development of western music. In terms of originality and complexity, Bach’s compositions represent some of the most sophisticated and ambitious classical pieces to date, which through his rigorous use of counterpoint, tonal control and attention to single moods (called affects) had helped refine western music from a folk-based expressive form to a highly complex and evolved form of musical expression (Tonality). But in order to understand Bach and his well noted contributions, one must also understand his life in the context of the changing musical forms of the era and his personal musical influences which helped define his unique compositional platform.
Born on 21 March, 1685, in Eisenach, Thuringen (in modern day Germany), he was the eighth child in a family that produced at least 53 well respected city and court musicians in over seven generations of time. Johann Sebastian Bach was named by his two godfathers, Sebastian Nagel, and Johann Georg Koch; both of whom were professional musicians at the time. He received his first musical instruction from his father, Johann Ambrosius (1645-1695), who was a string player, court trumpeter and a town piper. Johann Sebastian Bach’s mother died in 1694, and a year later, lost his father in 1695. Having lost both parents when he was nine years old and being one of five surviving children, he and his brother Johann Jacob went to live and study with their older brother, Johann Christoph, an organist in Ohrdruf (J.S. Bach Homepage & Mellers).

The Early Years (1700-1723)


On 15 March, 1700, Johann Sebastian Bach began his professional career as a chorister at the Church of Saint Michael in Luneburg, and it was here that Bach began to be recognized as an organ prodigy of great ability. The Church of Saint Michael had a music school and Bach paid his tuition by singing in the choir, (which he was loved for his soprano range before his teen years). The school stressed the importance of French music to its students, and it is here where Bach became particularly influenced in the French musical traditions of the day (J.S. Bach Homepage & Mellers). In 1703 Bach found work in the chamber orchestra of Prince Johann Ernst of Weimar, as a violinist, but later moved to Arnstadt that same year to work as a church organist. Two years later in October 1705, Bach took a one-month leave from his church post to study with the influential Danish-born organist and composer Dietrich Buxtehude (Mellers). It was through his study with Buxtehude that Bach was introduced to and greatly influenced by the Baroque style of music that was popular in Germany and the Netherlands. Bach would have learned several musical techniques new to the time, including: counterpoint (the combining of two simultaneous melodies that compete against each other), consistent affects (abandoning frequent mood shifts in a piece of music and instead favoring music of one emotional quality), disciplined tonality (using a single tonic key or musical scale, as the basis of a musical composition), and elaborate musical structuring (Western Music, Tonality, & Oxford American Dictionary of Current English). Bach’s study with Dietrich was so fascinating to him that he embellished his leave of absence by overstaying an entire two months, which put him in direct conflict with church authorities. He was also criticized for his esoteric musical flourishes and exotic organ harmonies in his congregational accompaniments, but was much too respected by church goers to be dismissed from church services (Mellers).
In 1707 Bach found new employment as an organist and violinist at the Church of Saint Blasius, in Mulhausen, but a year later moved back to Weimar to work in the court of Duke Wilhelm Ernst as an organist and violinist, remaining there for the next nine years (Mellers & J.S. Bach Homepage). It was during these years that Bach was most prolific in his compositional abilities, taking in and applying the new musical developments popular in the baroque era while departing from the French tradition. For example, Bach expanded and improved upon the new conceptual musical form called the concerto, which was music that was distinguishable by its numerous contrasting elements: such as contrasting the different instruments, dynamics, tempo, moods, sound densities, and plotting soloists against a group of instruments (including Voice), around a centralized theme. In many instances, these numerous contrasting elements were played to compete with each other in an orderly way, called counterpoint. This treatment gave the music an exciting, unpredictable, and aggressive musical edge that was more sophisticated then the former preclassical styles which were coming out of favor then (Western Music). Bach’s primary innovation was to increase the complexity of the concerto form, while keeping the emotional pull of the music unaffected by the increased complexity of the parts. His “Brandenburg Concertos” are a famous example of his ability to combine contrasting and competing musical elements, while preserving the music’s emotional content (affect) consistent around a centralized theme (Mellers, Western Music, & Rasmussen). This was at the cutting edge of music at the time and signaled when western music evolved into a highly complex art form.
Another Bach innovation at this period was his precise control over tonality. This development came about when composers mastered the understanding of the relationships between musical notes of the scale and keeping a consistent tonic key for the basis of a composition (Western Music, & Oxford American Dictionary of Current English). Bach had an intimate understanding of tonality and exploited its effects to create an almost endless variety of emotion. A good example is his “Overture NO. 3 in D major,” commonly known as “Air.” Here Bach takes a simple repetitious melody and by adjusting its tonal nuances and volume (dynamics), gives the listener a sense of mixed emotions, making the piece seem like its elements are rapidly changing when in fact they‘re not.
Although Bach didn’t invent any of these new developments in western music, he did take them to there limits and increased their scope of complexity and sophistication. This in turn, gave western music an infinite variety of richness never before realized by previous composers (J.S. Bach Homepage, Mellers, & Rasmussen).

The later Years (1723-1750)

In 1723 Bach relocated to Leipzig and spent the remainder of his years there, where he worked at the Saint Thomas’s Church as the acting musical director and choirmaster. These years he spent unappreciated by the town’s populace, and argued endlessly with the town council about a multitude of disagreements (J.S. Bach Homepage & Mellers). His contemporaries had no value for him, his music, his contributions, and his genius; he was regarded as an impotent figure who couldn’t let go of archaic forms of music (Mellers). Musical tastes where rapidly changing, and many young players felt too constricted and frustrated with the precision of the baroque style. This new generation of musicians and listeners preferred music that was more expressive, inconsistent, and abstract (Western Music). Nevertheless, Bach continued composing new material and eventually composed 295 pieces during this period, of which 202 pieces are still played today. These pieces consist mainly of spiritual works and epics that’s known for its expressiveness and spiritual intensity (Mellers). Some well known works from this period include, “The St. John Passion,” “Art of the Fugue,” “The Well-Tempered Clavier,” and “Mass in B Minor.” Bach’s eyesight began to fail him in the final year of his life, and on 28 July, 1750, Bach passed on at the age of 65. It would be another eighty years before the world would began to rediscover the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach. (J.S. Bach Homepage & Mellers).

Bach Rediscovered


A handful of composers were greatly influenced by Bach and rigorously studied his works. Among them are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven (Mellers). Both composers respected Bach immensely for his musical genius and contributions to the music world. Both heavily studied his music in order to learn from his highly evolved musical form, which both composers in turn, influenced entire generations of music fans in their own right. They learned the techniques of counterpoint and complex tonality from studying the works of Bach, and incorporated their new skills into their compositions (Rasmussen, Mellers, & the J.S. Bach Homepage). Mozart’s “Requiem in D minor” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5”, are well known examples of how these composers were using Bach’s innovations in their own works. But Bach’s reputation took a turn for the better when in 1829 German composer, Felix Mendelssohn, orchestrated a performance of the “St. Matthew Passion,” which reinvigorated popular sentiment in Bach. Although these performances were inspired, they were nevertheless flawed due to the fact that many had forgot how the music of the Baroque era had differed from the popular music of the day. It took the expertise of Twentieth century studies to decode the mysteries of Baroque performances, which rediscovered the principles of Bach’s music. Today, modern performances of his works are closer to the true connotations of the original form. (Mellers).

Corollary

Johann Sebastian Bach’s influence on western music becomes evident when one considers the music before Bach’s time, since music from the late Renaissance period reflects simple use of harmony, structure, and tonality. Back then music was primarily written to worship in the church with, and the idea of music as having complex and sophisticated harmonies, modulation, and tonalities was looked at as being a vain novelty, much less than to enjoy it (Western Music). But it took the early Italian innovators of the Baroque tradition to permanently change the very idea of what music was and how it was to be played, forever altering the course of western music development. Bach didn’t invent these new developments in music, his contribution was in his inventiveness to use and exploit all the various musical techniques of the day and take them to their absolute limits. Bach had the ability to take the music of an entire ensemble and translate it into a convincing single instrument work or he could combine the rhythms of French dances, Italian melodies, and the precision of German fugues into a single piece of music that seemed to resonate emotionally without becoming forced or sterile (Mellers). What Bach proved to the world was that music can be just as refined and grand as other fine art, such as meticulous sculpture or detailed painting. He brought together dissimilar musical elements and amalgamated them into a single, consistent, and exciting whole. For a man who rose to fame and died in obscurity, his reputation for greatness seems fitting to the contributions he made.

Cited References

“Counterpoint,” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. 2003 Standard Edition
“J.S. Bach,” thefreedictionary.com. 2004 ed.
“J.S. Bach Homepage,” jsbach.org. 2001
Mellers, Wilfrid “Johann Sebastian Bach,” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. 2003
Standard Edition
Rasmussen, Michelle “Bach, Mozart, and the Musical Midwife.” the Schiller Institute. schillerinstitute.org. 2001
“Tonality,” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. 2003 Standard Edition
“Tonality,” Oxford American Dictionary of Current English. Oxford University Press, 2002
“Western Music,” Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia. 2003 Standard Edition

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Question of the Day

Who benifits the most in the War in Iraq?

Microsoft Collaborating With Communists?

Microsoft Collaborating With Communists?



Microsoft recently agreed to collaborate with the Chinese government and censor Chinese bloggers who post their logs on the MSN network.
Under the terms set forth in their agreement, the ISP is to automatically delete any blogs which contains words such as: “democracy,” “freedom,” “demonstration,” “human rights” and “Taiwan independence,” among others.
In response to this issue Microsoft stated that it isn't their place to delegate policy to the Chinese government, and that their just obeying the laws and customs of the said nation.
Other US tech companies such as Yahoo and Google, have made similar concessions to the Chinese government curtailing human rights by limiting access to information over the Internet, such as restricting what people can read and search for online.
The Chinese government recently enacted strict regulations for bloggers, requiring them to register their site by June 30. Anyone who is found to have restricted material on their site will lose their registration and the content will be immediately deleted.
It's nauseating what these companies are doing to make a buck in China: selling the Chinese people down the river, striping them of their fundamental “human” rights and allowing the communist despots to disseminate their rank propaganda: all because they're trying to legitimize their totalitarian regime in word affairs.
Has Microsoft and other tech companies forgotten the slaughter levied upon the Chinese people in the Tiananmen Square Massacre? Do they care that some 100,000 students and average citizens took part in the pro-democratic demonstrations only to be gunned down by their own government for peaceably speaking their own minds, and leaving 5,000 dead, 10,000 injured and hundreds of ordinary citizens imprisoned? Obviously the people of China are in demand for their sole dignity and fundamental human rights.
Microsoft cannot claim to be unconnected from the problems of China because now they've affixed themselves to it, becoming part of it. It's not enough to say that “it's their country and we're just abiding by the rules,” since Microsoft has become an active participant in keeping the unfortunate people of China as ignorant automations. They're the one's who are contracted to censor information for the Chinese government, they're the one's who are keeping a population of 1,284,211,000 (2002) people in deplorable ignorance.
It's clear to me and many others that try as hard as they may, Microsoft cannot deny their unconscionable actions in this regard.
Upon the founding of our nation, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Jefferson didn't say “all American men...” no he said “all men...” and as an American company, Microsoft has undertaken the unpatriotic position of discounting the rights of many men (and woman) for the almighty-dollar and have disemboweled the fundamental values that makes America unique on the world stage. Bill Gates and company are an embarrassment to the civility and conscience of our nation, and their actions will ultimately necessitate further exploitation of an intellectually impoverished nation.
Perhaps history would have been different if the former Soviet Union would've capitalized on cheap labor rather than a military economy. Perhaps that regime would still be around because American companies would be doing business with them- rather than making war, and corporations such as Microsoft would do their bidding to turn a profit...perhaps.

News Source: BBC News.

Michael Ajitsingh
June 15, 2005

Thursday, June 09, 2005

...And So They Call These Benefits?

...And So They Call These Benefits?



How much do you pay in employer sponsored health insurance coverage? How about employer sponsored retirement accounts? Do you call these things benefits?
It's shocking to me what most employers in this country call benefits, namely if your a blue-collar worker. What's equally shocking to me is how most employees are willing to accept what is offered to them at face value and never question the validity of the costs.
It used to be that your employer would cover most costs of health insurance premiums and offer pension plans for most of their workers who retire from the company, that's why they used to call them “benefits.” Now those days have gone by-by and will probably never come back. For example, a friend of mine (I won't mention the company name) recently qualified for “company benefits.” He showed me a break-down of what he'll have to pay if he goes with what the company offers him. The company offers health insurance benefits from two leading providers and here are the costs:


a) if he is single, then: $290-with provider I
or
$376-with provider II

b) if he is covering himself and one other, then: $617-with provider I
or
$802-with provider II

c)if he is covering his whole family, then: $832-with provider I
or
$1082-with provider II

For dental benefits offered by the company, he'll have to pay:

a) if he is single, then: $50

b) if he is covering himself and one other, then: $89

c)if he is covering his whole family, then: $140

The company offers what is called “Flex Credits,” which means the total amount the company will cover for his benefits. For his position he qualifies for 235 Flex Credits, which means that the company will cover only $235 of the TOTAL cost of his health insurance and dental premiums.
So:
HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUM + DENTAL PREMIUM – FLEX CREDIT= YOU DO THE MATH.

Now my friend is not a man of high means by any stretch of the imagination. He only makes about $10 per hour and works an eight-hour shift for 40 hours a week. He has a wife and three children and pays about 50% of his monthly pay on rent alone. So how can he afford these “benefits” making that kind of money? Well he can't. The company he works for is to cheap to offer him any real “benefits” which will benefit him financially, so screw the worker and give the CEO his new personal business jet. This is the kind of “benefits” that his company offers him for working for them.
The marketing material that came with his “benefits” called what the company had to offer “innovative” and “top of the line.” But who are they kidding?
Across the country workers are having to work more hours as they keep away from their families for more and more time. As economic inflation rises, health insurance companies are increasing the costs of premiums and the nation's corporations are cutting back on the amount that their willing to cover for health insurance coverage. Although we're currently in a waning economy, corporate America is prospering like never before.
So lets see here: “high inflation” + “workers wages not keeping up with inflation” + ( prospering corporate America + prospering corporate America cutting back on benefits)= not good results for the American worker.
This used to be called “feudalism,” but modern Republicans call this “economic improvement.” President Bush says our national economy is booming due to a substantial GNP, but that doesn't necessarily translate to you. The GNP is the “Gross National Product” and is a measure of the total value of all goods and services produced within a country in a year. That doesn't mean that your paycheck is increasing or that you'll find a job soon. It just means that business is booming here in the U.S...and business is good.
How about retirement accounts, got one? Is it a pension or is it a 401K? Rather than giving you the “benefit” of an actual living wage when you decide to retire, most Americans are only offered 401K's by their employers as a retirement vehicle. Here you take out a small portion of your paycheck and invest it in an investment account. The company you work for chooses the brokerage firm that your money will be allocated to and your employer matches your contribution with theirs. Just keep your money under lock and key for 35 or 40 years and wa-la, you've now got retirement income!
But the grim picture is that this money will not be enough for you to live on, especially since the average American life expectancy is increasing and the expected rate of inflation is expected to greatly increase by the time you retire. If you want to live a standard of living that is comparable to the one your living now, then you'll have to utilize additional investment tools, such as mutual funds, IRAs and etc. So forget about those fat pensions your grandfather probably receives, depending of how the market performs when you reach retirement age and how much you invest in the market at present time, the average American will be lucky if they'll be able to retire at all or they'll have to retire at a much higher age than they currently do now.
Furthermore, many employers are now choosing to not match your contributions to a 401K. Supposedly their employees are not much of an investment to them.
The bottom line is that the average American worker isn't respected or valued as they were once before, as corporate America has chose to value the almighty dollar over its people. You probably already knew this, but this article wasn't written for you. It's written for all those hard working, good intentioned Americans and foreign workers that I see, who believe that their company won't lie and cheat them; and that if they just work hard enough then they'll reap the rewards of all their hard earned labor. It's these workers who need to be informed on the current state of affairs, who need the tools that enable them to make sound decisions without the slander from those who stand to profit from their misery. It's important to work hard- yes-but it's even more important to work “smarter.”

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Why “Deep Throat” Is a National Hero

Why “Deep Throat” Is a National Hero



It's amazing to me when I hear some in the broadcast and print media calling "Deep Throat" (Mark Felt) a coward or even a traitor. How can they say that about a man who had risked his career and perhaps even his life- uncovering one of our nation's highest-level scandals? Unlike some in the Nixon administration including President Nixon himself, he kept his promise to “protect and defend against all enemies of the United States of America, both foreign and domestic.” The Nixon administration couldn't keep that promise and compromised the integrity of the Oval Office and the democratic process. Yes it's true that "Deep Throat" was answerable to the President but he was more fundamentally answerable directly to the American people, and when he uncovered the despicable and intolerable acts of the Nixon administration to the Washington Post, he carried out the said duties of his country.
When G. Gordon Liddy and his cronies burglarized and bugged the Democratic National Committee's office in the Watergate Hotel, they had subverted the democratic process by unconstitutionally stealing private information from the Democratic Party in an attempt to covertly win Nixon's upcoming election. For his services to the President, Liddy was paid $250,000.00 in untraceable cash even though the stolen information didn't give the administration what they had desired. The Nixon administration had unconstitutionally set up their own secret intelligence-gathering unit called the CRP, or the “Committee to Re-elect the President.” Additional abuses emerged when President Nixon refused to follow a direct order from the Supreme Court, and hand over his White House tapes. He resigned from his position as acting President rather than give them up. These are the ways and means instituted in dictatorships in order to keep ruthless idiot dictators in power, and is a bastard for the greatness of our nation. So you tell me, who was the “real” enemy(s) of our country?
Those who hold office in our land are put there by the will and consent of the American people and not to the credit of some oligarchy. If the Nixon and his administration had their way, they would have turned America into an ivory tower and free elections would have been a thing of the past, although you probably wouldn't have known because the results from subsequent elections would have been drawn up months before the elections ever began.
Who could have "Deep Throat" gone to to report these abuses of power. He couldn't go to his boss because J. Edgar Hoover- who was in charge of the FBI at the time- considering he was just as corrupt as Nixon himself. "Deep Throat" went to the media because he had to, he couldn't use his chain of command: the chain was rank and filthy.
How many civil servants have or has had the balls to do what he had done? To my recollection, not very many. Other people within the Nixon circle knew what was going on but hid like cowards from the authority of the American people, and profited from the abuses of executive power. Sometimes my fellow citizenry forget or don't realize through their ignorance that government officials work for the American people and not to the benefit of a single individual. So tell me again who are the “real” enemy(s) of our country?
Nixon fell from power due to his own foolishness, nobody took it from him.
You might have noticed throughout this reading that I haven't gone through all the facts surrounding Watergate and the abuses carried out by the Nixon administration, and there 's good reason: it simply defies the scope of this paper. If you already know about the facts surrounding Watergate then you know all to well what I'm talking about. If you don't, then do yourself a favor and learn more about it, there's a vast amount of information out there to educate yourself further in this matter.
All in all, Nixon and his inner cabinet had committed seditious acts upon our nation and all those implicated should have been prosecuted for their commission of high crimes and misdemeanors, including the President. Mark Felt a.k.a. "Deep Throat" stopped them in their tracks by reporting them to the American people and thus preserving America's balance of power for a time being. Nixon's actions were illegal and that is the bottom line.
Thank you "Deep Throat"

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Gold Star Organization Rejects Fallen Soldier's Mother

The Gold Star Organization Rejects Fallen Soldier's Mother



Ligaya Lagman is a mother who's son has given the ultimate sacrifice for this country, part of a long line of mothers who have endured the heartbreak of losing their sons or daughters to war. Last year she lost her son, Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman, in Afghanistan, when his unit came under fire during a mission to eliminate remnants of Taliban and al-Qaida forces from the country.
Recently she applied for membership in the Gold Star organization-America's premiere organization for mothers of soldiers killed in action-and was rejected on grounds that she is not a U.S. Citizen, although Ms. Lagman, a Filipino, is a permanent tax-paying resident and has resided here for over 20 years.
“There's nothing we can do because that's what our organization says: You have to be an American citizen,” national President Ann Herd said Thursday. “We can't go changing the rules every time the wind blows.” That explanation isn't satisfying the war veterans who sponsored Lagman's application, some other members of the mothers' group or several members of Congress.
“It's disheartening that any mother of a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine who has died in the line of duty would be denied membership in an organization that honors the memory of fallen service men and women,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (NY), whose district includes Lagman's home in Yonkers, NY.
A past president of the mother's organization, Dorthy Oxendine, of Farmingdale, NY, said, “There's no discrimination in a national cemetary. There's no discrimination when they get killed side by side. So how can we discriminate against a mother?”
Why is it important whether Ms. Lagman is a U.S. Citizen or not? It doesn't change the fact that her son had faught valiantly for our country and lost his life for it, or the fact that her son was buried with full military honors and intered in a national cemetary. Ligaya Lagman is still a mother who lost her son in combat fighting for our country-regardless of her citizenship-she needs to be recognized as such; just like all the other mothers who have lost their sons and daughters to the horrors war.
“We now have many non citizens serving honorably in our armed services, and I hope that this can be satisfactorily resolved,” said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY).
The Gold Star organization needs to wake up and eliminate its rule that reeks of xenophobia. She lost her son who payed the ultimate price for freedom and now she has to indure the disgrace of not being recognized as such simply because she isn't an official citizen of our country. Is this what her son, Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman, died fighting for? For his mother to be slapped in the face by insidious discrimination? If the Gold Star organization doesn't reverse its rules regarding matters like this, then we need to cut-off its federal funding. Yes, the Gold Star organization receives federal subsistence to run its annual operations, and by law, it isn't allowed to promote policy that discriminates against others due to their nationality.
And the good news is that that's what's currently happening. A Florida lawyer recently wrote to the Department of Justice, noting the mother's organization has received federal assistance and demands an investigation.
The Gold Star organization should be ashamed of themselves and reverse its ruling ASAP. By doing so they'll not only respect mothers such as Ligaya Lagman, but also show respect and credibility to themselves.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Rhetorical Analysis of: George W. Bush's Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People

A Rhetorical Analysis of: George W. Bush’s Address To a Joint Session of Congress and the American People



On 20 September, 2001, President George Walker Bush addressed the Nation in a Joint Session of Congress, in the wake of the terror attacks upon America on 11 September, 2001. At this time in history, the United States needed direction and support for how it was going to deal with the most costly and bloodiest terrorist attacks in the Nation’s history: the American people demanded the President address the Nation after the attacks, and nine days later, the President delivered his speech. Across the country, emotions ran high in America and many were in constant fear for their lives and their country. “Is another attack coming?” “What will be the next target?” “Could this be the end of the world?” many pondered. Throughout the country the airlines halted service, the New York Stock Exchange temporarily suspended its operations and nearly every television station around the country relayed the latest news covering the latest developments in those uncertain times. The American people prodded answers from their leaders, “Who’s responsible?” “Why did they do this?” “What’s next?” So when President addressed the nation not only did he have to answer those questions, but he also had to quash fears and reinstill a sense of pride and stability in the American people. Hailed by many, “The speech that made the Bush Presidency,” the President utilized several techniques, explicit and implicit, that had effectively neutralized public fears and persuaded the people toward collective action. To understand why the speech was as effective as it was, one has to look at two major components that when used together, effectively communicated his platform to those it addressed. These components are: the emotional state of the population, and the rhetorical persuasion techniques which mobilized the American people into collective action.

The Emotional State of the Nation: Post 9/11

To those who witnessed it, the horror of September 11, 2001 will always continue to survive in our hearts and minds. Who can forget the burning bodies jumping from the Trade Towers, American Airlines flight 77 slamming into the Pentagon, or the passenger revolt that ended the lives of those on United Airlines flight 93? Most of the country had never experienced the commencement of wholesale slaughter like the events of September 11. On the days following our Nation’s tragedy, public anxiety continued to grow with the feeling of uncertainty in the air. Most of the country had anticipated the President to quickly address them, explaining to everyone how it transpired and what was to follow. The country needed the President to be firm, honest and optimistic, to show the
world America’s solidarity and its commitment to resolve. Public expectations were high and many knew this speech would have historic implications, but when the President didn’t deliver his speech promptly, the public felt frustrated and enraged. Finally after nine days of anonymity, the President emerged to deliver his State of the Union speech to an overly eager audience. It was the publics need for support and stability that facilitated the President’s highly receptive response.


The Rhetorical Devices Used In President Bush’s Address to the American People

In President Bush’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, the
President used several persuasive devices which are commonly used in political speeches and propaganda to generate public sentiment for a specific political platform. The most used persuasive technique in his speech is what is commonly called the Bandwagon Device. Bush employed this device skillfully by using such words as: we (the most used word in his speech), us, our, and them. In addition, the Bandwagon Device was used structurally with such statements as, “Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or justice to our enemies, justice will be done.” Or “I thank the congress for its leadership at such an important time. All of America was touched on the evening of the tragedy to see Republicans and Democrats joined together on the steps of this Capitol, singing ‘God Bless America.’ And you did more than sing; you acted, by delivering $40 billion to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of our military. Speaker Hasert, Minority Leader Gephardt, Majority Leader Daschle and Senator Lott, I thank you for your friendship, for your leadership and for your service to our country.” The effect of the latter statement is to demonstrate political solidarity while the former statements are used to unite the people to take action. Another example of the Bandwagon Device occurred when the President said in the introduction of his speech, “In the normal course of events, Presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered
by the American people.” The power behind this statement is that it implied that the President’s position is the same as the peoples, and the peoples position is the same as the President’s. This created a wedge against those who would object to the President’s overall platform and gave the President more leverage when committing the nation to his global ambitions. The President’s purpose was clear: to commit the American people and Congress to unilateral support for an impending war. Additional evidence supporting this is found when the President stated: “Americans have known the causalities of war-but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks-but never before on thousands of Civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day- and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.” And, “Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command…” “This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American lost in combat.” The overall message was clear: this is going to be a long and costly war, with many American causalities. If the President had said, “this is going to be a long, costly and bloody war with many American casualties,” then it’s likely that the President wouldn’t have found such a receptive response.
The Band Wagon Device was also employed cunningly when the President Stated, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists,” which effectively ruled out other ways when dealing with the terrorist threat other than what President Bush described in his speech. This is a problem because it forced the Congress, the American people, and the world to approach the War On Terror from a single perspective or angle. It effectively constricted any criticism to the President’s handling of America’s response to the events of 9/11, and if the President enacted the wrong approach, then the public would not know because any other possibilities would have been unacceptable to think of. When one considers America’s emotional state during this time, one can readily see the overwhelming impact this has on the publics psyche. This is how the President obtained such popular support from the Congress and the American people on his discretion to wage war in Afghanistan, and the initial stages of the war in Iraq.
Another persuasive device used by the President in his speech was the Transfer Device. Here the President created an association between his position and the ideals of America‘s religious right. Saying, “The course of this conflict isn’t known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.” By bringing God into the equation, the President associated his position with the religious ideals held by some Americans. But a consequence of this action has been that the propagandists of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, have used this quoted dictum to convince many in the Muslim world that this is a holy war: Christians fighting Muslims, or a New Holy Crusade of the New Millennium, if you will. Another example of the Transfer Device utilized by the President occurred when
he displayed the police shield that he carried of a man named George Howard, who died saving lives at the World Trade Center. Here the President associated himself with all the brave men and woman who died during 9/11 trying to save the lives of others. This was done purely for political reasons, to show that the President was just as brave and valiant as those who had died trying to help save others that day.

Conclusion



The tragedy of 9/11 was a brutal awakening for America and the world at large, a day
that will forever live with us who experienced it. By effectively using the emotions of a country who had just witnessed barbaric acts of cruelty first hand, the President was able to communicate a political platform that brought the country together, and committed the American people and Congress to comply with his will. If one didn’t comply with his platform meant you were pro-terrorist, to comply meant you were a genuine patriot or freedom fighter. History has shown the dangers of blind obedience, and the consequences that occur when one harbors a polarized society. President Bush’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, is destined to be a classic speech, a speech that consolidated a nation and yet alienated many of those who would object to its underline assertions. At what fashion will the War on Terrorism ultimately end? Nobody knows. But this speech marked a turning point in the manner in which the United States related with its international neighbors and it’s domestic relations. Persuasive rhetoric can be used for the good and for the bad, and like most things, this speech was a combination of both. At one hand it brought together the American people and foreign nations (for a short time) and at the other, systematically marginalizing them by arbitrary diction. If the War on Terror can be won, then we must mind our words; for if the President continues to speak with contradictory objectives, then the War on Terror might have been lost before it had ever begun.



An archive of the presidential address can be found here


Michael Ajitsingh

Federal Judge Finds That Paroles Illegally Blocked

Federal Judge Finds That Paroles Illegally Blocked

Scaramento federal judge Peter A. Nowinski, chastised former Governors Pete Wilson (Rep.) and Gray Davis (Dem.) for what he found to be an unlawfully applied authorization to keep murderers behind bars. In a ten-page order, Judge Nowinski cited evidence presented by an inmate's attorney that under the two former Govorners the Board of Prison Terms blatantly disregarded regulations that warranted fair parole hearings, "and instead operated under a sub rosa policy that all murderers be found unsuitable for parole."
So what's wrong with keeping murderers behind bars forever? I think the two former Governers did California a favor and shouldn't be reprimanded for this action.

The Federal Government Will Soon Launch A National Sex Offender Data-Base

The Federal Government Will Soon Launch A National Sex Offender Data-Base


Soon information on state-by-state sex offenders will be available on a new web site run by the federal government. The Justice Department said it hoped to have the site up and running in two months, and that participation by individual states is strictly voluntary. The site won't augment the currently existing information located in individual state data-bases, but it will allow someone to perform a national online search to determine whether an individual who's been convicted in one state has moved to another.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Short Disclaimer

Be Kind to Yourself and Stop Using Internet Explorer!

Yes its true that 98% of all computer users use Internet Explorer. But the simple fact is that I.E. isn't as secure as other browsers such as: Mozilla "Firefox" and "Opera." Whenever you use I.E. your just telling every computer hacker and spyware vendor to "come and get me." Not only is "Firefox" and "Opera" more secure than I.E., but they download web pages and pictures much faster and efficiently. Although to use "Opera" you'll have to pay for it, "Firefox" can be downloaded and used for free (go to mozilla.org to download "Firefox"). I stopped using I.E. about a year ago and now I use "Firefox" exclusively. Just try it out and I'm sure that you'll be satisfied with the move.

Today's Question

Which do you prefer? Coffee or Beer?

An Analysis of Mind Control: How Cults Control Their Members and Whether the Government Should Outlaw Their Existance

An Analysis of Mind Control: How Cults Control Their Members and Whether the Government Should Outlaw Their Existance

On 18 November, 1978, 910 members of The People’s Temple, a religious sect led by its charismatic leader, the Reverend Jim Jones, committed mass suicide at Jonestown, Guyana, in South America. Fearful that he would be arrested and implicated in the killings of U.S. Congressman Leo J. Ryan and others, Jones gathered the entire community of followers and issued an edict for each person to commit suicide by drinking from a vat of strawberry-flavored poison. Compliantly, the majority of his followers systematically took turns drinking from the poisoned vat. A few who dissented were held down by others and forced to drink, children weren’t spared the same fate, as their parents force-fed them to consume the deadly concoction. It took approximately four minutes for each follower to die in convulsions. A few escaped, and as one escapee put it, “they were drinking the poison like they were hypnotized or something” (Cialdini 152). Commonly referred to as “The Jonestown Massacre,” the events at Jonestown sparked an international interest in a more general type of organization called a cult. A cult by is an organization that uses intensive indoctrination techniques to recruit and maintain members into a totalist ideology (Crawley 1). Almost everyone is susceptible to the influence of a cult and members are usually intelligent and idealistic. Typically associated with unorthodox religious groups, the definition of a cult can pertain to any group, including military organizations, governments, families, or companies. Cults instill and maintain unwavering commitment intheir members by using a set of psychological tools that are called mind control. Ruinous mind control
can be conceptualized in terms of four primary components, which together form the acronym B.I.T.E. (Hassan 1):

a) Behavior Control


b) Information Control


c) Thought Control


d) Emotional Control

Behavior Control is the control of an individual’s physical reality. It can include control of where, how and with whom the member lives and associates with, what foods the member can eat, and how much sleep or leisure the member can have. What type of jobs the person can accept, what kinds of clothes they can wear, and to be financially dependent upon the group (Hassan 1). Most cults keep strict work schedules for its members, always keeping members as busy as possible and requiring extensive time commitment for indoctrination sessions and group rituals. The member’s self concept is destabilized (Singer 1), the member’s sense of individually is nullified and the will of the group prevails over the individual. Cults tend to use an extensive array of behavior modification techniques (positive and negative reinforcement, positive and negative punishment, classical and aversive conditioning) not only to change the person’s behavior, but also to unknowingly change the person’s thought processes. Exploiting the Consistency Principle (Cialdini 59) cults understand that a person must always keep their thoughts, behaviors and emotions consistent with one another. If a person can commit to acting or feeling in a certain way, then the person’s thoughts naturally follow to be consistent with what they have already done or felt. This was also investigated by psychologist Leon Festinger, when he formed “Cognitive Dissonance Theory” (Groenveld 1). According to Festinger, our self-image is made up of three components: Self-Control of Behavior, Self-Control of Thoughts, and Self-Control of Emotions. Modify one component and the others will follow. When all three components change the individual undergoes a complete change (Groenveld 1). People have a need to be consistent in order to avoid the stress of instability (dissonance). Followers are expected to follow strict rules, roles and norms, giving great deference and dependency to elders or authority figures. The individual has to have permission from his or her leader to make a major decision and to report their thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors (Hassan 1). This also activates the human Consistency Principle, since committing to something is what drives the principle to work. Furthermore, for a commitment to be effective, it must be a) effortful, b) active, and c) public (Cialdini 92). The environment within the scope of the cult is tightly controlled so that the individual will act in predictable ways. The second component initiating mind control is Information Control. Here the cult or organization controls the information one can receive in order to limit the ability for the individual to think for him or herself (Hassan 1) (Groenveld 1).This includes distorting information, holding back information and halting the access to non-cult sources of information (including TV, radio, written works, internet, former members, and critical information). The authority figures decide who needs to know what and when, varying the type and amount of information one can receive within different levels of the organization. Additionally, many times the individual is paired up with a “buddy” in order to monitor and control the individual, by reporting deviant thoughts, actions, and feelings to leadership (Hassan 1). By controlling the flow of information, a cult has the potential for unlimited power over the thoughts and actions of the individual and the group. Thought Control is the deliberate manipulation of the individual’s thought processes. It involves persuading and maintaining only proper or “pure” thoughts while annihilating negative or “evil” thoughts. The group’s ideology is programmed thoroughly in the individual during the indoctrination process so the system of beliefs is internalized as “the truth” (Hassan 2). Any new information filtered through this new belief system is to be integrated with the ideology of the group. The cult’s leadership needs the individual members to internalize the group’s doctrine as “the truth,” by polarizing information in simplistic terms; “us and them,” “black and white.” Language is the tool used to deliver such control (language is the tool of thought) and the group uses special words to constrict perceptual experiences into simple buzz words or clichés (Hassan 2). Thought-stopping techniques, as their commonly called, shuts down reality analysis in the members and ends rationality, critical thinking and criticism. These techniques can take many forms, including: chanting, humming, singing, praying, denial, speaking in tongues, wishful thinking, confession, rationalization, and justifying ones past (Groenveld 2). Special words also act to separate the individual from the outside world and to identify other cult members. By controlling the thoughts of the membership, cult leaders are able to influence the behavior, information processing, and emotionality of the group. Emotional Control is to manipulate and narrow the range of a person’s feelings (Hassan 3). This type of control is employed by manipulating three factors: a) identification of the individual’s past, b) excessive use of fear, c) excessive use of guilt (Hassan 3). Guilt is artificially synthesized by identifying the individual’s past (your family, historical guilt, affiliations, education, etc.) and by identifying who the individual is presently (social guilt, who you are-not living up to your potential, thoughts, feelings, actions, etc.) Fear is applied by reinforcing: fear of thinking independently, fear of the outside world, fear of disapproval, and fear of isolation, losing one’s sanctity, fear of past and fear of real or imagined enemies. The group and its leaders often act out on emotional highs and lows and rituals are often a springboard for public confessions. During these events public humiliation is often applied and a reduction in the individual’s self-esteem results, leading to greater dependency on the group and its leaders. Another way fear is programmed in the individual is by “Phobia Indoctrination”-using classical conditiong to instill irrational fears in the person. The person under mind control cannot visualize a happy, fulfilled future without the group (Hassan 3). Group leaders constantly remind their followers that terrible consequences may occur if they leave (demon possession, accidents, insanity, hell damnation, AIDS, suicide, leprosy, etc.) and that there is never a legitimate reason to leave. Group dissenters are shunned as “weak,” “have loose morals, ““unworldly,” “seduced be vice,” and etc. Whenever an individual is operating under strong emotion rather than reason, their sense of judgment is impaired and they lack the ability to gain perspective on the world around them (Lieberman 186).

With their unethical ability to twist and destroy people’s lives, some have made an effort to outlaw cults in this country and abroad. Victims’ friends, family members, individuals, and groups have all spoke out in the effort for a government crack down on these types of organizations. “Why do we continue to allow people’s lives to be taken away like this?” is a familiar cry. But like their ability to twist good people into mindless converts, the good laws of our country prevent a crack down on cults by any measure. Since the United States Bill of Rights guarantees freedom from religious persecution and government endorsement, cults operating under a religious umbrella have the legal right to exist unless they cause public harm. But proving public harm is usually very difficult because the members have the right to associate with whomever they choose to as long as children aren’t involved. The best advice for eradicating the existence of cults is to educate the public on what a cult is and why they exist. Cults exist to financially and emotionally benefit its leaders, not for the group members. Nobody joins a cult with the idea that their joining a cult, usually they think they’ve found a more promising and fulfilling lifestyle and beliefs system only to never realize their mistake after group indoctrination. Cults destroy lives and separate families, but beware; the usual recruit is a bright, intelligent, and idealistic individual. The most likely person to get involved in a cult is the one who says, “it won’t happen to me.”




LIST of REFERENCES

Cialdini PH.D. , Robert B. Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion. William Morrow and
Company, 1984, 1994

Crawley, Kevin, Cult Definition, University of Iowa Panda System, 1994
Taken from: Manipulative Mind Control/Ex-Cult Resource Center

Groenveld, Jan Social Psychology and Group Dynamics. Manipulative Mind Control/Ex-Cult
Resource Center.com, 2001

Hassan, Steven Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves.
Freedom of Mind Press, 2000 Taken from: Manipulative Mind Control/Ex-Cult Resource Center.

Lieberman PH.D., David J. Never Be Lied to Again: How to Get the Truth in 5 Minutes or Less In
Any Conversation or Situation. St. Martin’s Press, 1998

Singer PH.D., Margaret T. Conditions for Mind Control University of California, Berkeley 2000
Taken from: Manipulative Mind Control/Ex-cult Resource Center.com