Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Not that I want to get on the bad side of the Catholic Church, but please use protection when you get your freak on. Today, a report released by the UN (you know, that multilateral institution promoting worldwide peace & cooperation that has been getting bombed by radical Iraqi extremists and dismissed as being obsolete by Neo-Con American Congressmen) revealed that approximately 40 million people suffer from HIV infection around the world. In some parts of Africa, four in ten people are living with HIV, which eventually develops into AIDS, unless treated promptly.

Sadly, many people in these nations don't have access to proper health care and most can't afford the price of retroviral drugs, which sometimes represents more than their whole yearly salary alone.

One promising development in the global battle against the spread of HIV is the recent efforts at allowing certain nations the right to produce generic versions of badly-needed medicine during an epidemic. Although this circumvents the "patent" laws of the Western world, at least it offers some hope to the people being stricken by this sinister disease.

Some would argue that by encouraging generic drug manufacturers to prosper, patients won't see the real benefit because there is nothing stopping these companies from jacking up their prices. This is a tough question because you hear two different stories every time it comes up. Who to believe? The NGO's or Medecins sans Frontieres? What about Bristol-Myers Squibb, who just announced $30 Million USD of aid for HIV sufferers from several African nations? (Is it possible that the Western drug companies have a heart? Possibly.) This is something that we should keep an eye on.

Even if you don't live in Sub-saharan Africa, with all the various S.T.D.'s prevalent in Western nations, using a condom is your best option, at least until you and your partner are absolutely certain that you're not at risk (ie. getting tested repeatedly, etc.)

Condoms don't only stop most STD's from spreading--they also prevent unwanted pregnancy. Today, as I was picking up some items at the drug store in my community, I walked by a worried young gentleman speaking hurried Arabic on his cellphone. A sales lady was giving him advice about which pregnancy kit to choose and he was translating this to his girlfriend over the phone. I didn't say a word to him (he needs his privacy at such a stressful moment) but I stopped in the condom aisle on the way out and picked up a box of Trojans. Better safe than sorry!

Every time I read an article penned by a Republican, I get this feeling in the bottom of my gut, the same one some people take antacids for. The pain goes away once I put away the gibberish, but while I'm reading it, I am forced to suffer. Suffer? Is this too strong a word?

Witness the unbelievable statement that David Frum made on National Review Online.

"And I recognize too how essential it is that George Bush be re-elected. If he loses the election, the United States loses the war on terror."
Even for an average Republican, this is going pretty far. I can see that the propaganda campaign and constant references to this "War" that doesn't have an end in sight are actually working for Bush. He's getting the support of his nation in a time of need. Without George W. Bush in power, terrorists will all move in next door and begin systematically bombing everyone in the phonebook, beginning with the A's and working towards the Z's. Does anyone really believe this? ("Is this thing on?")

David Frum, I really do believe that you have all the answers. Please explain how Bush is making the world safer and winning the "War on Terror"? By preemptively removing sovereign Arab governments from power? By keeping one hundred thousand or so troops thousands of miles from home? By curtailing domestic civil liberties via the Patriot Act while supposedly "protecting freedom"?

I wouldn't play up the "War on Terror" angle for too long. War creates casualties & even the most hardened generals would rather use diplomats than ground troops. How can you fight a war against a force that has no shape, no face, no flag or official territory? We've been fighting a war against the common cold for years but we still don't have a cure. Imagine if we began barricading ourselves in our homes and putting cold-sufferers in a Guantanamo Bay prison--people would speak up and protest. Instead, due to the emotional carnage that 9/11 inflicted upon America, the Republicans seem to have some sort of moral imperative to "stay the course" and continue fighting these shadows. Nobody wants to offend the survivors of 9/11 so they are letting George W. Bush make a mockery of the U.S. Constitution, and some of the more deluded followers (ie. David Frum, Andrew Sullivan) are saying that voting against Bush is voting for terror. Even if I were lobotomized, I would have a hard time saying that out loud because it makes no sense. Also, I worry that this type of thinking could become contagious in a land where everyone is afraid.

The American Democratic candidates are all claiming to have a unique solution of how to win the "War on Terror" & how to fix the situation in Iraq. Dennis Kucinich's "90 day-plan", which sounds like some sort of infomercial-- "And our troops will be out in 90 days. U.S. out, U.N. in!"--doesn't really sound very realistic, given that the U.N. is punishing the U.S. for acting unilaterally by refusing to send in peacekeepers. Former General Wesley Clark seems to know a little something about security, having led an international force overseas; heck, even Howard Dean couldn't be that bad. Despite his public speaking gaffes (such as the Confederate flag remark), Dean would probably bring America closer to the rest of the world, just by not being Bush.

One good thing about George W. Bush is his consistent incompetence. He makes the wrong decision so often that it would take a real fuck-up for the Democrats to lose this 2004 election. Then again, anything is possible. By sinking the country into a deficit that may leave them penniless in a couple of years, and by losing millions of jobs since Bush came into office, now the Republicans can claim to be raising job growth & productivity. No wonder. It's like cutting down an old-growth forest and claiming the seedlings you planted as political capital. When your economy is in the toilet, there is no way to go but up.

Monday, November 24, 2003

What makes an activist? A deep and undying love of resisting "the system"? A penchant for whining to everyone within earshot about the ills of the world, or of the foreign policy of the world's only superpower? Recycling his or her cans, bottles, paper, and donating to Greenpeace? What about chanting slogans in front of hundreds of shielded riot police?

For too long, I've been the sort that would respond "All of the above" when asked this question. Words are one thing, but direct action is another. I think that I am guilty of the most sinister crime a self-imagined activist could be accused of--not being active, aside from jabbering. I spend large parts of my life writing down my thoughts and spreading my ideas like some sort of textual plague. My talents are debatable, but I don't think anyone would even bother to do so. I do rail against aggression and oppression and occupation (what is it about that -ion suffix? It always goes with something to fight against!) but I never actually do anything about it!

Does talking about what needs to be done count? On a daily basis, I overwhelm my friends and allies with mildly preachy monologues about my pet subjects (U.S. Defense department behaviour, freedom, corporate enslavement, What is horribly evil about "Disney Inc.", the Israeli-Palestinian conflict & where all the settlers should relocate to, the list goes on...) and this tends to both annoy them and give them the urge to flee at all costs. Why don't I get through to them? And if I can't communicate verbally, what sort of writer can I suppose to be?

I know that New Years is still a puff of smoke on the horizon but I am going to make my resolution a bit early. I want this next year to be one of activity--I want to volunteer, be a part of true activism (ie. beyond rallies & ranting) and doing something positive for the world instead of just talking the talk. I suppose I'll keep writing, too, because it keeps my hands warm through these frigid Montreal winters. I'll do my best to limit my blathering to loved ones, and maybe I'll cut it out completely in 2005.

Hey, not to leap topics at the toss of a cap, but the Montreal transit strike that I've been mentioning lately ended on Sunday! Islanders will be eternally grateful to the navy blue team of tricksters (S.T.M. Employees) who exercised their freedom to protest and gauged the Quebec taxpayer for a salary increase of 7.8 percent over the next 4 years.(Check Google News for details). After reading that their average salary is about $47,000 per year, I lusted for a career opportunity at the S.T.M. They enjoy many fringe benefits in addition to such a generous salary, at least when compared to what employees in the private sector (ie. sales, retail, warehouse, etc.). Clerks that sit in the booths at the gates of metros citywide are reading books, right now, while getting paid handsomely to refuse to offer directions, feigning ignorance of the local streets and alleys.

Just seeing such antics makes me pity the poor McDonald's employees that slave away robotically for their stipend of $7.30 an hour (Canadian!). Having already suffered the pain of seeing 80 hours of work become diluted into a measly 23 twenty-dollar bills ($460), I know how it feels to be one of the "working poor". How can we beat this cycle of inhumanity?

Could unions be the answer for all retail employees? How can we improve legislation to protect the creation and organization of unions? Most attempts at starting unions result in closure of the establishment in question and obvious resistance from the corporate HQ. If every worker suddenly became part of a union, would this catapult our nation into a recession, with local retail outlets floundering? This should be addressed if we are to give everyone access to a reasonable standard of living. Through strong-arm tactics like the one the S.T.M. employed to such great benefit, let the Wendy's employees become a force to be reckoned with. Let that McJob pay twice as much and make it a viable career option instead of a transitional job to pay the bills.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Have you ever tried to get from one end of the Montreal Island to the other on foot? It could take hours, even days if you are among the minority of islanders without a vehicle. For these people, the citys mass transit system is the only viable option. Sadly, Montreal is currently in the grips of a massive transit strike.

Sure, there are more troubling things going on around the world. Drive-by donkey-cart rocket attacks in Iraq; Turkey still sorting through the rubble from Thursday's terrorist bombings; Michael Jackson, once America's Idol, now accused of abusing even more young boys. Still, for the citizens of Montreal, this transit strike is hitting them where it hurts.

It began Sunday, November 16th, and since then, buses and metro (subway) service has only been running during rush hour. Service won't even exist over the weekend! This is going to put a lot of pressure on the city to make a deal but these gun-to-your-head tactics aren't going to appeal to the thousands of Montrealers left stranded without a bus or metro & in risk of losing their jobs.

I hope that everything gets sorted out as soon as possible because my sister is one of the hassled-many, and it must be difficult for her to walk all the way downtown from St-Henri Metro! Good luck, sis, and let's hope the STM union is satisfied by the raise the city of Montreal offers them. (The employees on strike already receive an average annual salary of $47,000! This is no small chunk of change. They're requesting an increase of 8.7 percent over the next four years! Whatever. Let's get these buses back on the road!)

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Finally, a billionaire who's standing for what he believes in! George Soros, longtime financier of pro-democracy movements worldwide, has written a scathing essay about where Bush is taking the U.S. (to a dangerous place) and what this will mean in the future. Rather than dilute the force of his words, I will let George illuminate us all with his logical argument.

"The war on terrorism as pursued by the Bush Administration cannot be won. On the contrary, it may bring about a permanent state of war. Terrorists will never disappear. They will continue to provide a pretext for the pursuit of American supremacy. That pursuit, in turn, will continue to generate resistance. Further, by turning the hunt for terrorists into a war, we are bound to create innocent victims. The more innocent victims there are, the greater the resentment and the better the chances that some victims will turn into perpetrators."

He also goes on to say that the United States became the great nation it is now by being amicable, open, and willing to compromise, not by forcing its values upon the rest of the globe at gunpoint. This is where Bush and his Neoconservative Clan have gone astray.

Instead of just criticizing American foreign policy, he even offers a viable solution of how to lessen the spread of terrorism worldwide; to "...lead a cooperative effort to improve the world by engaging in preventive actions of a constructive character." He also goes on to propose "...replacing the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive military action with preventive action of a constructive and affirmative nature. Increased foreign aid or better and fairer trade rules, for example, would not violate the sovereignty of the recipients. Military action should remain a last resort."

In my opinion, that is some sound judgement from a self-made billionaire with a soul. It goes to show that anyone has the potential to make the right decision. Let us hope that the American public makes the right decision in 2004 (by voting for a viable candidate to replace Bush!).

The National Post, a widely-distributed Canadian newspaper that teeters towards the Right in terms of editorial policy, has proven its fallibility yet again. I've never heard such mythical bullshit being passed as news like this in my life, unless you count the tripe they feed you in State-Run newspapers (Ie. China, North Korea, etc.)

For example,

"The world's real environmental problems are not caused by corporations. They are local -- and they are caused by poverty. The solution to these local environmental problems is prosperity and empowerment of the poor. Facilitating and freeing up trade are crucial to achieving those objectives." said Kendra Okonski, director of IPN's Sustainable Development Project."


"Economic growth is key to addressing environmental concerns."

So I suppose instead of putting laws in place that protect the environment, or that demand that corporations stand accountable for polluting the globe, we should simply demolish the shantytowns! They are the ones causing the acid rain and the toxins in our drinking water, right? The National Post would have you believe that the disenfranchised of the world are to blame for everything, despite all evidence to the contrary.

That is why I try to read all sorts of different opinions, to counteract the bias that comes from taking all your water from the same well. Personally, I swear by Google News, since it allows me to find the most important stories from multiple sources, including the opinions of other nations (India, China, Russia, Brazil, etc.). Give it a whirl sometime.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

The Source & Ray Benzino have caused a stir by pulling a skeleton out of Eminem's closet, revealing that he is apparently a racist. Add this to his already well-known misogynic and homophobic attitudes and what you have is a sad individual. I can't defend Eminem and if he really is a racist, his fans will continue to abandon him and go pick up Jay-Z's "The Black Album" (which I can say is truly a masterpiece, as far as rap goes. I haven't heard anything that sounded this good since Nas dropped "Illmatic").

The only problem is that Ray Benzino is closer to Eminem than he realizes. Perhaps not in terms of unit sales--Eminem is a multi-platinum artist while Benzino has reportedly been forced to use his connections at the Source Magazine to even get his own albums released--but they are from the same club when it comes to hating gays and women.

Benzino-"Die Another Day"
"Tell Haley it ain't safe no more (nah)

Daddy better watch yo' back at the candystore

We Fucked up, resort to plan B

Fuck around she and up like Jon Benet Ramsey (that's right)

Matter of fact you better check the DNA (what)

She probably ain't yours, and where's your wife Kim anyway

She's on her knees somewhere suckin' 50 Cent

I know you wishin' you were there cause you on his dick

You dress in drag, you huggin' up on Elton John

You closet fag, I'm a king you a little punk

You the rap david doer the rap bibler

When you consider that Benzino is referring to kidnapping Eminem's daughter, who's not yet out of middle school, you have to stop and wonder if this guy is really smoking the rocks he brags about selling in his songs. Eminem may be the class clown of hip hop, or even an obnoxious Elvis that is truly stealing an urban art form from the "streets", but that doesn't give Ray Benzino the right to single out Eminem for doing the same thing he does; stir up hatred towards people who are different, and try to make money by spitting vile words over a bass drum and a snare.

That's why we should just focus on the positive--hip hop is gaining momentum worldwide. I can count many good rappers or hip hop collectives that are making waves (shortlist? dead prez, Outkast, Rascalz, Buck 65, Jay-Z {gotta love "the black album"!}, Sixtoo, Obie Trice(?), Nas, Talib Kweli, Nappy Roots, even 50 Cent drops the occasional gem and the list goes on) so why should we fixate on a beef between two women-hating, gay-taunting brutes with some sort of love-hate relationship? I say love-hate because Benzino's Source magazine gave Eminem one of his first big breaks by choosing him as an "Unsigned Hype" choice early in his career. Let's just pop in "99 Problems" in the stereo, turn the bass way up, and take a nice haul off the chronic. There, isn't that better? (Damn right!)

We may be on the verge of some sort of major war in Asia. Taiwan has been considering permanent independence from mainland China since 1949, when Mao Zedong and his followers launched the "cultural revolution" and 2 million nationalists escaped to the Taiwan peninsula. Today, Taiwanese people enjoy some democratic freedoms and human rights, while China continues to suffer from totalitarian rule. Chinese citizens may have economic freedoms but they remain socially tied to a system that denies them basic liberties.

I may spend a significant amount of time criticizing American foreign policy in this blog, but I must concede that China also frightens me because they are a superpower without the American constitution, a potential global bully without a conscience. At least America has people capable of changing their government if it goes too far into extremism (in 2004, when Bush is thrown out of office and onto the Whitehouse lawn, democrats everywhere will dance in the streets). China doesn't have this luxury. Their leadership only cares about its own interests.

This brings us to the Taiwan issue. Here is a quote from Xinhuanet.com, the official website of the state-sponsored "Xinhua News Agency" (their mission statement includes the words "Whenever you need news, come to Xinhuanet.com first; Whatever information you search, surf Xinhuanet.com first." Sounds inviting, huh?) ***Warning...Irony Alert!!!***

"Xu said that Taiwan's move for the referendum deprives the democratic rights of 1.3 billion compatriots on the mainland and it is also dividing Taiwan itself, which "disregards human rights and tramples democracy ".

They also warn Taiwan of "crossing a red line". Other articles have even suggested that China would go to war to take back the Taiwanese territory. America has been selling weapons to Taiwan for years (20.7 Billion USD in arms sales from 1994 to 2001) and everyone agrees that it would be virtually impossible for Taiwan to successfully defend itself from the mighty Chinese military. If Taiwan votes to become independent from China forever, there will surely be a war in the Asian region.

Will the U.S. or other nations take sides in this conflict? Doing so would mean a world war because China is powerful enough to take on several nations. Taiwan would be batted aside like a gnat and Russia has signed a mutual protection pact with China, so they would not interfere, but other nations in that area (India, Japan, etc.) would probably not sit idly by. War is a scary thought and I hope that Chinese leaders temper their plans with logic. If America sides with Taiwan versus the Chinese juggernaut, this would probably be the end of the Chinese communist régime.

If you don't think that the U.S. would do such a thing, consider this quote from Richard Lawless, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs.

"(Bush) has reaffirmed his committment to the Taiwan Relations Act and has stated that "America will do whatever it takes to help Taiwan defend itself."

This could mean war. I can already see the wagons circling.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I just sent in a letter to the editor of the Montreal Gazette. Here it is, in response to an op-ed piece written by H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow specializing in energy and the environment at the U.S. National Centre for Policy Analysis.

How exactly should we prepare for the "warmer world" that Mr. Burnett envisions? Perhaps we can all buy rubber dinghys or pontoon boats so that we can stay afloat when climate change melts the polar ice caps and floods our coastal cities.

I am not surprised by Mr. Burnett's opinion on climate change since the views of the Bush administration on this subject are well known. According to BBC News, an EPA report on the state of the environment was censored by the White House because it warned of global warming. Instead of accepting the reality that our climate is changing, the White House prefers to embrace pseudoscience and studies done by American Petroleum Institute.

Mr. Burnett says that since the Kyoto Protocol is "dead", we should just move on and try to adapt to the consequences. That is like saying that a burning house should be left to the flames just because the living room has caught fire. I suppose Mr. Burnett would just recommend shopping for a new house.

I'm not certain that the Gazette will publish it, but I've crossed every finger on both hands and I'll keep you posted! (Ha ha ha, assuming that anybody is reading these words!!! If not, I suppose this is much like the SETI program, only reversed--instead of listening to an empty universe, I'm some poor young fuck who's shouting to an empty auditorium, trying to inspire a bunch of unoccupied seats.)
Way back in April of 2001, I got my first good taste of tear gas at the Quebec City protests against the F.T.A.A. (Free Trade of the Americas Agreement). Roughly five thousand of us tried to halt the F.T.A.A. in its tracks by waving placards, getting rubber bullets shot at us, and attempting to tear down the 12 foot high barricade that was erected in the middle of downtown Quebec City. We were welcomed by thousands of black-clad police officers lined up in phalanx formation, brandishing billy clubs in one hand and enormous riot shields in the other.

The chaos and disorder of the Quebec City protests were justified, in my eyes, since the F.T.A.A. was essentially a backroom deal, forged without any input from the populations of the nations involved. We "regular folks" couldn't read the text of the F.T.A.A. itself until after our nations had already agreed in principle to signing it! Then again, many CEO's were present at the meetings. Any time they only let you in if you can pay a cool grand for a plate of lasagna and a glass of Chablis, you know there is something fishy going on.

I am pleased to report that our struggles were not in vain. Thanks to our valiant efforts, more and more nations in South America are questioning the logic of such a deal, especially since it risks tampering with both environmental and labour laws. It also will allow companies to sue nations for "lost profits", à la NAFTA!, if they feel that the laws of a particular country are hurting business.

As a Canadian, I admit that my country is dropping the ball in terms of standing up against the F.T.A.A. The Canadian government is bending over backwards (and forwards) trying to help our American allies get this deal signed by 2005. Luckily, Brazil is leading the opposition to the deal, thanks to their feisty left-leaning president Lula da Silva, along with Argentina. Lula is worried that Brazil won't be able to compete with American agricultural exports, since the U.S. subsidizes their farmers.

William Grieder brings up an important statistic in one of his columns on Lula and South American opinion on the F.T.A.A.--"According to a Zogby International poll, only 39 percent of the continent's business and government elites think FTAA would benefit everyone equally, while a majority expect the United States to be the big winner." Obviously, the U.S. has led the South Americans to the Rio Grande, but is having a tough time convincing them that they are thirsty.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Here in Canada, today is Rememberance Day, the day when we give thanks to the veterans who fought overseas and sacrificed their lives so that we could live as a free and sovereign nation. Without any promise of personal gain, our nation has joined in the fight against despotic and fascist regimes again and again. We declared war against the Nazis in 1939, not in 1941 like our neighbours to the south.

Canadian soldiers have a reputation for being some of the toughest, bravest troops on the battlefield (witness how we performed in WWI or on WWII) and that is why the side that Canada is on can usually be trusted to win the day. We don't invade nations without reason. We support our allies when the peace of the world is truly threatened.

John McCrae was a Canadian soldier who was fighting in the Ypres Salient in WWI. He was also a poet and here is his greatest contribution to Canada, the poem "In Flanders Fields".

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

(John McCrae, 1915)

War is repugnant and usually needless, but when all is said and done, some battles are unavoidable. We must remember the soldiers that never made it home, those who came back missing an arm or a leg, and all the other veterans of wars (popular or unpopular). I hope that our country respects their eternal sacrifice and remembers.

Monday, November 10, 2003

I was digging through my old emails (from back in 2000!) and I noticed that I'm a different person today. Just to give you an idea of how I was when I was 20 years old...drumroll...here is the alphabet, summarized. (Reader discretion is advised)

  • A- Long live Anarchy
  • B- Ignore the Bastards
  • C- Don't be Converted
  • D- Life is Dangerous
  • E- Everyone has to pay
  • F- This world is Fucked
  • G- I wish there was a God
  • H- Nobody Helps you for free
  • I- I am an Island, alone
  • J- Born-agains love Jesus
  • K- Similar converts love Krishna
  • L- Love is empty and fake
  • M- Men try to destroy other men
  • N- Never will I fight for a country
  • O- Better to be Old and living than young and dying
  • P- Perfection only exists in our minds
  • Q- The Queen of England never went hungry
  • R- The Railroads were built on the backs of the poor
  • S- There is no such thing as Satan
  • T- Theology is a method of tricking people
  • U- Uniforms signify a hierarchy of domination
  • V- Very slim chance that we'll make it
  • W- the West had better chill out or the rest will hate
  • X- Xerox is a multinational who doesn't care about
    where they set up shop. They just want "X" amounts of
  • Y- Yes, this is very cynical of me but I just couldn't
    stand by and watch someone be so saccharine and
  • Z- Zeus himself doesn't even exist. We are alone in
    this empty cosmos, with only ourselves to rely upon.

Conclusion? I was going through a dark time in my life & I guess I was just bitter and hateful. Luckily, now I've progressed to the point that I can distill ideas like these and focus them on what needs to be done, instead of wildly firing my opinions in all directions. In other words, I've matured! It's not selling out, it's just getting your shit together. 3 Years is a long time, apparently.

Bush's speech to the "National Endowment for Democracy" was intended to promote democratic movements worldwide. Instead, it appears to have highlighted the disconnect between American values and with actual American foreign & domestic policy. Observe!

Sunday, November 09, 2003

War is impossible without weapons. The world's largest exporter of weapons is indoubtedly the U.S. and here is their customer list. Please note that many of the quantities have been blanked out, explaining why many of the items that appear on the list have "Quantity 0" marked next to them. Frightening, especially since a nation so devoted to peace and prosperity is shipping billions of dollars of weapons all around the world.

According to a report published by Oxfam, Amnesty International and the International Action Network on Small Arms ,

"The report says the global arms trade worth about £17b a year is "dangerously unregulated" and that about 500,000 people are killed every year, an average of one person per minute"

I'm not trying to exonerate the other super-powers (Ie. Russia, China, etc.) from guilt since they would gladly grab a piece of the weapons-trade pie, if they got the chance. Even so, the U.S. has a moral imperative, as the self-proclaimed "Leader of the Free world", to halt export of deadly weapons and to end the proliferation of death machines worldwide.

Here is a complete list of all the weapons & military services or supplies sold by American companies (or the U.S. Defense Dept.) to the world, as a whole. It is both mind-boggling and quite sad if you consider that much of this production could have been applied for peaceful means. If we spent half of our military budgets on feeding the world or taming disease, nearly everyone could eat and people wouldn't be killing each other so rabidly.

"An average of $22 billion a year is spent on arms by countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Just half of this amount would enable every child in those regions to go to primary school. Overall, 42% of countries with the highest defense burden rank among the lowest in human development."
(Source: Zenit.org)

Friday, November 07, 2003

Why is the Bush administration against human cloning but for genetically modified foods? If they are so worried about the negative effects of modifying the human genome, why don't they ban all GMO's? After all, long term testing hasn't been done on the effects of eating plants that have had their genome modified. Sure, human cloning raises some difficult ethical issues but it is strange that Bush et al. are so against one form of tampering with life but for another!