Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Heat of the Moment or Coldness of the Truth?

As Samuel L. Jackson's character in Jurassic Park said, "hold on to your butts!" For the first time since I started this blog a little over 8 months ago, I'm sitting down to write a post with no agenda. That's right, no agenda.

Before we begin today's post, I have a game to play! I got this from Casey's Xanga...here we go:

If you read this, even if I don't speak to you often, you must post a memory of
me. It can be anything you want, it can be good or bad, just so long as it happened. Then post this message to your journal. See what people remember about you.Oh, and if you leave me a memory and post this message to your blog, maybe I'll post one back...

Kind of goofy, but an interesting concept nonetheless. Plus, it provides an excuse to sit and think back on old times...

Enough of that.

A group of us was having a discussion the other day about 'the heat of the moment.' This is a statement which has always bothered me.

I don't know what it is about this statement that aggravates me so, but I just can't stand it. I suppose it's the fact that people use it as an excuse to afford legitimacy to an action which would otherwise be looked down upon by one's peers and often one's self. In other words, people use 'heat of the moment' to explain something that they want to believe has no explanation, when truly the explanation is quite simple and summed up in this fantastic quotation from Bill Clinton: "I did it because I could!" (or 'because I wanted to' or 'because I knew I'd enjoy it' or 'because I couldn't see a reason not to). This poses the question: Can things be better explained by the heat of the moment, or by the coldness of the truth?

This disgusting statement is applied in many court cases which may be considered 'crimes of passion.' While, on a rare occasion, usually in the case of killing somebody in self defense or defense of others, this idea of reacting without thought may be true, for the majority of instances, it is not. It simply is not.

Although much thought may not have been applied to the decision at hand, at least some thought was. Mary did not have consensual sex with her boyfriend 'on accident in the heat of the moment.' No. This is simply wrong. At some point she, and her boyfriend, had to make a decision to allow the situation to advance to the point of no return. At some point, something had to 'click' in her (and his) head and say, 'are you sure you want to do this?' Although the response may have come quickly with little deliberation, an affirmative answer to the question posed by one's conscience had to have been derived. That's the cold truth!

TODAY'S MORAL: I don't think that there is such a thing as 'in the heat of the moment.' I stand firm in my belief that things can get out of hand with little thought or realization, but in the end I truly believe that a conscious yes or no decision HAS to be (or have been) made for a situation to develop. I don't know. Maybe I'm the only one who thinks this way...thoughts?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

'UN Black and Blue with Self-Inflicted Wounds'

Well, make it three in a row. The UN has done what no other organization has every done--three The Vent Pipe posts in a row. Congratulations guys, I'll send you a certificate ASAP.

This report is just a coverage of the already-known crapola about the UN's abuse of power in their so called 'peace-keeping' mission in the Congo. The report is
from Reuters.

U.N. peacekeepers who sexually abuse the women and children they are supposed to protect should be punished and their home countries publicly identified, a U.S. lawmaker said on Tuesday.

U.N. "blue helmets" found guilty of sexual abuse are often simply repatriated, which Rep. Chris Smith called "a slap on the wrist if there ever was one."

So, according to this report, the most punishment a sex offender can receive, assuming they're wearing their blue 'symbol of superiority' helmet, is to be repatriated? How in the WORLD does sending Joe Pervert back to his home country fix this problem?

Smith, a New Jersey Republican who chairs a House of Representatives panel on Africa and human rights, disputed the current U.N. policy of not releasing the names of countries whose peacekeepers commit sexual abuse.

Allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation have surfaced in the largest United Nations peacekeeping mission, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and U.N. officials including Lute (Jane Holl Lute, assistant U.N. secretary general for peacekeeping operations. )have raised fears that such abuse could be a problem in all 17 of the world body's peacekeeping efforts.

Great, now there is reason to believe that this sick abuse is a widespread problem in all 17 operations? This is just disgusting.

Lute acknowledged those concerns: "The blue helmet has become black and blue with self-inflicted wounds ... This is a stain on U.N. peacekeepers. We're determined to eradicate this."

I guess that this is the first step--acknowledging the problem is the first step to recovery although I somehow doubt that any steps will really be taken to fix the disturbing situation.

In addition to finding widespread abuse of women and girls, including gang rape, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations has also found cases of sexual exploitation in at least four other missions: Burundi, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Haiti.

However, Lute disputed Smith's contention that for some, U.N. peacekeeping missions are seen as "a kind of sex tourism for soldiers."

'Sex tourism'--ridiculous! Just ridiculous!!

She said a culture of professionalism needs to be fostered among peacekeepers, including specific training in the U.N. Code of Conduct. Lute is working on a set of new recommendations for peacekeeping soldiers.

This is unbelievable. A 'culture of professionalism' is not going to fix problems such as these. Good grief! I don't think that one needs to be taught that sexual abuse is 'unprofessional.'

The United Nations is out of control. I've said it before, but I'll say it again--the United Nations needs to be disbanded RIGHT NOW. No more of this putting a bandaid to temporarily resolve the problems. Disband the UN RIGHT NOW!!!

Monday, March 14, 2005

'Or Is It Too Little Too Late?!'

It is no mystery where I stand on the usefullness of the United Nations. I believe without a doubt that the UN is one of the single most useless organizations in the world. The bloated egos of UN leadership has lead this group of mouthy elitists to lose sight of stopping evil-doers in order to fatten their own wallets, allowing evil people to land in positions of power which perpetuate their evil tendancies resulting in needless violence, rape and other inhumane acts which run in complete contradiction to the goals of the United Nations. As the rest of the world opens its eyes to these autrocities, the United Nations is now attempting to scrape together some dignity in order to prevent a complete loss of faith from the world community which would lead to its destruction.

U.N. reaches out to win back middle America

The United Nations is out of touch with most Americans, who think the beleaguered organization has abandoned its mission to keep peace and protect human rights around the world, says U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's chief of staff.

"In a very real way, we seem to have lost touch with the great middle in America, a middle which very much believes in the aspirational ideas of the U.N. ... and who feel that we've drifted away from a commitment to human rights, a commitment to help the poor of the world," Mark Malloch Brown said yesterday.

The United Nations is under fire for several scandals including the oil-for-food program, charges of sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeeping forces and the resignation of a top official accused of sexual harassment, which Mr. Malloch Brown addressed in an exclusive interview with "Fox News Sunday."

The organization will propose changes in the coming weeks to begin repairing its reputation by revamping its “human rights machinery” to keep dictator nations off the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Governments making up the current membership include Cuba, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Saudi Arabia. Libya is the outgoing chair of the committee.

The plan would “try and restore the credibility of this and have people on that commission who really are people of stature and reputation and record and come from countries of the same thing, with real human rights standing in the world,” Mr. Malloch Brown said.

Regardless of any changes to repair the United Nations’reputation, the organization still must deal with several investigations by Congress that are focused on billions of dollars missing from the oil-for-food program, and on whether Mr. Annan’s son, Kojo, is involved.
Some lawmakers have called for Mr. Annan to resign. Mr. Malloch Brown dismissed the congressional criticism and said ”most of the world” stands by Mr. Annan and that his resignation would be tantamount to “inappropriate political assassination.”
The world does not “look at him as responsible for these problems. They look at it as a lack of support from governments in general, and that’s what we need to fix,” Mr. Malloch Brown said.

The U.N. official called reports of widespread sexual exploitation of children in the Congo by U.N. peacekeepers and officials, and sexual misconduct in Burundi, Haiti and Liberia “devastating.”

“It’s a terrible set of allegations — that peacekeepers sent to keep the peace in poor, weak countries with vulnerable people who have not been able to have their rights protected for years — that some of them behave in this way. I mean, it completely undercuts our mission, and we recognize that,” he said.

This report is..shocking? No. Suprising? No. A preview of what the UN will do to fix the problem? No. Too little too late? Probably.
I know that I may be seen as a crankly old man who doesn't believe any real change will ever happen, but what proof do we have that anything aside from a complete 'house cleaning' will fix these problems? NONE!!
The UN has yet to do anything in my life time to show that they are a functioning organization which serves its purpose. I cannot believe for one minute that real change will come.
Aside from my doubt, I have a few other problems with this article. First of all,"a commitment to human rights" is not a "commitment to help the poor of the world." Wealth is not an inalianable right protected by the American goverment--or any world government. It is disgusting to even put the two side-by-side. Not driving a car is much different than the right to not be raped, murdered, tortured, abused--and I'm just talking about the activities of UN 'peacekeepers' in the Sudan!! Until people understand that wealth redistribution (which is what this statement is in support of. It is a platform for a global tax which is at attempt to redistribute wealth) will not end all evils, human rights will continue to be violated. I understand that the UN has an obligation to help poor folk in the world (poor as in unable to buy food, drink, shelter etc.) but poor folk and folk who are having their human rights violated can be, and often are, seperate things. This is so frustrating.
Secondly, I would urge the UN and the leadership of Mr. Annan to reconsider their position on the importance of the Congressional investigation. If they want to 'touch base' with the 'American middle' they need to recognize that we put OUR government before THEIRS. If OUR government says that there is a big problem with the UN, while THEY are saying everything is fine, WE as AMERICANS will believe that there is a big problem. That is waht seperates the majority of 'middle America' from those who love the UN. We have a NATIONAL identity, we love AMERICA-- that's not to say we don't love the world, but we love AMERICA more. Shut your mouth Mr. Annan. Without America's government there would be no UN.
Finally, what does it mean that the leadership is not to blame, but instead that there wasn't full support of 'governments in general.' How is any government supposed to have faith in an organization which doesn't enforce its own rules? Which takes from the rich (countries) to give to the rich (UN leaders)? Which sends 'peacekeepers' which rape and abuse? The problems with the UN have nothing to do with support of government, except to say that governments around the world should have ended their support of this dying organization long ago.
Any and all action will be too little too late!! The UN should be disbanded RIGHT NOW!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Spineless UN

Perhaps the United Nations should use the product of a stem cell to grow themselves a spine!

NEW YORK -- A divided U.N. General Assembly, in a victory for
the Bush administration, yesterday urged governments to ban all human cloning,
including the cloning of human embryos for stem-cell research.

Capping four years of contentious debate, the assembly
voted 84-34, with 37 abstentions, to approve a nonbinding statement on cloning.
Thirty-six members were absent from the 191-member assembly.
Many Islamic nations were among those abstaining, on grounds
there was no U.N. consensus on the hot-button issue of whether stem-cell
research was a valid medical pursuit or the destruction of human life.
Opponents said the text was not legally
binding and would have no impact on their scientists' pursuit of stem-cell
Initially I was thrilled to hear this--the headlines looks as if the UN was moving to make a resolution which has some moral fiber and shows a little ethical fortitude, but alas, they are not. Rather than saying "we are going to tell you no" they are saying, "we are going to tell you, maybe you really shouldn't..."
I'm tired of this spineless approach to everything. Listen here UN--take a damn stand on something and actually mean it. "Iraq, you can't have weapons of mass destruction." "OK, Iraq, we don't want you to have weapons of mass destruction." "Iraq, maybe you shouldn't have WMD's." "OK, we'd really rather you didn't have them." "Ok, you can have them if we don't know about them." This is BS.
And as for you President Bush, I suppose that you are just happy they did something semi-right, which, in the case of the UUN (Useless United Nations) is a good thing, I hope you don't plan to pretend that this is acceptable. Saying something is 'bad' is much different than saying it is evil, unethical, wrong and that it will NOT be accepted.
Then again, what if they had said it wouldn't be accpeted? We'd spend 12 years debating about whether we should punish those who break the rules anyway so I guess it doesn't matter.
If you want to see a good description of just what I think about all of this (embryotic research cloning etc.) you've got to see the Christopher Reeves South Park episode. It's great!
By the way, is anyone suprised that it's militant Islamic nations that won't even say its bad? Yea, me neither...
TODAY'S MORAL: If you ever encounter something that you think is wrong, save yourself the time of having to defend you beliefs by just acting like that UN and saying "We believe it's wrong but we're not going to tell you you can't do it." Wussies.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Just So You Know

I've done this a few times before, and I am definitely feeling the need to do it again...So here we go with another mushy, ultra personal post.

I've said it a million times, but I'll say it again-- I have the absolute best friends that any human being could ever ask for. Search the globe--send out signals to distant planets--look far into the past and/or future and you will never be able to find another group of people who care more about me and about each other than the group of individuals that I am surrounded by every single day. Casey, Heather, Bethany, Jillian and the rest of you folks who are here with me every day, I say this as much as I can, but let me say it one more time--I love you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Last weekend was perhaps the weirdest weekend I've ever had. From unexpected news Friday night, which 'weirded me out' (so to speak), to a really great evening with Courtney on Saturday, to waking up to what is becoming a weekly attack on me (this time it was an attack on ME, not on people or policies I support IE Bush and any conservative legislation, but me as a human being) which really upset me a lot, there isn't anything that they won't listen to.

Casey, I have been especially thankful for you this week. I can't believe that it took us knowing each other since first grade to become this close. Never could I have imagined that the friendship we have developed would become so important to my very being. I truly don't know what I'd do without you. This week more than any you have listened to me rant, complain, moan and then, on the opposite side of the spectrum, you have listened to me gloat, act like a goofy little 4th grader, and grin like a moron. You're truly a first class person and friend. Thank you so much.

Heather, if/when you read this, you know that you have been here for me this week a lot too. Thanks for listening to me about that 'weird' situation and for making me smile all week. You're my best friend and I'd be lost without you.

This week, much like last weekend, has been strange. It's definitely been a 'jagged' week--that is, there have been very clear ups and downs and you guys have just been amazing. I love you all.

TODAY'S MORAL: Typically I do not post a 'moral' on personal entries--actually I don't think I've been posting many 'morals' at all lately, but today I feel it appropriate. Folks, remember your friends. The bad times are bearable with your close friends. The good times are good because of your friends. This may be the corniest thing you've ever read, but somewhere in your heart I think you're probably thinking of a friend of your own who fits the descriptions above.

I'll try to get back to real posts soon. Sorry for the mush ;)