Sunday, March 28, 2010

Obama, Afghanistan, and the "Long War"

Is it a coincidence that the same day Tom Hayden writes about The 'Long War' quagmire, Obama pops up in Afghanistan on an "unannounced trip?"

Probably--but the implications of Hayden's op-ed piece are dire: in the absence of an ongoing "Cold War" to stoke the fires of unbridled defense expenses, the neocons will need to promote 80 years of undeclared war against "insurgent groups from Europe to South Asia."

Of course, along with defense contractors keeping in business--big business--there is the untold correlating hardship of casualties of Americans in the field.

So is Obama in Afghanistan today to reassure troops on their mission, to discuss options for the long haul with his generals? Or is he developing a way to sell the taxpayers on why they need to pay for 100,000 ground forces in a country who's biggest export is based on the opium poppy seed?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Pope Turns His Back Again

The Catholic Church is mind boggling to me. Most formal religions' teachings are pretty far-fetched, but my exposure for most of my life is to the basic tenets of Christianity, some of which are man as God, virgin conception, rising from the dead--not to mention innumerable miracles, more like magic tricks, that we haven't seen the likes of since--are simply...mind boggling.

And I am surrounded by people who call themselves Christians, and I have learned through the years that some of these people actually know what beliefs they are following, including the ones mentioned above.

I'm really not trying to start a discussion of religion--I'm more interested in how far from any concept of morality and grounded spirituality the Catholic Church has strayed. Granted there was the Inquisition, among dozens of other historical transgressions across the centuries. But now in the middle of mass media and internet scrutiny, the Pope himself is turning his back on the victims of sexual abuse caused by his own flock under his own nose--right there in Europe, even Italy, where the tourists flow to the Vatican to get back to the origin of the religion. And he's done it before--

Christopher Dickey puts this bit of monumental hypocrisy in trenchant perspective -- Newsweek on line: When Death Came For the Archbishop.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hey bartender, Gimme some Pig Virus

Federal health authorities recommended Monday that doctors suspend using Rotarix, one of two vaccines licensed in the United States against rotavirus, saying the vaccine is contaminated with material from a pig virus. (CNN)

Infants have an immature immune system that naturally gets challenged all the time by germs and toxins from the environment and people. This constant exposure helps the complex primary (mucous membranes and gut) and secondary (cellular blood cells and antibodies) human immune systems to keep the body as free from disease as possible.

Vaccines play havoc with this interweaving of and interplay of organic chemistry and which has an effect on every part of the development of the child. This interference is evident in the latest story of the rotavirus vaccine having a DNA contaminant from an animal during its manufacture. this discovery was by chance through a research group's examination of vaccines looking for any such contamination.

Rotavirus symptoms in babies and toddlers tend to be much more serious because of their developing immune system. (

Doesn't it stand to reason that the "developing immune system" is also heavily tested by vaccines?

Around 4 to 5 million babies are born in the US each year. 100 infants have been reported by the CDC to die from rotavirus each year, which is a severe stomach ailment. We'll never know the huge toll getting vaccines takes on infants because the government, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and establishment medicine, close their eyes to this travesty in favor of the money to be made from vaccines. 1 million children received the vaccine for rotavirus already this year.

Almost all children have become infected with rotavirus by their third birthday. Repeat infections with different viral strains are possible, and most children have several episodes of rotavirus infection in the first years of life. After several infections with different strains of the virus, children acquire immunity to rotavirus. (

Vaccines for rotavirus require multiple doses, and most vaccines do not confer lifelong immunity, as do the antibodies to the actual germs.

And, as the drug companies like to state, the bottom line is that no one can prove the efficacy of any vaccines because there has never been a scientific double-blind study to prove they work. The statistics cited by the CDC are admittedly self-serving and vague in order to provide P R for citizens to line up for their vaccines.

As for me--my own DNA is quite enough, thank you. I'll pass on the pig virus.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Kinda Makes me Chortle

Let's talk about middle-aged men taking photographs of adolescent girls. Dressed in provocative poses, or naked, all in exquisite style...photographically.

I don't like the subject, and I'm sure the reader isn't at ease with it either. Surely a man caught engaging in such activity would be arrested for child endangerment at least.

There are several organizations devoted to the interest and caretaking of the life of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who indeed took pictures of young girls at the dawn of the age of photography, a century and a half ago, and who used the pseudonym of Lewis Carroll for his books about Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

The fascination with Lewis Carroll is partly due to his creative proclivities crossing over from knowledge and studies of math and logic to his use of words and story telling, and partly from the huge success of his books.

Who knows if he was a pederast? I heard similar stories about Walt Disney when I worked at Disney Studios in the 1980's. Supposedly--he was an anti-Semite who employed Jews; he was a skirt-chaser about whom Julie Andrews gushed as if he were a father-figure; he was an alcoholic who I loved to watch once a week in the 1950's, when he appeared as host of a TV show called"Disneyland." This TV show used Disney's movies and was sponsored by ABC, which financed the amusement park experiment, Disneyland.

Years later when I heard and read the truths and rumors about Walt Disney, the actual man, it was like waking up and getting it right. Like when I found out Mickey Mantle was a roaring drunk, and not the "hero" I watched play baseball when I was 8 years old.

Even if only a percentage of the rumors about Disney were true, there were enough to make me realize this wasn't the same "Uncle Walt" I enjoyed watching as a kid.

My favorite "Disneyland" show was "Alice in Wonderland," divided into segments over several weeks, on a 19 inch black and white television set. It was mesmerizing, especially the caterpillar "dude" with the hookah (bong?) blowing smoky letters of messages out to little Alice (just as Carroll wrote her she was a young girl in the animated version).

Never mind drugs (this one makes you small, this one makes you tall) the interest for me dates back way before the 1951 animated feature. Walt's initial fame came from drawing "Alice" adventures back in Kansas in the 1920's using a real child model and putting her in animated settings. This was a clever and creative expression at the time.

It doesn't seem fair to compare the current Disney "Alice" mega-millions-budgeted 3D release with the lineage from the past. Just for starters--the "Alice" character in the new movie is 19, and she is being proposed to for marriage. The innocence of the 7-year-old "Alice" of the books is already lost before the movie begins. Obviously Tim Burton & co are not interested in maintaining Carroll's or Disney's point of view of this little girl getting into big trouble, or any otherwise psychological dysfunction. Why should they?

The "Alice" I remember is bizarre, frightening, and wildly imaginative.

So if the forest trees don't scare the crap out of me and Snow White, Bambi's mother doesn't get shot, Pinocchio doesn't turn into a donkey, and little girls napping out by the tree don't fall down a menacing hole with weird-speaking unbelievable beings--

Then I guess 3D "Alice" notwithstanding, my happy childhood fairy tales are over.