The Rational Egoist

Welcome to my blog. My name is Steve Giardina. I consider myself to be a student of the philosophy of Objectivism, and these are my many thoughts. Feel free to leave comments, as well as your opinions.

"In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours. But to win it requires your total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is a sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence of that which is man: for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that yours is the Morality of Life." Ayn Rand


A Free Russia? [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:24 pm

Halloween has been banned in Moscow.

MOSCOW, Oct. 31 (UPI) – Halloween has taken a double whammy in Moscow from both school administrators and church officials banning it outright, the BBC reports.

City education officials claim Halloween brings elements of religion into the classroom, which is forbidden. Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church condemns the event’s glorification of evil spirits.

The education department is also reportedly concerned ghoulish elements of the holiday have upset parents, many of whom were distressed to see children pretending to hang each other after Halloween.

A Russian Orthodox Church spokesman said Halloween was “more than strange.”

“When people turn to evil forces by way of a joke, when they praise them and flirt with them, it reflects on the fate of the person, because it teaches him that evil is acceptable,” Vsevolod Chaplin told the Interfax news agency.

Nonetheless, Halloween – the night before the Catholic All Souls Day – is not widely celebrated in Russia.

I think Halloween is a stupid holiday. I think that children should not be worshipping the evil and the dead, so on and so forth. However, this does not give me the right to go to the government and force every child in America, (or even in my current town of residence, Madison), from celebrating Halloween. So much for Russia being “enlightened.”

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California Fires Caused by Government Regulations? [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:19 pm

California firefighters spotted the beginnings of the now devastating California wildfires, but were prevented from taking action to put out the fire becuase of government regulations.

The first helicopter pilot to see the patch of flames that would become the catastrophic Cedar Fire radioed for aerial water drops, but state firefighters rejected his request because it came minutes after such flights had been grounded for the night.

Within hours, the flames cascaded out of control and killed 13 residents between the mountains east of San Diego and the city. It eventually became the largest wildfire in California history.

Another example of horrific government regulation resulting in many deaths as well as a lot of property destruction. The California firefighters had the ability to possibly prevent this entire wildfire from happening but were prevented from doing so because they were minutes over the government regulated time for such flights being grounded for the night.

Some advocates of government regulations such as these would say that such regulations are necessary. Tell that to the people who have died in this fire. Tell that to the people who have had to be evacuated from their homes. Tell that to the people who have lost everything that they own.

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Israel Preventing Terrorist Attacks [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 12:25 pm

An article claims that Israel has thrwarted several terrorist attacks on Israel in the past 10 days.

In the past ten days, the Shin Bet and IDF forces succeeded in thwarting seven potential suicide bomb attacks in Israel, including a double suicide bomb attack that was to have taken place in Beit She’an, and a car bomb attack in Israel.

The security establishment registered 41 warnings of plans by terrorists to perpetrate attacks on Wednesday, a security official told The Jerusalem Post, noting that the majority of the warnings received related to potential suicide bomb attacks.

“People should not be misguided by the supposed calm,” the official said, noting that the terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank continues in its efforts to launch attacks against Israeli citizens.

Good, but the best defense is a good offense. Go eliminate the source of these terror attacks: The Palestinian Authority and the terrorist groups they sponsor.

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Economy: Mission Accomplished [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 12:23 pm

In the third quarter the U.S. GDP rose 7.2%, the highest rate since 1984.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The economy grew at a scorching 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter in the strongest pace in nearly two decades. Consumers spent with abandon and businesses ramped up investment, compelling new evidence of an economic resurgence.

The increase in gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy’s performance, in the July-September quarter was more than double the 3.3 percent rate registered in the second quarter, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The 7.2 percent pace marked the best showing since the first quarter of 1984. It exceeded analysts’ forecasts for a 6 percent growth rate for third-quarter GDP, which measures the value of all goods and services produced within the United States.

Finally some good news! This should amount to some big political points for Bush. I can’t wait to hear what all of the Democrats will say in response to this. It will be funny to see them backtrack from their months of whining that the Bush tax cuts will destroy our economy.

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Sharon Not Going To Kill Arafat? [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:14 pm

Sharon has stated publicly that he has no plans to kill Yasser Arafat, terrorist head of the Palestinian Authority.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said for the first time in public Monday that Israel has no plans to kill Palestinian President Yasser Arafat despite the Israeli government’s vow to remove him from power.
Click here!

Israel’s security cabinet decided in principle last month to “remove” Arafat and Sharon’s deputy Ehud Olmert said killing the 74-year-old symbol of Palestinian nationalism was an option.

“I don’t see any plans to kill him although the man is responsible for deaths of hundreds, of thousands of mostly civilians because his strategy is a strategy of terror,” Sharon told a group of European parliamentarians visiting Jerusalem.

Sharon’s statement followed weeks of speculation on how and when Israel might carry out its threat to oust Arafat, which has drawn an international outcry and strong U.S. opposition.

Political sources had said Sharon had ruled out assassinating Arafat, but it was the first time the right-wing Israeli leader has done so publicly.

Israel accuses Arafat of fomenting violence in a three-year-old uprising for independence. Arafat denies the allegation and accuses Sharon of waging of a war to annihilate the Palestinian people.

Taking note of international criticism, Sharon told the European delegation: “I’m afraid to even mention the words ‘to kill him."‘

This is one of the most sickening examples of moral cowardice that I have ever seen.

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Hatred of Israel Common Amongst Palestinians [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:55 pm

A new poll says that 59% of Palestinians would support terrorist bombings of Israel even if Israel pulled out of West Band and Gaza, and a Palestinian state were formed.

Fifty-nine percent of Palestinians believe that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad should continue their armed struggle against Israel even if Israel leaves all of the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem, and a Palestinian state is created, a new survey shows.

Similarly, 80 percent of Palestinians say that, under those circumstances, the Palestinians should not give up the “right of return.”

The poll of Palestinians, Israeli Jews, and Israeli Arabs was released in Washington on Wednesday by Itamar Marcus, founder of Palestinian Media Watch and written by pollster Frank Luntz. It was conducted by two polling firms, the Public Opinion Research of Israel and The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion.

The poll also examined Israeli and Palestinian attitudes towards the US and towards terrorism.

Nintey-six percent of Israeli Jews say the people who piloted the planes on September 11 were terrorists, while 37 percent of Palestinians share that view.

Slightly more than one in four - 26 percent - of Palestinians believe Israelis planned the 9-11 attacks.

Forty-two percent of Palestinians and 61 percent of Israeli-Arabs stated that they support the people who are attacking Americans in Iraq. Zero percent of Israeli Jews said they did.

Marcus said he believes such opinions are “not coming from a vacuum” and that the survey demonstrates a “connection between Palestinian media and education and Palestinian beliefs and opinions.”

The peaceful nature of Islam, eh? This just demonstrates further that the “peace process” is a total sham. Maybe Israel will wake up and take full action against their savage neighbors.

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Bush Will Sign Partial Birth Abortion Ban [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:41 pm

President Bush is ready to sign a ban on partial birth abortion, committing yet another horrific infringement on the individual rights of American citizens.

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said he would sign newly passed legislation to end the “abhorrent practice” known by critics as partial birth abortion, giving abortion foes a victory that had eluded them for close to a decade.

Abortion rights advocates said they would immediately go to court to stop what they said was a dangerous incursion against the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

The Senate voted 64-34 Tuesday to ban a type of abortion, generally carried out in the second or third trimester, in which a fetus is partially delivered before being killed. The House approved the legislation this month, and Bush has urged Congress to get it to his desk.

“This is very important legislation that will end an abhorrent practice and continue to build a culture of life in America,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to signing it into law.”

BY WHAT RIGHT can the government tell any indvidual that they do not have the right over their own body? The last time I checked, I thought that the founding principles of this country were based on the idea that every individual has the right to their own life, not that the government can infringe anyone’s individual rights so that they may create “a culture of life.”

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One Example of NK’s Individual Rights Violations [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:33 pm

The US committee for human rights in North Korea is reporting on one of thousands of individual rights violations taking place under the communist regime of North Korea.

North Korea detains up to 200,000 people in “slave” camps where torture and executions are routine and starvation is widespread, according to a report on the isolated state.

The study by the US Committee for Human Rights in North Korea told how pregnant women among thousands of North Koreans repatriated from China are forced to abort their infants or watch their babies killed after birth, in case the fathers are foreign.

“The Hidden Gulag - Exposing North Korea’s Prison Camps” was compiled by David Hawk, a former UN human rights investigator, who has in the past reported on the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia and the ethnic massacres in Rwanda in the mid-1990s.

North Korea denies it has political prisoners. But the study, based on interviews with former inmates and guards who escaped North Korea, estimated there were between 150,000 and 200,000 people in dozens of camps.

It produced satellite photographs of the camps, and mines and industrial complexes where inmates are forced into “slave labour”.

Political inmates are detained for their perceived opposition to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il or his father Kim Il-Sung, the North’s founder leader who died in 1994.

Some were imprisoned for tipping ink on a picture of one of the two Kims or not taking care of photographs of the two that every household in the nation of 22 million people must prominently display.

One woman’s crime had been to sing a South Korean pop song. Others were ethnic Koreans who returned from Japan but were considered to have been “spoiled by their exposure to Japanese liberalism and capitalist prosperity.”

Up to three generations of the family of each offender is also detained to ensure political purification.

The study said there was “a North Korean gulag of forced-labour colonies, camps and prisons where scores of thousands of prisoners – some political, some convicted felons – are worked, many to their deaths.”

The report said each camp has between 5,000 and 50,000 detainees and that “prisoners live under brutal conditions in permanent situations of deliberately contrived semi-starvation.”


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Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:29 pm

This article discusses the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, in which Gabriel Schoenfeld discusses the failures of this treaty and the ramifications.

Today, while our forces are engaged in a major open-ended operation in Iraq, a minor open-ended operation in Afghanistan, and a global war against al Qaeda, we are quietly sliding into the gravest crisis of this kind since Nikita Khrushchev placed nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba. Two crazy states–both charter members of what President Bush has rightly called the “axis of evil,” both openly flouting an international treaty to which they are party, both perpetrators of acts of international terrorism, both animated by a blistering hatred for America and the West–are bent on acquiring weapons of unthinkable destructive power. The CIA, as it admits in its own statements, does not know what it needs to know about either country, except that North Korea almost certainly possesses two or more fully operational bombs and could have as many as ten within months, while Iran is at most several years away from acquiring the bomb unless it purchases one or more tomorrow or next week or next month from Pyongyang.

Whatever the constraints on our resources, the challenge is unmistakable and cannot be dodged. The price of action is likely to be high, very high; the price of inaction is likely to be much higher. Courtesy of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, we have already had to relearn the lesson of Pearl Harbor in a second and more terrible form. In the age of terrorism and nuclear weapons, we cannot afford to relearn it a third time and a fourth.

I highly suggest reading this entire article, it gives an elaborate demonstration on some of the major threats that are facing us today: Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. While this article gives no or very few moral arguments for eliminating these threats, nor condemnation for the past actions of Carter and Clinton, it is nonetheless quite valuable in understanding the threats to U.S. security.

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Pakistan Trading Nuclear Weapons Technology [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 12:58 pm

According to a report, the government of Pakistan is trading nuclear weapons technology with Saudi Arabia in exchange for cheap oil.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have concluded a secret agreement on “nuclear cooperation” that will provide the Saudis with nuclear-weapons technology in exchange for cheap oil, according to a ranking Pakistani insider.
The disclosure came at the end of a 26-hour state visit to Islamabad last weekend by Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, who flew across the Arabian Sea with an entourage of 200, including Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal and several Cabinet ministers.
Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the pro-American defense minister who is next in line to the throne after the crown prince, was not part of the delegation.
“It will be vehemently denied by both countries,” said the Pakistani source, whose information has proven reliable for more than a decade, “but future events will confirm that Pakistan has agreed to provide [Saudi Arabia] with the wherewithal for a nuclear deterrent.”
As predicted, Saudi Arabia — which has faced strong international suspicion for years that it was seeking a nuclear capability through Pakistan — strongly denied the claim.
Prince Sultan was quoted in the Saudi newspaper Okaz yesterday saying that “no military agreements were concluded between the kingdom and Pakistan during [Prince Abdullah´s] visit to Islamabad.”
Mohammad Sadiq, deputy chief of mission for Pakistan’s embassy in Washington, also denied any nuclear deal was in the works. “That is totally incorrect,” he said in a telephone interview. “We have a clear policy: We will not export our nuclear expertise.”
But the CIA believes Pakistan already has shared its nuclear know-how, working with North Korea in exchange for missile technology.
A Pakistani C-130 was spotted by satellite loading North Korean missiles at Pyongyang airport last year. Pakistan, which is estimated to have between 35 and 60 nuclear weapons, said this was a straight purchase for cash and strongly denied a nuclear quid pro quo.
“Both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,” the Pakistani source said, “see a world that is moving from nonproliferation to proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

What will be done about this? Does World War III have to begin before our government is going to actually act to protect us?

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The Peaceful Nature of Islam? [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 12:56 pm

75% of Palestinians support the suicide bombing of a restaurant in Haifa that killed 21 people, including 4 children.

In a question asking whether they supported or opposed the October 4 bombing in the northern city of Haifa, 75 percent said they either supported the attack or strongly supported it.

Seventeen percent of respondents said they opposed the bombing and 4.4 percent said they strongly opposed the attack.

So this is supposed to represent the “peaceful and just aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state"? We should force the Israeli’s out of their justifiably held territory to give savages their own state? Doesn’t anyone see the perversion of justice?

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The Palestinian Authority: A Group of Terrorists [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 12:58 pm

Jeff Jacoby has written a very good op-ed in Capitalism Magazine: Palestinian Authority: A Network of Murderers Masquerading As Government

Three Americans – John Branchizio, Mark Parson, and John Martin Linde – were murdered last Wednesday when terrorists in Gaza bombed the diplomatic convoy they were riding in. News accounts immediately described the attack as a first – ‘’an unprecedented deadly attack on a US target in the Palestinian territories,'’ to quote the Associated Press. But Branchizio, Parson, and Linde were not the first Americans to be murdered by Palestinian terrorists. They were the 49th, 50th, and 51st in the past 10 years alone.

A few hours after their deaths, the White House condemned ‘’the vicious act of terrorism'’ that killed them, extended ‘’heartfelt condolences to the families,'’ and promised ‘’to bring the terrorists to justice.'’ The families of the many previous US victims of Palestinian terror might reasonably wonder why there was no such presidential concern when their loved ones were massacred.

Read the whole op-ed. Right on.

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The Grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini Wants U.S. Invasion [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 6:24 pm

The grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic fundamentalist revolution in Iran, has publicly stated that he wants the United States to invade Iran and dispose of the Islamic Republic.

“Now we have had 25 years of a failed Islamic revolution in Iran, and the people do not want an Islamic regime anymore.”

It’s not strictly necessary to speak to Hossein Khomeini to appreciate the latter point: Every visitor to Iran confirms it, and a large majority of the Iranians themselves have voted for anti-theocratic candidates. The entrenched and reactionary regime can negate these results up to a certain point; the only question is how long can they do so? Young Khomeini is convinced that the coming upheaval will depend principally on those who once supported his grandfather and have now become disillusioned. I asked him what he would like to see happen, and his reply this time was very terse and did not require any Quranic scriptural authority or explication. The best outcome, he thought, would be a very swift and immediate American invasion of Iran.

It hurt me somewhat to have to tell him that there was scant chance of deliverance coming by this means. He took the news pretty stoically (and I hardly think I was telling him anything he did not know). But I was thinking, wow, this is what happens if you live long enough. You’ll hear the ayatollah’s grandson saying, not even “Send in the Marines” but “Bring in the 82nd Airborne.” I think it was the matter-of-factness of the reply that impressed me the most: He spoke as if talking of the obvious and the uncontroversial.

Why have we not eliminated the heart of Islamic fundamentalism: Iran? As I have said many times before, Iran is the heart of the Islamic fundamentalist movement, their nuclear weapons program poses a serious threat to our security, and the people are screaming for the Iranian government to be overthrown. Seems pretty clear to me that an invasion of Iran would have been MUCH smarter than an invasion of Iraq. Then again, I’m not one to associate intelligence with President Bush, or most of our politicians for that matter.

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Will Israel Strike Iran? [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 5:03 pm

A report restated in the Jerusalem Post claims that Israel has a plan to eliminate the nuclear facilities of Iran.

The German newspaper Der Spiegel reported Saturday that Israel has prepared plans for a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to halt Iran’s progress towards attaining nuclear weapons.

Der Spiegel reported that a special unit of the Mossad received an order two months ago to prepare a detailed plan to destroy Iran’s nuclear sites. According to the paper, the Mossad’s plan is ready and has been delivered to the Israeli Air Force, which will carry out the strike.

The newspaper said its source is an IAF fighter-bomber pilot, who said the plan to take out Iran’s nuclear sites was “complex, yet manageable.”

The paper added that Israel knows Iran has six nuclear sites, all of which would be attacked simultaneously by Israeli jets.

The paper added that the Mossad believes Iran has reached an advanced stage in its nuclear program and is capable of producing enriched uranium, a vital ingredient of nuclear bombs. The report went on to say that three of Iran’s nuclear sites were totally unknown to the outside world.

The paper said Israeli defense officials told Der Spiegel that if the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency’s inspectors visited those three sites, the Iranians would have “something to worry about because they have something to hide.”

Israel has long sounded the alarm regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions and has hinted over recent years that it might strike Iran’s nuclear facilities at Bushehr and elsewhere, just as it hit Iraq’s reactor at Osirak in June 1981.

‘We think that next summer, if Iran is not stopped, it will reach self-sufficiency and this is the point of no return. After this self-capability, it will take them some two years to make a nuclear bomb,’ OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze’evi (Farkash) announced on TV Channel 1 two in August.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the IAF has devoted the bulk of its procurement funds in the past decade to strike at Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile facilities. Generals and Israeli leaders have openly declared that the tens of billions of shekels spent are to extend its reach for just this possibility.

An extremist Islamic regime which has publicly vowed to destroy the Jewish state, Iran is intent on developing the bomb. Stopping this is a daunting challenge for Israel’s miltary establishment.

Iran has warned Israel against any military attack on its nuclear sites, saying Israel would pay a very heavy price if it did.

Encouraging news considering that the U.S. has once again lost its moral certainty in upholding our right to self-defense.

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Iranian Secret Nuclear Facility [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 4:57 pm

A report claims that the Iranians are hiding another nuclear site from U.N. weapons inspectors.

VIENNA (Reuters) - An Iranian opposition group that has provided accurate information about undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran in the past said on Monday that Tehran has been hiding another nuclear facility from U.N. inspectors.

“We have information about another secret nuclear facility in Iran,” an official from the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an exiled opposition group, told Reuters. The official gave no details about the site, but said the NCRI would provide full details on Tuesday.

In an emailed statement, the NCRI also said it would provide information on Iran’s use of foreign technology in its atomic program, as well as details about the Kalaye Electric Co., where U.N. inspectors found traces of weapons-grade uranium.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declined to comment on the NCRI allegation, though it said it would closely study any information the exiles released about Iran’s nuclear plans.

“We have no official comment on this report, although we analyze all sources of information very carefully,” IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky said.

In August 2002, the NCRI broke the news of two undeclared nuclear sites in Iran – a massive uranium-enrichment complex at Natanz and a heavy-water production facility at Arak.

Tehran later declared these facilities to the IAEA, which has placed surveillance cameras at Natanz to ensure that no undeclared nuclear activities take place there.

In addition to the uranium found at Kalaye, the IAEA found traces of weapons-grade enriched uranium at Natanz, fueling fears that Iran has been secretly purifying uranium for use in an atomic bomb.

Tehran denies it secretly enriched uranium and blamed the traces on contaminated machinery purchased abroad in the 1980s.

Since it seems evident that the U.S. will do nothing about this threat (see my last post), I sincerely hope that Israel musters up the courage to eliminate these facilities.

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Iranian Nuclear Weapons [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:02 pm

In response to the threat posed by an Iranian nuclear weapons program, the US government seems to be pushing for a missle defense system in Europe.

BERLIN (AFP) - The US government is considering stationing defensive missiles in a number of European countries against a potential attack from Iran.

State Department sources told Germany’s Sueddeutsche newspaper that Washington was concerned because Iran is developing a satellite program and argued that if Tehran can send satellites into space, it could probably fire intercontinental missiles.

The daily quoted a high-ranking US diplomat as saying that the Americans would like to develop a defensive missile network with Europeans but doubted whether a deal could be reached quickly by NATO (news - web sites).

Because of these concerns, Washington may pursue bilateral agreements with individual European countries for deployment in 2006 anti-ballistic systems in exchange for economic aid, the Sueddeutsche said.

What about the terrorist groups who can get their hands on such weapons and smuggle them into the United States? What about a nuclear weapon on a boat headed into one of our ports? What about all of the other ways in which Iran could use nuclear weapons to inflict harm on us?

This really concerns me, because it says that instead of eliminating the heart of Islamic fundamentalism which is developing nuclear weapons, we will essentially ignore the threat and install a half-assed missle defense system that can only protect us from one form of nuclear attack. President Bush, by failing to live up to his own doctrine of eliminating all terrorist groups and the states that sponsor them, is putting our security in great risk.

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Bush Takes Stance Against Castro [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 12:57 pm

President Bush is pushing for the overthrow of Fidel Castro, the dictator of Communist Cuba.

WASHINGTON - Eager to please a key Florida constituency, President Bush directed his secretary of state and his Cuban-born housing secretary Friday to recommend ways to achieve a transition to democracy in Cuba after 44 years under Fidel Castro.

Secretary of State Colin Powell and Housing Secretary Mel Martinez will chair a panel that will “plan for the happy day when Castro’s regime is no more and democracy comes to the island,” Bush said during a Rose Garden ceremony.

“The transition to freedom will present many challenges to the Cuban people and to America, and we will be prepared,” the president said.

Bush also said the United States would step up enforcement of existing restrictions against the communist regime, such as a ban on tourism by Americans, and crack down on the trafficking of women and children in Cuba. The United States also will launch a public outreach campaign to identify “the many routes to safe and legal entry” for Cubans who try to flee their homeland, he said.

“We’ll increase the number of new Cuban immigrants we welcome every year,” Bush added. “We are free to do so, and we will for the good of those who seek freedom.”

I am happy to see that President Bush is taking a stance against a tyrannical dictator.

Now if only our government would take the same condemning stance against EVERY dictatorship of the world, we would be a whole lot better off.

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The Music of Sousa [About Me] — Steve Giardina @ 3:11 pm

I love the music of John Philip Sousa. His marches are filled with an optomistic and upbeat, distinctly American sense of life that is not matched anywhere else. From Stars and Stripes Forever to The Washington Post and Semper Fidelis, all of his marches are filled with the idea that man is great, and his deserved posture is not the humble kneeling of man to God, but an upright and proud posture.

I first discovered the music of Sousa after reading a review of Sousa’s music in The Intellectual Activist. Sometime after, I picked up Sousa Marches: Stirring Marches of the USA Services This CD contains 12 of Sousa’s most famous marches, along with 11 famous military marches that were inspired by Sousa’s unique style. Tracks include The Stars and Stripes Forever, The Washington Post, The Invincible Eagle, Semper Fidelis, Anchors Aweigh, The Army Air Corps (Wild Blue Yonder), and many more.

For anyone who is strongly patriotic and greatly admires the fundamental principles of America, as I do, I highly recommend the music of John Philip Sousa. Unlike the majority of music that is out there today, the music of Sousa embodies everything that is great about the United States of America in the best marches that I have ever heard in my life.

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Arnold Wins California [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:35 pm

Arnold Schwarzenegger has won the gubernatorial recall election in Caleeeefornia.

LOS ANGELES - Californians banished Gov. Gray Davis just 11 months into his second term and overwhelmingly elected action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace him Tuesday - a Hollywood ending to one of the most extraordinary political melodramas in the nation’s history. “I will not fail you, I will not disappoint you, and I will not let you down,” the victorious actor vowed.

Voters traded a career Democratic politician who became one of the state’s most despised chief executives for a moderate Republican megastar who had never before run for office. Davis became the first California governor pried from office and only the second nationwide to be recalled.

While Davis was a horrible politician, this recall election was in contradiction with the fundamental principles of this country. (See my 10/7/03 post: My thoughts on the California Recall Election)

I sincerely hope that this does not begin a trend of recall elections across the country.

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Syria Threatens Israel [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:31 pm

Syria has threatened that it will attack Israel if another raid occurs on Syrian land.

JERUSALEM/MADRID (Reuters) - Syria’s ambassador to Spain said on Wednesday Damascus would respond militarily against Israel if the Jewish state carried out new attacks on Syrian territory.

A senior Israeli security source swiftly dismissed the threat, saying Israel did not want to escalate tensions and believed Syria did not want to start a war. The source said the envoy’s statement was mainly intended to impress the Arab world.

But the comments increased tensions simmering since Israel carried out an air strike on Sunday on what it said was a training camp for Palestinian militants near Damascus, one day after a Palestinian suicide bombing killed 19 people in Israel.

Syria says the target was a civilian site and has said it has the right to defend itself.

“If Israel attacks Syria one, two and three times, of course the people of Syria and the government of Syria and the army will react to defend ourselves,” Syrian Ambassador Mohsen Bilal told Reuters in Madrid.

Asked if that meant responding militarily, he said: “By all means. If Israel continues to attack us and continues its aggression of course we shall react to the attacks in spite of the fact that we are fighting for peace and wish to reopen the (1991) Madrid (peace) conference.”

Israel did not immediately respond formally to the envoy’s remarks.

But the senior Israeli security source said: “This sort of statement is intended mainly for the Arab world, to give the impression Syria is steadfast in the fight against Israel.

Yeah, and Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have the “right” to defend themselves against the attacks of the United States. (Give me a break.)

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Arafat Heart Attack [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:28 pm

Yasser Arafat has suffered a mild heart attack.

Yasser Arafat has suffered a mild heart attack but the Palestinian leadership has sought to keep his health problems secret for fear it will “create panic”.

The 74-year-old Palestinian president, who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, disappeared from public view last week and re-emerged at the weekend looking extremely ill. His face was pale and pinched, he had lost weight and he was almost inaudible. He had trouble standing for more than a few minutes at a time.

The Palestinian press said he was suffering from flu. But Palestinian officials told the Guardian that Mr Arafat had suffered a heart attack last week. “Although he has had a slight heart attack, the doctors say he will make a full recovery. He is in full control. There is nothing to worry about,” said a close aide to Mr Arafat, who did not wish to be named.

Asked why it had not been made public at the time, the official said that it would “have created panic at a critical time when the Israelis are threatening Arafat’s life”.

Just one more step closer to justice.

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We Know Where You Live [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 3:51 pm

Israel has released information about the location of Islamic terrorists in Damascus.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - We know where you live.

That was the unmistakable message of the release by Israeli authorities on Tuesday of a map pinpointing what it said were homes and offices of Palestinian militant leaders in Damascus.

The army said the map was intended to illustrate the extent of the “Terror Network in the Damascus Region.” It came on the same day that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites) said Israel would attack its enemies “any place, and in any way.”

Good for you Israel.

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My thoughts on the California Recall Election [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:35 pm

In my opinion, the California Recall election is firmly against the fundamental principles that this country was founded on. When this country was founded, it was based on the principle of individual rights being inalienable to every single human being by their very nature. The purpose of government therefore, was the protection of these individual rights through a system of representative government. The government, under such a system, would not cater to the whims of the people, but rather, have the citizens elect representatives whom they believed would best uphold the fundamental principles of the government as written in the Constitution.

This has been completely forgotten today. Today, our society is referred to as a “democracy,” which is a very dangerous generalization to make about our system of government. As I stated in my 7/24/2003 post, Democracy:

Today we hear numerous times that our government wants the rest of the world to enjoy “democracy” as the United States does, and that the system of democracy is the best there is. This representation of the American system of government as “democracy” is inaccurate, and democracy is not an ideal system at all. In fact, a democracy is merely another form of dictatorship.

In the system of democracy, the dictates of a certain majority determine what is right and what is wrong for the government to do. So, the purpose of the government in a democracy is to do anything that the majority (the people) wants them to do. If the majority decided that an individual in their society was “undesirable,” they could vote to have that individual executed, or imprisoned, or punished in some other way. An example of such a society was that of Ancient Greece, where the majority of Greece citizens voted to execute Socrates (considered to be the first major philosophical figure) because he advocated “unpopular” views. Or, the people could vote to enslave a section of society, or slaughter a group of society, any horrible thing they wanted to do as a “majority.”

Therefore, in a democracy, a human being does not have inalienable rights but rather is “provided” with their rights according to the majority, which can be revoked at any time whenever the majority dictates it. This means that, in such a society, you would only have your freedom by permission. You would only have “permission” to live and to pursue your happiness as long as a majority of people will it. Such a democracy is merely another form of dictatorship because there is absolutely no protection of the biggest minority in a society, the individual.

What makes the American system of government distinctly free is the fact that this country is founded on the profound notion that every human being regardless of race, sex, religion, etc., has certain inalienable rights: the right to life, and all of its deriviatives, the right to property, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (While this notion was not completely recognized by the American government at our foundation, this profound notion was still the philosophical cause for the formation of our government).

This means that the American system of government can not be referred to as a democracy, but rather a constitutional republic. In a constitutional republic, there is an exact constitution which determines the powers of government and how such a government recognizes the inalienable rights of its citizens.

However, in America today, our system of government has become a combination between the dictatorship of a democracy and a free constitutional republic. According to the founding of this country, every individual has the right to their own life, which means, the right to be free from the initiation of force from others and that every individual has the right to take whatever actions they deem necessary by their own independent judgment to be beneficial to their own life as long as they do not violate the rights of others in the process. Today however, while most people still retain the protection of their rights, if people get a large enough group together and pressure their elected representatives, many times they “persuade” their elected representives to push for new laws which violate the rights of some individuals for the benefit of some group. For example, enough poor people get together to form a large enough majority, and then persuade their representatives to violate the rights of certain rich individuals by forcibly taking their money and giving it to the poor people (income taxes). In this example, a certain majority gets together and decides that they want to force certain “undesirables in society” (the rich) to do whatever the majority wills (they will that the rich do not really “need” all that money, so there is no problem in stealing portions of it from them).

The recall election is yet another example of the erosion of the fundamental principles of our country. Instead of having elections with the intent of electing representatives to uphold the principles of the Constitution, our government is now catering to the whims of the people, despite whether or not these whims violate individual rights or the principles of the Constitution. I have no love for Gray Davis, in fact, I think he is an idiot. However, this does not negate the fact that he was elected by the people of California for a 4 year term. This does not negate the fact that our system of government is supposed to be a constitutional republic based on the fundamental principle of individual rights. Therefore, I firmly oppose this recall election in California.

In support of my position on this issue, I’d like to present an article from Capitalism Magazine by John Lewis:
California’s Recall Election: Dangerous Democracy at Work

The Democrats who criticize Republican advocates of the recall say that we need to respect our democratic processes and allow the governor to complete his term. To subject the governor to the direct vote of the people is “undemocratic.” Democracy, they claim, means following the rules despite the clear wishes of the people.

The Republicans, on the other hand, say that the desire of the people to rid the state of an atrocious governor trumps such concerns. Democracy, to these Republicans, means respecting the will of the people despite the requirements of the constitution.

What is the truth here? In the Federalist Papers, James Madison said that the first great difference between a democracy and a republic is that a republic is “the delegation of the government . . . to a small number of citizens elected by the rest.” A democracy is rather a society in which the citizens “assemble and administer the government in person.”

Under republican government, the citizens select official representatives, for defined terms, with specific powers. The officials then administer the government. The people may not demand the removal of an elected official unless his actions are manifestly illegal. This is so even if the majority favors the recall. The requirements of the constitution elevate the rule of law over the short-term desires of the people.

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Arafat Reported Seriously Ill! [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:18 pm

According to reports from the Jerusalem Post, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, may be seriously ill.

Four ambulances that were seen entering Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s compound in Ramallah on Monday afternoon triggered off rumors that he was seriously ill.

Within minutes, senior officials in the compound were bombarded with phone calls from curious journalists. Arafat’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, dismissed reports that Arafat had been taken to a local hospital. He said Arafat suffered from exhaustion and was recovering.

But another senior official said Arafat’s health has rapidly deteriorated over the past two weeks. “I don’t think it’s the flu as some people say,” he said. “The president hasn’t been feeling well for some time and his health seems to be worsening.”

He said it was possible that Arafat, 74, has caught a number of viruses as a result of shaking hands and exchanging kisses on the cheek with thousands of people who came to see him over the past few weeks following Israel’s decision to “remove” him.

On Sunday, a pale and fragile-looking Arafat met in his office with the new PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei. Palestinians said they have never before seen Arafat in such a condition.

“You can see that he’s very ill,” said someone who attended the meeting. “He can hardly speak. Something bad is happening to him.”

This is great news for any person who respects justice and individual rights. The leader of a corrupt government and his own terrorist organization, responsible for thousands of unjust deaths, may be close to receiving a dose of metaphysical justice.

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Israel Asserts Right to Self-Defense [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:07 pm

Commenting on Israel’s raid on a Syrian terrorist base, the first such attack in 30 years, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has asserted Israel’s right to self-defense.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Buoyed by U.S. backing for Israel’s right to defend itself, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Tuesday the Jewish state was ready to hit its enemies anywhere following an air raid deep inside Syria.

Speaking at a memorial service marking the anniversary of the 1973 Middle East war, Sharon took a tough line but made no specific threats after Sunday’s strike on what Israel said was a training camp for Palestinian militants.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, breaking his silence on the attack near Damascus, accused Israel of trying to drag Syria and the rest of the Middle East into a wider conflict. Syria said Israeli warplanes hit a civilian site.

It was Israel’s deepest air raid in Syria in three decades. It followed a Palestinian suicide bombing that killed 19 people in a restaurant in the Israeli port city of Haifa a day earlier.

President Bush insisted Monday that Israel should not feel constrained in defending itself but said he told Sharon: “It’s very important that any action Israel take(s) should avoid escalation and creating higher tensions.”

Sharon’s first public comments since Sunday’s strike also followed a flare-up of violence on Israel’s border with Lebanon, where Syria is the main powerbroker.

“Israel will not be deterred from defending its citizens and will hit its enemies any place and in any way,” Sharon said in a speech broadcast live from a military cemetery in Jerusalem.

“At the same time, we will not miss any opening and opportunity to reach an agreement with our neighbors and peace.”

Israel accuses Syria of giving safe haven to Palestinian militants spearheading a 3-year-old uprising for independence. [Emphasis added]

Buoyed by U.S. backing for Israel’s right to defend itself… The key point here is that the United States of America, at least half-heartedly, is supporting Israel’s right to defend itself by attacking the source of Islamic terrorism: the governments of Syria, Iran, Saudia Arabia, and others.

All I have to say is, ABOUT DAMN TIME. Israel is a clear ally in our war on terrorism, and would be an INCALCULABLE asset to our defeating the source of Islamic terrorism: the governments that support them. If we fully supported Israel’s right to self-defense, without throwing in the line about not wanting to escalate tensions and such, we could be much closer to defeating Islamic terrorism in the Middle East.

However, President Bush is squirming and compromising like the little worm that he is, by saying on the one hand that he supports Israel’s right to self-defense; but on the other hand saying that he strongly wants Israel to find a “peaceful” solution. Let me ask you, how do you find a peaceful solution with an enemy whose sworn goal is your own destruction? Could we find a “peaceful” solution with Al-Qaeda, who want the complete destruction of America? How exactly is Israel supposed to find a “peaceful” solution with savages who want the complete destruction of the state of Israel?

According to President Bush, Israel should give the Palestinians land and other such concessions in the attempt to appease the demands of the Palestinians. But if successful, what will be the result of this? Will the Palestinians’ goal of the destruction of Israel magically dissapear? Or, will it give them more incentive to continue their terrorist attacks and get more of what they want? I’m inclined to conclude the latter.

I strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself against Islamic terrorism, and I fully support their right to completely obliterate the governments of Iran, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, and any other government which is supporting terrorists and controlled by Islamic fundamentalism. Go Israel!

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I’m Back [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 11:37 am

For my readers out there (the few of you that there are), I’d like to let you all know that my blog is back and up and running. It went down a few days ago after the host of my blog lost their services for a few days.

While I am extremely busy at this point in time, I have a lot to say on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the California Recall, and many other things. When I get time to write on these issues, I will be blogging on them, so keep checking back for updates. And, if you enjoy anything that I write, feel free to contribute to my tip jar, a.k.a. college fund!

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North Korea Situation Getting Worse [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 12:34 pm

North Korea appears to be gaining its strength in their quest to gain nuclear arms.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Thursday it is using plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel rods to make atomic weapons, a move that could escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula and raise the stakes in Pyongyang’s standoff with the United States.

North Korea has said before that it completed reprocessing its pool of 8,000 spent rods, but Thursday marked the first claim that it is using plutonium yielded from the rods to make nuclear weapons. U.S. and South Korean officials have been skeptical that the rods have been reprocessed.

The claim came amid increasing concern by U.S. intelligence analysts that North Korea might have three, four or even six nuclear weapons instead of the one or two the CIA now estimates.

“The (North) successfully finished the reprocessing of some 8,000 spent fuel rods,” a spokesman from the communist nation’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by its official news agency, KCNA. The spokesman was unidentified.

And now, since the likes of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter appeased the North Korean savages when they threatened to acquire nuclear weapons in the past, it will be much harder for us in the present to eliminate this North Korean threat. If we had removed all government aid to the country long ago, the communist dictatorship would have fallen apart and we would not face the threat of a rogue state with nuclear weapons that has openly stated it will sell its weapons to anyone it wants, including terrorist organizations.

Even worse, it appears that President Bush has no intention of eliminating the threat of North Korea. Instead, he hopes to appease the North Koreans by some means (which is ultimately doomed to fail), as he hopes to appease many of the enemies of the United States.

I guess it’s time for me to go out and buy a radiation suit.

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WMD Smuggling Plot Foiled [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 12:28 pm

Kuwaiti government forces have apparently stopped a smuggling operation of weapons of mass destruction from Iraq to an European country.

Kuwaiti security authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle $60 million worth of chemical weapons and biological warheads from Iraq to an unnamed European country, a Kuwaiti newspaper said on Wednesday.

Shouldn’t this news be getting a bit more coverage in the national media? Our “unbiased” media sources have been hammering the point constantly that Iraq has turned into a “quagmire” and that we have failed to find any evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Seems to me to indicate yet another example of complete double standards. When an important news story seems to damage the Bush administration, the media is all over it; whereas when a news story seems to benefit the Bush administration, either the story is obscure, or the media makes sure to splatter it with negative things anyway. (Some of you may say that the media did the same thing Bill Clinton and other Democratic figures, and I’ll agree there.)

I think at this point, our dominant media sources care more about “sensationalism” than objective reporting. They will go after any story which has controversy in it (the Kobe Bryant case, Laci Peterson case, Elizabeth Smart kidnapping, etc.), and they will ram it down our throats, telling us every detail of Kobe Bryant’s sex life and many other things we don’t really need to know. While news stories such as this smuggling plot of weapons of mass destruction being foiled gets put on the backburner.

On a good note, I think that the media’s current sensationalism will eventually go away. I believe that the news media was already somewhat leaning towards sensationalism prior to Sept. 11. However, since that act of war (yes it WAS an act of war, not a “tragedy") on our country occurred, the media has generally been very “sensationalist.” I see this as gradually declining as people get sick of this sensationalism being thrown in their face (I know I am).

Maybe then, when the sensationalism of the media disappears, we will get a little bit closer to objective reporting; or at the very least, reporting which doesn’t make it seem like everything is a controversy and the world is falling apart. And maybe then, we’ll get more coverage on these important news stories concering the security of America, as opposed to the intimate details of Kobe Bryant’s sex life.

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