Friday, June 29, 2007

The Truth About Money

The documentary below is a fascinating (but long) video on the origins of money and fractional reserve banking. This video rocked my worldview back in 1996 when I first saw it. In our new world order of bailout debacle after bailout debacle, it is even more relevant than ever. At 3.5 hours, this may seem long, but this is financial education you never got in school. This video is financial education you cannot afford to miss.

Additional Resources:
The Truth about the Fed (DiscoverTruth Blog, March 2009)
The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve (book)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Nuclear War in Iraq

Some people are fearful of nuclear power generation. Their concerns are not without merit. Near disasters like the one at Three Mile Island or the actual disaster at Chernobyl give us good reasons for concern. Nuclear disaster sites for all practical purposes last forever.

If you take the time to look into this topic in detail, you'll soon learn that the USA and coalition forces are turning the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan into nuclear disaster sites and polluting even larger parts of our global environment with nuclear waste.

Good News / Bad News

Knowledge can help us overcome fear. My degree is in physics, and nuclear physics was one of my interests when I was in college. However, even knowledgeable people can be misinformed or ignorant of the facts. Marie Curie and her husband Pierre were early pioneers in nuclear physics. The 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to the Curies and Antoine Henri Becquerel for their work in the area of radioactivity. Sadly, they didn't know much about the dangers of radioactive materials in the early 1900s, and Marie Curie died from the effects of radiation exposure.

The good news is 100 years later we know much more about the dangers of radioactivity. The bad news is the general population is terribly misinformed and even intentionally misguided about some of the most horrific risks to our environment from radioactive nuclear material.

Most people are fearful of nuclear bombs, and rightfully so. The world saw what nuclear bombs could do in World War II. The two atomic bombs dropped on Japan killed roughly 214,000 people. In today's world, Intercontinental Ballistic Missles (ICBMs) with multiple warheads each more powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan can be launched to almost anywhere on the planet within a matter of minutes. However, these sorts of strategic nuclear weapons have never been used in a war. A more pressing and real threat are the nuclear weapons actually being used in war today. What I'm specifically referring to are conventional depleted uranium weapons.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission passed two motions in 1996 and 1997 listing weapons of mass destruction, indiscriminate effect, or of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering. It urged all states to curb the production and the spread of such weapons. Included in the list was weaponry containing depleted uranium.

So, as the world watched the Bush-Cheney Administration valiantly looking for Saddam's WMDs, they were using WMDs of their own on the Iraqi people. The USA and coalition forces using depleted uranium in the Middle East and Afghanistan have removed an evil dictator and Taliban fanatics and replaced them with another form of terror on innocent civilians - depleted uranium. It is total hypocrisy.

What is DU?

Depleted uranium (DU) is primarily U238, a low level radioactive emitter. It is called "depleted" because U238 is separated from the natural uranium ore in order to gather "enriched" U235 which is valuable. U235 and U238 are different isotopes of the radioactive element uranium. Natural uranium is about 99.3% U238 and only .7% U235. So, you process a lot of DU from natural uranium in order to get just a little bit of the enriched U235. The U235 is the more valuable fissile material for nuclear power plants and nuclear bombs. However, the DU left over from uranium processing has some very impressive military applications.

The really bad news is that DU is still radioactive and still dangerous. It is used today in warfare in both armor and munitions. It was used in the first Gulf War and in the current Iraq War and Afghanistan. Yes, both wars in Iraq and our operations in Afghanistan have been nuclear wars! Although we have not used atomic bombs like the ones dropped on Japan in WWII, our military has put more radioactive material in the environment from conventional nuclear weapons than the all the nuclear bomb testing and two war-time nuclear bombs dropped on Japan combined.

One of the biggest atrocities committed against our troops is the misinformation or lack of information about the risks of DU. Our government has all but ignored the environmental disaster our military is creating in Iraq and Afghanistan with DU. The lack of attention to the significant health impact on our troops deployed in the Middle East and Afghanistan is an inexcusable atrocity.

Very few people are informed about the facts of the nuclear war in Iraq. The mainstream media mostly ignores the topic, but if you take the time to look, you can find plenty of information on the web. A few brave and highly educated scientists and medical professionals have been trying to get out the word on this important topic. Here is a short video about DU: 7 minute video.

How is DU used?

In a nutshell, metal alloys made from high-density depleted uranium are mixed with other metals to create staballoy for use in kinetic energy penetrators. These armor-piercing munitions are used by the A-10 Warthog for "tank busting" and in the famous "bunker buster" bombs. DU armor plating is used on the M1 Abrams tank. These are just a few examples of many military applications of DU. It is an amazing material with incredibly impressive characteristics that make it extremely effective in weapons and armor.

DU munitions are essentially "dirty bombs" -- not very radioactive individually, but nonetheless suspected of being capable in quantity of causing serious illnesses and birth defects. In 1991, U.S. forces fired a staggering 944,000 DU rounds in Kuwait and Iraq. I haven't found similar data for the 2nd war in Iraq or Afghanistan, but I did discover that each shell fired by an American tank includes 10 pounds of DU. So that means in the first Gulf War we left about 9.5 million pounds of DU in the environment.

When DU is vaporized in combat, it becomes an aerosol which is then inhaled by anyone around it, including civilian and friendly troops. These small particles can pollute ground water, the atmosphere, and the soil. In a windy, dry, and dusty climate like Iraq, this radioactive particulate matter can even get into the upper atmosphere and spread over large areas. It cannot be effectively cleaned up. Lots of people heard about "Gulf War Syndrome" after the first invasion of Iraq. Few people were aware that many of the symptoms of "Gulf War Syndrome" can be explained by DU.

Health Hazards of DU

Ingestion and particularly inhalation of DU is a known health risk. It is considered both a toxic and radioactive hazard that requires long term storage as low level nuclear waste. Military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan are vaporizing hundreds if not thousands of tons of this hazardous material where it can never be cleaned up. This polluted environment will result in illness and birth defects for the inhabitants of this region for thousands of generations.

Additional Resources
  1. For a shocking documentary rent Beyond Treason at your local video rental store. (If they don't have it, direct them to the link and ask them to put it in their inventory.)
  2. Summary of the military applications of DU
  3. The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium and the Dying Children (German Documentary)
  4. America’s big dirty secret (French Press)
  5. International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons - United Nations Report 2006
  6. US Forces' Use of Depleted Uranium Weapons is 'Illegal' (Scottish Press)
  7. Dirty Weapons - Casualties From Iraq War Will Mount
  8. Gulf War Syndrome, DU, and the Dangers of Low-Level Radiation

Saturday, June 09, 2007

What's Next?

What happens to us when we die? There are many opinions, but I can boil them all down into two options that cover all possible scenarios:

(A) There IS MORE to come after this life ends.
(B) There is NOTHING more. Game Over!

Pretty simple, eh? Which view do you accept? A or B? If you choose (B) then you're in the minority. Only 19% of Americans polled by Gallup believe it is all over when we die. A much larger 81% of us believe in a literal heaven or afterlife. So, chances are you're in the (A) camp.

The (A) camp is very diverse. Within this life-after-death group there are many philosophies, religions, and belief systems. However, I can also boil these down into just three possible outcomes. For the 81% of people who believe there is more to come after this life, the next life options are as follows:

(1) Whatever is next, everyone will be okay.
(2) I am good enough for what's coming next.
(3) I may not be good enough. I need some help!

Let's call option (1) the "Blind Optimist" view. About 44% of people believe that everyone has the same outcome in the next life no matter how we behaved or what we believed in this life. However, 56% of the population disagrees. I'm honestly surprised there are that many blind optimists out there.

Option (2) believers think they are good enough for what's next. 55% of the population believes they are good enough to get into heaven based on their good deeds. I find it interesting that more than half the people polled thought their good deeds were sufficient to purchase their ticket into heaven. I guess we Americans have a high opinion of our righteousness. Still, about 45% of the population rejects this view.

Option (3) is held by an overwhelming 85% of the population. This is the view that we will be judged by God upon our death. Only 15% reject this idea. I think most people intuitively understand this because it is written into our hearts by our Creator. It has been said that next to God, heaven is the second greatest idea to enter man's heart. I've met very few people who have carefully contemplated these questions and still dismiss the idea of a final judgment.

Option (3) is not only the majority view, it is the Biblical view. Polls are interesting, but truth is not determined by popular opinion. So, what do you believe and why? Leave a comment below. I'd really like to know.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Stages of 9/11 Acceptance

I'm met with all sorts of responses when I share with people the alternative theories that 9/11 could have been an inside job. There is wide disagreement on this issue, and honest people come down on both sides. However, after going through the process of explaining the alternative theories numerous times, I started noticing how people who hear about the 9/11 alternative theories tend to go through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief:

(1) Denial - Lots of people get stuck here. They tell me I'm nuts or a conspiracy theorist and then believe the "official" conspiracy theory. So much for logic.

(2) Anger - Once past denial, this is a perfectly understandable emotion. I experienced this a bit myself.

(3) Bargaining - Surely there must be a *reason* for this?! How can it be true?! Sometimes people go back to the denial stage. They have to start all over in processing the disturbing and controversial information.

(4) Depression - This is where one must relinquish his or her idealism of the USA being a benign and benevolent superpower. I gave up this naive belief 10 years go when I realized the USA is no longer a constitutional republic as designed by the Founding Fathers. Since I didn't have to struggle with this belief in the USA as "motherhood and apple pie," it sped up my transition to acceptance.

(5) Acceptance - Finally, for the few souls who make it this far, this is where you can begin moving on with your life rather than being sidelined by controversy and confusion.

Parsing through the alternative explanations of 9/11 and how they compare to the "official" conspiracy theory is a confusing and controversial endeavor. Several people who I thought were my friends have behaved very poorly in the face of this controversy. I even know one guy who moved to another country largely because of his distrust of the US government. Other people are so closed minded they won't even think about it. Their world view prevents them from discovering the truth, or maybe they just don't care.

What I find absurd is that people classify me as a conspiracy theory nut for NOT believing the "official" conspiracy theory! What sort of hypocrisy is that? Let's be honest here. The OFFICIAL story is a conspiracy theory. What I'm trying to help people do is think for themselves and at least consider that the "official" conspiracy theory the Bush-Cheney Administration would have us believe is not the full story.

According to a widely-cited poll by Ohio University and Scripps Howard News Service, 36 percent of Americans believe U.S. government officials "either assisted in the 9/11 attacks or took no action to stop the attacks because they wanted to go to war in the Middle East." Here's an interesting article that refers to this poll: Five Years Later The Official Story Falls Apart.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Blind Squirrel Finds Nut

This 15 minute video is a great example of a rational, educated, and logical discussion about what really happened on 9/11/2001:

I found this clip from a BBC show on the Google Video site for the Netherlands. Sadly, the USA mainstream media almost never broadcasts information like this. And when it does strange things happen.

When Rosie talked about 9/11 she got cheers from the audience, but a few weeks later she left The View. Makes me wonder if there is any relationship between her leaving the show and the rampant censoring in the USA mainstream media. She says she was going to bring physicists from Harvard or Yale onto the show, but now that she is gone she cannot make good on the promise. Also note at the very beginning of the clip the brunette clues in that the USA is now an imperialist superpower. Welcome to reality! Even the girls on the view understand what is going on in our country. I wish conservative Christians would dig their heads out of the sand.

For the record, I cannot stand Rosie O'Donnell, and I disagree with her on just about everything she says. However, even a blind squirrel can find a nut when it is put in front of her face.

Why are people afraid to question the official story's obvious problems and get to the bottom of this controversy? Don't we at least owe the people who died the common courtesy of discovering the truth about this horrible attack?