The Clafabio's blog

Benazir Bhutto on House Arrest as Riots Spread

Yesterday, amidst a storm of protests across Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, leader of General Pervez Musharraf's main opposition group, was put on house arrest to "... prevent her from attending the rally, which had been banned under the emergency decree." (NYTimes). A government spokesman also said there had been "... warnings of potential attacks against her in Rawalpindi [the city the rally Bhutto planned to hold was in], and did not want a repeat of the suicide attack against her last month...".

A Crucial Step Towards Homosexual (Gay) Rights

Johanna Neuman of the Los Angeles Times reported today that a controversial gay employment anti-discrimination bill passed through the House. Those for the bill say it is similar to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. However, those against the bill argue that it would infringe on the rights of the religious, some of which consider homosexuality "an affront to God."

I do not see what people have against homosexuals. The ones I have known act almost exactly like heterosexuals do, and they are just as human as everyone else. The oppression of others, due to race, disability, gender, or otherwise, is something I have never sympathized with. Oppressing others based on their sexual orientation is no different.

Pakistan's "State of Emergency"

The New York Times yesterday said that General Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan. Many believe that this was a last, desperate attepmt by Musharraf to remain in power, though he contends it was to "preserve the democratic transition that I initiated eight years back." For those of you in the dark, Musharraf ran for Pakistani president in October and won in a landslide vote. However, his victory is contested by opposition parties who claim "it was undemocratic and unconstitutional for [Musharraf]... to run while still army chief." (CNN).

Excessive Border Security

I can presume one is aware of the ongoing Mexican border conflict: building a fence to keep immigrants out and whether this is a good or a bad thing, and whether or not it will work. So what I didn't expect when I opened the New York Times website was an article about tighter border security and terrorists (see the article at NY Times). All things considered, I thought we were worried about immigrants, and now we're worried about terrorists crossing the border? I don't know about you, but this seems to be getting weirder and weirder.

The Orange County Register and Erik Prince

Daleleo, I read the article you recommended to me (see the article at OC Register). However, most of what the article addressed didn't seem to match what the headline suggested. Now, don't get me wrong: it's a great thing that Erik Prince is a family man (Erik Prince being the founder of Blackwater USA). What I'm trying to say is that his family life doesn't have all that much to do with what's going on in Iraq and the Middle East.

Pakistan = Supposed Terrorists. So Why Iran?

When I picked up Sunday's Los Angeles Times, I saw this curious headline: "Terrorists in training are going to Pakistan". The article, by Dirk Laabs and Sebastian Rotella, documents an alarming cycle of militants traveling from countries such as Germany to Pakistan for the purpose of militant training at Al Qaeda training camps. Now, I don't know about you, but I haven't heard all that much about Pakistan in the media before this article. Do you know what I've been hearing about? Iran.

According to the article, "...an increasing number of militants from mainland Europe are traveling to Pakistan to train and to plot attacks on the West...". As I said, I've heard quite a bit about Iran lately, and nothing this serious. Now, one could theoretically debate just how seriously to take this comment, but it makes me wonder where all of this is going.

Prevention vs. Paranoia

I was reading Wednesday's Los Angeles Times (see the article at latimes), and a certain article caught my eye; I mean, what do you think when you read the headline "Research into potent bioagents increases the risk"? The article, by Jia-Rui Chong, explores the research being done by universities across the nation into the prevention of bioagent attacks. The experiments require such toxic microbes as Brucella and Coxiella burnetii, which can cause "...some of the world's most hideous diseases..." including Ebola and anthrax.

Now, according to the article, this research is being done to create vaccines for diseases resulting from exposure to bioagents. You may remember the anthrax scare back in 2001; this is what originally started the research into these bioagents. However, there has not been any other recorded instance of bioterrorism since this.

Talker - I Can See Your Point

I can definitely see eye to eye with you: it may indeed be a good idea to go with the people in it for more than the money. This makes me wonder, though: are those Blackwater USA employees in this for the money or for the good of others? If they're in it for the money and this stuff keeps happening, then what is the point of having them there? All it seems like they're doing at this point is adding to the problems already there. The killing of innocent Iraqis isn't going to make anyone any happier, I'm sure.

Blackwater USA & Other Private Security Firms

In a recent article by John F. Burns on the New York Times website (see http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/weekinreview/23burns.html?hp), titled, "The Deadly Game of Private Security" the recent shooting by men from the protection firm Blackwater USA in more detail. The current debate is whether these private security firms are really necessary. Now, I can assume that you remember General David Petraeus's recent progress report on the situation in Baghdad. He is quoted to have said in an interview with PBS' Jim Lehrer, "There have been some encouraging indicators in Baghdad..." (britainandamerica) However, if he has reported these, "encouraging indicators in Baghdad" it makes you wonder why people would still feel the need to have the protection of such private security firms as Blackwater USA.

The Bright Side: