The October 31 issue of the Stars& Stripes carried a letter from a soldier in Iraq who undoubtedly qualifies under the Rush Limbaugh criteria of being a phony soldier. Here is an extract from the column:
“One thing I could see less of in the Stars & Stripes is the column of Ann Coulter, not because she’s conservative, but because she writes at the top of her lungs, like a wacky teenager who is ridiculed by the boys for being flat chested, and ugly. Sarcasm becomes her coping mechanism. Her column must cost next to nothing to carry. Why not try carrying George Will or someone like that more often. He’s a verbose blowhard, but at least he can write.”
Maj. Pat Young
Camp Victory, Iraq
I await expectantly for the Republican smear machine to swift boat Major Pat Young.
Posted in Conservatives, Human Rights, Iraq War, Liberals, Military, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Ann Coulter, George Will, Iraq, soldier, Stars Stripes
Madam Valli, an inhabitant of Singapore sued the Redemptionist Church of Novena for its failure to cast out the evil forces that were controlling her body. She claims the exorcism left her suffering from a Post Traumatic Stress disorder and wants compensation for either was done or what was not done. According to her daughter, in the midst of the exorcism, Madam Valli began shaking the church gates and then fainted. As the trial proceeded there was continuous laughter in the courtroom.
We thought this trial might be an interesting Halloween story. It is unclear as to the exact nature of what was being exorcised other than it was something evil. One can only wonder on this Halloween night if there is a possibility the American people can exorcise the demons of Bush-Cheney from their collective body. We won’t even sue for post traumatic stress since our stress will disappear once the demons have left our community body.
US lawmakers are considering a dramatic increase in sanctions against the Burmese military junta whose oppressive rule has crushed people in their country and made poverty the norm in what once was a nation with the capability of having a fairly successful economy. They are proposing legislation which would ban export of gems and timber from Burma, two resources which have brought millions in revenue to Myanmar. It would ban travel by top generals and outlaw the import into the United states of gems and timber from Burma. According to Senator Joseph Biden, “”we ned to bring pressure to bear on the Burmese generals directly responsible for the violence against the peaceful protestors last month, but unilateral sanctions alone will not get the job done.”
The proposed legislation stems from good intentions, trying to do something about curtailing the power of Myanmar’s military junta. The reality is that gems will be sent to Thailand where they will be polished and exported as Thai gems. The reality is that timber can be sold in India for use or for re-export. There are two key players in placing pressure on the military junta — India and China. If those nations used their leverage over Burma’s rulers, change will occur. It is doubtful banning Burmese generals from traveling will have any impact — few of them travel anywhere.
Posted in Asia, Democrats, Human Rights, Military, Politics, Republicans, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged China, India, Military junta, Myanmar, US sanctions
Speaking before a meeting of the Presidents of Major american Jewish Organizations, Senator John McCain trotted out typical Republican scare tactics to gain support for the Bush Iraq war. He warned if the United States withdrew from Iraq, the terrible Iranians would step in to fill the void. “All of the conflicts in the Middle East are connected, they are all part of the rise of Islamic extremism, if we succeed in Iraq,other countries will be more inclined to help us and this will take the pressure off Israel.” McCain has repeatedly warned that unless America ‘wins” in Iraq, that nation will become a safe haven for terrorists. He told the audience what they wished to hear that creation of a Palestinian state was an “ultimate end.”
For some obvious reason, Senator McCain did not mention the fact there were no terrorists in Iraq until the United States invaded that nation, threw out Saddam Hussein, and botched up the post war situation. Iran was the sworn enemy of Iraq and vice versa until America turned everything around. The Israel-Palestinian conflict does not have to wait until America “wins” in Iraq –whatever “winning” means– but must be addressed right now. McCain is playing to emotions just as he now goes around playing to right wing religious emotions in America. Jewish leaders should be hearing from the senator about the importance of supporting current peace meetings and leave Iraq out of the equation. For some reason, McCain never explores an alternative scenario –will the resolution of the Palestinian-Israel conflict help in restoring peace to Iraq?
Posted in Conservatives, Iran, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, Republicans, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Iraq, Israel, Jewish leaders, McCain, Palestine
Iraqi Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani issued a defiant rejection of Turkish demands to end terrorism while also indicating he was ready to negotiate for peace. On one hand, he said about Turkey, “You do not speak to me, then you ask me to do things against the PKK. How can this be?” Within a few moments he also said: “I am a friend of the Turkish nation, not an enemy. Let’s cooperate and open the door for a peaceful solution to the problem..” Barzani heads the Kurdish part of Iraq which, for all practical purposes, is now functioning as a semi-independent area. Barzani most probably harbors concerns that have little to do with the PKK.
Why is Turkey’s hostility toward Iraqi Kurdistan? Is it because we are the real problem in Ankara’s eyes and not the PKK? We want assurances from ‘Turkey that all these military measures are not against us.” In another flip around, he told the PKK to “give up violence or confront not only Turkey but the whole Kurdish nation.”
Barazni fears Turkey seeks to crush all Kurdish armed forces that might pose a threat to their own security. There is concern in Turkey that creation of an independent Kurdish nation serves as a beacon to Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iran to also become part of that nation. The American invasion of Iraq caused Kurdistan to emerge as a semi-independent nation and we are now living with the consequences of Bush’s actions.
Posted in Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Multicultural, Peace, Politics, Turkey, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Barzani, Kurdistan, PKK, Turkey, War
President Bush has consistently accused Democratic opponents for their failure to “support our troops” and at tempted to portray himself as the defender of those who fight or have fought for this country. A new study from researchers at the Harvard Medical School report that about 1.8 million veterans under the age of 65 lack medical coverage in the United States of America. As the report notes, “Like other uninsured Americans, most uninsured vets are working people– too poor to afford private coverage, but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid or means-tested VA care.” Dr. Jeffrey Scavron in a biting remark pointed out, “only the government can put men and women into military service and only the government can guarantee that they are covered after they serve.” The report only points out that beginning in 2003, the Veterans administration began denying medical care for those whose salary was too high. Peter Gaytan, who monitors veterans’ issues for the American Legion, claims veterans who now make a little over $24,000 a year no longer qualify for VA care because they have high salaries!
I am certain President Bush’s response will be that anyone in America who needs medical care can go to the nearest Emergency Room and be treated. The denial of health benefits for ANYONE WHO SERVED is an insult to men and women who risked their lives in the service of their country. Then again, Dick Cheney and other members of the Bush administration got out of serving their country so they could make money. I doubt if any of those people uses Emergency Rooms as the primary access to medical care.
Posted in Conservatives, George Bush, Human Rights, Military, Politics, Republicans, United States, Veterans, World News
Tagged Bush, medical care, VA, Veterans
Alfred Stepan, director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Tolerance and Religion at Columbia University, told an Indonesian audience the myth that democracy and Muslim religion being incompatible is just that– a myth. He pointed out there is a significant difference between the practice of democracy in Arab nations with other nations in which Muslims are in the majority. “So if you focus on Arab countries, you’ll get a total misconception.” He argued that Americans tend to equate Arab nations with their notion as to what is the Muslim religion and this leads to misunderstanding about the nature of Muslim life in the world even though Arabs make up only 22% of Muslims. In reality, half of all the world’s Muslims, 600 million people, live in democratic, near-democratic or intermittent democratic states. He pointed out to his Indonesian audience, “In Indonesia, Muslim identities are often moderate, syncretic and pluralist.”
Americans frequently fail to recognize the fight for democracy has been an ongoing process for hundreds of years and only recently has it become commonly accepted as the norm in such regions as Europe. The myth of Muslims being unable to accept democracy serves the Bush administration well because it wants to demonize its opponents by attempting to convey the image they are terrorists because of religion rather than for other reasons.
Posted in George Bush, Human Rights, Islam, Multicultural, Muslims, Politics, Religion, World News
Tagged Bush, democracy, Indonesia, Muslims
Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi LIvni asked the government of China to join in the Israel-US attempt to isolate Iran through imposition of sanctions on its government. A spokesperson for the Foreign Minister,, LIu Jianchao offered a negative response to the request. “China has always believed that unbridled use of sanctions should be discouraged in dealing with international issues. We believe a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy to be the best option that would serve the common interests of the international community best.”
Cuba has been confronted with sanctions from the United States government for half of century and that policy has not led to regime change in that country. In modern times, there are so many unofficial ways in which nations can circumvent sanctions, that such an approach to dealing with conflict invariably leads to failure. President Bush and Israel simply will not confront the realities of our global world. Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola are sold openly in Iran, and one can find numerous examples of American manufactured goods being used. Most probably, American companies set up phony front companies in other nations, sell the products to their phony subsidiary and get around sanctions. Israel would be better served by seeking the cooperation of China to work with Iran on the nuclear issue.
Posted in China, George Bush, Iran, Israel, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Bush, China, Iran, Israel, sanctions