Monthly Archives: December 2007

Ann Coulter– Princess of Igorance!

We print portions of a letter that appeared in the December 28, 2007 issue of Stars & Stripes.

“I can actually say that Stars & Stripes has reached rock bottom. Here we are the day before we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, and you publish such trash. In a way, it was a typical Coulter column, careening from trying to sell books, trying to offend and talking about graphic sex acts. Her rants are disgusting, they are hateful, they are intolerant, and they have no place –absolutely no place — in a publication that is committed to defending a democratic form of living.

I think the irony here is that by carrying her column, Stripes is saying to all the conservatives in the military, ‘Hey, you’re too dumb to understand George Will on a regular basis; you’re too stupid to understand William Kristol; and you’re way too retarded to understand William F. Buckley Jr. But, we’ve got someone you’ll love– Ann Coulter.’ I guess Stars & Stripes knows it readership better than I do.”
Major Pat Young
Camp Victory, Iraq

We appreciate the passion and decency of Major Pat Young.

Up Top Or Down Below– A Fatal Decision

Spc. Allen Hill, can not shake the events of November from his mind. he was on his second tour in Iraq and his job in transportation entailed driving Humvees. “I had driven and drieven and driven and the monotony….” his voice trails off in anguish at the memory. He decided to ask for the position of unnr which is on top and exposed. The 38 vehicle convoy pulled out of Baghdad at 7:30 p.m. en route to Talil, 200 miles to the south. It was a typical drive with normal soldier chatter and bantering. He scanned the darkening landscape, first with a flood light. Nothing. He flipped his night goggles down and scanned again. A man fidgeting with something. Before he could react, he saw a white light, then everything went black. Hill awoke a few days later in a hospital in Germany. Doctors said he had a collapsed lung. He remembers the soldier with a half skull blown off. Flashes of memory. He was eventually transferred to Walter Read where he received excellent treatment.

Hill is spending the holidays with family, still coping with the aftermath of Post Traumatic Stress. He wants to return to Iraq, he wants to complete his work and believes America is doing beneficial things for the people of Iraq. Just another story of a wounded soldier. Anti war critics are furious at the debacle that is Iraq, but American soldiers fighting there believe they are accomplishing worthwhile ends, they do not regard themselves as being involved in an evil task. Perhaps, time must pass before the drama and story of what happened in Iraq can be fully grasped. Today, a wounded soldier lives with flashback memories. Tomorrow, who knows.

Mayor Bloomberg– President Bloomberg?

A group of Republican and Democratic congressmen and former senators are getting together to investigate the possibility of enticing Mayor Bloomberg of New York City to enter the presidential election. Former senator David Boren, said, “He brings to the table a tremendous wealth of personal experience and his commitment to bipartisanship is very strong.” Boren and former senator Sam Nunn, two weeks ago invited Republicans like William Cohen and former New Jersey governor Christie Whieman to engage in a dialogue about future political possibilities. The group believes America is a “house divided” and there is need for a president who can reach beyond partisan limits to encompass the nation in a new drive for greatness. Bloomberg will meet with the group which includes Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and former Democratic Senator Gary Hart.

There is a distinct possibility the election of 2008 might feature four candidates, one from the Republican party, one from the Democratic party, a Ron Paul independent party venture and New York’s Mayor Bloomberg. The closest to this line-up was in 1948 when Henry Wallace ran on an liberal ticket, Strom Thurmond headed he Dixiecrats and Truman and Dewey headed the Democratic and Republican tickets. Such a configuration will drive pundits crazy because no one knows how it would play out in an individual state’s votes. There is a distinct possibility the result might have to be resolved by Congress a it did in 1800.

Bloomberg’s strengths are being an independent, a successful businessman, a man with extensive leadership experience, a supporter of medical care, gay rights, and other liberal views. His perspective on the war in Iraq is less clear. Some reports indicate the possibility of a Bloomberg/Hagel ticket which would be very attractive in various parts of the nation.

America’s Shame-State Department Congragulates Kibaki!!

As thousands of outraged Kenyans marched in protest against the blatant action by President Kibaki to steal an election, US State Department spokesperson, Robert Mcinturff, announced the Bush administration reaction to the theft: “The United States congratulates the winners.” Apparently, for President Bush democracy is equated with another government’s willingness to go along with his foreign policy of fighting terrorism. President Kibaki was a loyal supporter of Bush policies and therefore he must receive support, even though he stole an election. Over 100 Kenyans are dead, bodies in the morgue reveal multiple wounds since police have orders to shoot on sight. The police refused to allow supporters of Raila Odinga– who actually won the election — to leave the slum area of Kibera and fired on those seeking to conduct a mock swearing in ceremony for Odinga.

The Bush administration continues to claim it supports “democracy.” The brave people of Kenya went to the polls and voted for a democratic government. They voted out at least 20 ministers of the current Kibaki government, but the evidence was ignored. EU observers in one district noted the Kibaki count they saw was 25,000 less than the figure quoted by the Election Commission. In the war against terror, the victims invariably are those who stand up for democracy.

Will any of the current Democratic candidates speak up for the people of Kenya and blast the Bush administration?

Tariq Ali–My Heart Bleeds For Feudal Pakistan

Pakistan born writer and commentator, Tariq Ali, blasted the feudal method by which power was transferred in the Pakistan Peoples Party. “A triumvirate consisting of her husband, Asif Zadari(one of the most venal and discredited politicians in the country and still facing corruption charges in three European courts) and two ciphers will run the party till Benazir’s 19 year-old son, Bilawai, comes of age. He will then become chairperson-for-life and, no doubt, pass it on to his children. The fact that this is now official does not make it any less grotesque. The Pakistan Peoples Party is being treated as a family heirloon, a property to be disposed of at the will of its leader.”

Ali questions how western politicians can take seriously a political organization that is run in this feudal manner. Dynastic politics is a sign of weakness, not of strength. The solution of a triumph for the PPP is part of the problem confronting Pakistan– how does democracy emerge when no democracy is practiced in the inner workings of a major political party? Ali points out that the initial attack on the Pakistan Supreme Court was carried out by former prime minister Nawaz Shariff, who now has cast himself as defender of the supreme court against the violent actions by President Musharraf against that body.

Tariq Ali suggests Pakistan needs a government which encompasses the entire political spectrum led by a person who is not corrupt. This government might then restore the deposed Supreme Court and ask it to undertake an investigation in order to clear the way for a government that is legitimate and prepared to move forward in creating a democratic Pakistan. It is time for America to cease shouting about democracy because the present conditions will not result in such an outcome, regardless of who wins the election.

Bhutto Party Will Contest Elections

Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party announced that her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, would assume leadership of the party’s fight to gain victory in the upcoming election. Her 19 year old son Bilawai Bhutto Zardari, would be co-chairperson of the party although he will continue his studies at Oxford. PPP Vice Chairman Amin Fahim is expected to become the prime minister if they are successful in parliamentary elections and her husband made clear he would not assume any government leadership position. He claimed this succession was in Benazir Bhutto’s will but would not show the paper to reporters. Nawaz Shariff, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, made clear he would abandon any talk of boycotting the election and join with the PPP in a coalition to gain power and challenge President Musharraf.

Ms. Bhutto’s husband insisted there were bullet wounds in his wife’s body despite claims by the government she had not been shot and had died due to the bomb blast which threw her body against the sunroof of the car. Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Great Britain urged President Musharraf to go ahead with the election and offered to send a Scotland Yard team to investigate the killing. At this point, it is imperative to get at the truth concerning how she died. Unless this becomes clear, rumors and anger will be present in a large part of the nation and people will continue blaming President Musharraf for the death. Many are already now terming his political party, “Killer’s League.” The UN might also provide assistance as it did in the Lebanon assassination case.

One tragedy that is apparent is apparent inability of the PPP to bring forth leaders not associated with the Bhutto family. The idea of a college student being co-chair of a political party reflects this failure.

Dramatic Rise in China’s Billionaire Population

As the 21st century enters a new year, the dramatic rise in wealth of the Chinese population continues. Latest figures indicate the number of billionaires in China has jumped from 85 in 2006 to 146 in 2007. The number of millionaires has continued its steady rise and now constitutes 3.3% of the entire population. China is experiencing a phenomenon that happened in other nations. The gap between those at the upper end of the economic scale has widened from those at the bottom or in the middle class. The emergence of a powerful economic class undoubtedly will have impact on future government power relations. At some point in the coming decade wealthier people will be demanding greater influence in government and will have economic resources to back up their desires for power.

One can only wonder as the economic divide widens whether or not there will emerge in China a populist reform movement to address issues of poverty. It would be possible for an unscrupulous political leader to seize upon economic disparity in order to arouse public furor. Democracy eventually will emerge in China as the economy booms.

Sweden Joins Anti-

Sweden, which has long been noted for possessing an excellent education system, has joined the frightened educators of the world who are committed to seizing childhood from children. In America, this is manifested in the notorious No Child Left Behind law which transforms learning into test taking, which focuses on what a child can regurgitate on an examination rather than are children becoming critical thinkers and developing a love of learning. Sweden’s Education Minister, Jan Bjorklund announced that Sweden’s children will now be graded at the age of 7. According to Bjorklund, “Sweden needs to leave ‘fuzzy schooling’ behind and focus more on knowledge-based tests.” Opposition leader Mona Sahlin argued against the proposal on grounds it is too early to subject children to grading and exerts pressure on teachers to be more concerned with test grades than upon learning.

This year, Congress placed on hold renewal of NCLB because of overwhelming evidence it has placed enormous pressures upon American educators and children to place importance on test results, and, in so doing, to damage study of history, literature, music, and the arts. I assume Mr. Bjorklund went to school at a time when 7 year-olds were not being graded.

The “Talking Crime” Of A Sex Offender

A female teacher who escaped jail a few years ago for having sex with a 14 year-old boy now faces the prospect of up to 15 years in jail for discussing life’s issues with a 17 year-old girl. Debra Lafave, a former model, was sentenced to three years under house arrest and seven years on probation during which time she was not only banned from teaching, but from having unsupervised contact with minors. According to the police report, Ms. Lafave talked with a fellow waitress at the restaurant about family problems, dating issues, school, and sex. Her probation officer found out about the conversations and ordered her arrest and is recommending harsh punishment.

The conversations between the two women took place at Danny Boy’s Restaurant, and the two females were never alone. They were merely doing what a million other working people do during the day, shooting the breeze in a calm or jovial manner, but to the probation they somehow constituted a violation of the probation. More than 700 customers of the restaurant signed a petition backing Ms. Lafave and many were furious at the ludicrous behavior of the probation officer. Dennis Cutini, owner of the restaurant expressed bafflement since there were always three of four people in the immediate area when the two women spoke. The lawyers for the 17 year-old girl support that view and insist conversations were just normal work banter. The only person who apparently is adamant about punishment, besides her probation officer, is the ex-husband who wanted Ms. Lafave jailed for the original offense.

Certainly, there must be something slightly more important to bother Florida’s court system than this silly incident. As Shakespeare put it, “much ado about nothing.”

Kenya Democracy Threatened By Rigged Election

The nation of Kenya was demonstrating to Africa that honest elections could be held and an incumbent leader could leave office with grace. That was the intention when the election began, but as results increasingly indicated opposition leader Odinga was headed toward a strong victory, the tides of votes turned and within a few hours what was apparently a victory became a defeat. The Electoral Commission of Kenya(ECK) revealed final figures showed a vote of 4,548,721 for President Kibaki and 4,352,993 for Odinga. Within hours of these figures being published, the head of ECK announced, “Kibaki the President of Kenya.” Thousands of people are now rioting in the streets of Kenya in protest at the blatant stealing of an election.

Last night, early results indicated that at least 20 ministers in the Kibaki government had lost their seats in parliament, a sign that people were voting against the government. Although, there was sufficient evidence to warrant further review of the election, there was a rush to judgment by the election commission and the president was immediately declared he winner. It was not merely a rush to judgment, it was a rush to corruption.