Monthly Archives: February 2008

Mission Accomplished! Economy OK Says Bush!

George Bush, the man who told the American people in 2003 the war in Iraq was over has now informed the world the United States is not headed for a recession and things are looking up and the sky is blue and there will be milk and honey in everyone’s pail of plenty. The president told repoters today he has “acted robustly,” and the country will soon “see the effects of this pro-growth package.” He expressed dismay that pundits were not giving his stimulus pckage enough time to work and putting down the almost certain benefits that will result. Bush sees a robust economy that is growing and will continue to grow. As far as he is concerned there is no recession.

Pesident Bush’s economic views apparently are not shared by many economists, but, then again, what do they know about the economy. He was surprised at a question of potential $4 a gallon gas by the summer and obviously didn’t even know the current price of gasoline. It is perhaps unfair to ask an American president to know the current price of a gallon of gasoline since he is busy making certain the economy is roaring along.

Have Africans Turned Away From Europe?

The future of European relations toward Africa is facing a severe strain as their former colonies turn away in disgust and irritation at European indifference and double standards toward the continent. Europe currently has bad press in Africa. Pressure exerted on Africa by the European Uniion to sign new trade agreements, the ongoing problem of illegal immigration to Europe from Africa and growing feeling among Africans that Europe looks down on the continent as backward and irrelevant to the modern world. For example, the EU wants new trade agreements which literally would open the entire African continent to their products without being subjected to duties and thus challenge the ability of beginning African entrepreneurs to compete with the goliath of Europe.

Migration is key issue as hundreds of thousands of Africans make the journey north in search of jobs and new lives. There is considerable outrage in Africa over the number of lives lost in the northward quest. Last year 1,861 migrants died trying to cross over to Europe. Fishermen from Italy have even been prosecuted for trying to rescue people.

Many Africans believe anti-African rhetoric resonates well in European election campaigns. They are insulted by the condescending tone used by European leaders in discussing Africa. During a recent visit to Africa, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the following: “Africa’s tragedy is that the African man has not entered into history sufficiently. The African peasant, who since time immemorial has lived according to the rhythm of the seasons and whose ideal is to be in harmony with nature…. he knows only the endless return of time structured by he endless repetition of the same gestures and the same words. In this mode of thought there is no place for the adventure of humanity or the idea of progress….That is Africa’s problem.”

Any nation that has endured the colonial experience is quite familiar with the Sarkozy lecture on life. Those under colonial bondage are always primitive in thought and in desperate need of education for the benevolent colonial ruler. Africans might well inquire of Sarkozy, does the “adventure of humanity or the idea of progress” also includes things like the Holocaust? Africa does not need lectures, it needs economic assistance to stimulate small business enterprises, it needs an end to corruption which removes benefits of oil wealth from being shared by people of societies in which oil is found. Aove all, it needs a partnership in which all sides are respected. Europeans might well consider there is another goliath looming on the economic horizon– China.

Tehran Demands US Apology

Iran’s Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki urged the United States to apologize for its false statements about Iran’s nuclear program and admit it made incorrect asessments in discussing nuclear programs in his nation. Mottaki was proud the UN International Atomic Energy Agency supportted its contention that no nuclear bomb program was in operation. Mohammaed AlBaradei of the IAEA presented a report which stated: “The agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declalred nuclear material in Iran.” In a meeeting with foreign ambassadors and respresentatives in Iran, Mottaki said it was time for the West to admit incorrect evaluations were made regarding Iran’s atomic development program.

The United States over the past fifty years has intervened in the internal affairs of Iran including overthrowing a democratically elected government in the 1950s that was NOT under the control of clerics. Perhaps, it is time to apologize, not merely to the government of Iran, but to the Iranian people for our past blunders. Such an apology might open new possibillities for cooperation between the two nations.

Post Annapolis-Abbas Considers Violence As Alternative!

Three months ago, amidst publicity and Bush appearing as an apostle of peace in the Middle East, several nations were brought together to create a guide line for the future. Hamas was not invited to the conference because of their terrorist and violent stance. Three months have passed involving ongoing discussions between Prime Minister Olmert of Israel and President Abbas of Palestine. Today, Mahmoud Abbas admitted, while he was committed to peace as a means of negotiation, and “I can not support a return to armed struggle at this point in time. But, at a later date, this could be an option for the Palestinian people.” He believes Israel and the Palestinian Authority have reached a dangerous crossroads which must either lead to peace or to further violence.

Abbas argued that Hamas also supports negotiation, but obviously they are not part of discussions. He also hinted if peace is not achieved in the coming months he would have no option other than resigning as president. Abbas is greatly concerned about a possible Israel invasion of Gaza which would result in hundreds of casualties and, most probably, compel him to abandon any further peace negotiations.

The government of Qatar has offered to broker peace talks between Hamas and Israel. this option must be explored because until Kassam rocket attacks cease, the danger of a large scale Israel invasion of Gaza looms large on the horizon.

Terrorist Went To Wash Hands And Walked Away!

The govenment of Singapore apologized for allowing an alleged Islamic terror leader to simplyvanish from a jail. Authorities said Mas Selamat Kastari, who once allegedly plotted to hjack a plane and crash it into Sinagapore’s international airport, slipped away from a detention center. Mas Selamat is supposedly commander of the al-Qaida linked Jemaah Islamiyah’s Singapore branch. Minister of Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng said Mas Selamat escaped after being taken to a room where he was to meet members of his family. He asked permission to go to the toilet and apparently opened a window in the washroom and just walked away.

Security breaches are virtually nhead of in Singapore, small nd densely populated little island whose sophisticated intelligence system keeps close tabs on its inhabitants as well as anyone else. Hundreds of security forces have been deployed all over the island to find the missing man. Ironically, the departed fugitive walks with a limp so somewhere in Singpore there is limping man hobbling along trying to find a way out of the island.

Turkey Claims Restoring Iraq Control Over Kurdistan

Turkish military forces continue pounding away at Kurdish militant bases in northern parts of Iraq as its diplomats assured the government of Iraq those operations were mainly due to a desire on the part of Turkey to restore “Iraqi sovereignty over those geographic areas(where) terrorists are functioning.” Latest figures released by the Turkish military indicate about 230 members of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party(PKK) have been killed with a loss of about 24 Turkish soldiers. American Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, urged Turkey to wind down its military venture within a few weeks and evacuate Iraqi territory.

Ahmet Davutugli, who is Prime Minister Erdogan’s special adviser and is currently in Baghdad, assured the government of Iraq “for us continuing operations is not a violation of Iraq sovereignty. It’s just the opposite.” However, the government of Iraq apparently does not agree with the perspective that another nation can invade its territory and impose its will on a part of the nation of Iraq. There is currently a functioning government in Kurdistan which has not requested any assistance from Turkey in dealing with the PKK. Perhaps, if Turkey had coordinated its actions with the Iraq government and Kurdish leaders in Kurdistan, the entire matter could have resulted in a more positive outcome.

British Black Leader Accuses Obama Of Hurting Blacks

Trevor Phillips in an article appearing in the magazine, Prospect, warns the election of
Barack Obama will result in a set-back to the rights of African Ameicans. Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human rights Commission, warned Obama’s election would prolong rather than end America’s racial divide. He beleives there are two types of black leaders in America both of whom keep race at the heart of US life -”bargainers” whose ambitions are limited to winning piecemeal concessions, and “bargainers” who do not make an issue of wite racism. “In truth,” says Phillips, “Obama may be helping to postpone the arrival of a post-racial America and I think he kows it….In the end he is a politician, and a very good one.” Pillips apparently supports the contention of Shelby Steele who argues if Obama fulfills the hopes of whites he disappoints blacks and vice versa.

The British fighter for human rights somehow has concluded “the people who actually experience just how far America remains from post-racial harmony are those blacks who work with whites.” Unfortunately, the British authority on human rights offers no evidence to support his wild accusations other than the pen of glittering generalites. It is unclear exactly what Mr. Phllips knows regarding the thinking of blacks who work with whites as to their prospects of succeeding in American society. Is there racism in America? Of course there is. Have there been dramatic changes in white attitudes regarding the rights and job and housing rights of African Americans? Of course there have.

Rhetoric concerning post-racial America consists of vague comments about a world that consists of words rather than explanations regarding how that world will function. The election of Barack Obama would be a revolutionary event in American and the western world. What is meant by the expression “post racial America?” Does it connotate a society in which each person’s human integrity is respected? if so, the United States is walking down that road although the end of the road lies in the distance. But, as Martin Luther King understood, it is the first step which gets the trip in motion. Someday, we will come to the end of the road, and, at that point, have to build new roads. I find it sad Mr. Phillips is unable to grasp the significant changes that have occurred in Americn society over the past fifty years. In making that statement, it in no ways claims the situation is free from biogtry and prejudice.

China Issues New White Paper On Rule Of Law

ssThe Chinese government issued a new document entitled “Chna’s Efforts And Achievements In promoting the Rule of Law” which containseight statements covering topics regarding how leadership will strive to ensure the people of China live in a society in which they enjoy the protection of law. The document naturally contains the ususal rhetoric about legal systems and “Safeguarding Human Rights” although there is no acknowledgement there have been serious breaches of these rights today and in the past. It claims “a legal system compatible with the socialist market economy has basically taken shape.” Unfortunately, dissidents who are harassed and imprisoned would hardly agree with such lofty words.

There is no question the rights of Chinese people have been greatly extended, particularly in the economic sphere of life. The document speaks about the National People’s congress being able to exert legislatuive power but China lacks real political parties and free elections. The Chinese people and the world anxiously awaits implementation of the rule of law which is compatible with those rights as exercised in many nations of the world.

Does The United States Have A Broken Army?

General George Casey, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, made clear to members of Congress that current 15 month tours of duty are “just not sustainable.” He told lawmakers “soldiers and leaders need to see that over time they won’t be deploying for 15 months and home for 12.” This can only become possible as long as the president realizes the number of active-duty brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan is reduced. However, he rejected implications there is something wrong with the morale of those fighting in these areas. “This is not a broken Army…Now, are we where we want to be? No. And we fully acknowledge that.”

Several senators such as Babara Mkulski expressed concern over the lack of funding for families of those serving overseas in order to assist them in coping with loved ones who are gone for such long periods of time. General Casey ageed much more must be done to confront issues of stress on family life,

President Bush is always praising members of the armed forces for their patriotism, but when it comes to pay raises or additional funds for handling post traumatic stress, he ordinarily lacks the same enthusiasm. In almost every case it is Congress which takes leadership increasing those funds.

Veiled Women And Swimming-Can They Co-Exist?

it was a ot summer day in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden when two Muslim women decided to take their children for a swim in the local city pool. The children entered the pool and both mothers sat on the side watching them swim around. The women were wearing long pants and short-sleeved shirts as well as veils to cover their face. A lifeguard approached and told them their clothing attire was a danger because neither one was prepared to enter the pool and take care of their children if anything happened. He then kicked the women out of the pool. Both sued on grounds of discrimination.

A local court in Gothenburg agreed with the petition of the women and warded them each $3,230 in compensation. The city is appealing to the nation’s highest court. There is something strange about this story. If a lifeguard was present to assist people in need of help while in the swimming pool why did the mothers have to be dressed in swimming attire? I have gone to dozens of swimming pools where people sit around dressed in their everyday clothes and none has ever been ejected because they were not ready to jump into the pool. Why hire lifeguards– to tell people to wear swimming attire so they can save people in danger of drowning?

This a blatant example of anti-Muslim prejudice.