Monthly Archives: June 2008

Zimbabwe– Cry The Beloved Country!

The first phase in the farce that is known as an “election” in Mugabe ruled Zimbabwe has drawn to a close. President Mugabe who obtained 43.2% of the vote in a March election in which is opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai obtained 47% of the vote, was able to secure an 85.5% of the vote on Friday even though the same percent of people voted as did in March. Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya hit the nail on the head be describing the sham election as a “shame and embarrassment for Africa” and urged the deployment of troops from the African Union to assist the people of Zimbabwe. Another shame was failure on the part of South African president Mbeki to make the slightest effort to assist forces of democracy in Zimbabwe because he did not wish to embarrass his old friend, Robert Mugabe.

The Bush administration is discussing the possibility of sanctions issued by the Security Council but there is a strong chance such action would be vetoed by China. We of this blog call on all American athletes to boycott the Olympics if China vetoes efforts to help the people of Zimbabwe. Let’s send a message to China it must begin behaving in a responsible manner when the rights of oppressed people are at stake. How can one be a Marxist based society and not care about human oppression?

Headlines From The World’s Press

Each week we offer a review of headlines that appeared in the world’s press with our accompanying comments.

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Wozniacki Face Wozniak”
I believe the better “eye” will win.

Australia, West Australian: “Stocks Close Higher”
“Stocks Sharply Lower”
Do I go up or down to check my rising-lowering stock prices?

Saudi Arabia, Saudi Gazette: “Baby Born On Train Get Free Life Time Pass”
So, what do I get if I die on a train?

Norway, Aftenposten: “No Room At The Inn”
Sorry, Mr. Jesus we are all filled up, but how about the barn across the street?

Qatar, Arab News: “Brown’s Chutzpah Pays Off”
I think its chutzpah for an Arab paper to print the word chutzpah.

Japan, Japan Times: “What To Expect From North Korea”
North Koreans?

Sweden, The Local: “Public Urination Leads To Fines”
What about if I urinate in my pants in public?

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Christian Democrats Drop God From Platform”
Is there new name, the “Atheist Democratic Party?”

Australia, Sydney Morning Post: “Small town Left Reeling From Fake Policeman”
Big deal, he was only handling fake crimes.

Oman, Arab Times: “Flying Carpets Smuggle In Heroin”
I believe when Aladdin gets high he can take off in a minute.

Sweden, The Local: Woman Dies In Collision With Deer”
And, no concern for what happened to the deer?

Switzerland, Basel Zeitung: “Basel Has Too Many Restaurants”
I believe the issue is quality over quantity.

Bhutan, Bhutan Times: “Harnessing The Tibetan Sun”
We want to make certain it doesn’t appear over China.

Australia, West Australian: “Leave It As You Found It”
Gee, I wish George Bush could have followed that advice.

China, China Daily: “Reveal Five Year Corruption Plan”
How do I get in on the corruption plan?

Kuwait, Kuwait Times: “Man Auctions His Life”
For you, I have a special deal, would you believe $9.99?


Each week, we survey the world scene about the ordinary events of life. This entry is about nothing, but, being about nothing, it is about everything.

I saw a sign saying, “Dolls Heaven.” I wonder if gay and lesbian dolls are allowed in Dolls Heaven.

If you see a group of elderly people in the morning having coffee, it is a hundred percent guarantee there will be more women than men in the group.

Each Thursday morning at my supermarket the place is packed. Did I miss some announcement about shopping on Thursdays?

I wonder if hard cookies spoil. I had a few of them in my car and noticed they now had spots.

I am really confused about why South Koreans are demonstrating against American beef. Did I miss some cow disease event?

I always marry women who are sixteen years younger than me so I can avoid comments about “those old geezers.”

Many supermarkets hire people with disabilities. In my youth, our local shopkeepers always found jobs for people with disabilities. They were members of our community.

I have not seen the appearance of a carnival in years. They were always wonderful summer events in my youth that we excitedly awaited.

Sometimes,George Bush reminds me of a kid who has just gone through drug rehab and doesn’t want to go back to the drugs but is uncertain about following a new path to a healthy life.

The silence of Dick Cheney is like a slowly shifting sky moving from daylight to the darkness of an approaching storm.

I wonder how American youth today would look like or behave if McDonalds had never been invented.

I overheard this comment from an elderly man: “When it comes to computers and pushing buttons, I don’t want to learn. I’d rather go outside.” Well spoken.

I ramble on about obesity because is is such a shocking change from my childhood living amidst lean Depression bodies.

I continue encountering on MySpace comments about the “unconstitutional” income tax. Did I miss a Supreme Court decision which declared income tax laws as being unconstitutional?

I observed a man holding his hand over the top of an empty coffee cup. Strange, but I always hold my hand around an empty coffee cup. What does this mean about life?

Is it proper to pick up a newspaper lying around in a fast food place and then take it home to read?

The Supreme Court overruled a law that banned guns in Washington D.C. I believe this is an example of the Court following the nation rather than leading it.

Is it my imagination or do few women over the age of 65 have long hair?

I make my eggs in the morning and eat them with a piece of matzo. I have never seen matzos offered in a McDonalds breakfast. Is this an example of anti-semitism?

I miss the magical moment in late afternoon on an army post when everyone halts and listens to taps as the flag is lowered.

Bill Clinton is going to campaign for Obama. Clinton reminds me of the smart aleck kid in class who could smooth talk his way out of any problem or situation.

I am always in a quandary when purchasing a cup of coffee in a fast food place. Am I allowed to use the coffee cup to get a soda?

I notice more elderly women than men wear caps. It sure was not true in my youth.

I never drive behind a car if I can’t see the head of the driver.

The other day I spent ten minutes computing the cost of bread to ensure I got the best bargain. Look man, I was born in the Depression.

I passed a sign saying the mall was open to the public. Are there malls that are not open to the public?

I wanted to shoot a man who drove his car up to the garbage bin. How about walking fifty feet?

I always feel lucky seeing a car pulled over by the police. Better you than me, fella.

It struck me recently that Spock on Star Trek thinks like Sherlock Holmes.

I have great admiration for Hobos, and sad they have disappeared from the highways. Somehow, they embodied the American spirit.

Editorial: Michelle Obama A Budding Eleanor Roosevelt?

Right wing critics are fastening onto Michelle Obama and in order to transform her into some wild eyed un-American woman who doesn’t belong in the White House. I have been fascinated how attacks on her resemble those made about Eleanor Roosevelt. Mrs. Roosevelt was always much more liberal than her husband and openly sided with oppressed people and those facing discrimination. Her famous fight to get Marion Anderson to sing in Washington D.C. aroused the fury of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Who can forget, Franklin Roosevelt’s famous remarks to that group which began, “fellow immigrants?Michelle Obama can look forward to one smear after another in the coming years but I have a hunch she will become the symbol of the Obama presidency as the one who identifies with poor people in this nation.

If is is any consolation to Mrs.Obama, the attacks on Eleanor Roosevelt were ongoing and she was charged with having romances, of being a lesbian, and even having an affair with a Negro man– in those days, that was a serious charge. They will dig up anything and everything about Michelle Obama because she is very bright, a fighter, and a person concerned with issues of social justice. They have already distorted her speech about being proud of her husband and America and transforming it into a plug for Barack while leaving out the rest of the sentence.

So, Michelle, read up on the life of Eleanor Roosevelt and learn what she experienced. I was raised in a working class Jewish family and she, much more than her husband, was the one we thought would help us to deal with discrimination. She was always there as a rock of support for the working class even when her husband had to make compromises. So, Mrs. Obama, become the modern Eleanor Roosevelt and never shut up, never cease fighting for human rights, and just ignore the slanders of hate.

P.S. As a teenager, I saw Eleanor Roosevelt when she came to our high school. She told us to fight for human rights and never give up. The audience of about a thousand teenagers were crying when she finished. As she walked down the aisle I reached out and touched her. I hope some day children will want to touch you for a fleeting moment.

“So Many Mothers In Somalia….”

This is the story of Asha Mohamed, who fled Somalia due to the fighting between Ethiopian troops and Somalian rebels.

“We used to live in Karaan. It was safer than most places in Mogadishu, but las month there was fighting (in Mogadishu). As usual I went to the market where I sold vegetables. We could hear the shelling at the market but we thought it was too far. Later in the day one of m y neighbors came running to tell me that our home had been hit and that my husband and two children were dead… The house was totally destroyed and my neighbors had to collect some of my children’s limbs so we could bury them…After the burial I decided to leave wth what was left of my family… I decided to seek refuge in Kenya. The journey was long… There were so many roadblocks manned by the militias and every time they stopped us they took money…. I am now alone with five children in a strange town…There are so many mothers in Somalia who are doing the same thing.”

This is just the story of a woman and her family living in Somalia, a land forgotten by the world powers who allow their fears to get in the way of considering the needs of the oppressed peoples of the world.

Latin American Holocaust Hero Emerges

A Holocaust story has emerged from the past which reveals the role of the El Salvador government in saving thousands of Jews in Hungary. Colonel Jose Arturo Castellanos, who served as Consul General for the El Savador government in Switzerland, played a vital role in saving thousands of Jews who were destined for the death camps. In Geneva, Castellanos made the acquaintance of Gyorgy Mandl and then appointed him to the fictional role of First Secretary and placed him in charge of organizing an operation to help Hungarian Jews. They gathered blank nationality certificates, had an official stamp on them, and then worked with Carl Lutz, the Swiss Vice Consul to persuade Hungarian and Swiss officials there were thousands of El Salvadorean citizens trapped in eastern Europe. The government of El Salvador played a role in fostering the fictional story by asking for the assistance of the Swiss government in protecting their citizens. Lutz rented an abandoned glass factory and thousands of Jews were sheltered in it.

It s stories such as these that show the goodness of humans and their willingness to risk their own lives in order to help those being brutalized.

Delayed Justice Finally Arrives In Chile

Americans look back to the administration of Richard Nixon as a time when a president had to resign in disgrace over participation in a crime, but, the people of Chile look back in horror to the administration of Nixon which sanctioned a brutal military takeover of their nation. Thirty-five years ago, the thugs of General Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected government of President Allende, and began a reign of terror that killed thousands. Chilean Judge Juan Eduardo Fuentes, has reopened the case of famous Chilean songwriter, Victor Jara who was brutally murdered, along with others, in the Estadio Chile. Jara was an outstanding political activist songwriter who was beaten, tortured, and had his hands broken by soldiers, who spat at him saying, “Sing now if you can, you bastard.” A few weeks ago, Colonel Mario Manriquez, who supervised the murders in the stadium, was found guilty of murder, but not of pulling the trigger.

Jara was finally taken out to be shot, and his family and friends want the name of the triggerman, known only as “El Pincipe,” which Colonel Manriquez will be forced to reveal. Actually, despite the beatings, Jara did sing a verse from the song, “Venceremos” before going to his death. One of his songs, “Manifesto” has this line: “A song has meaning when it beats in the veins of a man who will die, singing truthfully his song.”

New Zealand Concerned Over Gang Violence

New Zealand authorities are concerned over outbreaks of gang violence in many parts of the nation. The latest incident was the arrest of five members of the Mongrel gang after they had a stand off in the streets with members of other gangs. As is so usual in these cases, the issue was over which gang will control the local drug trade. Some New Zealand mayors are comparing gang violence in their cities as akin to the situation in Zimbabwe, which is undoubtedly a rather extreme exaggeration. Greg O’Connor, president of the Police Association, says there is need for a coordination national program to smash the gangs, but some mayors want to create local police chiefs who would focus on crime in their cities.

Mr. O’Connor says it is not enough to get rid of street thugs, but there must be an effort to “knock off the top of the pyramid.” The New Zealand concerns are those shared by many countries in which drugs are illegal. Perhaps, it is time to reconsider the entire issue of making drugs illegal and explore alternatives of legal drugs that are under the control of the national government. As long as drugs are illegal, there will be illegal gangs vying for power over the monies connected with selling illegal drugs.

Facebook Can Damage Careers!

In an interesting article appearing in the June 25th edition of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, issues concerning how Facebook can impact the lives of teachers was reviewed. It is increasingly quite common for employers to review Facebook listings by prospective employees, and this apparently is now becoming a practice followed by school districts prior to hiring a new teacher. Lynn Gebel, who will begin teaching this year, took off many items on her Facebook account, because ‘I didn’t want administrators to see anything” they would dislike. Teachers are growing aware their own students can access Facebook accounts and a photo of the individual in a provocative pose will shortly be distributed around the school.

Jacquie Shipma of the Missouri NEA, says “I tell them if you printed out everything that’s on your page and everything that is accessible from your page would you be comfortable with that being taped to your classroom door?” Across the country there have been many examples of teachers losing jobs due to MySpace or Facebook materials. A Colorado English teacher lost her job because of sexually explicit poetry on her MySpace site.

There are also examples of students posting materials about teachers such as placing the head of a teacher on a nude body or taking a picture of a teacher who is bending over and posting it online.

The new world of MySpace and Facebook offer many exciting opportunities as well as troublesome issues.

South Korean Government Cracks Down On Protests

The violence which has ripped apart South Korea over the issue of importing beef from the United States continues to upset its government. President Lee Myung-bak assumed a tough response to street demonstrations and candlelight rallies which he regards as disruptive to law and order. He insisted “protests challenging the national identity and the illegal rallies should be distinguished from policy critics and should be sternly deal with.” He blamed extremists for creating the turmoil. His government has obtained agreement from the United States that no beef from cattle over 30 months old will be exported to Korea.

From the vantage point of the United States, most Americans are bewildered by the violence of the demonstrations and the concern South Koreans have about beef from the United States. We understand there are worries about disease, but it confuses the average American who most probably eats the same beef and wonders what the beef is all about.