Monthly Archives: October 2008

Neo Nazi Kooks Plan Obama Assassination

Presidential elections bring kooks out of the wood work since they have an opportunity for immortality in the hall of fame of terrorists. Two white supremacists were charged with threatening to kill Senator Barack Obama as part of a “killing spree” during which they intended to kill dozens of African Americans and go out in a blaze of glory by killing the Democratic presidential candidate. Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman wanted to behead a dozen African Americans as part of their killing spree. The two men met on the Internet a month ago and decided they shared “very strong beliefs and views regarding ‘White Power.’ The young men gathered an arsenal of weapons although they planned to steal a high powered rifle by robbing a store.

Their bizarre plan had them dressing in white tuxedos, getting in a car and driving at high speed into an Obama rally where they would kill him. Both understood their plan meant they would die, but that apparently did not matter to the two men.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of such men who sit around a bar drinking beer and planning crimes of violence. In the vast majority of cases, it is talk, but, one never knows.

Would Barack Obama Ever Get Elected In Russia?

Mark Teeter, writing in the Moscow Times, raises questions as to whether Barack Obama would ever get elected to any high position if he was running for public office in Russia. Although Russian commentators tend to prefer him over Senator John McCain, Mr. Teeter does not believe the typical Russian citizen would welcome someone who is black skinned. Although, there is no statistical evidence to prove Russians are prejudiced against those whose skin is not white, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence of widespread Russian dislike of dark skinned people. Teeter recalls a conversation with a Russian student back in the seventies, who said, “in principle, we’re internationalists, but when you get down to it, white people really ought to stick together.”

During his years in Russia, Teeter has continually encountered Russian feeling that minorities should be kept in place and not allowed unlimited freedom. Certainly, this is the feeling encountered by dark skinned Russians from Asian or southern regions who decide to live in Moscow or other northern Russian cities. The Soviet dream of a united working class throughout the world never helped African students studying in Moscow who constantly wee derided and treated with scorn by the average Russian citizen.

Russia is a nation of diverse people who have diverse skin colors. Perhaps, the election of a Barack Obama can be a model for Russians to follow in dealing with their own bigotry against those with dark skins.

Peeping Tom EU Airport Scanners Decried

The German government is expressed its anger at proposed airline scanners the European Union wants to be part of all security systems at airports. The virtual “strip scanners” allow a viewer to see the body of passenger as though no clothes were being worn. Interior Minister Wolfgang Schuable made clear, “”naturally, any device that produces such images won’t be used in Germany.” The German government does not intend to cooperate with any device which reveals the naked body to security officials. One official termed it, “officially-ordered strip-tease.”

This is simply one additional example in which those crying “security” believe anything and everything is sanctioned merely by shouting the word. There are sufficient procedures and machines engaged to secure that no terrorist is boarding a plane. There is a point of no return.

Islamic Televsion– Is It Evolving?

Less than a fifteen years ago, the concept of “Islamic Television” simply meant a man coming on a few times during the day to recite prayers from the Koran. On Fridays, many mosques would televise a sermon, but the focus on Islamic television was on meeting the religious needs of devoted followers. Today, Islamic television is a multi-billion dollar industry offering channels to satisfy the needs of young children or those interested in love and marriage issues. In 1998k Saudi Arabia’s ART launched the first Islamic satellite channel, Iqraa. Its flagship program was “Talk From The Heart” which featured a well known televangelist, Amr Khaled.

Today, women are on TV and there are series that deal with love and life issues as well as political issues such as the war in Iraq or in Afghanistan. Lebanon’s Al Manar is funded by Hizbullah and only allows women who wear the niqab to appear in a broadcasting role. Its goal is fostering hate toward Israel and furthering the goals of its organization and what it considers to be Islam’s future.

The Islam Channel based in London offers programs which allow those of other religions to present their ideas as well as supporters of Israel. A goal is fostering debate and discussions. Hopefully, the new world of Islamic television can become a force for peace.

Pakistanis Stuck In Camps Of No Return

The United States has been urging the Pakistan government to accelerate the war in tribal regions in order to crush the Taliban and al-Qaeda. However, lost in the turmoil caused by this increased fighting is the impact on people living in the region. It is estimated over 300,000 refugees are now living in camps because they fear returning to their homes. They have become refugees in their own nation who live in government organized camps or they beg aid from relatives. Most of the women in this group come from traditional orthodox backgrounds and now find themselves thrust into the modern world of cities and women who act in different ways.

As always in such military operations, things get out of hand due to fear or anxiety on the part of villagers. Most flee and thus villages are left vacant or left without key people who play important roles in the life of the village. Bombings from either side destroy homes or businesses and leave inhabitants without a way to exist.

Of course, none of the above figures into the planning of Pentagon leaders, they are interested in killing militants. The price may well be radicalizing a young generation who will grow up to become militants.

Syria Blasts US Air Attacks

The Turkish government has been attempting to bring together Syria and Israel las part of the process to achieve peace between the nations. One would assume, given the difficulty in trying to end the Israel-Syrian conflict, the Bush administration would act cautiously in the area in order to facilitate peace, not hamper it. But, George Bush knows only one strategy, attack, baby, attack. US special forces targeted al-Qaeda fighters who were moving through Syria on their way to Iraq and launched helicopter attacks in the area. As an official openly stated: “we war taking matters into our own hands” in destroying the militants who were in Syria.

A Syrian government statement said helicopters attacked the Sukkariyeh Farm near the town of Abu Kamal which was inside the border of Syria which resulted in the death of civilians working on some buildings. The Foreign Ministry termed the air strike, a “serious aggression” on the nation of Syria. It called on the Iraqi government to conduct an investigation into this act of aggression against Syria.

Alexander Cockburn Cocks And Aims At Obama

Alexander Cockburn once again is taking dead aim at the fuzzy wuzzy liberals and blaming them for lacking a backbone. He sees no difference between an Obama-Biden ticket from that of McCain-Palin. He believes both candidates will continue fighting in Iraq and escalate fighting in Iran. He charges Obama with failure to end torture and says, “I have yet to identify a single uplifting intention to which he has maintained a constant if it has presented any risk to his progress.” Cockburn further charges Obama “has been the negation of almost every decent progressive principle.” And, Mr.Cockburn urges those seeking a progressive movement in America should check out the Barr and Nader candidacies.

Alexander Cockburn has been a strong voice for progressive ideas, but his criticism of Obama and reference to Barr and Nader is shocking. Barr is a libertarian who is against union rights, against health insurance, against women rights, and Mr. Nader has been the one who gave the world eight years of George Bush. Hasn’t Cockburn learned anything yet? Supporting Nader is an invitation to eight years of McCain-Palin!

Well, let’s examine his criticisms. He charges Joe Biden is a “poster boy for Israeli intransigence.” Actually, Joe Biden was the first candidate in years who stood up to AIPAC and told them they do not represent American Jews. Obama’s call for a Middle East meeting with Kurdish, Iraq, and Turkish leaders has been hailed in Turkey. Obama made clear he supports negotiation with the Taliban, hardly what one would expect from someone who just wants to escalate the fighting in Iran. He has made clear he will talk with Iran leaders without preconditions. He most probably supports the Saudi Arabian initiative for peace with Israel.

In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt ran on a platform of cutting government expenditures and balancing the budget. Famous last words. Obama HAS to be middle of the road. He is a BLACK man running in a mainly white nation. Sorry, Mr.Cockburn, he could not run on as an all out liberal given the problems facing African Americans in American society. He will change and will appoint people to regulatory agencies that will aid union organization. He will push through a national health insurance plan–actually, the final plan will be closer to that of Hillary Clinton than the one urged by Obama. There will be a public works program to provide jobs. There will be Supreme Court justices who defend civil liberties and women rights.

A vote for Ralph Nader in 2000 led to the Iraq war and horrible damage to American civil liberties. How can Cockburn even mention that man’s name as one anyone should support?

Can A Government Employee Have Political Views?

An employee of the Swedish Migration Board was demoted for expressing pro-Israel views on his blog. Lennart Eriksson has worked for the Board over the past 21 years and expressed views in support of Israel on his blog and condemned a counsel for the Board for terming Hamas as a “liberation movement.” His supervisor, Eugene Palmer, said, “of course everyone has a right to any opinion. However, when holding an upper-level management position at the Migration Board, one must be careful how one chooses to express private opinions in a public fashion.” Staffan Opitz, representing the Migration Board at a hearing in a court, termed Hamas as a “liberation movement.”

The issue is not whether or not Hamas is or is not a “liberation movement” since people from various perspectives hold differing views about Hamas. A statement by the Migration Board terming Hamas to be such a movement certainly raises questions about its own neutrality. A member of Parliament, Annelie Enochson points out the Migration Board stand contradicts the foreign policy of the Swedish government. Should leaders of the Migration Board be demoted?

Hamas is many things to many people. Certainly, Mr. Eriksson has a right to express his opinion just as the Migration Board has a right to take a stand. The only issue is does the Migration Board have any evidence the pro-Israel bias of Mr. Eriksson resulted in personal views leading to the denial of the rights of a person seeking a judgment from the Migration Board? Actions determine free speech, not free speech.

Tsvangirai-If Mugabe Controls Army-We Control Police!

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) in Zimbabwe, made it clear to the Mugabe government that if it wishes to retain control over the armed forces, his party must have control over the police. Mugabe has used the police to beat, harass, rape and kill MDC members and it would be an invitation to disaster to allow Mugabe complete control over armed forces in the nation. “If (Mugabe’s) Zanu-PF takes Defense, we take Home Affairs, that is not negotiable.” Mugabe interpreted a “power-sharing agreement” to mean his party controlled the police, the army, Finance and other key ministries in a nation that due to his inept leadership now endures a 11,000,000% inflation rate and at least half the country faces starvation in the coming months.

Tsvangirai and the MDC have no other choice but to insist on assuming control of Zimbabwe. The nation is in a state of complete collapse due to the Mugabe rule and allowing him to continue enjoying unchecked power is simply ensuring starvation for millions.

Tsvangirai said he would attend the SADC meeting in Harare where African leaders will attempt to persuade Mugabe to compromise if he really cares about the people of his nation.

Iraq Freedom Endangered By Religious Fanatics

The people of Iraq have never known a year of peace and freedom in over a hundred years, and one of the expectations of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was the achievement of being able to live in a society in which individual rights were respected. The defeat of Saddam has ushered in the victory of Muslim religious fanatics who seek to impose their view on what people can do in their every day lives. A cleric, Sheikh Abdel Mahdi l-Karbalaie, who represents the Ayatollah sl-Sistani, called for a ban on partying and dancing in the city of Karbala much to the chagrin of many residents. There are already numerous attacks on shops selling music CDs, women’s beauty products and beauty salons. A shop keeper said militiamen invaded his store and demanded that veils be placed over the heads of dummy models in the window. A female customer asked them why they didn’t cover the faces of male dummies.

Residents are just beginning to enjoy the benefits of freedom and want to party and dance and sing and listen to music without some cleric deciding what is or is not religious. Many note their nation contains diverse cultures including Kurds and Christians who should not have to conform to what clerics decide is proper behavior. Many point out in the history of Iraq it was quite common for people working in the fields to sing as they worked.

The Ayatollah’s office said the call for a ban on singing and dancing was the view of a cleric and did not necessarily represent his own views. Who knows, maybe the Ayatollah hums to himself in hidden moments when no one can hear.