Monthly Archives: January 2009

Rudy G. And Greed, Greed, Greed!

In the years following his departure from the position of mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani has pursued the dream of every red-blooded American boy– make money and lots of it. He speeds around the nation and world spouting his endless story about how he single-handedly saved New York City from terrorists and at $200,00 a pop, businessmen can listen to his pitch on how to be successful at making money. Rudy G. was very upset when President Obama blasted the actions of Wall Street fat cats in awarding themselves $18.4 billion in bonuses even as they asked for money to cover their incompetence as financial leaders. “If you somehow take that bonus out of the economy, “said the man of money, “it will create unemployment. It means less spending in restaurants, less spending in department stores so everything has an impact.”

Let me get this straight. A financial wizard who ran his company into the ground with bad investments awards himself a $100,00,000 which is then spent eating in restaurants and buying clothes. He either has a mighty big stomach or his clothes closet could be as tall as the Empire State building. I suspect Rudy G. never saw an opportunity to make money that he turned down. On which planet is this man living!! He wants to reward greed and incompetence, is this an exercise in looking in the mirror and seeing a man of incompetence?

President Obama put it clearly and put it well in commenting about the bonus fiasco: “this is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful.”

European Union Might Accept Guantanamo Prisoners

Right wing Republican conservatives have been filling television with their weird comments about releasing prisoners from Guantanamo into the “streets of America” as though the Obama administration was simply going to dump them in the nearest city and walk away. the European Union is examining the possibility it could take some of the released prisoners and find jails which would house them until there could be trials. Benita Ferrero-Walder, EU Commissioner for External Relations, said the EU would urge member states to accept the men. In the Czech Republic, a spokesperson for Amnesty International in that country, said, “”we believes that Europe should take some of these detainees.”

There are nations prepared to become involved in finding solutions as to the guilt or innocence of the detainees. The assumption of right wing Republicans is that all detainees are guilty because the Bush administration put them in a jail. At least 24 already have been released because after eight years, the Bush people could not find sufficient evidence to link the men to any crime.

Unheard Voices Of Tamils In Sri Lanka

Thousands of Tamils living in Canada formed a human chain throughout Toronto in an effort to make the world aware of the plight of their relatives on the island of Sri Lanka. A government offense against the minority Tamils has pounded the rebel forces but it has also resulted in the death of thousands and civilians are now trapped in the norther part of the island where they lack food and water. It is estimated about 250,000 are enclosed by the Sri Lanka army into a narrow area of villages and jungles and they are caught in the middle of artillery blasts and troops seeking to put an end to a civil war which has raged for over twenty years. During this conflict about 70,000 civilians have died in the effort of Tamils to gain some form of autonomy within the country.

Tamil civilians are being killed but there are no protests in Europe which is ready to protest the death of Gaza civilians. For some reason or other, the plight of the Tamils has not caught the attention of left wing protestors in the world. One can only wonder at their shouts for Gazans and silence for Tamils.

Wiggling Out Of Iraq

Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, admitted the time table for withdrawing US troops from Iraq is not written in stone and has some flexibility. He indicated President Obama would be happy if the vast majority of American troops were out of Iraq within his sixteen months goal, and would not be that upset if a few thousand still remained. “It there wiggle room,” he posed to reporters, and answered: s”yes. Is there a lot of wiggle room? No.” He also told the media ending the ban on gays in the service was on the agenda of his committee and it would be among the initial issues to pursue.

There are over 300 military bases in Iraq. Before leaving, American forces must ensure each of these bases has been made environmentally secure as well as cleared of all mines in order to prevent problems for the citizens of Iraq. We can not just leave without respecting environmental needs of the region and its people. This may require more time than originally planned.

Republic Of Korea Battles Democratic People’s Republic

It is difficult to separate the ROK from the DPRK when it comes to which one is more agitated about conditions on the Korean peninsula and how to solve them. Trouble has been brewing for a few years as each accuses the other of being the source of conflict. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea voided all agreements it had made with the ROK dealing with economic, diplomatic and military sources of conflict. The DPRK made clear there no longer was any agreement about military issues and boundaries or any other agreement that had been made over the years.

A question many observers are asking is whether or not this altering of past agreements is a signal to Barack Obama concerning his policy toward the DPRK or is it an effort to get the new Democratic administration to reach out in more peaceful ways toward the Communist regime.

Fruit Of Gaza Invasion–Diplomatic Isolation!

During the past half century while Israel was being isolated by Arab nations, the Muslim nation of Turkey maintained close working relations and the military forces of both countries even worked on joint exercises. Israel last month decided to invade Gaza and end rocket attacks regardless of the diplomatic cost of such an operation. At the Davos conference, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Edogan clashed with Israeli President Shimon Peres over the Gaza invasion. The Israeli leader defended the invasion on ground it was done to halt rocket attacks. “What would you do, ” he asked Erdogan, “if you were to have in Istanbul every night a hundred rockets?” This incited within the Turkish leader an angry reaction, “I know very well how you hit and killed children on the beaches.”

The end result of the Gaza operation was to further isolate Israel from the world. It has become the greatest public relations disasters in the history of Israel. The issue is not so much about halting rocket attacks, but the METHOD USED TO END ROCKET ATTACKS. Firing heavy artillery into areas containing many civilians on ground that Israeli soldiers must be protected is a violation of international law which requires caution in such operations. To argue the life of one Israeli soldier is worth the death of ten children is not a morally defensible view.

The world agrees that Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket attacks. Perhaps, the Gaza operation should have been focused on destroying tunnels being used to smuggle goods. Perhaps, the Israel government could have worked to have Turkish soldiers assume control of Gaza crossings in exchange for a guarantee that rocket attacks would end. There were many options and failure of Israel to utilize them has resulted in diplomatic isolation.

Sorcery And Witchcraft In The World

Practicioners of witchcraft and sorcery in post industrial societies are found in banks and members of the stock market who beguile people through deception and creating illusions of money that doesn’t really exist other than in the mind of the stockbrokers. Mr. Madoff was able to mystify people for half a century with his tales of money that never existed. In Papua New Guinea, individuals who anger or disturb others frequently find themselves charged with being involved in the art of sorcery. An angry mob killed a man who they charged was performing sorcery and then cut him into pieces. They also tortured another man, but the intervention of a doctor saved his life.

In Papua West Guinea the charge of sorcery is often made when a person dies under mysterious circumstances. In the United States sorcery is more often performed in nice offices and no mob ever appears to hack anyone into pieces. In most cases the money of people disappears into thin air by the sleight of hand of a Bernard Madoff who usually disappears into the nearest country club.

Perhaps, the solution offered up by people in Papua West Guinea is wrong because the person never performed any sorcery. But, it would be nice if the Bernard Madoffs of the world could wind up confronting an angry mob in Papua West Guinea rather than some angry voices at a Miami Beach country club.

Middle Eastern Religious Quarrels Continue

The centuries old conflict between Sunnis and Shiites cropped up once again, but this time in the tiny nation of Bahrain. The native born population of the island kingdom is small and there is heavy dependance on labor from other countries. Thousands of Shiites have flocked to Bahrain, but the government is not interested in granting them citizenship rights because if their numbers grew large they would at some future point in time become the majority. About 12,000 Shiites in Bahrain marched in protest against discrimination and argued the government was more willing to grant citizenship to Sunni immigrants from Syria and other Arab nations which were predominantly Sunni in composition.

The issue of Israel in one sense diverts attention from other divisive potentialities such as a conflict between Sunni and Shiites in the Middle East. It would be interesting as to what would happen if Israel reached peace agreements with Arab nations in the region. Would Israel slip to the back burner as historic religious issues come to the fore front?

Emperor Sarkozy Hears No Boos!

There is the oft repeated story of the Emperor who frightened people to such an extent none would dare tell him that he was entirely naked in public for fear of punishment. President Sarkozy of France has fired several people who committed the crime of allowing his majesty to hear the unfortunate sound of boos in the background. A Normandy police chief and a local official were both lost their jobs because during the Sarkozy visit the president was able to hear the sound of people booing him in the distance. A police chief in Corsica was fired because some demonstrators invaded the garden of a friend of the French president. During his recent visit, Sarkozy was overheard referring to the prefect who was in charge of crowd control, as “”Quel con, ce prefet” which translates into “What an arsehole, this prefect.”

Perhaps, in the perfect world of Sarkozy, the world loves him, and there are no negative views that one could have concerning the ideas of the perfect president. Of course, the United States had such a president for eight years and the result was economic chaos and military disasters. It might pay Sarkozy to actually listen to a few boos.

Zimbabwe Struggles To Unite For Peace, Can It?

The situation in Zimbabwe has gone beyond “critical” into a human disaster stage in which unemployment has now reached 90% and inflation is at a 250,000,000% rate while million s have fled the country in search of any form of work. Movement for Democratic Change,(MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has decided to accept the position of prime minister of a unity government even though common sense suggests Robert Mugabe will not surrender any power to his opponent. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has urged Tsvangirai to assume the position and promised it would help ensure a genuine sharing of power. Unfortunately, the SADC is not able to guarantee that will ever happen.

Tsvangirai was faced with a lose-lose position. If he refused to enter the “coalition government,” it meant disaster, if he enters the coalition government it may only result in the disaster being blamed on him as well as on Mugabe. The SADC promised to ensure a 12 member supervisory board would make certain there would be sharing of power, but that is a hope rather than an assurance.