Monthly Archives: January 2009

Are Republicans Living On Planet Earth?

For over forty years the Republican Party has been captured by individuals whose knowledge of economics is centered in some wonderful 19th century concepts that individuals must be freed of all government regulations and the best way to stimulate the economy is to give tax cuts–to the wealthy, that is. George Bush assumed office in January, 2001, and he was given a balanced budget, in fact, one that had a surplus. The national debt was $5 trillion and Clinton had actually begun paying it down. Eight years later after Republican rule, the national debt is $11 trillion, and wealthy people have enjoyed terrific tax cuts in order to make them even wealthier. The gap between the top one percent and the rest of America is the widest in history. Our financial institutions have been wrecked under Republican rule, but the people who control the Republican party in Congress insist all problems stem from those damn Democrats.

I gather Republicans are pointing out that EVERY SINGLE MONDAY DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS WITNESSED THE LOSS OF 50,000 JOBS! Yes, the economic problem confronting America are the fault of those DEMOCRATS! The Republican party backed every single economic mistake of Bush and passed earmark laws after earmark laws, but suddenly, they have found religion and don’t want to build bridges in Alaska that go nowhere.

Not a single Republican voted for the economic stimulus package and all they could mumble about was the need for MORE TAX CUTS! Could Republicans please tell America how an individual who has just lost a job is going to benefit by a tax cut! Are Republicans living on planet Xul? People need JOBS, NOT TAX CUTS!

If Republicans continue their obstructive behavior we may well witness the disappearance of the Republican party or the coming to power of the next Republican idiot– Sarah Palin and looking across the Bering Straits as a way to deal with our economic problems.

Join Russian Army–See Georgia!

The Russian army has long enjoyed a reputation for being a place that a young man should be from not going to. The abuse of young recruits, the humiliation and low pay make service in the armed forces of Russia not among the most pleasurable experiences known to a Russian in his twenties. Alexander Glukhov decided one day that enough was enough so he picked himself up and headed across the border to neighboring Georgia. But, in Putin, Russia, everyone loves to be part of the dreamworld the prime minister has created in which there is milk and honey for all. The Russian military immediately announced forces of the evil Georgia government had kidnapped the young man.

Poor Alexander simply got tired of life in the wonderful Russian army and hanging around South Ossetia, so he left. In response to leaders of the Russian government which can not even accept the possibility a single soldier would leave, “I was not kidnapped. I came by myself.”

Honest, Vladmir, not everyone in Russia thinks you are the greatest. How about accepting the possibility that A soldier left of his own free will?

Turkish Prime Minister Urges Redefinition Of Terrorism

Perhaps, among the most serious mistakes after 9/11 was to cast American foreign policy in terms of a “war against terrorism.” The word, “terrorism” is vague and does not refer to any specific nation or entity that will be compelled to surrender in order to end the war. A “war against terrorism” can go on into infinity since there will always be terrorists and murderers in our midst. Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has raised new issues concerning this war. ‘President Obama must redefine terror and terrorist organizations in the Middle East,” he urged, “and based on this new definition, a new American policy must be deployed in the Middle East.” Erdogan most probably was referring to organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas which are defined as being “terrorist” in nature. The prime minister has played a key role in seeking to mediate the conflict between Israel and Syria, but after the invasion of Gaza he suspended this effort. However, he is now prepared to resume the role of mediator and pursue a path to peace.

Erdogan’s government for decades has been engaged in fighting Kurdish insurgents who want to break away from Turkey. Based on that experience, he argues, “we see there is a diplomatic side, a social-economic side, and a psychological side. So we must adopt a very comprehensive approach in order to find ways to fight terrorism.” He notes “because terrorism does not recognized borders, has no religion or creed, one cannot approach the problem by saying my terrorist is fine and yours is not.” An excellent insight and one America must grasp.

Iran To USA- Actions And Words!

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad welcomed Barack Obama’s initial offer to engage in dialogue with his nation, but insisted there had to be some action on the part of the USA rather than only words. He demanded apology for past “crimes” committed by America against Iran. There is most probably a conflict within the Iranian government between those who seek to explore the possibility of an opening with the United States and hard-liners who are not interested in better relations with Western nations. Ahmadinejad told a crowd the US had to begin withdrawing troops from the region, and “they should apologize to the Iranian nation and try to make up for their dark background and the crimes they have committed against the Iranian nation.” He most probably is referring to the CIA overthrow of the Mossadegh government in the 1950s and the close ties with the government of the Shah.

Many ordinary citizens in Iran know they never will get a president like Obama who is ready to engage in talks with leaders of their nation. It would help if President Obama admitted the CIA interfered with the internal affairs of a nation and he could apologize for the incident– everyone connected to it is dead. Apologize, be honest, and let’s get on with the task of peace in the Middle East and Asia.

The Shoe That Gave George Bush A Boo Hoo!

It was just a soft shoe thrown at a target that ducked and damaged no one except the ego of a world leader. A statue of the shoe thrown at President George Bush by journalist Muntazar al-Zaidi has been unveiled in Baghdad as an expression of support by some fellow Iraqis. It is a fiberglass-and-copper work of art that will honor a man for whom many Iraqis believe is a national hero. There is a poem written on the shoe, but this author prefers offering his own poem to commemorate the occasion of the shoe thrown.

Zaidi shot a missive into the air
It fell to earth in
Baghdad square
It was the shoe thrown
that has made its author
a man renown.

President Bush felt no pain
Although his war is regarded with disdain
So, hail the gallant hero
And bestow on Zaidi great fame.

Do Muslim Radicals Dominate The Religion?

If one surveyed the American media it would appear that most Muslims in the world are radicals who are engaged in some form of jihad and oppose equal rights for women. Few American media reporters have studied about Muslims or the nations in which Muslims constitute a majority of the population. Most probably not only the average American but the average media presentation is one in which al-Qaeda or Hamas or Hezbullah appear. A recent Indonesian study by the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) Institute for the Study of Religion and Culture, reveals that a majority of mosque leaders fall under the classification of being moderates. Only 20% in the world’s largest Islamic nation support the idea of formalizing Sharia law. UIN researcher, Ridwan al-Mikassary concluded: “In general most of the mosques in Jakarta are moderate in their perceptions and ideas.” His study showed: 85% agreed women could hold public office although 56.4% were against a female president. Of the respondents, 88% believe Muslims should respect people who have different faiths although 56.4% were against non-Muslims becoming president.

In sharp contrast to what most American media “experts” believe, 83.6% of respondents believe terrorism is against the teachings of Islam and 78.4% support the death penalty for a convicted terrorist. Perhaps, people like Rush Limbaugh and his ignorant colleagues might read what is believed in the largest Muslim nation in the world.

Iceland First Nation With Gay Leader

The United States just witnessed the first African American to become its president, and now Iceland has become the first nation in the world to select a gay person to head its government. At a time of gloom and disaster the people of Iceland apparently seek in a head of government someone who has a gay attitude that life will be better. Johanna Sigurdardottir, a former airline hostess and an openly gay person, was asked to form a new government when the leader of her Social Democratic Alliance came down with a tumor. She is extremely popular in Iceland and frequently has been referred to as “Saint Johanna.” Although she is famous throughout Iceland and in 2002 married her partner, Jonina Leosdottir, her lesbian union was accepted as a normal occurrence in this nation of 300,000 people. She has always been a private person and many people are not particularly interested in her personal life which she rarely discusses.

At a time of crisis and despair in Iceland where people have witnessed life savings disappear in a few months, there is probably need for calm leadership and an individual who is popular with the average person. In such critical times, it is important to restore a sense of order and calm because the road ahead for Iceland will be a long one.

For a 78 year old person such as myself, it is wonderful being alive when an African American becomes president of the United States and a gay person assumes leadership of a nation. The world is moving along the right roads toward respect for human integrity.

Iraq To Blackwater–Goodbye!

Another chapter in the story of Bush’s fiasco in Iraq has been completed with an announcement from the government of Iraq that Blackwater Worldwide is no longer welcome in its country. The decision derives from an incident in September, 2007, when trigger happy security guards at Blackwater opened fire and killed 17 innocent civilians who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. A spokesman for the Iraqi Interior Ministry said Blackwater’s license to operate in Iraq was being ended due to “improper conduct and excessive use of force.” Five former Blackwater guards have pleaded not guilty on January 6 in federal court to charges of manslaughter. Even prior to this incident, the Blackwater company had earned a reputation for being quick on the trigger.

The suspension of the Blackwater license poses problems for American diplomats who rely on this service for protection while in Iraq. Most probably the company has become a lightening rod for numerous complaints from Iraqis about the excessive use of force in dealing with civilians which has resulted in too many cases of innocent people getting killed.

At this point in time it is probably best for Blackwater to leave the scene since its history of use of force has not always met with care and concern for civilians in the immediate area.

China’s Future Or America’s Future?

The United States of America for decades has benefited from the presence of foreign born students who study at its universities and upon graduation find jobs or develop their own business enterprises. At many American universities, teaching assistants in fields such as science or math are often individuals who were born abroad because it increasingly has become difficult to secure enough American born young scientists and math people. A recent study by the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security, reveals that Shanghai is now attracting about one-fourth of all returning Chinese students who studied abroad. There are now 75,000 of these individuals working in Shanghai either for a business or one they created. It is estimated they have founded about 4,000 business enterprises with a total investment of $400 million. It is also estimated that 60% of the faculty at Shanghai Academy of Science and the Shanghai Academy of Engineering are former students who studied overseas.

There was a time when a Chinese student who attended an American university remained in the United States and obtained a job, but those days may well be over. The madness of the American economy over the past few years in which financial institutions only thought about money rather than upon building vast new business enterprises is reaping its reward in foreign born students going home.

Bolivia Hails New Constitution

The people of Bolivia adopted a new Constitution by a vote of 59% to 41% under which the indigenous population of the country secured new rights. President Evo Morales strongly supported the new document despite encountering strong opposition in five of the nine states where the more numerous mestizo and European descended inhabitants rejected his call for equality. “Here begins the new Bolivia,” he said. “Here we begin to achieve true equality.” Even as he spoke leaders of the five states which rejected the Constitution are prepared to oppose the proposed changes which include limits on land ownership and creation of 36 indigenous “nations.” People of indigenous backgrounds will also secure a fixed number of seats in the legislature.

The creation of a nation which contains divergent views can either lead to a new sense of citizenship or a divided land in which violence may well result. Morales is echoing the rhetoric of his friend, Hugo Chavez, which is nice when running for office, but could prove disastrous in governing a nation.

It is time for Morales to achieve his dream of equality, but it must proceed in stages that incorporate divergent views. The United States just elected an African American president as a result of laws, education, and recognition a nation can be diverse, but also united. Can Morales reach out to the opposition and avoid bloodshed?