Monthly Archives: February 2009

It’s Not Us, It’s You, Says US To Canada!

The American people consume a considerable amount of drugs which usually enters the nation form Mexico or Canada or elsewhere. The United States State Department once again gave a warning to another country to get their act together on the drug issue rather than looking inward and assuming responsibility for what its own citizens do about drugs. The new report charges, “Canada’s continued role as a source for ecstasy to US markets highlights the need for greater co-operation in tracking precursor chemical activity.” In other words, it is your fault that Americans use drugs. The Americans point out that Canada has been experimenting with programs to work with drug addicts which entail supervised injections.

Americans apparently want to use drugs. How about the United States trying an experiment in which drugs are legalized and supervised by the government? Is the problem we Americans and our desires or is the problem that other nations supply us with what we want to do?

Should Retirement Age Be Extended?

As the economic crisis deepens there is increasing talk about extending the age required for people to enter government retirement systems. Finland is currently debating raising the age to retire from 63 to 65. The ostensible reason advocated for such legislation is that people live longer than previously so it only stands to reason they should retire at an older age. However, the change has many implications. At a time when many corporations are laying off newly hired people, it results in the aging of their workforce. If those at the upper age end of a company delay retirement, it means younger people will have a more difficult time to move up in the company. An extension also fails to recognize that many people have spent their lives engaged in hard physical labor and retirement allows them some momentary physical rest at a time when their bodies are more prone to wear out.

Perhaps, it is time to recognize that retirement will be for those with greater wealth, a long time in which to live and without meaningful work or activities it will result in emotional issues. We need to rethink the entire process of retirement and describe in greater detail what being “retired” means in a post industrial society.

Allah From A Jewish-Buddhist View– Is It OK?

I admit to being an outsider and not part of the Muslim religion, but there are times I wonder why some Muslim men spend so much time worrying about things that really are not that important in the scheme of life. Muslim leaders in Malaysia, after considerable thought, have decided to allow a Catholic newspaper to use the word, “Allah” even though they belong to a different religion. Of course, if they want to use the word “Allah” when referring to God, they must print in bold letters, “For Christians” on the cover of the newspaper. The clerics insist using the word, “Allah” is restricted to members of their religion.

I guess fair is fair and it would be appropriate if Malaysian authorities forbade Muslims from using the word, “Christ” in their periodicals unless the newspaper had in large letters, “For Muslims.” I guess if we carry this thing to its logical conclusion, then those who are atheists, should not use words like “Allah” or “Christ” or “Moses” or even “God” unless the newspaper or magazine carries the appropriate, “For Atheists” on its front cover.

So, is this what Muslim clerics spend their lives worrying about? I have a strong hunch God is shaking his head in disbelief that humans have reached this level of silliness in dealing with serious issues about God and religion.

Mugabe- Press Freedom, Nonsense!

Morgan Tsvangirai, prime minister in the coalition government with President Robert Mugabe, is seeking over $2 billion in aid from nations in order to restore some semblance of order and stability to the nation which has been devastated by the ruinous policies of Mugabe. Several potential donor nations have demanded the re-establishment of a free media as the price for aid, but to Mugabe such talk is “nonsense” and he will not agree to restoration of a truly democratic nation since he would rather people starve than open his society to open criticism of his policies. The World Health Organization now estimates at least 3,894 are dead of cholera and about 84,027 have been infected by the disease.

Robert Mugabe must go if there is ever to be restoration of a viable economy. He has placed his cronies and fellow thugs in key positions in government and rewarded them with farms and wealth they will not readily surrender even if it would result in restoration of a viable economy. For Mugabe, his needs always take precedence over those of the people of Zimbabwe.

China Denounces Criticisms Of Human Rights

Methinks, the Chinese government doth protest too much whenever the topic of human rights in their nation is raised by outside groups. A common Chinese strategy in dealing with negative remarks concerning its lack of democracy is to go on the attack and point out those raising issues about human rights do not have the best record in their own country. “We urge the U.S. to own up to its own human rights problems, and not use human rights as an excuse to publish human rights reports in order to meddle in others’ internal affairs” was the response of a Chinese spokesperson to the US State Department annual report on human rights abuses. Frankly, attacking the messenger does not address the issue of the message carried by the delivery person.

China has abused human rights in so many ways it is difficult having a beginning point. Dissidents are in jail, the people of Tibet are not allowed freedom of expression or even freedom of culture to be who they wish to be. China is right, there are many human rights abuses in the United States but that does not have anything to do with what happens in China. Why doesn’t China issue its own human rights report. Naturally, they would be number one on the list.

Sing Hate, Not Love, Say Palestinians

Israeli singer Achinoam Nini and Israeli Arab singer Mira Awad, have been singing together for years and they were selected by the Israel Broadcasting Authority to represent the nation in the Eurovision Song Contest. The decision of Ms. Awad to sing with an Israeli has unleashed a fury of anger among many Palestinians who believe their friendship sends the wrong message to the world. Instead of making it clear that Palestinians and Israelis hate one another and can never be friends, Ms. Awad actually believes a message of love and friendship is necessary in a world in which both parties believe the other is the incarnation of evil. Ms. Awad has a strange idea concerning the two nations. “I see a long term goal in front of my eyes, where eventually our two peoples have to find a way to live side by side, and where the Palestinian minority in Israel achieves equal citizenship.

Of course, to the sick and incompetent Palestinians who believe violence and war will achieve their goals, her ideas reflect a sick mind who will not go along with the program of hate. Perhaps, the preachers of hate can offer evidence their approach is working.

British Parliament Wants Answers To Torture Claims

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith have refused to appear before Parliamen’s human rights committee to answer questions concerning allegation the UK colluded in the torture of British citizens in Pakistan. The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) wants to know the truth and the Gordon Brown government is pulling a George Bush by refusing to tell the truth. Andrew Dismore, chairman of the Parliamentary committee expressed his disappointment and made clear, “the inquiry isn’t over yet.” He expressed hope that both the government and the committee can use the past in order to move forward in such a manner as to ensure that torture ends. “If people have been tortured, we can’t untorture them, but we can make recommendations about how this it to be avoided in the future.”

The more the Brown government dodges and twists, the more people come to the conclusion that a cover-up is taking place. Ranzieb Ahmed was taken to Pakistan and when he returned three fingernails were gone from his hand. Someone has to answer for such brutality, and if Brown will not respond, perhaps, the British people will in the upcoming election.

Bye Bye US Troops, Hello Iraqi Army!

It is virtually a certainty the United States will be withdrawing its forces from Iraq over the coming months, but the exact date of final departure is still unclear. A recent survey by the Army Times reveals a wide difference of opinion among Iraqis over the planned American departure from their nation. Prime Minister Maliki repeatedly insists the US must go so his army can assume control over the land. Sunni lawmaker, Mustafa al-Hiti reflected the views of many people by noting, “the aspirations of many Iraqis who want to see the occupying forces our of the country.” On the other hand, there are some who worry before leaving, America “should solve the ethnic and sectarian disputes in Iraq” in order to avoid the potentiality of civil war.

America is going to leave Iraq, the question is not merely when, but what might result in altering the plan. One concern of this writer is why have we constructed a huge embassy with 1,000 employees for such a small country?

Human Rights Violations In Putin Russia! Really!

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed surprise and a bit of shock concerning the recent report issued by the US State Department concerning human rights violations in the world. As we all know, in Putin Russia there are no human rights violations because Prime Minister Putin says there are none and wise people would not like to disagree with Father Putin when he speaks the truth about what is or what is not. According to Lavrov, “We have problems in this sphere(human rights) but we honestly talk about them and what’s more, we ourselves publish annual reports on the state of things there.” I assume if you talk about human rights violations that basically solves the problem.

Russian journalists have been killed and the killers go free. Russian dissidents are harassed and beaten while the government turns a blind eye. The Russian media is dominated by those who follow the straight Putin line while those attempting to present opposing views will not have much access to television.

Russia has the semblance of democracy. One can say Russian democracy is a modern version of a Potemkin village, all show and no substance.

Does Downloading Hurt The Record Industry?

Record industry lawyers are involved in a case dealing with whether or not downloading of music winds up damaging the profitability of record manufacturers. Roger Wallis, of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) argued there was no justification to record industry claims that increased file sharing resulted in a decrease in music sales. “There are so many other factors which can affect album sales and the research shows that many downloaders actually consume more culture than others.” He believes the music industry is against file sharing because it destroys their current business model as people spend more money on concert sales and less buying records. “There is nothing to indicate that people who download music would run out and buy records if file sharing disappeared, that’s ridiculous.” He cited evidence that while record sales are down, music industry income as a whole is up and artists are making more money.”

Record industry lawyers argued Wallis lacked academic qualifications that made him an expert on this topic. They are asking that the Pirate Bay should be considered a search engine and whether or not the site should then be held responsible for the contents of its search results.

Most probably we are living through one of those paradigm shifts in which the old feels oppressed as the new emerges. If the past is any model, the old eventually will find a way to become part of the new.