Monthly Archives: April 2009

Where Is Pakistan Headed?

It becomes increasingly clear the Pakistan government has yet to decide either internal or external policies related to terrorism. After reaching an agreement with the Taliban which allowed the Taliban to control the Swat Valley and impose Sharia law — which was not in accordance with Pakistan law– in return for laying down their arms, the terrorist group has gone on a rampage of more violence in Buner. There are reports that finally units of the Pakistan army have engaged in fighting Taliban forces in areas of the Swat Valley where local authority has been supplanted by terrorist groups. The situation in Buner remains critical since Taliban soldiers are taking over government institutions and imposing Sharia law even though that was not part of any agreement.

The Taliban are using what is termed, “salami tactics” to cut off one slice of Pakistan at a time while the government and army “discusses” what to do next. There is no need for any further discussion, send in the Pakistan army and wipe out the Taliban. President Zardari still doesn’t realize that now is the time to fight the Taliban, allow them to control more districts and the fight will be increasingly difficult.

It is amazing that a government allows an armed force to take over government facilities and impose its own law! What exactly is the purpose of the Pakistan government except to protect its citizens?

Last Words On Gun Lovers And Heroes

Over the past few years I have engaged in debates with gun supporters in which any attempt to introduce common sense or rationality is greeted with cries I wish to take away their 2nd Amendment rights and foster dictatorship in America. Recently, I noted efforts by gun supporters in Congress to deny the VA the right to place individuals they deem a threat to themselves or others in the federal database on grounds to do so would deny veterans their right to a weapon. The purpose of placing names in the federal database is to protect individuals from doing harm, but to gun lovers, everyone has a sacred right to kill himself or others and to deny that right violates the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.

I continually encounter individuals who insist they need their rifles and assault weapons in case a “tyrannical government” seeks to take away their rights. They boast of being ready to fight against tyranny. Funny, the United States has been under the rule of a tyrannical President Bush but I never witnessed any evidence of men with rifles storming into the streets to protect our liberties. Actually, the American Civili Liberties Union did more to protect American rights than all the gun lovers in this nation put together.

From 1865 to 1945, approximately 5000 Americans were lynched. In most cases those doing the lynching were white males who used their rifles and revolvers to seize innocent people and lynch them from the nearest tree and afterwards burn bodies or cut off pieces to display. Perhaps, gun lovers can cite examples of where mobs of white men used their weapons to protect the liberties of Americans. If possession of a rifle is required to ensure our liberties where were all those men when blacks or Asians or Italians or gays were being lynched? The RECORD is clear, white men with weapons have been the cause of more deaths of innocent people than any other group in the history of this nation. Let me stand corrected. There were a few cases during the Populist Revolt when mobs of white men protected black Populist members against the KKK. Unfortunately, those same men several years later joined with the KKK to strip blacks of their rights.

I wonder if those who proclaim they are ready to take up arms against the American government realize to do so makes them a traitor and subject to the death penalty. The last group of white men who took up arms belonged to the Confederacy and their rebellion led to the death of over 500,000 Americans.

Let me make clear, I have no problem with people having guns to use against unarmed deer or those pesky squirrels who threaten them by baring teeth. Their problem is the lack of common sense. There is no need for assault weapons unless they are incompetent hunters. There is need for checks on people who purchase guns. Above all, there is need for gun lovers to shut up about the need for weapons to use against a “tyrannical government” because their record during the Bush era was a total blank.

Since any comment about this essay will begin with the claim I am against people having guns, let me restate if it makes anyone feel heroic killing an unarmed deer, please be my guest. Above all, knock off the phony heroics.

Is An Accent An Excuse For No Job?

Linda Tang made the long journey from China to New Zealand in hope it would offer her an opportunity to establish a life in a democratic nation which had a high standard of living. Ms. Tang holds a B.A. in English and is a former English lecturer at a university in China. She did not expect any problems in the nursing program and passed her courses. However, Ms. Tang was failed in her final year because it was claimed her accent would prevent patients from understanding her and might result in a fatal outcome. According to Ms. Tang, “to say my English is not good enough is just an excuse. I feel that what they have done is discriminatory, especially to the Chinese because we are penalized not for our lack of knowledge or ability, but simply because of how we talk.”

Ms. Tang scored 6.5 on the international English language Testing System to qualify which was the level required to enter the nursing program. She argues that while not being able to speak English might cause some problems, native born New Zelanders do not speak foreign languages which would damage their ability to communicate with foreign speaking patients.

Many years ago I applied for a teaching position in my native New York City and was told they would not pass anyone who spoke with a New York City accent so I faked it. Actually, this issue is complex. If a nurse misunderstands what the doctor says or is unable to communicate with a patient the outcome could be disastrous. On the other hand, are there sufficient numbers of Chinese speaking people in a hospital with whom she could communicate as she continues working on her English proficiency?

Reform Iranian Cleric Denies Ahmadinejad

Mahdi Karroubi, a moderate Iranian cleric blasted President Ahmadinejad for making ridiculous statements concerning the Holocaust. The cleric made clear: “The Holocaust is a fact. It is obvius that it has occurred no matter whether the number of people who perished were six million or six thousand. (Denying the Holocaust) is of no benefit to Iran.” He promised if elected president in June he would reverse many of the current president’s policies including his inane statements about the Holocaust. Iran is confronting serious economic problems caused by the drop in oil prices and there is need for economic development and re-establishing relations with other nations according to Karroubi.

Karroubi made clear that Ahmadinejad has derailed his nation from economic development that was being fostered by former President Khatami. He also complained Ahmadinejad’s performance at the recent UN conference on racism had only undermined the “dignity of Iran and Iranians.”

Terrorist Trials End In UK Without Any Convictions

Since day one of the 9/11 bombing, the people of the United States and Western Europe have been subject to an amazing propaganda campaign concerning the presence of terrorists and their plans to destroy society. Three men who were close friends of those who bombed the London transit system in 2005 were cleared of any involvement in the bombings which means that after four years of investigation no one has ever been found who actually participated in the tragic events of those days. The three defendants hate the West and most probably would have participated in the actions of their friends, but believing is not the same as acting.

The verdicts represent a blow to Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command which devoted tens of thousands of police hours conducting an investigation that never found anyone. Most probably some who participated in planning the bombings are still alive and wandering the streets of England or some other locale. But, they are not in jail.

Western societies have to free themselves of the belief that every Muslim hides within his soul a desire to be suicide bomber or destroy Western nations. There are criminal groups in every society, so why should Muslims be any different than the rest of humankind?

Spectre Of Democratic Senate Majority

Republic Senator Arlen Specter has left his party and joined the Democrats which will shortly ensure that President Obama has the necessary 60 votes in the Senate to push through his program without worrying about a filibuster. Naturally, Republicans decried Specter as a traitor or as one termed him, a “leftwinger” who has gone over to the other radicals in the Democratic Party. There is scant doubt that Specter’s moderate voting record was viewed by most Republicans as “liberal” if not “radical.” Republicans are trapped in the rhetoric of people like Rush Limbaugh even though most Americans have moved to the center, not the left.

Eventually, the Minnesota courts will allow Al Franken to assume the seat to which he was elected and thus provide the 60th vote for Democrats. Spector looked in the mirror and realized he would never win the Republican primary so he did the intelligent thing and became a Democrat. In essence, he joined America and left the yahoos of ignorance in the Republican party.

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

Each week we offer headlines that appeared in the world press along with our own comments.

Sweden, The Local: “Sweden To Ban Mercury”
However, it does welcome Mars and Saturn.

China, China Daily: “Scientist Fails To Get Sweeper Job”
When there is a recession, the only ones who are safe from unemployment are garbage men.

Australia, West Australian: “New Trains To Hit Tracks”
I assume the old ones are no longer on the tracks.

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “More Windmills On Landscape”
I know a Spanish guy who would love to tilt them windmills.

Hungary, Budapest Times: “Can’t Tell Right From Left”
When it comes to Rush Limbaugh, he can’t tell right from right.

Indonesia, Jakarta Post: “Launch New Narcotics Prison”
Finally, some common sense, offer narcotics and the place will soon be filled with criminals.

Cuba, Gramma International: “Reflections Of Fidel”
Be prepared for the rest of the day listening to Fidel talk to himself about his brilliance.

Australia, Brisbane Times: “Jobless Survive On Baked Beans”
There is something smelly about this story.

Russia, Moscow Times: “Airlines Barred From Delivering Bags”
If it is a Russian plane, be happy they delivered the passengers in one piece.

Romania, Seven.ro: “Low Price Vacations In Transylvania”
It only costs one pint of blood per person.

Germany, The Local: “Railway Ticket Machines Crash”
I have a hunch this is a lot better than trains crashing.

Right Wing Nationalists In Czech Republic Confronted

In the 1930s, Czechoslovakia was among the first nations seized by the Nazis and during the war its citizens were subject to brutal treatment including the destruction of an entire village after the assassination of a Nazi leader. The horrors of Nazism have disappeared from the minds of nationalists in the country and been replaced by images of a benign Adolf Hitler and good days before the communists came to power. Nationalist groups demonstrated in April supposedly to mark the anniversary of an American bombing in Czechoslovakia but most probably to celebrate the 120th birthday of Hitler. This time they were met be determined people who refused to allow their town to become associated with the kooks of nationalism.

The people met the challenge of Nazism by talking openly against these groups, holding concerts, placing billboard signs with “Smile, Not Heil” expressions of derision of the nationalists. People stood up to the thugs and were faced with having their names and addresses listed on Nazi web sites. The best manner of handling Nazism is to confront them in public and not be cowed by their threats.

Can We Allow Starter Pistols?

We inhabit a world in which security and safety are constantly on the minds of people. A six year old child brings her lunch box to school which contains a plastic knife to be used for spreading peanut butter and immediately finds herself in the principal’s office charged with endangering the lives of fellow students with her plastic knife as well as brining in peanut butter which can cause another child to become sick. In Toronto schools the latest furor is over whether to allow the “starter pistol” which is used to begin track meets to remain in use. After all, the man who fires the starter pistol might point it at the crowd and begin a massacre of the entire area. In our quest for security, we focus on minor issues rather than focus on what really constitutes security and safety.

No one really worries about children without medical care, no one worries about unemployed mothers and fathers, no one worries about the elderly who lack sufficient income to live out the remaining years in dignity. Ah, but the starter pistol, that is the real concern of security. When will humans grow up and focus on what really matters in life?

The Droll Report–Political Satire About Everyone

I was told by Fox News they did not want me attending press conferences because they couldn’t bear fools around. That’s strange, Barbara Bush could.

Rush Limbaugh’s range of thinking runs the gamut from A to B.

There are many shy people in Congress. In fact, they even made the nation a few trillion dollars shy of its wealth.

If all the lobbyists in Washington were laid end to end, it would be difficult to tell who did the laying and who got laid.

Lou Dobbs is the type of nonconformist who is like every other Republican conservative.

I always thought that Laura Bush was a nice lady and decent person. It goes to show the old adage about opposites attracting one another is true.

I suspect many Congressman will double cross the bridge when they come to it.

Republican leaders are different form George Washington in one respect. Washington vowed never to tell a lie. Republicans have vowed never to disavow a lie.

The only difference between a corrupt Republican Congressman and a corrupt Democratic congressman is one steals in the name of free enterprise and one steals in the name of poverty.

Republican commentators said the new Democratic Congress and presidency were going to undo the success of its predecessors. They recently appointed a committee to find out what those successful actions were.

Some men spend a lifetime trying to grasp the meaning of truth. For George Bush it was more like a microsecond.

Rush Limbaugh looked in the mirror and became furious because it said someone else was fairer than he. The mirror mentioned something about a dark skinned guy. If only Rush had a woodsman to take care of Prince Obama.

The motto of Fox News is: Truth is a stranger who never knocks on our door.