Monthly Archives: May 2009

UK Sends Asylum Seekers Back To Torture!

During the past two hundred years, England has been a symbol of among the few nations which have offered refuge to those seeking protection from abuse and death. Karl Marx was welcomed to the merry island a hundred fifty years ago and spent most of his remaining years protected against arrest because he was in England. However, something has changed from that noble view of being a refuge to the oppressed of the world. An investigation by the Guardian newspaper reveals the British government is sending asylum seekers back to the nation they fled in fear of being tortured or killed. The estimated 10,000 Congolese who escaped the horror prevalent in their nation are now being returned. Last week, a flight carrying 33 refused asylum seekers landed in KInshasa where some would undoubtedly fall into the clutches of the secret police and be sent to torture .

Nsimba Kumbi was sent back to the Congo. He was beaten, tortured, and even forced to have oral sex with a guard. “The government in Congo views Congolese people deported back home from the UK s enemies.” As guards beat him they claimed he was a spy. Such was the fate of a young Congolese whose crime was to be engaged in political activism and seeking to create a democratic Congo.

Karl Marx must be turning over in his grave as the current behavior of England to those who fight against authority.

What’s Best Education For Roma Children?

Romas in the Czech Republic encounter daily prejudice, they lack equal opportunity to access good jobs, and their children invariably struggle to survive in schools. As is so often the issue with children whose families are poor, educational authorities face complex issues. Should Roma children be provided separate classes in which teachers know all children have basically the same problems or should Roma children be integrated with other students. A primary school in the Czech Republic town of Valasske Mezirici decided to open two primary classes, one specifically for Roma children and the other for remaining town students.

The Ministry of Education decided segregation in the long run damaged opportunities for Roma children to succeed in school and ordered integration of all children in the community. This is a wise decision. Once children in school are placed in “special classes” the stigma lives with them for their entire educational experience. Teachers tend to “teach down” rather than expecting better performance. Roma children will have to live in a society containing those of various backgrounds and abilities, where best to begin the journey but in elementary school?

Democratic Israel Seeks To Become UnDemocratic!

The essence of a democratic society is the right of each individual to express viewpoints that agree, disagree or ignore governing authorities of the state. Many years ago, the US Supreme Court issued its famous doctrine of “not being able to shout fire in a crowded theater” which separated speech from action that endangered the lives of other people. The Knesset has okayed a bill that makes it a crime to publicly deny Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state. The bill is obviously directed at Arab Israelis who believe Israel is a state composed of people with differing religions and viewpoints. One can disagree with that concept of Israel, but to deny people the right to campaign for a multi-religious nation is to deny the very basis of democracy.

Fortunately, in democratic Israel there are still leaders such as MK Haim Oron(Meretz) who exploded in anger and dismay by commenting, “what exactly are you doing? Creating a thought police? Have you run off the rails?” On the other hand, there are the destroyers of democracy like Avigdor Lieberman who want every citizen to take a loyalty oath to the state of Israel or not be given an identity card.

I have opposed the past government of the United States. Millions have also opposed the tyrannical government of George Bush. Who is the loyal American– supporters or defenders of the Bush government?

UIs Justice Sonia Sotomayor A Liberal Activist?

During the past decades, Republican conservatives have created a myth that judges can be divided between “liberal activists” versus “conservative original intentionists.” According to this division, a judge who supports equal rights for women or seeks to limit the power of government to abridge individual rights, is, by definition, an “activist.” A judge who claims the president has unlimited rights to abuse individual liberties is, by definition, reading the Constitution in a manner that would view the world in the eyes of those who wrote it. Can anyone who has studied the writing of the Constitution believe Alexander Hamilton or John Madison would support the concept an American president could imprison hundreds of men captured in battle, lock them up without due process procedures, and refuse to provide them a trial in which they could confront accusers? Huh!!

Justice Scalia or Justice Thomas are “activists” in defense of the rights of business and wealthy people. They are “activists” who will deny rights to workers to organize into unions or deny the right of women to have equal rights with men. There is no such thing as “original intent of the Constitution.” It is two hundred years after the document has been written, and each decision by members of the Court is based on an “interpretation” of what those who wrote it meant. For example, it is extremely doubtful the original intent of the 2nd Amendment was to protect the right of those with a weapon to enter a church or a school or business establishment with it. To believe that was the intent is to take an “activist” approach.

Reality is regardless of who President Obama appointed, Rush and Lou Dobbs and other conservative commentators would have yelled “activist.” An “activist” to them is anyone who disagrees with their viewpoints. An “original intent” person is one who agrees with them. Enough of the foolishness,

Does Anyone Care About Darfur?

Mention the word, “Israel” to a group of college professors and students, and one is met with anger and passion concerning that nation’s policies in the Middle East, mention the word, “Darfur,” and a muted response indicates there is no passion, but concern. A few years ago, Darfur was in the news, but although killings go on and rape of women is frequent, the left wing has moved onto more passionate concerns. Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, blasted the UK for failing to assert leadership in dealing with Sudan President Omar al-Bashir. A number of African and Arab countries who are ready to condemn the Israel criminal invasion of Gaza, although they have nothing but anger at the ICC decision to charge a man, not with killing 1,200, but with the death of 300,000 and the rape of thousands of women.

“Bashir must be stopped,” said Ocampo, “If China, the US, the UK and Europe acted together, we could stop him.” But, the plate of major powers is filled with economic concerns and the need for Middle East peace. So, people drop a coin or a few dollars into a Darfur drive, it eases one’s conscience and allows focus on other areas where passion flows quite readily. Cry the beloved people of Darfur, you are simply not on the passion list of left wingers.

If It’s Fascist, It’s Fascist!

Turkey has struggled for decades as to how a nation deals with its past issues. Every nation in the world has events in its past which reflect the horror of ignorance and prejudice. Turkey is no exception. Prime Minister Erdogan expressed his dismay about events in September, 1955 when crowds assaulted Greek shops and houses causing thousands of people to flee the land. Many Greeks who were born and raised in Istanbul decided it was not safe to live in their own homeland. The Erdogan comment aroused a fury of anger among members of opposition parties who accused him of insulting the people of Turkey. According to DEniz Baykai, leader of the Republican People’s Party, “what does he want to achieve by accusing Turkey? We should of course discuss what we did wrong, but the duty of the prime minister is to respect the rights of Turkey.” Huh!

The job of the prime minister is to be the moral conscience of a nation. In America, we have endured a president who was incapable of respecting human rights and the result has been disaster for his nation’s reputation. Prime Minister Erdogan’s comments are respected by people of the world and he has aided Turkey to hold up its head.

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

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

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Majority Support Dog Licenses For Owners”
Dogs will be required to pick up the poop of owners or face fines.

Sweden, The Local: “Court Rejects Bid To Gag Pirates”
Instead they will be forced to walk the plank.

Uganda, New Vision: “Pallisa Dog Case Probed”
Detective Hound has been assigned to the case.

Pakistan, Daily Times: “Swimming At Beach Banned”
All swimming must occur in the water.

Philippines, Manila Times: “Taking Road Less Traveled”
If it is a road followed by Republicans, that would be the high one.

Japan, Japan Times: “Writer Writes Horror Story On Toilet Paper”
Sounds like a real smelly tale.

Kuwait, Kuwait Times: “Kuwaitis In Japan Safe”
Godzilla went north.

China, China Daily: “Replacement For Little Mermaid”
A large Donald Duck.

Saudi Arabia, Saudi Gazette: “Municipal Council Not Ready To Hire Women”
They are waiting for the birth of the 18th century.

Muslim Justice??

A twenty-two year old Bangladeshi woman was punished for telling people that a neighbor was the father of her six year year-old son. The woman told some friends about the man who had fathered her son and when he heard about her comments, the man informed local religious leaders that she was lying. They called her and the alleged father before a hastily formed Islamic court and asked for testimony. The man held the Koran in his hand and swore to the village clerics that he was not the father of the boy. Naturally, they believed his comments. The clerics then issued a fatwa calling for the woman to be caned thirty-nine times.

The woman is now fighting for her life as a result of injuries suffered during the caning. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is furious and has ordered the arrest of the clerics and asked police to do a DNA testing of the man. Of course, that was the simple solution to the problem, but for the clerics if a man swore on the Koran he must be right. Of course, if a woman swears on the Koran, she must be wrong.

Who Is In Charge Of Israel?

Last week while meeting with President Obama, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to evacuate illegal settlements on the West Bank and allow natural growth of existing settlements. Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, when hearing what the prime minister agreed to with Obama, described their understanding as “utter nonsense.” He insisted there was need to develop a comprehensive stance on regional issues rather than concentrating on “minutiae” of West Bank outpost evacuations. In the meantime, Defense Ministeer Ehud Barak emphasized the need to make clear to Americans there was no link between illegal outposts on the West Bank and dealing with Iran. He said there was need to engage in dialogue with residents of West Bank settlements, but if they would not agree to dismantle illegal outposts, he would recommend use of moderate force.

Exactly what is the policy of Israel in regard to West Bank settlements and exactly who is in charge of making those decisions? Netanyahu hired Lieberman knowing the man was a loose cannon and he must now live with the decision of having someone in his cabinet who believes the prime minister’s ideas are “utter nonsense.”

Disaster Looms In Zimbabwe

The constant slow descent into disaster continues in Zimbabwe with infection rates for cholera at the 100,000 mark along with at least 4,200 deaths. The sanitation system has collapsed and hunger stalks the land. It is estimated over 50% of children who have died have been classified as under nourished since food is difficult to find in a society run by a meglomaniac whose only thought is furthering the interests of his friends even if it comes at a cost of hunger and starvation to the people. The 2008 harvest was the worst in history and this year it is even expected to be even more dismal. South African president Jacob Zuma is expected to take a more activist policy against President Mugabe than his predecessor, who allowed friendship to get in the way of saving the people of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is a failed nation. The unemployment rate is about 94% and the education system which once was the pride of Africa has simply collapsed. The solution is clear– Mugabe must go and Morgan Tsvangirai given power to take the steps necessary to restore sanity to the country.