Monthly Archives: October 2009

Hillary Clinton Opposes Religious Defamation Proposal

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came out in opposition to proposals from mainly Muslim groups that would make defamation of a religion a crime. She noted, “some claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion is to implement the so-called anti defamation”policies that restrict the right of people to attack and criticize religions. “The United States will always…. stand against discrimination and persecution… but an individual’s ability to practice his or her religion has no bearing on others’ freedom of speech.” She noted there will always even within a religion be conflicts and disagreements as to the meaning and goals of the religion, and according to the resolution, even those could be interpreted as a crime because someone criticized a religion.

One can only wonder how Islamist fundamentalists would speak if such a resolution were to pass in the UN given their constant insults of the Jewish religion. A high percent of attacks on Israel contain insults about Jews–should those comments be construed as insulting a religion?

Tony Blair –EU President?

Former British prime minister Tony Blair is being touted to hold the newly created position of President of the European Council. Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the world, “we the British government declare that Tony Blair would be an excellent candidate to hold the position of the President of the European Council.” But, would he, that is the question? Blair became the close ally of George Bush in the disastrous invasion of Iraq and his behavior raises questions as to his ability to take a firm stand in support of intelligent foreign policy decisions. Instead of demanding that Bush work with the United Nations, Blair jumped onto the bandwagon headed for the hell of Iraq.

His performance as prime minister did not result in a successful economy, he did not actually make any intelligent changes in education, but did play a role in raising college costs. Exactly, what are his qualifications for this important position besides displaying the backbone of a chocolate eclair in Iraq?

Hamas Vetoes Elections In Gaza

If the Middle East didn’t have enough problems attempting to reconcile conflicting interests between Israel and Palestinians, we only have to add in conflicts between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to create one huge mess. The Hamas Interior Ministry made clear it would oppose elections that President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has called for January. It said it “rejects the holding of elections in the Gaza Strip because they were announced by someone who has no right to make such an announcement and because it came without national reconciliation.” In other words, Hamas refuses to accept the Fatah demand it agree to negotiate with Israel and cease making claims that Hamas refuses to accept the existence of Israel.

Another Arab stalemate, another barrier to maintaining the status quo. Does Hamas ever realize the status quo is what the Israel government desires and it is not in the best interests of Palestinians? Only negotiations and a united Palestinian front can move toward securing the rights of Palestinians.

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

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

UK, Guardian: “Top Dead Earners”
Am I to assume they do not personally pick up their money?

Greece, Kathimerini: “Holdups At Ministries To Be Solved”
In America, the holdups are carried out by Wall Street types.

Mexico, Guadalajara Reporter: “Vaccines To Be Delayed Until December”
Get this clear– no swine flu stuff until December!

Turkey, Hurriyet: “Turkey Can Do Better”
As far as I am concerned one gobble is as good as the next.

Egypt, Egypt Daily News: “Spinsters By Choice”
I suspect that is a matter of opinion, not choice.

Kuwait, Kuwait Times: “Court Rules Hijab Not A Must For MPs”
I guess that is a relief to male MPs.

Australia, Brisbane Times: “Ninja Bandits Storm McDonald’s”
I didn’t know Ninja bandits loved Big Macs.

UK, The Independent: “Fireman Sacked Over Porn Email”
Are you saying a fireman can’t have a hot time in private?

Saudi Arabia, Saudi Gazette: “Devil’s Advocate In Afghanistan”
It’s more like the Devil is in Afghanistan in person.

Sweden, The Local: “Cabbage Cure For Cancer”
Now, this is one cure I am looking forward to see become a reality.

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Bike vs Bus”
I know who wins this one.

MYSTERIES OF LIFE IN AMERICA

Following are some of the mysteries of my life living in America, year 2009.

Does Rudy Giuliani actually believe anything he says about life in America?

Why does Barack Obama retain so many of the Bush infamous policies on human right abuses?

What actually did John Kerry say to President Karzai of Afghanistan?

Are the ideas of General McChyrstal Vietnam Lite?

Which comes first for Sarah Palin– money or power or power and money?

Why didn’t Bernie Madoff head for Brazil when he could?

What do George and Laura say in private about his presidency?

Why would Mark McGuire wish to return to baseball as a hitting coach?

How did Elizabeth Smart endure the hell and torture of those years in captivity and emerge a wonderful human being?

Would Hillary Clinton have proposed a different economic policy than Obama?

Is 12-1 A Sufficient Number Or Should It Be 100-1?

There are currently about 100,000 US and NATO troops in Afghanistan plus the presence of about 200,000 Afghan soldiers which establishes a ratio of about 12-1 versus the Taliban. General McChrystal is now seeking an additional 40,000 troops which would raise the ratio to about 18-1. Professor Andrew Bacevich of Boston University who earlier in life led a platoon in Vietnam, argues, “the insurgents are conducting the war in ways that do not play to (allied) strengths.” He adds, “it is impossible to regain the initiative by introducing more foreign forces, which will only breed more resentment and more recruits for the enemy.” The professor is simply stating what anyone who has studied counter-insurgency knows. It is up to the people of the besieged nation to develop a sense they want to deal with insurgents and unless that spirit is present, the conflict will go on and on.

There are about 25,000 Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. However, they are not a monolithic body led by a central leadership. They belong to clans and tribal groups as well as fall under direct command of Taliban leaders. General McChrstal must focus on training an Afghan army. He needs to concentrate his forces on training and equipping a new generation of Afghan officers and leaders. Of course, he cannot accomplish that goal if the nation is led by corrupt, inept leaders. THAT IS THE PROBLEM AND 40,000 MORE TROOPS WILL NOT SOLVE IT.

Bombing Continues In Pakistan

I am not a scholar of the Muslim religion. My background is in Middle Eastern, European and American history although I have written about United States policy toward China. Therefore, I find myself increasingly baffled by bombings in Pakistan or Iraq which invariably result in the deaths of Muslim women, children and men. The latest episode involved huge blast In Peshawar which killed 91, but what was most shocking about the attack is the bombing took place in a market which sold items to children. As I admit, I am not a scholar of the Muslim religion. I simply can not enter into the mind of a Muslim man who would load himself up with bombs and set them off at a site where Muslim children might be present.

Please do not misunderstand my comments. I am very aware of European and American brutality in history. Although I have studied the Holocaust, I am no more able to enter into the minds of German soldiers who bashed in the heads of babies. Who are these creatures of the night, whether in Muslim societies, or elsewhere, who justify killing of the innocent. Of course, the German soldier did not kill those with whom he associated–non Jewish Germans, but Muslim terrorists kill their own.

I do not understand.

Mugabe’s Zimbabwe Continues Torture As Weapon!

Zimbabwe is a nation ruled by a ruthless man whose only desire is power for himself and the group of thugs who surround their leader, Robert Mugabe. For some unknown reason, Mugabe finally allowed the UN Special Rapporteur to visit his nation in order to investigate charges that torture has been used against the Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) whose leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is attempting to help restore a semblance of economic health to the society. The UN official, Manfred Kowak was in South Africa and preparing to board a plane to Harare on Wednesday when he was informed no one was coming to check on torture in Zimbabwe, order of his Excellency, Robert Mugabe.

Once again, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) uttered words of concern at the political mess in Zimbabwe, will undoubtedly dispatch an envoy to “discuss” the situation, the envoy will return home, and the mess will continue. Until the SADC is prepared to use its economic and political power, Zimbabwe will be governed by the Mugabe clique.

If You Are Roma, Don’t Sleep Near Us!

The Romas in Finland are there due to an inability in their native lands elsewhere in Europe to find opportunities for work and a decent life for their families. An illegal Roma camp was set up by a group of beggars in Helsinki, but it was broken up and the people dispersed on order of the City of Helsinki. Another camp nearby was also dismantled by authorities. The Romas who come mainly from Romania, picked up their meager belongings as city workers tore down their plywood structures. Of course, city authorities had absolutely no idea where the Romas could go for shelter, but, apparently, that was not their main concern. After all, allowing people to beg on the streets of Helsinki sends a wrong message to tourists.

A Roma woman, Virginia Moldova, said “I;ll just put a mattress down on the ground and sleep there. Maybe we’ll be able to find some kind hearted soul who will help us.” Mayor Jussi Pajunen said Romas were EU citizens and were to be treated like any other tourist, and while in Finland Romas must obey the nation’s laws.

Fella, they are not tourists. They are people seeking work, education for their children, and a place to lay their head on. How about finding job opportunities so they can earn money and secure lodging?

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

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

Australia, Brisbane Times: “Man Gets Reply After 52 Years”
I do?

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: Garbage Collection Resumes”
That takes a lot of smells off my mind.

Sweden, The Local: “Man Boards Wrong Train, Must Resubmit Asylum Request”
We really don’t want a lot of foreigners in our country who board the wrong train. We already have enough Swedes who do that.

Russia, Moscow Times: “Beer Tax Threatens Factories”
Now a vodka tax, that would threaten Russian society!

China, China Daily: ‘Kidney Illegally Sold Online”
In the future, please sell it illegally off line.

Kuwait, Kuwait Times: “Laws That Make Bums”
Heck in America we have bums who make laws.

UK, The Independent: “Sarkozy $400,000 Shower”
I wonder if the shower dispenses champagne.

Qatar, Gulf Times: “Up Against The Wall”
Welcome to the job search in America, circa, 2009.

South Africa, Argus: “Where Is The Good Government?”
It certainly is not in the US Congress when discussing healthcare.