Monthly Archives: December 2009

Why Do Intelligent People Become Brain Dead In Office?

There is something about selecting a supposedly intelligent person to serve in the American government which elicits within their brain cells some rather hectic activity resulting in a form of brain paralysis. Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is a former governor who was considered to be rather good, but since she has entered the Cabinet something has happened to her brain. Farouk Abdulmutallab went through security measures, got on a plane and sat in his seat. Finally, as the plane approached its destination he tried activating a bomb which was linked to his underwear. According to Ms. Napolitano, “the important thing we have to recognize” is that “everything happened that should have. So the system worked really very smoothly over the course of the past several days.”

I get it. When I purchase an airline ticket, I become some sort of federal marshall and when someone tries to blow up the plane I take off my shirt, reveal my Federal marshall tee shirt, and swing into action subduing the potential bomber. Is Ms. Napolitano really that brain dead to utter such nonsense.

Oh, Ms. Director, your boss, President Obama said there was a “systematic failure.” Of course, since he is the president why not appoint him to be one of those undercover federal agents who protect passengers!!

Xmas In Sweden- Hit The Rails, Walk, That Is

It was a winter day in Sweden when five young boys who had just been smuggled into the country from Afghanistan decided to get on a train and head some place where they might find safety and a place to sleep. A train agent inquired about their tickets and all they could say with a sheepish smile is they lacked any tickets and had just arrived in the country. But, this is Sweden, the year 2009 and it is Christmas eve, so what do you think happened? No, they were not given refuge in a manger, they were asked to leave the train since the conductors had to follow the rules, no ticket, no seat. The boys were left in the cold and finally arrested by the police.

I was raised in the Depression when estimates were that on any given day about a million people were hitchhiking either with their thumb or by jumping into train boxcar. We considered train people who made people leave to be cruel and sadistic. Hey, man, they are five young boys without tickets on Xmas Eve!

I gather the name of the train conductor was Inger Scrooge.

Yell “Terrorism” When Nothing Else Works!

I am an American who has spent eight years hearing the expression, “terrorist” used and abused by those in government who do not wish those with differing opinions to speak freely. An Ankara court has issued an order to four former members of the legislature who support Kurdish rights as members of the Democratic Society Party(DIP) to appear before a hearing into charges they have been supporting terrorists. They were accused of being involved in “separatist activities” which could mean anything from speech to acts. The four deputies claim they have immunity as former members of Parliament. Ahmet Turk defiantly said: “the decision is against the law” and indicated when the time is right he would appear to testify in any court in the land.

In a democracy supporting those who seek to change the laws of the land is perfectly legal. A terrorist is an individual who commits an action that results in harm to other people. Did these four people commit any action?

Israel Wants Negotiations On Its Terms

The impasse on negotiations between Israel and Palestinians continues and attempts by the Egyptian government to jump start talks has failed. The bottom line is the Israel government wants to continue expanding settlements on the West Bank even as it accepts a “moratorium” on future settlements. Of course, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not put it so bluntly since he believes there IS a moratorium on housing, but it does not include Jerusalem because in his view the eastern section of the city now belongs to Israel so how could one prevent citizens from building houses.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abdul Gheit has been trying to get both parties to the table of discussion but he has run into the stumbling block of building and building. According to Gheit, his nation wants to move ahead on negotiations, but “we will not negotiate while settlements continue.”

Perhaps, the madness in the Israel approach is a cynicism of seeking to hold out and hold out until the opposition grows weary of trying to get talks going.

Greece Greases Road Of Corruption

The Greek government has followed an unusual path to economic success–be incompetent, allow corruption to flow, and bank on not the banks, but on the generosity of the European Union to bail out any effort to avoid governing in a responsible manner. Revenue has declined and the government expects its projection for a deficit to be widely exceeded by reality. For years, the “Conservatives” were all too “liberal” with the nation’s resources and borrowed and borrowed. When “liberals” took power they avoided any semblance of being “conservative” and were all too liberal in borrowing and never paying back. There is now talk of a “national bankruptcy” which could seriously damage the European Union.

The psychology of the early years of the twenty first century was dominated by the culture of borrowing. Unfortunately, one did not borrow for a rainy day, but borrowed for a future that was always getting better. Welcome to 21st century reality.

Human Rights Activists Die Mysteriously In China

Four years ago a Hong Kong magazine displayed the photos of 14 Chinese human rights defenders and hailed them for their fight to establish the basis of human rights in Communist China. Instead of being hailed for their efforts, there has been an ongoing campaign to either detain, brutalize, fire or make their lives miserable. Mo Shaoping, one of the 14 says, “now it is only me, Pu Zicheng and Fan Yafeng, the others are dead in prison or physically disabled. To reinforce the point, this week Fan Yafeng, was fired from the prestigious think tank, the Chinese Academy of Sciences. A few years ago there was some evidence that China was beginning the process of creating a modern legal system, but the evidence increasingly is the nation is going backwards, not forwards in terms of human rights.

Many now wonder if China’s leaders have abandoned the march toward democracy because they interpret such a change as damaging to their own self interests. It is doubtful a society can progress economically if government denies basic human rights to pursue the quest for knowledge.

Afghan Civilian Deaths Increase -Due To Taliban

The American military and its Coalition allies have been preaching the necessity of avoiding the killing of civilians if the conflict in Afghanistan is to improve. Latest UN figures indicate this emphasis has finally impacted those in fighting areas. During the initial ten months of 2009 an estimated 2,038 Afghan civilians were killed as a result of combat between US/NATO forces and the Taliban. However, the Taliban are responsible for the death of 1,400 civilians while the percent of killing on the part of US/NATO forces has declined from 40% to 20% of the deaths.

The good news is US/NATO forces are responsible for a lower percentage of civilian deaths, the bad news is the murder of innocent bystanders rose 11% this past year. Reality is until Afghan troops can handle the fighting there will be deaths caused by foreigners who come from non-Muslim nations. Strange as it may seem, until Muslims are responsible for killing Muslims there will be no peace in the region.

Kurds Protest In Turkey

The ongoing saga of the fight by Kurds to be treated with respect in Turkey goes on and on without any semblance of reality on the part of the government. Hundreds of Kurds protested over the recent arrest of dozens of Kurds by the government on charges they had links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party(PKK). Actually, among the arrested were at least seven mayors of cities who are charged with the crime of being linked to the political arm of the PKK. There is something wrong when mayors who were elected by the people of a city are placed in jail because they are involved in a political activity. Doesn’t it make sense for Kurds to BE involved in politics rather than in armed rebellion?

One day the Turkish government will recognize their goal is to get Kurds to vote, be elected to public office and become part of the organized process of government. That is less costly to the Turkish nation than having Kurds firing weapons and being engaged in violent actions.

HEADLINES FROM THE WORLD PRESS

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

Copenhagen Post: “Busy Xmas Criminals”
The Scrooge gang was very busy.

Indonesia, Jakarta Post: “Canada Bans Carry On Luggage”
Does that include the baby?

Turkey, Hurriyet: ‘How Green Is Your Neighborhood”
Rather green, I live in a neighborhood inhabited by Martians.

UK, The Independent: “Rampaging Bull Shot Dead”
Gee, wouldn’t it be great to shoot the rampaging bull of TV –Rush?

Sweden, The Local: ‘Parents Refused Right To Name Son Allah”
I assume, Moses is OK?

Canada, Toronto Star: “Santa, Keep Soldiers Safe”
That’s easy, bring them home.

UK, Guardian: “Queen’s Xmas Message”
Stay off the palace grounds!

South Africa, Argus: “Robbery Trauma Leaves Scar”
You wouldn’t understand the trauma felt by the robber.

Australia, Canberra Times: “Mother Forgot Toddler In Car”
That’s what happens when you have a baby that doesn’t cry a lot.

Sweden, The Local: “Christmas Chocolate Thieves Caught”
OK, kids, return the chocolate

Want A High-Head For Czech Republic

There are nations which are uptight concerning the use of drugs, and there is the Czech Republic which desires people to enjoy themselves and live it up. Under new regulations those in the Czech Republic will be allowed to possess up to 15 grams of marijuana or 1.5 grams of heroin without facing any criminal charges. At best anyone possessing these amounts might receive a warning but there is no jail time involved. In theory, the Czech government was attempting to be in step with other members of the European Union, but they have become among the most liberal in terms of drug use in Europe.

What does this mean? Nothing much, in reality. People will always gain access to drugs in one way or another, but allowing them to possess a few grams means that jails will not be as crowded. Drug laws invariably make drug lords wealthy and the police unhealthy since they have to devote time and resources to fighting a losing war.