Monthly Archives: October 2010

Free Speech Means-Free Speech!

Dutch politician Geert Wilders does not like Muslims, he does not like the Koran, he does not like Muslim women wearing the niqab, he does not like Muslims having a voice in his nation’s future, in other words, Mr. Wilders does not like Muslims. He regards the Muslim religion as backward and encourages young men to become terrorists. I do not like the ideas of Geert Wilders, but I resent even more the idea he should be silenced. His current trial has turned into a fiasco. After being brought up on charges of inciting racial and religious hate, the trial had to be suspended when it turned out a potential witness had dinner with a judge who attempted to convince the professor that Wilders was a danger. Judge Schalken had a meal with Arabist Hans Jansen and during this session, Jansen claims, “he tried to convince me of the correctness of the decision to take Wilders to trial.” It is the wrong decision at the wrong time in the wrong place against the wrong man.

Geert Wilders should not be silenced by courts, he must be silenced in the court of public opinion by convincing people his ideas are dangerous. But, the price of freedom is allowing dangerous ideas to be spread. Heck, here in America we have nut cases like the Tea Party spreading hate, anger and ignorance. We will have to defeat them with words and logic, not with a court of law.

Headscarf Knot In Turkey

There are individuals in this world who waste their time being concerned with minor issues such as ending poverty, avoiding war or reforming schools so it is reassuring to learn political leaders in Turkey are focusing on the most critical issue facing humanity– should Muslim girls be allowed to wear the headscarf in a university classroom? The Republican People’s Party(CHP) is being torn to pieces because some of its leaders have suggested rewriting the party’s platform and supporting the right of females in college to wear the headscarf on university grounds. This issue faces a major conflict because on October 29, President Gul will have a reception which is open to guests and his wife will appear wearing her headscarf. Should CHP leaders attend the party and, perhaps be photographed in a public place with a woman who is wearing the headscarf?

OK, there are historic reasons for being concerned with Muslim religious symbols since few in Turkey wish to witness the emergence of a fundamentalist religious government which enforces Sharia law. But, the European Union is demanding that Muslim girls be given the right to wear the headscarf in schools or public buildings. There is need for those seeking preservation of the secular heritage to give in slightly and allow a headscarf now and then.

Is America An “Exceptional” Nation?

These days in Missouri I can not turn on the TV without seeing a political ad by some Republican candidate who proclaims that America is an “exceptional nation” and thus the entire world should be thankful we exist. Tea Party folk rant about how America “saved the world” during World War II and Europeans simply do not feel thankful enough that, if not for the USA, Nazis would run the world. Of course, since knowledge of history to Tea Party followers is like Lindsay Lohan’s knowledge of being sober, they lack knowledge that during WWII, at ALL times, the Russian army confronted 70% of German soldiers. Minor point, but are we Americans the exceptional nation of the world? There is a basis for making such claims. We are among the few nations of the world that has people running for Congress who dabble in witchcraft. We are among the few nations of the world who have candidates arguing for an end to social security, minimum wage laws, work safety rules, and ending the income tax. If you lack money, head for your local church. If none has food to feed you, head for your local mosque, Muslims are good at feeding the poor.

We are the most exceptional nation in the world since we offer the most exceptional candidates for public office. If ignorance was a virtue, our candidates for public office would all be saints in heaven. Once there were giants in this land, Abraham Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt or George Washington or Franklin Roosevelt, today, we have Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin! You have to admit, how many countries in this world have such a class of low grade morons running for public office?

Oh, and how many have a gorilla from Africa as their president?

It’s Them, Not Me, Says Iraq PM!

It is time for the world to recognize why Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq is a misunderstood man. This poor guy has been attempting for months to get rid of opponents, he has tried his hardest to make life miserable for the Sunni minority, and no one will appreciate his efforts to gain all power for himself. Recent release of WikiLeaks reveal horrible stories of torture and abuse by Iraq soldiers and police, but as far as Maliki is concerned, these documents and photos are simply part of a plot to end democracy, at least as he defines democracy, in Iraq. “There are some political intrests behind the media campaign who are trying to use the documents against national leaders, especially the Prime Minister.” Darn right, there are. These media folk have got in in their minds that Iraq police or soldiers engaged in some torture. But, beyond showing films of torture or releasing documents about torture, exactly what evidence are they producing to show there was torture? OK, so a few documents claim that Maliki had connections with death squads, but, as of this point in time, there is NO film showing Mr. Maliki actually torturing anyone!

The truth of the matter is there is no smoking gun which actually shows Maliki or anyone connected with his office killing people or hanging them up by their wrists. After all, as former Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld pointed out, making people stand is no big deal, he stands during the day, why can’t prisoners. Claims about light shining in the eyes of prisoners is no different than the lights on his desk. As for claims of beating prisoners, heck, wealthy men pay women to beat the hell out of them!

God bless Prime Minister Maliki. I wonder if he has considered converting to Christianity and thus gaining Tea Party support for his efforts?

Austerity 101

Prime Minster David Cameron has announced a tough program of austerity in order to reduce England’s debts and move toward ending high budget deficits. He has been investigating what Sweden did during the 1990s when it faced a similar budget crisis. The Swedish government made clear to the Swedish people difficult times required decisions such as reducing the number of government employees and 500,000 were discharged. How does a nation handle austerity? Conservatives argue it is necessary to fire, fire, reduce, reduce workers in government positions. The Cameron cuts would result in 600,000 losing their jobs, and due to the large number of females in public employment this would mean most fired would be women. Are there other approaches to this dilemma of lack of money?

1. Sharing the burden. For example, if teachers have to be fired in a school district or firemen in fire houses, why not ask all in the profession to accept a 10% reduction in wages and thus save jobs?

2. Cameron is perfectly correct in enforcing a 10% reduction in the size of armed forces. Let’s be realistic, there is no need for so many fighter planes in the UK or the American air force. Other such reductions could be implemented without impairing the effectiveness of armies.

3. Raise taxes. Yes, RAISE taxes on the wealthy. Raising taxes will not impact the economy. The western world has to redistribute the wealth by establishing limits on how much the wealthy can keep. In America, the top 1% now control about 23% of the country’s wealth. This is simply too much and historically it is beyond previous numbers.

4. Use money obtained from taxes on the wealthy to be employed in backing new ideas for new industries. We need to unleash the creative thoughts of entrepreneurs who are the ones to develop the economy and create jobs.

5. End pork barrel projects that do not produce jobs. Use money to rebuild the infrastructure of America or England. Such projects create jobs.

6. Above all, speak honestly with the American and English population so all know what will be done. Cease rhetoric about “reducing waste in government.” Unless, of course, someone can specifically cite which waste should be eliminated.

The Road Home In Afghanistan

A reporter for the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, recently returned from border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan where he spoke with Taliban soldiers who easily crossed back and forth between the two countries. Rafiullah, age 25, feels perfectly safe when he crosses over into rest and recreation areas for Taliban soldiers. He commented that the Pakistan soldiers “are quite nice” and he is safe from US drone attacks. According to the reporter, “every couple of weeks he travels to Afghanistan to visit friends and relatives and meet up with fellow fighters.” He commented to the German, “Now many people are travelling to Afghanistan because they hope that Western troops will soon pull out of our country and a new future will start.’ Everyone knows that Osama bin Laden is resting safe and secure in the area thanks to cooperation from Pakistan troops. A source made clear Osama is not living in a cafe but is safe and secure in a nice house, whose address is known to Pakistan secret intelligence, the ISI.

When asked what or who are the Taliban, Rafiullah responded: “The Taliban are students, people seeking insights. In that sense, I am one.” He insisted that few of his comrades even used the expression, “Taliban.” The reporter accompanied Rafiullah to the border where he calmly waited in the lane next to NATO trucks headed for Afghanistan. There is something weird about NATO trucks and soldiers headed for Afghanistan loaded with supplies and alongside them ride Taliban soldiers headed to meet those supplies in battle. To him, the very concept of a “border” is simply a Western invention and it has scant acceptance by people in the area.

UN Challenges Obama To Be Candidate Obama

The out fall from WikiLeaks documents continues to impact the American government. The Guardian in England had its staff do an analysis of over 40,000 documents which led them to conclude there is massive evidence of torture and abuse of prisoners by the Iraq army as well as possible by American units. “The logs show how US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and murder by Iraq police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and generally unpunished,” according to the newspaper. UN officials have called on the Obama administration to investigate these allegations and failure to do so will present an image of America as a nation which condemns torture abroad but fails to do anything when it is involved in such behavior. Manfred Nowak, the UN investigator of torture emphasized that Obama has a moral obligation to hand over to authorities anyone who may be subject to torture. Failure to act in this manner would constitute violation of Article 3 of the UN convention.

Barack Obama has adopted an attitude that any investigation of what transpired under the administration of George Bush would be “divisive” and tear apart the country. He probably fears arousing anger among Republicans in Congress. This attitude is all too familiar to anyone who lived during the era when segregation was challenged in America. Those who pursue segregation of humans or those who torture always claim to punish them is to divide the nation. The real question is whether former Constitutional professor Barack Obama will uphold the principles of the US Constitution?

WikiLeaks Leaks Truth About Iraq

Fallout from material leaked by the web site, WikiLeaks continues to reveal information that, in itself, is not surprising since any intelligent student of Iraq understood reality. Leaks reveal Iraq has an unstable government which is struggling to develop an effective system of courts and honest judges. Most civic institutions are still at the process of being created and far from fulfilling their mission to provide effective services in a country which has been living with instability since the 2003 American invasion of Iraq. Prime Minister Maliki is clearly not a Nelson Mandela who can unite differing groups and create a sense of nationalism which enters the hearts of his countrymen. He continues to discriminate against Sunni residents and, in so doing, enables al-Qaeda to gain strength. One might argue that Iraq is still in beginning stages of evolving into an effective government, but until Maliki reaches out to opposition groups the beginning might represent an end in itself.

The leaks reveal one clear element– American troops are NOT going to leave Iraq by 2011. They will be around for years.

Shirley Angle, Picture Girl Of Tea Party Ignorance

It is the year, 2010 and we live in the twenty-first century. That is, most do, but there are millions like Shirley Angle who dwell in the land of fantasy in which just allow each person to handle his/her own affairs and the nation will be prosperous. She opposes abortion, social security, minimum wage laws, equal rights for women, and would abolish the Departments of Education, Transportation and anyone that deals with global change. The voters of Nevada are angry at high unemployment and they are angry at Senator Harry Reid for not ending it. Of course, they are not angry at George Bush policies which transformed a national debt of $5 trillion into a national debt of $11 Trillion. They are angry at Harry Reid for not balancing the budget, but not angry at George Bush who inherited a balanced budget from Bill Clinton that had a $200 billion surplus and transformed it into a budget which had a deficit of over $300 billion. It is Harry Reid’s fault. Of course, these same voters were for George Bush whose economic policies of cutting taxes on the wealthy led to high deficits.

If the voters of Nevada elect Shirley Angle as their US Senator they will go down in history as the dumbest Americans who ever lived. How about voting for a few clowns as members of your police department?

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT

We offer comments on the human condition from a twenty year old mind trapped in an 80 year old body.

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT

Hate is against God’s religion. He can’t

I miss hitch hiking and meeting interesting strangers.

Today, too many Americans whine — at the wrong people. Look in the mirror, once and a while.

Sometimes at midnight I think of my mom and pop and the things never said.

A poll said a majority of white males prefer Republicans. It goes to prove majority of white males are into masochism.

As one grows older, one can grow weary or excited about the world.

I await the moment Tea Party folk get elected to Congress and try “cutting waste.”

Some claim President Obama was born in Africa. Heck, we all came out of Africa.

Most park closest to the door. I always park far away because I believe in exercise.

I haven’t had Chinese take out in months. It arrived. What we expect of Chinese take out, never comes true.

It is rare seeing an adolescent doing homework in McDonald’s.

Paris was the most beautiful city I lived in. London the most filled with inexpensive great culture. New York the most exciting. And, San Francisco, the one we all fall in love with.

Sometimes Obama reminds me of the deer caught in a car’s headlights.

To give in to fear is to diminish one’s humanity.

I have never worn a shirt with a white collar.

I could not resist. After a year, I went to White Castle.

Prediction: a Republican controlled Congress means a rise in unemployment.

Most pizza places are staffed by white boys and girls. Why?

No two trees are alike so why should people be?

His nickname should be, “Silent Barack.”

I often wonder if one lived to 150 years, how many of the opposite sex could one love with passion.