Category Archives: Education

Kettle Calls Kettle Black

The expected occurred in the United Nations when the Ambassador from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea appeared and made a speech in which the representative from North Korea informed the world there was a nation that violated the norms of human behavior and it sure was not the land of Kim Jong-un. According to Ja Song-nam the United States of America has committed the “greatest human rights violations in the world.” I assume the speech was given with a straight face. We can expect similar speeches from the Taliban or ISIS or any number of Taliban style groups who will not crack a smile as they shout about violations of human rights committed by the United States of America. If we Americans behave in ways that violate human rights we can expect to be charged with the same crimes that were committed by those who do the shouting.

Frankly, for the past decade leaders of the United States of America have demonstrated a complete lack of understanding how “enhanced interrogation” will play out on the world screen. We used to have something called the Voice of America which spouted our view about the evils of communism. In many European nations there were millions who cited our policies to black Americans as examples of hypocrisy when we attacked communists as evil. Sorry, Dick Cheney, you may play at being righteous on Fox News but on the world stage you are the personification of evil.

Armed And Dangerous

There is one consistent story which will appear just about every week in the United States of America. This story is about a white male who is Christian and he has weapons that were purchased legally in this nation and he has decided to kill someone. Quite often the someone is a member of his family. Bradley Stone is on the run in Pennsylvania after he murdered six members of his family including his wife and child. NO, the killer who lurks on our streets is NOT a Muslim fanatic, the killer is one of us. Sorry, the killer is rarely a Jew. He is ALWAYS A CHRISTIAN. and his skin is WHITE. There is something ironic in this certainty of life that the “greatest threat” to our lives is form one of us.

The most ironic aspect of this story is that the killer obeyed the laws of our society and purchased his weapons of mass destruction in perfectly legal manner. Eventually, Bradley Stone will be caught and most likely die in a shoot out. Just another story among the 30,000 Americans who will die this year as a result of gun shootings. And, yet, we decry Muslims or Blacks as threats to our lives!!

Greatest Threats In American History

I continually encounter well educated people who at some point in our conversation refer to the “threat” posed by ISIS or the Taliban or al Qaeda to the very existence of the American nation. Naturally, this “threat” is on the minds of those who pose as “experts” on foreign policy. I so enjoy listening to Dick Cheney when he pontificates about the need to torture, sorry, I mean “enhanced interrogation” those who pose a “threat” to the continued existence of America as a nation. He is so serious and convinced that a bunch of men who lack a navy, an air force, tanks or artillery some how threaten the survival of the American society. How about the “threats to American society?”

The Revolutionary War which nearly resulted in failure.

The Civil War which led to the deaths of 500,000? In battles such as at Antietam or Gettysburg the death total was three times the number on 9/11.

The Depression which could have resulted in a revolution.

World War II which resulted in the death of over 400,000. Again, at battles such as Okinawa three times as many were killed than at 9/11.

Oh, and we fought against powerful armies with navies and air forces that matched our own.

So, enough with this expression, “the greatest threat in American history!”

HEADLINES FROM WORLD PRESS

We offer samples of headlines that appeared in the world press along with our comment.

Sweden, Local: “Elderly Man Fined For Walking Slow”

Please inform my 84 year old body to shuffle along a bit faster!

Norway, Norway Post: “Find Stolen Chocolate”

What a sweet story!

USA, aol: “Alleged Spying”

These days what other kind is around?

Turkey, Hurriyet: “Say Farewell To Dead Miner”

I will have to dig into this story.

Denmark, Copenhagen Post: “Proud To Come To Work”

Words never uttered by any American Congressman

Trials And Fears Of Recep Erdogan

About ten years ago, Recep Erdogan took over as Prime Minister of Turkey and initiated programs that led to a soaring national growth in productivity. He effectively ended the power of Turkey’s armed forces to intervene and end civilian government when displeased by some action of an elected government. There is no doubt that Erdogan made Turkey a nation that no longer faced the prospect of generals deciding how government would function. He also ended policies that curtailed the power of Muslim religious people, policies such as denying the right of females to wear a chador while in a college classroom. There is no doubt that his policies made Turkey a safer place. HOWEVER, along with these actions Erdogan revealed an ever increasing authoritarian attitude which resulted in the arrest of more journalists than has occurred in any nation in the world.

Erdogan is now President of Turkey and he continues to push his pro-Muslim ideas in a country in which secular Muslims are not interested in having their children deal with religion while in a public school. His latest idea is to push for teaching the Ottoman language! He has also become fearful of a Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen who lives in the United States charging this man with fomenting revolution in Turkey. Actually, his followers believe in honest government, an idea which is not in accord with the Erdogan style of governance. Dozens of police officers have been arrested for seeking to uncover corruption in the government, and you can guess who are the corrupt officials!

Putin Lays Down Threat

I do not know if the black dude who currently inhabits the Oval Office understands that when he challenges the Great Leader of Russia, then he challenges the very essence of the man who is not afraid of anyone or any wild animal in the forest. Vladimir Putin is making clear that any sanctions pushed by Barack Obama do not frighten him one bit. Heck, he has already halted import of fruits into his country., fuck with him and one fucks with the right to eat apples and oranges. He wants President Obama to understand that “something” is going to happen to the US leader or the United States of America. As of this moment, we are not clear as to what actually is the threat, nor are we clear how Putin will carry it out. However, we believe it might entail one of the following:

1. A challenge at high noon for a wrestling match.

2. A challenge to participate in a hunt for wild animals and the winner takes over the other country.

3. A photo challenge as to whose bare chest is the most intimidating.

Anyway, Barack, beware, you have been warned!

Freedom Of Speech Vs Freedom To Live

We are still in the opening years of the great technology revolution that each day not only changes our lives, but changes our conception of basic ideas such as freedom of speech. Actress Cindy Lee Garcia is engaged in a dissipate with YouTube which goes to the very basic concept of freedom of speech. She wants an anti-Muslimm video removed because its very existence poses a threat to her life. The video claims that she uttered anti-Muslim comments which leads people to believe that she hates the prophet Mohammad. She never uttered the words attributed to her. Now, she confronts the possibility that some Muslims might regard her as one who has insulted their prophet.

Three judges in the 9th Circuit Court are demanding that YouTube remove the offensive video on grounds that its presence poses a threat to the life of Ms.Garcia. On the other hand, some argue this is a threat to the First Amendment right to free speech. Of course, she is now receiving death threats. We agree with the judges, free speech does not allow anyone to yell, “fire” in a crowded theater.

Another Day, Another Shooting

It is difficult these days failing to read about another shooting. Of course, each year in America about 30,000 people die as a result of someone firing a weapon for some reason. Yesterday, we read about police shooting an unarmed man, and, of course, this was not an isolated incident. Yesterday, at the Rosemary Anderson High School in Portland, Oregon, some man in his twenties who apparently was an African American began to blast away at students who were walking home. Four were wounded, and it is feared that at least one will die of wounds. The shooting is unusual because in 99% of these cases, the shooter is a fellow student and is white. There is suspicion that the shooting stemmed from gang wars since students at this high school are termed, “at risk” which means they prior had some problems in school.

Karen Williams, a relative of one of the students who was wounded, summed up the situation with these words: “I’m frustrated. I’m sad. The world today is just out of control.” Yes, it is. Latest figures reveal that for the first time most Americans support the right to bare arms. We are the only high tech society with such a viewpoint.

We Did Not Torture In World War II

During the course of my life, I have read about two thousand books dealing with the topic of World War II. The German army in that conflict had eight million soldiers, excellent tanks and artillery and a powerful air force. I do understand that contemporary supporters of torture believe that al Qaeda and ISIS are the “greatest threat in American history to our survival as a nation.” Of course, neither of these groups has possession of tanks, artillery, planes or ships such as submarines, but, what the heck, they are the “greatest threat.” At no point did the US Army employ torture of prisoners. Of course, there might have been some examples in the field, but torture was NOT an official policy. Teams of IPW -Interrogation of Prisoners of War- talked with German soldiers and used the power of intelligent inquiry to obtain the information we desired. Of course, we also had the “Enigma” program which listened into German communications. But, at no time during the war was the official policy to use torture of prisoners. Ironically, the greatest abuse of people was the Internment of Japanese Americans due to hysteria on the part of American generals on the West Coast. Reality was that Japanese Americans never helped the nation of Japan.

George Tenet, head of CIA from 1997 to 2004 insists that the torture program “was effective in saving the lives of Americans.” His comment stands in contradiction to the US Senate Report. I am certain that Republicans will go to their graves convinced that torture is in accord with the American form of government.

Bye Bye Justice Scalia, Leave The Court!

One continually hears stories about the “brilliant” mind of Justice Anthony Scalia even though his opinions support any and all desires of those with wealth. He has absolutely no interest in the interests of the American people. However, it is clear that he enjoyed watching the TV show, “24″ and the adventures of Jack Bauer. How and why a Supreme Court Justice believes that TV shows depicting torture and abuse of people is in accord with the US Constitution is a mystery. He recently gave a talk in which this Supreme Court Justice argued: “Listen, I think it’s very facile for people to say, ‘oh torture is terrible.’ You post the situation where a person you know for sure knows the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in Los Angeles and will kill millions.” In such a situation, then one has the right to torture.

When asked if the US Constitution allowed torture, he responded: “I don’t know what article of the Constitution that would contravene.” As a teacher my students and I discussed the Bill of Rights which forbids, “cruel and unusual punishment.” If that does not apply to torture, then what does? Oh, years ago when asked if an anonymous tip could result in halting and searching a car, Justice Scalia commented. “Let the car go, Bye,Bye, L.A.” Such are the words of a brilliant mind!