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Each week we present the rambling biased thoughts of a 77 year old American who is commenting on the human condition.

Nobody Asked Me But,

I was at a funeral. Why do people mumble when speaking about the dead. Shout what you have to say.

If the Chinese female gymnasts are 16 years old I am headed for China. I guess it’s the water that makes people look so young.

It was August 15 and children were entering a school. What ever happened to bringing in the harvest?

I spend an inordinate amount of my life worrying about which line to use at the checkout n a supermarket. I always select the wrong one.

At age 78 when attending a funeral there is always sadness mixed with a tinge of satisfaction I am not the one being discussed.

I prefer the dog days of summer to wintry blasts. Sweat is preferred over shivering.

There was a sign that said: “College Men Faculty Only.” A faculty that shits with students will not piss on them.

I always evaluate the effectiveness of a secretary by her offer of a cup of coffee.

After being away from a regular job for a year, I no not miss meetings but I miss schmoozing with people in the morning.

I am always fascinated by columnists who note George Bush is not making the same mistakes as he did years ago. Unfortunately, dead soldiers and civilians do not get another chance in life to correct mistakes.

I evaluate people on their sense of humor more than on intelligence.

In a parking lot, I spend a few extra minutes making certain I don’t have to back up to leave. I have absolutely no trust in the ability of anyone who is driving a vehicle.

There ought to be a law which requires trucks going up a hill to float on air and then rise skyward.

A meeting that goes past an hour will never solve any problem except for creating the problem of wasting people’s time.

I am always fascinated at the number of injuries to athletes during training seasons. What do these guys do when they are not playing– drink beer all day?

I wonder when I get to Heaven if I will be required to cover my head and face.

I have never seen an angel who is portrayed as vicious. Does this mean when we die we lose all our human qualities?

I sometimes think God spends his time as a stand up comic in some dingy nightclub. How else to explain the number of jokers who hold public office?

I have been wondering all day if there is a Starbucks in Heaven. I know McDonalds can’t get in because God worries about his stomach.

I saw this delightful little four year old walking around in a blue dress and feeling so proud. Who says there are no biological differences between the sexes?

I am amazed at the muscles on athletes at the Olympics. Heck, you could place my entire chest into one of their muscles.

Humanity got along for thousands of years without cell phones. Now that we have them does this mean we will now be able to communicate with one another?

I sometimes think young people today get a a frontal lobotomy when they enter school that removes all knowledge of their nation’s past.

One will never know exactly what was learned in life until after death.

John Edwards had an affair like about half this nation. The illness of a loved one can cause people to seek the warmth of love elsewhere because of fear. I never judge anyone who is seeking love, regardless of the reason for the love.

People in pizza places speak very loud. Is it something in the dough?

Brenda called to tell me she wanted to help me solve my financial problems. I asked for her phone number so I could call her back to give her advice about her children’s education. She hung up.

A college faculty person told me he only values what is told him by people who have advanced degrees. I prefer the knowledge of a plumber because at least he makes certain toilets in a school are working so they can get rid of the shit spoken by faculty that is coming out of classrooms.

Secretary Rice In Georgia As Sign Of Support

Secretary of State Condi Rice is in Georgia where she is dealing with the complex issues raised by events in that region of the world. On one hand, the United States is working to get Russia out of Georgia and restore conditions to what they were before fighting broke out in the area, but, on the other hand, Rice must deal with actions of the government of Georgia which created the present situation. The United States is assuring Georgia it will not be forced to accept any decisions which run counter to its self interests. However, there is a difference between what Georgia views what should be done in the region and what most Western nations are willing to accept.

President Saakashvili thundered to the world that “Russia’s invasion of Georgia strikes at the heart of western values” and to allow it sends a message that authoritarian government can exist anywhere. However, he initiated the war because of a desire to impose Georgia’s will upon South Ossetia. The West supports Kosovo’s decision to breakaway from Serbia which places it in a dilemma. Does South Ossetia have the right to breakaway from Georgia if that is the will of its people?

Patriotism-Last Refuge Of Scoundrels And Republicans

The summer season of politics is alive and well in America as citizens devour hot dogs and hamburgers and wave flags in parades to celebrate the nation’s birth. Senator Barack Obama, is making certain one and all recognize that he is a patriot just like Bush or McCain or Ron Paul or any other of the men and women who have spent the past several months attempting to seize the high ground on patriotism. Obama made certain he stopped in Independence, Missouri, home of Harry Truman where the senator expressed his deep love for America. Unfortunately, he really didn’t grasp the meaning of Harry Truman who was vilified and threatened with impeachment for defending American values and refusing to allow the military to dictate foreign policy.

In the 1950s, Republicans went after Adlai Stevenson, who twice ran for president. He made the outrageous comment that patriotism was about loving America, not hating Russians. In 2004, a genuine war hero experienced the Republican smear campaign which transformed one who fought into the coward while the coward in the White House came across as the all American boy wonder.

Senator Obama does not have to abandon his principles in the name of patriotism. Americans respect a man who stands up for his principles. Catering to the moral majority by espousing faith based initiatives not only will not gain votes, but will result in loss of enthusiasm among his supporters. The way to stand tall for America is fighting for policies that restore economic health, ending a disastrous war, and respecting the intelligence of American voters.

Marine Casualties Rise In Afghanistan, Drop In Iraq

Republican party leaders like Senator John McCain and President Bush are proclaiming the drop in violence in Iraq after five years of war, but even as those figures decline, there has been a steady rise in the number of dead and wounded American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. During the past week, seven Marines attacked to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, died in combat. They were either killed while on military operations against the Taliban or by roadside bombs. The Marines are doing an outstanding job in Helmand province which surely raises questions as to why they were not sent there in the fall of 2001 when the Taliban were on the run and Osama bin Laden was fleeing for his life.

President Bush wants to take “credit” for the drop in Iraq casualties, but, of course, he forgets that Chief of Staff Shinseki told him in 2003 the American armed forces lacked sufficient numbers to control Iraq. For his bluntness, the general was shown an early retirement. The rise in Afghanistan casualties is a result of incompetent policies of the past and the lack of any long-term goals in the present. We will witness in the coming months more Americans dying in Afghanistan. Of course, by then Bush would have left the presidency and will go around the country blaming high Afghan casualty rates on whoever is the current president.

African National Congress Leader Jacob Zuma An Enigma

Helen Zille, leader of the South African Democratic Alliance party, blasted Jacob Zuma, the candidate for president under the banner of the African National Congress. Ms. Zille charged Zuma was unfit to become president because of his refusal to guarantee the nation he will respect and abide by the South African constitution. She stated there were considerable concerns regarding his views on treatment of HIV/Aids patients, his refusal to guarantee the integrity of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s right to air controversial programs, the charges he currently is facing regarding alleged corruption, and his failure to support the right of authorities to conduct corruption investigations.

A major concern for Ms. Zille are statements made by Zuma about elections. She challenged him: “Will you publicly acknowledge that all political parties are equally legitimate before the law and that the results of any free and fair elections must be respected?” Ms. Zille termed the ANC leader an “enigma,”

A persistent tragedy for South Africa is that none of its leaders who followed the administration of Nelson Mandela are individuals with that man’s concern for constitutional rights.

Ethiopian Soldiers Brutalize Somalis In Ogaden Region

Ethiopia has been used by the Bush administration as its chief ally in the fight against terrorism in east Africa. The Ethiopian army was encouraged by Bush to invade Somalia in order to defeat Muslim fundamentalists. As part of the anti-Somali stance, the Ethiopian army has been engaged in destroying any Muslim opposition in the region of Ogaden in its own nation. The area is inhabited mainly by Somalis some of whom are part of the Ogaden National Liberation Front(ONLF). Human Rights Watch has uncovered evidence of a systematic campaign by the Ethiopian army to destroy villages and drive people away from their homes in order to deprive the ONLF of support. Civilians have been forced to fight and the Ethiopian army is killing livestock, driving people from their homes, burning over 80 villages and publicly executing people it deems to be part of enemy forces.

Human Rights Watch representative in Africa, Georgette Gagnon, said, “We don’t like to rank abuses in the world, but what is happening in the Ogaden is up there with the worst.” She added there were numerous examples of women being raped by Ethiopian soldiers.

Is Medvedev Serious About Corruption In Russia?

President Medvedev made it clear in many of his early speeches as head of the nation that issues of corruption in government were high on his agenda of reform. The Kremilin is now focusing on the issue of corruption by posting xcerpts of letters written by ordinary citizens regarding encounters with corrupt officials. The Kremilin web site occasionally posts summaries of letters to the president related to social issues and foreign policy. The letters posted on corruption Wednesday were the first to be published in 2008 and represented the initial time a roundup on letters has specifically focused on corruption issues. A spokesperson said the Medvedev sometimes identifies a theme from the website that he wants highlighted.

Vldadmir Pribylovsky, head of the Panorama think tank commented that although he had not read the letters they probably were “just another PR stunt.” He believes Medvedev is using the letters to give the impression there will be a crackdown on corruption but nothing serious will be implemented against corrupt officials. Most of these top officials were appointed by Putin and firing them might be interpreted as a slap in the face of his mentor.

India Jolted By Chinese Nuclear Bases

The Indian Defense establshment was shocked by satellite pictures which reveal the existence of a large area in central China which contains 58 launch pads for nuclear-capable missiles which appartently target north India and south Russia. This news comes shortly after the discovery of the incredible extent of China’s underground nuclear submarine base at Hainan Island in the South China sea. The head of India’s navy is upset at the large number of nuclear submarines which are operating in close proximity to the Indian nation.

An analysis of the photos done by the Federation of American Scientists concldes, “the sites are for targeting Russia and India.” India, of course, has her own nuclear capability and has a vigorous and expanding trade relationship with China. Russia still retains the vast nuclear armament that was developed by the old Soviet Union. Perhaps, it is time for all nations with nculear capability to get back to the table of negotiation.

Arab Summit Never Left Ground Zero

As expected, the Arab summit meeting in Damascus came and went without any result other than a nice trip to an interesting city. Due to US pressure only half the members of the Arab League even bothered to attend and, in most cases, the others sent low-level officials. According to Ahmed Moussalli of the American University in Beirut, “Most likely what we’re seeing is the end of the Arab initiative. Now what we will be seeing is the stagnation of the Lebanese situation and this could deteriorate into further negative interaction between the two groups in Lebanon.” Both sides in the deadlocked Lebanon government situation have agreed that Michel Suleiman should become president, but Hizbullah insists on one-third of Cabinet positions and a veto on any attempt to disarm Hizbullah or grant naturalization rights to Palestinian refugees in the country.

Professor Moussalli expects “more riots and clashes–the whole area is going through a very troubled time, not only Lebanon, but Iraq, Pelestine and with the US-Iranian and Syrian-Saudi tensions.” The problem in trying to have an “Arab initiative” is that Arabs are never in charge of their own desires because they are controlled by outside factors.

Most Americans have scant understanding how the Bush invasion of Iraq has completely destablized the entire region. The Bush failure to go south to Iraq instead of focusing on the Israel-Palestinian conflict will rank among the worst foreign policy decisions in American history.

Good News And Bad News For Putin

President Putin arrived in Bucharest to attend the NATO meeting only to encounter a mixtue of good and bad news. The aggressive actions of President Bush were both supported and rejected by NATO members. NATO nations rejected the application for membership by the Ukraine and Georgia due to fear such action would only anger the Russian government. The Russian people fear the presence of hostile forces on their borders due to the reality of twice in the twentieth century being invaded by forces from the West. However, it appears NATO will support attempts by President Bush to establish missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Bush, and some politicians in Georgia and the Ukraine, warned it would be dangerous to allow Russian concerns to become influential in determining what is done by NATO.

NATO was born at a time when real threats were present from the Soviet Union but that era is long since past. There is no indication Russia contemplates any military action aganist the West despite the rantings and warnings by George Bush. The American leader needs “enemies” in order to continue justifying laws that threaten the rights and liberties of the American people and right now Russia serves his hysterical political agenda. The claim that bases are needed in Poland and the Czech Republic against “Iranian missiles” makes absolutely no sense. Why would Iran ever contemplate attacking western Europe? Bushism is the voice of fear, not reality.