Category Archives: Europe

France Moves To Right

There is a significant shift in the attitudes of people in the Western world. They increasingly are disgusted with any and all forms of government that include passing laws that impact the wealthy or that allow people of the Muslim religion to enjoy human rights. At a time of vast changes in technology that reduce the number of decent paying jobs, of the rise of immigration from areas that are in poverty to areas that are enjoying the benefits of modern government sponsored legislation such as minimum wage of health insurance, those at the bottom of our economic society are angry. They feel left out and due to social media and the vast wealth of those who can manipulate the news, have come to believe their problems are the result of poor people from the Middle East and Africa. In one way or another liberal forces have failed to communicate with those who are at the bottom of the economic level that maldistribution of wealth is the problem.

Former President Nicolas Sarkozy and his UMP movement made significant gains in local elections in France. They went from controlling 42 local Departments to 65. French Socialist leader Prime Minister Manual Valls made clear “the French have declared their anger of a daily life that is difficult.” Just like Americans, the French do not believe there are any problems with economic inequality but believe all problems stem from immigrants taking their jobs! The only good news is that the truly right wing National Front did not sweep the election.

Putin Blues

Many years ago the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to the Russian government as a mystery wrapped in an enigma, and I think that is true today. Russian President Vladimir Putin has employed a foreign policy that has left Russia out of the main stream of European life. He has just about angered every nation in western Europe along with the United States. The Russian ruble has taken a nose dive, unemployment is rising, food costs are rising, teachers, workers are going on strike, but the overwhelming majority of Russian people are happy with their leader. More and more people are watching their income decline and their jobs disappear, but to the Russian people, the Great Leader has restored: PRIDE! Look at his accomplishments:

1. Russia once again controls the Crimea.

2. Ukraine is in shambles.

3. Europe has imposed sanctions.

4. People have lost jobs.

But, PRIDE is now returned. Putin wants the people of Russia to understand that problems are caused because the rest of the world does not respect Russia and defies his dictates. Go ahead and eat PRIDE.

Iran, Iran, Iran

As you will recall, Republicans and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been shouting about the ill timed negotiations with the evil government of Iran. According to the Republican party, the incompetent President Barack Obama is giving into the government of Iran and thus surrendering to the forces of terror. For some reason, the offers being made to the Iran government are being refused on grounds that the so called 5 Powers plus one refuse to give into Iran demands. I do get confused. On one hand, Bibi insists we are giving into the demands of Iran while Iran insists their opponents refuse to accept their terms. Heck, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov even walked out of the room in disgust with the Iranian refusal to accept a fair plan.

Basically, Iran wants an immediate end to sanctions while the other side wants a gradual relaxation of sanctions. I wonder what next Republicans will charge Obama with doing–refusing to accept the demands of Iran??

Mystery Of Death

The ultimate mystery of life is death. We know that the end of our journey in life must always conclude in the end of life. I, like millions, can not shake loose of the story about how Andreas Lubitz ended his journey along with the journeys of dozens of others when he shut the door of his cockpit to the Captain and quietly and silently headed the plane downwards to a murderous conclusion. We are now discovering that this man had emotional problems, and hid them from his superiors. He never revealed anything about who he was, he hid from others feelings of depression and illness, and simply went about his business of death. We now know that a doctor informed him that he was “unfit to work.”

I confess that this story haunts me. The death of 150 people without any warning, the end of life for little children is simply among the most horrible tales ever told. German authorities will be making some changes in the manner of who flies a plane. From now on there will always be two pilots together. OK, a little more money will be spent. At age 84 I am never surprised on how we humans can kill. It would be so wonderful if we could focus on life and cherish each moment of avoiding Death!

The Sorrow Of Death

I confess to being emotionally overwhelmed by the recent tragic death of 150 people when their plane went down on its flight from Spain. We inhabit a world in which hate flourishes and results in the death of the innocent. A group of people boarded a plane in Spain that included children on their way home from studying. They were innocent, but unfortunately they inhabit a world in which a single mentally ill person can murder a few hundred people. New evidence indicates that one of the pilots just broke up with his girl friend and that he had serious mental issues. In the modern world when one is mentally ill, then one has the power to murder dozens of people. Frankly there is no way to avoid such calamities. We benefit from modernity and we suffer from modernity.

There are no words to express our sorrow. There are no words to explain this murder of the innocent. All we can do is chalk it up to modernity and what we humans have created in the name of ‘progress.” The only certain thing is that within a few years there will be another such incident. Just remember, there are people on social media who thrive on becoming important.

Objective Reality In Russia

The Western world has worked for over a thousand years to arrive at a point in time when those who are brought before a court of law are presumed to be innocent. But, of course, in the world of Vladimir Putin, how can one be presumed innocent without his OK? A growing complaint among those who obey the dictates of their pseudo dictator is there is something wrong with a Criminal Code based on western ideas that presume innocence of the accused. Putin followers believe the code is closer to the “adversarial approach” in western courts of law that stem from Anglo Saxon ideas. According to Alexander Bastrykin, “it is foreign to the Russian legal system” which should stem from Mother Russia and its numerous dictators.

He is calling for introduction of the concept of “objective truth.” Under this system the judge decides which evidence can be introduced, the judge can cross examine people, and the judge can steer the jury to the correct outcome. There is no “presumption of innocence.” Let me make it clear, if the Russian government went to the trouble of bringing you to trial, we can assume they knew you were guilty. Actually, why hold a trial in the first place!

In Defense Of Muslims

There is one issue that conservatives and liberals agree upon and that is the assumption there is something inherently wrong about the Muslim religion. Liberals like Bill Maher or conservatives like Bill O’Reilly insist that fundamental to the Muslim religion is a belief in violence and death. I assume this view also agrees such attitudes are not part of the Christian or Jewish religions. At some point in any discussion about the Middle East an American expert on religions will inform people that only the Muslim religion leads to violence. Let us examine the record.

This is how religions in the 20th century behaved:

1. Muslims did participate in the murder of about one million Armenians in Turkey.

2. Catholic Fascist Italy murdered a few hundred thousand people in Ethiopia.

3. Catholics in Spain murdered over million fellow Catholics.

4. Christian Nazi Germany murdered ove twenty million human beings. Adolf Hitler was born a Catholic, lived as a Catholic and died as one.

5. Fascist Italy during World War I murdered at least a million people.

6. Christians in Rwanda in Africa murdered about 800,000 people.

7. Buddhists in Japan murdered at least five million people. Oh, suicide bombers killed about ten thousand Americans.

8. Oh, there were no Muslims in Cambodia when one million people were murdered.

9. Oh, in Christian Soviet Union the government murdered over ten million people.

10. Then again non-Muslim Mao tse-tung murdered over ten million.

The evidence is overwhelming, the Muslim religion can not match Christians when it comes to violence and death!

Crazy Times In Congress

I suspect that the infamous letter from 47 members of the Republican party that was sent to Iran is the first time in American history that a freshman Senator, led the way in American foreign policy.This stunt was the brainchild of Senator Cotton of the great state of Arkansas. The essential argument of these Republicans is that President Obama, once again is “trampling the Constitution” by making executive decisions. Republican congressmen insist the actions of Barack Obama have never previously been employed by any real American president. Look at the record:

In 1975 Republican President Ford signed an executive agreement known as the Helsinki Accords without consent of the Senate.

In 1982 Republican President, St.Ronald Reagan signed the US-USSR Strategic Arms Reduction agreement.

In 1984, St. Ronald signed a Nuclear Agreement with COMMUNIST CHINA!

And so on and so on. Thousands of such presidential executive agreements have been made. Senator Rand Paul told Secretary of State John Kerry that President Obama was “trampling the Constitution”and we “want you to obey the law.”

If one is ignorant of history than one is simply ignorant.

So What To Do About Ukraine?

The situation in Ukraine does not at this moment offer many happy policies for the people of this nation nor does it suggest that Western powers have uncovered a plan that will halt Vladimir Putin without risking the possibility of open war. So, what are the options in this area of the world:

1. Continue present policies and the “rebels”- who really are Russian troops in disguise– will solidify their control of eastern Ukraine.

2. Send arms to Ukraine and it might result in halting eastern forces in their tracks.

3. Send in defensive weapons and this might aid in causing a stalemate.

4. Send in offensive weapons and Putin will freak out and simply send in more Russian troops and weapons.

5. Embargo any and all economic relations with Russia and see what happens.

6. Send in NATO forces and see what Putin does.

Frankly, I lean to economic war which would disrupt NATO nations but not as much as it does Russia.

Israel Rally For Peace

The Republican party of Israel, oops, I mean the Israel equivalent of the Republican party, insists that ISRAEL stands with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and that when he speaks, he speaks for ALL JEWS throughout the world. A mass rally was held in Israel and the estimates of how many attended range from 40,000 to 80,000. It is quite clear that these citizens of Israel do NOT believe Bibi is their leader. Among the speakers a the rally was Meir Dagan, former head of Mossad. “I’m not a politician or a public servant,and I’m not here out of personal aspirations or in search of appointments, the only party to which I belong is the state of Israel.” He went on to emphasize that Israel is a nation that is surrounded by enemies, but the only real enemy is “our leadership.”

The main threat to the existence of Israel is and has always been, one, Benjamin Netanyahu. He has failed:

to resolve issues with Palestinians.
he has over reacted to the death of three Israel children by murdering 1500 innocent civilians in Gaza.
he has absolutely NO alternative plan to deal with Iran other than shout for ware!