Category Archives: UK

Give Money, Get Right To Name Professor!

Once upon a time in England, they had great universities which prided themselves as being bastions of support for the principle of academic freedom. But, we live in modern times when universities so enjoy spending lots of money. Visit any university in America and notice how classroom space has become office space. In these offices dwell men and women who have absolutely nothing to do with academic research or scholarship. They devote their time to raising money. After all, the primary goal of a modern university is NOT the pursuit of truth, it is pursuit of the dollar bill. Any wonder why tuition rises and rises? How else to pay the army of office workers who soon will outnumber the size of student bodies!

Cambridge University, a bastion of academic freedom, recently accepted a grant of money–$6.6 million from a Chinese Foundation. The Chong Hua Foundation is run by a woman whose father once was prime minster of China. In accepting the money, Cambridge University will allow the foundation to name the professor who works with that money. Huh? Since when do foundations appoint professors? I am willing to accept bets that this is one professor who never will make critical remarks about China!

Never Forget D-Day

The speeches have been made. The dignitaries have gotten their pictures taken as though any of them had anything to do with the June 6, 1944 landings in Normandy. Hand over heart in remembrance is now compulsory for anyone who wants to pose as a “leader.” Unfortunately, not a single one of world “leaders” who was in Normandy a few days ago has the intelligence, the mental toughness, and the desire to work with other nations to ensure peace in the world. June 6, 1944 was a different time, a different place, and it certainly had different leaders. Imagine the United States of America, the Soviet Union, England, and French exiles working together for a common purpose–the end of tyranny in the world? Heck, President Obama can’t even gain cooperation of Republicans in Congress whose only dream is more money for the wealthy. In 1944, the top tax rate was 90%! And, thousands of wealthy businessmen came to Washington to work as “Dollar a Year” men whose love of nation far surpassed their love of money.

Sorry, Congressman Boehner, but the 90% WWII tax rate never got below 70% until the 1980s and WE HAD PROSPERITY! Believe it or not, but the wealthy paid and paid, but the jobs kept on getting created. D-Day was another time and place when we were ALL AMERICANS. Just remember, those who fought received the G.I.Bill of Rights which guaranteed free education plus money to live on. And, PROSPERITY grew!

D-Day Anniversary-America Once Great

It is the 70th anniversary of the day when British, Canadian, French, American troops landed on the beaches of France as part of the plan by which the Soviet Union and its allies would end the regime of Adolf Hitler. In the morning as dawn broke, German soldiers awoke to see 5,000 ships staring at them while cannons boomed and troops headed for the beaches of Normandy. It was an Allied effort, actually Americans constituted only 45% of those who landed. The British and Americans devised an incredibly complex plan which worked out, and within a day 150,000 men were on the beaches fighting for their lives. About 20,000 American and British paratroopers landed behind the lines and engaged German troops. So, what was unique about this day?

1. American leaders actually had a war plan that worked.
2. American leaders actually worked in a cooperative manner with allies.
3. The plan required pin point military decisions that actually worked.
4. American troops knew why there were landing on a distant beach, and who was the enemy.
5. There was close cooperation between the air force and ground troops.
6. The entire American nation was behind the effort.
7. Believe it or not but the top tax rate was 90% on the wealthy.
8. Wealthy people were willing to give their riches for the country’s need.
9. Believe it or not but high tax rates only led to more job creation.
10. We all were proud to be Americans.

That was then, today is now.

An American–British Tragedy

There is an old expression that each and every person, at one time or another in life, has stated: we all make mistakes. Yes, we all do. But, for most humans, the “mistake” we made impacted our lives more than any innocent bystander. For several years the British government has allowed the Chilcot Inquiry to dig into the record of why the war in Iraq. It has examined thousands of documents and had people like former Prime Minister Tony Blair appear and explain their actions. For some strange reason, their conclusions are not yet completely available to the public. However, it now appears at least some of the documents will be made public along with conversations between President Bush and Prime Minister Blair. We, of course, can expect many important documents will remain secret and many comments made by former President Bush will not be revealed. But, at least, we can gain access to some.

Among the mistakes made by President Obama was failure to appoint a bipartisan group to dig into the Iraq war and issue a conclusion. Five thousand Americans died and over 40,000 were wounded. They deserve to have their families know why this happened.

I assume, as far as Fox News is concerned, the real issue is Benghazi and the death of FOUR people.

You Have Freedom To Think As I Do

I recently encountered the ideas of a Turkish professor who is a devout Muslim and it became clear that his ideas are not only found among conservative fundamentalist Muslims, but represent the thinking of many Christians and Jews. Professor Hayrettin Karaman argues that modern secularism “does not have aspects which are in harmony with or parallel to Islam. He does agree with the concept of freedom of religion, but in his interpretation of this concept that means everyone has the right to freedom of thinking providing it directs the individual to believe in Islam. He does have ideas concerning the idea of pluralism. At the “bottom of pluralism lies the relativity of right and wrong, good and bad. “This goes against the essence of Islam.”

Ironically, the same manner of thinking is found among many Orthodox Jews or Christians. Heck, in America, we have Republicans who believe seeking to raise taxes one percent will result in the decline of America and simply punish our beloved job creators who will cease to job create. Those who posses the “truth” know there is only ONE TRUTH and that is what they believe. When it comes to this approach to thinking, one discovers such thinkers in ANY religion!

Europe Goes To The Right

As a result for new elections to the European Union Parliament forces of hate and anger now have a voice in that body to pursue their program of hatred. It is rather strange that just as America is experiencing the rise of those who hate and hate everything connected with government, so is Europe. Just as America experiences hatred toward immigrants, so do Europeans. Most probably these feelings emerge when people lack jobs and hope for economic success. Much easier to blame “those people” than to pursue programs that might stimulate economic growth. Just as middle class Europeans do not wish to soil their hands with physical labor, so do Americans. Ironically, it is the immigrants who handle dirty hard physical labor tasks in both the US and Europe. So, if the immigrants go, then who does the shit details of society?

The right wing immigrant hating Front National got 25% of the vote for the European Parliament in France while similar groups received 10% in Greece, Denmark and the UK. The know nothings of the world are being credited with knowing something. Again, hate triumphs. Again we seek to blame others for our own failure to embark on new enterprises that will produce jobs and wealth.

What’s Wrong, What’s Right In East Africa??

There is overwhelming evidence the continent of Africa is quickly entering the modern economic world as its growth rate of about 6% is among the highest in the world for any region. Each year, millions are leaving rural poverty and entering one form or another of a modern urban existence. Within a decade just about everyone on the continent will have access to phones and other forms of technology. As income rises, the high rate of births will decline which allows for greater prosperity. BUT, the situation in east Africa increasingly is chaotic. Corrupt governments refusal of those in power to allow democratic elections, has allowed small groups to use government for their goals rather than have government serve needs of the nation.

The government of Kenya is completely corrupt. During last year’s attack on a mall in Nairobi, the police cleaned out the mall of its goods after killing terrorists. The Kenyan government lacks an effective and honest police force, it lacks an effective armed force, and it is unable to confront growing Muslim terrorist groups. The United Kingdom just issued a warning to all British tourists at the Mombassa tourist center to leave. Over 400 already have arrived in London and thousands more will soon be gone. Kenya needs an honest effective government that can create an honest effective police force and an Army capable of handling Muslim insurgents.

Kicker Complains About Kicked!

I inhabit a nation in which those who only make a few million dollars constantly complain about the injustice of living in a world in which their secretaries do not pay sufficient taxes. It must be painful to ONLY make a million, it must be insulting that your secretary only pays ten percent more than you in taxes. After all, she gets paid at least $10 an hour!So, why any surprise at the news from Turkey. An adviser to Prime Minister Recep Erdogan was with his boss in the town of Soma where over 200 miners have died due to lack of safety measures. Yusef Yerka, watched some mine families DARE to protest at these deaths. Didn’t they know that mine accidents were part of the job of being a miner?? Anyway, one of these men was crying out his pain when Yusef finally had enough. He gave this ungrateful man three kicks. And, it was all caught on social media.

Well, here is the bad news. Yusef is now terribly in pain. As a result of this man allowing himself to get kicked, poor Yusef was hurt. He is now in pain, a pain, we might add, that is considerably more severe than anyone would get from a few kicks to his body. Yusef has been diagnosed with issue trauma and has to take sick leave. Oh, Yusef does not see any reason why he should apologize to the man kicked. It was his knee that got damaged!!

I urge Yusef to bring this matter to the attention of Mitt Romney, there is a man who understands the pain suffered by the wealthy!

Roger Helmer -New Tea Party Hero?

Every so often one encounters a public figure in another nation that you so wish could be running for public office in the United States of America. So, let me introduce you to Roger Helmer who currently is running for Parliament in the United Kingdom in a special by-election held in Newark. Let me make clear that Roger never wants to walk the streets of Newark, New Jersey, given his rather unusual ideas on life and people. Roger is a member of the United Kingdom Independence Party. This band of merry folk make our Tea Party come across as liberal communists. So, here are some views about life and people from Roger:

1. To dislike gays and lesbians is akin to disliking a particular tea.

2. Gays are “abnormal” and “undesirable” company.

3. A high percent of so-called date rape consists of a woman getting undressed and then changing her mind. This type of “rape” is not like rape by a stranger and should not be punished severely.

4. Dumb seal cubs deserve to be killed.

Gee, how do I get to vote for this man?

Language Use And Abuse

At a time of increasing poverty and lack of work, people strive with all their might to uncover an issue that has nothing to do with any real problem in order to divert attention from what matters in our lives. UK Education Minister Michael Gove is now confronting a storm of horror because he -supposedly– used the word, “nigger” in an old rhyme that was common in my childhood. The little ditty went as thus:

eeny, meeny, miny moe, catch a nigger by the toe, if he hollers let him go.”

Mr. Gove was citing the rhyme while on a TV show, Top Gear–which is among the shows I refuse to watch. He made three versions of the ditty and attempted to substitute, “teacher” for the “nigger” word. Apparently in one version some might think he was saying “nigger” while he insists he was merely saying, “teacher.”

In the world of political politeness we often wander into the ridiculous. A few years ago I was teaching a college class and read something written by Martin Luther King in which he referred to the “Negro people.” Three black students approached me after the class and wanted an apology for using the word, Negro.” I refused insisting the words used by Martin Luther King stand as he spoke them. Such is the madness of political politeness.