Monday, March 31, 2008

The Arrogance Continues

The picture of the three who got us into the quagmire of Iraq! War criminals if ever there were any! Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld all should be held accountable for crimes against humanity! That is my opinion and has been since the beginning of the Iraq war 5 years ago. Time has proven me correct! Time has proven all those who opposed the war correct!

This weekend, Mickey Edwards, a Congressman from 1977 to 1993, wrote, "For at least six years, as I've become increasingly frustrated by the Bush administration's repeated betrayal of constitutional — and conservative — principles, I have defended Vice President Cheney, a man I've known for decades and with whom I served and made common cause in Congress. No longer." Edwards cites Cheney's recent interview with ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz. When Raddatz reminded Cheney of America's overwhelming dislike for the war, Cheney's response was, "So?" Oh the arrogance! Isn't government "For the People, by the People"? Guess not in the Bush Administration.

Over the weekend I watched a television show documenting the rationale for war with Iraq. Rumsfeld insisted without a shadow of a doubt that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. It wasn't that Iraq may have weapons of mass destruction, but they did, and the US knew where they were. Five years later, how wrong Rumsfeld was.

And Bush! He insists to this day that we are making progress in Iraq. Last week, when the Iraq government began its new offensive against rebel forces, we were again told it is a defining point for Iraq. How many defining points have there been?

Lies, lies, lies! All lies and distortions! And many bought it! Many didn't but today we can see where it has gotten the US. It has totally ruined us. Not only 4,000 dead, but look at our economy. Any relationship to Iraq? I would say so. This war, started by Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld has led the US down a spiralling hole. I only hope Bush's successor can get us out of it.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Obama's Foreign Policy Overhaul

"When Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama met in California for the Jan. 31 debate, their back-and-forth resembled their many previous encounters, with the Democratic presidential hopefuls scrambling for the small policy yardage between them. And then Obama said something about the Iraq War that wasn't incremental at all. "I don't want to just end the war," he said, "but I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place.""

This quote was in an interesting article I read in The American Prospect, Liberal Intelligence. I think anyone who is still debating in his/her own mind which presidential candidate would make a better President should read what The American Prospect article has to say. To sum it up, Obama is the only presidential candidate that not only wants to stop the Iraq war, but also change the American mindset when dealing with other nations. Obama wants to restore America's global leadership and protect America by cooperating with other nations, not simply insisting other nations do as the US says because we're the US. The article discusses the advisors that a President Obama would use to accomplish his sweeping foreign policy change.

If you're for peace, real peace in the world, read the article. Is Obama the man that brings the world to a more evolved state of thinking when it comes to world peace?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mehdi Kazemi Update

Just to update you on the status of Mehdi Kazemi, the Iranian teen who faces deportation from the UK back to Iran where he faces death for being gay. British authorities have temporarily halted the deportation of a gay Iranian teen while they review his case. British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced Mar 13 that Kazemi would be granted a temporary reprieve from deportation. On Mar 13, the European Parliament passed a resolution asking the Netherlands and the UK to "find a common solution to ensure that Mehdi Kazemi is granted asylum or protection on EU soil and not sent back to Iran, where he would be executed." This issue is still not resolved, but things look a little better for Kazemi.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hillary Dodges Sniper Bullets?

I will admit that I voted for Hillary Clinton in NJ's Primary in February. If the primary were held in June, as has been in the past, I am not so sure my vote would have been the same. I was faced with the dilemma most were: vote for the new guy who speaks well, but maybe doesn't have the experience necessary to lead our nation, or vote for the woman who has more experience and has been around Washington alot longer, knowing the "ropes" and how Washington works? The other hesitation I had in deciding was the Hillary that plays politics to the max. Obama does not do that to the extent Hillary does. Again, would this be a benefit for Hillary or a hindrance? Would understanding Washington allow one to maneuver better to forward an agenda?

Today, Hillary admitted to "misspeaking" about her visit to Bosnia 12 years ago as First Lady. She admitted she exaggerated the whole experience. Hillary had previously cited landing under sniper fire, having to run with her head down to safety. When responding to a reporter who had video footage of the landing, not as dangerous as Hillary said, Hillary responded by saying "I say a lot of things -- millions of words a day -- so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement." And there's my problem. When Hillary gets caught in a "misstatement" she always has an excuse. She's always playing politics!

Just like the now famous 3am telephone commercial. It must have worked because people bought it. But really, has Hillary ever had to answer the phone at 3am for a major disaster? I doubt it! So which one, Hillary or Obama, would handle it best? That remains to be seen.

More and more, my leaning is toward Obama. I believe he is more electable against John McCain. More Independents and even some Republicans, who would never, never vote for another Clinton, would vote for Obama. Sounds like I'm making up my least for today! Either Hillary or Obama will have my support in November to stop the Republican devils is all I know.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Stop With The BS That Guns Don't Kill

The following letter was found in the Voice of the People in Today's PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY:

We don't blame
cars; why guns?
Once again, recent letters about firearms focus on the wrong element - firearms - and not people.
Firearms are inanimate objects, useless tools without a human. They don't jump up in the middle of the night and go on a shooting spree without a person behind them. No one blames the car in a drunken driving accident - they blame the driver. Cars kill hundreds of times more people than firearms do in the United States every day, and you don't hear people clamoring to ban those deadly cars, do you?
It is already illegal to carry a firearm. Why would an additional ban stop someone who is already breaking the law? Enforce the 20,000 other gun laws on the books already and punish the offenders. Bans only punish the innocent.

Egg Harbor City

I am so sick and tired of this rationale: "Guns don't kill people; people kill people!" To equate a gun with a car is one of the most moronic comparisons I can think of. Guns were made for one purpose, and one purpose only, TO KILL! One can argue all he wants that using a gun is sport, but KILL is a gun's only reason for existence. One target shoots to better his aim to better his shot to KILL! One hunts, in today's world, not to put food on the table, but to KILL! Don't for a moment tell me hunters do not get a thrill out of killing! (I did not say I am against hunting, but come on with the excuses)! A car's intent is not to kill, but unfortunately because of human error death is sometimes the result!

There is no reason I can think of for the legal purchase of some of the guns we have in society. Nobody target shoots or hunts with some of the weaponry around today, so stop with the BS excuses and rationale about why guns are good!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Has It Been Worth The Price?

Thousands dead? Many more injured and maimed? Trillions of dollars? The WMD were not there! The war has not paid for itself! Electricity and oil DO NOT flow! What have we gained?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

So What's The Big Deal?

So what's the big deal about what Rep. Sally Kern(R-Oklahoma) said about gays and lesbians being more of a threat to America than terrorists? After all, like any American, Kern is entitled to her opinion, right? Does she have to be politically correct in all that she says or does? Well I'll tell you why it matters to me.

Sally Kern is a public figure, a leader in her state of Oklahoma. What leaders say has a big impact upon what their followers believe and do. When a leader makes derogatory comments about a group of individuals, such as Kern's, which in reality makes gays and lesbians the enemy, those followers get downright defensive. For people who can't think for themselves, just think about the impact the words of leaders has (Jim Jones, Adolf Hitler, the Church). Some of those followers then believe it is OK to do whatever they have to do to eliminate the "enemy." Thus, the killings of others!

Public leaders should be encouraging the positive and creating an atmosphere of harmony between people, not dividing and causing hatred. Kern continues to do this. She has every right to believe what she wants, but she should keep it to herself. My only hope is that by publically vocalizing her inner feelings, the public will be so outrage that they will realize this is not the leader for them, and Kern will be booted out. A YouTube audio clip of Kern's creed against gays and lesbians has indeed outraged gay activists. Hopefully not too much damage is done in the meantime.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Iranian Teen, Part 2

British authorities have halted the extradition of Mehdi Kazemi, the gay Iranian teen that faces execution if sent back to Iran, while the case is reviewed. Kazemi requested asylum in the UK, but when his application was turned down, he fled to the Netherlands. Dutch authorities examined his case and decided to send him back to the UK. Why has the US not weighed in on this injustice? Why doesn't Condi or George W. express outrage? Who knows. By the way, I haven't heard any of the presidential candidates make a statement either. Is it that the US does not really care? Maybe it's too controversial? Well, I'm sure there are plenty of Americans, as well as others around the world, expressing their disgust!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Just When You Think The World Has Changed!

Just when you think the world has changed and peoples' attitude toward gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals may have become just a bit more positive, a news story pops up that reminds me that some people still HATE! The picture, not a recent incident, is of 2 young gay men hanging in Iran, their only crime was they were gay. Just today it was reported that A 19-year-old gay man from Iran who was refused asylum in Britain and fled to Holland will be deported back to the UK to face an extradition hearing that could send him back to Iran, where he too will face imprisonment, torture, and possible execution. Mehdi Kazemi fled Iran following the execution of his partner after being found guilty of sodomy. Kazemi hoped to find a safe haven in England. "What would you expect from Iran?" you might ask. However, I'm not sure the attitude toward gays, lesbians, and transgendered individual is much better in the US.

In the last year alone, young gay people have died at the hands of straight friends in central Florida, been beaten to death after leaving a bar in Greenville, S.C., and assassinated in an eighth grade classroom in California. Last weekend in Athens, Ga., a 17-year old gay man carrying a purse was beaten and verbally gay-bashed by three boys he knew. Then we have a Congresswoman, Sally Kern, who should be promoting civil rights, bash gays, saying they are a worse threat to the US than terrorists!

When are people going to just let people be who God made them to be? A person has a right to not like it! Someone can have a hard time understanding it! Some may not even accept it! But does that give them the right to kill or infringe on someone else's right? Maybe the US isn't any better than Iran!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Tale Of Two Manilas

In January MyGuy and I took a trip to the Philippines and Hong Kong. We visited friends in the Manila area and toured the sights in and around Manila. It was the most eye-opening experience of my life so far. I can only describe the visit to Manila as "interesting." Firstly let me say I had a great time, and the Filipino people are the most polite, hospitable people I have ever met. "Sir" was my name most places I went. (My friends joked that primarily because I was a white American, we always received special attention whenever I was present. Whatever the reason, it was great). Secondly, the Philippines has many great resort area and the cost of living is cheap there by US standards. A nice meal for four in a restaurant ran only about $30.00US. While in the hotel I had a 90 minute Hilot massage, which is a Filipino deep tissue massage, and that only cost me about $55.00US. In the US you spend at least $1.00/minute for any professional massage. When not at our friends' house, we stayed at the Peninsula Manila hotel, a five-star hotel, costing about $185.00US/night, a hotel that in the US would probably run between $300-500.00/night.
The reason I described my trip as "interesting" is mainly because of the dichotomy of life in the Philippines. There are many malls, ranging from new malls with high-end stores such as Gucci and Louis Vittan, to smaller malls with markets. The malls are packed! Because it is a tropical climate, and very warm, the temperature while we were there ranging most days from 85-95 degrees Fahrenheit with much humidity (and this was the cool season, November-January), and because most Filipino homes do not have central AC (AC in the bedrooms only if that), the people congregate in the malls in the evenings to spend time with friends and family and to eat meals, and quite honestly, to keep cool. When I explained that most Americans get done work, go home, eat dinner, and relax at home most weeknights, our Filipino friends said, "How boring!" The malls on the weeknights in Manila looked like our malls on a weekend at Christmas time in the US. The malls also have several food courts lined with traditional Filipino food as well as McDonald's, KFC, Starbucks, Pizza Hut and the likes, and the people are feasting! The money certainly flows in the malls. (One of the pictures above is in Makati, the financial district of Manila). The "interesting" thing is the poverty that is just outside those malls, and the lack of money a great deal of Filipinos have.
I expected to see poverty, but not to the extent I did. Villages like the one above exist all over! Not just in certain areas outside the city. We would be standing next to a modern, very nice building and just a few feet away were shacks and squatter villages where people lived. People sold things they made and tried to make a living anyway they could. (I realize this occurs in other places in the world, and even in the US, but I had never experienced it for myself). It was sad to see how some people have to exist! It really is just like I have seen on TV where the poor search for food to eat. The second day I was there, this actually put a tear in my eye. (I have since been inspired to donate to UNICEF/PHILIPPINES and to sponsor a child through Children International).
Manila and the area has a great deal of history, unfortunately most of it is occupation by foreign lands. The Philippines was first colonized by the Spanish, and the Dominicans (Catholics) remained in the Philippines for 500-600 years. The Spanish influence can be seen throughout the Philippines. So can the Catholic Church's influence. I wondered while I was there was the Catholic Church coming to the Philippines a good thing or a bad. Many of the hospitals and schools were founded by the Catholic Church so I guess that's good. But what if the Catholic Church never came, would the people be better off now? The Filipinos, although influenced tremendously by the Catholic Church, also incorporate alot of cultural rituals/beliefs into their religion. For many, I believe the only hope they have is that God and the Catholic Church will help them. I did not see much of that help while there, I must admit. After gaining independence from the Spanish, the Philippines was again occupied during WWII by the Japanese, who were vicious. The US eventually liberated the Philippines from the Japanese.
Much more to come about my trip to the Philippines as there is just too much to write here. I can say this will not be my last trip to the Philippines.