Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Can Republican HATE politics bring this country down?

GOP Hate and Fear
Daily Kos posted a piece recently, “Why Does The GOP Hate (everything sane)?” that is the best I’ve seen for putting Republican hate-mongering in perspective with its biggest supporter, the Tea Party.  It said, “The GOP has such an easy task when it comes to adapting people's minds to vote for them; Spread hate and they will be yours…”  Sounds like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the master, Karl Rove.  Also reminds me of George Orwell’s 1984 but more on that later.

I Googled “GOP hate” and “Republican hate” and was able to formulate a list of what some pretty influential sites and organizations think Republicans hate, as follows:

Taxes, the poor and hungry, gays, Hispanics, liberals, gun control, animal rights, the truth, women, even those pregnant, the Occupy Movement, Barack Obama, science (as in stem cell research), public education, environmentalism, veterans, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, teachers, unions, and, yes, even other Republicans (as in Newt Gingrich)

There are probably more that I have missed but this will get the ball rolling and I encourage you to add to the list with your comments. 

Norman Lear

Many of us—all but the very young—remember Norman Lear’s TV sitcom All in the Family, starring Carroll O’Connor as Archie Bunker and Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner and Sally Struthers as the rest of the family.  Archie was a “nice” bigot and was constantly chastised by his son-in-law “Meathead” played by Rob Reiner.  Many thought this character was patterned after Lear who abhorred bigotry.  Because of its insightful humor the show lasted for nine years on CBS.

Lear was concerned over how the religious right could repeatedly disgorge sermons that reeked of politics so he, through his organization People for the American Way, complained to a Los Angeles television station about one of Pat Robertson’s TV program.  Robertson responded with a threat of God’s wrath against him.  Jerry Falwell told his followers, “I am about to name the man that some people believe to be the greatest threat to the American family in our generation: Norman Lear!"

Falwell’s “threat” comment garnered Lear hate mail and death threats, one so threatening that the TV producer had to get protection.  Since most of this religious pack are Republican, it is astonishing that their religion—if that’s what it really is—would allow them to do such a thing, although it is commonplace they would as a right-wing extremist, particularly Tea Partiers.  Lear’s position is that “Our founders clearly intended that there be a level of separation between church and state.”

And as promised, the Orwellian connection between hate and the Republican Party.  In 1984, Emmanuel Goldstein is the face of the “Two Minutes Hate” which the citizens of Oceania were subjected to on a regular basis.  They were whipped up into a tremendous frenzy to hate Goldstein and anything else that didn’t agree with the Party.  What Goldstein said made perfect sense in defying this extremely hellish atmosphere and no matter how much hatred was directed against him and his leftist beliefs, his influence never seemed to grow less.

Sound familiar?  George Orwell was a novelist and political writer who was well acquainted with social injustice in the world.  The proles of Oceania represent the poor and out of work people in the U.S. today who are completely ignored by the GOP in favor of supporting the wealthy and large corporations.  (See the poor and hungry and those on Medicaid in the list above.) 

The difference is, where Goldstein’s followers, above, could only look on in the “Two Minute Hate” but could not take action, the progressive movement has begun to rebut the Republican hate messages with responses of hope.  There is no hope in hate, and the American public is beginning to see through the GOP façade.  And to answer the original question, the answer is NO, the Republican HATE politics will not bring this country down.

If you haven’t already, please check out Norman Lear’s People for the
American Way

Monday, January 30, 2012

It’s Official: Arizona’s phony Governor Jan Brewer is a moron

Jan Brewer, Pres. Obama

I’m convinced, and probably most of the rest of the country as well, that Arizona’s laughable governor should register in the class of double-digit IQs.  This, after her recent finger-pointing incident at President Obama on the Mesa, AZ airport tarmac.  It’s like when this state turns Brewer loose on the public there is a guarantee that it will bring on another round of ridicule of a state that is already considered by most of the U.S. as preposterous, at least in its politics.

Yes, unfortunately, the world has seen the coverage of this twit excuse for the head of a state government gone viral in her finger-pointing at Obama that is a huge embarrassment to all.  And now this bungling politician has raised the ire of black activist Jesse Jackson who says her confrontation with Obama was racist.  Actually, I don’t think Brewer has the brains to pull off a genuine racist incident; rather, it was just a publicity stunt for her stupid book.  Other blacks like Al Sharpton and the NAACP have joined in with their own accusations.

Brewer Obama Oval Office

Brewer says it all comes down to something she said in her book about their prior meeting in the Oval Office that Obama said was inaccurate.  Leaving that meeting Brewer said she was encouraged describing it as a “successful” encounter.  But in the book she said: “It was [as] though President Obama thought he could lecture me, and I would learn at his knee.  “He thinks he can humor me and then get rid of me.”  As CNN’s John King said in the video below, you can’t have it both ways, which was it?

Pool reporter, Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown said it certainly wasn’t a normal get-together in Mesa.  Aside from the pointing, they appeared to talk over each other and he appeared to walk away from her while they were still talking.” Can you blame the man?  Brewer later described Obama as “thin skinned” and “tense,” which he denied.  Immediately following the incident the President moved on through the line of dignitaries being greeted very civilly by Phoenix’s Mayor Greg Stanton and Mesa’s Mayor Scott Smith. 

Mr. Obama made a comment that it was always good publicity for a Republican if they are in an argument with him.  This is based on the degeneration in the relations between the GOP and Obama in the past year.  This deterioration continued the minute Barack Obama stepped off the plane in Mesa and came face to face with Arizona’s version of the great Republican buffoon.  It couldn’t have been planned better if it had been staged by Hollywood.

Local Phoenix newspaper columnist E.J. Montini called Brewer’s behavior “embarrassingly juvenile” continuing to define respect due the highest office in the land as something that “…does not mean sandbagging a president who is about to provide a tremendous public-relations plug for your state.”  He went on to describe Brewer’s feeble-mindedness as third grade, then retracted that as an insult to 3rd graders and downgraded it to kindergarten.

Bob Schieffer, highly respected CBS chief Washington correspondent said: “I've watched a lot of presidents over the years but I can never recall a president stepping off Air Force One, which is itself a symbol of the presidency and American democracy, and being subject to such rudeness,” referring to Brewer.

And Modern Magazine’s headline says it all, “The Sorry State of Jan Brewer.”  It goes on to call her “Gov. Jan ‘Brew-ha-ha’ Brewer” and laments how she has embarrassed just about anyone who has ever been remotely connected to the Grand Canyon state.

So who is to blame for this sham in the desert?  The people of Arizona.  Not only did they elect this incompetent crackpot entirely due to her support of the anti-immigration law SB-1070, but in a recent poll these same pathetic individuals said they still liked or sorta liked her and her dull-witted GOP dominated state legislature.  Brewer’s job performance came in at 37% excellent/good, 30% fair and 29% poor/very poor.  The legislature was 26%, 25% and 30% respectively.

And this post would not be complete without the reaction of the people in Letters to the Editor of the Arizona Republic.  Out of nine responses, only two favored Brewer in the finger-pointing incident.  The terms used were disgrace, negative impression of state, tasteless show of personal regard, shameful show of self-importance, embarrassment, despicable show by Brewer, and one asked where was that “13 seconds of dumb silence” she displayed in the gubernatorial debates? 

Where the hell were these people in the last election and when the above poll was taken? 

Jan Brewer will certainly go down as the worst governor Arizona has ever had—

Jan Brewer

and this state has had some doozies—perhaps the worst governor ever in the United States.  But Keith Olbermann, political commentator and writer, takes it even further with his evaluation that Jan Brewer is the “worst person in the world.”  You have to see his video here.         

Friday, January 27, 2012

George Orwell lives and so do his “1984” predictions

Geo. Orwell at typewriter
I was prompted to write this post because of another of those privacy naysayers who claims that, although identity theft, which results in the exposure of your most personal data, and which is the number one consumer problem for the Federal Trade Commission, we only have ourselves to blame for its loss.  Pete Cashmore, writing on CNN, says the fact that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was dumped proved George Orwell’s 1984 “woefully incorrect.”  He couldn’t be more wrong.

Agreed, there are those individuals out there—probably in the millions—that willingly give up their private information, mostly due to promises of certain conveniences that seem to these folks more important than protecting their personal data.  There is also a culture that has been expended by data gatherers that has convinced this same group that their information is safe.  It is not.  To support this theory, take a look at a recent NJ post that shows that in 2011 there were 419 breaches of private information exposing 22,918,441 personal records.

Watch a good synopsis of 1984 below:

One of the primary reasons I am so cynical over the security of your personal data is that the junk mail industry grosses over $4 billion annually from selling names and personal information with some placing profits over security.  My authority on this comes from being a junk mail data broker for 35 years.  I have seen the cracks in the damn and some of them still remain despite some efforts by this business to clean up its act.  And hackers may be around to haunt us forever.

Over the years I have written numerous articles you can see here on Orwell, 1984, and how Big Brother is ever present in a society that is driven by information.  Corporations picked up this thirst to know everything about you they can several years ago and maintain huge databases capturing every tidbit of data you will provide.  What the public doesn’t seem to understand is that once it is out there, it is there forever.

Take Google and Facebook alone and you have probably the most massive storehouse of private information available in the U.S.  Facebook’s Zuckerberg has been cited repeatedly for not protecting user data and Google just recently announced they would combine all their databases into one for more ease in profiling Internet surfers.  In my experience one of the worst things that affect consumers’ privacy is the combination of data which can virtually lay out a person’s life in its entirety.

What bothers me most is Pete Cashmore’s blasé attitude toward people giving up their data so easily.  He even compares this to the lack of control in 1984 by the citizens of Oceania where the thought police are everywhere.  There is absolutely no difference between that and the uncontrolled collecting of private information today that lingers in databases across the world which almost any first rate hacker can access. 

And the fact that consumers compound that by giving up their personal data so willingly only means that we are on the way to an unavoidable major disaster.

Research shows that Orwell actually predicted the Internet in the second draft of his dystopian novel but decided to cut this before publication.  There is no way to know just how the man envisioned this current feat of genius but it would be clear to me that he would not approve of it in any way challenging the right to privacy of Americans or the citizens of Oceania.

For the best site to explore George Orwell and 1984 go to Orwell Today.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Can Newt Gingrich beat President Obama?

James Carville, Mary Matalin
James Carville is the political genius that got Bill Clinton elected President in 1992 and has hung around for years now advising other Democratic candidates.  I think he has an edge being married to expert Republican consultant, Mary Matalin.  Nothing like bouncing ideas off your opponent.  Carville recently said to the GOP re. its primary candidates: “You have a disaster on your hands.”  It was actually sent to the Republican establishment naming such members as Bill Bennett, Karl Rove and Bill Kristol.

In my book, that covers the bottom of the barrel.  But former White house press secretary for George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, proceeds to tell us what Carville doesn’t get about Republicans.  He does have a good point about the missed prediction by Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Florida) in underestimating the Tea Party appeal in the 2010 election.  In another instance, Reagan’s 1980 win unexpected by Dems because they didn’t think he appealed to mainstream voters.

However, it’s Fleischer who is completely out of touch with reality when he says, “…Democrats are so bent on seeing Republicans as a bunch of angry, right wing, intolerant, unreliable extremists that they have a track record of missing the mood of the country…”  Come on, everyone knows that Republicans are a bunch of angry, right wing, intolerant, unreliable extremists: even some Republicans admit it.  Although Fleischer doesn’t endorse Gingrich, he says he could win the nomination or he could simply “blow up his chances.”

Carville thinks that Mitt Romney is only in the beginnings of explaining his tax returns indicating as a seasoned politician, he should have known this was coming.  This is only on the surface and he wonders if there is anything else volatile yet to come.  If there is you can bet Gingrich’s people will find it.  Of course, the latter has to explain his $1.6 consultancy with Freddie Mac and the fact that he has been married three times.  But if he got through the So. Carolina religious right with that baggage, he is probably home free.

And then David Frum, former special assistant to Geo. W. Bush, comments on CNN that GOP leaders don’t trust Gingrich and tells us why.  There were 4 primary reasons: 1) His grandiose enthusiasm for divisive rhetoric; 2) Using talking points that go over big on talk shows but do not address issues; 3) Many of the man’s co-workers think he shouldn’t be trusted with executive power; 4) His opinion that Gingrich is one of the most disliked people in politics.  There was also the advice to Bush in 2004 that turned out to be irrelevant to the election.

According to Frum, the irrelevancy of these 5 points (see them in the CNN article above) that Gingrich urged Bush to focus on was not because he didn’t think that there were substantive issues then like the inflating housing bubble, but rather because his 5 points were designed to define the opponent John Kerry as “alien, hostile and dangerous.”  In other words, campaign politics as usual and doesn’t this remind you of the hate advertising approach created by Karl Rove?

Newt Gingrich

Frum is probably right about Gingrich but gets an “F” on his assessment of Obama re. being a President out of touch with the world, who was able to con himself into the White House.  Pretty pathetic, in view of the fact Frum’s former boss, GWB, seems to fit perfectly into that profile.

Gingrich is an insider and still seems to weigh in heavily when it comes to GOP ideology.  Case in point is his Contract with America which swept Republicans into control of the House in 1994 for the first time in 40 years.  But recently the right has done little to whet the appetite of the American public, except for the radical fruitcakes in the Tea Party who have some mystical control over the GOP and who have succeeded in blocking almost everything Barack Obama has tried to accomplish in the last three years.

In summary, against Gingrich, Obama will win more electoral votes this November than he did in 2008.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gun insanity…state by state

Typical NRA sidearm

I am always looking for ways to explore the craziness of gun freaks who think more of their firearms than their own family. Otherwise, why would these morons leave their weapons around for children to play with? They act as if their 2nd Amendment rights are more important than their country; many of these twits can carry a concealed weapon around on the streets of their city with no permit, no background check and little if any educational training on how to use it.

Since President Obama and Congress have decided they will do nothing about more gun control enforcement, the states have decided to have a field day and pass more gun rights laws and loosen those already on the books.  The National Rifle Assn. (NRA) is licking its lips with the satisfaction of a demented fiend that is feeding off an equally demented following of losers.  If you don’t believe me, take one look at Wayne LaPierre, the “conspiracy a minute” Exec. V.P. of the NRA, when someone mentions gun control.

Wayne LaPierre befuddled

So I plan to cover the insanities of those states that seemingly make this issue a priority over education, the needy, the children, healthcare and a host of other matters that should take prominence over the idiosyncrasies of this disturbed group.  And where better to start than Arizona, the state with the loosest gun laws in the nation.

ARIZONA: State Sen. Ron Gould, a part of Arizona’s inept Republican legislature, wants to require colleges and universities to allow concealed weapons on campus…again.  Forged Gov. Jan Brewer has already shot his bill down once saying it was “poorly written.” 

FLORIDA: It is now legal to take your Glock with you to the maternity ward while giving birth so you can thrust it in the hands of your newly born to make sure he or she is fully protected when leaving the hospital.

NEW YORK: Tea Party crackpot Mark Meckler, licensed to carry a gun in California, felt he had the right to check his Glock pistol with 19 cartridges in along with himself.  He spent the day in jail and eventually left on a felony weapons charge.

WISCONSIN: 47-year-old Mark Manning from Indiana with a license to carry in Wisconsin was charged with threatening a truck driver on an Interstate highway.  Seems like muttonhead Manning cut off the semi and when the truck flashed its bright lights on the car, Manning pointed a gun back at the semi.

ARIZONA-AGAIN: a 7-year-old from Mesa was detained in school after a handgun he had brought with him in his backpack that day discharged on a loaded bus.  Fortunately, no one was injured.  The kid got the weapon from a closet at his home.

NEW YORK: Damark King was apparently trying to settle a score with someone when he blasted 5 rounds in a courtyard hitting a 21-month-old in a stroller in the face causing her to lose an eye.  I didn’t say NY-AGAIN because King had brought the 9mm handgun with him from Arizona with an expired license to sell it in New York.

ARIZONA-AGAIN: In a humorous appeal to a newspaper columnist in the rural town of Green Valley, a wife laments over the recent purchase by her 70-year-old husband of a shotgun and a .38 revolver he takes everywhere he goes.  The wife says she isn’t convinced he knows how to use the guns and fears that he will accidentally shoot her, himself or an innocent bystander.

Thanks to the Arizona Republic, The Globe and Mail, CBS News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Huffington Post, Staten Island Live and the Green Valley News/Sahuarita Sun

More fun and games with guns later.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What you can do to prevent identity theft in 2012

The Identity Theft Research Center (ITRC) has come up with 10 guidelines to help keep your personal data secure in 2012.  I’ll get to that shortly but first you should know that I worked in the junk mail industry for 35 years selling your names and private information to companies that use it to target customers.  During this time I raised red flags over the lack of security for this massive dossier on almost every American household, basically falling on deaf ears. 

I won’t get into specifics on just what junk mailers, financial institutions, corporations, and the government gather in their quest to find out everything possible about every individual in the U.S.  Suffice it to say, there is almost nothing they don’t know about you and have at their fingertips to use at will.  You probably already know about all the secret data factors available on you, yet many Americans could care less about protecting it. 

The reason junk mailers refused to listen to warnings of loose data is that this is one of the most profitable profit centers in any business.  By my calculations, selling your name and personal data grosses the junk mail industry alone over $4 billion annually.  Marketing this information has a 60 percent profit margin.  But the reason you are apathetic about protecting your private information is that you think identity theft won’t happen to you.  And then it does. 

In 2011 there were 419 breaches of private information exposing 22,918,441 personal records.  If you weren’t included in 2011 you could be in 2012. 

I was amazed recently to read a question in the newspaper directed to a consumer advocate exclaiming their surprise at finding things like their name, address, age, etc. when Googling themselves on the Internet.  All of a sudden they were concerned over how to prevent this data from being released.  There is no way to stop the flow of private information, and this made me wonder under just what rock this individual has been living.

Zappos, an online company selling shoes, is one of the largest most recent breaches where hackers may have accessed some 24 million customer records this month.  These include names, mailing and billing addresses, phone numbers, truncated credit card numbers and “cryptographically scrambled” passwords.  The company says there is little risk to the credit card numbers but a combination of everything taken can lead the crooks right to your most personal information.

My advice to those customers breached is to access their credit card and bank accounts on a daily basis to make sure there are no suspicious charges.  Look for the small amounts around $6.00 since this is where they usually start, then, with success, go on to larger amounts.  We shop with Zappos, whose service is the best in the country, and now I am checking the account we used at least once every day.  If they have your data it won’t take long for them to use it. 

Now that you are reasonably fortified with facts and advice, let’s get down to those 10 resolutions that Identity ITRC suggests you make in 2012:

  1. Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet.  Best to put it in a safety deposit box but at least locked up at home.
  2. Never give out your SS number unless absolutely necessary.  You can even try to deny it in some financial and medical transactions unless it is required for service.
  3. Buy a good cross-cut shredder and use it on any document with SS#, birth date, medical numbers, etc.
  4. Order regular credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228, one from each of the three credit bureaus every four months.
  5. If you don’t already have a secure community mailbox, think about investing in one of your own, and take your outgoing mail to the post office.
  6. Don’t use the same password for all accounts, including bank accounts and change them regularly.
  7. Limit what you share online.  This has fallen on deaf hears recently as consumers give up their most private information just for convenience, like in Facebook.
  8. Know who you are buying from online.  Check them out through your local BBB and make sure they have a secure payment system.  Use a credit card instead of your debit card if possible.
  9. Monitor all you financial accounts regularly, particularly your bank account online if you use your debit card; I do mine twice daily.
  10. Protect your checks and deposit slips like gold; they’re flush with information like your account number, usually name and address.

If you have questions about any of these tips, go to Identity Theft Resource Center for help on answering any of your questions on ID theft.  ITRC is a non-profit and lives off contributions from the public so help them out if you can.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Where were the evangelicals in So. Carolina when Santorum needed them?

Who knows?
Former senator Rick Santorum of Penn. finally won the Iowa caucuses over Mitt Romney with 34 votes when the folks in Iowa did their final count.  Sounds reasonable to me considering the high evangelical population in the state but also appears much too close when you consider Romney is a Mormon.  Like JFK’s Catholicism in the November 1960 election for President, Romney’s Mormonism has been a barrier for the religious right from the beginning.

Apparently there were missing votes in eight Iowa precincts that for some reason or other were never received and counted, blamed on the “state’s old-fashioned primary process.”  The missing votes were spread across five Iowa counties and in 2008 that area accounted for a total of 298 votes.  In one such precinct GOP chair, Karen Zander, said about the volunteers, “They had no training.  They didn’t know what they were doing.”

Pretty pathetic for an election that screams to the rest of the country each year that they are the first, and one of the most important votes in the primaries leading up to the primary nomination.  I have never understood the importance of these caucuses, and maybe the rest of the country and future presidential candidates will come to agree after this year.  But Romney’s close second does speak well of evangelical voters in that they were apparently able to put religion aside and vote with reason.

Did the same situation occur in South Carolina?  In the 2008 Republican primary there, 60 percent of the Republican voters defined themselves as “born-again-Christians,” compared with a national average of 44 percent.  Another 69 percent said that the candidate’s religious beliefs mattered in their vote.  In 2012 B-A-Cs jumped to 65 percent.  Also in 2012, religious beliefs of the candidates differed in that 59 percent said they mattered a great deal or somewhat, followed by 19 percent who said not much, 21 percent not at all.

In 2012, 97 percent were worried about the economy in South Carolina; 63 percent thought it was the most important issue compared to 8 percent for abortion.  However, 64 percent did think abortion should be illegal.  Winner Newt Gingrich was helped by the fact that 64 percent of So. Carolinians support the Tea Party and he was apparently able to garner their vote according to exit polls.  But it still isn’t clear if Gingrich can win TPers in less conservative states.

You can see the entire So. Carolina CNN Election Poll results here.

This is all somewhat perplexing since a meeting of the Christian conservative leaders in January of this year in Texas voted to back Rick Santorum, reported Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.  Some of those involved were Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, Perkins, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference president Rev. Samuel Rodriguez and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer.  Members of the media were not allowed at the meeting. 

Newt Gingrich
Although the Christian conservative majority vote was for Santorum, individuals voted for other candidates, such as American Family Assn. founder Don Wildmon who voted for Gingrich.  For those of you who haven’t heard, Gingrich took So. Carolina with 41 percent of the vote, followed by Romney with 27 percent and Santorum trailing with 17 percent.  The winner of the So. Carolina primary has gone on to win the GOP nomination in each election since 1980.

The big question is, if Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination, will he be a more formidable candidate against President Barack Obama than Mitt Romney?  He is an excellent debater, but so is Obama.  Gingrich has personal life baggage with his ex-wife that doesn’t play well with religious conservatives where the President is squeaky-clean.  Both men are highly intelligent and there is no doubt in the separation of ideologies.

Like they have been saying for over a year now, 2012 is going to be one hell of an election!

Friday, January 20, 2012

U.S. and China Ping Pong Diplomacy revisited in recent Iran and Russia incidents

Time covers Ping Pong Diplomacy
Most Americans, and Chinese I suspect, have forgotten the occurrence when the U.S. Ping Pong team in 1971 was invited to China, all expenses paid, to play in Beijing, including tours of the Great Wall.  Time magazine called it “The ping heard around the world,” and rightfully so since American/Chinese relations were in the toilet at the time.  It was offhanded notification by the Chinese that they wanted to improve relations with the U.S.  It worked.

Richard Nixon, President at the time, felt the gesture was a good one and ended up making a trip to China later as the first American President to visit that country.  Premiere Chou En-lai even invited the Americans to a banquet in the Great Hall of the People.  Ten journalists including five from the U.S. were also invited.  In addition to visiting the Great Wall, the U.S. entourage saw the Summer Palace as well as being able to talk to Chinese students and factory workers and attend the ballet.

But what had led up to this competition between the two teams?  It was simply a chance meeting between the two stars, one from China’s team, Zhuang Zedong, the other from America’s team, Glenn Cowan, on a bus in Japan following the 31st World Table Tennis Championship in 1971.  Zedong presented Cowan with a gift, a silk-screen portrait of the Huangshan Mountains, which was unusual since we were in the midst of the cold war and China considered all Americans imperialists.

With no gift to return the favor at the time, in yet another chance meeting later, Cowan gave Zedong a T-shirt with a red, white and blue peace emblem flag with the words, "Let It Be."  This was followed by media coverage that resulted in the statement from Cowan that he would like to visit China, which eventually got to the Chinese Department of Foreign Affairs.  They, of course, declined the offer but Chou En-lai and Chairman Mao Zedong thought better of the situation and turned it into an international affair.

Find out who won the tournament in the video below:

At the time, many wondered why the major powers of the world couldn’t just turn their differences into one big ping pong game, rather than the on-going cold war and actual wars of destruction and loss of lives.  Of course it never happened but there have been incidents over the years where countries, normally at each other’s throats, have halted the conflict temporarily to come to the aid of each other.  Two such occurrences happened recently.

Iran seaman thanks US Navy

During January of this year, the U.S. Navy rescued Iranian fishermen three times.  The first, an Iranian fishing dhow that flooded, requiring the men to abandon it and board other nearby dhows.  The Navy provided them food and water.  Earlier in the month the Americans rescued 13 Iranian fishermen who had been captured by Somali pirates.  And just days later another rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard of six Iranian fishermen in waters off Iraq.  The Iranians said, "Without your help, we were dead. Thank you for all you did for us."

Russian tanker in Nome, AK

And then it was Russia that came to the aid of weathered-in Nome, Alaska, which has experienced one of the severest winters in decades with temperatures dipping more than 30 below zero.  Nome would have run out of fuel by March or April, which was long before their next delivery.  A path had to be cleared through thick ice for the Russian tanker Renda by a Coast Guard cutter for the two 700 yards long parallel hoses to unload 1.3 million gallons of fuel.

All in a day’s work you might say?  Actually, on the outset, it is an example of how world powers can work together in simple ways to come to the aid of those in need.  It’s no different than how Americans, when challenged with a crisis, pull together to help each other, no matter what race, religion or status.  It seems that we all have good intentions that we follow through on but it all eventually reverts back to business as usual.  Why? 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

If blacks don’t back Occupy Movement will they back Democrats in November?

We can thank the Tea Party for repeated accusations of racism that once again reminded us of Southern bigotry and the Ku Klux Klan.  The media accused it of being “racially exclusionary, if not…racist,” according to The Washington Examiner.  Well-known African American congresswoman Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, said tea partiers can “go straight to hell.”  While perhaps not quite so contentious, progressives would like to see them just gone.

Tea Party parade

The Tea Party is predominantly white but 6 percent of its supporters are black compared to only 1.6 percent for Occupy Wall Street and a total in the U.S. population of 12.6 percent.  Further, blacks represent 25 percent of New York residents.  So where were they on the first Occupy Wall Street demonstration on September 17, and thereafter across the country?  One opinion was that blacks did not participate because they have been through this before and think it’s hopeless.

I did a post back in December, “Immigrants want a part of the Occupy Movement,” including the agreement that no one is more likely to be in the Occupy “99%” than Hispanics.  Of course, wouldn’t blacks fit the same criteria?  Currently 60.7 percent of black incomes are under $50,000, compared to 40.3 for whites.  Median income for whites is $63,404 compared to that of blacks which is $38,835.  U.S. median income is $58,924.

Although 3 years old, the video below is an good example of black voting history:

The Washington Post also wonders about black inactivity in the Occupy Movement, commenting that some well known blacks like Cornel West,
Russell Simmons, Kanye West and Rep. John Lewis, (D-GA) have participated but nothing like Latino moves to join in as a group.  There was an “Occupy the Hood” faction that attempted to get more people involved that has apparently made some inroads but nothing significant.

Based on a 2011 Washington Post survey, the conclusion was made, that, in spite of their economic standing, blacks feel more optimistic than whites.  This is hard to understand when black unemployment is at 16 percent, teenagers 50 percent, compared to 8.6 percent for whites.  The survey concluded that 24 percent of blacks were “very” or “somewhat satisfied” with the economy compared to only 12 percent of whites.  Go figure.  

And here we go again.  In a recent NBC poll a huge 73 percent of Americans considered the country to be on the wrong track compared to 19 percent who thought it was.  49 percent of blacks thought the U. S. was on the right track compared to 38 percent who didn’t.  Some say there is the Obama factor.  The figures show that 86 percent of blacks approve of the President compared to 57 percent overall.

Still unanswered is why blacks have not joined the Occupy Movement with more enthusiasm.  Larry Elder, author of The Washington Examiner article thinks that if they support Occupy it might appear that blacks don’t think Obama has done his job in Washington.  But since the substance of the Occupy Movement is inequality, along with the fact that blacks have been fighting this for years with limited results, I find their detachment confusing, even alarming.

In the end, Elder says it really isn’t why so few blacks are participating in the Occupy Movement; rather, “why so many blacks still belong to the Democratic party.”  I personally believe they still understand that the Dems., no matter how many mistakes they have made and will make re. minorities, that the least they do will be gargantuan over what the GOP would offer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Arizona can thank National Football League for Martin Luther King holiday

Russell Pearce, JT Ready
Racism is still rampant in Arizona evidenced by the anti-immigration law SB-1070 passed in 2010 by deposed State Sen. Russell Pearce.  The state finally got rid of the likes of him, surrounded by his buddy J.T. Ready, racist and neo-Nazi from Pearce’s hometown of Mesa, AZ.  Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Pearce supporter, has his own problems with racial discrimination from his raids on towns in his county for the sole purpose of harassing Hispanics.

Russell Pearce, Sheriff Arpaio

The people of Arizona must agree with this dogma because they elected Arpaio Sheriff in 1992 and he is still in office.  Pearce was elected to the Arizona legislature in 2000 and served there eleven years before he was recalled in November of 2011.  They both come from solid Arizona roots dating back to 1987 when Gov. Evan Mecham rescinded the former Governor Bruce Babbitt’s decision to honor Martin Luther King with an Arizona holiday.

That was almost 25 years ago but the Rev. Warren H. Stewart still remembers the struggle that eventually ended up with a MLK holiday in Arizona.  Stewart, a prominent Phoenix pastor who was the face of the movement then, says the state legislature viewed King as a Black hero but also as an agitator.  In those days African-Americans represented only 3 percent of the population.  But in 1990 voters went to the polls to decide whether or not King should have his holiday.  The proposition failed and Stewart felt he had done all he could.

Below is a must see video of Evan Mecham racism and other stupidity:

But then the football hit the fan.  By now Arizona had a reputation for being a racial battleground.  The state was boycotted by well know musicians and national conventions decided to take their business elsewhere.  However, it was the cancellation by the NFL of the 1993 Super Bowl scheduled to be played in Sun Devil stadium that broke the racists’ backs.  The game was moved to Pasadena, California. 

Rev. Stewart set things in motion again but didn’t like the idea that the change of the state’s attitude was due almost entirely to the loss of the Super Bowl.  Stewart took his dilemma to apartheid activist Leon Howard Sullivan who lived in Scottsdale and who said the Reverend had piqued the consciences of the business community, followed by his admonition to take their money because it was for a good cause. 

Stewart did and ran a campaign resulting in MLK Day being approved by a vote in 1992.  Arizona was the only state that had to put this holiday to a vote after a 1986 decision by President Ronald Reagan naming it as a national holiday.  On the first King Holiday in January of 1993, 19,000 Arizonans celebrated, joined by civil-rights activist Rosa Parks and musician Stevie Wonder.  Phoenix won the Super Bowl for 1996.

Rev. Stewart still believed the King Holiday was only a symbol and much still needed to be done for Arizona to move “from symbol to substance” in the treatment of all races and ethnicities.  Just recently he said that after 20 years this still has not happened.  He mentioned the anti-immigration bill SB-1070 and said the incivility of politics today is turning Martin Luther King’s dream into a nightmare. 

My gut tells me that if Arizona doesn’t wake up soon from this horrible dream and get rid of those in state government that harbor those prejudices, there won’t be enough advertising possible to draw tourists and new business back to the state.

The Agony of Stupidity...Another senseless Republican

  This wingnut, William Hartmann, not only an anti-vaxxer and anti-masker, but also a purveyor "the Big Lie — the false, totally debunk...