Category Archives: International Relations

Mitt Romney is a Lying Stupid Bobble-Head White Rich Man, But You Already Know That

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones to concentrate on.  ~ George W. Bush

I am not a leech.  Rat Romney thinks that I, we are leeches, chase government money to live on, are lazy, love our country only for the money it gives me and am not a responsible human being.  True I am in good company, military veterans, students, seniors, the disabled, the working poor, women, pay no income tax and all those other leeches.  Wait a minute.  Was he really talking about the middle class, the 47% or was he secretly speaking about himself.  After all, he pays no income tax.  I at least work hard for my paycheck, I take all the deductions that the Republicans gave me so I could pay less income tax so I could have more money to pay bills and redistribute funds to small businesses when I make a purchase.  That secret video shows that stupid people will listen intently only to even more stupid people.  Stupid people who lie.  Think about it.  It was a fundraiser…. please.  He doesn’t need the money to pay for his campaign to oblivion.  He can just write a check and move on.  This is only to try to convince other stupid rich people that he is just as stupid as they, just richer.  These are people who are going to pay higher taxes to help the poor and middle-class.  How dare they pay more.  He will cater to their basest political desires.  He is a racist – like his party.  Joan Walsh said it best:  “Mitt Romney should be ashamed of himself, and so should anyone who votes for him.”

I am a Democrat and proud of it, but I vote for people not parties.  There used to be good republicans once upon a time, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Dirksen, Ford and McCain.  Yes McCain.  I would have voted for McCain if the real McCain was running.  He started out the maverick, saying what he though and what he believed.  You knew where he stood and he held his ground.  He may not have always been right, but you knew who we was, what he believed and what his vision and hope was for America. Then he went off the cliff doing what the party wanted and there he lost my vote.  He was no longer a real man.  He showed up again when he conceded in 2008.  That McCain I would have voted for.  Call me crazy, but I would have.  Romney believes in nothing.  He can’t articulate what his vision is for America, what his plan for the economy is, how he plans to make the country better and stronger, how he will represent all of us.  He has no clue.  That was made clear and bright in the secret video.  He proved that he is not presidential material.

I had hope for Romney.  I would not vote for him, but I was willing to listen to his ideas, plans, hope and fears for our country and have those open to discussion.  I felt that we could have an open view of two different visions, if in fact they are different.  I had that hope.  What that video tape revealed is that Romney has written off the government check recipientsthat won’t vote for him, and almost half the people don’t pay taxes and undoubtedly won’t vote for him.  That is a hell of a lot people that won’t vote for him.  He announced that is has lost the election.  He told it to his supporters and the party.  It must be hard for him to get up in the morning.

I recently wrote of an imagined rural Ohio woman sitting on her porch, watching the campaign go by. She’s 60, she identifies as conservative, she likes guns, she thinks the culture has gone crazy. She doesn’t like Obama. Romney looks OK. She’s worried about the national debt and what it will mean to her children. But she’s having a hard time, things are tight for her right now, she’s on partial disability, and her husband is a vet and he gets help, and her mother receives Social Security.

She’s worked hard and paid into the system for years. Her husband fought for his country.

And she’s watching this whole election and thinking.You can win her vote if you give her faith in your fairness and wisdom. But not if you label her and dismiss her. ~ Peggy Noonan ~ Time for Intervention http://blogs.wsj.com/peggynoonan/2012/09/18/time-for-an-intervention/

Romney has no understanding of what life is and means to ordinary people.  He can’t associate with hardworking people, because he never had to work a day in his life.  He has dismissed millions and millions of people.  He has no conception of who they are, what they do to get by each and every day.  We don’t have stock that we can chip at to pay the rent and buy food as he did.  We have to work hard every day to make life better for ourselves and our families.  He just doesn’t know much or anything about America.  We are people with hopes and aspirations.  We are not just democrats and republicans, we have feelings, souls, ideas for our families and our country.  This is about America and the American people.  He doesn’t yet understand that.

Still, before the secret video, I was willing to listen.  I wanted to see if he could prove that he was qualified to be president.  I wanted to see his character.  How he would handle difficult situations.  I wanted to imagine him as president.  Then the Mideast exploded.  Here was his chance to be presidential.  Blue background and American flags.  When he stepped out to the podium on September 11,  we got cruel opportunism.  His smugness showed all over his face.  He was not presidential.  He condemned the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and accused the U.S. Government of sympathizing with terrorists.  The next morning he had a chance to make it right.  Instead, he intensified it: “When our grounds are being attacked and being breached, the first response should be outrage.” “Apology for America’s values will never be the right course. We express immediately when we feel that the President and his administration have done something which is inconsistent with the principles of America.”  He had a chance to make it right.  Instead while the U.S. Consulate in Libya was being attacked, while Libyans were defending Americans, While Americans and their defenders were being killed; he denounces and condemns these and Americans and their defenders.  With each word he spoke there was a dead body to accompany those words.  It was an opportunity, a chance for Romney to prove his quality. His character.  We now know he has neither.  He proved that he is hateful and self-destructive.  He showed his racism in this press conference and in the secret video.  Nothing he can say or do now will change that.

When I look at Romney now I see and hear Richard Nixon: “I am not a crook.”

 

 

 

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A Greek Tragedy: 47 Years In The Making; Part One: Why Greeks Worship Their Public Sector Jobs

First, history is not repeating itself.  There are many that try to equate what is happening in Greece now with the 60’s, 70’s and 2008.  It is not repeating itself in the manner some suggest.  It has its’ roots in history, but it is not the same.  If you use past history to explain today, then you must know the history.  Let Palin and Bachman make history up.  This is not communists and against anti-communists.  It is not banks against the people.  Banks are civil service jobs.  They are part of the government.

One must understand that the bailout is not about saving Greece:  It is about saving the EURO.

So this post begins with the basic explanation of what is going on in Greece today.  The following posts will explain how they got there.  The real history.  All of which is a matter of public record here in the United States and Greece.

I am Greek, third generation.  My first language was Greek.  I was born here.  I travel every year for pleasure spending six months or more in Greece.  I have done so since 1957.  I have lived through  many of these dark days.

The Greeks have always been fond, loved, a good protest.  They even have an official day for it: November 17th.  The school holiday marks the day in 1973 a tank crashed through the gates of the Athens Polytechnical University killing students and protesters by the military dictatorship that began in 1967.  But that is for another post.

The current protests have nothing to do with any of that.  These protests are more the ravings and actions of spoiled children.

Consider this:

Retirement age is 62. Early retirement is common, usually at 55

Civil Service jobs are handed down to family members

Civil service jobs are for life

Banks are State run – civil service jobs

One in four working people works for the State

Pay is more than generous in all departments.  A janitor in the Ministry of Finance or a bank for instance earns as much as supervisors in other Ministries

Free health care

Greece’s brightest young graduates all want to work for the civil service

Total of paid 7 weeks vacation each year

So when the government was forced to implement austerity measures, it meant a freeze in state pensions, raising the retirement age to 65, abolition of free distribution of newspapers, higher taxes on cars, cut in public sector pay of up to 15 per cent, and cuts in disability benefits.

They went nuts!

When the French civil servants when of strike this past September and October protesting the raise in their retirement age, the Greeks protested in support.

However,  some of the policies announced last May and now, supposedly as assaults on the Greek way of life, raised eyebrows all across Europe.

Not many knew of the Christmas, Easter and summer holiday bonuses in the public sector.  They are affectionately known as the 13th, 14th and 15th salaries.  Bonuses in addition to the 3 weeks vacation in August, the 2 weeks at Christmas, and the 2 weeks at Easter.

As I said, these jobs are for life.  Family members inherit them.  Who can really blame the beneficiaries for wanting to keep things the way they are?  They are set for life.

Strikes and protests are more than just a yearly event.  They are a way of life also.

It would be easy to dismiss these people, young and old, as lazy and unambitious, but the public sector’s attraction as an employer of choice for Greeks has its roots in much darker places.

That will be the subject of the next post:  The Family Business of The Political Elite.

 

 

 


Lamp Chop Is Spying for America

It seems that the US Government is planning to use technology to create and manage fake identities for social interaction with terrorists. It is disgusting.  In the time or greater openness and accountability brought on by the internet, the US of all places is trying to create a system of sock puppetry.  It is just plain stupid because without a doubt the fakes will be found out.  The end result will be the diminution, and not the enhancement of American credibility.

This part of the defense budget, that no one wants to cut.  Cut NPR, cut just about everything else, but the main items that really affect the budget, the ones with the most fat to cut, and we add a program that will cost millions of dollars so they can spread propaganda.

They want to create fake online people designed to influence internet conversations and spread the greatness of America, American propaganda.  They want people with a convincing background, that might leave some us out, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 controllers must be able to operate false identities from their workstations.   It has been contracted out to a California company, but it will all military.

This project has been compared by web experts to China’s attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet.

The truth is this is a program that will be run by the military for the military.  I feel that the California company may be just a front for the military, that will have open access to the internet and everyone  They will tell you this is to protect you; to counter violet extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US.  But they have spied on all Americans for years.  They did it during Watergate, tapping phones, during the George’s administration and now they are doing it again.  Since we are paying for it, we are spying on ourselves and everyone else. They want to counter extremist ideology and propaganda, keep us safe, the Patriot Act at its finest.

But they could get this all done for free.  It is a joke, anyone us could do even a child.  There isn’t anything to creating a false identity online.  Millions do every day.  If the government insists on paying, they can pay us with our own money.

I think we should all volunteer to become little lamp chops. We can all get fake email accounts, Uncle Sam or whatever, and we can create and manage anonymous and pseudonymous identities across most any social service.

Hell, if my government wants to spread information around the world without being detected, why doesn’t it just use Wikileaks? Oh, I forgot, Hillary Clinton called Wikileaks disclosures “not just an attack on American[but an] attack on the international community.” The leaks she said “tear at the fabric” of government.

Yeah, that’s right, it ripped the fabric of the Tunisian government and helped launch the revolts in the Middle East and a wave of freedom. The revolutions of freedom we are seeing came not from war and weapons, or spying, but from a more powerful force: transparency; openness; honesty.

Obama’s knee-jerk response to the WikiLeaks was to condemns, attack and as we all know, torture the alleged leaker and his allies. Our president lost the opportunity to remove himself from a secretive and deceitful history of government.

He ran of a campaign promise to be an open, transparent administrative. Disapprove of the theft of documents, but acknowledge the lesson of the leaks: our government keeps too much from its people.  Try to get something from them, fill out FOIA and wait years for it, or get an excuse as to why they can’t. We have interfered in foreign politics and preferred security over democracy.  We supported Mubarak for example so allegedly the Middle East would be stable.  Stability was the operative word during the Egyptian revolution.

We cannot promote democracy abroad if we do not defend it at home.  Once again our rights are being violated in the name of the greater good.

Persona management, as they call it, would face legal challenges if it were turned against citizens of the US, where a number of people engaged in “sock puppetry” have faced prosecution.   Still being a lamp chop sounds like fun.  We could all sing songs.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.  Edmund Burke

 


Revolutions Lead to New Arab World Order

The events continuing in the Middle East, the revolutions in many countries is inevitably leading to a New World Order in the Middle East.  What is even more amazing is the short time it took for the revolution to spread to each of these countries.

Consider this: 12.17.2010  Tunisia…the spark that sets off unrest and rallies that spread nationwide.

Consider this: 01.14.11 Jordanians angered over prices and joblessness

Consider this:  01.25.2011 Egypt Erupts

Consider this: Algerians take to the streets

Consider this: Yemen braces for protests, and call for protests, “day of rage” on 02.03.2011

Consider this: 02.06.2011 Morocco protests

Consider this:  02.09.2011 Jordan replaces government to pre-empt protests

Consider this:  02.11.2011 Mubarak Resigns

Consider this: 0212.2011 Algerian police attack protesters

Consider this: 0214.2011 Bahrain protests, crackdown, shoot live bullets and injure 60

Consider this: 02.14.2011 Iranian protest, “Green Revolution” rallies tens of thousands to protest. Riot police beat and fire tear gas. One person killed.

Consider this: 02.16.2011 Libyians join protest, 60 people killed

Consider this: 0-2.19.2011 Bahrainian protesters reclaim central square, Army and Military withdraw

This is remarkable, in sixty days the face of the Middle East has changed and continues to change.

Make no mistake, American Foreign Policy in the Arab world will continue to as complicated as it was prior the “revolutions.”

The obvious aspect of the all these anti-regime protests that has shaken the Arab world is what they are not about: They are  not about the Palestinians under Israeli  occupation; nor are they anti-Western or even anti-American. The protesters have directed their anger against unemployment, tyranny, lack of freedom, dignity and justice in their lives.  This a huge change in the Middle East.

Many of us remember the demonstrations against the Shah of Iran in 1979, before that revolution was stolen by Islamists.  Iran had a person leader that aroused popular loyalty.  It is ironic that the Shah was exiled on February 11, 1979, and that Mubarak resigned 32 years later on February 11, 2011.

Yet the dangers to U.S. Interests of what is to come next in the Arab world are to overstate.  If protests were to spread to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, a great disaster or utter failure would be waiting. The Saudi royal family, is probably the worst form of government for that country but for the any other which might replace it.  We’ve sold all manner of weapons to the Saudis over decades falling into the hands of Wahhabi radicals. Imagine Yemen were it divided once again into northern and southern parts. The United States would be on its own fighting al Qaeda there.

Though the U.S. government ignored the ‘Green Revolution’ in the recent past, they are back.  Anti-government protests are back.  The Iranian government has called on its supporters to take to the streets to demonstrate their “hatred” for the opposition Green Movement.  We were silent during the violent anti-government protests following the disputed presidential election in June 2009.  But now it seems that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard pledges to hold fire.  They have written a letter to their commanding officer demanding assurances that they will not be required to open fire on anti-government protesters. The letter has been passed on to Mr. Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, no official response has been forthcoming.

Our foreign policy must heed the uniqueness of each country’s political and historical situation in forming U.SA. policy. President Obama and his administration must stand up for principles of civil society, nonviolence, and human rights everywhere.  When an autocrat appears on the way out, as in Egypt and Tunisia the United States must play a constructive role in easing his ouster.  Our government should not be in the position of putting our ‘interests’ above our principles.  There is Bahrain, where the relationship between Bahrain and the U.S. is very strong, our fleet is based there, but that should not interfere with the principles that we expound to the entire world, freedom, free elections, democracy, free press.  The Arab world should be treated no differently than Europe or other areas of the world.  Our principles should not change because countries have oil or other interests we might want control of.  We must stand up for what is right, make a stand and never sway. Our country’s fear of the unknown and their need for their special interests should not stand in the way of freedom and democracy.


Is Mubarak Really Seriously Ill?

Mubarak said that he would die in Egypt.  But the rumor is that he will travel to Germany for treatment.   In fact, plans for a possible hospital stay in German appear to be more concrete than previously believed. It may be a stay at a luxury clinic near Baden-Baden is most favored.

The United states government’s scenario for an end to the political chaos in Egypt appears to be this:  President Hosni Mubarak travels to Germany for a “prolonged health check” that would offer the 82-year-old a dignified departure.  The New York Times reported that secret talks to that effect were being held between the IS government and Egyptian military officials. Talks already being held with suitable hospitals, particularly with the Max-Grundig-Klinik.

The luxury clinic has an excellent reputation, as well as a respected oncology department, offers first class medical and the comfort and service a top hotel.  Patients are accommodated in suites of 2,152 square feet

In the past there have been rumors that Mubarak is suffering from cancer In the spring of 2010, Mubarak had his gallbladder and an intestinal polyp removed in a Heidelberg University Clinic  Doctors in Heidelberg quashed the cancer rumors at the time. But he has not arrived there yet.  Imagine, a disgraced, dictator going to villa they call a hospital, treated as a President, to receive the best medical care.  While his former subjects barely live day to day.According to the Saudi-owned daily Asharq al-Awsat reported that Mubarak was ailing and had refused to travel abroad for treatment.

What is certain is that his state of health is declining drastically. In addition there is information that he is refusing to receive the required medical treatment.

Asharq al-Awsat said Mubarak, 82, had refused advice to travel to Germany for treatment, quoting:

He has asked those around him to allow him to die in his country, and I believe this is just a matter of time.

If that is what happens, and he dies in Egypt, it will be the first and only promise to his subjects that he has kept.

He should be exiled and allowed to die in the same squalor and poverty in which he left his subjects.

 


The Great American Decline

We all watched the events unfolding in Egypt and the Middle East. Those events are proof of the approaching ends of Global American Influence. The Middle East took good old George at his word,”A free Iraq will set a powerful example in the part of the world that is desperate for freedom. A free Iraq will secure Israel.” That was 2004. The “Freedom Agenda” was an abject failure.  It was democracy acquired at the barrel of a gun.  Like Viet Nam, before entering into war, the Americans had no real functional government in realty to assume power should the war be won.  Though those wars were fought for different reasons, the lack of planning for the future of those country lead to disaster.  After numerous elections in Iraq, there still is no functional government and no democracy.

The “Freedom Agenda” was an abject failure  It was the beginning of the decline.

Egypt like Tunisia put their freedom and democracy in their own hands Protesters used Western technology to demand individual rights. Ignore the fact that most of secular bloggers who paved the groundwork for the revolution speak to languages, or studied in America. Ignore the fact the Egyptians in the streets focused their demands on two parties, the Egyptian Regime and the American Government. Not the UN or the Arab League.  American police in the Middle East have never been more obvious. Thirty years of aiding a military dictator, who presided over a corrupt, u responsive government, who managed his economy into stagnation and scarcity, and who has driven any legitimate opposition toward the radical mosque have not produced stability.

The protesters didn’t even bother to burn our flag. Other countries do not express disapproval their of  lack of influence in Egyptian politics. American feel guilt at their limits of power.  We could have done more. We could have, like Turkey, Germany, France and other countries demand that Mubarak resign.  That was not in our interest.  Instead, we put his second in command, Suleiman in a position to control the country.  The Commander of the Secret Police, in charge of torture and beatings, to head the government.

The expectation of peace nd democracy in the whole of the Middle East because of a promise of democracy in Iraq by an American President is naive. Peace, freedom and democracy has been a time coming.  Since the time of Abraham and Sarah.  What we forget is that this is a war about religion.  One tribe against another, Arab against Jew.   Religion.  Our failure to understand that has led to failed foreign policy.  The decline of America. When we put our private interests above our true mission of freedom and democracy, we will always fail.

In the complex determination of national influence, those with the best story, the best narrative, have an advantage  In the Middle East, does the old dictator speaking on Egyptian state television, talking of past glories and victories really seem the wave of the future?

Yet, on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, self-government is the hope. It seems the system most likely to result in progress and national achievement.  It seems that way because it is. What happens in Egypt matters greatly to American interests A Sunni version of Iran in Egypt would be a major blow. Democratic transition, even a partial one, might eventually isolate or domesticate the extremist and defuse hatred for America. Events in Egypt is now determined by an internal balance of nationalism and religion, fear and hope, that America can only influence on the margins.

Since Franklin Roosevelt, American leaders have viewed the appeal of democratic ideals as source of national power. America now has less direct control in German and Japan than it did. But both are monuments to American influence.

Democracies will not always do what we want, but in the end they are more stable and peaceful than countries ruled by a single man.  Changes are difficult and uncertain, especially in places with shallow democratic roots. But is strangely disconnected from American history and ideals to regard a popular revolt  against an oppressive as a sign of American decline.


Egypt: History Repeating Itself

Fifty-seven years ago, March 1954, the Egyptian people, let y students rose up to resist oppression and for respect for the constitution, where marching in Cairo in 1954.

King Farouk had been removed in a military coup, led by Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1952. This coup was first met with support and hope, but soon dissolved as the Egyptian people watched the new leadership move toward oppression. The constitution was suspended and members of the opposition arrested.

They had no cellphone or internet, but the word spread quickly. Thousands marched Soldiers opened fire and wounded students. The determination of the students was immediate. The government had to be brought down.

Nasser said he would hope open and free elections that summer and promised to spend the intervening months implementing an array of political reforms. Abd al-Quadir Audeh, one of the leaders of the demonstrations, took Nasser at his word and asked the protesters to go home. Audeh was arrested house later and executed, along with other protest leaders the following year. Egypt‘s current protesters are well aware of their country’s bloody political history. The question is whether Mubarak‘s incoherent message to his people means that both sides are bound to repeat it.

The protesters will not be tricked again.  The same promises are being made again, now. Suleiman has offered token concessions to the protesters while rejecting real subtantive changes. Suleiman is reading from the same script Mubarak has used for decades.  The same talk Nasser used.  Suleiman said,”Oh, young men of Egypt…go back to your homes, go back to your jobs.”  Nasser told them the same thing and the protesters were hunted down and shot.

Breaking News:  Mubarak along with his family has left Cairo. Unconfirmed reports from Israel that he has gone to the Red Sea Resort of Sharim el-Sheikh. He has a villa there.  Bought with money stolen from his people.

In an interview Nawal El Saadawi said:

We are in the streets every day, people, children, old people, including myself. I am no 80 years old, suffering of this regime for half a century. You remember, Mubarak is the continuation of Sadat. Both Sadat and Mubarak , their regime worked against the people. They created this gap between the poor and rich. They brought the so-called business class to govern us.  Egypt became an American colony. We are dominated by the U.S. and Israel. And 80 Million people have no say in the country.  But what I would like to tell you, the US. government, with Israel and Saudi Arabia and some other powers outside the country and inside the country, they want to abort this revolution. They create rumors that Egypt is going to be ruined, to be robbed. So they try to frighten us. They have two strategies: to frighten us, so we say we need security, we need Mubarak because people are living in fear. What we want to tell the U.S. and others, keep away from us. End your false democracy and neo-colonialsim.

The Caliphate guru’s need to shut up.  They just perpetuate lies for their own benefit and profit.

In stead of just sitting around and believing all the trash, what we need is a “truth test.”  All bloggers should begin to deconstruct everything they claim as fact. The media enables them, also enables views to being manipulated.  Beck will tell you he is going to tell you the truth.  Well, isn’t it time to tell the truth about, Beck, Palin and all those other Right-Wing liars.

Be brave.  Start the “truth test” movement. Democracy is ours, the Egyptian people deserve it with no assistance from us.  Truth be told, the Mubarak regime is an American creation.

“Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”