Tuesday, December 31, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR - Wouldn't It Be Nice?

As the year 2014 approaches people are wishing each other a Happy New Year. Well not everyone!  This past year of 2013 we  again saw a record number of people die as a result of gun violence, terrorism and assorted wars and conflicts and poverty. This country became more divided than it has every been over a variety of issues pertaining to same sex marriage, race, politics, religion and even the Constitution. We saw our President attacked, often even threatened, not because of his political beliefs, but because of his color and his support for the less fortunate. Members of all political spectra attacked each other for their differences and refused to work together for the common good. Religions, which are supposed to be vehicles of love, peace and tolerance have turned into conduits of hate, bigotry and racism. Religious zealots have taken it upon themselves to pass judgement on others, rather than to leave that to God. Religions have come to fighting each other over wanting to be the dominant religion. God must be so proud of His followers!!!

Now we are ready to usher in 2014 and as always we all hope for a better year for us, but not necessarily others.  Wouldn't it be nice to wish EVERYONE a Happy New Year and really mean it? Wouldn't it be nice if we could see a New Year where we take care of those less fortunate? Wouldn't it be nice if we had a New Year where people would not be judged by their religion, the color of their skin, their sexual preference, their gender, their economic status or their political views? Wouldn't it be nice if we had a New Year where people did not force their religious views on others? Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a New Year where people did not have to worry about dying because of a lack of health insurance? Wouldn't it be nice if people meant more than corporations? Wouldn't it be nice if our law enforcement officers were not outgunned and attacked for protecting us? Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could marry the ones they loved? Wouldn't it be nice if every child could get an education, even if their family was not rich? Wouldn't it be nice if we could go to school or to the movies without worrying about being shot? Wouldn't it be nice if we could think, believe or act differently or simply be different without being demonized by others? Wouldn't it be nice if our Congress was not owned by the wealthy of this nation? Wouldn't it be nice if all Americans cared about each other?

Yes it would. That would be what Christ  would want all Christians to do and that is what REAL religions would want. That is what all Americans should want. But unfortunately we are humans and that sort of behavior seems to go against human nature, as the history of mankind has taught us. But we can still hope, We can still pray. We can still all strive for a better life for EVERYONE in 2014.

HAPPY NEW YEAR
2014


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

GOP Make Asses Out of Themselves

en.wikipedia.org
"Obama won the election and I don't like it."


As the government has been shut down for a little over 24 hours, the blame game has started. I don't see why though, because the blame falls entirely upon the Tea Party wing of the GOP. Millions of Americans, especially veterans who cannot access the  national war memorials to their service and medical and other necessary services which they need, are feeling the impact. Angry war veteran have been met by members of Congress, who have told them it is Obama's fault.

May I remind you stupid, ignorant moronic Teabaggers that the US Supreme Court has declared the Affordable Health Care Act (or as you idiots may or may not know is also called Obamacare) constitutional. It's a LAW and you have tried over 40 times to repeal it and failed each and every time! And may I also remind you morons that there was a presidential election in 2012 where the ACA or Obamacare was a major issue. This was the chance for Americans to voice their opinion on the issue and either vote Obama back in or out. Guess what? They voted him back in. You lost. Get over it and let us get on with our lives. We had to live with 2 Bush terms, even though he actually lost the first one, and we didn't shut down the government.

GROW UP! GIVE UP! and SHUT UP!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Bunch of Good for Nothings Sucking Up Benefits from the Taxpayers!

Is this just another description of poor people offered by the morons of the Tea Party? No wait. It's a description of Congress, the do nothings that the Teabaggers put into office.
en.wikipedia.org
Terms, such as those in the above title, are some of the demeaning descriptions used by the Tea Party morons in reference to poor people, including the unemployed, the handicapped, minorities and seniors. The hateful rhetoric flowing from Teabaggers is in reaction to the fact that these people receive welfare, food stamps, unemployment and other government benefits. Republican supporters of the wealthy fire up these Tea Party morons telling them that these kinds of people are taking money away from them with their entitlements. So the morons vote for these scumbag Republicans, not realizing that their hard earned benefits will be taken away from them in favor of giving more to the wealthy 1%.

Teabaggers don't realize that entitlements include social security benefits for retirees, the blind, the handicapped, government pensions, unemployment benefits and other benefits that we all pay through our taxes and some day may be needed by them. All Americans complain about how high our taxes are, but compared to other developed countries of the world ours is the lowest. These idiots also don't realize that the new congressmen they put into office to end these entitlements are millionaires. According to OpenSecrets.Org "the median net worth of the 94 incoming law makers at the end of 2011 was $1,066,515", while the "median net worth of the average American household is $66,740" according to the US Census. I guess the Teabaggers see this as peer representation in Congress! Or maybe they think these millions will trickle down to them!

I can go on and on about how the wealthy GOP  take advantage of the ignorant and uneducated members of the Tea Party, but that would be preaching to the choir.One can only hope that they will come to their senses before their Republican allies destroy them and all other members of the middle class.

Here are a couple amusing things I found on Facebook, thanks to Being Liberal.



Saturday, September 14, 2013

Damned If He Does, Damned If He Doesn't.


commons.wikimedia.org

commons.wikimedia.org

It is not news that Teabagger Republicans are an ignorant bunch of bigots and racists, but it never ceases to amaze me at just how damn ignorant and hateful they are. We see every day how much they hate Obama, basically because he is Black and a Democrat, and how they cannot given him credit for anything. They condemn everything he does, regardless of whether or not it helps people or the country.

Recently it was announced that Obama would visit Southeast Asia, which would include Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It was barely made public before the morons of the Tea Party were attacking Obama for visiting his "Muslim brothers", as the ignoramuses of the Tea Party refer to people other than Christians. Now most intelligent people who know anything about the countries Obama will visit know that Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia are predominantly Muslim countries and the Philippines are predominantly Roman Catholic Christians. The Teabaggers, on the other hand,  I am sure could not locate any of these countries on a map and would not know the facts on religion. But this doesn't stop them from attacking Obama for visiting the Muslim countries, while not mentioning he is visiting the largest Catholic country in Asia. I think one explanation for this might be that many, if not  most, Tea Party members don't think Catholics are Christians. I knew one Teabagger who refused to believe Catholics were Christian because his pastor told him so!

What I can't fathom is how the fact that radical Muslims all over the world hate Obama and would wish nothing more than to kill him over his support of Israel and his war on terrorism, has escaped the Tea Party as they insist he is a Muslim and is supporting Muslim terrorists! Perhaps their views of the world are based on Fox News, rather than on reality! And for those Tea Party supporters who may have strayed off course and are reading this. No Obama has not travelled more than any other president. That honor goes to his predecessor Bush, by about a 2 to 1 margin.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

LET US NEVER FORGET SEPTEMBER 11,2001






commons.wikimedia.org


I have been away for a while and just returned. Even with my
prolonged jet lag I had to write this post in remembrance of all of those who died on September 11, 2001. Let us never forget those who died, including all of those who died trying to save others. The actions of a few hate filled terrorists changed the lives of us all, but we have risen above their hate and violence and have become stronger.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

DOMA is Gone! Now What?

commons.wikimedia.org


It's been a few days since the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. Since then I have been trying to take it all in and enjoy the victory. I have been watching gay rights supporters enthusiastically celebrate this momentous occasion. I have seen gay couples in a committed relationship, but separated by country borders, like me,  revel at the fact that they now can live together in the US. I have also seen members of the religious right and Republican Conservatives join in bigoted and hateful unity to declare absolute chaos and the end of society. They have vowed to ignore the ruling, presumably that means they won't be entering into a same sex union any time soon.

For years I have listened to the bullshit from these so called Christians and Republican hate mongers. Also for years I have seen many of these hypocritical politicians and preachers be caught in the very same homosexual acts that they condemned as defying the laws of God. I have seen my own church demonize me and other gay people, while at the same time, allowing child sex abuse by the clergy to go unpunished in the church. I have seen my church tell me and my friends that we are useless and are sinners, while at the same time the church becomes richer and richer, while the poor still suffer. I have heard people quote the Bible, after they spent hours trying to find a passage that they think condemns gays, but at the same time they ignore other passages that condemns married heterosexuals, men who have their hair cut, women and just about every single person who has ever lived. I have seen those idiots from the Tea Party, who on one hand scream for less government in our lives, and on the other hand scream for the government to regulate who can love and who can't and who can get married and who can't. Now they can't do anything about it. Let them rant and rave and hate and accuse and wither away in their ignorance and bigotry. One question I have is that many of these people prayed to God for DOMA to be upheld and many gay rights supporters prayed to the same God so that DOMA would be struck down. This same God sided with those calling for equal rights against the messengers of hate. What happened Bible thumpers? Maybe it's not gays who God hates, but you. I am sure you will have a ridiculous explanation.

Soon, many people like myself, will sponsor their partners and move back to the US, the country they were born in, but for a long time forced them to live in exile. Finally, as far as the Federal government is concerned, gays will be treated as equals. Unfortunately ignorance, stupidity, hatred and racism is still alive in well in the Southern states and in the Republican party. Let's hope that some day ALL people will be treated  equally in this country and in every country.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The GOP Can Now Breathe a Little Easier

In the last presidential election the Republicans lost the election because they received so few Black and Hispanic votes. Well their fellow Conservatives on the Supreme Court just struck down a major part of the landmark Voting Rights Act, which calls for changes in voting laws in certain parts of the country to be approved by the federal government or a federal court.  The court said things have changed, meaning in the South, and this was no longer necessary.

This is good news for the GOP who have been trying to suppress the  Black and minority voters in the South, more and more, in recent elections. Now they can successfully try to prevent Blacks in the South from voting and they have the backing of the Supreme Court AND have a chance at winning an election. What a great bunch of people, our GOP!

Photo courtesy en.m.wikipedia.org
If the GOP has its way the above photo, symbolizing a momentous occasion in our history and which meant so much to American Blacks, will no longer have any meaning at all.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Remember Tiananmen Square

 Photo taken on June 5, 1989, by Jeff Widener (The Associated Press).


This week, particularly June 4th and June 5th, is the 24th anniversary of The Tiananmen Square Massacre which took place in Beijing, China in 1989. Thousand of students and ordinary Chinese citizens demonstrated for democratic reforms. They were met by armed soldiers and tanks sent by hard-line Communist party officials. Then the unthinkable happened. The tanks and troops opened fire on the peaceful and unarmed demonstrators, killing and injuring perhaps thousands of people. We will never know just how many demonstrators died that day, as China suppressed all information and kept this incident from its own people, and continues to do so today. Young people in China do not even know that their fellow students and countrymen gave their lives, so that others could enjoy the freedoms of democracy.

There were, however, numerous remembrances in Hong Kong, which even though an autonomous region of China, does enjoy some freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Memorials and even the mention of the event is strictly forbidden in
China. As far as China is concerned this brutal incident never happened. Some human rights activists in the US called for the US government to adopt a stronger stance on the issues of human rights in China. The US has called upon China to come clean with the massacre, to divulge the number of those killed and injured and stop the harassment of those who took part in the demonstrations and survived. Naturally, as it always does, China called this an interference in its internal affairs. Chinaspeak for "we have the right to torture and kill as many people as we wish in order to keep the Communist Party in control".

This is a tragedy that could very well be repeated it China's Communist party feels threatened again in the future. With China's new found wealth and growing economic power, we can rest assure that the US and the Western powers will say as little as they can. Money trumps democracy and human rights, regardless of what we and our European allies may say for local news consumption.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

American Immigration and Civil Rights

Over the past few months Americans and our pathetic government have been fighting, arguing and negotiating whether or not certain Americans and immigrants should be given any kind of immigration rights. At the same time the Supreme Court has been mulling over whether or not gay Americans should have the same rights as straight Americans, when it comes to marriage or the granting of federal benefits to people involved in a same sex relationship.

I began thinking back into American history when other groups had fought for their civil and human rights. I grew up during the period of time when the Civil Rights movement was in full swing. After hundreds of years of being treated as second class citizens and suffering blatant discrimination and violence against them, Blacks were finally recognized as deserving of civil and human rights. Congress ultimately did the right thing and passed the Civil Rights Bill. Lyndon Johnson pushed the bill through Congress, as Southerners, both Republicans and Democrats tried to kill every aspect of the bill, as they are doing now, in the fight against immigration reform and anything that would  grant gay people any kind of rights.

Many years ago women fought for the right to vote, as they were relegated to second class citizens. Finally they were given the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1920. It was a shame that the country actually had to vote on a basic civil right. It is more of a shame that some Southern Republicans are trying to pass amendments that would not grant a civil right, but deny a civil right, in the case of same sex marriages. In our past the American government has taken it upon itself to vote one way or the other to grant or deny civil and human rights.

One group of people that have always been left out is the only group of people who actually are the only ones who should have all of the basic civil and human rights because of the nature of their birth. These are the indigenous peoples of America, our Native Americans. Native Americans are the only people who should be dealing with immigration rights, not a bunch of old white Europeans who do not belong here in the first place.

White Europeans came to this country and forced their culture, their languages and their religion on the indigenous people. If they didn't accept this new way of life they were then slaughtered. The newcomers came to steal their land, pollute their rivers and streams, kill their game, poison their air and cut down their forests. The White Europeans then took  the Native Americans away from their homes where they had been living since the beginning of time, and put them on reservations, forcing Christianity down their throats. Women and children were raped and abused by missionaries, while the men were either enslaved or killed.

We were brought up on a culture of movies and television shows where Native Americans, known to us then as Indians, were demonized and killed off to the enjoyment of the white only audiences. The once thriving cultures and peoples of the many varied Native American tribes were decimated in one the worst acts of genocide in the Western hemisphere since the Europeans destroyed the native peoples of South and Central America. Yet the descendants of these uninvited European immigrants sit in judgement of others and decide who is allowed into this country and who is not and who deserves rights and who does not. They actually think they can be trusted to do the right thing using their own moral judgement.

Red Cloud of the Oglala Lakota Nation summed up how our Congress can be trusted, when many years ago he said, "the white man promised us many things, more than I can recall. But he only kept one promise. He promised to take our land, and he took it". We should all stop a moment and think about this when we seek to be given our own civil rights.

commons.wikimedia.org

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

GOP Governs for the Good of the Party, Not for the Country



commons.wikimedia.org
Now that the so called comprehensive immigration bill was passed by the weak minded Senate Judiciary Committee. Remember that "comprehensive" bill that the cowardly Democrats refused to include gay partners of American citizens because they didn't want to offend their bigoted Republican colleagues? They were afraid the bigots would not support immigration rights for many Hispanics if gays were given any rights.

Everyone, known as the "Gang of Eight", thought they had reached a grand compromise by throwing gay people under the bus and guaranteeing Hispanics and other minorities  immigration rights. They actually thought the Republicans really cared about minorities, as long as they weren't gay.

There is a real possibility that the bill will be dead on arrival in the House of Representative. According to a news story from Reuters the Republicans don't think that passing an immigration reform bill will help them garner the minority votes that will help them win national elections. Chuck Schumer, Feinstein and their other cowardly Democrats foolishly thought the Republicans actually cared about non white citizens of this country and would support an immigration bill, weak as it was.

Nothing in this country will ever get done for the average middle class citizens of unless these racist, bigoted, wealthy white hate mongers are driven out of government.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Keep Them Poor and Uneducated

In many third world countries of the world where there are authoritarian governments or, where the ruling power has been in power for many years, there often is sharp divide between the educated and uneducated and the rich and poor. One of the main reasons these governments stay in power is that the governments keep their people uneducated and poor, while promising prosperity, lower taxes and change, at election time, if there are elections.  It always amazes me how people can be so gullible.

Thanks to AATP.ORG Facebook Page.



I often compare these gullible people to members of the Tea Party and other such conservative groups that promise lower taxes and prosperity for the poor. Even in the face of the truth, or the facts they see conspiracy and lies. I decided to do a little research on which states are the most educated and which states are the poorest. I was not surprised.

Since taxes support social welfare programs and other government benefits I decided to find out which states received the most benefits. The top ten are "red" states. Of those states that pay for those benefits, 9 are "blue"states, with Colorado being the exception. For further details you can check out this article in Slate.com Now if the Tea Party ever succeeds in destroying so called "liberal" socialist handouts of the Democrats and drastically reducing taxes and government these ten red states will be destitute.

Next I looked at the least educated states in the country. The least educated states are West Virginia, Arkansas,Mississippi, Kentucky and Louisiana. These are all "red" states in the South. No surprise is that the most educated states are "blue" states, which include Massachusetts, D.C., Connecticut, Maryland,Vermont, New Jersey, Virginia and Colorado. Think Progress has more information on these and more statistics.


Thanks to Americans Against the Tea Party Facebook page.


Knowing this I look at what the Tea Party has been doing. They are trying to lower those very taxes that support the poor people in their own "red" states. They have been fighting unemployment benefits, as well as food stamps and other benefits for the poor and unemployed. They also fought against Obamacare and any other kind of health care that would benefit the poor and uninsured. What is really puzzling is that the morons who support the Tea Party are supporting their own destruction. And speaking of taxes, the Tea Party would have you believe that Americans pay the highest taxes of any country on earth.  Here is a chart that tells the real truth.
Thanks to www.oecd.org


It seems from these statistics one could draw the conclusion that the GOP is using the Tea Party and other conservative groups to take control of the country by keeping the poor and uneducated "red" states poor and uneducated and trying to make inroads into the "blue" states by manipulating and lying to the poor and uneducated in those states. For the remainder of Obama's second term the American people will come to learn just how racist, bigoted an moronic the Tea Party is, as they will see made up scandal after scandal created, while they are fighting every measure to improve the lot of the citizens of this country.




Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Benghazi Attack Revisited

 The House of Revenge
commons.wikimedia.org


Republicans in Congress are investigating the terrorist attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Libya which killed American Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 others. I should correct myself by saying they are investigating the attack again!

As you all can remember this attack occurred on September 11, 2012 and it was first investigated by Congress in October of 2012 in a politically motivated hearing, no doubt in an effort to effect the presidential election in November. The Republicans accused the Obama administration of a cover up and tried everything to place the blame on Obama and the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As hard as they tried, the Republicans couldn't find a scandal nor could they prevent Obama from being re-elected.

So why are they investigating the attack again? The answer is simple. Hillary Clinton will be running for president in 2016 and they are scared stiff they will lose in another landslide. They have to start throwing mud early. Instead of coming up with a viable candidate, who is not a complete nut job or an outright bigot and racist, as they usually do, they have to start attacking anyone who would be a Democratic candidate. They have not learned any lessons from their latest defeat. Instead of blaming themselves they have blamed minorities, the poor and anyone who is not an old, white, far right, Christian Conservative. They can't offer a plan or a future for America. They can only try to divide and spread hate and rumors. They will neglect the economy, immigration reform and other issues important to the American people just to chase after phantom conspiracy theories to try to bring Obama and the Democrats down.

To the ignorant or uninformed the Republicans investigation may seem patriotic and to be searching for the truth. In reality it is far from either.Actually there were more attacks on US embassies and consulates under George Bush. There were 10 attacks on US missions (not including the World Trade Center attack) which killed a total of 60 people. All during this time Republicans never said a word questioning the responsibilities of the Bush administration in these attacks! As a matter of fact there have been more attacks on US diplomats under Republican administrations that Democratic administrations, according to Mother Jones.

When are the Republicans going to come to the realization that it's time to forget their hatred of Obama and the minorities who elected him and forget their petty revenge and just move on to get the business of the people done?


Monday, April 29, 2013

At least 380 People Lose Their Lives in Building Collapse in Banglasdesh

The above headline is not really news, as it happened about 5 days ago. There is no longer a rescue mission, but a recovery mission in Bangladesh, in which the death toll will most likely rise dramatically. This tragedy has not been covered 24/7 on the major television news networks, but at least it has been given more than a few seconds mention.

I am sure that the majority of Americans did not pay too much attention to the news of the building collapse and I am very sure that the majority of Americans could not pinpoint Bangladesh on a map of the world, if they have even ever heard of it before.  So with most people the tragedy was not close to home and the victims were poor and Muslims , so little attention was paid to it.


The truth about this tragedy is that it is closer to home than we think. Those killed were young men and women and children, who were employed as garment workers in a garment factory. They made the very clothes that Americans and Europeans buy at Walmart and other clothing stores. These are the clothes that are sold in department stores at a relatively inexpensive price. The reason why clothes made in Bangladesh and other poor third world countries are so cheap is that the garment workers are paid about $38 a month for six 12 hour days a week. And why are the clothes we buy made in Bangladesh, Vietnam and China? The answer is that the cost of labor is extremely cheap as compared to the US and elsewhere. Garment factories in Bangladesh make clothing for American and other Western companies, who wish to lower the cost of producing a product, while at the same time  making a profit for the shareholders. If we own shares in Walmart or other such companies our shares do better, the worse the garment workers do!


Fortunately the owner of the garment factory was arrested for willfully neglecting the safety of his employees. The less he pays his workers and the less he pays for their safety, the more money he gets from his American and European clients, who gladly look the other way on safety measures. It is odd that in a third world country like Bangladesh the owner responsible for this tragedy was arrested and will likely spend his life in prison, if convicted, while  the owners of the West, Texas fertilizer plant that exploded recently, will probably not even have to spend an hour in jail.

The next time you purchase an article of clothing look at the label and see where it was made. Also if you own shares in American companies that outsource their work to Bangladesh and other third world countries find how how much money the workers there make and compare it to what you paid for the item. Then think back to this tragedy.














Wednesday, April 10, 2013

North Korea: China's Frankenstein Monster.

Photo courtesy of Globaljuggler 


The world, and especially South Korea and Japan, today seem to be playing a waiting game to see if North Korea will provoke a war on the Korean peninsula. Tensions in that area are as high, probably as they ever even been since the cease fire which unofficially ended the Korean War. Kim Jong-un, the portly new leader of the Communist state is the grandson of Kim Il-sung, the founder of the  Kim family dynasty.

Kim Il-sung came to power after the death of his father Kim Jong-il and at first offered hope that tensions would be reduced. However, he has been ratcheting up the bellicose rhetoric and threatening to destroy the United States and South Korea. Kim Jong-un's father and grandfather often raised the tensions in the area making threats, but suddenly cooled down and even entered into talks with
South Korea, the US, China, Japan and Russia to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program in exchange for food aid and economic assistance. According to experts on North Korea, the new leader is trying to prove himself to his people and to reassure his and the military's strangle hold on the North Korean people and force the US into talks that would result in more aid. To the rest of the world this seems odd, as normal governments warm up to those they seek to assist them, not threaten them.

North Korea is one of the poorest nations on earth and definitely the most secretive and technologically backward countries of the world. And the government wants to keep it that way. While the communist regime develops nuclear weapons and strengthens the military the citizens of North Korea are constantly starving as a result of famine. South Korea and even the US has given food aid to alleviate the extreme hunger, but the aid seems to go directly to the army and party officials. It is widely known that the Kim family, the generals and high members of the communist party live a lavish lifestyle, while ordinary citizens have been forced to eat dirt. There have even been reports that some families have resorted to eating their children in order to survive.Everyday devices such as computers, wide screen TVs, cars, cell phones ipods etc. are unknown in North Korea. There are only 2 stations on the few TVs , which broadcast a constant barrage of propaganda and military music. There is no Internet, where they can come in contact with the rest of the world, but an "intranet" which can only be used inside the country and is strictly controlled by the government.

North Koreans are so brainwashed that they actually believe people in the US and South Korea are starving in the streets, while North Korea is a utopia. No one knows how many people are being held in the vast prison system, as political prisoners, for crimes such as possessing a cell phone, listening to  foreign radio stations or viewing  
western videos. One thing that is unique about the treatment of political prisoners in  North Korea is that not just the person accused of the crime is imprisoned, but that persons children, parents and oft times grandparents are also imprisoned.

For most people the actions and behavior of North Korea is not only intolerable, but also inhumane. How did North Korea come to this point where they not only were admitted to the United Nations, but now thumbs  their nose at the UN and threatens the nuclear destruction of  its neighbors and the US and her allies? How can a country that values the continuance of family dictatorship over the lives of it's citizens be allowed to do so and also to threaten the lives of millions of people? I believe those questions should be asked of China. Equipping a million man army and developing a nuclear weapons program costs millions of dollars. So how does a country whose citizenry are starving afford to do this? The answer is China.

At the beginning of the Korean War, China entered the war to battle the United Nations forces, even though China was a member of the United Nations. Ever since that time China has vetoed every resolution that may have condemned or even reprimanded North Korea. China has politically and economically supported North Korea, in spite of its brutality towards its own people. Because of China's behavior North Korea has continued its reign of terror and uncivilized behavior toward the rest of the world and ignored the UN. In 1945 China created a monster, much like Dr. Frankenstein did. Now that monster, North Korea, is threatening the stability in that area of the world, as well as threatening the lives of its neighbors. Now China is in a bind, as it finally has become a major player on the world stage.

China is worried about the collapse of the North Korean regime for two reasons. If the regime collapses thousands of  starving refugees will flood across the Chinese border seeking food and asylum. This would put a serious damper on the booming economy of China. Secondly if the North Korean regime collapses  the two Koreas would unite and China would have a democratic neighbor which would most likely have American bases. Both of these scenarios are unacceptable to China. China's support for North Korea in the past, in my opinion, is criminal, with their support for the brutal and murderous regimes of the Kim family. Will China finally abandon its support of North Korea and join the world of civilized, responsible nations in thoroughly condemning North Korea? Or will it choose to continue to support a fellow communist nation only because it is communist, despite the possibility of millions of lives being lost, just to make sure a free and democratic nation is not a neighbor?

We will have to wait and see how this situation develops and how the world can deal with North Korea. It is time for ideologies to take a back seat to saving and improving the lives of millions of North Koreans who have been kept in a prison of darkness and brutality.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Another Supplement to Melt the Fat Away

Last year I wrote a post called "I've Joined the Raspberry Ketone Craze",which described the big diet fad that was fueled by Dr. Oz's recommendation on his TV show. In that article I explained that I joined that fad and purchased raspberry ketones and did not lose an ounce. Well a few months ago the same neighbor who called my attention to Dr. Oz and raspberry ketones came to me about Dr. Oz's latest weigh loss miracle, Green Coffee Bean Extract. I must say that she believes every word that Dr. Oz says. Being quite skeptical after trying raspberry ketones I spent some time researching green coffee bean extract and what Dr. Oz had to say about it. I found this video on You Tube and after seeing it I was willing to give it a try, especially after hearing that I could lose weight without dieting or exercise.

I ordered exactly what Dr. Oz recommended, 50% chlorogenic acid with no fillers and 400 mg. I took these a half hour before meals and continued my routine of exercise and eating habits. I followed this regimen for 13 weeks. And guess what? Absolutely nothing happened. I did not lose an ounce and in fact I gained weight!

I must say that I really did not expect to lose any weight, as I believe there is no quick way to melt away the fat, other than eating less and exercising more. What I did wonder about is what Dr. Oz. gets out of promoting these "weight loss wonders". I am sure I am not the only lazy idiot out there who forks over big bucks to lose weight effortlessly, just on the word of Dr. Oz. I must point out that I do not watch his show, but many people I know hang on his every word. If you look at the many brands of green coffee extract, you will see the words, "recommended by Dr. Oz", so someone is making a lot of money from people who listed to these health gurus.

As I have said before and all nutritionists and physical fitness experts have said a million times over and over, don't look for a miracle pill to lose weight. Use exercise, proper nutrition and common sense to lose weight.









Thursday, March 28, 2013

Marriage Equality and SCOTUS



This week has been a historical week for both gay rights and the US Supreme Court. Two major cases involving gay marriage have been heard before the Court. One was the case in California where Proposition 8 , which bans same sex marriage, is being challenged and the other case is DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same sex married couples from states which allow gay marriages.

The oral arguments are now over and the 9 justices must decide the cases. After hearing about some of the questions asked by most of the Justices it would be tempting to make a prediction, but that would be too dangerous. The Justices are almost evenly divided, with 4 Democratic nominated members and 4 Republican nominated members and a Republican Chief Justice, but it is still difficult to predict, except for 2 members. It is tradition for Justices to keep their personal feelings on issues to themselves, but Justice Scalia has many times broken that tradition with his strongly derogatory statements against gays and voting rights for minorities. He definitely will not support any type of gay or any other minority rights. Then there is Clarence Thomas, who has not asked a single question in his many years on the bench. He is the only Black member and is strongly conservative. He also has voted against affirmative action and other issues that would help Blacks and other minorities. He has an attitude of "I made it to the top, so to hell with you, if you haven't".

Justice Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts will be the swing votes. Kennedy has a history of supporting gay rights, but no one knows what Roberts will do, especially after supporting Obamacare. The court seemed to attack DOMA in the oral arguments, which could give a hint of how they will vote. They should make their decision sometime in June. So we will have to wait until then.

In the polls public support for same sex marriages has shown a dramatic increase over the past decade. Even a majority of young Republicans support gay marriage, while the majority of the older members of the party are against it, as well as most other issues benefiting minorities. The Justices today have effectively shot down the arguments of the conservative and religious right opponents. I felt very good about one of the Justice's reply to a lawyer saying marriage is solely for the purpose of procreation. The Justice said that if a gay couple should be denied marriage, so then should couples where one or both are over the child bearing age or couples who are unable to have children. The lawyer didn't respond.This reminds me of a friend, or I should say former friend of mine who was always very conservative, but since Obama's election has gone way over the edge. She and her husband have always said they are in favor of gay rights, but have always supported anti gay politicians. Recently she asked why I was so against anyone who supported DOMA. I explained my views to her. In her reply she stated that both her and her husband believe that the purpose of marriage is to have and raise children. This from a couple who have no children, are not religious and have often professed their extreme dislike of children and also said because of their marriage they are more financially secure. Typical conservative Republican hypocrites!

If DOMA is found to be unconstitutional many deserving people will benefit, either from government benefits such as Social Security, immigration or other federal benefits or just a feeling of equality and security. I am especially interested in immigration rights for bi-national couples, that are denied under  DOMA. There are many bi-national couples who are forced to live apart simply because of their sexual orientation. There are many people, like myself, who are forced to live in another country, because my country treats me as a second class citizen. The US government always emphasizes human rights in dealing with China and other developing nations, but it's about time the government starts looking at human rights back home. I can only hope that SCOTUS will make the rights decision for me and millions of other Americans.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

HAPPY EASTER

 HAPPY EASTER



I know it doesn't seem like spring for many people in the US, but it is and with spring comes Easter. I would like to wish all of my readers, family and friends, who celebrate, a very Happy Easter. It will soon really be spring.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Time for My Yearly Punishment

Yesterday I finally completed my 2012 tax returns. As I always owe some money I don't hurry my returns. As some of you may know, I am retired and live in Malaysia. Because I live abroad I not only have to file my federal and state taxes I also have to pay a penalty for living abroad.

I don't mind paying my taxes, but I do mind filling out the extra paperwork required, which is called FBAR, Foreign Bank Accounts Report.  Apparently the purpose of the FBAR is to catch those people who have millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts, like Mitt Romney. As anyone living anywhere in the world I need a bank account to pay for my daily living expenses and emergencies. But because I live abroad I am treated as a criminal. The US government is not only pressuring me, but it is pressuring banks in foreign countries who have American clients. It has gotten so bad in some countries that some banks have refused to open accounts for Americans, which is a real hardship for those Americans working and living abroad. I am retired and live on a fixed income and do my own taxes, as I do not have a complicated financial situation. Those very people the IRS are out to get have the money, the means, the lawyers and the greed to get around these requirements, whereas I sheepishly comply, face with threats of imprisonment. There is one other form, which is required of expats, who have foreign bank accounts totaling $200,000 and over. This is called the FATCA, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. Fortunately I do not have to use this form as I both permanently live abroad and my assets are way less than $200,000

To add insult to injury, as I am filling out my tax forms and the FBAR forms I keep thinking that because I also live abroad, my own benevolent government will not allow me to use any of the money I paid to medicare all during my working career. I am constantly reminded that I am a second class citizen, because I live abroad.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Pope Resigns


Yesterday Pope Benedict XVI resigned, effective February 28th. The world, in particular the Roman Catholic world, was shocked. For me, raised a Catholic I was a bit surprised, but not really shocked. In a way I sort of suspected he would step aside some day.  Lately whenever he was seen in public he appeared to be in pain or a bit out of it, and moved about with great difficulty.

I commend him for having the common sense to resign before he became totally senile or incapacitated. I never really cared for this Pope. I was raised to believe that the Pope was infallible and could do no wrong, but as I matured and took off the blinders that a Catholic grammar and high school education, forced upon me, I saw differently. I now view the Pope as just a political or power figure in a church obsessed with power. Benedict's resignation is the first since the Middle Ages and to me this is rather appropriate as he was still living in the Middle Ages.

The Church has never been know for it's tolerance or it's acceptance of the obvious. It took a along time for the popes to recognize that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around. The Church was responsible for the deaths of entire races of indigenous peoples in the Americas. During the atrocities of Nazi Germany the Pope looked the other way. During the AIDS crisis and even now the Church forbade the use of condoms, a proven way to stop the spread of AIDS. In impoverished countries of the world, where the human population is exploding and people are starving to death, the Church insists that Catholics in these countries not use any kind of birth control, other than the rhythm method. They show a lack of real understanding of the problem of overpopulation, while holding on to outdated traditions and teachings.

During the recent sex abuse scandals the Church tried to cover it up and it is widely believed that Benedict XVI was involved in that cover up. There have been scandals involving the Vatican bank and even the possible murder or Pope John Paul I, which will never be totally explained due to the extreme secrecy of the Vatican. The Catholic Church has become more of a an institution of wealth and power than a religion. The Church is far from being a democratic organization, with powerful members of the College of Cardinals deciding what is an article of faith and what is not. Even the actual books in the Bible, were decided upon by those church officials in power during the early years of the Church. The celibacy of the clergy is not a written law, but a tradition. For centuries the popes have been married and fathered many children. During the Middle Ages, the election of the Pope had more to do with wealth and political power than it did with faith and religion. The entire history of the Church is filled with hypocrisy.

With a history of married popes, with wives and children and even gay popes, such as Pope Leo X and Pope Julius III, how can the Church tell others how to live their lives? The Church has no right to instruct others regarding birth control or to pass judgement on divorce, gay marriage or even married priests. We are not living in the Middle Ages any more and the Church is no longer a part of a feudal system. The Church needs to wake up and modernize in this 21st century or it will continue to lose members. With the election of a new Pope soon the Church will have a chance to stop the downward spiral in it's membership and influence, especially in Europe and North America. I highly doubt this will happen as the majority of the conservative Cardinals will assure that the Church will remain in the past and will remain irrelevant to modern day Catholics.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Does Religion Breed Hatred, Bigotry and Violence?

I have always thought religion was a belief in a higher being or a set of principles which guided a person through life. I was raised a Catholic and I was taught to love God and everyone else. I knew people of various Christian sects as well as people of the Jewish faith. From my friendships with these people I learned , that they too were taught to love God and their neighbors. I went to Catholic schools and was familiar with the teachings of helping others, especially the poor, sick and disabled. Sure some of these teachings, looking back, were bigoted and hypocritical, but never were they advocating violence. When I became older I met people who were Buddhists and I learned that they too held similar views and espoused a life of peace, love and charity. So as a child and adolescent, religion to me was, to sum it up, love, peace, charity and harmony.

The older I got I learned that this is not always true. I now know that with some religions, or with some religious people, there is a caveat to what I had always thought. That caveat is that their religion is one of peace, love, charity, and harmony, only if everyone believes as they do. Harboring slightly different beliefs or cultures or lifestyles then not only becomes unacceptable, but dangerous. If anyone seriously studies history they will learn that the multitude of wars were fought over religion, ideologies, politics or land. Some people say that more people have died in religious wars than any other types of war. According to Bookrate approximately 809 million people have died in religious wars while 209 million have died in non-religious wars.

People have died in the name of religion during the Crusades, the spread of the Ottoman Empire, The Spanish Inquisition, the Spanish Conquest of the New World, the colonization of the British Empire, Indian Wars of the US, Northern Ireland and the Irish Rebellion. If we take a closer look at the past we can see that in most cases true religion was never involved in these incidences. Aside from some ignorant and bigoted missionaries there were other reasons for the killing of millions of people. In the New World the Spanish massacred the indigenous peoples of the area, not to spread the word of Christ, but for gold and territory for Spain.  This was the case in just about every war which was waged in the name of religion.  The Catholic Church was for many years the most powerful institution on earth and the popes did everything they could to retain and extend that power, even if it meant people would die. As the Catholic Church split into many different Christian sects, these new sects continued the violence. The oppression of religious minorities or any minority for that matter, has it's root causes in greed, power, bigotry, hatred and politics.

And it continues today. If we look at history, disregarding wars involving religion, we can see religion in a different light. At times the Catholic Church even encouraged science and the arts. Islam in the middle ages was noted for advances in science, mathematics and architecture. The mysticism of Eastern religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism fostered a new way of dealing with science and self awareness and mental and physical health. What went wrong? Well I think to answer that all I can say is humans went wrong. Religious extremists hijacked what was normally a peaceful and loving creation of man. Today we see the results of a tradition of hatred, fear, and prejudice being passed down to human misfits.

Today we are fighting a "war on terrorism", which I believe should be called a "war on religious extremists". Islamic extremists seem to be the most prevalent, but they are by no means alone. Many Muslims still harbor a fear and  hatred of Christians for the atrocities of the Crusades and wish to go back to the times when Islam was a powerful political and cultural force. This really has nothing to do with religion, only hate. Religious tensions are again boiling over in Northern Ireland, between Catholics and Protestants. Once again this really has nothing to do with religion, but has everything to do with hatred, fear and politics. Throughout history the Jews have been hated and slaughtered, because they were different or successful. All throughout many of the new African nations Christians and Muslims are fighting for power and supremacy, with many innocent people being killed. In Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan Muslims are killing Muslims, out of age old hatreds and differing views on their religion. Some Christian sects, such as those in the US and Uganda are espousing hatred and even the killing of gays. There have been a number of people who have left their religion to start a new sect of their own, telling their members they have been told by God to to preach a new message to the world. Often these messages include the taking of many wives or what happens too often, the sexual abuse of children. Their followers believe they are following the will of God, instead of allowing a mentally ill pervert live his fantasies.

Old traditions of religious hatred are still alive and well in all areas of the world. Even in England, where hatred and discrimination of Catholics is part of parliamentary law, the monarchy is fighting a change in this tradition. Because King Henry VIII was not allowed, by the Pope to divorce his wife for not bearing a male heir, he split from the Catholic Church and made himself head of the English Church. Catholics were not allowed to ascend to the throne and members of the royal family were forbidden to marry a Catholic. As the British Parliament is ready to change succession laws, which will allow a female to take the throne, Prince Charles, intervened to assure that no Catholic could ever become a member of the British Royal Family. So even members of royalty are still living in the 17th century and continuing a tradition of fear, hate and bigotry.

Religions, for the most part, do not breed hatred, bigotry and violence, but they are sometimes havens for degenerates and just plain evil people to live and act with security and often impunity. If these same people, for instance joined a fraternal organization such as the Lions Club or Elks, their behavior and ideas would cause them to be expelled. But if they are practicing a religion they are protected. In the world's war on terrorism, countries and armies have taken up the task of defending, those who have become targets of terrorism, the non-believers or certain minority groups. The primary responsibility should not fall on these armies or countries, but should fall on the religions themselves for allowing an atmosphere where this extreme negative behavior and preachings  can flourish. Oft times the religions do not even criticize their extremist members, much less actively fight against their views and activities. Some religions feel that is not right to criticize or harm fellow religious members, regardless of how violent or murderous they are. The extremists even enjoy monetary support from their religions.

Just as alcohol, guns, or automobiles, in themselves are not dangerous, they do become dangerous when they are in the hands of mentally ill or evil people. Religion, as a belief in a higher being and a belief that we should love and care for our fellow man, is a beautiful concept. But when people with alterior motives, suffering from mental illness and extreme hatred and bigotry, are allowed to take over a religion and run amok, that religion must be helt accountable and must exert control or punishment on its members.If this doesn't happen I am afraind mankind will be doomed to destruction from a final war over religions, which think they are the one and only true religion. I believe every member of every religion should ask themselves one question. "What happens if I am wrong and my religion is not the true religion?"





Wednesday, January 16, 2013

See Your Doctor as Soon as You Have the Flu

"If you are very ill with the flu, see your doctor immediately." This advice sounds very simple and straight forward, especially this year when  flu season is rather severe. We are given this advice year after year, on TV, on the radio and in the newspapers. But how easy is it to follow this advice.

As anyone who has ever had the flu knows, when you have it you feel like you are at death's door. You don't feel like getting out of bed, like eating or even going to the bathroom. You feel terrible! So how are you going to muster up enough strength to get out of bed, shower, get dressed and get your butt to the doctor?

Fifty years ago following this advice was rather easy. When you had the flu you simply called your doctor and he came to your house. Not any more. Now you have to go to him! We are told that we must get to the doctor within the first day or two of onset of the flu, so that the medication, such as tamaflu,  will be effective.
When the flu hits you, it is during these first couple of days that you really feel terrible.

If you have a family you have to get your husband or wife to drive you to the doctor's office, where you will wait in an overcrowded waiting room infecting everyone there with the virus. If you live alone you have to get a friend to take you to the doctor's office. If you can't have a friend do that, then you have to somehow either take a taxi or public transportation to the doctor's office. All the way there you will be coughing, sneezing, sweating, freezing and almost dying, while you infect everyone near you. If you live alone in the country, where there is no public transportation and you are unable to drive, you either have to call an ambulance or suffer alone until you either get better or die.

You may think that getting to the doctor's office is the most difficult part of having the flu and having it treated, but you are wrong. Have you tried to make a doctor's appointment?  It's not that easy. Often times the closest appointment date is off in the distant future, long past the 1 or 2 day window for getting proper treatment. You have to beg and plead, pass out or feign death in order to get an appointment during the current flu season.

Getting an appointment and getting to the doctor when you have the flu is extremely worrisome, especially for those who live alone and for those who live in the country. You best bet is to get the flu vaccine, when it is first offered. This way you can avoid the hassles mentioned above. It only hurts for a few seconds, and contrary to many myths, YOU CANNOT GET THE FLU FROM THE VACCINE. If you haven't already received it, you should get it now. It's better to be safe than sorry. Stay healthy.




Monday, January 14, 2013

Now I feel Secure.

I know I usually rant and rave about right wing Republicans, bigots and other annoying people and situations on this blog, but forgive me for once again posting about my problems with the Internet.

After my last post I did some research on the web looking for the best anti-virus software. I was surprised to see that McAfee rarely ranked in the top 10. After looking at about 7 or 8 programs I settled on one program that seemed to be the best for me. That program was Bitdefender . After I installed Bitdefender I was astonished to see that it scanned my computer and found several potential hazards, that were not detected by McAfee. There are several more features with Bitdefender that offer more protection for  
no-tech savvy users like me.

I don't usually promote or recommend products or services, but I had to make an exception here. For many years I had been using an anti-virus program that was not effective and actually put my computer  and all of my personal information at risk. For this reason I will make an exception and at this point highly recommend Bitdefender for anyone who wants to have the comfort of securely working and surfing on the Internet.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

A New Look for Steveso Thinks

Thanks to my friend, Kevin Chan, I have a new look for Steveso Thinks. The panoramic photo at the top of the page is a view of Sacket's Harbor, New York, taken by Kevin in August of 2012. Sacket's Harbor is near my hometown of Watertown, New York, where most of my family still lives.

You can view some of Kevin's other photographic works at his blogs, Coffee with Kevin and Kevin in Focus. I hope everyone likes this new look and feel free to let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Welcome Immigrants?



With Obama's second term approaching very soon, the topic of
immigration reform will become a major concern. The Republicans are still reeling from their unexpected and astounding loss in November, due in large part to their almost complete lack of support from immigrants and minorities. All through the election the lily white GOP showed their contempt for immigrants and racial minorities, yet were still puzzled as to why they didn't get any votes from them. Many of the GOP leaders realized that the party had lost because of their attitude and policies towards immigration. As Obama won re-election due to overwhelming support form minorities, he promised he would push for immigration reform in his second term.


   Immigration reform will be a very contentious issue that will surely divide the Congress and the country.  With the strength of extremists and outright bigots and racists in the Republican party there is sure to be a great deal of fireworks and hateful rhetoric being spewed about. Already the GOP has shown that they "still don't get it" when they elected party leaders for the new Congress, all of which are old white men.

If you looks at the immigration laws that recently  went into effect in Arizona, you can have a peek into what many extremists in the GOP want to do with immigration. I used to love to visit friends in Arizona and enjoy the influence of the Mexican culture and especially the Native American influence and presence there. Now I wouldn't want to go there, as people of Mexican descent live with constant harassment as well as anyone who isn't white or doesn't look "American". If anyone in Arizona had legitimate reasons to fight immigration, it would be the Native American residents, who have lived there for centuries and now live on reservations as second class citizens. Arizona doesn't understand that white people there are the real immigrants.

Beside reforming immigration to assist those people who are already living in the US and have been doing so for many years, proposed legislation also is aimed at uniting families of immigrants. One issue that will surely be contentious is the proposal which would allow American citizens to sponsor their same sex partners, living abroad, for a green card. This will surely fire up the right wing Christian extremists in this country.

One aspect of our current immigration policy which must be addressed is the issues of foreign students who come to the US to study and then are immediately asked to leave the country. Because of this policy America is losing thousands of intelligent and highly skilled professionals. That is why China and India and catching up and surpassing the US in the area of technology. We can only imagine what sad shape our country would be in today if the racists and bigots now in Congress were in charge when our parents and grandparents came to this country.

We recently went through an idiotic fight to ward off the country going over the fiscal cliff, which showed just how irresponsible and dysfunctional our government is. Now many Republicans are upset with Obama for not giving in to their demands. So in retribution they are promising they will never ever support any of Obama's other measures. In other words they care only about their own party ideology and not the welfare of the American people.

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