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.

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.




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.









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?"





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.

Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues