Tuesday, April 30, 2013

North Korea's Answer to K-Pop

South Korea's fabulously famous boy band music known as K-Pop, which has won over teenie boppers all over the world now has something to worry about. Watch out K-Pop here comes North Korea's Heavy "Medal" band, "The Generals"!

(When I received this photo in an email from my nephew Willie I couldn't resist. Thanks to the brave soul who took the photo.)

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 24, 2013

There's Something Seriously Wrong

photo by mre770 on Flickr

Last week the United States and the world was shocked by a terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon, which killed 3 people and injured over 200. For nearly a week millions of Americans and many people all over the world were glued to their TVs watching 24 hour coverage of the events in Boston that culminated in the death of one suspect and the capture of a second. Thousands of tributes from all over the country and the world poured in for the victims and their suffering families. People were calling for swift justice to be meted out for the perpetrators of this terrible crime. It seemed as though everything just came to a stop in the US.

Since I formerly lived in Boston and had many friends there I was particularly effected by the event there. But since I now live in Malaysia I could still see news from the rest of the world on other news channels here that did not have 24 hour coverage, such as CNN and BBC. There were more tragedies than the one in Boston. In Pakistan during the same period of time,  20 people, including men, women and children were killed  and hundreds more were injured in suicide bombings. The Taliban in Afghanistan killed 9 people in a suicide attack and 35 people were killed in suicide attacks in Somalia. In a cafe frequented by young people in Iraq 27 were killed by a suicide bomber. That's 91 people killed and scores injured by terrorists, but hardly more than a 30 second mention on the news or a paragraph hidden in the depths of a newspaper!

Why did we react differently to the same types of tragedies? Grief, sympathy and sorrow are not unique to Americans or Westerners, and I am sure the families of the victims of these other attacks suffered as the families of the American victims suffered, but why didn't we recognize those sufferings. We Americans almost come to expect the rest of the world to share in our grief during a tragedy, but why can't we share other's grief. One of the reasons could be that we were not aware of these tragedies, because the media did not think they were important enough to widely publicize them. Another reason may be that these kinds of tragedies occur so frequently in that part of the world, that we have come to expect them and have become numb to the suffering there. Why can't we show the same concern for others of this earth who are suffering? There's something wrong.

In the Boston attack police authorities acted quickly and effectively to either kill or capture the suspects. In those attacks on the other side of the world we know who is to blame, but we rarely if ever, hear of anyone being brought to justice for these crimes. Is it that the police are incompetent, are they involved or afraid or simply they don't care? We hear of the attacks, but that is all. There's something wrong.

The moment the news broke about the Boston bombings some of the news media and Conservative Republican lawmakers were falling all over themselves to blame, not just Al-Qaeda, but all Muslims for the attack. This ignorance intensified after the suspects were identified as Muslims from Chechnya, even though these numerous mental midgets had no clue of where or what Chechnya was. These morons continued their vitriolic rhetoric directed at all Muslims, foreign and American, as well as all foreigners. When it became known that one of the suspects was a permanent resident, while the other was a naturalized citizen, these same hate mongers then turned their hate towards all immigrants Muslim or otherwise. At a time when a much needed immigration reform bill is before Congress, Conservatives are calling for even more restrictive measures to prevent this from happening again. I am sure these Conservative morons' forefathers, who undoubtedly came from all over the world, are rolling over in their graves. They firmly believe that America's terrorist tragedies are a result of foreigners. This is true in the Boston case and in the case of World Trade Center bombing, but there have been other terrorist attacks in America. What about the other tragedies in the US, where many people have lost their lives, such as the Oklahoma City bombing, the bombings at the Atlanta Olympics, the mass murders of Columbine and Newtown. These were ALL committed by Christian American citizens. Using the logic of our Conservative Congressional bigots should we start deporting all Christian native born Americans? Maybe foreign countries should not allow Christian Americans to visit or emigrate to their countries! There is something wrong.

A couple of days after the Boston bombings a fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded killing 15 and injuring over 200 in the small town. Many of those victims were in a nursing home next to the plant. What idiot approved of a nursing home next to a dangerous chemical plant? Immediately after the explosion some noted Conservative bigots wrongly blamed Muslims. But these explosions were a result of negligence on behalf of the owners and lax enforcement of regulations by both the state and federal governments. A true case of corporate greed and contempt for human life. After the Boston events numerous voices called for the death penalty and jail, for the suspects. I didn't hear anyone calling for the arrest of the owners of the fertilizer plant. I am willing to bet that no one will be held accountable for causing these deaths and injuries. There is something wrong.

As I was watching the events in Boston unfold I was very proud of my adopted city. I was proud to see people helping each other, whatever their religious, racial or ethnic background. The one thing I love about my adopted hometown was how the many cultures all came together to contribute to the life of the city. Immigrants from Ireland, Italy, Greece, Vietnam, China, Lebanon, Syria, Central and South America and many more countries of Europe, The Middle East, South America and Africa share their food, their culture and their love of Boston. Boston is a microcosm of the entire country, where a tragedy can bring out the best in people, but as we can see it also brings out the worst in some people. Conservative bigots and hate mongers want to destroy the very immigrant fabric that made Boston and this country a beautiful place to live. There is something wrong when this happens and we must stand up for what is right and totally repudiate these types of people and their behavior. We must right that which is seriously wrong in our communities and our country.

Being Liberal Facebook Page


Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Tribute to Boston Area Law Enforcement and to Police Officers Everywhere.

Thanks to Paul Keleher, Boston, MA

Thanks to all of those who have fallen in the line of duty.
Many times people like to make fun of policemen for frequently being seen having a coffee and donut at a local donut shop or criticize the police for acting too quickly in dishing out speeding tickets. Most people probably don't even thinks of the police, unless they are trying to avoid them, when speeding or during other minor traffic infractions. We are all often too quick to criticize police and not quick enough to praise them.

During the past 5 days after the tragic terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon the world got a chance to see what it is to be a law enforcement officer. During the attack Boston Police rushed towards the explosions, instead of away from them. From that moment on Boston Police, Massachusetts State Police, MBTA Police and other local law enforcement agencies went to work to find the terrorists. Within a number of hours the FBI, working with local authorities identified the perpetrators and started the manhunt. Five hours after the release of the terrorist's photos the bombers struck again. For no reason at all they approached an MIT police offer and shot him multiple times, killing him. They then fled the season in a hijacked car, with police in pursuit. One of the suspects was shot an killed in this pursuit and a MBTA policeman was shot and wounded, while the other one escaped. The second terrorist was armed and extremely dangerous and fled to the Watertown, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. It was here that all of the local police authorities, as well as federal law enforcement locked down the entire area in order to prevent the suspect from fleeing and to protect the public. There was a massive police presence and all public transportation in the area was shut down. Police went door to door to ensure the residents and their homes were safe. Boston and the surrounding area was shut down, as one lone bomber was being pursued.

In less than 24 hours it was over. Exhausted law enforcement officers announced that the suspect was captured alive. The residents of Boston, Watertown and the surrounding area can sleep safely again. In less than a week terrorists murdered 3 innocent civilians and one police officer, wounded scores more and endangered the lives of thousands, for some reason yet to be discovered. All during this time hundreds of police officers risked their lives to protect the public and bring the suspects to justice. The law enforcement personnel from the Boston area deserve a huge outpouring of thanks for a job selfishly and very well done.

I must emphasize at this time that all of us should not have to wait for times of extreme tragedy to acknowledge the work our law enforcement people do every day. In some countries the police are often feared for being as bad or even worse than criminals or are useless. As we have seen in the past week our police, who are are friends, family and neighbors, risk their lives, often on a daily basis to serve and protect us. I know this first hand, as my nephew Jon, was a New York State Trooper for many years, until his recent retirement. Thanks Jon and my thanks to the police of my adopted home town Boston.

Thanks Jon.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon Tragedy

Courtesy of Whispers from the Soul  Facebook page.

I woke up this morning, here in Malaysia, shocked to learn of the bombings at the Boston Marathon.  Boston, as some of you may know is my adopted home town. I could not believe that this could happen in my favorite city. Boston hosts many large entertainment and sports events which have extremely tight security and has never had an incident. The Boston Marathon is attended by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. People line the streets to cheer on the runner, even though they are from every country of the world and residents who live along the marathon route, which goes through the Boylston Street and Copley Square area, hold parties on their balconies and rooftops celebrating the marathon, spring and Patriot's Day, a holiday in Massachusetts. It is a proud day for Boston to celebrate life, sports and freedom, in a joyous and lively way.

I look at this tragedy first with shock and then sadness as I wait to hear that my friends are well and safe. I still can't imagine that someone did this to my Boston. Now that I have been watching on CNN, as the events and investigation unfold, I not only feel sadness, but I feel anger toward the person or persons who are responsible. Why would they take an event that celebrates life and kill and main innocent people? What does killing an 8 year old boy do for you or your cause? This just proves that these people have absolutely regard for human life.

As the photos, videos, and stories of what happened emerges I feel a sense of pride for my fellow Bostonians and for people from all over the world who lent a helping hand during this tragedy. The EMS, policemen and firefighters who were prepared to handle sprains, strains and dehydration, quickly changed gears to deal with death and life threatening injuries as a result of two bomb blasts. All of the hospitals in Boston mobilized to handle all of the injuries, as wave after wave of ambulances came to their emergency rooms. At the disaster site ordinary people, as seen on the news, did what they could to care for the injured. Bostonians are a very proud and tough people who will meet this tragedy head on and will come out stronger than before. The Boston Marathon will also recover and be back again next year for the 116th time.

In the coming days we will hopefully find out who is responsible for this carnage and what their reasons were. They eventually will be caught and brought to justice for their cowardly acts.  The residents of Boston will go on with their lives as usual and the rest of us must go on also, so as not to let these terrorists or any other types of violent groups intimidate us. We cannot let them win. Please pray for Boston.

If you would like to see some fantastic photos from Boston.Com please click here.

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.

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