Showing posts from 2010

WikiLeaks Must Remain Free

No news dominated the headlines in the USA as the WikiLeaks story last week when the website released confidential U.S. State Department materials. The latest release is the third in recent months, following disclosures of two caches of U.S. government cables about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The leaked diplomatic cables offer an uncomfortable view into the back corridors of American diplomacy and have been aptly described a ‘diplomatic 9/11’ for the State Department, which is embarrassed for being caught off-guard. Secretary Clinton has been on a four-country swing through Central Asia and the Persian Gulf to repair the fallout from the WikiLeaks disclosures.

The leaked documents are a treasure trove for anyone interested in knowing how the U.S. diplomacy works. They show the extensive and increasingly successful manipulation by the U.S. for pushing a consensus to confront Iran’s nuclear program. It is not Israel alone in that region that is against Iran but also the Gulf States…

Nigeria charges Dick Cheney over bribery

According to the Huffington Post:

Nigerian authorities will charge former Vice President Dick Cheney over a bribery scandal that is alleged to involve Halliburton, BusinessWeek reports. An arrest warrant "will be issued and transmitted through Interpol," said Godwin Obla, the prosecuting counsel at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Nigeria.

The charges center on an alleged $180 million bribery payment used to secure a $6 billion liquefied natural gas.

Are you surprised to hear this bribery allegation against Dick? I am not. The sad fact however is that Nigeria won't be able to bring this monster to face the charges, nor will he be handed over to the International Court of Justice to face war crimes in Iraq.

Pandit Nehru on Kashmiri people's right to plebiscite or referendum

In a recent article on Indian Occupied Kashmir, my favorite Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy quoted several statements from Pandit Nehru. This can be seen below:

1. In his telegram to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said, “I should like to make it clear that the question of aiding Kashmir in this emergency is not designed in any way to influence the state to accede to India. Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or state must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view.” (Telegram 402 Primin-2227 dated 27th October, 1947 to PM of Pakistan repeating telegram addressed to PM of UK).

2. In other telegram to the PM of Pakistan, Pandit Nehru said, “Kashmir's accession to India was accepted by us at the request of the Maharaja's government and the most numerously representative popular organization in the state which is predominant…

Thanksgiving – the real truth

Thanksgiving Day is the most observed holiday in the USA, which is celebrated by people of all races, colors, ethnicities and even religions. It is a day in which family members gather to eat turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving holiday falls on the last Thursday of November. There is even a White House event in which the President pardons a turkey on Wednesday.
This year, the National Thanksgiving Turkey Apple, and his alternate Cider, both 21-week old, 45-pound turkeys, came to the White House from Foster Farms Wellsford Ranch near Modesto, California. Both turkeys participated in a rigorous competition back home at the farm in order to win the ultimate prize of a Presidential pardon and an all-expenses-paid trip to the White House. Apple and Cider will live out their days at Mount Vernon, home of the first President George Washington. Jaindl’s Turkey Farm in Orefield, Pennsylvania, gave President Obama’s family two dressed turkeys that were donated to Martha’s Ta…

Bush’s ‘Damn Right’ Shallow Book

Like most retired U.S. presidents of our time, George W. Bush has now come out with a presidential memoir. It has been named “Decision Points.” The 9/11 tragedy happened during his presidency, and it was a seminal moment in American history. One can thus understand his gut feeling for choosing such a title for his book.

After nearly two years of relative seclusion, in recent days Bush is seen promoting his book. He even broke ground on a library, museum and policy center in Texas that will cost $137 million. During his groundbreaking at the Southern Methodist University, several dozens of protesters waved such signs as ‘Impeach Bush’ and ‘Library or Lie-Bury?’ Mr. Gerry Fonseca, a Vietnam veteran, reflecting the views of many such protesters, told the Wall Street Journal reporter that ‘We’re here to hold up a big mirror to him to show the world that we have not forgotten the wrongs he committed.’

Mr. Fonseca is not alone in his downbeat assessment of Bush. To most Americans and world …

Conservative Radio Show Hosts Stoke up Hatred

Last week I was in South Carolina, not far from the Bob Jones University (BJU), located in Greenville. The university is known for its Christian fundamentalist teachings. In the nearby state of North Carolina live televangelist Billy Graham and his bigot son Franklin. In his freshman year, Billy had studied in the BJU. In the 1940s the older Graham needed a media sponsor to promote his anti-communist preaching that the Cold War was a showdown between good and evil, and that communists were Satan-worshippers. "Either communism must die or Christianity must die," Graham famously preached. The publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst got wind of Graham's theme, and sent a memo to all of his papers' editors, ordering them to "puff Graham". The rest is history! Billy became America's most prominent Christian leader. Even the presidents would invite him to their American-style coronation.

Graham became close with every American President from Dwight D. Eise…

Lessons of Rebound for the Democrats

The all-important midterm election in the USA is over with the Republican Party ‘shellacking’ the ruling Democratic Party. In American history, never before was so much money, an astounding $4 billion, spent for a midterm election. In all likelihood, Rep. John Boehner will become the new Speaker, replacing Nancy Pelosi, in the House of Representatives after the lame-duck session. The election results showed that the Democratic Party had lost touch with the voters that made Obama the president and it the winners in the Senate and the House of Representatives just two years ago.

While the election results were not really a surprise since most sample polls taken before the election-day had predicted that the Democratic Party would lose many seats, no one expected that the Republicans would gain some 60 seats in the House and six in the Senate. Republicans also showed significant gains in state legislative elections where their candidates defeated about 650 Democrats, the most in nearly a…

Tuesday’s midterm election

With the midterm election on November 2, Tuesday, the phone lines in the USA are busier than ever before. I have been away from my home for the past two weeks. Today while checking my voice mail, I noticed that many of those messages waiting for me were all election related asking me to vote for various candidates. In the last three decades I don’t recall getting so many calls during a midterm election year. There is little doubt that this midterm election has become a crucial test to find out if the voters are fed up with the direction that America is heading under President Obama.

These days the American airwaves are also filled with matters relating to election. If you listen to the ultra-right radio and TV stations and believe their messages, you would think that Americans are tired of the Obama administration and that the nation is set for the Republican Party to take control of the both Houses in the Capitol Hill. It is a message of anti-Obamaism (as it calls the “doctrine” of p…

Thanks to NPR for firing Juan Williams for bigotry

During the presidential days of Jimmy Carter, many of the southern states of the USA were Democratic states. In the following 24 years, the Republicans were able to gain their foothold in those states. In the last presidential election many of those seats, once held by the Republicans switched back to the Democratic Party, giving the party the control over both the Houses in the Capitol Hill – the Senate and the House of Representatives.

America goes to the poll in its mid-term election on November 2. Many political analysts think that with a weak economy the ruling Democrats may lose a significant number of seats. I have my doubts though. I think that the Democrats may still hold onto a slim majority in both the Houses.

In my home state of Pennsylvania, a couple of months ago, Pat Toomey, the Republican candidate, vying to replace the Democratic Senator Arlen Specter, whom Joe Sestak beat in the May primary election, had a double digit lead over the latter candidate in some sample po…

Nicholas Kristof's errors with his latest article - Test Your Savvy on Religion

Nicholas Kristof wrote an eye-opening article "Test Your Savvy on Religion", New York Times, October 9, 2010, on religion for many westerners. He asked 13 questions to test knowledge of his readers. The questions are:

1. Which holy book stipulates that a girl who does not bleed on her wedding night should be stoned to death?
a. Koran
b. Old Testament
c. (Hindu) Upanishads

2. Which holy text declares: “Let there be no compulsion in religion”?
a. Koran
b. Gospel of Matthew
c. Letter of Paul to the Romans

3. The terrorists who pioneered the suicide vest in modern times, and the use of women in terror attacks, were affiliated with which major religion?
a. Islam
b. Christianity
c. Hinduism

4. "Every child is touched by the devil as soon as he is born and this contact makes him cry. Excepted are Mary and her Son.” This verse is from:
a. Letters of Paul to the Corinthians
b. The Book of Revelation
c. An Islamic hadith, or religious tale

5. Which holy text is sympathetic to slavery?
a. Old Testa…

A couple of old links on Israel

Here is a link from last year on Israel's crime against the Palestinian people. In this link, a British Jewish MP condemns Israel's actions saying that Israel is acting like the Nazis in Gaza.

You can also view the destruction of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem by the Israeli government by clicking here.

My trip to Germany

Like many people these days, I have become a frequent traveler. This past week I have been in Germany visiting Mannheim, close to Ludwigshafen, near the Rhine River. The week before, I was in Savannah of Georgia and Tallahassee of Florida in the USA. The next week I plan to be in New Jersey on Monday and South Carolina the remainder of the week. The following weeks, I shall be visiting Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana states. Before I visit my parents in Bangladesh in the third week of December, my calendar is filled with all my scheduled flights to different places within the USA.

For many people, traveling is fun, but for some others it is or can be a painful experience. (My parents, who had visited many parts of Asia, Europe and North America in the 1980s and 1990s, no longer like to fly. In their advance ages it is too difficult and tiring for them.) I don’t know which category I fall into. Like some frequent flyers, I do have my share of mixed experiences.

As I write this on Sat…