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Showing posts from July, 2017

This Past Week in D.C.

What a dramatic week this past one has been in the U.S. capital! After writing about the POTUS last week I had no intention of getting back to Trump politics this week, but given all the hullaballoo, excitement and even the nervousness with all the major news events unfolding, I simply could not ignore revisiting the subject.

For years the Republicans have been trying to put the death nail to the affordable healthcare act – more popularly known as the Obamacare, named after the past president. And if anyone could have resuscitated the troubled Obamacare repeal and replace bill, it was Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader with a track record of getting tough things done within the Senate.
But after years of pleading, months of negotiating, and weeks of just barely edging the contentious bill forward, it suddenly died. And it happened in a dramatic way. According to the CNN, the end was unexpected, as McConnell watched Sen. John McCain -- his longtime friend and occasional politic…

Preibus replaced by Gen. Kelly

John F. Kelly is taking over for Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff, President Donald Trump announced via a tweet on Friday afternoon. The news came after days of reports about tensions between Priebus and the administration’s new director of communications, Anthony Scaramucci. Kelly since January has been secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, after Trump nominated him for the position. The 67-year-old Kelly is a retired Marine Corps general who held senior command positions in Iraq and served as the combatant commander of the United States Southern Command. He was also senior military assistant to two secretaries of defense, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta.
To read the full news, click here.

A World without Islam

Thanks to my friend, Dr. Yunus, for sharing Graham Fuller's piece "A World without Islam."

What if Islam had never existed? To some, it's a comforting thought: No clash of civilizations, no holy wars, no terrorists. Would Christianity have taken over the world? Would the Middle East be a peaceful beacon of democracy? Would 9/11 have happened? 

Here are my comments below:
I can see some problems with his interpretation of the mythical world without Islam. He tries to downgrade the influence of Western Christianity amongst the European crusaders saying that they were driven more by economics than anything else (p. 4). He argues that Islam did not have much to do with the resistance movement against imperialist except that it was a unifying force. I heard a lecture of late Palestinian professor Edward Said at Cal Tech in the 1980s where he had the opposing view saying that it was in Islamic states or territories with Muslim population where the colonists encountered maximu…

Witnesses of the Unseen

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com. Reprinted with permission from PeaceVoice.
In what follows below he reviews memoirs of two innocent Gitmo prisoners.
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To read Witnesses of the Unseen: Seven Years in Guantánamois to run your mind along the contours of hell.
The next step, if you’re an American, is to embrace it. Claim it. This is who we are: We are the proprietors of a cluster of human cages. This torture center is still open. Men (“forever prisoners”) are still being held there, their imprisonment purporting to keep us safe.
The book, by Lakhdar Boumediene and Mustafa Ait Idir – two Algerian men arrested in Bosnia in 2011 and wrongly accused of being terrorists – allows us to imagine ourselves at Guantánamo, this outpost of the Endless War.
“‘T…

McCain does it

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Senator John McCain was one of three Republican "no" votes against the GOP health care plan early Friday morning, and is being hailed as the man who killed the so-called Obamacare "skinny repeal."
"We should not make the mistakes of the past that has led to Obamacare's collapse, including in my home state of Arizona where premiums are skyrocketing and health care providers are fleeing the marketplace," McCain said in a statement.
All 48 Democrats voted no, along with three Republican senators — McCain, as well as Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine.
McCain had returned to Washington for the health care vote on Tuesday, nearly a week after his office announced he had been diagnosed with brain cancer. The Arizona senator delivered a powerful speech from the Senate floor Tuesday, focusing on a need to return to a more bipartisan approach.
It appeared Republican leaders attempted to convince McCain to change his vote before the "…

Indian Americans for Trump

Most Indian Americans have been behind Trump since day 1 when he was running in the primaries. President Trump has been rewarding them handsomely  for their loyalty. Here is the link to an article on the subject.

Bande Mataram

If you still have any doubt about saffronization of India, don't doubt any more. It is a fact in Modi's India. Now all students must sing the Hindutvadi song - Bande Mataram - if  they study in any school.
The Madras High Court on Tuesday ruled that 'Vande Mataram' must be sung schools, educational institutes and government offices.
Justice M. V. Muralidharan said that schools must be made to follow it at least once a week either on Monday or Friday, whereas, the national song must be sang in offices once a month.
"Vande Mataram is of Sanskrit origin, and written in Bengali which is ought to be sung in every school and college," Muralidharan added.
He further directed the Director of Public Information to upload and circulate the translated version of Vande Mataram in Tamil and English, thereby making it available in the government websites and also in the social media.
"Let a copy of this order be marked to the Chief Secretary of the Government of Tamil…

US holding Iranians 'in gruesome prisons'

TEHRAN: Iran's judiciary chief on Monday accused the United States of holding Iranians "in gruesome prisons", as the two countries trade charges of illegally jailing each other's citizens.
"You are keeping our innocent citizens in gruesome prisons. This is against the law and international norms and regulations," said Sadegh Larijani, head of the judiciary, quoted by Iran's state broadcaster.
"We tell them that you must immediately release Iranian citizens locked up in US prisons."
To read more, click here.

HRW: Saudi terrorism is killing people in Yemen

Doha, Qatar - The Executive Director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) has questioned Saudi Arabia's accusation of Qatar funding terrorism while the Kingdom itself continues to carry out "terrorism that is killing people in Yemen".
The conflict in Yemen has escalated dramatically since March 2015, when the Saudi-led forces launched a military operation against the rebels.
Since the conflict began, more than 10,000 people have been killed and millions have been driven from their homes.
To read more, click here.

Are America’s Wars Just and Moral? by Patrick J. Buchanan

"One knowledgeable official estimates that the CIA-backed fighters may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies," writes columnist David Ignatius.
Given that Syria’s prewar population was not 10 percent of ours, this is the equivalent of a million dead and wounded Americans. What justifies America’s participation in this slaughter?
Columnist Eric Margolis summarizes the successes of the six-year civil war to overthrow President Bashar Assad.
"The result of the western-engendered carnage in Syria was horrendous: at least 475,000 dead, 5 million Syrian refugees driven into exile in neighboring states (Turkey alone hosts three million), and another 6 million internally displaced. … 11 million Syrians … driven from their homes into wretched living conditions and near famine.
"Two of Syria’s greatest and oldest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, have been pounded into ruins. Jihadist massacres and Russian and American air strikes ha…

Suu Kyi's kangaroo parliament

My attention has been drawn by the report that the lower house of the parliament in Myanmar has passed a motion rejecting a statement by the United Nations human rights envoy to the Southeast Asian nation that was critical of the government’s handling of security issues and human rights. Such a motion passed by a parliament that has been behaving like a kangaroo parliament to evade serious charges of crimes against humanity should not surprise anyone. For too long, the regimes - military and civilian alike -  that have had ruled Myanmar have been committing genocidal crimes against the Rohingya people and  have been protective of their national agenda for that eliminationist policy. They have never embraced diversity and religious pluralism in an artificial country of more than a hundred ethnic groups that was drawn by the British Raj. And the way things are moving, there is little hope that such a calculus is going to change in a foreseeable future. It is no accident that the Myanmar&…

Where did humanity go wrong?

Here is the link to a must-see video on religion and humanity by an agnostic Jew who was schooled in Catholic schools in  the UK - Lesley Hazleton.

Jet-setting Buddhist monk wanted on sex charge being sent back to Thailand

A former Thai Buddhist monk wanted on child sex charges will be sent home from the United States to face trial, Thai police said on Tuesday, the latest scandal to raise questions about the state of Buddhism in a fast-changing society.
Wirapol Sukphol, formerly known by his monastic name Luang Pu Nenkham, sparked an uproar in 2013 when a YouTube video appeared showing the then-monk on a private jet with a Louis Vuitton bag, behavior deemed contrary to Buddhist teachings and a monk's vow to shun material goods.
Later that year, he was expelled from the monkhood after being accused of having sexual intercourse - a grave offense for monks - with an underage girl. He then fled to the United States.
Investigations led to the filing of charges of child molestation, child abduction, public fraud, money laundering and computer crime against him, police said.
"Authorities in the United States will send him back to Thailand tomorrow night," Paisit Wongmuang, director of the special…

Terrorist with chainsaw wounds five in Swiss town of Schaffhausen

It is becoming a pattern these days. When a horrendous terrorism is perpetrated by a non-Muslim anywhere around the globe to terrorize intended victims often time such crimes are described by other terms. However, when if the criminal is a Muslim, mentally deranged, challenged or whatever, by default or design, such crimes are promptly described as acts of terrorism. What a double standard! Consider the latest crime below in Switzerland.
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Manhunt underway after chainsaw attacker wounds five in Swiss town of Schaffhausen

SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland, July 24 (Reuters) - A chainsaw-wielding loner who mostly lived in the woods stormed into an insurance office in a Swiss town on Monday, wounding two members of staff and three other people before fleeing, police said.
Police put the center of Schaffhausen into lockdown and launched a manhunt for the suspect they identified as 51-year-old Franz Wrousis. They said the assault was "not an act of terror," but also not random.
&…

Did Aung San Lead at Panglong – or Follow?

Stanley A. Weiss is a business leader and founder of Business Executives for National Security. His memoir, Being Dead is Bad for Business, is available onlineand a collection of his selected writings, titled Where Have You Gone, Harry Truman?, will be published by Disruption Books on July 31. I share his article on a very important subject of our time: Myanmar and Aung San, the  father Suu Kyi's father. ============== Visitors to Yangon, Myanmar will quickly find that one name carries more weight than any other: Aung San. Cutting west to east across the city is Aung San Road. Downtown, there’s Aung San Market, a sprawling space with merchants hawking everything from fresh vegetables to jade trinkets. If you want to top your day off with a Myanmar National League soccer game, try Aung San Stadium. Major General Aung San is revered by Myanmar’s Bamar majority as the Bamar nationalist leader who guided the country from British colony to independent state after World War II.  Some of tha…

Trump’s messy half year tenure

On Friday, Sean Spicer, President Trump’s spin master, a.k.a. the White House press secretary, resigned after telling President Trump that he vehemently disagreed with his appointment of Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier, as his new communications director. After offering Scaramucci the job on Friday morning, Trump asked Spicer to stay on as press secretary, reporting to Scaramucci. But Spicer rejected the offer.
Scaramucci is a Long Island-bred former hedge fund manager who is currently the senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the Export-Import Bank. Spicer had an almost impossible, if not, very difficult, task to answering questions from the press on the president’s erratic or irresponsible conducts, statements and positions that changed more frequently than the sand dunes of the Sahara. He had very little clue on his boss’s latest position on anything – either local or international – except that he was expected to do the devil’s job of ‘damage control’ for the…

Rohingya situation 'hardly improved': UN envoy

Human rights has worsened in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state following a four-month-long military crackdown, a UN representative said Friday. “The general situation for the Rohingya has hardly improved since my last visit in January, and has become further complicated in the north of Rakhine,” said Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, at the end of a 12-day information gathering visit. “I continue to receive reports of violations allegedly committed by security forces during operations,” she said. Security forces launched a four-month long operation in the troubled Rakhine state, where Muslims and Buddhists often engage in violence, after a militant group killed nine policemen in Maungdaw Township last October. The government has said at least 106 people were killed during the operation but Rohingya groups have said approximately 400 Rohingya were killed. During the operation which ended mid-April, aid groups and media were prevented from entering the region. …

Review of Ilan Pappe's book

Ludwig Watzel reviews Israeli historian Ilan Pappe's book - “Ten Myths About Israel”, which came out in Germany in 2016 under the title ” What’s wrong with Israel? The Ten Main Myths of Zionism”. Click here to read - What Israel is Really All About by Ludwig Watzal.

Soros's Sorrows

George Soros, the philanthropist, is a very controversial man in our time. He always had eyes for making money and made billions in doing what he was good at. In that process, he made many critics including the Dr. Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia. One thing no one should argue about is his sincerity for human rights. He is driven to make things better for all, including the Palestinians in Apartheid Israel. As a Hungarian Jew such activism does not bode well amongst many Jews who like to falsely label him as an anti-Semite. Such accusations are sickening and ludicrous.
Soros is treated as a villain in his native Hungary. The reasons are obvious. The government there is a neo-fascist government that does not like human rights activism of Soros.
Here is Uri Avnery's latest piece where he writes about Soros.
He writes, "Anti-Semites always preferred the Zionists. Adolf Eichmann wrote in his confession that he saw the Zionists as the “valuable element” of the Jewish people. And s…

The Murder of Muslims by Farzan Versey

Farzan Versee has been writing on India and minority issues for quite some time. Here below is her latest article, which I produce in its entirety.
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In India today, nationalism has a religion. Hinduism. We may pussyfoot around it and refer to it as Hindutva, saffronisation or, what the ruling rightwing Bhartiya Janata Party calls “fringe elements”, but the discourse is clearly embedded in the faith of the majority community.
Slurs against Muslims have become commonplace. A country that wants to declare the cow as the mother of the nation and where minorities have to prove their patriotism not by allegiance to the flag but to the political party in power is bound to descend into chaos.
Two years ago, a mob brandishing hockey sticks and knives barged into Mohammed Akhlaq’s house in Dadri in north India and assaulted all the family members before killing him because they suspected there was beef in their fridge. The meat was sent to the forensic lab and it was found to be…