Friday, July 29, 2016

Death of Freddie Gray 7-29-2016

July 29, 2016                               Death of Freddie Gray

The dismissal of all charges by Baltimore prosecutors against police officers in connection with the death of Freddie Gray is an absolute a travesty, an abomination. Gray was falsely arrested, accused of making eye contact with the police and possessing a knife which is perfectly legal under Maryland law.  He was thrust in the back of a police van when one of the arresting officers was overheard  promising him “a rough ride’.  A medical examiner determined Gray's neck was broken when his head struck the back of the van. Gray, 25, died after spending seven days in a coma. Prior to being accosted by the police, Gray, was a healthy 25-year-old, black male.

Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby said she stood by "the medical examiner's conclusion that Freddie Gray's death was a homicide", adding that there was "a reluctance" and "an obvious bias" among some officers investigating the case. "We've all been witness to an inherent bias that is a direct result when police police themselves," she said. Perhaps, New York Times columnist Charles Blow said it best, responding to the sentiments of blacks writing,   "I am now incandescent with rage ... I am at the screaming place.”

Imagine an ambulance picking up a patient and leaving him in the back, unstrapped which subsequently caused injuries that led to his death. Can anybody deny there would be major consequences for the ambulance staff? 

This was not an act of support by the police union, but one of betrayal. Honest police officers will be tarred with the same brush of mistrust for the actions of a few rogue cops.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sikh Prayer at RNC 7-26-2016

26, July 2016                        Sikh Prayer at RNC

As a practicing Sikh, I was profoundly disappointed to hear a Sikh, Harmeet Kaur Dhillon, vice-chair of the California Republican Party offer a Sikh prayer at the Republican National Convention. It is sad to see Dhillon embrace the failed policies of Donald Trump. In 2004 she actively supported the election of President George W. Bush – one of the worst president’s in US history that even Trump acknowledges. Remember it was Bush/Cheney that aggressively promoted torture and rendition – the antithesis of Sikh teachings.

Donald Trump epitomizes all that practicing Sikhs oppose, namely insatiable greed, dishonesty (in his business practices), an inflated ego, misogyny, and a gross intolerance of people of other faiths. Republicans of Trump’s ilk are both anti-Christ and anti-Sikh. Sikhism teaches equality of all people. Sikhism preaches that people of different races, religions, and sexes are all equal in the eyes of God. Sikhism teaches the full equality of men and women. Sikhism emphasizes daily devotion to the remembrance of God. Sikhism teaches religious freedom. All people have the right to follow their own path to God without condemnation or coercion from others. Sikhism emphasizes a high moral and ethical life. Sikhism teaches service to others. The primary task in life is to help the poor, needy, and oppressed. Sikhs have a long heritage of speaking out against injustice and for standing up for the defenseless. The word Sikh means disciple or student. Sikhs are the disciples of God.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Republicans excoriate Trump 7-24-2016

24, July 2016                              Republicans excoriate Trump

Trump’s taunts had predicable consequences. Stung by personal insults many elites of the Republican Party responded with seething anger, contemptuous of their presumptuous leader.

A few examples. “He’s a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot. He doesn’t represent my party.  . . .” — Senator Lindsey Graham.

“I don’t think this guy has any more core principles than a Kardashian marriage.” — Senator Ben Sasse.

“I will not stop until we fight a man that chooses not to disavow the K.K.K. That is not a part of our party.” — Republican Governor Nikki Haley

“A moral degenerate.” — Peter Wehner, evangelical Christian commentator.

“Donald Trump is a madman who must be stopped,” — Bobby Jindal, former Republican governor of Louisiana.

I won’t vote for Donald Trump because he isn’t a truth teller. ... he is a bigot, misogynist. A fraud. A bully.” — Norm Coleman, former Republican senator from Minnesota.

“To support Trump is to support a bigot”.— Stuart Stevens, chief strategist to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

“Donald Trump is unfit to be president. He is a dishonest demagogue  .  .  .” — Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard

 “I thought he was an embarrassment .  . to my country. … I can’t vote for him.” — Tom Ridge, former Republican governor of Pennsylvania and secretary of homeland security under George W. Bush.

“I would not vote for Trump, if there is any,  any . . other choice, a living, breathing person with a pulse, . .” — Mel Martinez, former Republican senator from Florida and former chairman of the RNC.

Putting Trump at the top of the ticket, is endorsing a brand of populism rooted in ignorance, prejudice, fear and isolationism.. … Never Trump.” — Henry M. Paulson Jr., Treasury secretary under George W. Bush.

 “Hillary is preferable to Trump, just like malaria is preferable to Ebola. ….” — Jamie Weinstein, senior writer, the Daily Caller, a conservative website

On the flip side, there are those cowardly Republicans like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell that fell in lock step in the interests of party power and feigned enthusiasm for their ‘Frankenstein’. Last but not least, let's call out Chris Christie who endorsed Trump in the rapacious hope that he would be nominated VP or Attorney General.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Trump exposed - again 7-23-2016

23, July 2016                                 Trump exposed - again

In a media extravaganza carefully scripted for late night comedians, the RNC kicked off in high gear, with a few notable stumbles. Melania Trump plagiarized speech got a lot of attention.

Ted Cruz, in a rare moment of conscience, couldn’t bring himself to endorse his arch enemy, amidst loud boos. African-Americans were vastly outnumbered. Trump’s rantings continue to haunt him. In a 1998 interview with People Magazine, Trump boasted “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They believe anything on Fox News. . .” `This speaks volumes of Trump’s real disdain for his party. According to his ghostwriter, Tony Schwartz, Trump has an insatiable appetite for attention and prefers to speak in short bursts of disconnected sentences much like the spasmodic staccato of a machine gun. He is not burdened by any sense of morality or truth telling but has nevertheless shown remarkable skill as an attack dog. Witness how he exploited the weaknesses of his Republican opponents who were felled by his relentless insults. Sheriff Trump and his deputized posse have now turned their venom to their arch enemy, Hillary Clinton. At the RNC Convention Trump used President George Bush’s playbook instilling mega doses of fear to rally his supporters. Most of his unprincipled former rivals have moved in lock step to support him with one notable exception. Trump sought out Governor Kasich to become his ‘Dick Cheney clone’ while he would enjoy the trappings of power without the awesome responsibilities. Kasich, declined. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Saudi Arabia 7-19-2016

19, July 2016                                     Saudi Arabia

Hillary Clinton's hacked emails are back in the news. The tranche of Clinton's "damn emails" subsequently posted by RT included some pretty damning revelations. Perhaps none was more shocking than the disclosure that the deadly attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012—which took the life of US ambassador John Christopher Stevens — was secretly financed by powerful figures in Saudi Arabia. We have to take Clinton’s word that the 32,000 deleted emails contained nothing incriminating. 

After years of stonewalling, the 28 missing pages of the 9/11 report have finally been released. The ‘crown jewels’ was classified in 2002 by President George Bush. The release will undoubtedly re-ignite public suspicions of Saudi involvement. Remember, 15 out of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. After the 9/11, all of our airports were closed. But the same patriot Bush allowed two Saudi jumbo jets to fly which many claim may very well have been the masterminds of 9/11.

According to 60 Minutes “the kingdom’s involvement was deliberately covered up at the highest levels of our government. Investigations were throttled. Co-conspirators were let off the hook”.

W’s bosom friend, affectionately called Bandar Bush, was the former Saudi ambassador. His cell number was found on an associate of the 9/11 hijackers. If the 28 pages had been released in 2002, the stark revelations might have forestalled the invasion of Iraq and placed the blame on Saudi involvement rather than fantasy links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein promoted by Dick Cheney. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

US foreign policy 7-18-2016

18, July 2016                        US foreign policy  

Our foreign policy initiatives in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been a series of monumental blunders. Beginning in the 1970s, billions of dollars of military hardware were funneled to arm and support Bin Laden (our former ally), the Mujahidin, to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Later this morphed into Al Qaeda. We then supported President Karzai, a self-serving politician, who amassed a huge fortune milking the US Treasury. He left behind a thoroughly weakened demoralized army. Fearful of ‘losing’ Afghanistan on his watch to the Taliban, which would undoubtedly invoke the fury of the Republicans, President Obama has sent in more troops in a never ending escalation of the conflict – the longest war in US history.

Likewise, Pakistan is another disaster. In 1970, Nixon/Kissinger sent billions of dollars of military aid to support the messianic General Yahya Khan in his war with East Pakistan which eventually resulted in the birth of a new nation, Bangladesh. We were complicit in the genocide that resulted. See ‘Archer Blood – the Blood Telegram’. We squandered another $11 billion since 9/11 in military aid to Pakistan. Meanwhile, the Pakistani army has led the U.S. in a never-ending dance, in which it has to be seen to be fighting the war on terror, but never so decisively as to actually win it, for its extension means the continuous flow of American money. All this time the army kept alive a double game, in which some terror was fought and some—such as Laskhar-e-Tayyba's 2008 attack on Mumbai—actively supported.

The army's duplicity was exposed with the killing of Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. It was only the last and most incriminating charge against an institution whose activities over the years have included the creation of the Taliban, the financing of international terrorism and the running of a lucrative trade in nuclear secrets.  It continues to consume a quarter of the country's annual budget, undermining one civilian government after another, enriching  itself through a range of economic interests, from bakeries and shopping malls to huge property holdings.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Newt’s fatwa on Muslims 7-16-2016

16, July 2016                               Newt’s fatwa on Muslims

Newt Gingrich has stirred a hornist’s nest by his proposal to deport Muslims who adhere to Islamic Sharia law. Is he right? Let the reader decide. Here is a sample of Sharia law. 

• Theft is punishable by amputation.
• Criticizing the Quran or Muhammad is punishable by death.
• A Muslim who rejects his faith is punishable by death.
• A non-Muslim who persuades Muslims to reject their faith is punishable by death.
• A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
• A man can marry an infant girl as young as 9 years old girl and consummate the marriage
• Girls' clitoris should be cut (Muhammad's words, Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).
• A woman can have 1 husband, but a man can have up to 4 wives.
• A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
• A man can unilaterally divorce his wife; a woman needs her husband's consent to divorce.
• A divorced wife loses custody of all children over 6 years of age.
• Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
• A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
• A woman's testimony in court carries half the weight of a man's and is limited to half of the assets.
• A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
• Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
Do American Muslims support Sharia law and if so, why?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Police Brutality 7-12-3016

12, July 2016                              Police Brutality

In response to scores of incidents of police brutality against unarmed African Americans, riots have erupted across America with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets and blocking roads, bridges and highways. In Baton Rouge, multi videotapes showed two white police officers killing Alton Sterling multiple times while he was pinned to the ground.

In Minnesota, Philando Castile was killed by police during a traffic stop for a broken tail light. While Castille’s girlfriend was video streaming the tragic killing, the police officers turned their guns on her and her 4 year old daughter.

In a blatant act of racial profiling and harassment, Castille was pulled over 52 times in recent years. These two incidents are palpable reasons why black Americans feel a deep rage against law enforcement. Sadly, all police officers are tarred with the same brush for the misdeeds of a few rogue cops. The trials of police officers and subsequent acquittals for the most egregious acts send a chilling message that such behavior is tolerated and the guilty are immune from prosecution. There should be zero tolerance for these new ‘Jim Crow’ laws.

The vigilante killing of 5 police officers in Dallas is symptomatic of the deep malaise that is engulfed much of America. In response to the uprisings, three countries, including the majority-black Caribbean nation, The Bahamas, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have issued travel warnings to their citizens to exercise extreme caution when interacting with the police. This is a national disgrace.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Chilcot Report 7-7-2016

7, July 2016                           The Chilcot Report

In a classic example of British bureaucratic overkill, the ‘long awaited’ commission of Enquiry into the run up to the Iraq war, was made public. Four times longer than ‘War and Peace’ – a full 12 volumes containing 2.6 million words taking seven years to complete added nothing new that was not contained in the infamous ‘Downing Street Memo’. As it turns out, The Chilcot Report erroneously attributed the Iraq war on flawed intelligence. Not true. The war was launched on manufactured ‘intelligence’ to justify removal of Saddam Hussein by falsely incriminating him with the 9/11 attacks, and manufacturing WMD’s. Ahmad Chalabi, an Iraqi exile, described contemptuously as “Curveball”, a convicted sex offender and low level engineer, became the sole source for much of the bogus information used to justify the invasion. Drawings of aluminum tubes were presented as Saddam Hussein’s mobile weapons labs. Chalabi convinced the gullible Bush administration that the tubes were centrifuges for enriching uranium  and thus constituted proof, the ever elusive ‘smoking gun,’  that Saddam remained determined to acquire nuclear weapons.

While Blair amasses millions from speaking and consulting fees, Bush paints pretty pictures on his canvas and Cheney enjoys fly fishing, Iraq lies in ruins, and ISIS becomes a multi-headed monster metastasizing to all corners of the globe. It is time Blair traded his Saville Row suits to prison garbs and Bush and his co-conspirators, head to Riker’s maximum security prison to atone for their many sins.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Clinton’s private email server 7-6-2016

6, July 2016                            Clinton’s private email server
It appears evident that FBI director, James Comey, buckled under political pressure in his failure to indict Hillary Clinton. The statute relative to national security is unambiguous, namely “it is a crime to remove national defense information from its proper place of custody, even though negligence.”

Contrary to Clinton’s repeated assertions, she sent and received top secret information using her unsecured email system, a system far less secure than Google Gmail.  Top Clinton aides warned her of their concerns only to be told in the most haughty and arrogant way ‘never to bring up the subject again’. This shows extreme lack of judgement bordering on criminality where she chose to jeopardize national security for her personal convenience. According to the New York Times, Clinton corresponded with people whose accounts had been hacked allowing them to glean top secret information.  Public officials must be held to a higher standard and fully accountable for any transgressions. Comey erred in giving Clinton a free pass. The FBI’s image has been severely tarnished. As one commentator astutely observed, “Justice isn’t blind – it merely averts her eyes from Hillary Clinton.”  

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Bahrain 7-3-2016

3, July 2016                              Bahrain

In 2011 the people of Bahrain revolted against their autocratic ruler flooding the streets demanding political reform. Saudi Arabia responded to Bahrain’s call for help sending in troops who ruthlessly crushed the revolt. A few courageous citizens continue to speak out but are now in mortal danger of losing their citizenship which is a common ploy to silence critics.

The latest victim is the spiritual head of the Shia majority, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim. A large number of human rights activists have suffered a similar fate. Protests are banned in Manama, the capital, while new draconian laws have been passed to discourage dissent.
In gestures of outright hypocrisy, western PR firms responded to Bahrain’s request to clean up its image reaping tens of millions of dollars in contracts. The UN’s demands for reform were contemptuously ignored by Bahrain’s foreign minister who tweeted “We will not waste our time listening to the high commissioner who has no strength or power.” Juan Méndez, the UN’s special rapporteur on torture responded bitterly, “Bahrain is shielded from criticism by Britain which is building a naval base in the kingdom, and America, which keeps its Fifth Fleet there.” British arms sales to Bahrain have increased significantly over the past five years. In another statement of mindless cowardice, Philip Hammond, Britain’s foreign secretary, wrote approvingly of Bahrain’s “commitment to continuing reforms.” A shameful act of abandonment by Britain and the US who put their interests ahead of the democratic aspirations of the people of Bahrain.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Turkey 7-1-2016

1, July 2016                                  Turkey

Once seen as a poster child for Islamic moderation, Turkey is rapidly descending into a polarized society. Like much of the Islamic world, Erdogan’s grip on power is tightening and intolerance and violence is growing. 

Closeted in his huge 1,000 room mansion, he perceives critics as the enemy.

Contrary to common Western misconceptions, Erdogan’s military is not attacking ISIS but is waging a relentless against the Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK, which has fought an intermittent insurgency against Turkey since the 1980s.

A number of towns in Turkey’s southeast are under curfew and resentment and anger towards Erdogan’s authoritarian rule is growing. He is playing a dangerous game of appeasement allowing ISIS fighters to move across the border to their Syrian stronghold, Raqqa.

Erdogan’s double dealing has confounded the Americans who depend on Kurdish fighters to curb the menacing presence of ISIS.

Turkey has suffered geographic bad luck situated in an extremely violent region with millions pouring across its border.  But Erdogan’s prickly and erratic personality has not helped. In an effort to project himself as a strong leader he has continued to wage war on the Kurds and has jailed dissidents who challenge his rule.

Western nations are well aware that Erdogan holds a winning hand. Any threat or challenge to his rule will be accompanied by closing the borders with Syria unleashing millions of migrants into Europe.