Thursday, October 29, 2009

Swiss Weigh Ban on Minarets

Muslims in Switzerland have found an interesting ally as Swiss voters weigh a ban on minarets, the towers of mosques from which the call to prayer is sounded. In many European countries, there has been a population explosion of Muslims, whose birth rate is far higher than Europeans. High crime in which Muslim immigrants figure prominently is another concern. There has been a movement to ban the construction of minarets, which some feel is an effort to mark the skyline with a towering Islamic presence.

In Switzerland, it has been the Jewish community that has joined a campaign to oppose the ban. World News Australia reports as follows on the proposed ban.

Switzerland's biggest Jewish groups have described a far-right push to ban the construction of minarets as a "threat" to religious harmony and the integration of Muslims.

"The referendum infringes religious freedom, a concept enshrined in the constitution," the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities and the Platform of Liberal Jews in Switzerland said in a statement on Wednesday.

It "also poses a threat to peaceful relations between the religions and inhibits the integration endeavours of Muslims in Switzerland", they added.

Swiss voters are to decide during a referendum on November 29 whether to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland, a proposal launched by right-wing groups and backed by the country's biggest political party, the hard-right Swiss People's Party (SVP).

The two Jewish groups said they "take seriously the fears of the population that extremist ideas could be disseminated in Switzerland"

The Jews of Switzerland are among a wide range of opponents of the ban, which is supported by the Swiss People's Party, (SVP) the largest political party in Switzerland.

There is real reason for concern in Europe of Muslim immigrants disrupting the European way of life. But it seems that attacks on minarets and the Islamic garb worn by Muslim women are laughably cosmetic ways to deal with the problem.

In Britain and other countries in Europe, it is legal to go back to a Muslim country, marry an additional wife and to return to Europe. The Brussels Journal reports as follows on this problem.

"Another thing which many people have known, but which has never been said aloud, is the spread of polygamy across Western Europe. Since yesterday, when French officials, including one government minister, cited polygamy as a possible factor of social breakdown in the suburbs, the media are suddenly devoting attention to a phenomenon which many people have known existed for years: Muslim immigrants going home for a holiday and returning with an additional wife.

Only last week (November 11) the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported statements from Norway’s Directorate of Immigration (UDI) that there are an increasing number of men with multiple wives in Norway. “The reason is married men travel to countries where polygamy is legal and then add a wife.” Though polygamy is illegal in Norway, “this is something that Norwegian authorities cannot prevent,” said UDI spokesman Karl Erik Sjøholt. The question is whether the authorities should encourage it. The Islamic Cultural Center Norway (ICCN), an immigrant organisation subsidised by the Norwegian state, advises Muslims in Norway to take several wives because polygamy “is advantageous and ought to be practiced where conditions lend themselves to such practice.”

Muslim immigrants have also brought synagogue burnings and attacks on Jews, as well as a wave of attacks on European women who are often viewed as fair game by Muslims who look down on the freedom they enjoy. Then there is the attacks on free speech, from the violent protests against the Danish Mohammed cartoons to the murder of Theo Van Gogh for producing the film, "Submission".

There are fairly simple solutions to contain Islamic extremism and to respect the civil rights of law abiding Muslims. I suggest the following.

1) Enforce a ban on polygamy. Deport anyone who comes to Europe witha an additional wife.

2) Punish honour killings like any other murder. Crack down on crime in general with harsh sentences.

3) Secure Europe's borders. The income disparity between Europe and Africa is too tempting.

4) Make it clear that European values are to be respected by prospective immigrants.

5) Europe's birth rate is well below replacement level. If you care about your country, have more children.

Harassing people who simply want to work, raise their families and worship in peace is disgraceful. But so too is refusing to protect your country. People who immigrate with an attitude of hatred and contempt for the host country should be sent home. No nation should be required to commit suicide. It's that simple.

The poster at the top of this article is a Swiss poster supporting a minaret ban. The video is of Muslim demonstrators insulting returning British troops.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Look At Spanish Anarchist Punk Rock

Every so often, I check out popular music from Spain. I am particularly interested in the resurgence of music in Catalan, the language of northern Spain. In its written form, it looks a lot like it is mid point between French and Spanish. For decades after the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939, the language of Catalonia was driven under ground. It was not taught, used in government administration or broadcast. When Franco died in 1975, the liberalisation that affected everything else in Spanish life led to a revival of Catalan. Today the language is used in government offices and in the Catalonian legislature, the Generalitat. It is broadcast and taught. there are about six million speakers of the language. My favourite group that sings in Catalan is Sopa de Cabra, which translates as "goat's head".

One group I ecountered in my search for music was an anarchist punk band called Sin Dios. I was troubled by the title, which translates as "Without God". The name for the band reminded me of a quote attributed to Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berditchev who said, "The god you don't believe in, I don't believe in either."

The song I found posted was "1936" . It was striking because its use of film footage from the Spanish Civil War, which lasted from 1936 to 1939. I was struck by the seeming freshness of the Spanish Civil War in the collective memory of the performers. The song was written from an anarchist point of view. It condemned not only fascism but Communism as well. Many Spaniards were killed in the aftermath of the Soviet German Friendship treaty of 1939. Some were killed by Spanish fascists. others were killed elsewhere by the Germans. One of the slave labour projects in the German occupied Channel Islands was built in part by Spanish conscripts.

In this light, the rawness of "1936" has a certain resonance. I have provided the Spanish words to the song and a rough English translation below.

El sol de julio calienta mas fuerte
rostros rojinegros desprecian la muerte
deciden vencer, con fuego y metralla
barriendo al fascismo de calles y plazas.

No son soldados, ni mercenarios
son hombres y mujeres, son libertarios
no luchan por el orden republicano
su corazón late revolucionario.

Ya no hay patrones, ni explotadores
la vida organizan los trabajadores
colectivizan ciudades, liberan los campos
Crean las milicias, en los sindicatos.

El pueblo se alza como un vendaval
camina sin miedo contra el capital
imponen con fuerza el soñado ideal.
El pueblo se alza como un vendaval
camina sin miedo contra el capital
Comunismo Libertario, Revolución Social.

Mientras el pueblo en el frente
se bate como un león
en la retaguardia los cobardes preparan la traición.

Burócratas y Estalinistas
caminan ya de al mano
forjando las cadenas
que pondrán a sus hermanos.

Entre Berlín y Moscú,
se fragua la tenaza
Franco ataca de frente,
Líster va por la espalda
a Nazis y Estalinistas,
la revolución espantaba
pues podía dar al pueblo,
todo lo que anhelaba.

El pueblo se alza como un vendaval
camina sin miedo contra el capital
imponen con fuerza el soñado ideal.
El pueblo se alza como un vendaval
camina sin miedo contra el capital
Comunismo Libertario, Revolución Social.


The July sun blazes hot
despise red and black risk death
deciding to overcome, with fire and shrapnel
fascism sweeping of streets and squares.

They are not soldiers, not mercenaries
but men and women, are libertarians
do not fight for the republican Be
your heart a revolutionary.

There are no bosses, no rulers
workers organized life
collectivized cities, releasing the fields
They create the militias, in unions.

The people rise like a hurricane
walking without fear against capital
forcefully imposing the ideal dream.
The people rise like a hurricane
walks without fear against capital
Libertarian Communism, Social Revolution.

While the people at the front
are fighting like a lion
in the rear the cowardly plotted betrayal.

Bureaucrats and Stalinists
of the hand and walk
forging chains
to bring their brothers.

Between Berlin and Moscow,
is forged tongs
Franco attacks from the front
Lister is in the back
to Nazis and Stalinists,
frightened of revolution
since it could give the people,
everything it wanted.

The people rise like a hurricane
walks without fear against capital
forcefully impose the ideal dream.
The people rise like a hurricane
walks without fear against capital
Libertarian Communism, Social Revolution.

I remember hearing from older people the stinging sense of betrayal that was felt when Stalin "sold out" to Hitler in 1939. Many Communist party members quit in anger and disgust when the pact was announced. Later it occurred to many that Stalin and Hitler were very similar, and that it was only their followers that were betrayed.

I felt a sad mix of emotion in watching and listening to "1936".

On the one hand, these were "generation x'ers who knew and cared about the struggles of their grandparent's generation. On the other hand, it seems that each generation must learn from fresh betrayals. For me, it was the fall of Pnom Penh and the Cambodian genocide that started in 1975. I wonder what betrayals will awaken our generation. "1936" is fascinating music. But it does not make for sweet dreams.

Below are some links to previous unrelated articles in which I featured catalonian popular music.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Russia Speaks on You Tube

You Tube is one of the best places in the world to hear history and politics argued by partisans of one side or another. I have had the good fortune to watch and listen to different factions in the history of Yugoslavia. You know you are learning a subject when an in depth treatment leaves you more uncertain than ever. with the advent of the internet, I was finally able to hear Draza Mihailovic defended posthumously. Just when I was about to conclude that he was a better man than Marshal Tito, a letter from a well informed Croat threw my neat conclusion into disarray. There is something about studying history with the resources of the 21st century that makes you want to shut up and listen.

Soviet history on the internet has enjoyed a rebirth. From declassified documents to the closure of old political battles, a wealth of new information has come to light. One You Tube channel, Russia Today, has provided a valuable window into the way that post communist Russia views itself in the world. From the Beslan school massacre to the conflicts in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, from modern life in Russia to revisiting World War Two history, Russia Today provides a valuable glimpse into how the west is viewed and how the past is seen.

I found the treatment of Stefan Bandera to be highly interesting. Some Ukrainians view him as a brave fighter for Ukrainian independence. he is seen by the Russians as a Nazi collaborator. It is said in his defense that he was simply anti Soviet. His troops were also vehemently anti Jewish. The atrocities of Bandera's army in Lvov are well known.

I have no doubt that there are Ukrainians who would paint a radically different picture of their history. The Holodomor, Ukraine's man made famine of 1932 and 1933 (in which anywhere from 2.5 to 10 million people are estimated to have been deliberately starved to death) is another area of Ukrainian history with lessons for ours and future generations. Their videos will probably be up on You Tube, where history is argued with heated passion.

Whatever your historical passion might be, it is most interesting to see its advocates express their opinions and present their facts. The former USSR and the former Yugoslavia are only a couple of many areas where history continues to be debated and presented on the internet. I fully expect readers with a different view of the world to send in their links. That is how people argue and debate today. Viva la difference ! Bring it on. It's a great way to open your eyes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bloomberg, The Elderly and the Disabled

There is an old saying about politicians that has in it more than a grain of truth.

" A politician is someone who tells you to go to hell and actually makes you look forward to the trip." Does this describe Mike Bloomberg? Some of the disabled and senior citizens who live in New York City might be excused for coming to this conclusion. Consider the following bland announcement that can be found in the maze of the web site.

Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) Program Transferred to the Department of Finance

Effective Friday, September 18, 2009, the SCRIE program has been transferred from the Department for the Aging to the New York City Department of Finance. The transfer will make it easier for seniors to apply for this important benefit. The eligibility rules have not changed.

What is the truth behind the scenes? The City Finance Department also administered a program called the Disability Rent Increase Exemption. (DRIE) like SCRIE, it protected those who were approved for it from increases in rent. Those who got either SCRIE or DRIE were exempt from increases in their rent. The landlord of a SCRIE or DRIE recipient would get a tax credit for the ammount of rent that he would have gotten as an increase. Under the program, the landlord had more money in his pocket, the disabled and senior citizens had more money to spend, and the City did not have to issue a check.

The recipients of SCRIE had a fairly simple page to fill out under the old system. The DRIE application, on the other hand was four pages. Now, senior citizens and the disabled have nine pages to fill out and read, and only the staff of DRIE to help them and to process the application.

A friend of mine whose job is helping citizens navigate the city bureaucracy tells me that the effect of the skillfully packaged program consolidation has been to create a bureaucratic maze and obstacle course that has proven daunting to people who attempt to navigate it. My friend, (I'll call him Shimon) deals all day with the elderly, people who are sick with AIDS and people who are out of work who come to him with their problems. He told me of one elderly woman who came to him with a SCRIE application that was going nowhere.

After navigating the form and sending it in with required documentation, she got a notice back that required documentation was missing. She sent in the documentation again and got back another computer generated letter saying that supporting documentation was missing. A third time, she brought in documentation and actually confirmed with an employee that all missing documents were received. The next letter she got informed her that her application was denied on the grounds of missing documentation.

The description of the experience of Shimon's client sounded like an obstacle course. many people who must apply for SCRIE and DRIE are in weakened conditions. They are often bewildered and exhausted when they must go against the bureaucracy. These are people who often times have paid into the system for their entire working lives.

Is the Bloomberg administration merely saving labour costs by consolidating redundant bureaucracy? Or is it trying to shake off fiscal liabilities by making it hard to apply for benefits?

What will be the human costs of the Bloomberg administration's callous treatment of the disabled and the elderly? In tough times, you need to sometimes have less people doing more, but what will be the cost in human suffering? How much job consolidation can you do before there is a melt down in job performance?

There is a gritty reality that does not show up in Bloomberg campaign materials. The illusions that are created by the inane pursuit of smokers and of transfats covers up relities that are far more pressing. Mayor Bloomberg has had eight years to apply his economic genius to New York City's high rents that have made SCRIE and DRIE so essential to those who apply for them.

New York City is well fed and well clothed. But there is a city across the river from the Manhattan skyline that contributes to its wealth and character. It is the parts of the city that look from afar at the Manhattan skyline that are being ignored. After all the talk, all the glossy brochures and obscene spending, there are still problems that must be faced with candor.

What average New Yorkers can see with their own eyes is not being broadcast on Bloomberg radio. If this is how mike bloomberg is treating the elderly and the disabled before November 3, how will he treat them on November 4 ?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Serbia and Russia Sign Friendship Pact

Serbia and Russia have signed a pact of friendship. The pact includes joint commercial ventures, cultural exchanges and security. The web site Balkan Insight reports as follows.

"Serbian and Russian delegations, led by their heads of state, Boris Tadic and Dmitry Medvedev, signed six agreements on bilateral cooperation at 1pm. The agreements cover the fields of culture, science and technology, security, education, air travel and parliamentary cooperation.

The pacts are as follows:

- An agreement on the establishment of a gas storage firm, Banatski Dvor, as a joint venture between Serbia’s state-owned gas company, Srbijagas, and Russian gas giant Gazprom."

When Yugoslavia was ruled by Marshal Tito, it was notably more friendly to the United States, even siding with us to a considerable extent in the Korean War. Since the breakup of Yugoslavia, the US has sided against Serbia in a series of disputes in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. For decades, the fear of being dominated by Russia drove Yugoslavia into a separate orbit.

Now, both Russia and Serbia are the respective hubs of smaller republics that have now gone their respective ways. Russia has to worry about its southern republics that now feel the pull of Turkey and Iran, as well as the attraction to resurgent Islam in its various forms. Serbia has felt the strong arm of Muslim countries who have sent arms and fighters to assist insurgents in Kosovo and Bosnia.

Russia has in turn dealt with a bloody insurgency in Chechenya, also fed by Muslim sponsors abroad.

The Serbian Russian alliance should be watched. America has a lot of fence mending to do in Russia's sphere of influence and concern as well as that of Serbia. How will this alliance play out? It is in America's interest that the resurgence of Islam in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and all of the other former Soviet republics be politically benign. The Turks are taking a fresh look at the hard line secularism of its modern founder Kemal Ataturk. This is also having repurcussions in the region.

Is America involved? Is it mending fences and building bridges? Russia is very skilled at building alliances with other than military means. Its style of reaching out to Serbia should be studied and if possible emulated. The Balkans is a difficult region. There is a lot of hatred and distrust between neighbouring republics that were at each other's throats only a short while ago. It will take understanding, tact and diplomacy to function effectively in the region. Getting off the plane and apologising for America would not only be useluss, but largely irrelevant.

America has a lot of interest in being engaged with Russia and in the Balkans not militarily but in the same areas mapped out in Russia and Serbia's friendship agreement. America is a superpower even today, and we do the world no good to pretend otherwise. We have for instance provided medical, educational and economic aid to sub saharan Africa. If we do not maintain our influence there, then Russia will be more than happy to fill the void. A good project in South Africa itself would be to broker a peace agreement to stop the slaughter of Afrikaner farmers as well as to train Black South Africans in agriculture and agricultural business. This is one of many trouble spots in the world that the US could influence peacefuly with no military expenditures.

I once worked for a boss who redecorated the office of his predecessor within hours of taking over. He fired those hired by the old boss, and suspended all of his predecessor's initiatives. He overlooked a primary lesson my father taught me when I was about five years old. Never flip a switch for no reason, or cut a wire without knowing what it goes to. The mess he made of his job made him a laughingstock during his short tenure in the company. Barack Obama seems to have made some similar mistakes. He has made differing with the Bush administration an end in and of itself. He has alienated long term friends and gained no new ones.

I do not know how peaceful the new Russia is. But under Medvedev as under Putin, it has been cool and single minded in assessing its interests and pursuing them. America would be in far better shape if the same could be said of the new administration in Washington. Right now under President Obama, this does not seem to be the case. And that should concern all of us.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bloomberg Campaign Dirty Tricks

Until Rudy Giuliani spoke in Boro Park last week, the mayoral election was about legitimate issues. We had Mike Bloomberg running on his record, and Bill Thompson challenging him with a different vision and a lot less money. Then Rudy Giuliani came to Boro Park, trolling for the chassidic vote. His pitch sounded like a sinister block busting leaflet from the 1950's. By now, Giuliani's remarks have achieved infamy. The New York Times reports as follows on his appeal to fear.

“I worried daily that the city might be turned back to the way it was before 1993 — and you know exactly what I’m talking about,” Giuliani told the crowd at the Jewish Community Council of Borough Park. “This community remembers the fears, the worries and the crimes— and the great fear of going out at night and walking the streets.”

I have viewed New York City from Crown Heights since1979. The fear of which Giuliani spoke predates David Dinkins. I was living in Crown Heights under Ed Koch, a vastly overrated mayor who was too busy asking "How'm I doing?" to ever do anything about crime. I was a heavy smoker back in the late 70's and early 80's. If I was out of cigarettes, I would go out at all hours to get them. And the places I bought cigarettes from were open dope shops. They were easy to recognise. The entire store had maybe four rolls of toilet paper, a can of tuna fish and three bottles of soda. Despite this, they had a stream of customers buying little brown envelopes. No one ever bothered them.

Back in 82, there were muggings every Friday afternoon on the 2 train coming back to Crown Heights. (Back then it was the 2 train and not the 3) High school kids would go into the conductor's cabin, turn off the lights and pounce in wolf packs on passengers who looked like easy marks. In 30 seconds, they would rip the pockets out of your pants with the wallet. Mayor Koch was too busy asking "How'm I doing?".

Israel Rosen, a chassidic Jew was beaten to death in 1989, around the same time Michael Griffith was killed in Howard Beach. He had a couple hundred dollars that was untouched. But it was not declared a bias incident. Ed Koch had nothing to say to the Jews of Crown Heights other than "How'm I doing?"

Dinkins was mostly a continuation of the do nothing attitude of Ed Koch towards crime. The Crown Heights Riots of 1991 made it crystal clear how profoundly flawed Dinkin's attitudes were towards law enforcement. Rudy Giuliani, to his credit took crime seriously and addressed it. It could be argued that his policies saved many African American lives, despite the criticism of Giuliani in African American neghbourhoods.

So let's get things straight. The fearful years began well before David Dinkins. Most people trace the years of unbridled lawlessness back to John Lindsay, who was mayor from 1966 to 1973. Mad Magazine did a satire back when he was mayor. In the satire, the college radicals were angry at him for giving them everything they demanded and thereby depriving them of any excuse to protest.

So let's keep it real. Things got worse under Dinkins, but they were awful long before Dinkins became mayor. So what is Rudy Giuliani talking about the awful days of the Dinkins administration, when the city was a mess under Koch, Beame and Lindsay? What is he talking about New York City going the way of Detroit? Detroit was known for having African American mayors. They are also famous for high crime . So what is Rudy Giuliani hinting at?

Why didn't Rudy Giuliani talk about Eric Adams, a State Senator and prominent supporter of Bill Thompson? Eric Adams was a police captain for 20 years in the NYPD. Why is he implying that Thompson will bring us back to the Dinkins years? Bill Thompson has served ably as comptroller. Many people hope that he will keep honest crime statistics instead of the deceptively rosy statistics kept under the Bloomberg administration.

A friend of mine was campaigning for Bill Thompson in Boro Park, where Rudy Giuliani gave his venomous little talk. He was a chassidic man campaigning based on the issues for a man who happened to be African American. A fearful old lady spit in his face and said, "How could you support a shvartse?" There were some others who fell short of spitting, but still talked about "the shvartse".

The Daily News reports as follows on the perspective of Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represents Boro Park in the New York State Assembly and supports Bill Thompson.

"Hikind, who endorsed Democrat Bill Thompson for mayor today in front of a bakery on 13th Avenue in Borough Park, Brooklyn, said he was outraged by the racially charged language used by ex-Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a speech to Hasidic Jews on Sunday and even more outraged when he learned from a letter to the editor of a community newspaper that a Bloomberg supporter had grabbed a man by the lapels outside that event and said: “Are you going to vote for a shvartze?”

Hikind also claims he heard the same Yiddish racial slur this morning when he was campaigning with Thompson after the endorsement.

“A lady just said to me, so help me G-d*, she said ‘Some people are upset at you that you endorsed the shvartze. That just happened,” Hikind said.

Asked how he responded, Hikind said he “just walked out. I closed the door in her face.”

It should be noted that Bill Thompson has at no point invoked racial solidarity to fashion African American supporters into an electoral cornerstone. For the sake of a united New York, he has stuck to the issues. It is Rudy Giuliani who has injected racial undertones into the campaign. I have yet to hear Mayor Bloomberg repudiate Giuliani's remarks.

I had a lot of respect for Rudy Giuliani, even after his police chief Bernard Kerik was indicted. I don't even hold it against Rudy Giuliani that his old pal had his bail revoked. But I am very disappointed that Rudy Giuliani used fear tactics against Bill Thompson. It shows that he has fallen quite a bit since his heady days as "America's Mayor".

It is one thing to criticise particular policies of a political candidate. If Giuliani would have done this, there I would have no criticism. That is what political debate is. But this is not what Rudy Giuliani did .All he said was".. you know exactly what I’m talking about."

No I don't Rudy. I really don't.

The photo with this article is of Rudy Giuliani, renowned supporter of political cross dresser Mike Bloomberg

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

49 of 50 States Lost Jobs Despite "Stimulus"

How has President Obama's "stimulus program" been working out? Not too well, if you look at the latest figures available from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite claims that his emergency spending would create jobs, the only state that has registered an increase in the number of jobs is North Dakota, according to a report from Spero News.

Spero News reports as follows on the disappointing economic news.

"According to the data, 49 States and the District of Columbia have lost jobs since the stimulus was enacted. Only North Dakota has seen net job creation following the February 2009 stimulus.

While President Obama claimed the result of his stimulus bill would be the creation of 3.5 million jobs, the US has already lost a total of 2.7 million – a difference of 6.2 million jobs."

There are ways to encourage the creation of jobs. Creating a tax structure that rewards job creation is a great way to encourage the creation of jobs. Creating tax rules that give people who use American labour is also a way of tilting the field in favour of job creation.

Talking about costly laws to cut down on "global warming" and hamstringing industry with crippling environmental legislation is a great way to discourage an increase in the number of jobs. Likewise, Obama's incoherent health care reform could not have been attempted at a worse time. The government can not directly step in and employ all those in need of work. But there is vast economic wealth that needs to be harnessed, nurtured and encouraged.

There can be no more important mission for government than to assure the stability of the economy, and that its benefits extend to all classes of citizens. Am impressive Dow Jones average that leaves the majority behind is no consolation to those who are out of work. it is time for President Obama to take a fresh look at his priorities. The best anti poverty program he can fund is jobs. And the overwhelming majority of jobs will be created by private business. The sooner Obama and his Democratic majority to realise this before we face even higher rates of unemployment. Nursing the economy to good health should be our top priority. Until then, everything else should be put on hold.

Left click on the table above to view it at higher magnification

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bloomberg Bags Smelly Endorsement

For a guy who is worth 16 billion dollars and outspends his opponent 16:1, the Bloomberg campaign is looking real desperate. Yesterday's New York Post ran a headline that breathlessly announced a letter written by mayoral candidate Bill Thompson on behalf of disgraced politician Fred Richmond back in 1982. Someone on Bloomberg campaign headquarters had to dig 27 years to reveal that Bill Thompson wrote a letter to a judge on behalf of a convicted felon. I have written such letters. I have attended a sentencing hearing on behalf of a friend. It is every citizen's right to do so. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

Fred Richmond had some interesting tastes and pasttimes. The Post reports as follows.

"Richmond, a four-term congressman, had been the subject of a wide-ranging probe by Brooklyn federal prosecutors.

He ultimately pleaded guilty to evading $50,000 in income taxes on his 1981 returns, possessing marijuana and illegally padding the salary of a civilian worker by setting up college tuition for a Navy Department worker's daughter.

Richmond, a former head of Carnegie Hall and philanthropist who at the time was one of the richest men in Congress, was first arrested in 1978 over allegations of soliciting sex from a 16-year-old boy.

The charges were dropped after Richmond agreed to counseling, and he was handily re-elected.

But other probes followed.

There was grand-jury testimony from former staffers saying his aides had bought drugs for him, according to press accounts at the time. The feds were also probing his involvement with the timber company he created and how a Massachusetts fugitive ended up on the House's payroll.

Richmond told The Post all the drug-related issues were out of his Washington office and didn't involve Thompson, who was stationed in New York. Richmond was sentenced to one year and a day. While awaiting sentencing, a bodybuilder killed himself in his Sutton Place apartment."

New York of Magazine created a far more detailed picture of Fred Richmond, back in 1982, which included all of the details that get dropped from indictments. The link to it is here.

The article would, if taken at face value lead one to the conclusion that Fred Richmond had some illicit yearnings for young men, some underaged, that claimed a considerable part of his wealth. This tawdry revelation was only a part of the laundry list of offenses that brought about his downfall.

So what did Bloomberg's diggers in the media get out of the Fred richmond story? They got Fred Richmond's endorsement of Mike Bloomberg for mayor! Fred Richmond, now 85 years old, paid back the kindness of Bill Thompson by endorsing fellow Bostonian Mike Bloomberg. A dispassionate observer would conclude that Fred Richmond is not only a corrupt degenerate but a hard core ingrate as well. The New York Post reports as follows on Fred Richmond's snippy slap at a one time friend.

"He's not worthy of being mayor," Richmond said, praising Mayor Bloomberg as "a walking genius" and saying that, as city comptroller, Thompson steered the municipal pension funds poorly.

"Between his father and me, he's had everything handed to him on a silver platter."

He went on to call Thompson a "weakling" and added, "He didn't turn out to be a very good friend . . . after all, I was his employer and mentor and brought him up, and when I came back to New York, he never contacted me, except for [campaign staffers asking] for money."

Isn't Mike Bloomberg lucky? A degenerate doper convict is gushing with enthusiasm over him being a "walking genius". An endorsement like that is like having your dog jump all over you after he has climbed out of a septic tank. I am voting for Bill Thompson, but I am so happy for Mikey Mike Bloomberg that fellow Bostonian Fred Richmond gave him such a malodorous endorsement. What was Bill Thompson's only crime? His friend turned out to be ungrateful scum. Hey ! Who hasn't been stabbed in the back before? It happens to the best of us. And besides, it was 27 years ago.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ethnic Cleansing In South Africa

Which community suffer from the highest murder rate in the world? If thoughts go through your mind of a gritty urban jungle, you are mistaken. The backdrop of the world's highest murder rate is some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

South African Afrikaaner farmers have since the fall of the apartheid regime fallen victim to a wave of murders that are appalling in their sadistic brutality. The small take in the robberies accompanying many of these murders is grotesquely overshadowed by the depravity that accompanies them. Many of the victims are elderly. Since crime statistics have to be approved by the government of South Africa, it is difficult to get a handle on the magnitude of the problem. The Dissecting Leftism blog reports as follows on this process of dispossession and extermination that has been banished from the mainstream of political discourse.

Italic"At the beginning of the decade there were 40,000 White farmers in South Africa and there have been is 3,037 murdered in racial genocide and more than 20,000 armed attacks perpetrated by groups of militant, young Black racists on commercial farmers, since the ANC came to power in 1994. This is certainly higher as the South African government and police, with the world’s press keep it covered up. Boers are often tortured or raped first, by boiling water forced down their throats, tendons cut, burnings, personal humiliations - most perpetrators are protected by Blacks within government and the police and not tried. Now ask yourselves, gentle readers, when did you see this on television news or read about it in your quality newspaper?

The idealism that accompanied the birth of new South Africa has been destroyed by black rule yet the rainbow nation is still a fantasy to Western elites. They need to believe in it or face the reality that racial equality does not exist. The dream of truth and reconciliation and the deification of Nelson Mandela make it hard to accept that after whites gave way to Blacks the Boer minority would be subjected to racial genocide. Boers, you see, have not been sentimentalised, are not figures of sympathy but dehumanised as racists so their murder is not seen as important."

The murder rate among Afrikaaner farmers has been estimated to be 310 per 100,000 people. A comparison of general homicide rates gives us an idea of how serious this problem is. The general homicide rate for the USA was 5.8 per 100,000 people in 2009. The general rate for South Africa has been 37.3 murders per 100,000 people in 2009. This means that the Afrikaner farmers ar being murdered at a rate that is 10 times the South African national average.

In an attempt to sanitise the problem, the South African government has banned the use of the term "farm murders". The intent is to present the farm murders as random events rather than the ethnically targeted murders that they really are.

Rather than step up police protection for the besieged farmers, the South African government has has actually scaled back police protection, leaving the farmers to their own devices to befend themselves. not so coincidentally, there has been attempts by the government to legally expropriate Afrkaner farms and hand them out to Blacks who are chosen as lucky recipients by the government.

"Shaya Ma Buru",( Kill the Boer) is an African national congress resistance song that is still sung at national gatherings. In the days of apartheid, "Boer" referred to Afrikaners in general, as well as the state at their disposal. The "Boer" of today is a farmer in the originally intended meaning of the Afrikaner word. He is disarmed in a state in which he is a grudgingly tolerated minority.

"Shaya Ma Buru" is hate speech. It is but one dimension of a general campaign of extermination and dispossession of South Africa's Afrikaners, who have no other homeland in the world. They are in a real sense one of South Africa's tribes.

Where do we go from here? Will South Africa make the same mistake made in Zimbabwe? Will it destroy its agricultural sector and plunge South Africa into inflation and economic chaos? Or will history go full circle with despairing Whites carving their own homeland and haven of safety out of a hostile country? Eugene Terre Blanche, head of the AWB (Afrikaaner Resistance movement) is reviled in the mainstream press as a Nazi. but what is wrong with defending a people that is threatened with ethnic cleansing? The Australian reports as follows on Mr. Terre Blanche.

"ARMS outstretched, his deep voice resonating around the town hall, the white-bearded speaker summoned the Afrikaner "volk" to battle, with rousing words from the past. "Now is not the time to be afraid," he shouted, to grumblings of approval from the audience of burly, khaki-clad farmers, their wives and children. "Now all true Afrikaners must reach out to each other and fight to the bitter end."

Eugene Terre'Blanche, the once-feared white supremacist leader in apartheid South Africa, is back. He is more subdued and circumspect than in his heyday in the 1980s, but his message has not, fundamentally, changed.

He told 300 supporters in this small, rundown farming town on the barren veld about 200km southwest of Johannesburg that he was answering the call of the boers (farmers) and revitalising the Nazi-style Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) to save them from the oppression of the black African National Congress government. "Our country is being run by criminals who murder and rob. This land was the best, and they ruined it all," he cried to strong applause, dabbing the spittle off his beard with a neatly pressed handkerchief. "We are being oppressed again. We will rise again."

Who cares about the Afrikaner farmers at all? Has anyone stepped up to the plate to defend the Afrikaaners? Is not the campaign of ethnic cleansing being waged against the Afrikaaners worthy of condemnation? If he is indeed a Nazi, what has been his death toll? And if we are all pious opponents of his alleged Nazism, what has been the death toll of our disgraceful silence?

If South Africa's White minority is driven out, it will ultimately be its Black majority that will suffer. If the blind eyes that are now turned to the bleeding Afrikaaners do not open now, they will open to scenes of famine as are now seen in Zimbabwe. The curtain of silence that keeps the suffering of the Boers from international view is a blot of shame upon our generation. It is time for our silence to end.

The picture at the top of this article is of one of the victims of South Africa's "Farm Murders"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Wise Doctor, And A Simple, Good Idea

I have believed for most of my adult life that a doctor is ultimately an assistant to the patient, who must ultimately, with G-d's help heal himself. There are of course, vast areas where a doctor takes the lead in the process, such as prescribing medicine and performing surgery. But in the best of times, the patient takes care of him or herself and consults the doctor. It is against this standard that I measure the value of a doctor's services.

I switched doctors recently. Nothing was terribly wrong with my old doctor at all. I simply wanted the benefit of a second opinion. My new doctor did something that distinguished him from any doctor I had ever been to. The first time I was there, he stressed that I was to bring my blood pressure meter back with me on my return appointment. He instructed me to take daily readings. I expected him to flip through the readings and take some notes. Although he did do this, he went the extra mile.

He instructed me to take blood pressure readings on my right and my left arms. He corrected me a bit on my technique of taking my pressure. Then he took my pressure with his own equipment and compared it to my readings. He smiled and said "You have a good blod pressure machine. Keep using it. If it would have been off, I would have told you to get a new one."

Some of the best innovations are breathtakingly simple. I have yet to go to a doctor who did what my doctor did. I respect him for his thoroughness and for making sure that I was monitoring myself at home I will continue to go back to this doctor, and I recommend that other doctors do the same as he did. Thank you Dr. Rafael Ilyayev. I wish you much success.

The illustration above is the Hebrew text of the Maimonides Oath for Physicians, which reads as follows.


The eternal providence has appointed me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures. May the love for my art actuate me at all times; may neither avarice nor miserliness, nor thirst for glory or for a great reputation engage my mind; for the enemies of truth and philanthropy could easily deceive me and make me forgetful of my lofty aim of doing good to Thy children.

May I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain.

Grant me the strength, time and opportunity always to correct what I have acquired, always to extend its domain; for knowledge is immense and the spirit of man can extend indefinitely to enrich itself daily with new requirements.

Today he can discover his errors of yesterday and tomorrow he can obtain a new light on what he thinks himself sure of today. Oh, God, Thou has appointed me to watch over the life and death of Thy creatures; here am I ready for my vocation and now I turn unto my calling.

The site I found the Maimonides Oath on also included the following prayer


Almighty God, Thou has created the human body with infinite wisdom. Ten thousand times ten thousand organs hast Thou combined in it that act unceasingly and harmoniously to preserve the whole in all its beauty the body which is the envelope of the immortal soul. They are ever acting in perfect order, agreement and accord. Yet, when the frailty of matter or the unbridling of passions deranges this order or interrupts this accord, then forces clash and the body crumbles into the primal dust from which it came. Thou sendest to man diseases as beneficent messengers to foretell approaching danger and to urge him to avert it.

Thou has blest Thine earth, Thy rivers and Thy mountains with healing substances; they enable Thy creatures to alleviate their sufferings and to heal their illnesses. Thou hast endowed man with the wisdom to relieve the suffering of his brother, to recognize his disorders, to extract the healing substances, to discover their powers and to prepare and to apply them to suit every ill. In Thine Eternal Providence Thou hast chosen me to watch over the life and health of Thy creatures. I am now about to apply myself to the duties of my profession. Support me, Almighty God, in these great labors that they may benefit mankind, for without Thy help not even the least thing will succeed.

Inspire me with love for my art and for Thy creatures. Do not allow thirst for profit, ambition for renown and admiration, to interfere with my profession, for these are the enemies of truth and of love for mankind and they can lead astray in the great task of attending to the welfare of Thy creatures. Preserve the

strength of my body and of my soul that they ever be ready to cheerfully help and support rich and poor, good and bad, enemy as well as friend. In the sufferer let me see only the human being. Illumine my mind that it recognize what presents itself and that it may comprehend what is absent or hidden. Let it not fail to see what is visible, but do not permit it to arrogate to itself the power to see what cannot be seen, for delicate and indefinite are the bounds of the great art of caring for the lives and health of Thy creatures. Let me never be absent-minded. May no strange thoughts divert my attention at the bedside of the sick, or disturb my mind in its silent labors, for great and sacred are the thoughtful deliberations required to preserve the lives and health of Thy creatures.

Grant that my patients have confidence in me and my art and follow my directions and my counsel. Remove from their midst all charlatans and the whole host of officious relatives and know-all nurses, cruel people who arrogantly frustrate the wisest purposes of our art and often lead Thy creatures to their death.

Should those who are wiser than I wish to improve and instruct me, let my soul gratefully follow their guidance; for vast is the extent of our art. Should conceited fools, however, censure me, then let love for my profession steel me against them, so that I remain steadfast without regard for age, for reputation, or for honor, because surrender would bring to Thy creatures sickness and death.

Imbue my soul with gentleness and calmness when older colleagues, proud of their age, wish to displace me or to scorn me or disdainfully to teach me. May even this be of advantage to me, for they know many things of which I am ignorant, but let not their arrogance give me pain. For they are old and old age is not master of the passions. I also hope to attain old age upon this earth, before Thee, Almighty God!

Let me be contented in everything except in the great science of my profession. Never allow the thought to arise in me that I have attained to sufficient knowledge, but vouchsafe to me the strength, the leisure and the ambition ever to extend my knowledge. For art is great, but the mind of man is ever expanding.

Almighty God! Thou hast chosen me in Thy mercy to watch over the life and death of Thy creatures. I now apply myself to my profession. Support me in this great task so that it may benefit mankind, for without Thy help not even the least thing will succeed.

~ Translated by Harry Friedenwald, Bulletin of the Johns Hopkins Hospital 28: 260-261, (1917)

Zipcar Gets Sued

I have yet to take a penny for endorsements. It is always my pleasure to praise merchants and service providers who please me, such as Zenni Optical and to slam merchants like Zipcar, who overcharged me and made no effort to work with my financial limitations.

I thought that I was Zipcar's only disgruntled customer. Now it turns out that there is actually a class action suit against Zipcar The Boston Globe reports as follows on the hype of Zipcar.

"Specifically, the complaint accused Zipcar of unfairly charging customers with a “discreet medley of customer charges.’’ According to the suit, many customers may not even be aware of the charges because Zipcar does not send monthly statements.

The suit cited several charges:

■ Phone fee. A $3.50 charge to talk to a customer service representative even when customers call to report a problem that can’t be handled through the website or automated phone system.

■ Parking tickets. Customers who receive a parking ticket or traffic citation are typically charged for the cost of the ticket plus an additional fee, even when the ticket was issued in error and customers were not given any opportunity to appeal.

■ Late fee. The fee is $50 per hour up to $150, three times the regular charge for a day’s rental.

■ Lost items. To retrieve an item left in a vehicle, customers are required to rent the car again for at least an hour - unless customers retrieve the lost item within three hours after the reservation ended.

■ Inactivity fee. Zipcar deducts $20 per month from a customer’s deposit until the deposit is depleted if the customer has not used the service for 12 consecutive months.

The lawsuit says the charges are “arbitrary and capricious’’ and disproportionate to the company’s actual costs. “Charges imposed by similar vehicle rental businesses are not nearly as exorbitant as Zipcar’s,’’ the lawsuit stated."

Zipcar likes to portray itself as a player in the green revolution, facilitating car sharing. It you take it at its own word, it is the only company of its type. If you compare it to automobile rental companies, it comes off as an overpriced outfit that nickels and dimes its customers to death. When I was a customer back in 2006, you could incur a $25.00 late fee for being 5 minutes late. Now its $50.00 per hour. Zipcar's main advantage is the extent to which it has computerised vehicle rental. If Avis, Hertz and National ever decide to study and duplicate its system, Zipcar could have its wings clipped big time. The main convenience is being able to go to a parking garage, to swipe a card over the windshield and to drive out. Unfortunately, Zipcar is proving to be very expensive. Once you realise your wallet is being picked clean, you the "inconvenience" of regular car rental places is not so terrible.

Zipcar is busy patting itself on the back for being such a great company. But it has become dangerously complacent, covering its rust and rot with "green" paint to distract the public. I'm glad that someone is finally taking them to court. Whatever you can say about lawyers, they do provide some redress. All that money that Zipcar spent denying claims, stonewalling and being inflexible that I detailed in my previous article they now can spend on lawyers. It couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch..

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Balloon Boy Safe And Sound

The whole world was watching as the drama of Falcon Heene, the "balloon boy" unfolded. The Heene family had been working on a science project. Understandably, they did not want falcon to play with the balloon, even if it looked like a shiny exciting toy. But kids will be kids. Falcon climbed on the gondola of the balloon anyway. Everyone thought he was on board. It was even captured on video. Along with millions, I felt a sinking feeling when the balloon was found without little Falcon aboard.

Now it turns out that the world got a lesson in child psychology. Falcon was more agile than we gave him credit for. He managed to scurry away before the balloon reached critical altitude. When he saw daddy's big shiny balloon float away, he did what any sensible six year old would do. He hid in a cardboard box in the garage. KDVR News reports as follows on the happy ending to what looked like a sad, harrowing tale.

"After the balloon floated away, the boy apparently fled to the garage, climbing a pole into the rafters and hiding in a cardboard box.

The Heene family addressed the media a short time later.

"It was in the really early stages of the invention," Richard Heene said of the experimental aircraft, holding Falcon in his arms. "This little guy got inside of it...I thought he did anyway, according to Brad."

"He videotaped it and we watched it back and, sure enough, he got in," He said. "But obviously he got out."

"I was in the attic and he scared me because he yelled at me," Falcon said. "That's why I went in the attic."

"I yelled at him. I'm really sorry I yelled at him," Heene said, choking up and hugging Falcon to him during the news conference."

That is just how a kid's mind works. They are afraid to face their parents and end up causing more trouble. When I was a kid, I lost a $7.28 social studies book. I went without lunch for a month so I wouldn't have to ask my parents for the money. Then I found the book.

My sister accidentally flooded the toilet. She was afraid that my father would be furious, so she went to bed and hid under the covers. She ended up flooding the bathroom, the kitchen and the basement. Calling my father after the first minute would have saved everyone trouble.

When I was a toddler, I took off my diaper and climbed up on a hot radiator. I was so shocked by the burning on the soles of my feet that I pooped behind the radiator. I figured it wouldn't be noticed. The whole house stank. I thought my parents were forensic geniuses. They didn't believe me when I tried to say that the dog did it.

A kid down the street hid out when playing with matches got out of hand. He was lucky just to lose his apartment instead of losing family members as well.

I can imagine how scared Falcon was, hiding from his parents. His focus was entirely different than his parents. He is going to be wiping off the hugs and kisses from tearful family for the next month. When my son was that age, he hated hugs and kisses worse than a spanking. What is most important is that Falcon and a lot of little kids are going to learn that people are more important than things. The whole world was transfixed by the little boy and the runaway balloon. Hundreds of police were mobilised to find him. Every parent should discuss this story with their children. It drives home a lot of lessons.

1) Don't mess with big boy toys. You might get more trouble than you bargained for.

2) For really big problems, come clean and level with your folks. They may rise to the occasion. They may have no choice.

3) Ignoring a big problem often leads to a bigger one.

Some of these lessons are actually applicable to adults.

People in Colorado and elsewhere are actually talking about making the family pay for the rescue effort. I think that is an awful idea. The family has suffered enough, and the discussion of this incident at dinner tables across the nation will have immeasurable educational value. So welcome home Falcon. You don't have to sleep in that cardboard box in the garage. The world has learned a lesson. I hope you do as well

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jersey School Super Defends Obama Song

At first it was a misguided social studies teacher who led a group of school chilfren in singing a song of praise to President Obama in a New Jersey school. The woman was retiring that year. It is possible that she had actually experienced legal segregation first hand. She certainly remembered when it was legally acceptable in most of the South. So her excitement at an African American President is understandable, especially if she remembered a time when African Americans were barred from voting.

In retrospect, the Obama Song looks pretty foolish, unless you are the Burlington Toiwnship Superintendent of Schools. Amazingly enough, Christopher Manno just does not understand the difference between inculcating civic virtues and promoting personal loyalty to President Obama. Fox News reports as follows.

"The superintendent of a New Jersey school system where elementary school students were videotaped singing the praises of President Obama stood behind his employees Wednesday evening, saying the principal and teacher did nothing wrong -- despite growing anger from parents.

"There was nothing systematic or indoctrinating about this innocent classroom activity," Burlington Township Superintendent of Schools Christopher Manno said during a school board meeting. "There was no intention on the part of the teacher to make any political statement or promote a political agenda."

Our American system is built upon individuals uphollding and participating in a system that bridges and transcends their political differences. The vast majority of citizens believe in equal opportunity. No one wants there to be hunger or unemployment. But what drives our political system is the fact that there are people of good will who differ on how best to solve these problems. Understanding this simple concept makes our political system work a lot better.

I can easily understand an older teacher on the verge of retirement recognising the historic importance of the election of an African American to the presidency. But the cluelessness of Christopher Manno is hard to fathom. It makes me wonder what other distortions of America's civic traditions are occurring on his watch.

Anyone who has spent time under a totalitarian regime knows the feeling of living under a personality cult and its pitfalls. Anyone who has seen a portrait of whatever Great Leader holds sway.

As a historical footnote, I am posting the "Marcha Peronista", with its Spanish lyrics and English translation. Argentina is still struggling with the economic and political instability that resulted from Peronism. Hyperinflation, suppression of political opposition as well as social chaos resulted from having a political system dominated by a personality cult. We would do well to what we have built in america since 1776, as well as to safeguard it. Not only do our children need a proper education. It seems that our educators need to go back to school.

Marcha Peronista

Los muchachos peronistas

todos unidos triunfaremos,
y como siempre daremos
un grito de corazón:
¡Viva Perón! ¡Viva Perón!

Por ese gran argentino
que se supo conquistar
a la gran masa del pueblo
combatiendo al capital.

¡Perón, Perón, qué grande sos!
¡Mi general, cuanto valés!
¡Perón, Perón, gran conductor,
sos el primer trabajador!

Imitemos el ejemplo
de este varón argentino,
y siguiendo su camino
gritemos de corazón:
¡Viva Perón! ¡Viva Perón!

Porque la Argentina grande
con que San Martín soñó,
es la realidad argentina
que debemos a Perón.

¡Perón, Perón, qué grande sos!
¡Mi general, cuanto valés!
¡Perón, Perón, gran conductor,
sos el primer trabajador!

Después de haber liberado
a toda la economía
gritamos SOBERANÍA
con fundamento y razón
¡Viva Perón! ¡Viva Perón!

Porque las Islas Malvinas
y el Antártico Sector
son netamente argentinos
aunque nos digan que no.

¡Perón, Perón, qué grande sos!
¡Mi general, cuanto valés!
¡Perón, Perón, gran conductor,
sos el primer trabajador!

El pueblo está reclamando
con angustia y con razón,
que le voten enseguida
la nueva Constitución
¡Viva Perón! ¡Viva Perón!

Con los principios sociales
que Perón ha establecido,
el pueblo entero está unido
y grita de corazón:
¡Viva Perón! ¡Viva Perón!

Por ese gran argentino
que trabajó sin cesar,
para que reine en el pueblo
el amor y la igualdad.

¡Perón, Perón, qué grande sos!
¡Mi general, cuanto valés!
¡Perón, Perón, gran conductor,
sos el primer trabajador!

Porque sabe que oligarcas
y el capital extranjero
están tramando de nuevo
la contra-Revolución

¡Perón, Perón, qué grande sos!
¡Mi general, cuanto valés!
¡Perón, Perón, gran conductor,
sos el primer trabajador!

Los asesinos de ahora
enemigos y traidores
contra los trabajadores
organizan la traición
¡Viva Perón! ¡Viva Perón!

Porque el extranjero espera
que cuando caiga Perón
otra vez él será el dueño
de toda nuestra Nación.

¡Perón, Perón, qué grande sos!
¡Mi general, cuanto valés!
¡Perón, Perón, gran conductor,
sos el primer trabajador!

Antes que nos haga exclavos
la oligarquía derrotada
le daremos la patada
sin ninguna compasión
¡Viva Perón! ¡Viva Perón!

Por eso se junta el pueblo
en la plaza principal
¡para vivar a su jefe
que ya es gloria nacional!

¡Perón, Perón, qué grande sos!
¡Mi general, cuanto valés!
¡Perón, Perón, gran conductor,
sos el primer trabajador!

Peronist March

We, the Peronist guys

All united will prevail,
And as usual we will launch
A cry from our heart:
Viva Perón! Viva Perón!

We are with this great Argentine
Who managed to conquer
The will of the popular masses
By fighting the capital.

Perón, Perón, how great you are!
My general, how appreciated by us!
Perón, Perón, our great guide,
You're the worker number one!

We must follow the example
Of this extraordinary Argentine man
And through the path by him opened
We must march yelling at heart:
Viva Perón! Viva Perón!

Because the great Argentina
Dreamed by San Martín,
Is the nowadays reality
which we owe to Perón.

Perón, Perón, how great you are!
My general, how appreciated by us!
Perón, Perón, our great guide,
You're the worker number one!

After having liberated
The whole national economy
We can cry "Sovereignty!"
With a well-founded reason
Viva Perón! Viva Perón!

Because the Falklands Islands
And our Antarctic lands
Are undoubtedly Argentinians
Despite they say us "no way".

Perón, Perón, how great you are!
My general, how appreciated by us!
Perón, Perón, our great guide,
You're the worker number one!

The people is demanding
With anxiety and rightly so,
To have promulged soon
The new Constitution
Viva Perón! Viva Perón!

Around the social principles
Established by Perón,
The entire people is united
And shouts from their hearts:
Viva Perón! Viva Perón!

We are with this great Argentine
who worked tirelessly,
For the prevalence among the people
Of love and equality.

Perón, Perón, how great you are!
My general, how appreciated by us!
Perón, Perón, our great guide,
You're the worker number one!

Because he knows that oligarchs
And the foreign capital
Are plotting once again
The counter-revolution

Perón, Perón, how great you are!
My general, how appreciated by us!
Perón, Perón, our great guide,
You're the worker number one!

The murderers of today,
Enemies and turncoats
Against the workers
Are organizing the treason
Viva Perón! Viva Perón!

Because the foreign hopes
That with the fall of Perón
Again he will be the owner
Of our entire Nation.

Perón, Perón, how great you are!
My general, how appreciated by us!
Perón, Perón, our great guide,
You're the worker number one!

Before being slaves
Of the defeated oligarchy
We will give them a kick
Without any remorse
Viva Perón! Viva Perón!

That is why people get together
In the main square
To desire long life for their leader
Who is becoming the glory of the Nation!

Perón, Perón, how great you are!
My general, how appreciated by us!
Perón, Perón, our great guide,
You're the worker number one!

I have also included the link to my previous article on this subject, which contains the now hard to find Obama Tribute video.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Snakes Gone Wild

There is more than one way to damage the environment. Although we think of smoke belching automobiles and chemical waste as big problems, a careless pet owner can cause a lot of damage as well. Reuters News made this point in an article on Florida's delicate wildlife. It seems that pet owners who tire of their snakes when they get too big often release them in the wild. Although this might not be a long term problem in cold northern cities, Florida's warm climate has proven to be a hospitable breeding ground to various species of anacondas, boa constrictors and other large snakes. Reuters News reports as follows on this growing problem.

"Burmese pythons and other giant snakes imported as pets could endanger some of America's most important parks and wilderness areas if they are allowed to multiply, according to a report released on Tuesday.
Wildlife experts say the Burmese python is distributed across thousands of square miles (kilometers) in south Florida. There could be tens of thousands in the Everglades, a wildlife refuge that is home to the Florida panther and other endangered species.
The Burmese python and four other non-native snakes -- boa constrictors, yellow anacondas, northern and southern African pythons -- are considered "high-risk" threats to the health of U.S. ecosystems because they eat native birds and animals, the U.S. Geological Survey report said."

The New Yorker did a full length feature on this problem back in April, part of which is available to non subscribers on their web site. An informative podcast is part of what is available to the general public.

Anyone who has reentered the US from abroad has been questioned about animal, fruit and vegetables that they might be carrying. I once had some sandwiches confiscated upon reentry to the US. This is a needed annoyance. When a species is transplanted from one continent to another, it is entering a system of natural checks and balances. In some cases, an animal or a plant can enter a system in which it has no natural predators. It can also prove to be a serious threat to native species that are not equipped to resist it. is a web site that deals with non native species of plants, birds and animals that have disrupted ecosystems all across America.

Being human carries with it great responsibility. Even tossing an extingushed cigarette or a plastic fastener fro the cans of a six pack can have negative repurcussions. Releasing a pet into the wild that is burdensome can set off a chain of events that can endanger an entire species. People who buy pets should really do their homework. Babies of a species are markedly different from adult animals, which can revert to their wild instincts with sometimes disastrous consequences. It is far better to find out from a book that boa constrictors and monkeys can kill and injure than to find out first hand. Perhaps it might be possible to have a fenced in wildlife preserve to accomodate exotic pets that are no longer wanted by their owners. Even better might be to repatriate such animals when possible so they can be in a suitable environment.

Another possibility might be to have a hunting season in which human beings compensate for the lack of natural predators. Even in our troubled economy, there is still a limited appetite for snake meat and exotic leather goods. It might be best for all if we try to make the best of the mess created by exotic pet owners and thoise sly folks who slip exotic species through customs. Being at the top of the food chain carries with it some heavy responsibilities. Reuters News and the New Yorker have brought thius point home vividly. We would be wise to take heed.


On a lighter note, I am including a menu for the Road Kill Cafe, the existence of which is, I gather an urban legend.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Airport Named After Jimmy Carter !

In the interests of fairness, I am sticking to the facts. Souther Field Airport has been renamed after James Earl (Jimmy) Carter, according to Associated Press. Although some people in Americus, Georgia opposed the move, a significant number of locals felt the pride in a native son making it to the White House. Inhabitants of Moravia, New York feel the same swell of pride when they recall Millard Fillmore, who also served a single term in the White House from 1850-53, a little more that 120 years prior to Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy Carter's successor, Ronald Wilson Reagan also had an airport named after him near our nation's capitol in Arlington, Virginia. Though not technically located in Washington DC, it serves the nation's capitol.

Jimmy Carter Regional Airport, as it is now known, is located in Americus, Georgia, a city of approximately 17,000 people. The airport is about as easy to locate as the achievements of the former President after whom it is named. Reagan International Airport is, by contrast as well known and easily located as the achievements of its namesake.

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of Moravia, New York impatiently await the recognition that one of their former citizens once occupied the White House many years ago.

I wish to congratulate President Jimmy Carter on having an airport named after him that is equal in stature to his achievements.

The portrait above is of Millard Fillmore, America's 13th President.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vote For Thompson ! Dump Bloomberg !

I picked up The New York Post today. There was not one article about the mayoral race between Mike Bloomberg and Bill Thompson. There was about four pages bealing with the conviction of Brooks Astor's son for cheating her out of millions while she was suffering from Alzheimers. But not one word about the mayoral race.

Every little local paper is getting big ads from the Bloomberg campaign, which has so far spent $65 million on TV and newspaper ads. Times are tough for the newspapers. Advertising revenue can make a big difference. Who wants to antagonise a client who is giving you so much business?

Any silence about the mayoral race favours Mike Bloomberg, who does not have to compete with straight news stories. Days are going by and little is written by the papers about the ongoing campaign. Bill Thompson has a lot of support among fed up New Yorkers living in the boroughs outside Manhattan.

The flow of information about the candidates and the issues has been seriously disrupted by the silent treatment of the mainstream media. There is no doubt that the Bloomberg campaign has obeyed every single law dealing with campaign finance. Mike Bloomberg can donate as much money as he wants to his own campaign, so it's all legal.

Despite the complete respect for legalities, this election campaign is being run like it would be in a communist country. A lot of New Yorkers are mad that the term limits which were approved in a referendum were overturned in the City Council. Fines ant ticketing have skyrocketed, and nanny state legislation continues to be crammed down our throats. Most people I know are voting for Thompson, and doing so with enthusiasm, but you won't read about that in the papers. At the one time when the man on the street really matters, no one is listening to him.

Even with Bloomberg's obscene spending, Thompson's percentage gap has shrunk to 8%, according to a Survey USA poll. People do not like being talked down to and manipulated by an egotistical billionaire.

Those who so love lofty ideas such as campaign finance reform should really come to New York and see how you can obey all the laws and still do whatever you want if you have enough money.

I have nothing against big business. But small businesses and the middle class are a critical component of this city's success. Under Bloomberg, they are being ignored. Whatever respect I had for New York City's newspapers has been shredded during this election campaign. The New York papers have been AWOL during this campaign. It's completely legal. But it stinks. If I had no other reason to support Thompson, it would be because of my profound disgust with the flagrant attempt of Mike Bloomberg to buy this election. New Yorkers have a choice on November 3. I have a feeling that Mike Bloomberg will look a lot less smug on November 4.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Egypt Pig Slaughter Creates Health Crisis

The latest news to come out of Egypt reminds me of a Road Runner Cartoon in which Wylie Coyote always ends up shooting himself, blowing himself up or otherwise ending up in a smoking crater. Remember the start of the swine flu epidemic? When news of it hit Egypt, the government sprang decisively into action, slaughtering and destroying thousands and thousands of pigs belonging to Egypt's Christian minority.

In Egypt, particularly in Cairo, garbage collection is handled by Coptic Christians, who eke out a living from extracting metal and paper that can be recycled. Many of the Christian garbage collectors live in crowded, smelly neighbourhoods where they consider it a blessing to be free of Muslim harassment. One of the ways Coptic Christians made their living was to feed some of the garbage they collected to their pigs. This provided them with meat at low cost and it kept the city clean. It was a win win arrangement until religious intolerance donned the garb of junk science. When the decree was enacted to slaughter the pigs belonging to the Christians, there were unforeseen consequences. The Guardian reports as follows on the unforeseen consequences of the Egyptian government's stupidity.

According to government figures, about 300,000 pigs have been slaughtered since the culling began in May, and now streets in Cairo are filled with the rubbish that had previously been collected by the city's zabaleen, or garbage collectors, to feed to their pigs.
Too late, the government has seen the problem. In fact, everyone has seen the problem, literally, as piles of garbage accumulate on the streets. The zabaleen had been the country's main clean-up crew for decades, living in shantytowns on the outskirts of the city. But with their pigs gone, there is no need for them to pick up the organic waste they had fed to their animals.
The government has admitted that it overreacted. The environment ministry says there is a concerted effort to clean up the streets before other illnesses occur. But tell that to the millions of Egyptians who open their windows daily to the rotting stench of old food and throwaways.

Was the Egyptian government's action motivated in part by an animus towards its Christians? It is hard to believe that this is not the case. But now the suffering that belonged solely to the Christians has now hit Egyptians of all faiths. Perhaps pigs could be imported from abroad to help the Egyptians with their new sanitation problem and to relieve the economic distress of Egypt's Copts.

For far too long, Egypt's Copts have been harassed and tormented with impunity by Muslim extremists and their collaborators in the government. In this instance, it seems that everyone suffered when Egypts Christians were targeted. I hope this latest crisis in Egypt is solved without loss of life. And I hope it serves as a reminder not to cause suffering to Egypt's poor and disenfranchised Christians