Saturday, December 26, 2009

African Socialism?

In the beginning of the 1960s, the African leaders were “wedded to the idea of African Socialism.”1 This system developed during a period when the continent was still fighting the hangover of colonialism and the systems that were left behind by the Europeans. Interestingly, in most of the thirty-five African states that adopted African socialism, the leaders did not describe themselves as classical socialists. In fact, they distanced themselves from European Scientific Socialism. African Socialism afforded the leaders an opportunity to forge political, economic, and social independence while distinguishing himself or herself from political domination by either the East or the West. Politically, African Socialism was a promise to safeguard democracy and promote individual rights. It also promised to promote social rights while upholding the rule of law. Economically, African Socialism was an attempt at common ownership of production, and common control of the means of production. The capitalistic characteristics of the power to live by rent and the manipulation of labor and profits were to be abolished. To create social harmony, African Socialism promised to destroy the class system that had been established by colonial rule. These African nations promised to institute equal opportunities and that “talent and character” were to be the only prerequisites for attaining employment.2 Man was not to be an end to means but rather an end to a better self. 3This new system would "regard humankind, not as a social means but as an end and entity in society."4 The challenge was, therefore, in guaranteeing some opportunities that would foster the development of the African person. With all these promises for change, African leaders took on the task of clearly defining socialism as it applied to their countries. There were three commonalities with socialist societies that developed in Africa. The first was that African socialism was born out of the struggle for independence between the colonial rulers and the African proletariat class that had been created by capitalism. The leaders wanted to develop a system that would make sure that they “were never again exploited, oppressed or humiliated”, for “it was in the struggle to break the grip of colonialism that [they] learned the need for unity”.5 The second commonality was the argument that African traditional culture was communal, therefore socialist. In this was the belief that the egalitarian system of pre-colonial Africa was the basis that the leaders needed to revisit, and African Socialism would be the path that would lead the Africans back to the traditions that would include shared property.6 The third commonality was the conviction that socialism was the best way to provide democratic political order that was supported by a strong government. Therefore, each state took the initiative to create a system that mostly included nationalizing the country’s industries in an effort to exemplify strong government that had elements of traditional African values.
There is no time period that can point to the end of African Socialism, as this ideal is still held by many leaders and African philosophers. As Sindima puts it, "African socialism is not merely rhetoric, but an unfinished agenda, a project, and a discourse on African values."1 All the systems collapsed. Today, in most places, development consists of telephones that are inadequate, roads without the engineering structure to withhold stress that become deep holes that swallow vehicles, and education in most African countries is poor. The billions of dollars in debt compound all failures that African nations have accumulated, which have literally mortgaged their land and people. It is, therefore, unquestionable that African socialism has not succeeded - at least not yet. According to Fatton, there are four reasons why African Socialism did not see the success that it hoped. Firstly, the idealization of the Pre-colonial culture contributed to the false idea that Africa was inherently socialist. Secondly, the reality of severe scarcity or mismanagement of the materials and the lack of proper organization came into focus. Thirdly, the idea that the assumed process of converting back to the communal way of production would be simple, only it proved to be much more difficult. Finally, there was a contrast between the promises of self-reliance and democracy given societal inequalities, and rising authoritarianism. 2 The failure to fulfill their promises, leaders confronted the people who became impatient viewing their leaders accumulating obscene wealth while they continuously kept sinking into impoverishment. Nyerere's economic policy proved to be a failure although “Ujamaa” villages and nationalization were, initially, greeted with enthusiasm. However, most liberal thinkers were not fond of moving from private to cooperative ownership. Most villages accepted that anything would be better than being under colonial rule because honest attempts could not halt the impact of global capitalism. The enthusiasm was dampened by the 1970’s crisis in the world economy as the production of commercial crops in Ujamaa villages failed completely and left them more destitute than they had ever been. In Ghana, Nkrumah faced the same challenges as Nyerere. Nkrumah was too quick to implement change in Africa. He wanted to achieve, in a decade, what had taken the Europeans a century to achieve and in that effort, he built industries that were not stable. In nationalizing the industries, Nkrumah put them in the hands of inexperienced workers, a problem that Senghor had tried to avoid.3 Like Nyerere, global enterprises affected the results of Nkrumah's attempt to build the economy. In the 1960s, the world Cocoa prices fell, and that proved to be disastrous for Ghana, leading to the decline of the Ghanaian economy. The government's most prominent officials started robbing the people, and the economy was barely held together by the imposition of "high tariffs, price controls, and import licenses."4 In 1966, while Nkrumah was visiting North Korea, his government was overthrown, and the force of Pan-Africanism was reduced to Academic exercises.So what is next for African Socialism?

1 Sindima. Africa's agenda, 118

2 Robert Fatton Jr. “The Political Ideology of Julius Nyerere: The Structural Limitations of 'African Socialism'.” Studies in Comparative International Development 20, Summer 1985: 23, 17

3 Ayyitey. The End of African Socialism?

4 Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: 351

1 William H. Friedland, and Carl G. Rosberg. 1964. African Socialism. Stanford: Stanford University Press: 250

2 William H. Friedland. and Carl Gustav Rosberg. African Socialism, 230

3 Kwame Nkrumah. “African Socialism Revisited.” 1967. Available from (accessed December, 1 2009)

4 William H. Friedland, and Carl Gustav Rosberg. African Socialism, 250

5 Julius K. Nyerere. Ujamaa- Essays on Socialism. (Dar es Salaam: Oxford University Press, 1968), 6-10

6 William H. Friedland, and Carl Gustav Rosberg. African Socialism, 23

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Hutus were victims too...

It is hard not to take offense when you are a Hutu, and all you hear is about the Tutsi victims.
The Hutus in both Burundi and Rwanda were victims too. did they have a right to kill the the Tutsis? No, and vice versa. Both the Hutus and Tustis were perpetrators, killers and yes, victims. After reading a couple of books on the Burundian Confict and the Rwandan genocide, you have to wonder why the Hutus have become the "bad" guys all around. There were no angels by any means in these conflicts, and I doubt that it helps the situation that there has been a one sided factor in what has been years of conflict.
It is no fair to politically favor one group, and to some of us who come from there and have seen the ugly side of these "ethnic" conflicts, it is heartbreaking.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Shining light on rights this World AIDS Day in New York

Shining light on rights this World AIDS Day in New York

To focus on the human rights of people living with HIV, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be joined UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador Naomi Watts, Kenneth Cole, chairman, board of trustees, amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, New York City Speaker of the City Council Christine C. Quinn, and 13-year-old AIDS activist Keren Dunaway-Gonzalez in New York City.

They will gather at the Washington Square Park Memorial Arch where the floodlights illuminating the monument will be turned off at 6:15 to remember those lost to AIDS and will be turned back on by 6:20 to emphasize the need to shine the light on human rights for those living with HIV around the globe.

Floodlights on the Empire State Building, clearly visible through the arch, will also be turned off and turned back on at the same time. Other participating venues turning off their lights in New York City include all Broadway theaters, Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, the Chrysler Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

The New York event is part of global “Light for Rights Campaign” organized by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research; UNAIDS; Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; and World AIDS Campaign.

amfAR and its partner organizations have created a special Light for Rights campaign web site ( that provides descriptions of Light for Rights activities that can be organized in other locations, social networking ideas, and templates for campaigning.

World AIDS Day is an international day of celebration, remembrance and an opportunity for people around the globe to renew their commitment in the AIDS response. The theme for this year is "Universal Access and Human Rights".

Friday, November 13, 2009


La Historia me absolvera
Estos son las palabras final de un autodefensa de Fidel Castro en 1953.

Anyways, I have been reading this self defense by Castro, and I am still amazed at how much a person can talk.
Personally, given their lengthy repetitive speeches, I am inclined to believe that fidel and Quadafi are related. Chavez is joining the ranks quickly too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eroding state?

Is globalization eroding state power and shifting identity? Is the sovereign territorial nation-state going to be replaced by something else?
While globalization has made it hard for there to be a state especially in some countries, the state is not eroding. The people are identifying themselves with the diverse culture that is merging in many countries. A good example of the shifting identity is the US which is the melting pot of the world. More and more, people are starting to like the idea of being called American. However, with globalization some countries are facing problems due to the imbalance in the structure.
Is the sovereignty of state challenged? Yes. There is globalization of economy through the globalization of capitalism. The government is no longer in charge of trade because of the intra-industry trade whereby imports and exports occur within corporations. The government cannot raise tariffs because the corporations are affected and if they are, the economy of the state might be in jeopardy. In Iran, globalization is already starting to take over and in the process the politics are being undermined. The Islamic nation of course in concerned because there is some sort of a globalization of religion. This is why there is an enmity between Christians and Muslims, even thought they might not understand the history that goes with that.
This globalization does not necessarily work to the evil of the state. South Korea was the lucky country. With Japan, globalization has increased their wealth and made it possible to have a strong economy. This however does not apply to Cambodia and Sierra Leone in which both cases the NGOs are taking over providing goods to the people. In this case, the state just serves as a border whereby there are international world arenas where trade of all sorts is going on and the state has no power to control that. People are connecting through these arenas and migrations are taking place. However, the people still remain faithful to their own homes. It’s like being Joseph in Jerusalem and to register you have to go back to Nazareth. While the state’s power has not disappeared, the arenas have provided a way for people to connect with each other.
The media which is a huge arena for the trading of cultures is creating a seamless web of information. The availability of satellite television has made it hard for the state to control what goes out and what comes in. One of the major arenas is the internet. Trade goes on daily on the internet but the state cannot control what goes on there. Sites like YouTube has made it possible for people from all walks of life to get access to any kind of video that can be found out there. There is no state regulation on what is being said on the internet especially in blogs.
Because of this surveillance of technology, there are things that politically, the state cannot get away with. For example if this was a couple of years earlier, some events like the Tiananmen Square Massacre could not have occurred. Someone would have probably videotaped the event and made it known to the world.
While the sovereignty of the state is challenged, it still holds the authority. People like Bill gates might be the richest men in the world; however, they still have to submit to the state authority. The state has the power to use force both physical and emotionally and they have a say in some corporation’s way of handling things. Sometimes, in spite of this authority, it does not mean that the state can’t be bought. They are still the authority behind administrating justice and final say on the law

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Zionism contradicting what Christians believe to be supporting

Whose land is it? Does it belong to the Israelites or the Palestinians? Or is for the children of the promise? There is no easy answer to Christian Zionism. Does the Bible give right for Palestinian Christians to be kicked out of their land? I don’t think so. No matter how we all look at it, it all boils to one thing; control. The Israelites have no right to kick the Arabs out of the Land. The land belongs to the Arabs as much as it belongs to the Jews. In addition, the Christian Zionist has little to do with Christianity but more with the politics of the Middle East.
I always thought that Christianity was basically black and white with no gray areas. However, as I have grown as a Christian, I have found that this is not the case. There are a lot of gray area issues when it comes to Christianity. The land promises in Israel happens to fall in this category. Does our faith require that we support only Israel? As a Christian Zionist you would take a stance of supporting the Israelis through their endeavors. You would be inclined towards what Burge refers to as an expression of “spiritual faithfulness” (pp. 233). However, I disagree. Our faith requires that we support our brothers and sisters in Christ. This includes every Christian in the world, whether they are Arabs, Africans, Europeans or Jews. As Christians, we have an obligation to the Palestinian church because they are as much part of the kingdom as we are. Not supporting them and thinking that only the Jews should have our support is basically taking us out of the promises as Children of God. If the Palestinians do not have a right to the promises made by God, so do us because we are all Gentiles. To some extent, our faith requires us to take a stance. However, it is not a stance for the Israeli and against the Palestinians or vice versa. They are both children of God, none better than the other.
It is very easy to read one book or seat in a church pew and let the view of one individual craft our beliefs on Christian Zionism. This already happened when Cyrus Scofield took it upon himself to foretell the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Scofield wrote that before Jesus was to come back, the Jews would return to Jerusalem and claim their land back. Zionism is not a Christian movement and to maybe the Christians realized this. By adding Christian to Zionism, they seem to have made it okay to believe the way they do. Today, as Burge points out, Christian Zionists have a zeal for Israel and are willing to promote more or less political agendas” (pp. 241). Israel has used the media effectively to gain sympathy from not only the world leaders but the world church. The Christians outside seem to react to the media’s reports of what is going on in Israel. However they pay no heed to the fact that the country is letting the outside world know what they want. After the crusades, the Jews used the holocaust as way to gain sympathy from the land, and when that seemed to loosen its grip, they turned to the scripture.
Much emphasis is put on the fact that Israel belongs to the Jews. However, there is no much focus or much mention of the Land in either the Old Testament or the New Testament. Jesus was very much aware about the conflicts and beliefs about the Promised Land yet he did not pay attention or address these beliefs. Burge makes a statement that each Christian should take time to mull over. On page 171, he states, “If talk about claiming the land was central to Jewish consciousness, certainly Jesus gives us some hints, some suggestions that he understands the debates of his day. He too could read the Old Testament. He understood the land promises of Abraham. Did he not believe them?” Jesus never established himself as a political leader. He was coming for the fulfillment of the promises not to lead Israel to a new order. The Jews were so concerned about defeating the Romans that they missed it when the promised messiah came and went. The people who accepted Christ were not Jews but Gentiles. Then when He left, He ordered the disciples to preach the good news from “Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the world”. Everyone was included into the new promises because by faith, the Gentiles were called the children of God.
Theology of Christian Zionism is attributing to the secular Israel by supporting them in their gains and control over Palestine. If the Christians are going to stand with the Jews, then they are supporting them completely even in their denial of Jesus as their Messiah. Christians can’t have it both ways. They are either for Christ or supporting the Jews in spite of their denial of Christ as the Messiah. Burge defends the Christian Zionists by saying that their support of Israel “has little do with history, less to do with politics… [their] commitment is grounded in sincere Christian conviction” (pp. 236). Although this is a good excuse, it is not acceptable. One question arises then. If we (Christians) support the Jews in their pursuits, aren’t we uniting them in their unbelief? Then how can we claim to be Christians?
Moreover, what about the brothers and sisters of the Palestinian Church? This is one question that Burge raises to the Jewish Christian. In the book, he includes an answer that he received from one from one of these Jewish Christians. To the question, the Jew replied, “’They are not really Christian as you might think…Arabs lie, they cheat in business deals, and they will give you their word one day and then deny it. They don’t seem to respect life or truth like anyone does’” (244). When asked about the rights of Palestinian Christian, the same Jew answered that “you have to keep God’s long-term plan in mind” (pp. 244). Basically the Jews are treating the Palestinians like the Samaritans. Does anyone have any right to judge on who the real Christian is and who is not? I believe that the final decision lies in the hands of God. Whether a person is a Christian or not is up to God to decide.
Palestinian Christians are suffering under the hands of the Jews and the world church chooses to ignore this in their ardent support of the so-called promises to Israel. Ironically, while the Jews and the Christian Zionists are using the scriptures to fight and persecute the Palestinians, the Palestinians Christians are using the scriptures to find solace. Burge tells of several scriptures in the Bible which meal a lot to the Christian leaders and their parishioners in Palestine. One of these scriptures is Luke 4:18-19. Burge says that “Jesus had the poor, the captive, the blind and the oppressed on his mind…God’s salvation would be complete, not just securing our eternal destiny but also giving us a life graced with deliverance from all evil and suffering” (pp. 196)
Studying this topic in class led me to do some more research about Christian Zionism. I went to the Internet where I came across an article by a Jew, who stated,
It was God’s plan for the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the children of Israel, the Jewish people, to be His example to all the nations of the world. We are destined to be the light unto the nations. It was for this that we were chosen by Him. When we stand up and fulfill our destiny we will enable all people to elevate themselves to holiness. This will eventually create conditions for true redemption and world peace under the rule of the living God of creation.

After reading this article, a few questions came to mind. First of all, according to this particular individual, they were to be our leaders to the ultimate peace. If they are to be an example to the world, then what example were they sending out? Or that hating our neighbors and kicking them out of their land was the way to achieve peace? If we follow the Jewish example of how we are to treat our neighbors, then this world will be full of chaos. If the Israelites claim to be the children of the promise, then they should live up to their name. The first thing they should do is live by the first commandment of loving one another. Second, they should live by the golden rule which is to love their God with all their heart, mind and strength. It they do this; there cannot be room for hatred for their Palestinian neighbors. In addition, the Gospel of Christ offers salvation not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles. There is no where in the Bible where it says that the Jews are going to be more favored than the Gentiles. We have all received grace freely not because it is our birthright. When Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned” it does not exclude the Jews. They are going to go before the same judge as the rest of the Christians.
The promises made to Abraham in Genesis were fulfilled in Christ. Jesus was the Seed. While Jews will try to fulfil these promises by law, the promise of an inheritance is made to those who faith in Jesus. In Hebrews 12:18-28, the scripture points out that Christ became the mediator of the Abraham covenant. Through Christ the Gentiles have been grafted in the covenant. The Jews claim the land of Israel because of their inheritance and promises made to them. If this is the case, the Palestinians have a right to the land for two main reasons. First, the Palestinian Christians have been engrafted also in the promises. Burge states that, “If land promises come to Judaism by virtue of tenure in the land and biblical promises, Arabs who embraced Judaism gain these promises as well and their faith in Jesus does not invalidate their claim to the Jewish ancestry”(pp. 199). Second, if the Christian Zionists disinherit the Arabs because of their ancestor Ishmael, then they have missed a few facts. If you look closely, you will find that in Galatians 4:21-31, Hagar is associated with the Jews. Therefore, the Palestinians are as much part of the promises, as the Jews.
Looking at my stance on all this, I have to side with the Covenantal theology. The Israelites are always going to be an important part of the Church because that is where we trace our faith. Although the covenant was not replaced, it is not fulfilled until the coming of Christ. He became the new mediator of the covenant. With His coming, He allowed us all by grace to become part of His family. I believe that history is important to us because it tells us where we have been. While Israel’s history is important, it is no longer significant. Amos 9:7 states that Israel is no different than the rest of the world. They have received as much grace as any other nation.
There is no easy way to conclude. I can say read your Bible and then find the truth, and this would be a beginning, but we need to take it further. Instead of Christians trying to separate these two nations, we need to get on our knees and pray for our brothers and sisters in the Israel/Palestine area. Burge points that “no one is happy in Israel/Palestine. The Israelis are not happy. Their quest for security - haunted as it is by terrors of the past has made them to forge a state that makes few proud. The Palestinians are not happy. Their quest for nationhood has put them at odds with Israel and let to terror and strife that likewise has lost the esteem of many” (pp. 260). Instead of trying to fulfil God’s promises Christians everywhere should be praying for this nation. Pray that God will restore the trust among both Jews and Arabs. Pray that both sides will find healing from their past and that they can both go on without looking back and walk towards building bridges. As Burge points out, it seems that the Israelis want a separation from their Arab brothers. We need to pray for bridges of hope to be built because the last thing we need in the Middle East, is another South African Apartheid.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Asian Tigers Vs Africa

The Asian Tigers have very strong states. They are very industrialized even thought they are not rich in natural resources. In addition, they have becoming some of the leading exports for the US and definitely export more than they import. Even though they are different in the policies in production and even government, these Tigers have risen from the ground and have made themselves known in the World Market.
The East Asian Tigers have five major points going for them. Education is the first key. You can always find some hard workers anywhere, but they will be useless if they do not have the knowledge to work. This is something the African continent needs to confront. The education system is poor. Not everyone has the opportunity to go to school. That is why their scientific systems and technology is less sophisticated. The lack of education has affected many different aspects of the state. To an extent, this has produced a kind of division between the different social classes.
The Tigers have already established quiet a saving system. They have also limited their foreign spending from other countries. The citizens in this country kept their money in the bank and with increases savings the bank could make loans at low interest. They have an emphasis on exporting and they are all trained as to what the foreign investors want. Therefore, instead of producing just anything, their production is based on the foreign need. However, for the African States, this is far from even becoming a reality. They import more than they export. Even then, what they export is not sold on a high price on the international market. The idea of Import Substitution Industrialization whereby countries in Africa would have their own production is not very workable. To have industries, one requires the resources and means to do that. Now the countries like Ghana are focusing more on the Export Oriented Industrialization where they can export things like cocoa and timber.
Another major difference would be in their production. The Tigers have a high rate of production. They started by producing Textiles, then steel and eventually, they are one of the leading producers of autos if not auto parts. Meanwhile, Africa’s rate of production is very low or rather declining. Due to lack of education and proper means to take care of their lands, droughts, deforestation and overgrazing have taken toil on the soil and makes agricultural exports or production to be at a minimum. This makes ISI even more impossible because the resources for industries are not available. When it comes to natural resources, Africa has more advantage than the Asian Tigers. However, to be able to have their own industries for the rubber, diamonds, gold and other precious resources that are found there, it would take more money that would be added to their enormous debt already.
Debt is another major difference. Africa has a large debt especially since 1960. They borrowed money for imports and even try to develop. Therefore, the export industry that the African nations have is mostly to pay for this debt. The Tigers on the other hand had their support from the US. From a capitalist’s view, this would be seen as the semi periphery. For the high investors, countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are the middle points for the Capitalist beam balance. The African nations would be on the other end and since there is less production, the high investors sometimes overlook them.
While both regions experienced some sort of colonialism, one would think that they would have emerged to be on the same level. However, this is not true. The Tigers have stable governments something that is deteriorating in Africa. This would explain why there is no emphasis on education. Kleptocracy is not very heard in the Asian Tigers. There is a political system that supports their rate of production and economic growth. The government is involved in the production and actually emphasizes on some industries for success. On the other end, Africa’s political system is deteriorating. When the imperialists left Africa, they left borders that are not ethically sound. A good example would be the division of Burundi and Rwanda a people who speak the same language and same culture yet divided into two countries. Rivalries and ethnic wars have become common. These wars have hindered the economic growth by hindering government operations.
Japan which is the mother of all the Tigers has become a role model in these parts of Asia. The other countries had some sort of path to follow, something that Africa lacks. In addition, Africa’s population is high and rising. Medical care which was a problem when there was lack of thereof has become a problem for the African people who have a high mortality rate.
Globalization might explain some of the success that the countries are experiencing. However, there are other precursors and maybe an explanation as to why Ghana has not moved high from there were in 1960. Africa has to develop their own path of success. EOI might not necessarily work for them just because it worked for the Tigers. The achievement of success can be attributed to factors like education, healthcare, and a good investment and production system. Therefore, these factors should be in place before Africa tries to rule the world.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missiles crisis was one of the major events in both American and World history. More than 200 million lives both American and Russian could have been lost, that is not taking into account the Cubans. Had war began; this could have gone down in history as one of the worst catastrophic events that could have brought another world war close to hand. How did these two states, which were allies during the Second World War, become bitter enemies? A better question yet- how did Kennedy and Khrushchev manage to put their competition behind to come to an agreeable outcome? There exist no black and white answers to these questions, but more puzzling is what appears to have been negligence for the Cubans whose lives could also have been affected if war was to break out. This crisis taught the world that the little powers or states do not matter in the long run. While Cuba might have gotten the protection and a promise of no future attacks, this was not about them. This was about two superpowers still in a non-combat struggle termed as the ‘cold war’. This is why to the Soviets; it was not a Cuban crisis but a Caribbean crisis. Fidel Castro realized too late that he was not the key player in the crisis. He realized that, just like the Bay of Pigs invasion, this was another crisis that he had to deal with, henceforth the name October Crisis. It was late before Castro discovered that, Cuba was a lynchpin, on what was an ongoing strife between the Soviet and the US. Kennedy walked with the glory, Khrushchev walked away with his convictions and shame, and Castro remained in Cuba still facing US’s antagonism.

It was obvious that after the crisis, the Soviet people were unhappy with the situation with the US especially when it wasn’t long before Khrushchev was demoted from power. The Soviet and the US were in constant argument especially about Berlin. The US considered themselves as the ally of Germany’s future and USSR was seen as holding back the progress. Therefore, events like the Berlin Blockade only intensified the tension between the Soviets and the US. All parties involved felt misunderstood especially when there was a lot of history between them. During the crisis, several rights were broken, like the right for the Soviets to trade with Cuba, which was violated by Kennedy’s blockade. In the face of the international community especially in the west, it was Kennedy who was much credited for the peaceful solution of the crisis. However, the real man behind the solution was Khrushchev. He is the one who made a choice to not go into Cuba through the blockade and when he was given an ultimatum, he made a choice that was a suicide to his political career.

All three sides wanted to avoid war that seemed inevitable. Cubans wanted protection from the United States, and the offer of help from the Soviets was much welcome. However, Castro realized that he had provided the US and the Soviet another warring ground. Kennedy and Khrushchev, being described as men of integrity, despite their advisers saw this as a bargaining chip. At a time that both political realms had been taught to distrust each other, these two world leaders decided to take a chance and trust each other’s word. In the process, they were able to prevent a war that could have resulted into casualty numbers worse than both of the world wars combined. The Soviets were quite aware of the relationship between Cuba and the United States. They chose to ally themselves with the very same regime that the United States was trying to eliminate. There were also the missiles in Turkey and Italy under the control of the US that were pointed to the Soviets. To add to this equation was the conflict between the soviets and the US in Berlin. Through out the negotiation, US promised to not attack Cuba and secretly remove the missiles in Turkey. In the end, the Soviets got what they wanted. Khrushchev in front of the Supreme Soviet stated, “At the request of the Cuban government we shipped arms there…Our Purpose was only the defence of Cuba’” (Allison, 47). Therefore, while Khrushchev lost face in the global platform and his own state; Kennedy got the glory. However, Soviets (Khrushchev) objectively got what they wanted namely, Cuban protection and the removal of the missiles in Turkey.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Partisanship is a necessary Evil?

AKA...give Obama some breathing room and enough time to mess up. After all, Bush was given EIGHT years. Did I mention that Bush was able to turn the world against the US, and also turn two countries into a blood bath?

Okay on serious note. I was affronted by a person, that I lightly call a friend. He and I have been in political debates for over five years now. He knows where to jab me, and I have learned the right sentences to send out there. This particular friend does not like Obama. is safe to say that he actually think Obama is the Anti-Christ and the is in contract with the devil. But this person delights in pointing out that since I don't hate Obama, I am going to be going to hell pretty soon.
We got to the topic of why the US is really in trouble....and my simple answer was Partisanship.

While the US is very united in attacking other countries, when it comes to domestic policy, they are very divided. I can think of only one President who was able to make both sides see that they could reconcile their differences for the betterment of the US: Johnson. And that was the end of it. Now, both parties are fighting like cats and dogs, wanting nothing to do with the other.

True, Partisanship is what democracy is made of, but the US is not a democracy, it is a republic. Study the difference, and you will find that, for all the cries of democracy, there is lack of it in the US. However, there is something to be said that these parties have not killed each other, realistically speaking.

Partisanship is what everyone seems to "think" they know or stand for. The Conservatives hate the Democrats and vice Versa. It is very hard to stand in the middle with these kind of politics where being a Democrat means so much more than being an American.
There is a third party in this whole chaotic mess: The Media
It is not two major opposing parties with differences in principles and ideology. Media brings much of the ugliness, and hate to Americans. It is true the major media is Liberal, but the conservatives are so much more to blame. They actually use the churches, which is probably worse, but I have never been one to listen to them.
Here is my problem with Partisanship,.....
The big problem is that people battle with their brain on two issues... for example, Homosexuality and Abortion. And then on the third issue eg terrorism, they don't follow what they know is right ... because their "interest group" is going the other way. Why vote for a Democratic president if you do not agree with what he is representing? or even so, why Vote for a Republican if he has one right and ten wrong?
Partisanship is short-cut ideology. It has provided a way you can vote and do your "duty" without having to understand everything that's being battled.
Politically speaking, the more the Republicans can defeat, the better they think they will do in the 2010 elections, and the democrats think that if they bring about major changes, the public will want them for another 4 years. However, it is interesting that both parties neglect the individual, neglect the powers of the state government, and wish to enlarge the federal bureacracy....yet have the guts to fight about how one wants government regulation and the other doesn't. Soon enough, you find libertarians everywhere.
Experts claim that Partisanship is necessay, and maybe so. It might be that we need to have these different parties...but when it is doing more harm than good, isn't it possible Bi-Partisanship on some issues could be a better solution than partisanship?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How much more Blood would you like?

Has anyone noticed that blood has become cool? or rather the drawing of blood.
There is no day, that vampire stories are not being told. True story, a while back in June, I got the AM newspaper, and it was talking about night walkers aka Vampires. I was so taken back, and part of me was freaked out. This is a NYC paper so there is no doubt that if there were vampires, they would flourish in this city. The subways are not exactly the safest place, and they are dirty, and dark enough for any creatures to hide there.
Anyways, Vampires are becoming a "thing". media rages about them. there are movies, there are TV shows, websites. I mean, vampires are being taken as another form of romance. I grew up being scared out of my wits of Dracula. Seriously, this is the guy who is supposed to suck your blood and kill you. Or if you are chosen, you walk and live in the dark. What is romantic about that?
Did I mention the blood?
What is it with humans and wanting blood shed? Off course some of us squirm at the sight of blood, or if you are like me, the sight of blood just makes you sick, and the thought of lives lost just overwhelms you.
So why is it that everyday, blood is shed?
Wars and the fact that they are taking place is no news any longer. But have we stop to think that for those of us who have been blessed with liberties, and all that is good we are actually like ticks, sucking blood from someone. For those Nike sneakers, there is a child in china who probably lost a lot of sleep, and their freedom so that you could get the sneakers not only cheaper, but at prime conditions.
Blood diamonds...forget the movie, it is real. There are people who have lost their blood, their loved ones, so that the couple visiting De Beers can have the perfect diamond, the perfect cut...
For the oil that fuels energy, someone in Iraq is paying for that, someone in Nigeria is paying for that.
So most of the time, people should just ask "how much more blood can I offer you?"

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nobel Peace(Hope)Prize

Politicians are Liars by definition. Even Obama could do no better than lie.
Now why people thought he would be able to save the US from the 8 years of Bush is very much beyond me. Plus, he has congress to contend with. You see, people should be really mad at Congress not Obama. Sometime, he is just the pretty face behind the politicking. (Side note here: he is on the top of the list of world leaders who are decent to look at.)

The recent chaos was brought on by his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize. The beef was off course that he was nominated after 12 days in office. Now I could go into some theory here of keeping him up the bar while his popularity votes dwindles...but that is not necessary. In a personal opinion, he did have the guts to take office after Bush...that had to be something worth recognition. Although I think that the Norwegians were more likely giving Obama the prize as a way of Europe thanking him for ending the Bush Era. But then off course it doesn't do well for Obama, especially since most of Europe is socialist in nature.
Before people get all their wings bend out of shape...lets not forget that he is not the first to bring to question the minds of those who chose the nominees.
le Duc? (as we call him "the Duke")
So those are some of the questioned marked winners. When we start mentioning nominees, the list includes Mussolini and Stalin. Oh and it has also been discovered that Hitler was a nominee.
All this to say, I wouldn't put too much weight on the prize just because it carries the "Nobel" beside it. In Jagland's words, "The committee wants to not only endorse but contribute to enhancing that kind of international policy and attitude which [Obama] stands for,"

The prize, with the hefty sum that it comes with, is a sign of hope. That is the only explanation. It is a sign that maybe, in spite of the mess that the world is in, there are people who are willing to stake their lives and reputation to try and do some good. I sound like an optimist, and that is probably the softer side of political hopes.
By the way, lets keep in mind that the first person who commented on the prize was a fellow winner...and a Polish-Lech Walesa. (Don't forget that the Poles and the USgvt are not exactly in good terms).
Like many things, the Prize is a political tool. It is also, sourced by media. The Controversy is just another way of seeing how people can be so gullible. I am not sure if people are mad that Obama won? or that a democrat won? or that an American won? or if they really care that the prize means nothing but words on a peace of paper...or if they actually care that peace or the idea of peace has lost its meaning. Alfred Nobel's intention was that the prize would go to a person whom " during the preceding year... shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses" Which makes me think that, we are way off with this. Mother Theresa, yes, King jr...Yea. the UN, questionably yes....Kissinger? No

World peace...what a nice concept. Even nicer when it is spoken by a blue eyed, or dark haired beauty in a sequined dress, full of make-up and straight teeth smile. But lets be honest with ourselves, we say we want peace, but our actions, our greed becomes our enemies. If for anything else, Obama can have the Prize for trying, or taking some baby steps towards engaging the world-which is more than can be said for many other leaders.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Health Surgery

It is not news anymore: The US heatlthcare system needs surgery. As to what kind...well that is debatable. It is true that some people in the US can receive Healthcare with no problems but not everyone is so lucky. For Starters according to the Commonwealth Fun, there is an estimated 100,000 deaths per year in the US that could be easily preventable with access to healthcare.
Now I don't know about you, but that is huge number.
This past couple of months, this topic has been the subject of every media outlet. Don't forget Congress and Wilson's outburst in congress. That was sadly poor display of behavior for a seasoned politician. They twisted it, and chewed it, churned it and spit it out. This country was turned into a socialist, and turned back to what it is supposedly it- which by they way, I am not sure anyone knows what that is. I do not think that anyone knows what is going on with the bill anymore. If they do...then Brava!
In all fairness, the Healthcare Industry would not want any kind of major surgery on healthcare. For one, they are bribing politicians by the $327 millions that they contribute to campaigns-yes including Obamas. Oh and change means that these industry CEOs might not be able to milk out the big Check from the unsuspecting. In his letter to Colonel Carrington, Thomas Jefferson said "Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind; for I can apply no milder term... to the general prey of the rich upon the poor."
When I first read this, I thought it a bit harsh...and then I found it to be really quiet true. The rich exploit the poor...and they take vacations while the poor are dying.

Anyways, the way I see, Congress has three choices:
1. things stay as they are. (can't be worse than Africa or other periphery countries)
The Health Insurance Companies will be happy, but people will continually die, and things are bound to get worse.

2.HR.3200- America's Affordable Healthcare Choices Act of 2009
Obama gets his foot on the changes he wants. The democrats are happy, and the Republicans are pissed. The Health Insurance companies will be able to be act responsible and not overcharge people for minor treatments. There would also be a public option government run insurance, which would enable more people to be insured.

3. HR. 676 United States National Health Insurance Act.
DUH! Most US citizens seem to want this. But this sounds more socialistic than anything that Obama has proposed. The Health Insurance companies will definitely be screwed.

So here is what it is... 46 million people have no insurance but the Insurance Companies made $13 billion in profits last year. I would say this means that any action is better than none.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

How Africa became a Dystopia

I am always weary of writing about African politics. There is really no simple solutions because no one cares. Albeit you hear about all these politicians rising up and blah blah blah...but really, no one gives a care on what happens.
The African leaders are happy to steal from the people and the International Community
The african people elect leaders that give them nothing but trouble
Africans would rather see a freedom fighter in power, rather than an intelligent leader.....
The IC does not care as long as they have a charity case to make themselves feel better.

But today I cannot resist. You see, there are independent reports about African leadership. There are two ratings that came out last week, and according to both, Mauritius is on the top and Somali is on the the worst governed stated. (actually Somalia should not even be there because they really have NO leadership)
Okay there is off course contention on why there are two ratings. Basically an American and an African got together, and each one wanted credit, so they parted ways and came out with two different ratings. thats the end of that.
My interest is in the fact that Bostwana is on the top 10 list and then off course South Africa joins in, even though Thabo Mbeki was a leader for a whole couple of years. These scores are based on
1. Safety and Law
2. Human development
3. Sustainable economy opportunity
4. Participation and human rights

So basically, any country in that sense loses out. seriously, Mauritius is a small country, there can't be too much going on in there for mayhem. And Egypt??? Seriously, this is the place where people with PhD are driving Cabs....
I will give them Ghana, because this country has improved, and might yet be the salvation of Africa, if and if...Qaddafi does not drive the AU insane and actually declare himself kind of Africa.
Word of to those living in Sudan, Somalia, Chad, Zimbambwe, CAR, Congo, Cote D ivoire and are Get out and move to Mauritius.
My only comfort is that Burundi is not on the bottom of the list. It is #39, just after Nigeria. lol (well this is according to the Americans, the africans say that Burundi is #38, but Nigeria doing much better)...

This is how Africa became a dystopia. Leaders decided on African socialism, and gained too much power and turned the countries into a mayhem. The End!

Monday, October 05, 2009

A modest Proposal

Unlike Jonathan Swift, I am not about to write my own satire here. That kind of intellect I am afraid is beyond me. It appears that more people have read and are threatened by this work more than thought. Plus, I don't think getting rid of people is the answer to anything.
A modest proposal in health care....
There have been a lot of talk out there about this particular issue. You know somehow, I wonder if people believe the crap they are writing. First, yes, there is need for health care reform. The poor suffer while the rich get richer...huh, then you have to wonder if this is indeed justice at all.
The modest proposal is this, what if people would just pay for their own health care?
Oh, and how about minimizing costs from insurance companies? Or instead of employer based about Individual insurance becoming cheaper, and the tax bill becoming equal, instead of one having to pay more because they have individual insurance.

All in all, I a bit tired of this whole scheme. If the reform does not work, then revert to old ways...besides, I doubt that Obama will be elected again given the circumstances of his presidency. So when the next president comes, he can just make things better....(if that is not an option, then suck it up and make the best of it)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

So...Iran has technology to make a bomb?

Sunday mornings usually do not constitute of me having to go around prancing for what could be juicy news. AKA reading the new york times.
I save that pleasure for the evenings.
So front page story. Iran has Data to make a Nuclear Bomb. To which my reaction was....yea? really...well hello!
Once again, it is interesting how Israel keeps getting into this little disputes with Iran. I mean, its Germany, Britain, France the US, and...Israel? It provides a good laugh really.
On the other hand...Iran keeps calm claiming that all documents contrary to the official statements are fraudulent.

I am not much into gloom, but I feel like there is a potential ticking bomb here. If I was the UN, I would be careful on how I proceed.

Friday, October 02, 2009

What is US getting from Israel?

I have the habit of picking up interesting topics in the New York times...and since I have a whole hour in the subway, I catch up pretty fast with the news.
So today's topics range from Iran/Israel/ and off course my favorite...USA
So first let me comment on the fact that Republicans with their "holier than thou" religiosity have managed to enter into too many scandals that well, its embarrassing for them. catching up to the democrats? it might be that, Republican politicians have always been in the deep end, they just covered it well, and since they are "Christians" they learned to cover for each other. I don't know if this goes well for them at all.
Anyways, now to the most intriguing of topics...
Iran met with the Big Five,- what Qaddafi calls the "terror" council. Apparently they have agreed to have some inspections done, and if all fails..gues what, the US will do what they do best...SANCTIONS! for all the smart people that the US has, and for all the "good intentions" that they have. Oh not forgetting that they are all about human rights...they really know how to violate all three. Santions are in a way the most horrible act of international politics. They put sanctions on a country...and guess who feels the affects...THE PEOPLE. And you wonder why the US is not oh so popular with the world. The leaders will keep eating, and dressing like kings, and the people will not even have bread to eat. All because the US felt it necessary to "punish" the gvt. As I said, for a country full of intellectuals...there is a very skewed view on this.
So back to Iran. They promise that they are not building weapons and the wold will leave them alone. Well here is the catch, No one believes them. and by no one, I mean the US. If Iran complies with the IAEA...then they are off the hook for a while. However, there is a suspicion of more uranium to build nuclear weapons. Now here is where Iran makes the mistake. They have the not so popular leader in they keep singing about NDA which is not smart on their part. They should just keep quiet and maybe the rest of the world will leave them alone. The scare is that Tehran will leave the NPT and actually build the weapons. Its actually laughable if you think about it. The permanent members of the UNSC are all armed with weapons. Yet, here is a country that can attain it, and well under what I would say to be US pressure, they cannot abtain that. Wanna bet that Israel has something to do with this?

Speaking of Israel!! favorite country when it comes to International arena of politics. Really...its fun. There are these recent reports of the fact that in the recent attacks, both Israel and Palestine violated human rights. So what do you know, the Palestinians seat and wait for the judgment, but Poor poor oh so poor Israel protests. I was reading this with tears in my eyes because I was laughing so hard. It did not take a genius to figure out that the US was behind the delays in further action. I mean, if this was another country, the US will be pushing for trials and arrests quicker than anyone can say Amen. But since this is Israel, there had to be independent researches, and reporting...which delays further action.
So in sight of this,you have to wonder- What is it that Israel has that the US wants? or what are they getting from each other....?
I am past the whole "Israel needs defending". If the Arab nations came together to attack Israel, it would take the hand of God to prevent that, and the US's mighty hand would only be a stick. If Iran wanted to bomb would only take a discreet involvement with Hamas to make that happen. So really, US is not protecting Israel. Plus, Israel is not poor. At least no to the standard that the US would be giving them money year after year, ending up in the hands of military.
It is certainly not because US feels guilty. if anyone gives this reason, it would be laughable. It is much as republicans shout it "because they are a chosen people"...that is hogwash.
So what is it? Why is US protecting Israel, even though we all know that Israel is guilty as sin when it comes to Gaza?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Socialism at the wake of Capitalism failure

"I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating... because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition."...F. Castro

Since I started graduate school, I have been fazing in and out of my socialism and Communism class. Well really I should probably mention that there are a couple of brownnosers in the class and being that half of the time I wanted to wring Marx and Engel's did not help with my situation. But then I began thinking on the consequences of Capitalism....
Since Capitalism is the father American Economy, I wondered how this could be the reason for third world socialism.
SO what do you know, I am doing a research paper on that. THIRD WORLD SOCIALISM...okay someone shoot me now....before I turn into a socialist myself. haha SYKE! not gonna happen.

Okay so we know that most of the third world is poor and well they have no choice but socialism. Not that capitalism is doing any good in the US now, especially with the present economy.
Fidel Castro, in all his magnimonity was the one quoted saying, " They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?" And he is right, Capitalism seems to have failed everyone else but Americans. ( I could go into theories of why this is the case...but lets not do that now)
Socialism has failed has caused as much as capitalism has..."wars and competition" However, in the developing nations, it is easier to be a socialist than a capitalist. Not to mention to an extent, capitalism and Capitalists have driven it to be so.
For example, Somalia. if you don't know the awful situation there, well go and do some research.
Somalia is one of those nations that was able to kick the US out of the country after trying to
"save" it. It is one of those international humiliations that Clinton will never live down. it is also has become a very very dangerous area for the US. Not to mention harboring those pirates we keep hearing of. To be honest, I admire these young somalians. They are stupid for sure, but they figured, they had to take the chance that no well meaning, well reasoned person would ever take- attacking an american vessel.
History has rendered that the US-Somali relations will always be rocky. The US butts in wanting to put in some kind of Capitalist economy, and that fails. then off course now they are threatening to stop food from flowing into a country whose people have no government nor food. These people are dying, and all US can think of is...well, they kinda deserve it.
In some ways, the US is no better than those terrorists really. I know that is a radical thought. LEt me explain this..
Terrorism by defination is...
1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
3. a terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

In many ways also...the US is much better off that terrorist. but at the game here...I am talking about Somalia. How can you deny people food when they are starving...especially when more than half of your food ends up in the garbage. isn't this a coercion by using food as means of bargain. Plus, as the word goes, you incite fear/terror in people that it is hard to have independent thinking. NO country wants to piss the US off and give Somali food. Otherwise they would be on the next terrorist list. Forget International problems...what about local problems? I mean seriously...people in the US are starving...EVERYDAY, and the US gvt with its red tape does not have any viable solutions on how to give all the excess food to those people who are in desparate need of it.

Monday, September 28, 2009


(I am aware of the ethical implications of having two blogs on the same day, but today, is just that day that one needs to have more than one blog...and its okay. As I write this, it is my fifth blog of the day, and its only 3:30pm)

In my short career in politics, I am yet to meet a man or politician who has had the ability to earn my admiration and loathing at the same time. That is a great task to achieve. The honor goes to none other than Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi or simply....GADDAFI!
If you had the honor of watching his 15 minute turned 90 minutes speech at the GA of the UN, you noticed a lot head turnings, and alot of twisting in the chairs...most I should say by African leaders who are members of the AU and who I might add voted him as their leader. Not that I like calling people names but does "idiots" fit in this category? oh I enjoyed reading The Wall Street Journal on the 24th, especially since it had Ali Abdussalim of Libya hanging in shame.
The man
ripped up a copy of the UN charter; called the Security Council a "terrorism" council; declared a two-state solution in the Middle East unatainable, and proposed a lifetime term for US President Barack Obama. I am very surprised it took him only 90 minutes. Okay, so no leader has been this bold for a long long time. Actually scratch that..>NEVER> and alas it had to be an african leader- a mad one at that.
You think I am exagerating, well, his delegation arrives in the US where no one wanted to put him up. I mean, he was literally not welcome anywhere in states. He ends up pitching a tent in Bedford on a property owned by Trump. And just like his style, he appears before the UN regally like the prince he believes himself to be. After calling Obama "our Son" continuously, I wonder why Obama did not invite him to the UN reception. Yikes, that must have hurt.
Albeit he was shably treated by NY State. He needed the respect that every leader deserves...he might be crazy, but we are not in high school anymore where you could treat bad people by shunning them away and mistreating them. Imagine if Obama visited the middle East and got the same treatment that Gaddafi got. Imagine the image now that Libyans have of America. Oh, and this was Gaddafi's first visit to the US. So he probably won't be coming back.
40 years in power and the man is still a symbol of either madness or sheer brilliance. That is where he gets my admiration. He pretty much gave the middle finger to the world. But he also pointed out something that I agree with...(its kinda hard not to find something to agree with in a 90 minute speech.) he said that A
rticle 2 of the United Nations Charter states that the "Organisation is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members". But as Gaddafi rightly pointed out, in practice this isn't the case as long as the Security Council is a closed club of big powers. he noted that while the UN was set up in 1945 to "save succeeding generations from the scourge of war", it has failed dismally in that task. There have been 65 wars since the establishment of the Security Council, he said, waged in the interests of "one country, or three countries or four countries".
Oh but he lost it again when he started having conspiracy theories on Swine flu and the Assasination of JFK. Thats probably why to some the speech he gave was brilliant and to some, pure madness and ramblings of a mad man.

So now I wonder...after all the history of bad blood between this leader and the US or rather the West...what was the AU thinking? Electing him as the President of the AU...and basically giving him power of negociation between that organization and others international entities. As if they are not facing enough trouble, they had to lose face infront of the International community.

BF Virtue 3: Order

"Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."

It’s a common story that we have all heard, or lived. A man wakes up and realizes his life is a complete mess. Not just his mental capacity, but physically, his surroundings are just in shambles. His bed is never made, papers and magazines are stacked all over the place, and dirty clothes lie on the floor. What is he to do? So he decides that he needs to take charge of his life.
Where to start? Order. This is among the personal virtues among the 13.

We never think of this, because to some of us...well order is just a very very tedious task...(ask me in HS, and I would have told you of stories of how I hated to clean my room) Then I moved to college, and well, disorder was my way of rebellion from everything that I was taught as a child. Then I would feel guilt, and I would clean my room, and then after two days, it would be in a tidy mess again. This by the way, still happens today. Except my excuse this time, I am working on clearing my junk and keeping what I need.

Now to the question of the Why?
Why is it so hard to keep order? Hmm...yes, the basic answer to that is Entropy. Every time that man creates order, he goes against this force. You agree with me that it easier to keep a messy room than a tidy room...
Here is a scientific explanation....

The first law of thermodynamics tells us there is a fixed amount of energy in the universe. Energy can be changed from one form to another, but never created or destroyed.

Although energy cannot be destroyed, it is of little use to anyone if it cannot make things happen. Unfortunately, the second law of thermodynamics tells us all energy changes decrease the amount of useful energy in the universe.

Consider a box of small magnets. If the small magnets are lined up in the same direction, as a group they can attract other metal objects. If they are not lined up in the same direction, individual magnets cancel each other’s effect and cannot do useful work. The same is true of energy – it is useful when it is ordered, but when it is disordered, its effects cancel each other out.

Entropy is a measure of the lack of order in the energy.

Now, since I am not a scientist, I am probably not sure how to expound on this, from its basic understanding. Or my basic understanding stated above.
The secret to beating this is well, being efficiently efficient. Easier said than done. But the idea that if you have to make order, you have to act. You have to be able to just stand up, and do it, at that moment, without giving yourself excuses of "later"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Virtue 2: Silence

"Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; Avoid trifling Conversation"

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt". ~ Mark Twain
Silence is really one of the hardest things to practice. No offense but especially to women. I find that sometimes, I JUST CAN"T SHUT UP!. Its a disease.
but Why is silence a virtue?
Have you ever tuned out or tried to tune out everything, to just have silence? Other might call this inner peace, but essentially, to be silent is to find peace. Or the inner escape.
BF however speak of silence as basically "know when to speak, and when you do, make sure it is not rubbish"
I mean, how hard is that, in this modern world...where technology is king, and you can speak without ever having to open your mouth. We have twitter, facebook, myspace, Hi5 and my favorite, Bebo---all which really point to our vanity.
So how do we avoid being so trifling in our conversations?
Here are a few things you could do:
1. Don’t talk on your cell phone when you have a captive audience.
It needs not is simply rude.

2. Don’t talk or answer your cell phone while talking to ANYONE in person.
I am yet to meet anyone who loves to be the third party in at two-way conversation. Not cool

3. Don’t use your phone in any place in which people expect a certain atmosphere.
like the Libraries, Banks..if you speak in a restaurant, don't be the idiot who speaks loudly for everyone to know what you are saying.

4. Never say something to a stranger on the internet that you would not say to a stranger in person.
As if the internet is not full of rubbish already. Think before you write.

5. Don’t attack people personally
listen, it is everyone's prerogative to have an opinion and to disagree with anyone. But do not attack them personally. That is not only uncalled for, but is show poor means of argument.

6. Don’t just debunk things
GUILTY as charged. I love to disagree, but do not just disagree for the sake of disagreeing. Do not be mean just to be mean...and by goodness sake, do not be a cynic unless you have some good points to make.

7. Stop the excessive vulgarity
Nothing shows a juvenile mentality and a lack of class like excessive vulgarity. If you need to use these words, then there is really nothing meaningful that you needed to say. I mean, getting salty in a conversation is not a crime, but if every three words are followed by F- then you might need to go back to language school.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Virtue 1: Temperance

- Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation-

To have study BF it would be a mistake to assume that for this virtue to be the first, was a matter of coincidence. After a close look at what it really means to own up to this particular virtue, you find that it is a foundation for the next twelve...or rather a foundation for life.
Temperance is defined as " moderation in action, thought, or feeling OR habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetites or passions" (Webster Dictionary)
Look at the definition, is there anything really appealing to the idea of restraint? Its not sexy, it is not "rational" to the modern world where we are taught to take, take and take it all if you can. This is the world where more is better, and less is just an ugly word. If one can master Temperance, then the rest comes easy. If you master the art of moderation of appetites, then the rest is not much to conquer. You see, eating and drinking are some of our primary and most demanding primal urges. Without either, you die, and too much of it, and that also leads to its own kind of destruction.
In the words of BF...temperance "tends to procure that coolness and clearness of head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up, and guard maintained against the unremitting attraction of ancient habits, and the force of perpetual temptations"...and there you have it ladies and gentlemen.

Even so, the importance of temperance is emphasized by the fact that, it is one of the four cardinal virtues in the ancient "hellenic"greek culture...and one of the seven heavenly virtues.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

THe Virtues of Ben Franklin (Intro)

I had Posted this on Facebook, but decided that it is better suited here....

Lets face it, I love history, and I enjoy reading about historical figures. I wish some of them were alive so I could have a shot at marrying one of them...haha. A gal can dream right?

Anyways, one of my favorite people, (after I read his work) is Ben Franklin. There are some points of his theories that I do not agree with. Simply because Deism for me is sourced from One being. That would be maybe the one point we might not agree with. Lets not forget that he was claimed to be major skirt chaser...(although this might never really be confirmed)
Anyways, so my days at Malone were spent mostly in history and pol sci books. While I owe a lot of my political growth to Dr. Waalkes, I owe my appreciation for history to Dr. Miller, but this particular interest Ben Franklin is owed to the one and only Dr. Case.
A while after my study of Ben Franklin while in High School, I learned about his 13 virtues. But I never gave them thought until I was in College.
After carefully reading the autobiography and then some biography, I came to appreciate these virtues.

Franklin admitted that he was never able to live the virtues perfectly nor really accomplish them all, but admittedly become a better and happier man for having made the attempt to follow these virtues.
I have adopted these virtues, and I think them so honorable that if we were all to try and live by these, the world and us for that matter would be better for it.

Therefore, for the next 13 days, I am going to do something I did a while back. I took each of these virtues and wrote and explored them in my personal journals. Now I want to do this has become what I have found to be a "healthy" habit
Join me for the journey.....

Here are the virtues simply listed...
Ps: if you look at the virtues closely, you see that they range from personal to social traits.
1. "TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation."
2. "SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation."
3. "ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time."
4. "RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve."
5. "FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing."
6. "INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions."
7. "SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly."
8. "JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty."
9. "MODERATION. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve."
10. "CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation."
11. "TRANQUILITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable."
12. "CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation."
13. "HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates." (this will be interesting)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh lovely Cuba....

For a small country, Cuba has a way of shaking things a bit.
How is it...that a nation...scratch empire like the US has no idea if Castro is dead or alive?
Seriously, he is becoming my favorite villain. he is sleek, he is deadly. The man has the US guessing for years. (Unless of course he is dead, in which case, Raul is very smart on protecting his brother) btw...this is the same Raul who met with the USSR back then.

Unless of course the US knows he is dead, and the CIA are running things in Cuba. That is another option, or rather theory...but then there is Raul, which means that this theory is rubbish. So lets think about Castro. He was in power for 50 years or so...managed to piss off 10 US presidents (lucky Obama, he came just in time for Raul) Either way, he made sure that the US became the "big bad neighbor" and managed to get sympathy from some pretty powerful countries. (was very low key on support here) and the missile crisis did not help much either. Then, managed to get Hugo Chavez into his grip...I would say the man is well, in a weird sense, to be admired.
He was the same one who was caught saying, "I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating... because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition.",...Never mind that he is right on this. But at the same time wrong on the issue...but still there are economists who will be quoting him for a long time.

Cuba oh Cuba...poor, and socialist...but they still have better health care system than the US. Now how about that!

Fears in Healthcare....

I get a lot of emails from several organizations...and today, Sojourners send me one that I thought was interesting, so I will share this with you.
Glenn Beck has received a lot of attention for his inflammatory rhetoric lately. Recently, he shared a personal story about his daughter who has cerebral palsy, which gets to the heart of his fears about health-care reform:

They [the government] will say exactly what doctors said about my 21-year-old daughter: "She may not really have a quality of life. She may not walk or talk or feed herself. But then again miracles happen." The "then again, miracles happen" part of that will be left out of the conversation. And I will not be able to see my daughter's 21st birthday, where I can reflect with her how miracles do happen. Because really, as I was told at the beginning of her life: Well, what kind of quality of life is she going to really have? I don't know, but that's for God to decide, not the government. -The Glenn Beck Program, 8/6/2009

His predictions that health-care reform would lead to government bureaucrats euthanizing people like his daughter are dead wrong, but we agree with Glenn on this point: God is the giver of life. However, what Glenn fails to realize is that lack of affordable, accessible health care is one of the reasons that people choose to terminate difficult pregnancies.

Consider two very close friends of the Sojourners family who recently found out that their unborn baby daughter has a brain tumor. To protect their privacy, we'll call her Milagro - meaning "Miracle" - or Mila, for short.

The tumor is the same size as her brain and is causing a build-up of fluid and the enlargement of her head. Significant brain damage is near certain. She's been given a 15 percent chance of survival and then only with a severely impaired quality of life. And yet, they've been told what Glenn's doctors told him: "miracles happen."

Mila will likely be delivered in December. With their current coverage, premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs for a complicated pregnancy will cost 20 percent of their modest income. But if their total bills exceed $250,000, they must pay all additional expenses. It's unclear how likely this is, but multiple brain surgeries and the additional care Mila may need could spell deep financial trouble.

But their worries don't stop there. Our friends receive their insurance through the mother's university. After she completes her Ph.D. this spring, her coverage will end in August. After that, with the possibility of Mila's severe pre-existing conditions, they may not be able to get any coverage at all.

Our friends do not fear a future where a government bureaucracy forces them to kill their child. Doctors in the current system have already suggested abortion. Their fear is much more immediate: If by some miracle their child survives beyond the womb, will they be able to afford the care she'll need once the insurance coverage ends?

Contrary to Glenn's fears, nothing in any of the proposed legislation would take away the right of a parent to carry her child to term. Nothing in any of the current legislation would deny life-saving treatment to anyone in need.

Those painful decisions would still be left to the families, and ultimately, yes, to God - just like the choices Beck had with his daughter Mary. It's our current system that does not ensure that families have all the care they need - before or after the birth of a child.

All of the reform proposals being debated include provisions to cap out-of-pocket expenses, end exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and eliminate limits like our friends' annual $250,000 cap on coverage - removing the financial pressures that currently lead many families to terminate difficult pregnancies.

it is amazing to me what fear can do to people.

it is also amazing that there can be so many misunderstandings among people.

Glen Beck, well the poor man...I understand his fears especially with his daughter...but he has a responsibility to his listeners and if he inflames fear in them, off course the whole public is going to be in a propagated chaos.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hot Heads

We have too many of them.
And it is no surprise that most of them are men.
Surprise Surprise
It is about a week later and I had to finish this post. I just had to...because I am just not sure that some people understand the ramifications of being a hothead.
By hotheads, I mean know it alls.

Every generation has them. and eventually they either become bitter or dillusioned old men or women. It happens....well actually some of them are lucky enough to have the saving grace of being wise.
Lately, I have had the pleasure if not the horror of encoutering some people, who call themselves deists, or atheists. Very interesting concepts. Now, these are self-proclaimed know-it-alls. and at my age, we all have gone through this, and I am probably still going through some of it.
I mean, we think we know it all, we think that there can never be truth beyond what we know. My saving grace has been that, I really do not think that I know it all. and that I know that I am not as stupid as I seem. that being said...I also know that there is part of life that I will never be able to explain, and that with my finite brain, I cannot possibly embody ALL truth. We want truth..unfortunately, we are just born to be that. Naturally curious. However, wanting truth, is not the same as pursuing truth. I mean, honestly, and fervently pursuing truth. Some of us find the truth faster, and some of us, well, we just lag behind a bit, thinking we are the best, and we have cracked the code of life. This we forget that, there are people who have lived past 100 years, and even they still haven't cracked that code. So what makes us think that at 16 , 19 or 23, we know what truth is? or what life is all about?
Hotheads is actually another word for arrogance. Let me go back to the Deists and Atheists wannabes. I say Wannabes, because thats it, they don't really know what they believe in. They claim in (picture this in an oratory manner), "I was Once fooled, but now my eyes are open and I KNOW THE TRUTH" aka, those stupid morons that we call our elders know nothing, and we the hotheads, young hip generation...know what truth is. We have been ENLIGHTENED! You know Franklin was truly an man of enlightment...and even he did not embody arrogance, or claiming to know the truth. and he was a deist.
When talking to these people, I get testy, because I know that these enlightened wannabes, will be the rubbish leaders of tomorrow. So I shake my head and walk away sometimes. Because if it is anything I have learned, you cannot reason with stupidity.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Are we just that Dumb?

my guess will be yes, we are that dumb.
Eight years ago, there was hit, and pretty serious that it shook the world. After all, it was America. The world superpower!
But how soon we forget about that.
What happened to that to all those people who on 9/12/2001 were flying American flags from their homes, and on their cars?

Every disagreement dissipated. No longer were we Republicans or Democrats. No longer were we white or black. THERE WAS UNITY. Now, I am not fond of all things America, but on that day I was proud to see people united, people coming together. I was proud to be a student here...( I was also scared out of my mind...and would have taken the first flight back home if I could)

But it wasn’t long thereafter that the display of flags dwindled and that unity, well just turned into hatred. Things did change...if you would call it positive. Now we have colors for emergency alerts, and there are definitely more restrictions on travel. But who are we kidding, things are just as normal...only that every year, on 9/11, there is the false sense of unity.

Are we forgetting? Maybe not, but people, well I think that they no longer thought it a relevant memory for a life change.

Soon, this will be another Pearl Harbor, even though according to Roosevelt, that day was to live in infamy. Now, some kids in school do not even know what December 7, 1941 represents. In fact not even some of the adults could say they have a knowing of what that date represents.

I am not American, but I know that this day was important enough for it to mean something.
So what is bad about dedicating this day to be the day of Service? how about being so meaningful and actually do something worthwhile. Remember those lives by serving that so bad?

But as human beings, we are so dumb sometimes. Really, because we want the flowers and the tears...I gues that is what memorials are about...but what about doing something useful.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Can Do Bad All by Myself

I am going to skeet off political issues a bit, and maybe deal with this tid bit that we call humanity.
That title is the new movie by Tyler Perry.
I can do bad all by Myself...and to which Mary J. Blige sings the titled song that is sure to make it into the charts. However, now I am examining at the pain and suffering that is represented in the movie. I admit, I have a weakness, and that is people who are going through pain. I seem to have a radar for that, and it breaks me every time. I am still working on getting to know how to control heartache in the midst of pain. But I gues you cannot just turn that off, and on.
The act of caring for others is called common decency, and I wonder why we lack that as days go by.
Why is it we lack compassion? Why is it, instead of helping each other, we turn against each other like leeches, feeding on other people's misery? Does it makes us feel better to not care? Does it make us feel better to just make sure that someone else is suffering more than you are?
As it is said, pain is a price to pay sometimes, but some seem to have a bit more than their share, and I wonder if it would break us to just help those people out. I wonder if it would hurt to be kind to others.
Would it kill us, to stretch out our hand and help out? would it hurt our pride? Would it makes feel less than we are?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Inconsistencies in American Politics

Read the title, and find it not so shocking. If you think I am wrong, then you might need to revisit your history.
Republicans have disgusted me lately. I mean really.....but then so have democrats. This is to say, I am neither a liberal nor a conservative, which gives me an objective on the matter of principled politics. Here is my beef with both, especially when it comes to faith. Conservatives seem to think that they are carrying God's agenda. Democrats seem to rebel to this because in truth, conservatives are not carrying God's agenda. For me, it brings a struggle to do God's will that always falls short of the goal. There is no where on earth that we will ever complete God's agenda, or even completely come to know of this agenda., so why are the Republicans tripping with morality all over their agenda. I seem to remember, they like their Democratic counterparts are sleezies, and can lie and cheat, and be adulterous as the rest of the other parties.

But let me bring it back to the reason why I am writing this article. Lately, Obama Addressed school kids. "Back to school " speech. But off course, it wouldn't be a speech without parents (mostly Reps by the way) freaking out because they are afraid of Nazi germany repeating. Actually that sounds stupid just writing it, so I am not sure what they are afraid of.
I ask these same parents, where why they when President Bush Senior made similar assertions with the kids in 91. I mean, a republican says "Kids talk to me" and it is seen as an encouragement, but a democrat says the same and it is called propaganda, socialism, etc....
I mean am i the only one who is seeing hypocrisies in this, and the idiocy in the reaction to Obama's speech?
lets be fair, this event would have been so much tamer if Cable news hadn't just blown this out of proportion. Not to mention the newspapers.

Americans need to chill, liberals and conservatives alike.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Politics of Friendships

There are few things I do not like talking about, or rather exploring, and one of them is the bounds of friendships. However, lately I find myself vexed at some particulars who I am not sure I understand. It seems that friendships have rules that can be broken, and some that are as elastic as rubber, (in that if exposed to becomes very pliable or melts)
Growing up, I learned the art of diplomacy, maneuvering and outmaneuvering situations. Those are talents that are overlooked yet they make the world go round. I have applied these lessons in most parts of my life, and have always trying to find one area in my life where diplomacy is not essential. The one place for me is friendships. I have never had to worry about my friendships, because once they are not working for me, I just walk away. Not a good policy...but it seems to have worked.
But lately, I have developed some strong friendships that I can't walk away from even if I wanted to. Therefore, I have found that diplomacy has to come into play even more so, because you learn to mask your feelings, and maneuver situations that hurt you, and work on the smile even when you want to scream.
Now I am working on answer to the question of whether friends are supposed to hurt you?...How do you deal with friends who are so self-absorbed that they hurt you, unintentionally?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nobody Wants Peace in Israel/Palestine

It is strange that I am inspired by The West Wing for this post. It occurred to me, as I lazied around the computer monitor enjoying my favorite show, that no one would want peace in the in this region. I mean, the media, the US, the world...would assume that Israel wants peace. They would also assume that the Palestinians are okay with Hamas- both not really true.
Lets see, this crisis has what I would like to call-- a conflict of interest!. Really! Israel wants THE land, and Palestinians want THEIR land. As I said, conflict of interests. This is even enhannced when Israel shows no mercy, and Palestine wants no bargaining. (which makes for a pretty good, hearty discussion rounds in the UN summits)
It would also seem that there is a big assumption, that International Community (IC) wants peace and peace only- which is also a farce
Really what fun is that? That means that Iranians would have no one to want to blow up (if indeed they want to blow them up) The US will have no Palestinians to feel sorry for, and Israel to baby around. and all around the IC will have nothing to blast about when it came to the Middle East. This conflict is the soul of most of ME policies held by different countries. Policies which translate into "you are either for Israel, or you are not"

Lets face it, Israel is a war state that is fed by the endless conflict, paranoia and grandiose dilusions(megalomonia). Don't agree with me? Read your Bibles and History books lately? if not...go back and then tell me I am wrong.
There is also a factor that is downplayed, and cannot be ignored. Israel is a regional superpower. They have for what it counts the fourth Army in the world and enjoys the patronage (for a lack of better word) of the world's Superpower and mostly Europe. ( talk about Major guilt here) Lets contrast it with Hamas, ( who we talk of, shuddering and doing the cross sign as if it is a dirty word). Hamas has, hmmm...has no tank, no apaches, no fighter jets and have the littlest of support Iran and the Hezbollah. So, why would Israel be considered to be so frail?
Given, they have a land, that is just as small as my country (Burundi) if not bigger. They also have the disadvantage that were they to lose a war, that would be it for them...they definately owe the US for the Yom Kippur War....
all that said, do they really want to have peace, where they won't be babied anymore by the IC? don't think so. They depend on PROPAGANDA! bet you haven't heard that word before...I mean its only used rarely.
Some have suggested that for peace to reign here, there has to be a repeat of Oslo, and to them I ask..."Do you want another Antifada?"
Some suggest a 1967, yea not gonna happen if Israel has anything to say to that.
so whats left? Peacemakers? if Elias chacour has anything to say to this, it is that peacemakers are the hope for both sides..... but I have feeling that if US and Israel has anything to say to this, peacemakers will not prevail.

So who wants peace then?
-the US? Nope, they would rather portray their might with the guns and tanks, and fighter jets
-The Irab nations? nope, then they wont have a reason to hate Israel and any IC supporters.
-Palestine?- not really, they want to play victim...even though it might be unfair because they are among all these groups mentioned, the ones who want the peace much more.

I hardly doubt that anyone will live to see the end of this war. generations before are feeding hate and revenge to the generations after, and it might be the unending circle after all.