Whether any of this makes one iota of a difference, at least those of us who participate can feel that we at least did our part.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Whether any of this makes one iota of a difference, at least those of us who participate can feel that we at least did our part.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Burma received its independence from colonial Britain in 1948, and enjoyed a brief (but troubled) stint with democracy until 1962 when General Ne Win usurped power in a coup d'etat, establishing, in 1964, his "one party" state. His radical "Burmese Way to Socialism" (which included self-imposed isolation from the West) led one of the richest countries in Southeast Asia, within less than 20 years, to be classified as one of the poorest countries in the world, and it remains so to this day. So much for the progressive ideals of socialism!
In 1988, dissatisfied with both the economic situation and political oppression, student demonstrations (which later galvanized others to action), eventually led to another regime change, but not before more than 1,ooo demonstrators were killed by the military on August 8, 1988. But those efforts towards re-establishing democracy, and the many lives lost, were for naught. In September of that year there was another coup, this time headed by autocrat General Saw Maung who abolished the BWS and established, in its place, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). He immediately suspended the constitution, which has never been re-established. In response to continuing public unrest, approximately 3,000 more people were massacred, and at least 10,000 students went into hiding.
In 1989, the SLORC changed the name from Burma to Myanmar.
The SLORC maintained firm control (under martial law) until 1990 when parliamentary elections were held, though who knows why. As expected, when opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi' (who was under house arrest at the time, because yes, she is an opposition leader) and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a majority of seats, the SLORC refused to accept the results, and hordes of political activists were imprisoned, instead, for good measure. Aung is still under house arrest, although many fear that since the recent protests, she might have been hauled off to jail. The current leader, General Than Shwe, has led the country since 1992.
In 1997, the ruling party changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Peace? How ironic, considering the turn of events in Myanmar, today.
From what we know, the peaceful protests began on August 19th in response to exorbitant fuel and gas price hikes, but have since escalated into violence as the Buddhist monks, barefoot and weaponless, continue to demonstrate in defiance of curfews and a ban impose against gatherings of 5 or more people. The government, though oppressively socialist in nature, is also (oddly enough) strongly influenced by Buddhist tradition, and fear of what might happen if they harmed the priests had tempered their reaction to the protests, until now.
There are reports (though unconfirmed) that shots have been fired and that at least 5 to 8 people have been killed, some of them Buddhist priests. At least 300 people have been arrested and many injured. It's obvious the dog of socialism, feeling cornered, has lashed out, regardless of the consequences. They will not relinquish control without a fight, even if it means another massacre similar to 1998. Hopefully, I'm wrong.
And what no-one hears about is the apparent genocide the Myanmar junta is waging against the ethnic minorities of that coutnry: the mostly Christian Karen, the Shan, Kachin and Rohanis. According to a very inciteful article in spiegel.de, ethnic cleansing in the mountains and genocide in the jungles has been taking place for decades amongst these minorities.
My heart breaks for a people who live in fear and who so yearn for democracy, that they will risk their lives for it. And yet our ultra liberal left, our socialist-leaning fringe take the freedoms we so blessedly enjoy for granted, by embracing and glorifying a system that historically oppresses and tyrannizes the people it governs.
One of Aung San Suu Kyi' most famous speeches eloquently describes the power of corruption
"It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it." [snip] "The effort necessary to remain uncorrupted in an environment where fear is an integral part of everyday existence is not immediately apparent to those fortunate enough to live in states governed by the rule of law. Just laws do not merely prevent corruption by meting out impartial punishment to offenders. They also help to create a society in which people can fulfil the basic requirements necessary for the preservation of human dignity without recourse to corrupt practices. Where there are no such laws, the burden of upholding the principles of justice and common decency falls on the ordinary people. It is the cumulative effect on their sustained effort and steady endurance which will change a nation where reason and conscience are warped by fear into one where legal rules exist to promote man's desire for harmony and justice while restraining the less desirable destructive traits in his nature."
Official Myanmar website, for a look at the powers of self-delusion.
For more information on the situation in Burma.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I head off tomorrow on my road trip! I'm taking my time, so I will be doing the drive in 2 days, rather than in 1 mind-numbing day. I gave up on that many years ago. Am hoping that being sequestered in my car, with no distractions other than driving (don't worry Dad!), I'll get the final pages of the script memorized. Because of the extremely short rehearsal period, and my large part, I decided I needed to be "off-book" (as we say) before the 1st rehearsal. We shall see. Problem is, there are 6 different versions and I started by memorizing almost half of one version, until I discovered we'd be using another text, so ended up learning the other half in the other version. I'm not re-memorizing the first half, so that's that. They will have to deal with it. Age has priority, and the other 3 characters are young-uns, so they will have to adapt. Easier for them, anyway. Age does have it's usefulness.
Off to bed, so I can get an early start.
See you somewhere between here and there.
Monday, September 24, 2007
In a recent post (upon learning of Eddie's tragic and untimely passing) I wrote about how guilty I felt for not having followed through with a simple request Eddie's dad made of Eddie's 'admirers' in May. Soon after publishing that last post, I received an email from David Jeffers that brought tears to my eyes. For some reason, he was unable to post a comment on my blog, so he asked that I post the content of his email after I read it.
What touched me most, was that this man, in the midst of what both he and his family are going through, had the graciousness to reach out to me in kindess, in order to comfort and alleviate my feelings of regret.
Here is what he wrote:
How about if I take the first step? It's Dave; Eddie's father. My dear friend you have no need to feel guilty or apologize. I appreciate you spreading the word about Eddie's article. I encourage you and your readers to check at www.newmediajournal.us for my tribute article about Eddie. It will be out Monday morning and is titled "Hope Rides Eternal." I know you want to do something, so here's three things you can do and I hope it helps alleviate your pain and guilt:
1. Continue blogging; it is vital you do this.
2. Honor Eddie's life with a commitment to stand for what he believed in. That will be addressed in my article and on my blog in the coming months.
3. You can give money to Eddie's favorite charity, www.fisherhouse.org.
I hope this helps, God bless you. Do not fret another moment. My family loves you and more importantly, so does Jesus.
I wanted to wait until I had read his beautiful tribute to his son (which, too, brought tears to my eyes) published in The New Media Journal, today, before I published his email. I highly recommend reading it.
So, this is for you David. Thank you for your past military service, and that of your son! I will continue the fight, in any way I can, to ensure your son's death was not in vain. And I will donate to fisherhouse.org in his name.
May you and your family be showered with all of God's good blessings in these sad and trying times.
God Bless all our soldiers, this country and the world!
Saturday, September 22, 2007
To find out which candidate best represents your beliefs etc. click here.
I was rather surprised at which candidate came up as my top match, not that I have yet to decide who I will pick, but, what I found extremely scary was the most top-matched candidate (on the site) was loony Mike Gravel, of all people, with 15.65%! Followed by Dennis Kucinich with 11.67%.
Here's another link to another candidate finder. Interesting stuff!
Friday, September 21, 2007
It's never been more obvious than in Jena, Louisiana where 6 young black teens face up to 80 years in jail for a school yard brawl that has deepened the racial divide, and was precipitated, to begin with, by racism.
Although the actual details vary, according to different sources here, here, here, and here, what we do know is that predominately white Jena High School, in Jena Louisiana, still practices (unofficially) segregation. There was a shady tree (now burned down) known as the "whites tree" because it was (unofficially) off limits to blacks. It seems that blacks and whites at Jena High School don't integrate. The whites congregated under the "whites tree" and the African American students would gather elsewhere. Sometime late August or early September, 2006 during a school assembly, one or more black students decided to challenge the status quo and asked the Principal if they too could sit under the tree. The response was that they could "sit wherever they wanted."
The next morning 3 nooses were found suspended from the tree, although it's unclear whether this happened prior to or after the black students happened to exercise what was rightfully theirs to do. The Principal of Jena High School recommended the 3 white students responsible be expelled, but Superintendent Roy Breithaupt (and the Board of Education) chose to suspend the culprits for a mere 3 days, claiming it was just a childish prank. This, of course, angered the black community and set into motion a series of events which eventually led to the beating of a white boy and the reason the Jena 6 are on trial.
It's important to follow the series of events to recognize that this case is truly an example of the racial inequality in our justice system.
First of all hanging nooses on trees is not an adolescent prank, as Breithaupt intimates, it's as much a hate crime as burning crosses on lawns or painting swastikas on Synagogues. These children need to know it is not okay to do things like that, and that they will be punished for flagrant racist actions. They should have been expelled, or at least suspended for a much longer period of time. Perhaps this would have lessened the tensions between whites and blacks that ensued after the the 3 day in-school suspension was meted out.
As far as I can cobble together from the various sources linked above this is what happened:
Fall of 2006: As tension mounts, fights erupt between black and white students at Jena High school. Unknown arsonists set fire to the campus in November, both sides blame each other. A black student, Robert Bailey, trying to enter an off-campus, all-white party is beaten up by a white male. Bailey claims he was hit on the head with a beer bottle. Justin Sloan is charged with battery and placed on probation. Several days later, at a convenience store, a young white male (who was at the party) pulls a rifle on 3 black students(including Bailey). The gun is wrestled away from the white male and Bailey takes the gun home. Their stories contradict each other but, ultimately, Bailey is the one charged with theft of a firearm, disturbing the peace and 2nd-degree robbery. The white male who pulled the gun on the black youths- gets nothing!
December 4, 2006: Again, the details are sketchy and vary, but it appears that 17-year old Justin Barker (white) is beaten by a group of black students (including Bailey) after Barker, earlier that day, allegedly taunted Bailey for having been beaten up at the party. Barker was left unconscious with some cuts, bruises and a swollen eye, but was well enough to be released from the hospital after only a few hours, and able to attend a school function later that evening.
The Six Students: Robert Bailey, Jr. (17), Mychal Bell (16), Carwin Jones (18), Bryant Purvis (17) and Theo Shaw (17). 14 year old Jesse Ray Beard is the only one being charged as a juvenile, the others are being charged as adults, and the D.A. upped the assault charges to attempted 2nd degree murder!
What I find appalling about this whole situation is:
1. That the kids had to even ask for permission to sit under that tree.
2. None of the white's involved in any of the altercations received punishment appropriate to the crime, and some received none at all.
3. The black teens are being charged with attempted 2nd-degree murder which is a blatant and gross miscarriage of justice.
I will be the first to dismiss the 'race-card', but in this case, no way. This is not fair, by any means.
It just demonstrates how racism still exists not just in rural Louisiana but in our justice system, as well, and when young lives hang in the balance, this is not right.
First of all, why are schools still segregated in that way? It's not like we speak 2 different languages. You might not be able to change how families pass down, from generation to generation, their biases and prejudices, but we can do something about it in our schools. I think we should insitute some kind of race relations workshops and classes in the school systems, this way we can teach our kids how to get along with others. Their futures (and ours) depend on that.
Photo Credit above: StrangeFruit- lynching of Rubin Stacy 7/19/1935 Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Click on link for story.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Sgt. Eddie Jeffers who wrote "Hope Rides Alone" was killed in action on 9/18/07 in Ramadi, Iraq, where he was bravely serving. I don't know the details, only what I read on Canada Free Press. (If you haven't read it, please read it in his honour).
I posted regarding his commentary "Hope Rides Alone", back in January, 07. I was so impressed with what he wrote, I emailed him and wound up corresponding, for a short while, with his Dad, a man of faith who was very proud of his son.
This news touches me deeply because it is tinged with regret. At the end of May, I received a group email from his Dad informing all those who had contacted him about Eddie, that Eddie would be spending 2 weeks of R/R, in June with his wife. He wanted to surprise them for their 2 year anniversary with a 2 night stay in a lovely resort and, apologizing upfront for any offense people might take, asked those who wished to contribute to send 1 dollar to help defray the cost. It was a humble email and I took no offense, but I procrastinated, as I have a tendency to do, and never wound up sending the dollar. Now I feel guilty because I never did, and he's gone. I'd like to contact his Dad, but I'm not sure whether I should.
The lesson for me, is to always follow through, or be a victim of regret!!
Rest in peace, sweet soldier and God bless you for the ultimate sacrifice.
God be with his family.
H/T United Conservatives
Found this on RightTruth.
Sgt. Eddie Jeffers actually died in a rollover accident in Taqqadum, Iraq. Somehow makes it even sadder. A devout man of faith, like his Dad, 23 year old Eddie enlisted because "He believed he was on a mission from God."
He is a true hero!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
While much of the civilized western world has condemned Osama Bin Laden and his vile terrorist tactics, and much of the world mourned (and continues to mourn) the loss of thousands of innocent lives on 9/11, there are still those who continue to praise and celebrate Bin Laden and the shaheeds he has inspired to commit terrorist acts.
The Palestinians are guilty of this, but what else is new. According to the Palestinian Media Watch, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has published (since 9/11/01) in its daily newspaper, Al Hayat Al Jadida, cartoons glorifying Bin Laden and the terror attacks of 9/11; like the one above of Bin Laden with his 2 fingers in the shape of the Twin Towers proudly lifted in the sign of "victory". Of course, the Palestinians have a history of virulent anti-US sentiment, so it's not surprising. Remember, those horrifying videos of Palestinians celebrating in the streets the day of the attacks? And in a poll taken in December of 2005, it was found that 65% of the Palestinians supported Al Qaeda attacks on the U.S. and other western countries.
Interesting to note, per PMW, that Al Hayat Al Jadida is owned by the PA, and apparently controlled by the office of Ahmoud Abbas. And yet, we still continue to support the Palestinian Authority, both financially and politically, in spite of this profound hatred for the U.S.
According to PMW:
Earlier this year, a former Minister from Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party wished Al Qaeda success in its attacks against the U.S., and in its targeting of President George W. Bush. The Fatah leader, Abu Ali Shahin, said in an interview on official PA TV: "Oh [Al-Qaeda] brother, leave us and focus on your business. You have Bush! Do to Bush what you want, and we wish you success with Bush, even more. I, Abu Ali
Shahin, wish you success with Bush... We are fighting the Americans and hate the Americans more than you!" [PA TV, Jan. 1, 2007]
I realize the U.S. has a history of often siding with the lesser of 2 evils (in this case Abbas) but one has to wonder how productive is that, considering the money we send could be used harm us. When are we going to draw the line and say "enough is enough! We refuse to support those who hate us and wish us harm!"?
Friday, September 14, 2007
SCANDAL ALERT: Condi Rice co-owns a house with a Stanford liberal documentary director who used to make liberal documentaries with Bill Moyers! What a hypocrite. Rice, of course, works for an administration that is totally conservative and always doing things against liberals — and now we find out that she shares a home with a liberal?
Gasp! Oh shame!!
Good grief! You're a hypocrite because you happen to live with people who don't share your beliefs??? How idiotic (but typical) a statement is that? There are many people who have lived and live (quite harmoniously, thank you very much) with others who don't share either their political or religious beliefs. This fact does not make them hypocrites, it makes them inclusive and tolerant. Uh, can you say James Carville and Mary Joe Matalin, for one?
The article goes on to say:
According to Washington Post diplomatic correspondent Glenn Kessler’s book about Condi — which we sort of flipped through, but obviously not closely enough — Rice owns a house with liberal filmmaker Randy Bean. Oh, and there’s a third co-owner, too: “CoitBlacker, a Stanford professor who is openly gay.” Oh, and Randy Bean’s a woman.
Horrors!! So, anyone who co-owns or shares a house with another person of the same sex is automatically assumed gay? How bigoted and small thinking is that? And frankly, even if she happened to be gay, so what? There are gays who happen to be Republican. I've met a few, not many, but they do exist. And in fact, some of those do not lobby for gay marriage. I met one gay man, recently, who does not feel the need to legalize marriage for gays, and he's a Democrat! Does that make him a hypocrite, or is it okay because he's gay? I have a few gay male friends, in the theatre, who I dearly love, and I certainly do not consider myself a hypocrite.
I also find it interesting that Wonkette does not mention (although does link to) an article that states that Blacker sold his share back to Bean and Rice, knowing full well that most people don't bother reading past the original post. It also explains how the co-ownership came to be:
Bean explained the joint ownership and line of credit..... by saying she had medical bills which left her financially drained and Rice helped her by co-purchasing the house along with a third person, Coit Blacker.And nowhere in either article does it state that they actually live in that house together. All it mentions (in the rawstory.com article) is that the real estate records show Rice is a co-owner.
Libs, in their judgemental way, tend to lump all Republicans together as if there was one standard set of traits attributable to Republicans, and frankly there's not. Republicans come in many shapes, forms and sizes: from liberal to ultra conservative. You can't peg us. So stop showing your ignorance.
But what I found most offensive, was the typical foul comments left by Wonkette's readers. Which again, just illustrates how moronic and distasteful they can be.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Amr Waked, a young and up-and-coming Egyptian film actor, shooting a joint BBC/HBO docudrama in Tunisia about Saddam Hussein, faces censure by his union, and a ban from ever working in Egypt again if he doesn't drop out. Waked plays Hussein's son-in-law, and the Israeli (who is said to be of Iraqi origin), Yigal Naor, plays Saddam. Waked claims he had no idea that Naor was an Israeli when he signed the contract, and has told his union reps (in an obvious effort to dissuade them from forcing him to quit) that the film is pro-Arab and anti-U.S. foreign policy. Not surprising, considering the production companies involved.
Although quitting would constitute a major breach in contract, and the actor has told his union that there would be severe consequences, the union is not backing down, and has said it would help him financially if he did quit. I'm going to assume that most actors just want to act, they could care less about politics or anything else (except for the few of us who do care), and being forced to make a decision like this is despicable. Either way, whatever he decides, he's committing artistic suicide. If he quits the film, this young actor (who was also seen in SYRIANA, with George Clooney and Matt Damon) faces being blackballed in Hollywood. If he doesn't, he faces never being able to work in Egypt again.
And why unions involve themselves in such matters, in the first place, is a bone of contention for us, in this country as well. That is one of my major gripes with my unions. They should concern themselves with matters only related to actors, not dabble in politics. I resent having my dues being doled out to political causes that I do not agree with. But at least our unions don't dictate who we can or can not work with. Ashraf Zaki, head of the Egyptian Union for Actors said
"The position of the union is clear in its rejection of normalization [with Israel] and requires that members abide by this position."In spite of the 1979 Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel, there is still great antipathy for the Israelis and reluctance to expand and normalize relations.
How pathetic and sad, when religion and nationality become factors in artistic endeavours.