Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January 30th, Day of Solidarity For The Imprisoned Iranian Students

Iranian students are still being arrested and imprisoned simply for holding peaceful demonstrations, so Persian bloggers and others are designating January 30th as a Day of Solidarity. This post is dedicated to those who yearn for freedom, but sadly do not have it.

We are so blessed and fortunate to be able to demonstrate peacefully, if we so choose, without being slammed in prison, and then left there to languish.

The following are only some of the many yound students still incarcerated:

Arash Paknejad (m), Mozandaran University
Saeid Habibi (m), as member of student’s human rights reporters
Anoshe Azadbar (f), Tehran University
Elinaz Jamshidi (f), Azad University of central Tehran student of communication
Mehdi Gerilo (m), Tehran geophysics center
Nader Ahseni (m), Mazandaran University
Behroz karimizade (m), Tehran University
Nasim Soltan-beigi (f), Alame Communication University
Ali Sa`lem (m), Polytechnic University, student of Master degree in polymer
Mohsen Qanim (m), Polytechnic University
Rozbeh Saf-Shekan (m), Tehran University
Yaser (Sadra) Pirhaiaty (m), Shahed University
Saeid Aqam-Ali (m), Yazd University
Ali Kolaee` (m), Azad University of Shahriar City
Amir Mehrzad (m), (high School Student)
Hadi Salary (m), Rajaey University
Farshid Ahangaran(m), Rajaey University
Amir Aqai (m), Rajaey University
Milad Omrani (m), Rajaey University
Keivan Amir Eliasy (m), Master of industrial engineer
Soroush Hashem-poor (m), Ahvaz University
Farshad Doosti-poor (m)
Sohrab Karimi (m)
Javad Alizade (m)
Mohammad Salleh Auman (m)
Mehdi al-lahyari (m), Sharif industrial University, student of master degree
Rozbehan Amiri (m), Tehran University, Student of computer sciences
Bahram Shojaee (m), Tehran-south Azad University, Student of Chemistry engineer
Saied Aqakhani (m)
Majid Ashraf Nejad (m)
Peiman Piran (m), by other student report about him*
Aabed Tavanche (m), Polytechnic University
Soroosh Dastestany (m)
Amin Qazaei (m)
Bijan Sabaq (m), Mazandaran University
Anahita hosini (f), Tehran University
Morteza Khedmatlo (m)
Mohamad Pour Abdol-lah (m), Tehran University
Bita Samimi-zad (f), Polytechnic University
Behzad Baqery (m), Mazandaran University
Soroosh Sabet (m), Sharif University
Morteza Eslahchi (m), Allame University
Mostafa Shirvani (m)

From Kamangir's blog:

"In the past month and half, many students from different cities and universities have been arrested, on charges related to holding peaceful ceremonies for the celebration of the 7th of November, the National Day for Students. They have been behind the bars since. During
these days, their families have not been able to visit them and only some of them have been given the chance to have short phone calls with the inmates. This has caused a lot of anxiety and tension for the families and has resulted in their many protests in order to pressure the government to release the students, to no avail.

We honor the freedom-loving students of Iran, some of whom are also
bloggers, and thus on January 30th we rename our blogs to “Bloggers’ Solidarity with Imprisoned Iranian Students”.

Our hopes and prayers are with the students and their families.

HAT TIP: Blazing cat Fur

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Gorbachez Claims Russian Electoral System Needs Major Revamp

I've been complaining about our electoral system recently, and I firmly believe something needs to be done, but our problematic system pales in comparison to those of other countries- Russia, case in point. Even Mikhail Gorbachev (the last leader of the former U.S.S.R) has been critical of Vladimir Putin's recent political shenanigans:
"Something is wrong with our elections, and our electoral system needs a major adjustment."

This, in response to the Russian government's refusal to allow opposition candidate, former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, to be placed on the ballot for the upcoming March 2 presidential elections. They are claiming that 13% of more than 2 million signatures necessary to participate in the elections are invalid. You might recall that Kasyanov's campaign has been fraught with troubles including voter intimidation by Putin's side. Putin is hell-bent on making sure his hand-picked successor Dmitri Medvedev (first deputy prime minister) gets the post. Why? Because Medvedev will pick Putin as his P.M. and Putin, though he can't serve a 3rd term, can serve as P.M. and Putin does not , in any way, want to relinquish power. He might not be President but he will still be ruling the roost.

As flawed as our system is, at least most everyone has the chance to run for President, even odd-balls like Mike Gravel on the left, and Ron Paul on the right, and all the other bizarre assortment of candidates that wind up on our ballots in November. At least we live in a democracy where we can vote!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Primaries, Caucuses and Polls, Say What??

I hate to sound like a broken record, but our electoral system stinks! It's in desperate need of a major overhaul, particularly the primaries, where we're treated to a hodgepodge of methods from which to choose our next presidential candidate. Scattered over a period of several months, there is little consistency in the various processes and we, the people, have absolutely no choice in the matter. From caucuses to actual primaries, they amount to nothing more than a personality contest, and who happens to have the most time and money to spend traipsing around the country campaigning for votes. It's all about visibility, and who happens to endorse whom. It rarely has anything to do with who is best suited for the position, although every once in a while the right choice skates through, in spite of the insanity that is our electoral system. Campaigning is all about making yourself known to the voting public whether through TV ads, or personal appearances, rallies, whatever it takes to keep yourself in people's minds. I have to do the same thing to make sure that directors and others remember I'm still alive. Out of sight, out of mind. And, it's obvious those with a smaller war chest have a far more challenging time keeping themselves viable.

Then you have the infamous polls, which are another major factor in shaping who eventually winds up as the nominee. And when you spread the elections over several months, the polls can be very detrimental. Sadly, people are very influenced by polls, and if they see their candidate of choice is lagging, they will opt for their 2nd choice. It's short-sighted and shows a lack of faith, but this, unfortunately, is what's happening with Rudy Giuliani- the best choice for this country, at this time in our history. I'm still voting for him this Tuesday, and I pray that he skates through with all the absentee ballots and early voting that has yet to be taken into account. Miracles happen and I refuse to give up.

I encourage all of you Rudy supporters to disregard the polls, or previous losses in other primaries and caucuses. Vote with your heart. Vote for Rudy this Tuesday, if you happen to be having a primary!

And if you're a democrat reading this, vote for Barack Obama! He's a far better choice than the poisonous Clinton Duo.

My post on campaign reform, "Mine is bigger than yours- The Wasteful Election Fundraising Process".
My post on the Iowa Caucuses, "The Iowa What?"

Friday, January 25, 2008

Presenting The Democratic Front-runner for Prez

Hill-Billy Clinton For Prez

Let's face it, the Clintons are running in tandem, and running the smarmiest campaign ever, but then again, did we expect anything different? We better hope that we nominate a candidate that has any chance to beat her in November!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Rudy G Rally Today

Rudy G had a rally today (prior to the F.A.U (Florida) debate tonight), so I decided to show my support, considering his campaign seems to be sadly flagging.

I have always liked Rudy, and planned on voting for him anyway, but after seeing him speak in person, I am convinced he is the right one for the White House.

There is something very real, approachable and trustworthy about the man that I find lacking in the others. Although the other candidates might have certain of the above-mentioned attributes, none of them has the whole package.

Rudy G has twelve commitments to the American People:

1. I will keep America on the offense in the Terrorists' War on Us.

2. I will end illegal immigration, secure our borders, and identify every non-citizen in our nation. [he added that legal immigration would be welcomed]

3. I will restore fiscal discipline and cut wasteful Washington spending.

4. I will cut taxes and reform the tax code. [and he has definite plans on how to do that, including a 1 page tax form that one can use if one chooses to].

5. I will impose accountability in Washington.

6. I will lead America toward energy dependence.

7. I will give Americans more control over, and access to health-care with affordable and portable free-market solutions. [He believes health care decisions should be between you and your doctor, and that government should not interfere].

8. I will increase adoptions, decrease abortions, and protect the quality of life for our children.

9. I will reform the legal system and appoint strict constructionist judges. [He particularly wants to target frivolous law suits, and referenced the judge who sued a dry cleaner for an outrageous amount of money because they ruined a pair of pants!]

10. I will ensure that every community in America is prepared for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

11. I will provide access to a quality education to every child in America by giving real school choice to parents.

12. I will expand America's involvement in the global economy and strengthen our reputation around the world.

He briefly touched on other subjects, but the overall message was the importance of national security and defense, and less government in our lives.

I think what impressed me most was that he was very positive, and did not resort to vilifying his opponents, unlike Hillary Clinton, who becomes more despicable as the days go by. What the Clintons have been doing to Barack Obama is truly vile, and just shows the true nature of who they are. Many democrats are finally seeing the light, though there are still too many others who continue to be duped by their darkness. I hope Obama wins, not because I believe that we can win the presidential race if he is nominated, but because I don't believe Madame Clinton deserves it.

I still think McCain is going to win the nomination, though I hope I'm wrong. I did predict Thompson would drop out, and he did- but as I was walking back to my car, I started talking to these 2 old ladies about my concerns. One of them chimed in saying she believed Giuliani would become President, and explained her reasons why: she told me that when Carter was running for President, she touched his shoulder, and got the clear impression that he would get elected, and he did (even though she wasn't a Democrat). She mentioned she also happened to touch Rudy on the shoulder, and got the same impression. I told her: "From your lips to God's ears"!!
I hope she's right!
The different generation of Rudy lovers:

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Rudy G- He's The Prez For Me!

No apologies here, but I am officially endorsing Rudy Giuliani, for all that's worth- considering how terribly he's been doing! I think he's the best man for the job, and I'm absolutely appalled that Ron Paul, of all people, has been garnering more votes!

What is wrong with the Republican voters? I'm not terribly thrilled with McCain either, but I would vote for him to ensure Hillary does not win the presidency. But, if Huckabee or Paul (for some insane reason) wins the nomination, that's it for me. I will write in Giuliani, and once that's done, I'll become an Independent.

Chatterboxchronicles, a fellow Rudy-lover, has a great run-down on why she's voting G. I couldn't have written it any better.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Joke Of the Day: Republican Indecision and Disunity

This had me rolling! Both my eyes and with laughter. This could be very problematic for us, considering the Dems only have Hillabarjoh to contend with!
Check out the small balloon to the right of the cartoon!
Cartoon Credit: Jim Borgman/Cincinatti Enquirer

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Las Vegas Democratic Snooze Debate

I watched the Las vegas Democratic debate tonight. Okay, so I was multi-tasking during most of it, but what a snooze-fest! I realize the 3 contenders were making a concerted effort to be civil to each other, ( a clever political ploy) but I found it a major bore. Not because of the civility itself, which is refreshing in politics, but because it was so dang fake. I often judge debate "performances" from an acting perspective, and I'd give them all a D for disingenuous. I found them forced and insincere. Barack is brash, there's something sleazy about Edwards, and Hillary- well, there are no words that can aptly describe how I feel about her, at least in public. Her momentary melt-down that showed a hint of humanity was just that, momentary.

The debate just confirmed why I would never vote for any of them, even if Huckabee or Paul were to win the Republican nomination. Not that I'd vote for them, either.

Hillary led the pack in criticizing Bush, even though he's not running. And once again, the Dems were adamant about pulling out the troops from Iraq immediately, which just demonstrates how lacking in foresight they are. Not a great attribute for a President. It also shows what a liar and a waffler Hillary is. Hasn't Madame Clinton, in the past, promised to bring home the troops, then stated it would be imprudent to do that? But tonight, she claimed she would bring 'em all home. How many times has she waffled on that issue? Actually, one of the highlights of tonight's debate was when one of the moderators questioned them about this flip-flopping on the issue. At least I had a good laugh.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Some Clinton Humor

Just received this joke via email, so I'm sure it's making the rounds:

On a trip to Great Britain while he was President of The United States, Bill Clinton had a meeting with Queen Elizabeth. During that meeting he asked her, "How does one manage to run a country so smoothly?" "That's easy," the Queen replied, "You surround yourself with intelligent ministers and advisors." "But how can I tell whether they are intelligent or not?", asked Bill. "You ask them a riddle," she replied, and with that she pressed a button and said, "Would you please send Tony Blair in." When Blair arrived, the Queen said, "I have a riddle for you to answer for me. Your parents had a child and it was not your sister. And it was not your brother. Who was this child?" Blair replied, "That's easy. The child was me.""Very good," said the Queen. "You may go now."

Sizing up his wife's chances in her presidential bid, and thinking back on that meeting, Bill Clinton spoke to Hillary. He said to her, "I have a Riddle for you, and the answer is very important. Your parents had a child, and it was not your sister, and it was not your brother. Who was that Child?"

Hillary replied, "Yes, it is clearly very important that we determine the answer. Can I deliberate on this for awhile?" "Yes," said Bill, "I'll give you four hours to come up with the answer." So Hillary called a meeting of her campaign team, from top to bottom, and asked them the riddle. But after much discussion and many suggestions, none of them had a satisfactory answer. She was quite upset, not knowing what she would tell her husband, the former President. As Hillary was leaving her meeting she ran into her most formidable challenger to her Presidential nomination, Barack Obama. So she said, "Mr.. Obama, can you answer this riddle for me? Your parents had a child and it was not your sister and it was not your brother. Who was the child?" "That's seems pretty easy," said Obama, "I think the child would be me." "Oh thank you," said Hillary. "You may just have ensured my nomination for the democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States !" So Hillary went back to Bill and said, "I think I know the answer to your riddle. The child was Barack Obama.!" "No, you Dumb Shit !" shouted Bill. "The child was Tony Blair"
The bottom line... guess where we're headed with the two of them againRunning the Country.

My sentiments exactly!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Gotcha! Clinton Gets The Women's Sympathy Vote In N.H.

I actually was starting to feel a little sorry for Ms. Hillary, well... not really, but I know it must have been devastating to have lost the Iowa caucuses, considering she probably thought she had it in the bag. I know how it feels to not get cast in a project when the director all but offers you the part- egos bruise easily, and although people have been critical of her tearful confession on a recent interview, I wouldn't go so far as so to say it was contrived. Her recent emotional display was probably a combination of said bruised ego and exhaustion. Factor in peri-menopause or menopause, and you have hormones running rampant, and not much control.

But, I do think that her show of emotion probably did garner her the women's vote in New Hampshire. You know, a sign of female solidarity. I mean, poor Hillary, ganged up on and bashed by her fellow male candidates at most of the debates, then losing Iowa. I'm sure those of the "female persuasion" more than likely felt they were standing up for sisterhood, by giving her the vote. Not the smartest thing to do, but women aren't always ruled by intellect.

Well, I 'aint going for it. This is one sister who won't vote for Clinton if she does eventually win the Democratic nomination and Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee wins the Republican nomination. I would have to sit this one out.

But just wait, this win will put renewed vigor into her campaign... watch the claws come out full force. She's going to try and crush Obama for his Iowa win.

Photo Credit: AP

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Corruption Of Chavez And His Regime

Had an interesting lunch today with some family friends who live in Venezuela. The woman is probably in her late 70s early 80s, the husband 14 years older. Both Jewish, she was educated in communist Poland and, through indoctrination, considered herself to have communist tendencies, up until very recently. They've lived in Venezuela for many years now, and today she admitted that she actually voted for Chavez, the first go round. Although they are a very wealthy family, she believed what she now considers to have been Chavez propaganda. Totally disillusioned with him, she told me about all the corruption in the Chavez government. Her son actually worked in the Chavez government. Not sure he still does, though.

Besides the rampant poverty and crime, with kidnappings in vogue, the only thing she credits him with is his literacy campaign. All the other promises have remained just that. She told me that Chavez has access to all the money he wants because he virtually owns the banks, factor in his palace, and you have one very wealthy man. His cronies and all those who pander to him are also well taken care of. And then you have all the money he gives away to other countries, which she considers more propaganda.

With all the crime and corruption, Chavez goes out of his way to protect those who support him. Those from the opposition, are dealt a very heavy blow. I didn't have a chance to pump her for more information, but hopefully I will, next time.

She did say that it is miserable in Venezuela these days, thanks to Chavez!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Iowa What?

Okay, maybe it's just me, but who cares (no offense) who the Iowans vote for in their caucus? And perhaps it's because, although American, I wasn't raised in this country, I'm still trying to figure out what on earth a "caucus" is anyway, and why does everyone seem to think they're so important? And why Iowa?

Turns out Obama and Huckabee won (whatever that means), but as history has demonstrated in the past, it means not a whit. Anything could happen between now and the primaries, and hopefully it will. As for the choice of Huckabee, I think the Iowan Republicans who happened to show up are lacking (no offense) in taste and good judgement. Huckabee would be as disastrous for this country as would any of the democrats. Many people have likened him to Jimmy Carter, and we certainly do not need another Carter in office.

I could be wrong, but this is my prediction as of today. On a programme last night, some Iowa caucus-goers felt that Fred Thompson seemed tired and disinterested- I think he might drop out and throw his support elsewhere. Although I have decided to vote for Giuliani, I don't think he'll get the nom. So, the winner is............. John McCain.

I predict the nom will be John McCain and Joe Lieberman ( or maybe, just maybe Fred) as his veep.

And, I have a feeling John just might become our next Prez.

We shall see.

But at this point in time, the race is wide open, and who knows who will eventually reach the winning line.

2007 to 2008- And Nothing Has Changed

So, another turbulent and tragedy-filled year has passed: from multiple school massacres to massive arson-induced fires in this country, and an assassination, violence and riots around the rest of the world. And though January 1st is really just another day, it's symbolic of many things to many people. An opportunity to implement change, make resolutions. Out with the old, in with the new. When I lived in Quito, Ecuador, on New Year's eve they would have huge street parties where effigies representing the old year were burned. A purging of the old to make way for the new, so to speak.

One always harbours the hope that, with the advent of a new year, things might somehow miraculously change, that people might aspire to reach for the light rather than cling to the darkness, but our sad little world still remains an irreparable mess. 2008 was greeted not with hope and goodwill, but more death and destruction. Further violence erupted in Kenya, where a mob set fire to a church, on Tuesday, killing at least 50 people. In Baghdad, a suicide bomber murdered 30 people when he blew himself up inside the home of people mourning a man who 3 days earlier, had been killed by a car bomb. Imagine targeting a group of people already mourning a death. How despicable and evil is that?!

I'm not sure what the rest of the year will bring, but if the first few days is any indication, it does not bode well.

Keep those prayers going, because we're going to need it. We're in for a rocky road ahead.