Don't tell me the moon is shining;
show me the glint of light on broken glass.
~Anton Chekhov




Thursday, May 15, 2008

Simple Solution to Human Rights Issues

Treat others as you would like to be treated.


Simple reciprocity.
Bloggers Unite
Here we are in the 21st century, still facing basic violations of rights that have been established as an ideal for centuries. Too many people seem to believe that the Golden Rule should apply to them, but not to everyone else.

In Judaism, (and Christianity) one of the Ten Commandments found in the Old Testament, Leviticus 19:18 states:

"Thou shalt Love thy neighbor as thyself."

Look around the world, how many people live in dignity, equality, and without fear of reprisals if they express themselves? How many cultures or countries have divisions among their citizens based on race, sex, color, language, religion or political views?

From the Hindu Hitopadesa:
"One should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated."

and
Mahabharata 5:1517
"This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you."

We still live in a world where slavery exists. People are imprisoned without access to proper defense, or fair and public trials. Women are raped, forced into marriages, and treated as second-class citizens. Children die of starvation. Basic needs such as clean water, education, and medical care are not available to an enormous portion of the world population on a reliable basis.

In the Buddhist Udanavarga it states:
"Hurt not others with that which pains yourself."

The American Declaration of Independence, U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) are just a few of the many documents establishing goals and ideals for every person on the planet.


Confucious in Doctrine of the Mean 13.3

"Tse-kung asked, 'Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?' Confucius replied, 'It is the word 'shu' -- reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'"


What are Human Rights?

A few established in the United Nations declaration in 1948 include:

  • Article 1.

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

  • Article 2.

"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty."

  • Article 3.

"Everyone has the right to live, have liberty, and security of person."

  • Article 12.

"No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

  • Article 19.

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."


Islam--Number 13 of Imam "Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths

"None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."


Human Rights Protection

Putting aside arguments of 'which' rights are the most important, it is impossible to offer protection against violators without:

Communication (free press, free expression, free internet use)

Honest judiciary

Integrity among enforcers


Every citizen of the world is responsible for working toward that ideal.


Native American Spirituality, Black Elk

"All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One."


Has the U. N. failed in its mission of protection?

The U. N. Security Council's mandate includes the authorization to enforce human rights laws. Perhaps a re-evaluation of the tools of enforcement available to this body might allow them to live up to their potential.


Shinto--Ko-ji-ki Hachiman Kasuga

"Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God."


There are so many issues, so many violations—where do we begin?

In the U. S., we have the 'War on Terror' issues, of which Guantanamo Bay is a potent symbol. There are the thousands of Iraqi refugees created by our misguided war on that country. We have illegal wiretaps, intimidations, and an overwhelming sense that "Big Brother" is watching. We have inadequate medical care for many of our citizens. We, who are taught that we are the bastion of freedom and human rights, are still violating them.


  • Around the world we have censorship, starvation, discrimination.

  • It could easily be argued that every human also has the right to a healthy ecosystem and environment.

  • No matter how idealistic the government, the agreed upon rights are violated everywhere. It would never happen without co-operation of at least some of their people. Governments don't torture, people do.

New Testament of the Bible, Matthew 7:12, Jesus says:
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."


Each person can make a difference if they begin in some way to practice what they inherently believe. We all want and expect to be treated well. To be treated as well as we treat others only seems fair.


SOLVING the Problem One Person At A Time

There are so many issues, perhaps the best thing each of us can do is choose one, and make an effort each week to work toward making that issue disappear.


Below are many links that offer assistance and insights. I have not checked out every detail of each site, and do not necessarily agree with everything said or presented. However, visit as many as you can and see what YOU can do to help.


CHILDREN'S RIGHTS

http://www.crin.org/


COMMUNICATION

Reporters Without Borders...http://www.rsf.org/

Internet Freedom: http://w2.eff.org/br/

Press/1st Amend: http://www.tjcenter.org/


ENFORCEMENT

United Nations: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/WelcomePage.aspx


ENVIRONMENT

http://www.cedha.org.ar/en/


GENERAL

ACLU http://www.aclu.org/

Amnesty International http://www.amnesty.org/

Red Cross International http://www.icrc.org/eng

Human Rights Tribune www.humanrights-geneva.info/spip.php?page=artic...

Human Rights Organizations List en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_human_rights_orga...

Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org/

U S Dept of State http://www.state.gov/g/drl/hr/


HUNGER

http://www.bread.org/

http://www.thp.org/


JUSTICE

http://www.afj.org/

http://www.tearitdown.org/


MEDICAL

Doctors Without Borders: http://www.msf.org/

Physicians For Human Rights: http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/


RACISM

http://www.naacp.org/home/index.htm

http://www.adc.org/


REFUGEES

http://www.refintl.org/


SLAVES

http://www.antislavery.org/


TORTURE

http://www.apt.ch/


WOMEN'S RIGHTS

http://www.whrnet.org/index.php

http://www.law-lib.utoronto.ca/diana/








Restart

Today, a day that all bloggers are asked to write about human rights, is a good day to
restart this blog. I've had a long illness, and miss writing.
Here I go again!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

6 Words...Guiding Principle or Realistic Description?




Quick---What is the national motto of the United States?







Many think it is “E Pluribus Unum”

(Out of Many, One)



Actually, in 1956, Congress passed a resolution and established the U. S. national motto as: “In God We Trust”


Recently, Stephen Dubner mentioned a contest for a six word national motto (Freakonomics Blog NY Times) that was taking place during his recent visit to England.

He asked for suggestions for a six word U. S. motto, and received over a thou
sand entries. I found some were intensely patriotic, others witheringly sarcastic. It made me wonder, what should a national motto do? Should it sum up the goals and aspirations of a nation? Or offer a short, realistic description of the national character?

No
t all nations have mottos, and many of those that do use some combination of 'unity' and 'diversity'. "God" is mentioned less often than you'd think.

Interestingly, Nicaragua shares the same national motto as the United Sta
tes of America. A decent sized list can be found here on Wikipedia.


MOST RELAXED MOTTO
“Under the Shade I Flourish”
Belize








TOUGHEST TALKERS

“No One Provokes Me With Impunity”
Scotland


MOST INSPIRATIONAL

“Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve”
Trinidad and Tobago



MOST PRAGMATIC

We Wish To Remain What We Are”
Luxembourg




MOST IRONIC

“Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”

Nigeria

I selected a sample of 25 responses to Dubner's column. My choices lean toward the amusing, sardonic, and away from flag waving patriotism.



SELF-DEPRECATING

  • "Land of Dreamers, Hucksters, and Fools" 446
  • "Paranoid Idealists With Hearts of Gold" 617
  • "Land Of Prime Dreams, Subprime Realities" 59



RELIGIOUS IMPERIALISM

  • "The Orwellian Superpower With Christian Roots" 28
  • "Christian Secularists On an Anti-Islam-O-Fascist Crusade" 609


IMPERIALIST TENDENCIES

  • "Be Nice To Us Or Else" 570
  • "We Make And Break The Rules" 373
  • "America: We Make Our Own Reality" 361



INSPIRATIONAL

  • 463 "Work In Progress. Do Your Part"
  • 299 "America: Change It or Lose It!"


ASPIRATIONS vs. REALITY

  • "Once We Stood For Good Things" 167
  • "Liberty and Freedom For All, Kinda" 604



ROOTS
  • 956 "We Took Your Lemons: Made Lemonade
  • 644 "Nation Of Immigrants, But We Forgot"



WISTFUL


  • "We Went To The Moon Once" 667
  • "Why Can't You Be Like Us?" 323
  • "We Haven't Reached Our Potential Yet" 57



SOME ASPECT OF TRUTH


  • "Where Nudity Is Worse Than War" 514
  • "The Country Paved With Good Intentions" 513
  • "The World's Favorite Love-Hate Relationship" 319


HUMOROUS

  • "American Policy Has A Wide Stance" 725
  • "America: We're [redacted under Patriot Act" 614



SAD



"Passing Baton From Britain to China" 907


"You'll miss us when China Rules" 1084







MY PERSONAL FAVORITE

"Like Licking Honey From A Thorn"

(894)











Monday, February 11, 2008

2 Simple Reasons Why I Could Never Vote For McCain

This is just over a minute long. Kind of sums it all up nicely.




Really, this picture still makes me ill. Remember, it was taken not long after Bush's brain had attacked McCain's military record and heroism.




Some pictures are worth more than a thousand words.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

POLITICS 101: COWS AND MILK

This is a simple, somewhat humorous description of different political systems.





First, let's pretend that you have two cows.

DEMOCRACY

Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.


CAPITALISM
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.







DICTATORSHIP
The government takes your two cows. If you behave properly you
might receive a gallon of milk every month.


FASCISM
The government takes your two cows, then hires you
to take care of them. You must buy your
milk from the government.


GOVERNMENT WITH
OUT OF CONTROL BUREAUCRACY

The government tells you what to feed your
two cows and
when to milk them.
Then it pays you not to milk them.


As the bureaucracy evolves....

Someone from the
government shoots one of the cows.

Another government official takes the milk

from the other cow and pours it down the drain.


A third government representative provides

a stack of paperwork for you to complete.
You must explain why the cows are missing.

A fourth government employee decides if your reasons

are valid enough to reimburse you for the cows.
and so on.......


THEOCRACY

First, a government official tells you that God wants you to give them the milk from one of your cows. They remind you that you'll be rewarded once you die.

Later, another begs you to give some of your milk from the second cow to those who do not have any cows. They remind you that you'll be rewarded once you die.

Then you are told over and over that people that don't believe in your God need to be converted. Perhaps you can squeeze out some more milk to help pay for those missions.
They remind you that you'll be rewarded once you die.

Next, every official and representative is telling you that others are trying to destroy all believers. Y ou must give them one of your cows to help fight and save your beliefs.
They remind you that you'll be rewarded once you die.

You have one cow left. You've given half of all you own to support the government.

Yet, one day a government official knocks on your door.

You have stopped sending milk to support the priests, to help those who don't have any cows, and to help with the missions. There are many enemies at the gate. Aren't you a true believer? Don't you understand that immortality is at stake?

You point out that without the cow's milk you and your family will die. The government official compliments you on your understanding, and praises your willingness to support the cause.

And takes your second cow.

You will find out about that reward pretty soon.







Saturday, January 26, 2008

If You Think Of Iranians As Mexicans....Understanding Iraq

I came across this post by a woman blogger going by the name Layla Anwar. She paints the Iraq situation in a 'What if it was America?' essay. She calls it 'science-fiction reverse psychology'. Although it was written one year ago, I don't think time has changed any of the meaning.


Her viewpoint that Iranians have been in Iraq and have infiltrated many aspects of their society is shared by many other Arab bloggers, as well as news services around the world.

I don't always agree with (or like) everything she says in her posts. However, in this case, I think it offers an interesting perspective in how I might feel if the situation were reversed.




"A brief summary report on
"Operation American Freedom and the Liberation of America."



Following 13 years of a cruel stringent embargo that left 1.5 million Americans dead (of which 500,000 were American children below the age of 5), the Iraqi army, with their imposing armada bombarded the U.S with over 700 tons of B.52's.


Iraqi armored vehicles, 150,000 Iraqi [American] soldiers and 100,000 subcontractors and mercenaries (from the Arab world and Africa) have taken hold of Washington D.C. and other parts of the country.


The Iraqi soldiers toppled the Washington Monument, ransacked and pillaged the National Gallery of Art, the National Portrait Gallery as well the great Smithsonian Institute and Museum.

The White House , the Pentagon and the CIA have also been targeted and now encircled. Hundreds of Iraqi generals with their troops have squatted the headquarters of the American Government. The White House, looted, has now become an enclave of the Iraqi occupying forces and has been renamed the White Zone.

The President of the U.S.A as well as his 20 advisers have been caught and are now prisoners of war in a Fort Lauderdale secret prison, camp Babel.

A puppet American government was set up by the Iraqi occupying forces. They set up elections and eyewitnesses report that over 1 million Mexicans came in buses and voted the new government in.

Reliable sources affirm that the current American government is mainly comprised of Mexican Americans with dual nationalities and totally backed by Mexico.

The American army has been totally sacked and replaced by a grouping of Mexican/American police, army and militias working in close cooperation with the Iraqi occupying forces.

The Iraqi Provisional Authority in conjunction with the American puppet government are undertaking a massive campaign of "de-waspization" and "de-americanization" of the whole of the U.S.A.

Upper state New York, Buffalo and other towns have declared their independence and are being armed and trained by Canada as mercenaries and snipers.

Atrocious news have been circulating of hideous crimes committed by the Iraqi soldiers:

In Bethesda, over 12 pregnant women were killed as well as a 15 years old boy who spat on a passing Iraqi convoy. His mother's head was bashed against a wall and her boy shot in front of her eyes.

In Lexington Park, 3 neighborhoods have been razed to the ground. Over 500 defenseless civilians, majority of which were women and children have been shot in cold blood and some Iraqi soldiers were filmed pissing on the dead corpses.

In Richmond square, hundreds of bodies are strewn across the square and littering the side streets, showing signs of serious burns from napalm, phosphorus bombs and gun shots.

In Rockville, five Iraqi soldiers from the 32nd platoon division, gang raped 14 years old Abee Jones, shot her whole family including her 3 years old sister and grandparents then set her on fire. They were seen drinking Arak and grilling kebabs prior to their crime.

In Georgetown, over 500 American academics have been kidnapped and shot dead by Mexican backed militias and 100 students were blown to pieces in front of George Washington University. Body parts and books were seen lying in the debris.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN have reported the existence of hundreds of detention camps and prisons and the estimated official number of American prisoners is 50,000 men and women some as young as 13 years old, held without charges or trial.

These agencies have also reported gross violations of the Geneva conventions and have presented evidence of severe torture, including sodomy, rape and genital mutilation.
The Iraqi Minister of Defense denies these allegations. Most torture victims have succumbed to death.

The French Institute of Medicine issued a report confirming the death of over 700,000 American civilians since the Iraqi invasion.
The UN has issued a report in December stating that for the year 2006 only, 35,000 Americans have died as a result of the Iraqi occupation.


The number for widows is also staggering, over 1 million American widows and 2 million American children orphaned. The report also adds that American children are trafficked, sold as sex slaves or labourers in other countries.


Public facilities and amenities are no longer existent. The average American citizen gets one hour of electricity per day and for the past week there has been no water supply.

Transportation systems have been halted, universities and schools shut down, the sewage system no longer functions and most American streets are inundated with rats and dirty water.


"Medecins sans frontiers" a French based NGO, has reported severe cases of malnutrition, water born diseases and outbreaks of cholera and typhoid due to the insalubrity of present living conditions for Americans.

Hospitals are no longer functional and can no longer cope with the influx of injured and maimed Americans.
The morgues are overflowing with dead bodies.
Children suffering from cancer caused by Iraqi depleted uranium can no longer receive treatment and the prognosis for them is very poor.

Other illnesses are no longer treated (short of medication and staff) as, most doctors and nurses have left the country. Surgery is done without anesthesia and medical doctors are subject to harassment, kidnapping , torture and death.


The general American population is suffering great trauma, PTSD and doctors have declined to treat patients from 9/11, arguing that there are more urgent priorities.

The UN has launched an urgent plea as 3.7 million Americans have sought refuge in Canada,Mexico and other countries as a consequence of the Iraqi occupation.


The UNESCO on the other hand has decried some of the Iraqi army practices. Many Iraqi soldiers have been found desecrating worship places by ransacking them, painting Islamic symbols, tearing, kicking, and burning the Bible and urinating in churches.

American Monuments and historical sites have also been destroyed.

On the economic front, over 60% of the American population is now unemployed, inflation rate is 100% and most outlets, like Starbucks, McDonalds and the rest have closed down due to lack of clientele.


Shopping malls are empty and retailers have shut down. There is an economic depression but the Iraqi Provisional Authority as well as the American puppet government are re-assuring the American public that things will look brighter soon.

Russian and Chinese corporations and multinationals have monopolized all the oil resources in Texas and the American puppet government has issued a law privatizing all American energy.


Furthermore, Dallas and Houston have become a Mexican enclave. Only Spanish is allowed to be spoken there and all government and public posts are occupied by Mexicans.

On the political front, Mexicans have managed to infiltrate all echelons of the governing administration included all armed forces: the American army, the American FBI and ministries. They have developed, funded and trained militias that are wrecking havoc in the streets of the American capital.


Countless American citizens have been abducted, kidnapped, raped, and slaughtered.
Dead bodies are seen lying around the city showing marked signs of torture (like eyes and nails plucked out and holes from electrical drills). The American puppet government denies any role in all of this.



Furthermore, civil war is looming close by. Catholics backed by Mexicans have waged a relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing against Protestants. Black Americans are fighting with Asians, and Italians with Poles. Car bombs, mortar attacks and snipers are a daily occurrence today in Washington D.C, Maryland and Virginia as well as other parts of the U.S.


Native Americans on the other hand are caught in this ethnic cleansing and are being either massacred again or forced to seek refuge elsewhere. As Canada is refusing them entry, they have ended up in tents on the borders in a no man's land.


Four weeks ago, on Christmas eve, the President of the USA as well as three of his advisers were hanged in what appeared to be a sectarian lynching.

The Iraqi President expressed disappointment at the way the execution was done, he added it was "fumbled" but was glad that justice finally prevailed.

Reuters reported that 5 of the late American President's lawyers have been slaughtered during the Trial period. The President of the USA was filmed hanging at the gallows on Christmas Eve and his body showed signs of post mortem torture.

The Iraqi President concluded by saying that Americans should really show gratitude for what Iraqis have sacrificed in their name and in the name of Freedom.


He also assured the American public in a televised address to the nation, that a surge of an extra 20,000 Iraqis was needed for the reconstruction of the U.S.A to go as planned and that the mission has been accomplished.


Layla Anwar adds:


"P.S: I hope this piece of "science-fiction" reverse psychology shocks you. Everything mentioned above took place and continues to take place today in Iraq.And this is only 25% of what is being reported.The shocking truth and "awe" of the American occupation of Iraq.
(for more proof, check www.uruknet.info and www.albasrah.net).
And I hope you realize that I have nothing against either mexicans,protestants or catholics, italians, poles, blacks, native americans or martians...It was just to drive a point home (...this politically correct thing is getting very tiresome- ask the Iraqis!)"


From the blog: An Arab Woman Blues - Reflections In A Sealed Bottle

=======================
As many of you know, I like to randomly read blogs from around the world in order to try and understand from an individual's view. The anonymity of the blogosphere causes many to question the 'truth' in such postings. However, I feel I read enough to have acquired a belief that this reflects the truth from a different perspective.

Further note: I corrected punctuation and spelling in a few places to make it a bit easier to read.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Who Should You Vote For?

This website offers three quizzes, one for Democrats, one for Republicans and one for Independents.
It was created by the developers of Thoughtplay, based in England.

I took the Independent quiz. It asked a series of Agree/Disagree questions on everything from candidate's age to environmental issues.


I really liked Mike Gravel, but knew he wouldn't make it very far. I often found myself agreeing with Kucinich too, but didn't think he had much of a chance to make it to the convention.

I already knew that Edwards and I agreed on many issues. However, I'm still not sure if he'll make it to the convention. What really shocked me is that my views were closer to Obama's than Clinton's. Very interesting!



Mike Gravel
126

Dennis Kucinich






123



Barack Obama







78
John Edwards
72

Hillary Clinton

42



































Saturday, January 19, 2008

Canadians Not Innocent When It Comes To Torture

Recent news reports indicate that the Canadian Foreign Affairs office issued an instruction manual for their diplomats on how to recognize if one of their imprisoned citizens has been tortured. The part that made it newsworthy is that the United States of America is now listed as one of the countries that tortures prisoners. According to the National Security Reporter Michelle Shephard:

"Torture Awareness Workshop Reference Materials," gives the legal definitions of torture and instructs consular officials how to detect signs of abuse of Canadians detained abroad.

Under the heading, "Possible Torture/Abuse Cases," the manual lists Afghanistan, China, Egypt, Guantanamo Bay, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Syria and United States."



I am absolutely horrified by all the stories of torture, extraordinary rendition (sending prisoners to other countries to have them tortured) and other such practices. I fear that in future generations when the United States of America comes to mind, the symbol will not be Lady Liberty, but our shameful betrayal of our standards.

However, the Canadians are not innocent when it comes to torture either.


Maher Arar is a well-known case that is cited as one of the reasons the United States was added to the list. If you click his name in this paragraph it will take you to a New Yorker story that describes his plight in more detail.

Basically, Arar is a Canadian citizen who was traveling home after a family vacation in 2002. During a layover at JFK he was pulled aside for questioning. He was then held in the U. S. for two weeks without benefit of a lawyer. During that time those Canadians aware of his plight did nothing to assist him. In fact, they falsely told American authorities that he was not a Canadian citizen. Ultimately he was sent on a private plane to Syria where he was imprisoned and and beaten regularly.


What news reports are not mentioning is that in the Maher case, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and foreign service employees CAUSED the problem by providing false information to the U. S. authorities. It was later revealed in court documents that former CSIS head Jack Hooper was even aware that Arar would probably be tortured.


  • Eventually Maher Arar was cleared (and freed) by the Syrians.
  • Maher's lawsuit against the Canadian government cleared him of all wrongdoing too. He was offered an official apology from the Prime Minister of Canada.
  • He received an apology from the head of the RCMP .
  • He was awarded more than 10 million dollars (one million was for legal fees) because of the behavior of government officials.

He also sued the U. S. Government and Attorney General John Ashcroft. However a trial was deemed impossible due to the U. S. Government's claim that a public airing of the case would damage “National Security”.


As far as we know, Canada doesn't have any prisons equivalent to Guantamano Bay. Yet, when the chips were down their desire to 'co-operate' with their U. S. ally was so great that they threw one of their own citizens into a life of hell. The only person that lost their job in the Maher tragedy was the head of the RCMP. The actual men/women who provided the false information have not been punished. Some have been promoted.


I don't disagree with their adding the United States to their list. Sadly, as much as the truth hurts, there is no doubt that torture sanctioned by our government occurs. However, as the old saying goes:


When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”


Perhaps enough Canadians in power have given themselves a fleabath. Perhaps they have developed 'flea collars' against behaving so badly in the future. But their complicity should not be forgotten.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Michigan Democratic Voters Made Impotent



Unbelievable!

As an "Independent" voter, the primary process, (being forced to "choose" a party in order to vote in the primary) is irritating enough.

However, this election is too important.

And like it or not, in the United States the reality is that only a Democrat or Republican will win the White House.

There is no one in the Republican race I would want to see as President.

WHAT I KNEW

  • I knew that there had been a conflict between the State and National Democratic parties over Michigan's primary date being moved to January 15th. I knew that the Democratic candidates had 'pledged' not to campaign in Michigan for the primary.

I found that somewhat insulting. However, there are so many places on the internet that offered detailed information on the candidates, I knew I could learn what I needed to know elsewhere.


  • I knew Hillary Clinton had not withdrawn her name from the Michigan Ballot.

  • I knew that the other Democratic candidates (Dodd, Kucinich, Gravel) on the ballot had already dropped out of the race.

WHAT I DID NOT KNOW


  • I had assumed that I could write-in the names of Obama or Edwards had I chosen to vote for them.

Apparently not.

Neither filed the necessary paperwork by yesterday's deadline to qualify as write-in candidates.

Therefore, any voter the writes their name in on their ballot--
will cast a vote that will not be counted.



MY OPTIONS

  • I can vote for a candidate that has withdrawn from the race.
Why bother?

  • I can vote for Hillary Clinton.
  • I can cast my vote as "uncommitted". On the surface this is supposed to mean that those Democratic delegates to the national convention will arrive 'uncommitted' to any particular candidate. On the surface, that doesn't sound that bad.
However, I have two problems with that plan.

  1. The total of 'uncommitted' votes much reach at least 15% in order for the uncommitted delegates to be included at the convention.
  2. The national Democratic party is threatening to refuse to seat Michigan delegates at the convention because the State Party didn't follow their orders about the primary date.

THE POINT OF THE PRIMARY PROCESS

The Primary process is supposed to provide voters in every State an opportunity to choose the person that they would like to see receive support at the convention. In the past thirty years, candidates have pretty much locked up their votes and were clearly the party's choice prior to the convention.

I have long been a proponent of a one-day National Primary. I think it is unfair that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are allowed to choose among more candidates. It makes me angry that their opinion carries more weight than mine.

I also believe that the current system forces candidates to expend unbelievable amounts of money to 'win' in just a few States. If every State voted at the same time, I would hope that would reduce 'political promises' and huge expenditures.

When Michigan moved up its date, I was glad.
Finally!
I would be able to make an actual choice.
Finally!
A big State would be able to 'weigh' in during the early portions of the race.

I had hoped that it would lead the way for other States to do the same.
No doubt, that is what the National Democratic Party also fears. Apparently they like the system the way it is.

The only candidate still standing who was willing to 'buck' their system is Hillary Clinton.

I was genuinely undecided. In fact, I have been leaning a little towards Edwards over the past few days. But he isn't giving me the opportunity to vote for him. Neither is Barack Obama.




So I will vote for Hillary Clinton.










If the National Democratic Party refuses to seat any Michigan delegates at their national convention, my vote still won't count.

However, if they are that idiotic, I give up any hope on our current system anyway.



Friday, January 11, 2008

Things I Like About John Edwards


In his own words…




RACISM AND SEXISM

“Anybody who's considering not voting for Senator Obama because he's black or for Senator Clinton because she's a woman, I don't want their vote. I don't want them voting for me.”


PRIORITIES FOR CHANGING AMERICA

In his message to supporters, Edwards listed his priorities to change America. Among them:

"Guaranteeing health care for every single American."

"Strengthening our middle class and ending the shame of poverty"

"Leading the fight against global warming"

"Getting America and the world to break our addiction to oil."
December, 2006

CHANGING ENTRENCHED POWER

“I don't believe you can change this country without taking on entrenched interests in Washington, including lobbyists, that stand between us & the change America needs.

And I don't believe you can do it by sitting at a table, negotiating with them & trying to bring them together. These people will never give away their power voluntarily. We have to take their power away from them. This is what I've been doing my whole life, and that is why I believe I am the candidate who can bring change to this country.”


WAR IN IRAQ

in November, 2005 John Edwards wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post stating he regretted his vote that enabled the War in Iraq.

"I was wrong. Almost three years ago we went into Iraq to remove what we were told -- and what many of us believed and argued -- was a threat to America," Edward related. "But in fact we now know that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction when our forces invaded Iraq in 2003. The intelligence was deeply flawed and, in some cases, manipulated to fit a political agenda.

"It was a mistake to vote for this war in 2002. I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake -- the men and women of our armed forces and their families -- have performed heroically and paid a dear price.

"The world desperately needs moral leadership from America, and the foundation for moral leadership is telling the truth... "


PATRIOT ACT

“I support dramatic revision of the PATRIOT Act. The last thing we should be doing is turning over our privacy, our liberties, our freedom, our constitutional rights to John Ashcroft.

First, the very notion that this administration can arrest American citizens on American soil, label them an enemy combatant, put them in prison, keep them there indefinitely-this runs contrary to everything we believe in this country.

The notion that they are going to libraries to find out what books people are checking out, going to book stores to find out what books are being purchased. What we have to remember-and I will when I am president-is what it is we are supposed to be fighting for, what it is we are supposed to be protecting.

These very liberties, this privacy, these constitutional rights-that's what's at stake in this fight. And we cannot let people like John Ashcroft take them away in an effort to protect ourselves.”


NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND--IT'S FULL OF FAILURES

“Unfortunately, Washington is letting down our children. George Bush's No Child Left Behind law is not working for schools, teachers and – most importantly – our children, and it needs to be radically overhauled. And Washington is simply not doing its part to invest in early childhood education, teachers, or helping struggling schools.

Our students are falling behind in key subjects like math and science, good teachers are leaving the profession, and our graduates aren't as prepared for the global economy as their peers in other countries. Students in poor rural areas and major cities often don't have the same chances as other students, and an achievement gap that falls along economic and racial or ethnic lines undermines the promise of equality.”


REDUCE CLASS SIZES

“Smaller classes help students learn more by allowing them to get more individualized attention from teachers. According to a Tennessee study, young students in small classes are less likely to drop out of school and more likely to graduate on time, complete more advanced math and English courses, and receive honors.

Poor and African-American students gain the most from smaller classes. Edwards will dedicate federal resources to reduce class sizes, particularly for young children who are learning below grade levels.”


COLLEGE FOR EVERYONE

"College has never been more important. College graduates can expect to earn $1 million more over their lifetimes than high school graduates, and their children are almost twice as likely to attend college themselves.

However, an estimated 200,000 college-qualified graduates fail to attend college each year. Students from high-income families are five times more likely to enroll in college than their low-income peers. College-age black and Hispanic Americans are only about half as likely to be enrolled. Students who do go to college now leave with more than $19,000 in debt, twice as much as a decade ago."

In North Carolina, John Edwards proposed a series of initiatives to help all qualified students pay for college. His College Opportunity Agenda includes: A national initiative -- based on the Greene County program -- to pay public-college tuition, fees, and books for more than 2 million students. In return, students will be required to work part-time in college, take a college-prep curriculum in high school, and stay out of trouble.






POLITICS OF DIVISION

“The right wing uses scare tactics to divide the American people. And the truth is, both in a presidential campaign and in governing, it is so important that we reject this hate-mongering. I have seen hate-mongering with language used when I was growing up in the segregated South. And if you stand quietly by and let it happen, it takes hold, and then people begin to believe it's okay to use that kind of language, and it's okay to use hate-mongering to separate us. We have to stand up for what's right and fair and just, and we have do it with passion and strength. It is bad for America for us to let anybody speaking to the American people use these issues to divide us.”


INEQUALITY AMONG AMERICANS


"Today, under George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not one:

One America that does the work, another America that reaps the reward.

One America that pays the taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks.

One America that will do anything to leave its children a better life, another America that never has to do a thing because its children are already set for life.

One America -- middle-class America - whose needs Washington has long forgotten, another America - narrow-interest America - whose every wish is Washington's command.

One America that is struggling to get by, another America that can buy anything it wants, even a Congress and a President.”



HEALTH CARE

"Edwards said on the first day of his administration he would [ask congress to
create] legislation that ends health care coverage for the president, all members of Congress, and all senior political appointees in both branches of government on July 20th, 2009 - unless universal health care legislation that meets four specific, non-negotiable principles has been passed by that date."


WAR PROFITEERING


“I will end war profiteering in Iraq. The Bush administration has signed no-bid contracts with Halliburton and Bechtel, and complete billions of dollars of work in Iraq. Not only does war profiteering waste taxpayer dollars, it undermines the credibility of America's reconstruction efforts.

We need to do everything in our power to get rid of fraud and abuse in Iraq.

We need to hold powerful corporations like Halliburton accountable for no-bid contracts they've secured through cronyism. I believe in using the US Judicial system to hold powerful corporations like Halliburton responsible for their wrong-doing.

For all new Iraq contracts, we should impose a cap on profits from Iraqi reconstruction. Contracts should be permitted only for a reasonable profit on their Iraq contracts, based on the average profits on comparable competitively bid government contracts, [as was done] during the first and second world wars.”


PRO-CHOICE, FOR FAMILY PLANNING


“I support a woman's right to choose and believe this that right is constitutionally protected. I also support funding for family planning.”



GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT IN PEOPLE’S BEDROOMS

“I believe there is a fundamental right to privacy. I do not believe the government belongs in people's bedrooms. I think that applies to both gay and lesbian couples and heterosexual couples.”




BUSH FOREIGN POLICY


"The Bush administration asserted a new doctrine that suggests a uniquely American right to use force wherever and whenever we decide it's appropriate. America must have a foreign policy that leads in a way that brings others to us, not that drives them away.

And I say to every American family: your family is safer in a world where America is looked up to and respected, not in a world where America is hated.”