Wednesday, February 4, 2009
This reiteration is entirely consistent with the last several U.S. National Intelligence Estimates, a joint report of the 16 intelligence agencies of the U.S. government, including the CIA, NSA, Defense Intelligence and others.
See the article here...
For all the hype created by the U.S. and Israel on the supposed threat from Iran, its important to note that other than the war with the U.S-backed, U.S.-supplied-chemical-weapons-wielding Saddam, Iran has not had a troop outside of its own borders in the last century. Sadly, the same can not be said about the U.S. or Israel, rationalized or not.
The IAEA chief also points out that Iran is currently the target of a well-funded covert operation of regime change similar to what the U.S. supported in 1953 against the democratically-elected government of the then prime minister Mohammed Mosaddeq, and further points out that Iran is currently surrounded by U.S. troops and nuclear armed nations.
There have been accusations - though no convincing proof - that Iran has armed terrorists.
Isn't it time we face the facts and realize that Iran is not a threat to anyone? They've been the victim of more than 50 years of harassment from the West, and 8 years of bold threats of war from countries which have proven their willingness to send their own to die, which is its own form of terrorism.
Perhaps they just want to be left alone. Perhaps the war-mongering regimes should leave them alone.
The former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, admitted in his autobiography that the war in Iraq was primarily about oil. Can we be so dense as to not see that the case for war on Iran is the same?
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Headlines early in the new administration read "Obama to Close Guantanamo". Cheers all around, eh?
New headlines now (not in your local paper or on the evening news, so it must be a "conspiracy theory", according to our definition) are (click the link)...
Pop quiz... How many of the known 750 plus detainees at Guantanamo ever face trial and were convicted? I mean, you'd think it was a lay up and all. Forced, coerced and tortured evidence allowed in to the courtroom for the prosecution. Limited access to full and proper defense. All that stuff. They should have had convictions dropping like snowflakes on a January Davos morning.
Who knows how many? Let us know...
Peace, Love & Freedom... Rock on...
Monday, February 2, 2009
New York city is embracing its Dutch heritage with a yearlong celebration marking the anniversary of when Henry Hudson is believed to have landed in Manhattan, around September 1609.
Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen joined New York mayor Michael Bloomberg last Wednesday on the southern tip of Manhattan to commemorate the anniversary. Bloomberg said: "We really do have a very deep history, and it can be traced back to Hudson's arrival, and the small Dutch settlement that sprang up in its wake."
Hudson, an English explorer, arrived aboard the Dutch vessel Halve Maen (Half Moon) on a trip sponsored by the Dutch East India Company. He was seeking passage to Asia, but instead stumbled upon what is now Manhattan. His voyage soon attracted Dutch traders to the island, who established New Amsterdam and the New Netherland colony. They gave neighborhoods Dutch names, including Harlem (Haarlem), Brooklyn (Breukelen) and Staten Island (after the Staten-Generaal, the Dutch parliament).
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Saturday, January 31, 2009
First, not Europeans or Americans voted twice overwhelming for the AK party. Second, it was the AK party which made the EU accession process priority no. 1, not the EU. Third, when the AK party made sincerely progress in reforming the country during 2002 and 2005, the EU in general was pleased to see a country become more democratic. In contrary what the secularists did before 2002; a country which was ruled like most totalitarian regimes
(I am not going to write about the immense human rights abuses during all those years) But this doesn't mean that the EU supports AK party its domestic policy! Forth: not one country in Europe will happy seeing a candidate member turn Islamist. Fifth: more than a dozen EU countries simple don’t want a Turkey in the EU for different reasons; their objections are repeatedly over and over again put on the negotiation table. So, who is supporting the AK party and Erdogan? Most of the Turks! Not Europe, nor North and South America neither many countries in SE Asia since they have to deal with Islamists in many different countries: Indonesia, the Philippines, India, China, Thailand and so on. But one thing became obvious crystal clear: the performance of Erdogan in Davos is that of one who doesn’t know how to communicate, and that’s not a strange phenomena in Turkey. Instead of playing the blame game, build your country up, and do it with sincerely intentions instead of impugn others all the time for your own imperfections.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Turkish PM Erdogan doesn’t like critical journalists. People know that in Turkey and some European countries - especially after Erdogan’s bargaining and blackmailing last week in Brussels regarding the EU accession talks. But yesterday, while talking at a forum in Davos, people around the world could observe a statesman who lost his temper again when he left the stage, full of anger, after he was denied more time to speak about the crisis in Gaza. The moderator was David Ignatius of the Washington Post. Witty, smart and provocative. And he, Erdogan, has to deal with that. Nit-picking journalists are everywhere. How does he think to survive when Turkey joins the EU? There is nothing wrong with showing your emotions but there is definitely something wrong with insulting countries and presidents of countries that are supporting you. And of course he showed the same old rhetoric all over again: ‘they didn’t show respect for me’ and ‘I defend Turkish honour’...in my opinion you don't defend your honour by putting someone else down.
And during his talks with the IMF, which support is a must for Turkey to survive in an increasing competitive world, he is bargaining again; and he doesn’t show the flexibility which is so much needed in these case scenarios. It looks like that when he doesn’t get what he wants; he became angry and starts acting like a child. Call it self-indulgent.
Turkish mediator role looks like doomed in the Middle East. But for sure he gets the compliments of some Muslims, since he stood up against Israel. Only, he did it on the wrong way. And nobody is forgotten that he hosted the Sudanese President twice the last 2 years. The only Head-of-State alive, Omar Al-Bashir, who will probably face charges by the International Crime Court in The Hague for committing genocide. When Israel was bombing Gaza, Arab militias under supervision of the Sudanese government were bombing and targeting in Darfur refugees camps. But that doesn’t count in Erdogan narrow-minded worldview.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
In Turkey, prosecution for insulting the nation is almost an occupational hazard for journalists and cartoonists. A number of provocative Turkish cartoons are on display at an exhibition in the Netherlands. Afterwards the organisers hope an internet auction will raise money to cover the legal costs for these controversial court cases.
Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a poor sense of humour. In recent years, he has taken many a cartoonist to court. But the deluge of court cases has not stopped the illustrators from mocking the lack of press freedom in the country. In one cartoon, Sefer Selvi draws the prime minister, dressed in hunting gear, shooting at one of the newspapers he has taken to court. His dog tears up another copy.
"As soon as cartoonists raise taboos like the division between church and state, the army, the Armenian genocide and Atatürk, the founder of the republic of Turkey - the government intervenes," says freelance journalist Mehmet Ülger, chairman of Röportaj, a Dutch organisation promoting press freedom in Turkey. He organised the exhibition The power of the imagination, which opens in the Press Museum in Amsterdam today. The murder of publicist and journalist Hrant Dink in 2007 was reason to breathe new life into the organisation, set up in 1996 as a bridge between journalists in the Netherlands and Turkey.
And there is morreee
When I do searches like this, I often wind up somewhere in either Omaha, Oslo or elsewhere... metaphysically, of course (I still haven't conquered the time-space thing, so far as I know).
Anyway, I found the quote below and thought "I'll let this be my post today on Internations." As I log in, I see Hans' post, and they are oddly related.
I love the way life works.
"Just because you're naked,
Doesn't mean you're sexy.
Just because you're cynical,
Doesn't mean you're cool.
You can talk the greatest lies
And wear a brilliant disguise,
You may never escape the eyes of the one who sees right though you.
"So you better listen to me sister,
Pay close attention mister.
It's very good to play the game,
Amuse the gods, avoid the pain,
But don't trust fortune
And don't trust fame.
Your real self doesn't know your name.
It's in that, we're all the same,
You know we're all incognito.
In the end what will prevail is your passion, not your tale.
Love is the holy grail, even incognito."
Your real self doesn't know your name... That struck me.
And of course "Love is the holy grail."
Enjoy the day, and rock on...
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Yesterday was the International Holocaust Memorial Day. But with the flow of anti-semitism on the net and in real life, I had no appetite to write about it. Today I will do. Especially since there are some lunatics out there who are using the free net to disturb people their minds. I'm talking about the Le Pen's, the David Irving's, the KKK, the Neo Nazi's, the White superior groups, but also the Iranian and Syrian leaders etc.
And what about the girl below; spotted in Melbourne last week?
Like Sam, I am also once called an anti-Semite, but also a Zionist (for the fun I guess; some people their hatred for Jews go so far that even if you only slightly criticise Israel, you are a Jew-friend: so what?) a Nazi (wrong; if I am a Nazi then I am a Neo-Nazi, we live in 2009 you stupid) and racist (hmm, I am in an inter-faith and above all inter-cultural and inter-racial relations for a long time now; a cover-up from me?) a fascist (based upon my love for Italy, is my assumption, but I can be wrong) a xenophobe (weird; travelled to at least 50 countries and worked and lived in 8 of them – no problems ever with being a Dutchie) an imperialist (yes, this rhetoric throws be back to my time as a student, 25 years ago..) and so on.
I'm immune for all these attacks, in fact it tells more about the attacker than about me.
But I've a problem when people start forgetting my name. And so, I remember a very well known Dutch poet: Neeltje Maria Min.
Please, call be by my name, not by religion as most of the people are doing by saying: 'he is Jewish'. They never did so reminding me that I'm Catholic born...
Noem mij, bevestig mijn bestaan,
Voor wie ik liefheb,
You must have a super ego with tendencies towards narcism if you declare on the Turkish national television without any emotions (sensitiveveless) that you have killed 10 people because one of your superiors told you to do so. And the Turkish prosecutors, always ready to drag a writer or journalist into court for insulting ‘Turkishness’, were silent the last week while in any other country the police will welcome you - outside the studio - for questioning when making such statement, so not in Turkey.
You don’t have to be clairvoyant to know that the Greek Cypriots, from day one, will take this to the European Court of Human Rights; they have the chapter of the Geneva Convention of POW on their side.
Don’t think that Atilla Olgac is another lunatic; he plays a leading role in the popular Turkish TV series Valley of the Wolves, with an audience which feel comfortable in an atmosphere of Turkish traditional recipe of nationalism, chauvinism and xenophobia as Ariana Ferentinou points out clearly.
Turkish government again didn't know how to act in the world of crisis management aka damage control; it missed again an opportunity to investigate on a descent way what happened in 1974.
What and who's next?
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The bishop was reinstated into the Catholic Church with three other bishops by Pope Benedict the Sixteenth last weekend. The four bishops are supporters of the ultraconservative French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who died in 1991.
Williamson is member of the ultra-conservative religious group St. Pius X, and I am not surprised by his remarks; he has done it before.
The SSPX was born out of opposition to the actual or perceived changes in Catholic teaching and practice that followed the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965). The founder and central figure of the society was the above mentioned French prelate Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
A statement made by one of the clerics of SSPX shows how conservative they are: "You cannot read Vatican II as a Catholic work. It is based on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. ...I will say, one day the Church should erase this Council. She will not speak of it anymore. She must forget it. The Church will be wise if she forgets this council."
One recent comment caught my eye... Valerie's comment about "conspiracy theories", a few posts back. Its good to address this from time to time, and it certainly has a place these days.
Most dictionaries describe "conspiracy" as a secretive agreement made by two or more people to perform some misdeed upon others, more or less. And yes, there is some validity to this definition, though we can dissect it many ways through deconstruction of terms like "secretive" and/or "misdeed".
For example... Some of those radical "conspiracy theorists" believe that wealthy European bankers have a plot to take over the world and create a one-world government under their own rule. Most people will tell you that such things sound kind of outrageous and quickly drop the idea into their conspiracy file (the intellectual trash bin) where it belongs. Or does it?
–James Paul Warburg 1950 to the U.S. Senate
Does this sound like a conspiracy? It wasn't exactly secretive, but if you do your homework on the background of the Warburg family it does seem to fit the "wealthy bankers" aspect of the "conspiracy theory". Is there any evidence that this vision of 50-odd years ago is being pursued?
Let's move forward 41 years...
"It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government."
- David Rockefeller, 1991 Bilderberg Meeting, Baden, Germany
And it wasn't so long ago that the mere existence of the Bilderberg group was the subject of "conspiracy theorists", but today their meetings sites, dates and lists of attendees are published.
So what do we see today? Contrary to popular belief, there is no longer any Germany or Denmark or Italy, other than what people personally identify with. There are 26 members of the EU, the body that centrally plans the economies, the markets and politics of its member "nations". The EU citizens have no vote in deciding who runs the EU, and few know the names of its key decison makers on policy points, and there's no real mechanism for dissent. There is talk of formalizing a North American Union (Canada, the U.S., Mexico), an Asian Union, an African Union. And for all the arguments on why this may be good, it not only reflects Warburg's and Rockefeller's statement above, it also appears to validate the "conspiracy theory".
So... What is a conspiracy theory after all?
Let me suggest this definition... "Whatever is happening in the world, but doesn't make the television news headlines."
One last example... Georgia and Russia.
When the brief battle began, headlines around the western world cried "Russia Attacks Georgia!", and the political commentary across Europe and the U.S. was that Russia's aggression must be stopped. Independent news sources were reporting almost immediately that, no, it was Georgia who launched the attack on the civlians in Ossetia, where Russia has had peace keepers since granting Georgia's independence. Anyone who suggested that Georgia was the aggressor was met with cries of "conspiracy theory". It took about 2 months before the EU finally admitted that Georgia began the aggression. About a month later, Saakashvilli even admitted he launched the war.
Still, if you polled EU citizens, probably 40% still think Russia was the aggressor. In the U.S., its probably more like 2 of 3. Conspiracy? Whatever.
I'll stick with my definition of conspiracy... What is happening in the world that doesn't make the headlines in your town.
Probably better if we drop such sachma (bullshit) terms, and inform ourselves a little better to what's going on in the world.
Your comments are appreciated...
Monday, January 26, 2009
Don't worry, I'm here for you... Let's start with what not to get her...
- The Cellulite Secret - Maybe its a good book - I wouldn't know - but let her girlfriends offer that to her.
- The Dyson DC14 Cyclone Vacuum Cleaner - It may be the Mercedes of home cleaning tools, but it's also a powerful and inventive weapon that can be used against you. And it will be.
- Porn - Holy mackeral, what were you thinking? Unless she requests a specific title, don't even think about it.
- Sexy "Underwear" - Dude... Its called lingerie. This was a test... If you call it underwear, you're probably not the one to be picking it out for her.
- Any "How-To" Book on Sex - The one possible exception to this would be the Kama Sutra, but be warned... If you don't know the difference between Shiva and Shakti, stay away from this. If she gets into the book and you're not well-schooled and prepared deliver on your end, she'll drop you like a bad habit. All you'll get is a photo postcard postmarked from the far east picturing her and some long-haired Tantra instructor walking naked on the beach, or in some funky figure-8. Don't risk it.
So... What's an appropriate gift for your lovely lady?
The safe bets are chocolates (if she's into that) and flowers. I mean... women will always accept those with a smile, but they are definitely "standard" and show no real creative thought, other than remembering the day. Cooking a nice meal and serving it to her by candle light is a wonderful gesture, and will likely score some points for you. A nice weekend holiday somewhere probably won't break the budget, will give you some great quality time together, and will give her something to talk about to her friends for months to come... big points here.
Use your imagination. Show a little heart. Make her feel as special as she is.
Now you need the clincher... Something that will let her know that you're more than just a caveman... That you really have a soul under that beer gut. Get her... A book of poetry about Love.
Its your lucky day... I know just the one...
Last spring I heard about a poetry competition by a small U.K. publishing house looking for Love poems. I had one ready and submitted it, and somehow - against all odds - it was selected for the book The New Poetry: In Love by Copeland Books. My poem "Lovers" is on page 38. The back cover states: "The book of poems represents the best work submitted to the Copeland Books Poetry Competition 2008. It is an eclectic range of excellent writing that focuses on the experience of falling in love, and on being in love." There are some excellent pieces in it by some very talented poets.
This book of love poems is the perfect thing to accompany the standard "chocolates and flowers", or to make that dinner or weekend holiday even more special for her. And you don't even have to go to one of those dreaded bookstores... You can order online and have it delivered by Valentines Day for about 10 British Pounds. But you have to act fast.
Click here for the website and place your order today.
(Don't let the fact that I'm not listed among the poets concern you... I have the book in hand, and my stuff is in it. )
For those who want a sampling of what's inside, you can check out my poem "Lovers" here...
Ok, Cavemen... and Lovers of Love... I've done all I can do for you this Valentine's Day season. The rest is up to you.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
About everything you think you see going on the world is either a) an illusion, or b) intentionally manufactured. That's a big and sweeping statement. If you try hard enough, you'll find some proof otherwise, but for now, go with me...
Citizens in many countries are beginning to stand up to protest their governments' policies, particularly related to the economic crises. Iceland and Greece come to mind easily, but its happening in every corner. See this article on the IMF's Strauss-Kahn's comments.
Now, let's differentiate between protests and riots. Riots are essentially protests that turn violent, and to be avoided at all cost. When violence starts, we won't know who is on what side. Here is a link to a Denver Post article outing the Denver Police themselves for posing as protesters and inciting riots at the Democratic National Convention last summer. Similar events have been repeatedly documented across the U.S., Canda, Greece, Germany and many other places around the globe. Now... Ask yourself "Why?".
One thing we do know is that violence and civil unrest is the primary justification for the growing militarization of police forces. And if the police are often behind turning otherwise peaceful demonstrations into violence (that is replayed over and over on television - fear-based justifications), then what we have is a circular "problem-solution" scenario, where our governments are creating the problems and then solving the "problems" with more manpower, more force, more heavy gear. Self-perpetuating militarization. Coming to a town near you.
Why is this important to Europeans?
The EU is planning a summit for March on the "violent protests" taking place, as described in the London Telegraph, here. Its very predictable that by 1) keeping the topic of "violent protests" in the news and 2) by continuing to feed the causes (tragically bad policy decisions) and 3) by continuing to feed the violence itself (as described above), Europe will be heading down the path of a more oppressive police state.
The same scenario is going down in the U.S. as well. It began a long time ago, but with this so-call War on Terror, its gathering intense steam. Its well documented that the FBI and other agencies are infiltrating and spying on peace groups and adding their members' names to the terror watch list. The threat of martial law is being tossed about at every turn, and was instrumental in the passage of the $700 billion bailout that now stands at $8.5 TRILLION and running. 12,000 U.S. military troops on the ground for the inauguration, and 20,000 (and growing) U.S. active-duty, battle-hardened soldiers have been committed to inside the borders in advance of the coming protests that are being arranged.
Here's the point... None of it is by accident. Its being carefully orchestrated. Its originated by our governments, perpetuated by our media, and our lives will likely change a great deal in the next few years. There's much we can do, but accept this caution... Never, ever, be a part of anything that sniffs of violence. No matter how worthy the protest, violence will not serve you in any way, and it will only reinforce the argument for less liberty and more state oppression.
I think that one day we'll get beyond protest and move toward detachment and independence from these institutions called governments, but we're not there yet. It will require a level of consciousness some degrees beyond what we have today. In the meantime, its in our best interest to see things for what they are, and to be prepared for what's coming. And to steer clear from violence at every turn.
If this sounds a bit radical for you, my best advice is to inform yourself. Similar scenarios were laid before me in 1998 by a couple of dear friends. My response, "You're nuts." Their response, "Inform yourself." And thus my process began. Some of you already see it. Others will continue to resist. Still others will open their minds and let new perspectives in. Our lives will be at least in part a function of how we continue to process new information like this.
These next couple of years will likely be strange. Let's keep our heads about us.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Forgive the advertising-jingle-esque nature of this, but...
"Can we ever speak the Truth before we seek the Truth?"
Here's the context... Roll with me for a moment...
On most topics, and particularly with things like Politics, Society, Religion, it seems we spend most of our time defending our own long-held beliefs rather than actually wrestling the the problems to begin with. And I'll argue that those beliefs, for the most part, aren't actually ours but rather hand-me-downs from others.
Why do we attach so strongly to them? Why do we feel the need to defend them? Why do we have to attack others if their beliefs differ?
I like the quote Hans shared with us the other day by Bertrand Russel. Scroll down if you missed it.
I'll suggest that none of has any REAL beliefs until we've sufficiently challenged them ourselves. And by "sufficiently" I mean that we go at them like a pit bull on a T-bone steak.
Try this... Take your strongest-held beliefs and write them down. Those things you know to be true and will stand by no matter what happens. Then begin the critical deconstruction process. Act as if you will get paid, lottery style, for proving them wrong. Seek all the information you can come across that may turn your own world upside down. Shoot for complete invalidation. Attempt to embarrass yourself by exposing your own narrow-minded ignorance to yourself. Make notes of all data that support and challenge what you think you know.
After the first round, repeat. And I'll suggest that the 3rd time is worthwhile (3 is the magic number, ya know...).
See what happens. Its a marvelous experience. But I'll tell you, its not for the weak-minded. Sometimes as you begin to chip away at the world around you, you may feel disoriented - don't worry, its just your Universe expanding. Keep putting one metaphysical foot in front of the other... you'll find your way.
It will feel a little bit lonely at times. Don't worry, you'll meet some interesting travelers along the way. Big people... Strong people... Beautiful people. You'll find they show up at just the right times, and when they move on, somebody else will come along shortly to guide you. It just works that way.
Its still early in 2009, and this might be a good addition to your resolution list... Will probably mean more to you than that 5 kg you have in mind (eat more broccoli!).
Again, its not for everybody, but for those with the inclination and the courage... for those who Trust themselves enough... its a very, very rewarding process.
Friday, January 23, 2009
If you're digging me on this but don't know where to start, let me offer a suggestion... Spiral Dynamics.
Yeah, its sounds like a good name for a business book (or boy band, for that matter), and actually the concept was built by a management consultant, Don Beck, but its ramifications are huge. It actually explains the development of humans and society with remarkable clarity. The great integral philosopher Ken Wilber agrees, and Beck's work has gained some highly influential followers.
Its a rather large topic to understand, but I found a very clear and soul-satisfying explanation in a video series by Michael Dowd, on google video, linked here...
The video is titled "Evolutionary Christianity Disc Two", and that's a bit of a misnomer. Although Darwinism and Christianity are mostly side conversations to the crux of the presentation, Dowd does bring them together well, but more importantly, he folds them into a broader and more meaningful understanding of how this insane world got to where it is today. Even moreso, he offers some very prescient insight to where we may be heading.
4 parts, two hours. Gather the family around with some popcorn, or smoke a joint take it with that special someone. Then come back and let us know what you think.
I hope life treats you well this weekend, and vice-versa.
And this must be good news for pro-EU Turks if he indeed will be the next President of the European Commission; in 2004, when the Netherlands hold the 6 months presidency of the EU, he worked hard to open negotiation with Turkey. And yes, finally they started the accession process with Turkey.
But I've my doubts since the Secretary General of the NATO is a Dutch as well.
The name of the Dutch prime minister keeps coming up in speculation about who the next president of the European Commission will be. When asked, Jan Peter Balkenende says he needs to finish his job in The Hague.
A well-connected source in Brussels this week said that: "I hear from all corners that he is in a good position." The source added that Balkenende is himself interested in the prestigious post.
However, the Dutch prime minister called the appearance of his name "remarkable." He said, "I understand that his issue came up in an interview between Dutch journalists with my colleague [minister of finance and deputy prime minister] Wouter Bos."
Balkenende said that it would be good for Europe if the current president of the commission Jose Manuel Barroso could extend his tenure beyond the fall.
The commission president must be nominated by the heads of state or governments of the European Union member states before being officially elected by the European Parliament. The trend has been to elect a national politician as president of the commission.
The right-wing liberal party (VVD) whip Hans van Baalen said he's long heard the name of Balkenende come up in connection with the post. Yet he wonders whether the EU chair is in the best interests of the Dutch. "Often you're in less of a position to defend national interests."
If Balkenende harbours European ambitions after all, his chances aren't likely to increase with time, according to European parliamentarian Joost Lagendijk of the left-wing green party (GroenLinks). "History has proven that the names which pop up first, are also the first to fall off."
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Contrary to what many Republicans and other so-called "conservatives" expected, its now two days Post-Bush, and the world is still generally intact. At least as to the point it was the day prior. Much has been made over the extravagance of the $140 million inauguration, but its fair to say that many people chose to hold his honorary balls, with no taxpayer money involved. It D.C., they usually put such things on the Corporate Card. It should also be noted that... uh... nevermind. I got my cheap puns in.
I find it interesting to note that on Day 1, Obama instituted a pay freeze for all White House employees. It was much praised by his supporters, but it does beg the question...
Why was that even necessary? Who was it that came to work on their first day on wanted a pay raise? Dude... I want names.
I tend to write a bit about politics, but don't think for a minute that I believe in the process or support a party, or anything like that. I don't like politicians. Author Tom Robbins told us that "Politics is the science of domination", and after studying this stuff rather in depthly over the past 10 years, I will agree with him. So let's make a deal... I won't spend anytime defending U.S. politics or politicians, and you won't spend any time with me defending yours.
After my last post here..."Inauguration Blues", I received a few emails from readers. By the way, they are always appreciated, even from the knuckleheads. I've been called an anti-semite and other things and sent numerous pieces of propaganda. Allah only knows why. Goddam... Apparently if you even mention the word I*r*el anymore without pledging allegiance to its flag a small band of blood thirsty web warriors - who, I'm guessing, aren't even Israeli citizens - come running for you. They were polite enough to stop when I asked though, so I'll give them credit for that.
Alan Derschowitz hasn't called yet, so apparently I'm not THAT offensive.
And for those curious... I love everybody. People are people, about the same in all of the nearly 30 countries I've visited. The Israelis I've met in my travels have been kind, gentle, generous people. Here in Turkey I've met a few Iranians... kind, gentle, generous people. Last week I met some Iraqi engineers on the ferry who are training in Istanbul, and guess what... kind, gentle, generous people. Turks... guess what... the same. Maybe I'm just lucky.
But somehow, we attach ourselves and our place in the world to these instituions known as governments. We fall in love with our own flag and the the line of fictions about "us and our people" that we've been fed since we were children. Generally, people don't oppress people, governments oppress people, and brainwash us into thinking its a good idea when its not.
World... Keep on turnin'...
Ok... If you want to know my religion, it looks like this... Love everybody, Fear nobody. Those two go hand in hand. I have the feeling that if more people took a shot at this, the world would be very different.
Politics will never change the problems of the world, and indeed, it creates most of them. When we finally realize that and detach from the insane nationalism that grips the world today, and begin to care about each other as humans, we'll do much better.
As I step down from the podium, I'll leave you with these quote from the brillian physicist / philosopher / many other things, Albert Einstein...
"Nationalism is an infantile sickness. Its the measles of the human race."
"Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction."
"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
Back soon... Rock on...
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I understand the frustration and anger among many Muslims but I simple don't understand why the USA, UK and Germany for example must be boycotted. And it became ridiculous by spreading conspiracy theories involving bar codes and hidden Israeli flags. One text message circulating in the Netherlands claimed that Aldi and Lidl, two German popular retail chains among immigrants in Europe, would "donate part of their profits to Israel."
Okay, boycott the USA produced goods! But be consequent! Don't turn your computer on, Windows is an USA made product. And when you don't use Windows then you for certain have an Apple Mac, also American.
You can replace Pepsi Cola or Coca Cola easily with Cola Turka, and Burger King and McDonald's with a nice kebab. But what about taking a trip abroad with one of the many Boeing's, American as well. And don't forget to boycott American movies and the many popular Hollywood made TV shows, that's over for now.
And the Turkish Army can stop functioning properly since they buy their weapons from Israel, the USA and Sweden...)
If we included UK made goods, you better can stop shopping: Unilever has more brands than you want to know.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Not that I ever bought the whole Obama "Change" theme to begin with. But the whole world - every corner - was hoping... praying... for something at least a little bit different.
The Bush years really weren't that different than the generation or two before - they were merely amplified to a hyperbolic cartoon version of the "US leadership" of recent decades passed. We can be thankful, at least, that the Bush Administration opened many people's eyes to what is really happening in this world. Still, there are many who refuse to see, and many among this group greet Obama's "change" with great hope.
These are troubling times, indeed. Israel just violated the cease fire again, and there are two cargo ships staged in Greece to deliver about 250 times the insane amount of heavy weaponry they've dropped into Gaza thus far. These levels of weapons aren't shipped for what-if scenarios.
Meanwhile, the media campaign for war on Iran is reaching new pitches, even as Obama tells us he wants to double up the commitment in Afghanistan while no longer considering bin Laden a real target for capture ("its good enough just to keep him running, though we don't know where he is to begin with" - whatever that means... who buys this stuff?!?).
And, meanwhile.. taxpayer assumption of corporate risks proceeds, with Obama's full support, while these same corporations continue to pay dividends, bonues and privatize profits.
And, meanwhile... civil liberties in the US and the world continue to deteriorate through policies for the propagation of Fear. Obama and Co. were full supporters of the Military Commissions Act, John Warner Defense Act, Patriot Act, Telecom Immunity and other similar bills. Italy and many other places in the world are seeing their own fascist movements taking hold again... Its a troubling trend.
Change? What do we see?
Rahm Emanuel... Clinton... Gates... Holder... Geithner... Napolitano... Vilsack... Daschle... Shapiro... Salazar... Susan Rice... the list goes on and on.
For those already reminiscent for the good ol' days of the Bush era, hang in there...
By the looks of things, we can realistically expect: More transfer of wealth to the wealthy, more brutal and unnecessary wars, greater militarization of the homeland (wherever you call home) and fewer citizens rights.
Am I missing something? What was that change he spoke of?
Is blind hope enough? Or will we truly change the things we care about to something more life-honoring and more spirit-honoring? When will we begin to assert our collective will?
More thoughts later at Alias Jones...
Although I think that the USA needs some psychosocial impulse (which Obama can give) people worldwide expect too much of Obama. Lets first see what happens during the first year of his presidency. Here a balanced article of that blog.
Monday, January 19, 2009
People working in the entertainment and service sectors benefited most with pay rises of 4 percent. The lowest pay rises were in the catering sector, with employees only gaining 2.3 percent more money.
Government pay packages saw increases of 3.3 percent, partly due to end of year bonuses.
Pay rises do not necessarily lead to higher purchasing power, primarily because part of the pay package is withheld in premiums for pensions and social security, say Statistics Netherlands.
Every spring in the Netherlands, discussions are held on pay and conditions between the social partners (employers' organisations and unions), in the hope of preventing wage conflicts and strikes, which often are prevented because these talks
Average GPD BC is 46.000 Dollar
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Many articles are written about the disaster in Gaza, often from one point of view.
I must say that Mustafa this time wrote an article which speaks Words of Wisdom. The Mustafa who I know: intelligent, bright, peacefully and open minded. And without playing on sentiments.
An emotional article without being sentimental. A call for peace!
When both sides see the other as evil
Since Israel started its brutal onslaught in Gaza, I have been receiving dozens of emails everyday about the nature of the conflict and the parties involved. Most of these fall into two distinct narratives that are 180 degrees opposite.
Our friend Erkan wrote an excellent summary about it, which give some clue.
No separate link available, but his posting about this issue of yesterday, Friday 16, is at the top of his blog. Read it here.
Friday, January 16, 2009
One of Carla Bruni innocent pictures...
PM Erdogan of Turkey is on its way to Brussels to revive EU process.
It's crystal clear for me that his party is running Turkey as a computer shop, and thinks that negotiations with the EU is the same as doing business at the bazaar, but he knows, and we know that the only thing his government has to do is full filling the Copenhagen Criteria which are non-negotiable. So simple. But for sure, he will come back after his three day visit, complaining that the EU treat Turkey in general and Him in person unfairly...in the meanwhile playing the blame game. Yes, another carrots for the EU and the Turkish people.
So far, not one single person in Turkey could provide me one fact where Turkey is treats different regarding the accession process, than any other candidate EU countries. Maybe one: the EU spends much more time in and about Turkey due to the ongoing bargaining by Turkish government. Maybe Erdogan expects for his 'efforts' some presents from the EU? Some money?
I sincerely hopes that he left this time his sunglasses at home although it's sunny in Brussels.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
And do you wonder why?
1. “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”-Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2004
2. “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family.”-Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000
3. “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”-Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000
4. “Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”-Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004
5. “Neither in French nor in English nor in Mexican.”-declining to answer reporters’ questions at the Summit of the Americas, Quebec City, Canada, April 21, 2001
6. “You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.”-Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001
7. “I’m the decider, and I decide what is best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense.”-Washington, D.C., April 18, 2006
8. “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”-Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005
9. “I’ve heard he’s been called Bush’s poodle. He’s bigger than that.”-discussing former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as quoted by the Sun newspaper, June 27, 2007
10. “And so, General, I want to thank you for your service. And I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who are trying to defeat us in Iraq.”-meeting with Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Washington, D.C., March 3, 2008
11. “We ought to make the pie higher.”-South Carolina Republican debate, Feb. 15, 2000
12. “There’s an old saying in Tennessee-I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee-that says, fool me once, shame on-shame on you. Fool me-you can’t get fooled again.”-Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002
13. “And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I’m sorry it’s the case, and I’ll work hard to try to elevate it.”-speaking on National Public Radio, Jan. 29, 2007
14. “We’ll let our friends be the peacekeepers and the great country called America will be the pacemakers.”-Houston, Sept. 6, 2000
15. “It’s important for us to explain to our nation that life is important. It’s not only life of babies, but it’s life of children living in, you know, the dark dungeons of the Internet.”-Arlington Heights, Ill., Oct. 24, 2000
16. “One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.”-U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 3, 2000
17. “People say, ‘How can I help on this war against terror? How can I fight evil?’ You can do so by mentoring a child; by going into a shut-in’s house and say I love you.”-Washington, D.C., Sept. 19, 2002
18. “Well, I think if you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness.”-CNN online chat, Aug. 30, 2000
19. “I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep on the soil of a friend.”-on the prospect of visiting Denmark, Washington, D.C., June 29, 2005
20. “I think it’s really important for this great state of baseball to reach out to people of all walks of life to make sure that the sport is inclusive. The best way to do it is to convince little kids how to-the beauty of playing baseball.”-Washington, D.C., Feb. 13, 2006
21. “Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.”-LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000
22. “You know, when I campaigned here in 2000, I said, I want to be a war president. No president wants to be a war president, but I am one.”-Des Moines, Iowa, Oct. 26, 2006
23. “There’s a huge trust. I see it all the time when people come up to me and say, ‘I don’t want you to let me down again.’ “-Boston, Oct. 3, 2000
24. “They misunderestimated me.”-Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000
25. “I’ll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office.”-Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008
Thanks to Electionissues.today.com
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Czech artist embarrasses Prague government although Cerny has fans...
It took several days before anyone complained and the EU began to smell a rat. Only when Bulgaria – depicted as a Turkish lavatory – objected did the Czechs start to question the organiser of the project, the artist David Cerny.
The artwork, commissioned by the Czech government to celebrate holding the European Union presidency for the coming six months has become a source of embarrassment. Prague commissioned Czech sculptor Cerny to create a piece in cooperation with artists from all 27 EU-member states. However, Mr Cerny has admitted that he and two friends created the 8 tonne puzzle, called Entropa, to see, "if Europe is able to laugh at itself". He didn't asked other sculptors as promised to create the project.
Mr Cerny admitted that he made up the names of the artists on the brochure presented to the government. The puzzle, in the form of a map of EU states, decorates a building where EU leaders hold their summits was due to be officially unveiled on Thursday.
+The map of France is emblazoned with the word Greve, which is French for strike.
+Sweden is represented as a piece of flatpack furniture.
+ Britain does not appear at all.
+ Bulgaria is the floor of a toilet.
+Romania a Dracula theme park.
+Poland, one of the most conservative countries in the EU, has priests waving a rainbow flag, a symbol used by gay and lesbian activists.
+Denmark has been completely made of Lego.
+The Netherlands has been represented as a sea with a series of minarets rising from the waves.
and so on..))
It is not yet clear what the Czech government intends to do with the artwork. But it's fun!
Haligua, a radio producer, draws attention to the media's role in the circulation of such racist reactions.
"All Jews are trying to clear of others but we'll fight" said a young commentator during a mainstream TV program, aired last night.
On another account, members of the Osmangazi Cultural Foundation in Eskişehir held banners which read "Armenians and Jews not allowed through this door" during a staged protest.
"It's a gross error to bill the faults of the Israeli state to Jews living in other parts of the world" said Bilgen. "We must clearly distinguish between demands of peace in the Middle East and demands that would instigate further ethnic and religious fights. One should not forget that the most powerful reaction to Israel's policies comes from within the country, from Israeli peace activists"
While this is the case, he also reacts to PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying "we've welcomed Jews as our guest here 600 years ago".
"I'm not a Israeli citizen says Haligua. "Utilization of the notion of 'guest' after 600 years shows how deep anti-semitism goes. AKP exploits the situation for the upcoming elections just as the Israeli government does."
He notes that the media lays ground to racist comments through sentimental approaches.
Read here the full article.
Note: two years ago some Israelian friends came over, since they love Turkey. But this time, they told me, if people asked us, where we from, we always said: the USA.
Turkey was and stille not are not that innocent regarding Jews.
Take World War II as example: yes, Turkey welcomed Jewish refugees for their knowledge and put immediately a Wealth tax upon them. If they could not pay, they were sent to the only concentration camp outside Nazi Germany:
When Ataturk raised modern Turkey from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, he wisely decided to orient it toward the West. But during his time in power (1923-38), the West included not only democracies such as the United States and Britain but dictatorships such as fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Ataturk never admired these tyrannies, but some of his aides and followers certainly did, and they incorporated numerous fascist elements into Turkey's state-sponsored brand of secular nationalism. Fantasies about the supremacy of the Turkish race soon became official rhetoric. Turkey adopted corporatism, Benito Mussolini's state-dominated economic model, and when Ataturk died, he was declared the country's "eternal chief." His successor, Mustafa Ismet Inonu, introduced a heavy "wealth tax" in 1942 that specifically targeted Jews. Unable to pay, many were sent to labor camps in eastern Turkey. Read more from the Washington Post.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Therefor I was pretty surprised by an posting of Saudi Deist who is on Internations their blogroll. I must say, it's an interesting topic...
Here the entry:
Why Islam is not from God?
So I’ll be going into some detail about Islam and why its not the word of God but of man. Now many of the reasons could cover other religions and are not exclusive to Islam. In sura 51 verse 56 god says ” I have only created Jinns and Humans, that they may serve Me.” So whats wrong with this verse? If god created us to serve him why didn’t he plant that into us? or clearly show himself so we may serve him? Also why would he allow us not to serve him if the reason for our creation is serving him?If Islam is the true faith for all Jinns and Humans as it claims, why was it introduced to only Arabs at first and by one man? Why didn’t god send messengers all around the world at the same time spreading his one word? Why did he allow people around the globe to worship others for hundreds of years without sending his word to them? Islam didn’t enter North and South America till the lat 1700s. Why did God not talk directly to the prophet Muhammad and instead used a middleman the angel Gabriel? And why does he even need a messenger? Why doesn’t he him self deliver his message? If not why doesn’t he send his angels instead of humans?Why aren’t historical and religious stories of the past in the Koran the same as the Bible? Why aren’t there different stories? Is there nothing in the history of the world that wasn’t already mentioned in the Bible?
These are only some of why Islam is not from God. They are questions but such questions for me only lead me to believe that Islam is from man and not God.
I will talk more on Islam in the future and also other religions.
Here is a list of people who converted from Islam to other religions or became simple agnostic or atheist.
Monday, January 12, 2009
The nap cabins (Napcabs) are private mini hotel rooms that were developed by five students for the 2007 Innovation Competition held by the Technical University of Munich.. For 15 Euros per hour (minimum purchase of 30 Euros/2 hours), you can have this travel oasis all to yourself while you wait for the next flight. Close the door behind you and you will immediately shut out the outside world from disturbing your alone time. A comfortable bed awaits you here, along with a mini work station containing two power outlets and a LAN cable to hook up your laptop to the internet.
You can relax, take your clothes off, and take a nap. Use the touch screen to set an alarm to wake you up and birds begin to chirp at the appointed hour, alerting you that it’s time to get up and catch your flight. The walls serve to block most of the noises around you, with the only noticeable outside activity being the sound of other tired travelers, who have been lured to your cabin, and are mindlessly going through the touch screen outside your cabin before noticing the flashing ‘Occupied’ sign.