Shaken and stirred

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm trying to get..........

back to the format I was using a couple of years ago. That is, first some current event rant in which I slay dragons and set things right, then, a quote of the day and,finally, the Mexico As I See It segment.

Yesterday I wrote a screed about Wikileaks. I ran out of gas before getting to the rest so, today, I'm playing Ketchup.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Stupidity has a knack of getting its way - Albert Camus


Well, I can tell you my host country is plenty pissed with France. They, the French, want their girl, Florence Cassez, to do her sixty years jail time in France. They also don't believe she got a fair trial here on kidnapping and murder charges. Don't know where they got that idea.

The French also say the witnesses against their compatriot were probably offered a deal or, even, paid outright to testify. Supposedly Florence didn't know any thing about drugs, murder and kidnapping. Don't know where they got that idea.

The Mexicans say her testimony, that she was just staying at the ranch with her narco boyfriend and did not know all those others brought there were kidnap victims doomed to die, is bullshit. Can't imagine where they got that idea.

Mexico says Ms. Cassez got a fair trial and was proven guilty. She stays in Mexico because Mexico doesn't trust the French to carry out her sentence. Can't imagine where they got that idea.

There also happens to be a yearlong festival of the Mexican Culture going on in France. Sarkozy has criticized Calderon publicly for not honoring the French request and Calderon has accused Sarkozy of trying to bully him into compliance. Now the Mexicans have pulled out of the festival in France. So, France is left with a year of Mexican festivals with no Mexicans. While the Mexicans will forego an opportunity to polish their worldwide tarnished reputation.

So, we're in a grand snit, a real live Mexican standoff.

As the blacks say: First liar ain't got a chance.

And you thought Egypt was the only big news in the world.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wikileaks, fair or foul?

I'm having a time of it trying to decide where I stand on Assange and his Wikileaks. On the one hand it seems fair to the people to find out what forked tongued, back stabbers they have voted for to protect their interests and to speak for them. Then, there's the U.S. government's outrage, calling everybody involved traitors who must be held accountable, maybe for life. Whether the government's side is justifiable is difficult to say since they have used the same old tried and true scare card they use whenever any heat comes their way, 'national security is at risk'.

I have a friend with whom I chat about politics and government in general. We are usually in agreement, at least basically, on current events. We both count ourselves more as Democrats than Republicans, consider the Bush/Cheney era as tarnishing America's reputation throughout the world and each of us are a bit discouraged by Obama's performance, my friend more than I. But, regarding Assange and Wikileaks my friend is adamant, unshakable in his opinion that Assange is a traitor and should be hunted down and tried as such. How that squares up with the fact that Assange is not an American citizen and therefore could not really be a traitor to a foreign country, I don't know. It's not important though because if the Feds want him bad enough you can bet he will fall under one or more of the 'terrorist' definitions.

It's one thing for us to discover that the hierarchy of public servants appear to be snide, smug and prejudicial, below average types. Most of us have suspected that for decades. But, if these leaks were to prove wrong doings, even crimes, have been committed by elected and appointed officials of, not only our government, but, governments around the world would that be a bad thing? Should we know what goes on or does the running of foreign and domestic affairs demand a level of secrecy that we the people cannot comprehend? And,if so, why can't American families conduct their personal affairs in secret when the IRS comes calling?

Perhaps the whole problem should be separated into its parts to determine what or who is at fault. Is the concept of Wikileaks essentially wrong and dangerous? Is Assange a villainous malcontent who exposes dirty laundry in all the wrong places? Is the soldier who mailed the stuff in the first place a 'whistle blower' or a traitor intent on destroying democracy? Weighty questions indeed.

Supposedly there is pending legislation to protect 'whistle blowers' from being fired, ostracized or worse, when they step forward to expose maleficence in their workplace. Perhaps Congress meant the new rules for whistle blowers who blow the whistle farther from home.

I'm too tired to go on, but if I could I would.

P.S. Dear friends, I will soon get back to complaining about Mexico. I'ts that there is just so much a person can do in an old man's day.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Now that I am in......

the twilight years of my life, a euphemism for 'old', I have begun to question the country I have loved and believed in for all these years. Of course I am referring to the U.S.A. I was born in St. Louis, Mo. a long time ago when radio was the source of news for the masses. Every theater had exciting, black and white, news reels before the cartoons, and after which the main feature played. We heard Roosevelt tell us we had nothing to fear but fear itself. We watched in awe as MacArthur waded through knee deep surf to save the Philippines.

In those days America meant square jawed, no nonsense, straightforwardness the likes of which we watched portrayed by Gary Cooper, James Stewart and John Wayne. The Japs were bastards, the Germans even worse and all of them were out to dirty the spotless robes we Americans wore so proudly. I believed it and so did the majority of the country. We were, without a doubt the good guys, the one's in the white hats.

Of course, now, some sixty or seventy years later, with the Internet, Face book and Wikileaks we are seeing ourselves portrayed as somewhat less than square-jawed and straight forward. After Vietnam, Nixon, a president's assasination, the shooting of a couple of others, Enron, Cheney's claim that 'deficits don't matter, Wall Street's exposure as greedy thugs and the Bush Administrations vulgarities we must re-assess who we are. Maybe even, what we are.

Now that we know we, as a nation, are just as furtive, unjust, militaristic and self serving as the world's governments we have been criticizing for the past five decades we can take our place among them and not claim to stand above them.

The U.S. wants to say which countries can have nuclear weapons. Iran no, North Korea no, Israel, Pakistan, India, Russia and China, yes. The difference between these countries is what?

The U.S. attacks Muslim terrorists all over the world except in Saudi Arabia, where, 15 of the 19 people who perpetrated the 9/11 attack, were born. Could it be the oil connection is too good to screw with?

The U.S. wants China to stop the alleged manipulation of their currency so that there is a level playing field for imports and exports. At the same time the U.S. continues, defiantly, selling arms to Taiwan, a very sore point with China. How would the U.S. respond if China were equipping Cuba for war?

We want Russia to sign a nuclear arms reduction pact while the U.S. is supporting a nuclear defense ring around the Eastern Europe countries. If Canada or Mexico suggested a similar strategy of course the U.S. would have no objection, right?

While the U.S. pretends to want what's best for the Palestinians they have joined forces with the Israelis to sabotage the Iranian nuclear development program. I'm sure the Palestinians must feel they have an unbiased ally in the United States.

All of this is what we have become internationally. It says nothing to the failures here at home. Suspension of Habeas Corpus for foreign born prisoners , Guantanamo, contemplation on whether torture is a viable means of maintaining a democracy. The Executive branch of government mincing words to circumvent the intention of the United States Constitution. Wall Street, banks, Black Water, Haliburten, pension funds and graft. Pyramid schemes, land bubbles and outlandish paychecks to CEOs. Murderous rhetoric by fanatics, attacks on any government program which has at its roots help for Americans of lesser means. Loss of jobs, crumbling infrastructure, disrespect for one another, dwindling opportunities and a pistol for every hand.

It's a far cry from those flickering, black and white, news reels I remember showing Marines mounting the American flag on Mount Suribachi and U. S. troops parading through the streets of Paris with thousands of people cheering them on. Times when an American family was proud and grateful to be able to buy an electric refrigerator, to have a back yard for their children to play in and a car in which to take weekend trips to see their country. Families who understood that they could not spend more than they earned. An America where we parked between the lines, swept the sidewalks in front of our homes and spoke respectfully to anyone nearing our grandparents age.

We are now in a different place, one in which none of us are really comfortable.

OK, I'm too tired to go on, but, if I could I would.

Friday, January 14, 2011

As we prepare for.....

the new Republican dominated congress to begin its raid on anything Obaman or inspired by Democrats, the non-aggressive, non-rich among us begin changing the locks and pushing heavy furniture against our front doors.

Everything that lends itself to helping the lesser among us, the poor, the elderly, the physically or mentally impaired, the working poor, the homeless, victims of the mortgage crisis resulting from the land 'bubble' and on and on ad nauseum, will be attacked as heading the United States toward Socialism.

What will, however, not be on their agenda is curbing exportation of arms, which the U.S. is the leader in the world, down sizing the annual defense budget which was just shy of $ 700 billion dollars for 2010, reducing the enormous expenditure of the infamous and useless 'war on drugs'. None of the expensive confrontations we have around the world will be brought into question. Nor will the non-regulated Wall Street, self serving excesses of Banks, executive bonus's or the arrogance of mega corporations. Apparently they are what makes America great and not the backs of the people who built them.

Money for education, for infrastructure in our country, welfare for our own society, for the health and well being of our own citizens will be challenged as handouts to the undeserving and, therefore, considered candidates for elimination.

Every dollar spent sealing us off, shielding us from the rest of the world, enforcing our ideas of who should be considered enemies, which countries we should teach 'democracy', who should have nuclear capabilities and who should not, is a dollar taken away from municipal services, state's abilities to meet their financial obligations, highway building, levee construction, alternative energy experiments and the well being of Americans in general.

Defense of one's home land is important, no one is denying it. But, it is a stretch to say the United States is defending itself by losing billions of dollars and thousands of American lives fighting shadows in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. It would be wiser to protect our country from foreign attack than to be attacking foreigners in the anticipation of them attacking us.

OK, I'm too tired to go on. But, if I could I would.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

In order to blog....

certainly a functioning computer is a necessity. For the past few weeks mine has given me fits. It all started when, for some reason, I could not download an IE8 update. Things land slided from bad to awful in just a few hours of me screwing around with, what I imagined were , my options.

Done in and without any adventure left it was time to contact my techie. He, who I will call Rami, is an extremely tall and lanky man who makes one think of Dali's Don Quixote. His business card touts him as an
'ingeniero' (engineer) of computers and that was a lot more than I could claim so I opted in. Since moving to this part of Mexico and carrying with me a computer Rami has been to me, what a quadruple bypass is to bad heart, nothing short of a life saver. Without his annoying calmness and patience I might have smashed this modern convenience into a million plastic pieces.

Anyway, after completely revamping my machine and all of its programs, files, folders and other inner stuff Rami was able to put me on the road again. In the process was lost some four years of writing.

I was so shocked that from today's date back to 2007 my precious words, thoughts, ideas and general bullshit were no more I decided I will get back on the Internet and send out as much of my stuff as I can so, at least, a portion of it may last longer than if I try to save it on my computer. I and my computer have proven ourselves to be unreliable.

I will try to recapture some of the same format I was using back then. I will not be able to resist more rants regarding American politics, government inanities and how old white guys cannot understand the Mexican culture no matter how submerged in it we are.

As a footnote, I have to say how sorry I am over the events in Tucson Az.. How much longer will it be before Americans are decapitating each other and rolling the heads of their opponents across barroom floors to frighten others out of their opinions? Maybe Mexico and the United States are not as far apart mentally as we used to think.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm back..............

after a long absence. The absence was mainly because I ran out of things to say, at least, things I thought worthwhile. The lessor reason I remained incommunicado was that every time I tried to return to my blog I was flummoxed by a series of new instructions requiring a Google account. I am barely literate let alone computer literate which prohibited me from accessing my own blog.

I now have a Google account and have found my blog again, I think. This message has no point other than seeing if what I have just said is in fact what has happened.

If I'm back on my blog I look forward to re-establishing some of my former acquaintances and starting again with my endless rambles about politics and government and life in Mexico.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Be still my beating heart....

Rove bowing out, Rummy quiting, Santorum, you remember sanctimonious Santorum swept aside, Burns, Allen, gone, all gone.

All, rubber stamp, war mongering, Bushies, poof. Will there be others taking hemlock? Dare we hope? I suppose it's too much to expect that Cheney might join the lemmings going over the cliff.

It makes one giddy. Why do I feel like Jack Armstrong, All American Boy has returned? Rosie the Riveter, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Marshal Dillon, all back in the American picture.

Can we return to the tenets envisioned in that "Just a goddamn piece of paper", as the President views it, known to the rest of us as the U.S. Constitution?

Can we ratchet down the runaway Patriot Act. How about turning our backs on this bullshit 'torture' scheme the President and his staff are so fond of. Can't we simply say: Americans don't do torture? We have gotten to the truth of many grave issues not having to resort to torture why must we begin now?

Phone tapping citizens, imprisoning and not charging people, allowing the President to obey only the laws he agrees with and the whole 'don't talk back' epidemic is not the American way.

Yes, yes I know I am indulging in a moment of euphoria. My bubble will burst. The gray dawn of tomorrow and its even grayer events of the day will sober me up.

But, for now, this sweet respite from the grim is most enjoyable. I feel like an American again and it feels great!


People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible. -- J .R. (?)

MEXICO (as I see it)

We have two presidents in Mexico. One elected and one affected. Is that democracy in action or what? The one you got to choose the other there was no choice.

Mexico has managed to shoot itself in the foot almost every time it tries to get cute. The outcome I can see for this debacle is it will probably shoot itself in both feet.

It would appear what Mexican political candidates have to learn is that they must work harder to win before the election not after.