Mittens, I was wrong!

Sometimes, I guess there is this belief some people have, that if they repeat a lie many times, they will end up being true. That seems to be the case for Mitt Romney. Recently he had multiple interviews where he vehemently denied his involvement with Bain Capital since 1999. He repeatedly said that he could not be held responsible for any decisions the private equity firm (Bain Capital) made after 1999. Thus the company’s record of shutting down several factories and selling them piece by piece was something he had not taken part in. Nobody and their grandma believed that story, but at least they had no proof to use against him for a while. That in turn gave him the cockiness to even demand an apology from President Obama for recently running an ad about his so called ”bad boss” record at Bain.

With the election just months away, there is a lot to be said and a lot to be done. Romney camp had been doing everything between heaven and earth to make their candidate look like a down to earth   guy capable of having a conversation with regular folks about anything and everything, hell, the man even made a pie with his wife in front of a crowd for God’s sake. But then again every time he opens his mouth he just rubs lots of people who want to like him the wrong way. That is why I look forward to the debate between Obama and Romney. Personally, I am disappointed that there will be only three debates between the two. I think this year, they should make an exception and have at least five debates between our candidates because with all the super PAC money that is spent on ads we sure don’t get the chance to know who stands for what and who is telling the truth. I know I said this election would be boring, but I will be the first to admit that I was wrong. Mitt has taken his mitten off and he won’t be baking pies anymore and he will never sing again (Thank God!!). I know its a bit mean to say this, but isn’t Mitt’s voice so irritating when he sings?? ugh!! I feel like we are back in high school where the dude who is trying to be popular does exactly what the “cool kids” are doing. Obama can sing, oh look me too!! Jesus take the wheel!!

What is left now?? Well according to the recent poll from MSNBC, both candidates are raining on each others parade with negative ads and  this is starting to leave a bad taste in voters mouth. With ratings for both candidates going on the lowest low, I guess its about time they bring back some “fake positivity” so we can suffer a temporary memory loss and start liking them again.

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Why I’ll miss Rick Santorum

By now most of you have heard, seen and discussed about Rick Santorum dropping out of the presidential race. This came as a surprise to most since he was the second likely candidate to win the republican nomination. I believe most of us thought that Newt Gingrich would drop out first as he is struggling to get votes. In addition his financial situation has forced him to use 4.5 million dollars of his own money to fund his own campaign. But Rick seemed to be doing fine at least compared to Newt and from the way he was going at it by campaigning fiercely in the past few weeks. Though he cancelled his some of his campaign appearances to take care of his daughter who suffers from a rare genetics diease called trisomy 18 , things seemed to run smoothly. By no means was he the front runner or expected to win the nomination but at least his supporters, campaign managers and he himself didn’t see it that way, thus convincing us the observers that he was here to stay. In his unexpected “I’m getting out speech“, he didn’t endorse Mitt Romney who is now the de facto winner of the republican nomination.

Since Mitt Romney seems to be the nominee, there is nothing left but to gear up for the big face off between Romney and Obama. But based on the history of Mitt Romney’s track record with “Truth”, I feel like this national election will be a bit boring. Now don’t get me wrong, it will be interesting enough, but we won’t be remembering the multiple debates they will have in the coming weeks and months or and say goodbye to any SNL skeets like the ones from the national election from 2008. On the other hand, had Rick Santorum won the nomination things would had been quite different. He would have been our man version of Sarah Palin, and the debates between Obama and Santorum would have been very colorful. With outlandish claims Santorum makes and his ultra conservative views, he would have made the election much more interesting but with Romney I don’t see that happening.

To fix the boredom that comes with the nomination of Mitt Romney, these political moves could make him a bit more relevant and attractive. He could for example choose Rep. Allen West (R-Fla) as his vice presidential candidate. Mr Wests conservatism and his belief that 80 of house democrats in Florida are communists and that Obama is scared of him, would make conservatives fired up. In addition, that he is black would also help him address Mitt Romney’s “suspect” history that comes with his religion (mormons and blacks are apparently oil and water). Second choice would be Virginia’s governor Bob McDonnell, his ultra conservatism towards abortion, birth control pills and health care would surely lead to some interesting debates. The last and more Sarah Palin move would be choosing South Carolina’s governor Nikki Haley and repeating history of the 2008 election, but this time expecting a different result. I don’t see any other way Mitt Romney is going to make this election interesting enough to the American people than by making a bold move. As for me, I am already missing Rick,  his ultra conservative and at times crazy statements and that we’ll never know who he might have picked as his running mate will always break my politics interested heart.

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Peace in Syria soon?

I have been closely observing the situation in Syria for about a year now.  Since the Arab Spring in 2011 that changed the course of history for the countries in North Africa and for Yemen in the Middle East, it seemed that Syria was going to be next. Most people didn’t expect the revolution to be dragged for so long and didn’t foresee the huge loss of lives it was going to cause. They believed that Mr. Bashar Al-Assad who took power after his father’s death in 2000 was going to surrender to his peoples wishes in months if not in weeks, but sadly the long awaited downfall of Mr. Al-Assad has yet to be realized.

The reason behind his stay in power for so long, since the revolution started isn’t because the people of Syria have not been doing what they are supposed to do to achieve the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in their country. It is rather the international community, specially the governments of both China and Russia that seem to be letting him survive so long. These two countries, using their permanent seat in the security council of the UN, have vetoed to block any action from being taken toward ending this period of political unrest. Now for most of us this is hard to understand, since we have seen the fate of totalitarians both in Egypt and Libya and feel that Mr. Assad future won’t be different from theirs after his repeated refusal of stepping down.

The question here, which I feel is on everybody’s mind is what these two countries get out of the resisting from actions being taken in the country in support of its citizens. What do they get out of blocking every decision that the UN Security Council makes? How come they weren’t that vocal and that involved in the case of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen? Has special interest made them blind and unwilling to the crisis that is going on in Syria? Why aren’t the other members of the permanent Security Council trying to use their influence to push for some actions? I believe the gridlock the Security Council is facing has much more to do with the special interest of China and Russia than a genuine concern that an uncalled involvement of the international community and the unbalanced information about the internal conflict might lead to further fuel the chaos in the country.

Russia has had a long relationship with Syria, which goes back to the days of when Russia was part on the now defunct USSR. The Russians played a critical part in the economical development of Syria. They assisted in building several oil refineries and also helped to expand the land under irrigation in cooperation with the government of Syria. They also encouraged free trade between these two countries and opened the door for Russian investors. On the other hand, Russia has been the main arms provider of Syria behind the back of NATO. The intention of providing the dictator Mr. Al-Assad with weapons isn’t out of mere arms dealing, but out of strategic interest to use the ports in Syria as a doorway to the Mediterranean Sea. It had been over 15 years since Russia had toned down their presence in the Mediterranean region, but since 2007, they have increased their presence significantly by deploying their navy to the region. This rather new move is not for the sake of  “showing off” but it is instead to secure their interest in the Middle East.

Though the cold war ended in 199o, the same people are leading Russia with just different outfit and the presence of US army in Afghanistan, Iraq(though they recently left), and US naval base in Saudi Arabia doesn’t rest well with the Russian Government. In s sentences that looks like the one from Sarah Palin, access to Syria would be giving the opportunity for  “Americans to see Russia from yet another guesthouses they will set up in the Middle East”. So giving another guesthouse in the form of Syria to USA is something they likely do not want to do. The cold war may long be over, but the tension is still lingering and influencing the decisions made by the Kremlin. The same rings true for China in terms of Geography, as they just plainly don’t want to see USA closer than necessary. For them where USA is located on the map today is more than close enough, and if Physics and all other fields of Science would allow,  they would even push that country far today, father tomorrow and farthest away by next year from themselves and someday even to another planet if that was possible.

The issues of refugees has also overwhelmed, specially two neighboring countries Turkey and Jordan. As of the past week the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan has increased to 80 000 and the country is already saying they can hardly cope with the number of refugees they already have let in. The same goes for Turkey and as of the last few weeks, they have been asking for the creation of a buffer zone within Syria, that can be provided by their own military, where refugees fleeing violence can come to. But this approach to the issue of refugees has not received any international consensus, since it would be seen as undermining the sovereignty of Syria, and possibly lead to another failed result of diplomacy.

The former General Secretary of the UN, Kofi Annan, who is the peace envoy appointed by the UN and the Arab League, was recently in Syria trying to negotiate with Mr. Al-Assad about what the country can do the end this political unrest and stop the ongoing bloodshed. Mr. Annan suggested a two-hour of halting the fight everyday so that civilians could get access to medical help and also to get assistance for any other issues based on humanitarian grounds. This plan will also work towards cease-fire and the government must take troops out of the towns. On the other hand the rebels must also stop fighting the government troops. The peace plan has faced a lot of skepticism, because of the deep mistrust the international community has towards Mr. Al-Assad’s Regime. But it seems to be the only way (at least for now) that the country can be put on track towards achieving peace and democracy. How the peace plan is going to change the course of the situation remains to be seen, but hopefully for the sake of Syrians both living as refugees in neighboring countries and those trapped in the country in the internal conflict, the journey to peace won’t be long and the madness this war has brought will end sooner than later.

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Kony 2012 and the case of Jason Russell

If you haven’t heard of Joseph Kony in the past three weeks, you my friend have been either in a coma or just in denial. Mr. Kony tops the list of the most wanted criminals in the world for the atrocities he has committed mostly in Uganda but also in Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic. He has single handedly ruined the lives of tens of thousands of children. His army named the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), has made abducting children and turning them in to child soldiers and sex slaves its method for survival. Although the awareness of his existence has been little known to the international community as a whole, the international criminal court in the Hague has indicted him for war crimes and crimes against humanity for a long time. Mr. Kony is yet to be arrested and  it is a known fact that he remains to be an imminent threat to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people where ever he is located these days.

The initiative Kony 2012 was started by Invisible Children Inc., with the aim of getting people from every walks of life involved and in return use this support system to influence both local and international governments into taking action and bringing Mr. Kony to his long awaited trail. This charity created a film to raise awareness and give the situation the attention it has lacked for a long time. The effort seemed to pay off too, in days the video was watched by millions, shared, posted on Facebook and discussed by the media. Here is the much watched and debated video.

The video mostly received positive feedback, but there were plenty remarks questioning its authenticity and its impartiality. The writer and director of this video Jason Russell, has received a huge amount of attention during the past few weeks and some critics towards him have been at times true, but other times down right mean. Some have accused him of trying to play “the savior” of these African children or make the cause look like the “white man’s burden” and others have accused him of doing this very work to actually gain fame. Now I don’t know Mr. Russell personally or professionally so I can’t make assumptions on why he chose to take part in this cause. But there is one thing that I don’t understand about the critic he received specially about this “white man’s burden” accusation, since I thought we were in 2012 and not in 1864.

I know the world we live in is far from the world as it should be, but I at least thought that today when people join hands to seek justice, it wasn’t because they were black or white, it was because they identified the difference between wrong and right. Though fairness and equality has been far to reach in so many cases that should never be the reason to not to start the journey towards it at all. Having emphasized on that, I say to most of his critics coming from the corner of “white man’s burden” to ask themselves what they have done in their lifetime to get Joseph Kony brought to trail? If they have a satisfactory answer, I am all ears, but if they are criticizing just because of pleasure they get out of criticizing others, maybe its time they do some careful soul-searching.

As I seem to be fiercely defending Mr. Russell it might look like I’m going against myself when I say that my confidence in him has dwindled after this rather peculiar incident. Watching this video made me reevaluate the whole Kony 2012, and wonder if sane people ran this video. Now this is not to say that he isn’t allowed to make mistakes, but this kind of falling asks for a step stool, as he is falling from a very high horse. If I would be critical of Mr. Russell it is only of his behavior on March 15, 2012, that brought this unnecessary attention, than his work to bring awareness to the case of Joseph Kony. in light of that, we should really stop trying to murder the messenger when the message is worth hearing.

I would like to end this one with a rather cheesy note, where I feel our main focus should be. Let us focus on the main goal, which is bringing Mr. Kony to justice and ending the plight of these children. We might not be able to give them their childhood back, specially to those who have turned in to adult soldiers under his control but we can strive to at least work to make their adult life a peaceful one. We can give them the opportunity to be the productive and not the destructive part of their society. As for the young ones, we have an enormous responsibility towards them, as we must reshape the reality they are born into and assist them to achieve the peaceful life they more than deserve.

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Mitt Romney a liar or just a politician?

Recently, I was catching up with the latest news and I came across Rachel Maddow discussing the gaffe made by Mitt Romeny’s senior campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom. The senior adviser compared Mitt Romney’s opinions and beliefs to an etch a sketch  and he has made Mitt Romney’s opponents day. Both Rick Santourm and Newt Gingrich have been brandishing this goldmine of a gaffe to show the “shiftiness” of Mitt Romeny.

Now had Mitt Romeny been a little bit better at standing his ground, things might have been different. But it is sad to say that he likes to put his foot in his mouth again and again and nobody running his campaign seems to be able to help him avoid it. Rather they seem to like doing the same thing themselves. In addition he seemingly  out of touch attitude with the general public  and middle class Americans isn’t making his campaign stops at various states any easier.  Lately his claim that his father and he himself were part of the civil right movement with Martin Luther King Jr. seems be the icing on the cake. As a mormon he should know better than making the mormons in the 1960′s sympathetic to the plight of African Americans. Its not to say that his father didn’t participate in a civil rights movement as he got a stern letter from his mormon associates for particularly doing that. But his participation was’t more significant than other politicians who joined the cause. Mr. Romney could have used this to his advantage but managed to blow it up by adding meat on the truth and thus making it a lie. If that was a move to get the minority  vote, I am afraid to say that he blew that one right up.

I could go on and on about his outlandish remarks but I believe Maddow has covered it very well. But I would like to focus on why the public is tolerating such behavior as Mr Romney is the likely candidate of the Republican Party. Is Mr. Romney a serial liar or just a plain politician and that the lying comes with his job description? Is the press much more critical of him than other  republican candidates as he is presumed to be the republican nominee who will face Obama? I believe the latter is unlikely but it is possible to speculate on it. But all in all if Mr Romney continues this way, it might not hurt his “already won” republican nomination, but in my opinion, come general election this might cost him his bid to the white house.

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ImageOn the night of February 26 2012, a young black man named Trayvon Martin was gunned down in Sandford, Florida as he was walking back to his home. The alleged shooter, George Zimmerman was a volunteer neighborhood watch on duty. The neighborhood had experienced 15 burglaries in the past six months and had decided to take action, thus creating this watch group Mr. Zimmerman was member of.

Though details surrounding the night of the murder are still blurry, it is hard to ignore the outcry that it has caused in the nation. Apparently Mr. Zimmerman had seen the young black man walking on the street with a hoodie covering his face and was suspicious of him. While still in his car, he dials 911 to report the situation. According to the tape from the 911 call, he is told by the operator not to engage with this man he says he is suspicious of. He tells the operator that he has been following this man for sometime and seems quite irritated during his conversation with the operator; even calling the man he is following names.

What happened afterwards is open for speculation, as Mr. Zimmerman insists that he was actually acting in self-defense when he shot Trayvon Martin. He said that the young man attacked him and he used his constitutional right and reacted in self-defense. Mr. Zimmerman’s actions seem to be backed by the state law of Florida, the so called Stand Your Ground, which states that a person can use a weapon to defend him/herself if they feel that their life is being threatened.

Arriving at the scene, the police surely observed these two things: a boy dead on the street and a man holding a gun standing over his body. Now here is where things get twisted, the man with the gun claims self-defense and the police just go “oh okay” and leave. No plans for arrest or persecution are set in action. The parents, relatives and friends of young Trayvon Martin are mourning the loss of this young man’s life and to add insults to injury, his murderer is running around free with the police having no intentions of arresting him.

To many of us, this seems like a part from a movie where some crazy folks are running the police department and murderers are being allowed to go wild. We are sitting around waiting for that hero detective or cop to come in and straighten things up, but alas this just never seems to happen. Instead it is the public outcry and the attention the story gets by the media that sets motion of reaction from the local police force and the justice department .Why it has taken so long for the case to become hot topic is beyond me, but I refuse to speculate on that at least for now.

Anyway, it seems like everybody from grandma to a toddler has had a something to say about the tragic end of this young man’s life. But Mr. Zimmerman has yet to be arrested and the public outcry for justice is still ongoing. Fox news and its affiliates have been acting as de facto lawyers of Mr. Zimmerman and suggesting that Tayvon’s hoodie had much more to do with his death than the bullet that ended his life. They would rather focus on why he was suspended from school for 5 days, why president Obama said that this young boy would have looked like his own son had he had one and why Trayvon was carrying a bag of skittles. I can’t for the life of me understand the madness that is brewing in that network, but then again I don’t think anybody with a right mind does, so I’ll leave that job to Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and their likes.

But as other networks, and people from all walks of life condemn what has taken place, I would like to urge you to watch a segment by Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC that covered in the ongoing situation very well here. Finally I want to express my deepest condolences to the parents, relatives, friends and acquaintances of Trayvon Martin on his tragic passing. My heart breaks at the thought of having a young boy being taken from you and us in such a way; too soon and too young.

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March 25, 2012 · 11:08 pm