Happy Easter for those who celebrated the Christian events of the past holy weekend, to all others, happy spring as this week also marked the beginning of spring in many northern hemisphere locations. Since my last rant there have been quite a few things going on in the world, let’s start from where we left off last time.
Over the past week the largest World News story on this end of the planet was the anniversary, and subsequent social unrest at the roof of the world. While I should not go too in-depth on this topic, for obvious reasons I will cover the most interesting and contradictory aspect of the whole affair. Xinhua, the official Chinese News agency, has been working overtime in the past week to spin the events of the civil unrest into Beijing’s favor. While it is nothing new, or unique, it does bring up one really good question, one I will pose in a few moments. While my old friend, Non-Stop Nancy Pelosi, made her way to Dharamshala India, the home of the Tibetan government in exile, Xinhua stated she was aligning with the rioters eventually calling her a looter, arsonists, and killer. They could have logically gotten away with this if they had stopped here, but they had to push it into the realm of contradiction when they stated, “Finding a leverage to tarnish China, ‘human rights police’ like Pelosi are habitually bad tempered and ungenerous when it comes to China, refusing to check their facts and find out the truth of the case”, in its weekend edition. Now for the question that this statement begs to ask, what are the facts and truth of the case?
If China wants ‘human right police’ to be good tempered and generous with China and its actions what must they do? Allow foreign reporters access to areas of civil unrest? Allow people with grievances against governmental actions to air their grievances in an open and civil forum with free, fair, and protected free speech about their situation and complaints? Not have military or police escorts accompany foreign reporters to ‘authorized’ citizens for interviews in the police presence? Have an open and transparent accounting for events up to and including the total number of deaths, causes, people responsible, hospitals autopsies were preformed in, burial places named, employees of said places available for interviews, and access to prisons where the accused were taken until their charges are to be filed? This is the expectation of an open and democratic state and society, neither of which China is, has, or wants to be. No, China would like the whole world to believe solely and totally in its own reports, accounts, and descriptions of the events as they see fit, spun in a mostly favorable light as possible, of course, wink wink, nod nod.
China is crying foul of world opinion because it can not control world views as it does its citizen’s views and opinions. While it is not as bad here as in North Korea, it is still a restrictive and oppressive regime as evidences by its handling of the whole affair and subsequent press issue handling. At first there was a reporting blackout (for almost a week), then only 10 Han people, the ethnic majority, were killed, no soldiers using any kind of weapons involved, then it was 13 killed, again Han people brutally attacked and savagely murdered, and this time the police had only self defensive weapons. As the unrest spread into other provinces the military was involved, in the papers, and then only shots were fired to disburse the crowds, then it was live ammunition was used but only after great restraint and in self protection. Well, being a fair and open minded person I can accept this if not for one glaring issue. The Tibetan government, in exile, is claiming, and has claimed since the first day, that 99 to just over 100 Tibetans were killed. Surely some were hurt and taken to hospital, maybe even killed in legitimate self defense by security forces, if so show the files and proof. If the world is not being fair because the facts are missing, and China has closed off all access to seek and validate the truth, then the burden of proof lays on the Chinese governments, and believing the words and reports solely provided by the government, who has a vested interest in looking good, is far from enough to meet international standards. By taking such a stance China is ever more looking like they are hiding something, something big, and playing right into the very stereotype they are crying foul over. China has a credibility issue on the world stage, and there is no amount of propaganda or public relations spin that can reverse this perception; only open and fair access to the evidence will satisfy those who you have a grievance with, this is the reality of life on the global stage, welcome to prime time.
All over the National News is the recent study stating that 1 in 4 American teen girls, between 13 and 19, have at least 1 STD, sexually transmitted disease. After reading the report, which states that the most common disease is Human Papilloma Virus, HPV (the virus responsible for cervical cancer), the rest with the usual suspects of premisocus behavior, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes. Overall 1 in 3 African American teen girls are infected by at least one of these and 1 in 5 of both Caucasian and Latino teen girls also. What are parents doing in America now? I know what they aren’t doing, parenting. In the 1980’s when AIDS was just starting out, teen pregnancies became all the rage, so STD’s and teen sex is not a new topic. Our culture of sexualization of our kids, mostly teen girls, and lack of strict and private disciplining of our children, is leading to a national epidemic. In the Navy part of every port brief included the list of off limits areas and STD rates of the general population. In Africa the AIDS rate was 90% in the 1990’s, and I can tell you this really sticks in your brain. What will the port breifs be on America by visiting sailors?
Why is it we are allowing so many teen girls to have sex? Last time I checked, having sex with girls under 18 was statutory rape, in many states it does not matter how old the male is. While we all know this does happen, how has it gotten to such a disastrous level? Dating is about learning how to tell someone you like them and work out your feelings, not about learning about sex and sexual acts first hand, that is what college is for. My first girl friend’s mother told me that we were lucky to go out on dates, her husband and her were not allowed to do more then look at each other and talk before their wedding. Now this is extreme but how did we get from the dating ideals of the 1950’s to an overall 25% STD rate we have now and have it happen so casually and with little to no public outrage? In 50 years, just over 2 generations, we have swung the pendulum from one extreme to the other. Unfortunately if parents try to discipline their kids now days it is classified as abuse and child services gets involved and we all end up like Britney Spears. For 25% of teen girls in America to have a minimum of 1 STD then we have to have a minimum of 50% of American parents of daughters who do not know where their daughters are, what they are doing, or who they are doing it with! This can not be blame shifted to the schools for lack of good sex ed classes, or the media for desensitizing us to images of teen sex and lust or sexually charges advertising seen in teen targeted media outlets, this is a parenting problem one that is damaging our future and national health. Parents, get your heads out of the sand and sit your kids down and begin parenting before it gets worse, because as it is going now, it will get much worse by staying on the same course.
All the Political News rage was Barack Obama’s race speech in response to his former reverend’s pulpit speeches on race and America, former because Jeremiah White is now retired and Obama still lists him as an influence and mentor. I watched the speech, I read the speech, it was a very good speech but… I have stated before that Barack Obama gives very high rhetoric with very little substance, cotton candy if you like. This is not to denounce any of his points, policies, or stances, quite to the contrary I believe in many of them up to a point, and that point is, they are inclusive on the highest level. Obama does not flesh out anything, just gives glazing overviews of this issue or that topic. We hear it and it makes sense, it sounds good, but we never get the plan for getting there. Life is a journey. Like any journey you need key elements to accomplish it. I have stated this time and time again, you need an origin, where we are now, a destination, where we want to be or achieve, and a plan to get there, the tools we will use to accomplish our goals. I believe in all the things Obama outlines in his speech, but I want to know how we are getting there. Are we taking a car, bus, train, plane, walking, horse, jumping in the air and letting the Earth rotate below us, how?
Race is an issue in America, sure we all know this, how are you going to fix it? Everyone, except maybe Florida voters, can tell you race problems exist and need to be fixed, what we are looking for is real leadership to fix it. Tell us the plan, don’t point to the 500 pound gorilla in the corner and tell me he is there, tell me what and how we are going to deal with him. Poverty is an issue in America, yes we all know this as well, doin’t tell us it exists and how bad it is, tell us how you intend to fix it. Education is becoming an embarrassment for our children in public schools, gosh we all knew this since the late 1970’s, how are YOU going to lead us to fixing it? Healthcare is America has been broken and caught in HMO hell since the insurance industry took it over, again we all know this and have personally been affected by it but what we really want to know if HOW CAN WE FIX IT. Get my point?
I too am a mixed race person. Yes, I too associate more with one race that makes me up but I never state I am more then what I am, a Native American with German blood. I might have issues seeing things in the same way my European ancestors did, but I do not discredit or abandon them at all. I know I am, at most, ½ Native American and I did not grow up on a reservation, talking to or with other Native Americans (until college). How can I then relate to them or their plights? Why am I saying this, because I have not heard Obama state this clearly. He states he is a black man, not a mixed man. At most he is no more then ½ African American, rightfully so as his father is Kenyan. His mother and her parents raised him in Hawaii. His story is inspiring and uplifting, but he is not a full representative of one world or the other. The point is, despite this I know how I would fix the issues we face, I would love to share my plans and convince people to back them, why isn’t Obama being as passionate and forceful with his ideas on fixing our nation? Why is he, at this stage, not outlining his platform beyond the national inclusion phase of saying things nearly everyone can agree? At least I know where Clinton stands on many issues, she has history we all can see, Obama has to over come this by telling us more. You addressed you race issue, now follow up with some meat and potatoes on the issues you outlined other then race. Fixing our racial and ethnic divides are far harder then just stating the obvious and that we need to work on them. The speech was good, but it reminded me of a magic show, look at this hand while I dazzle you with the other. I am still waiting to be sold, show me the plan.
Onto the Economy, I need to shift everything into big oil, all my investments. Gas has hit $3.26 a gallon nationally and diesel $4.06! This is only good for investors not living in the US as diesel is the major hinge for all consumer goods. Ships, trains, and trucks run off of diesel. Everything we consume arrives on our store’s shelves thanks to diesel. Food, electronics, clothing, books, batteries, greeting cards, dental floss, even our mail and entire service industry runs off of diesel. When these prices go up, the items go up… this is called inflation. Supply and demand dictates the rates and values of items, fuel is special as it impacts every other one. The developing nations are hungry, making alliances we refuse or are unable to do, and therefore are competing with us for the rate commodity that is our fuel. Venezuela it turns out is the largest exporter of an oil that can only be refined as diesel, but then we are only 1 or 2 places on the planet capable of refining it because of its bad quality and high sulfur content. This means we are having to use oil originally destined for gas, jet fuel, or heating oil into diesel. Those selling oil are in a sellers market, the rest of us are just along for the ride now, and it seems we are footing the bill more then ever.
On a positive note, and I wish we had more of these to discuss, the space shuttle Endeavour is heading back to Earth soon, completing its historic number of space walks and additions onto the ISS. Soon this large lab in the sky will be done, then we get to ask the obvious question, now what? The next president needs to recapture our imaginations and keep the march into the stars going. Who knows what we can learn or find from these small steps back towards the stars, hopefully answers to our most immediate concerns, sustainable habitat. While focusing on the small and selfish is good for the short term, we will eventually need to go other places to sustain on the long term.
In a recap of last week, Michigan seems to be following Florida’s lead and abandoning a re-vote attempt. Now that the screaming, arm and leg furling, and crying has stopped maybe we can see the DNC act rationally, fairly, and stop the air of suspicion and conspiracy I have seen of late. Super-delegates and back room deals will not solve this riddle. Clinton called for the abandon of the Electoral College back in 2000 when Gore had the popular vote but not the College vote, now she is saying she is ahead in College votes therefore making her the logical choice, man how I love 180 degree policy changes. In my opinion they need to seat half the delegates, in the percentages of their electorate and let the uncommitted decide where they want to go, as well as Edwards, and let the chips fall where they may. There will be a contested convention I am sure, but the party has to plan for this and how they will resolve it, and hopefully this time they have learned from recent events and can prevent further trauma to their cause or our nations self image.