I haven’t done one of these reviews in a while, so events are calling out to me. I will revisit oft-mentioned people and issues as well as comment on some new developments.
Can you believe those three American hikers in Iran are still locked up in that country? It has been ten months since they were caught, charged as spies and thrown into an Iranian jail. Their brazen objective of hiking in Iraq, and then subsequently straying into Iranian territory, is still absurd to me. What? Didn’t these hikers and their families question the initial motive of the trek to go hiking in a country with whom we are at war? Our relationship with Iraq is not just antagonistic; we are engaged in an active war with them. The hikers’ families stateside are accusing Iran of “playing with their (the families’) emotions”. May I suggest that these nature lovers were “playing with fire” when they started out on their gambol into our war-enemy Iraq and then meandered into just plain hostile Iran? Secretary of State Clinton has devoted much time in efforts to gain their release. Something is not right about this story. As Judge Judy has said, “It doesn’t sound right. And if it doesn’t sound right, it’s not true.” Catcalls once again to these “hikers” who cannot persuade the Iranian government of the purity of their purposes.
I send a big, fat “YUK” to my governor, Bob McDonnell, for his re-enactment of the Civil War. For the sake of increased tourism. Ha! He has already reneged on this nod to the glories of slavery for which the public media has raked him over the coals. I will leave it at that.
Disgust and loathing are kind words for the Massey Energy Company, in whose coal mine 29 miners died this week. Although yet to be determined, the cause of the explosion might be attributable to the hundreds of violations cited this year alone. Massey has responded by saying they were fighting many of those violations. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that mining companies should fix the violations (or close the mine) BEFORE they pursue the long, legal quest to overturn the accusations. There is no sense in the federal inspection of mines unless their reports are acted upon immediately. The safety of the workers must be assured before the legal and financial considerations can proceed. Remember the old saying, “Better to err on the side of caution”?
Boos and hisses go out to the Catholic Church for their blind devotion to Church dogma over justice to their youngest members. After all of the pedophilia committed by their clergy, the Pope and his mighty cohorts remain steadfast in the belief that their organized institution is way more important than the lives of their children. No one in the media has delivered a more honest, first-hand and heart rendering commentary on this debacle as Maureen Dowd of the New York Times. So far, she has written five Op-Ed pieces that show her sense of betrayal at the hands of her Church. Kudos to Dowd for confronting the malevolence of the Church, here, here, here, here and here. This five-part (so far) series is Pulitzer-worthy not only for its sincere truthfulness, but also for the deep emotion expressed by the author. The Catholic Church is part and parcel of who Dowd is. She is clearly heartbroken over her Church’s morally bankrupt acts of pedophilia, but she is even more devastated by its efforts to cover-up those crimes against children. In her ever-humorous interpretation of current events, Dowd makes the reader as heartbroken as she is. Read the articles and laugh, but also weep.
I offer praise to Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak for his courage in announcing his retirement from his 18 year tenure in that house of government. Stupak always supported the HCR bill, but he could not vote for it unless it upheld the abortion restrictions of the prior legislation of the Hyde Amendment. Every American is entitled to their opinion on specific policy issues, and Stupak has always been against abortion rights. When he threatened to withhold his “yes” vote on HCR due to some clauses that he believed overturned some of the restrictions of the Hyde Amendment, he was correct. HCR had no place in trying to change the existing federal abortion policy. That would be an issue for another day, another item for Congress to address separately from the health reform currently on the table.
Even though there are many individuals who disagree with Stupak’s abortion beliefs, there was absolutely no cause for them to harass, abuse and literally threaten Stupak, his family and his staff over his final “yes” vote on HCR. I cannot blame the man for not running once again to keep his seat. In fact, he would have to be crazy to want to remain in a job that rewards honest diligence, calm demeanor, civility and a steadfast obligation to his own beliefs and those of his constituents with retaliation and violence.
Finally, I have only the highest regard for our President. Has no one acknowledged the immense significance of the nuclear reduction pact that President Obama and Russia signed this past week? This was a first step in the process of making a global effort to ensure a safer world. The war-mongering hawks condemned this as a weakness that would invite future attacks on the United States. Wrong. This non-proliferation treaty will promote peace. Even the right’s idol, Ronald Reagan, vehemently spoke for the ultimate destruction of all nuclear weapons, when he said that these weapons were:
“totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.” Indeed, while he irked his detractors for years over a seemingly endless arms buildup, Reagan was, by his own telling, firmly committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons.
“[F]or the eight years I was president,” he wrote in his memoirs, “I never let my dream of a nuclear-free world fade from my mind.”
For Russia and America to enter into this pact of peace, of trust, is an important initial step to overturning decades of war-proliferating weapons. Additionally, Russia and America had, at best, an icy relationship over the last 60 years, and the fact that these two superpowers could come together in such a momentous agreement now is threatening to other powers in and of itself. If the nations of the world choose to talk rather than to bomb, this agreement is a landmark. Someone had to “give” first and subjugate their national posturing and love of military aggression to a saner, less destructive international policy. President Obama made this happen. If you recall, during his Presidential campaign one of his salient imperatives was to help create a nuclear weapon-free world. I would say his action of the last week is a beginning to delivering on that promise.
In fact, recent event have been rewarding to our President. On Friday the stock market returned to an 18-month high, our international reputation is climbing back up to “respectable” and the Party of No added another nail to its coffin with their bondage club scandal. I would love to see a GOP Presidential ticket in 2012 of Palin/Steele: the ultimate clowns of the Republican circus. President Obama, uncharacteristically, responded to Sarah Palin’s criticism of his peace efforts here. And of course, Tina Fey reprised her role as our Sarah, plugging the start-up of her own network, on SNL last night.
At any rate, President Obama’s penchant for idealism and plain old hard work is paying off. Yes, we do have a long way to go, what with the need for financial regulation, immigration reform and energy/climate control being a few of the larger items. The enactment of HCR was the catalyst for future, unrelated legislation.
Someday, after all of this new legislation is passed under President Obama, someone will attach an appropriate name to it, similar to the “New Deal” associated with FDR. Health care, financial remediation, immigration reform, environmental respect, a lasting legacy of Supreme Court nominations and perhaps even a U.S. brokered, lasting Mideast peace will fall under the name of ????. Got any suggestions?
Tags: American hikers in Iran, Bart Stupak, heresy of Catholic Church, Hyde Amendment and HCR, kudos and catcalls, Massey Energy Company, Maureen Dowd, nuclear non-proliferation pact, West Virginia coal mine explosion