Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chile’s earthquake 500 times larger than Haiti’s

Chile suffered a major earthquake with catastrophic results

I could not neglect this opportunity to show my condolences and support for my Chilean brothers and sisters. In this time of crisis caused by nature, one of Latin America’s most progressive and advanced countries suffered yet another major blow by nature.

The quake hit offshore, far enough that it did not level either Concepción or Santiago in the same way it did Port au Prince. The buildings in Chile have been built better after a recorded 9. Earthquake hit the country in 1960. Building codes became stricter and the Chileans began to prepare for “the big one” again.

Evidently, Chile being a richer nation than Haiti, it has resources available to build earthquake resistance structures. The toll of death and devastation didn’t reach the proportions it did in Haiti.

However, seeing as how some of the right wing-nuts and fanatical Evangelicals reacted to the Haiti earthquake, I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Will they be saying that because Chile is a social progressive and liberal country that God sent his wrath upon the Chilean people?

Is it because Chile is approving same sex unions? Get off your pulpits you assholes, don’t even go there this time.


Bible backs up idea of same sex marriage

The Bible supports the idea that gays could become clergymen and that their church should perform gay marriages.

In an article that appeared in The Detroit News back in 2006, We can find this very interesting account of how a Presbyterian minister changed his mind about the views he had on homosexuals being accepted in society and in his church:

I n 1993, Jack Rogers grudgingly agreed to serve on a task force studying whether his local Presbyterian church in Southern California should ordain gays. Quite frankly, he wasn't interested in giving the topic serious thought. "I opposed homosexuality reflexively -- that was just what I thought Christians were supposed to do," he recalls. But once he did embark on a scholarly journey, the Presbyterian minister found that his views changed 180 degrees: He's become a vocal advocate of ordaining gays and marrying gay couples in the church. "I am so convinced that Jesus and the Bible, rightly understood, support the equality of all persons, including gays and lesbians, and that the church cannot continue going against its central values," says Rogers, 72, a former Presbyterian Church U.S.A. "moderator," the denomination's top leader.

"We can't keep making a group of people pariahs. Jesus would never have stood for it," he stresses. How an evangelical Christian's views changed so dramatically on an issue that has divided his church since 1976 is mapped out in fascinating detail in "Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality: Explode the myths, heal the church." His thoughtful new book, which recounts "how the church changed its mind on other moral issues," couldn't be more timely: Presbyterians will again weigh the place of gays in the church at their June 15-22 General Assembly. Rogers' turnabout came in part from his scholarly reading of the Bible verses mentioning homosexuality.

Presbyterian theologian Robert Dabney, laying out the slippery slope argument of his day, warned soon after the Civil War that allowing black men to be ministers would lead to race mixing. He later called the push for women's rights "a new attack on God's Word." Society - and the church - of course changed, not the Bible. "We changed our minds because we changed the way we read the Bible -- from proof-texting to looking at the Bible as a whole and especially through the lens of Jesus' life and ministry," Rogers says. "Most people don't pay attention to history. They say, 'Oh, that was different.' No, it is the same." Jack Rogers' Bible study led him to see the light about gay people. He has faith his beloved church will soon have a similar revelation. - The Detroit News

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cuba's foreign wars over the years

Cuba, for 50 years the combatant state.

Cuba has had a long history of meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. It has not only done that but it has openly participated in insurrections, trained guerrillas and provided funds to wage civil wars in many countries. While Cuba claims neutrality and that they are the champions of the insurgents and anti-colonialism it is ironic that Fidel Castro supported the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

Castro also supported the suppression of the Eritrean national movement in the 1970s,

There were between 11,000 -13,000 Cuban military personnel in Ethiopia. The military presence was down from a high of about 17,000 troops in early 1978, when Cuban forces played a decisive role in the successful Ogaden campaign. After completion of these operations, Chairman Mengistu tried to persuade Havana to help Ethiopia with the fighting that took place in Eritrea. Castro refused, partly because he wanted no further casualties and partly because he believed the political costs would be too heavy and cause friction with Cuba’s radical Arab allies. (Havana also had had ties with the Eritrean Liberation Front for many years.) The Cuban military presence was reduced in late 1978 and remained at about 11,000 -13,000. Cuban forces do not see much action now, play mainly support and logistic-support roles and remain in garrisons most of the time.

Then there was the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan that began in late 1979 and continued through the 1980s. Cuba of course sided with the Soviet Union and lost a lot of prestige in the third world for this.

Cuba's support for the Dergue was not only rhetorical. Cuba trained and armed Ethiopian forces and sent Cuban troops to the Ogaden in the war between Ethiopia and Somalia. The Cuban military intervention was indispensable to Ethiopia's conduct of the Eritrean war.

Cuban troops actively intervened in internal disputes within the Angolan MPLA, like when they insured the victory of the faction led by Agostino Neto against the faction led by Nito Alves.

In addition to its role in the Eritrean conflict, Cuba's indiscriminate alliance with African nationalism also involved support for the bloody regimes of Idi Amin in Uganda and Nguema Macias in Equatorial Guinea.

Cuba played an important role, for example, in the overthrow of Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua. And was a major player in the Sandinista movement and shoring up the communist government of Ortega.

In the case of El Salvador, in 1983 Castro said that he was ready to suspend his support for the FSLN (Frente Salvadoreño de Liberación Nacional, or Salvadoran National Liberation Front) But almost one million deaths were caused in the Salvadorean conflict and Castro is almost entirely to blame for it.

This is why in 1966 the Cuban leaders attacked the movement led by Yon Sosa in Guatemala, while at the same time they supported the movement led by Luis Turcios Lima.

After 1989, the collapse of the USSR and the serious economic crisis that it provoked in Cuba strengthened the pragmatism of Cuba's foreign policy to such a degree that the Cuban leaders closed the Department of the Americas that had directed Cuba's clandestine activities in the continent.

The Invasion of Grenada


The invasion of Grenada in late 1983 can be seen as a small part of the rivalry between the U.S. and Cuba during the Reagan years. A bloody coup in Grenada, along with a perceived threat to American students on the island provided the U.S. with an excellent excuse to eliminate a Marxist regime allied to

Fidel Castro's Cuba.

In addition to all these, Cuba has had a very important role in the rise to power of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, has been consistently training and helping the narco-rebels of Colombia, participated and helped other leftist regimes in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and of course there was Chile and Cuba’s involvement with the communist regime that was overthrown.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Am I white, brown or what?

I know where I come from

Shortly after my graduation from college I worked briefly for an electronics firm in Dallas, Texas as advertising coordinator. My job was to design and produce advertising and placing it in publications. I had one very large project which required a presentation and I worked on it for weeks.

Finally the day came and I was prepared. I had charts and figures. I had facts and samples of the ads. If you were to ask me now what it was about I couldn’t tell you because of the incident that followed overshadowed all memories of this project.

I was articulate and very convincing. I finished the presentation and all around the conference table were sitting all the heavy hitters for our company. Applause followed my ending and then it happened: The sales manager, a forty something man who was portly and arrogant said to me: “You know railool, (he couldn’t pronounce Raul) you are beginning to think more like a white man everyday”.

I looked at the CEO and I see him sinking in his chair and his hand was now covering his eyes as if to hide the terrible shame. I suppose he was thinking “DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT”. I was still standing so I inched towards the edge of the table, placed both hands on it and got a hold of myself. I took a deep breath, looked down then raised my proud forehead, looking straight at Austin the sales manager and said: “You know Austin, you are probably right, but at least I know where my grandparents came from AND I AM WHITER THAN YOU WILL EVER HOPE TO BE AND I DON’T THINK YOU ARE INFERIOR FOR THAT”

I looked at him and he went from flushed red face to a blue then to a charcoal. The man changed colors right in front of our very eyes just like a chameleon. I realized right then and there that I was not going to go anywhere in that company and started to look for another job. I have dozens of incidents that are similar during all my working years.

Shortly after that incident I agonized over whether I should become an American Citizen. I finally made up my mind and thought that I should not let some bigot like him make up my mind for me, that I should consider the millions of other kind and accepting folks that compose this great land of ours. Now I am proud to be an American. I am still a Cuban by birth and will never be able to change that nor do I want to. I retain some of the best from my culture and have embraced some of the best that America has to offer but have made it my quest to fight bigotry and discrimination because there are many people like Austin still there. There are just far too many Tom Tancredos in America.

No profanity in California

The state Assembly passed a resolution Thursday that would establish the first week of March as "Cuss Free Week" throughout the state. If approved by the Senate next week, the measure would take effect immediately.

The resolution includes no enforcement mechanism and is simply meant to promote greater harmony and connectedness, said Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, a Democrat from La Cañada.

Now it does not have an enforcement mechanism but just you wait. Next thing you know we are going to get fined if we interject a “FUCK” or a “SHIT” in our everyday speech. This is one more example of how far government can interfere with the rights of the individuals to free speech while ignoring the more serious issues like health care.

Government is hell bent on passing laws that moralize, stigmatize and pass judgement according to what the prevailing majority deems to be the norm. It is particularly disturbing when it comes to the intrusion by government into our bedrooms.

When it comes to profanity; I have always said that “profanity is the salt and pepper of an otherwise bland and unsavory language; it is what makes the language stew tasty.” So I say: FUCK YOU, SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU GOODIE GODDIE TWO SHOES”