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Posts Tagged ‘america’

President Obama Receives the Nobel Peace Prize

Posted by AB on December 10, 2009

Earlier today, in Oslo, Norway, President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize.  Despite being the leader of a nation involved in two wars, he was awarded the honor less than a year into his presidency.  And to make things even more uncomfortable, the President recently ordered 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. 

It seemed to be an untenable position for a man to receive an award for peace while he, at the same time, commands a military at war on two fronts.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure that there was anything that could be said to reconcile that paradox, but it seems that he has pulled it off, brilliantly.  He spoke about the unfortunate reality that is the necessity of war.  He expressed that there are evils in this world, and that the purveyors of these evils cannot be persuaded without military intervention. 

Amazingly, the assessments of the speech–from the right and left–have been positive.  It is a rare occasion for President Obama to receive praise from the right side of the political spectrum, and recently from the left, but some are saying that this could have been his best speech ever.  I don’t know if I agree with that opinion, but today’s speech might have been the most real, honest and grown-up speech given by an American president in years.

And with that speech, along with other bits of evidence in his first year in office, I have come to realize what Barack Obama really is–a grown-up.  He is a father-figure in a land of juvenile delinquents, and it is comforting to me.  But then again, maybe I’m just a kid, searching for the good in this world.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

CIPA and How We Win Against Terrorism

Posted by AB on November 24, 2009

There is much concern about the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other accused terrorists in a federal court in New York City.  Personally, I think that those concerns are unfounded, and I think that those concerns are raised in order to scare the public, for partisan political purposes.  Most of this noise comes, not from the populous at large, but from partisan politicians and media critics of the Obama Administration.

The fact of the matter is that our justice system has tried terrorists and have been quite successful in doing so.  I did, however, accept one concern in particular.  That is the concern that classified information could be provided to the defense, and subsequently, admitted at trial.  I was concerned about that until I did a little research, and I didn’t have to look far.  An important procedural tool for the prosecution (US Government) in trials for which classified information could be requested.  The Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) is used to protect classified information from being revealed in court, or to the defense. 

There are other pieces of legislation that is used to protect sensitive information, but CIPA has been used in recent terror trials, including that of Zacharias Moussaui, who was convicted in a federal court.  The trial of the so-called 20th hijacker was praised by some of the same people who are currently fear-mongering about the KSM trial.  And to my knowledge, no classified or, otherwise sensitive information, was released to the public or to the defense. 

Again, our courts have tried many terrorism suspects, and our prisons currently hold hundreds of terrorists, none of which have escaped.  That’s another point of contention being raised by the right–holding terrorists in our supermax prisons will increase the terror risk.  Unfortunately, these same detractors said nothing about these concerns during the Bush Administration.  And that is the difference, I think.  In their eagerness to damage President Obama, these critics have forgotten that our system of justice is far superior to the messages and tactics of terrorists.

Remember when it was understood that if our nation was forced to change our ways of life, then the same terrorists who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks will have won.  Seems to me that right-wing America has surrendered to cowards like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  I will never surrender my way of life, to no one, ever.  Luckily, our nation now has the leadership that understands that the strength of the United States of America is, in a large part, due to our system of justice.  It is time for these terrorists to receive the justice that they deserve, rather that sitting in a military prison without charge.  When justice is served, the world will know that we have not surrendered, and we will have won a small, but significant battle against terrorism.

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Who’s Afraid of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad?

Posted by AB on November 17, 2009

Remember when Republicans acted so tough on the issue of terrorism? You know, the days and months after 9/11. Remember when we weren’t going to allow terrorism to defeat us? Most Americans bought into that then, and we came together as a nation because of that belief, but fewer and fewer believe that in the subsequent years.

After our nation was attacked by religious extremists, our president assured us that those responsible would face justice–there was reason to believe in our nation. All that we needed to do was to go shopping, for if we allowed those terrorists to change our ways of life, they will have won. Do you remember that? All of that tough-sounding cowboy talk really got the red-blooded, “real” Americans’ juices flowing.

Time and truth, however, uncover the facades of even the most strident conservatives. As we moved farther and farther away from that infamous date of 9/11, the attacks have become less of a cause to do good, while becoming an excuse to forget that we have stronger values than others.  Behind the leadership of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, conservatives used the attacks of 9/11 to justify just about anything:  wars, wiretapping of American citizens, holding prisoners without charge, torture, assassinations, the corporate rape of the American people (think Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater), etc. 

Recently, current United States Attorney General, Eric Holder announced that the mastermind behind 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, and four of his cohorts would be tried before a federal court in New York City, the site of the attacks on the World Trade Center.  Republicans, conservatives, and some Democrats seem to have forgotten that we are a nation of laws, and they are huffing and puffing about how scary it will be to try these terrorists on American soil.  They are outraged and afraid; they want you to be outraged and afraid. 

Is it that they have so little faith in our justice system that they fear that the killers might be acquitted?  Do they fear that our law enforcement system cannot protect New York civilians?  Those are a couple of the excuses that you’ll hear, all designed to make you afraid of terrorism, all designed to paralyze this nation in fear.  It should be of no surprise, however, because conservatives have been doing this for years–using the threat of terrorism to weaken domestic opponents.  This time it is to weaken the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  It is easy to see that is the case, because terrorists were successfully tried in civilian courts during the Bush Administration, including the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacharias Moussavi.  That prosecution was supported by conservatives as a triumph of the American way of life.

Well, guess what fraidy-cats.  Trying these terrorists in the courts is not only the right thing to do constitutionally, but it is quintessentially American.  In our country, even the worst of the worst get due-process under our laws.  Even admitted murders get their day in court.  Even admitted child molestors have a right to a trial.  And yes, terrorists, domestic and foreign, must be tried and convicted if they are responsible for crimes on our soil.  Why?  Because we are America, stupid.  We do things the right way, no matter the fears of partisan politics.  If we forget that we are a nation of laws, then the terrorists have won.

This is the man that makes Republicans/conservatives wet their beds.  As an American, are you afraid of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad?

View Image

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Who Said It?

Posted by AB on October 12, 2009

It’s pretty difficult, these days, to discern the differences between the rhetoric of the Taliban, Islamic Jihadists, and America’s Right-Wing.  Play “Who Said It?” below. 

*References from Politico, TalkingPointsMemo, Wikipedia

I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for it, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news.

a. Rush Limbaugh, Right-wing radio host

b. Erick Erickson, Right-wing blogger

c. Mullah Omar, Taliban Leader

d. Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda leader

Answer: b

…We condemn the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for Obama.  We condemn the institute’s awarding him the peace prize.  We condemn this year’s peace prize as unjust.

a. Glenn Beck, Right-wing radio and tv host

b. Kim Jong-Il, President of North Korea

c. Siamak Hirai, Spokesman for Afghan President, Hamid Karzai

d. Zabihullah Mujahid, Taliban Spokesman

Answer:  d

…It is unfortunate that the president’s star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights…

a. Nicolas Sarkozy, French President

b. Michael Steele, Chairman of the RNC

c. Kaled Al-Batsh, Islamic Jihad Leader

d. Sean Hannity, Right-wing radio and tv host

Answer:  b

Utterly ridiculous.  The credibility of the Nobel Peace Prize has been dwindling downward for years and has now hit rock bottom…

a. Mullah Omar, Taliban Leader

b. Mark Levin, Right-wing radio host

c. Craig Shirley, Republican strategist

d. Kaled Al-Batsh, Islamic Jihadist Leader

Answer:  c

This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama.  And with this ‘award,’ the elites of the world are urging Obama, the man of peace, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States.  

a. Rush Limbaugh, Right-wing radio host

b. Mullah Omar, Taliban Leader

c. William Kristol, Neo-conservative writer/pundit

d. Muhammed Hanif, Taliban spokesman

Answer:  a 

Obama winning the peace prize shows these prizes are political, not governed by the principles of credibility, values, and morals….

a. Kaled Al-Batsh, Islamic Jihad Leader

b. Rush Limbaugh, Right-Wing radio host

c. Michael Steele, Chairman of Republican National Committee

d. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran

Answer:  a

 Something has happened here that we all agree with the Taliban and Iran about and that is he doesn’t deserve the award.

a. Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan

b. Rush Limbaugh, Right-wing radio host

c. Chris Wallace, Fox News Sunday Host

d. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda Leader

Answer:  b

…The Nobel gang just suicide bombed themselves.

a. Muhammed Hanif, Taliban spokesman

b. Sean Hannity, Right-wing radio and tv host

c. Muhammed Abdullah Shabazz, A name I just made up

d. Rush Limbaugh, Right-wing radio host

Answer:  d

 Whah, whah, whah.  The President gets everything.  How do we feel good about ourselves if our President succeeds?  I know that his success means that all of America is succeeding, but that doesn’t matter.  If he does well, then our country does well.  If our country does well while Obama is President, the Republican Party will be the minority party for a generation.  All of that talk about “Country First” and patriotism, from conservatives, is all bullshit.  It’s all about power.  How can we be forced to live in a country that is led by a black man? Whah, whah, whah.

a. Rush Limbaugh, Right-wing blowhard

b. Sean Hannity, Right-wing douchebag

c. Glenn Beck, Right-wing nut-sack

d. I climbed into the herads of all right-wing Obama-haters (plenty of space) 

Answer: d

I could go on and on with these, but the point is that President Obama’s critics are becoming so frustrated and deranged, they have begun to sound more like supporters of terrorism than patriotic Americans.  And while this nonsense continues, Republican leaders are eerily silent.

Posted in Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

9/11, Eight Years Later

Posted by AB on September 11, 2009

American-Flag.jpg america bitch image by FELMZ420

Eight years ago, today, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon burned.  America was attacked, from the sky, by a yet to be identified group of enemies.  It was one of those moments in our history in which everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing.  I always heard my elders telling stories of where they were and what they were doing when they heard that President Kennedy had been killed, or when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, or Bobby Kennedy. 

I never really had that moment until September 11, 2001.  Well, there was the moment of the Challenger explosion.  I remember where I was at that moment, but I was just a child, and that was an accident.  9/11 was something completely different.  The feeling that most Americans had on 9/11 must have been like when the “greatest generation” learned that Pearl Harbor had been attacked.  There were, however, no 24-hour news channels in the 1940’s.  We were inundated with information about the 9/11 attacks.  We lived the attacks. 

The attacks of 9/11 seem like just yesterday.  Unfortunately, the unity that our nation felt in the months following seems like millenia ago.  We survived because we were united.  We will fall if we continue to be divided. 

Let us not forget how we felt on that sad day.  But let us not forget how we came together.  We did not think about Democrats or Republicans, or liberals or conservatives.  We were, trulythe United States of America.

Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Did You Lose Your Healthcare Today?

Posted by AB on August 3, 2009

While Republican lobbyists organize protests to shout down Democratic Congress members and Obama Administration officials during townhall meetings, thousands of Americans will lose healthcare coverage, daily. 

The US House of Representatives have recessed, and after this week, the US Senate will enter into the August recess.  Now, these lawmakers will return to his or her constituents, and one of the most critical issues they will discuss is that concerning healthcare reform.  I’m sure that many Americans are interested in having the opportunity to ask quetions of their democratically-elected representatives, and this ability retained by Americans to have this direct contact with those who actually make laws is just another reason that our country is so great.   Townhall-type forums allow for public discussion of important issues that affect all Americans.  Unfortunately, there are those who are attempting to shout-down and intimidate Representatives and voters, alike.

The healthcare industry is prepared to spend over a million dollars a day, yes, a day to kill healthcare reform.  And where is that money going?  Well, one lobbying group dedicated to “killing” healthcare reform is called FreedomWorks.  The Chairman of FreedomWorks is former Republican Majority leader Dick Armey–that is his real name.  This is the same organization that funded the so-called grassroots movement called “Tea Parties.” 

 A disturbing memo from FreedomWorks has been leaked, and it is one of the most sickening, anti-American, anti-democracy memos imaginable.  The memo calls for anti-healthcare supporters, and in some cases the group will bus-in supporters, to disrupt townhall meetings by intimidating Representatives and constituents.  This tactic is not only dispicable for the lies that are perpetrated by these people but, most of all, for the total disregard for the rights of their fellow Americans.

Meanwhile, there have been estimates as far back as February that suggest that approximately 14,000 Americans a day will lose healthcare coverage.  That is nearly 100,000 people a week that will lose healthcare.  And what is the solution provided by these opponents of healthcare reform?  Well, in their diseased minds, there is nothing wrong with our healthcare system.  Their ideal solutions is one that would cut even more taxes on insurance and pharmaceutical companies while Americans see premiums rise at over triple the rate of inflation and wages. 

So, if you find yourself at a townhall meeting to discuss the future of this country, and there are 10-20 loud assholes disrupting the discussion, don’t get angry.  First ask them to respect the speakers and those in attendence.  Then ask them if they have healthcare–they likely do.  Then find out where they are from; chances are that they are not from your congressional district, as they have been asked to disrupt any and all townhall meetings possible.  The most important thing to do is to, however, is to resist this intimidation, peacefully, and collect the information that that affects your family.  Find the truth.

Warning:  These people are thugs, and I would put nothing past them. 

*If you can stomach it, I have posted some YouTube clips of these protests, via TPM.

Posted in Economics, Misc., Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Walter Cronkite (1916-2009)

Posted by AB on July 17, 2009

Once voted as the “Most Trusted Man in a America,” legendary newsman Walter Cronkite has died at the age of 92.  He hosted the “CBS Evening News” from 1962-1981.  At a time when there were no 24-hour news network, Americans looked to trusted newsmen, like Cronkite, for news stories that Americans wanted and needed.  As I listen to, and read the glowing remembrances, I cannot help but despair at the thought that passes as news today.

Walter Cronkite announced that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.  Today, CNN’s Lou Dobbs suggested that the current President of the United States might be “undocumented,” and what was his proof?  A caller to his radio show told him. 

Walter Cronkite was with Americans as man landed on the moon.  Fox News Channel promotes and endorses anti-government “tea parties.”

Walter Cronkite investigated and reported about the Vietnam War.  During our most recent war in Iraq, Geraldo Rivera drew a map of US Military positions in the sand, risking soldier’s lives.

Walter Cronkite told Americans the truth about the crimes of the Nixon Administration.  One of Nixon’s cronies, and abject racist, Pat Buchanan is employed by MSNBC, and allowed face-time to spread his hate for minorities.

We, the consumers of the news, always want more.  More does not mean better, and nothing can be more clear on this day.  The 24-hour news networks compared with Walter Cronkite; I’ll take quality over quantity.  But these are different days, and “that’s the way it is.”

Posted in Economics, Entertainment, Misc., Politics, Sports, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Happy Birthday, America

Posted by AB on July 4, 2009

Fireworks over Navesink by wmliu.

Happy Birthday, America.  You are 233 years young today, and still the greatest country this world has ever known.

No matter how tough the times might be, you always come through.  Your military might is unmatched.  Your contributions to the world, in all respects, have been enormous.  Your citizens; left, right, and center make yours the most successful democracy ever.  And despite the tough times, a bright future is ahead.

Happy Birthday, America.

Posted in Misc. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Iranian Resistance

Posted by AB on June 22, 2009

I have posted, here at Tar Heel Pirate, several times about the Iranian Presidential election and the fallout.  No matter how much I might like to keep this blog up-to-date on the happenings in Iran, there is simply too much going on for me to keep up. 

The people of Iran are engaged in a struggle for their basic freedoms, and whenever authority is challenged, there is great resistance.  It is difficult to tell where this may go, but there is a very real possibility that this is the beginning of a revolution.  Whatever the case, we can only hope that those who are protesting on the streets of Iran will have their voices heard without the threat of violence.  Unfortunately, we have seen threats of violence and tangible violence, already, and while the protests have gotten lighter, there is an ongoing passion to get justice from a seemingly flawed election.

My heart goes out to the Iranian people, no matter the side.  What we are seeing is democracy inside of a theocracy.  All parties should be heard, and all parties should be respected, without the fear of retribution.  We cannot expect an America-style system in Iran, and America should not interfere with the process that is taking place.  We should support the freedom to protest peacefully, and President Obama has shown tremendous leadership with his measured tone, despite over-the-top criticism from others.  Some of those critics believe that belligerent rhetoric will help those protesters, but nothing good can come from the United States Government taking sides in this situation.  We would never tolerate others injecting themselves into our elections, so we should back-off and allow them the same respect that we demand. 

For the best up-to-date info about the Iranian election (the photos are amazing):

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Election: Iran

Posted by AB on June 11, 2009

This past Sunday, Lebanon held parliamentary elections, and a pro-western coalition claimed victory.  It was a clear defeat for Iranian-supported, Hezbollah, a militant group, just days following President Obama’s speech from Cairo.  The citizens of Lebanon have spoken, and moderation won out over extremism.  There is no question that the Lebanese parliamentary elections were good news for not only democracy in general, but it was also good news for America and its allies.  With that said, the world’s most important election since the US elections in November 2008 will take place this Friday, June 12, in Iran.

Despite the perception of Iran as an extreme, anti-America, Muslim country, we should  recognize that the majority of the population is very much pro-western and moderate.  Iran is a country of 71.2 million people that are relatively young, with a median age of 26.4 years.  The majority of citizens in Iran do not mirror the ideology of the hard-line religious leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the confrontational, anti-American governmental leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  With that said, there is a very real possibility that Ahmadinejad might lose to reformist candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A victory by Mousavi would be a victory from the United States, in a way, because it might allow for more fruitful diplomacy at a time that the influence of hard-line Iranian policy seems to be waning in support.  Now, let’s also recognize that the real power in Iran is held by the Ayatollahs, so a defeat for Ahmadinejad doesn’t mean that Iran will ruled by those necessarily friendly to the US, but it would be an unmistakable rebuke to the hateful, confrontational rhetoric used by its President.

I am not going to get my hopes up, but if Mir Hossein Mousavi should happen to defeat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it would be a promising occurance for US-Iran relations.  I have no idea if, or how much President Obama’s Cairo speech will have influenced the elections in Lebanon and Iran, but it certainly did not hurt, and I find no coincidence in the timing of the speech to the Muslim world.  Hopefully, moderates in all of the middle east have the confidence and courage to make themselves heard, and loudly, but it doesn’t matter where they find that confidence and courage.  I cannot predict what will happen when Iranians vote on Friday, but I can tell you that it’s worth keeping an eye on the results.  This is the most important election since November.

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