Friday, March 30, 2012

It's not CurrentTV it’s PasséTV!

First Row: The Young Turks (TYT)
Second Row:  Countdown at MSNBC
Third Row: Countdown at CurrentTV
Fourth Row: The War Room



I am in a terrible mood. I am so upset to find out that CurrentTV fired Keith Olbermann today! All of us that followed Countdown every weeknight suspected that something was wrong, but we hoped that whatever differences they were having were going to be resolved. We were wrong.

CurrentTV, which is owned by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, was a struggling television station with a programming suitable for people like Al Gore: boring people. The programming was quite simple and unexcited, long documentaries that they kept repeating again and again to the point of exhaustion. The station mainly served for Al Gore to show his own documentary about Global Warming – commendable and I do recommend it to everyone – however, how many times can a person watch the same programming? Not too many, believe me.

Al Gore and Joel Hyatt created CurrentTV in 2004. Since its birth, CurrentTV, formerly known as INdTV, has been a series of failures that oddly enough, it managed to win a few awards mainly for the documentaries. The company has ventured into many different partnerships; all have failed.

In 2009 it was revealed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission that Comcast owns 10% of CurrentTV; in my view, that explains up to a point the controversies and obstructions that Keith Olbermann faced while at Current.

When Keith Olbermann was offered a position at CurrentTV in 2011, it was not as a mere commentator. CurrentTV did enough fanfare about hiring Keith as the Chief News Officer and at the time it was mentioned that Keith would have total control of his show, Countdown. I am sure that most of the other shows that came after Countdown such as The Young Turks did so because Keith Olbermann was part of Current.

Since the beginning of Countdown at CurrentTV, the set (if that can be called a set) was just a dark room with terrible lighting; even Keith’s make up was terribly done. There was no background, no desk; basically it was a chair and Keith. At first, I thought it was going to change and improve… but it didn’t. Even Keith’s wardrobe was not what we were accustomed to but we were there for Keith, nothing else.

The Young Turks made their debut and recently The War Room followed. It is obvious that their set is well lit and looks like that of any other show. Why then was Countdown's set so depressing and unprofessional? I think it was deliberate. I think they knew Keith was going to complain and bitch about it, but they didn’t care. I think they didn’t care because with the political shows they now have lined up (probably thanks to Keith Olbermann) they feel they don’t need Keith anymore. They are so wrong!

With this business maneuver, Al Gore has just shown the world that he is as bad a businessman as he was a bad Vice President. The man couldn’t even defend himself when the Presidency was stolen from him!

Goodbye CurrentTV… I will stop watching you and so will many others, the only reason I bothered going to that channel was Keith Olbermann, with him out of the picture CurrentTV is out of my life. I can’t say I’ll miss you, but I can say I'll miss Keith Olbermann and as I did before, I will follow him wherever he will land next. Maybe at Oprah Winfrey Network channel?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

When Anorexia is not by Choice


I am an animal lover.  Seeing the above pictures not only breaks my heart, but infuriates me.  I can't understand how people can be so cruel as to starve an animal and see them being consumed, day by day, and not feel sorry for them.  Where are the neighbors, friends or visitors that see this and don't report it?  I think that people that are capable of doing this should be jailed, and jailed for a long, long time.  There are no excuses for this... None! 

video 

Then, I see these atrocities, these children dying the worst of deaths, painfully and slowly dying of starvation... And the world is doing nothing, we are doing nothing and I am doing nothing!  

We see in the news so many irrelevant, sensationalistic news about if Paris Hilton was seen going wild at a nightclub in one extravagant city at any given country.  Perhaps we are attentive to the latest love affair of the rich and famous.  Maybe what attract us is the latest gossips escaping from Hollywood.  I don't know, but certainly it is not what is taking place in Darfur since it is never in the news.

And we complain... boy, do we complain!!! I complain if my car needs a tune-up and it is going to cost me more than I expected or because now that winter is gone the electric bill is higher... oh, and I constantly bitch about paying at the pump ten cents more per gallon than I did the week before.  We complain because our lives are not like the lives we watch on a TV sitcom or at the movies, because our lives are not "perfect", because we are not wealthy.  We are a society of complainers.

When I see these pictures I truly feel ashamed of myself for being so trivial and so selfish.  These poor people would give anything for their problems to be like mine, instead, they are watching their children die and there is nothing they can do about it.  Imagine what it must feel like not being able to protect your child because you too are dying.  The pain and suffering must be unimaginable!

Yet, there are things we all can do.  It may seem too little, but surely it is more than doing nothing at all.  This is what you can do to help according to The Valentino Achak den Foundation:

1. WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE
Every time Valentino and Dave talk to experts on U.S. policy on Sudan, they ask what citizens can do to help. These experts always insist that one of the best things is to write a letter—an actual, personalized letter—insisting that this representative or senator do something about the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and about the gross misconduct of the Sudanese government in Khartoum. Remember that in 2005, the U.S. brought to bear great influence in brokering the peace between the north (Khartoum) and the south (the Sudan People's Liberation Army). When the U.S. wants to influence the Sudanese government, they surely have the power to do so. You can find out what your representatives have or haven’t done on Darfur by checking their individual records at www.darfurscores.com.

After writing a letter, call 1-800-GENOCIDE. This free hotline will ask for your zip code and then connect you to your governor, your senator, or directly to the White House switchboard. For some ideas of what to say to your elected officials, read on.

2. TELL WASHINGTON THAT TRADING INFORMATION FOR DARFURIS IS UNACCEPTABLE 
Many experts believe that one of the primary reasons Washington is dragging their feet in doing much about Darfur is due to Khartoum's help in their War on Terror. To back up: In the 1990s, Osama bin Laden spent six years in Khartoum. Sudan is where he built his network of terror. While being hosted by the Sudanese government, he provided Khartoum with millions of dollars. In the late 1990s, after the bombings of American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the U.S. exerted great pressure on Sudan to expel bin Laden. They did so. (Again, the U.S. can have great influence in Sudan when they want to.)

After 9-11, the Khartoum government became a very cooperative partner in the War on Terror. The U.S. could count on Sudan's intelligence community to provide information about any suspected terrorists who had worked with bin Laden in Sudan. Because the Sudanese proved themselves useful in Washington's terrorist hunts, many experts believe that the Bush administration was loath to push Sudan too hard on the genocide in Darfur, lest Khartoum cease to be helpful in the War on Terror. These same experts believe strongly that the U.S. need not be so timid. The Obama administration has an opportunity to change U.S. policy in Sudan; Washington can still exert pressure on Khartoum without fear of losing a partner in intelligence-gathering. And even if they do lose this partner, we believe that trading the lives of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris is not worth whatever bits of information we're able to glean from Khartoum's intelligence.

3. SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS THAT SUPPORT SUDAN 
A number of nonprofits are aiding refugees and are working for peace in Sudan. This is by no means a complete list, but these organizations have assisted Valentino and Dave, so we'll start with them:

Save the Children: When Valentino and Dave traveled to Sudan in 2003, they stayed in the compound of Save the Children's base in Marial Bai. Save the Children is involved in many efforts to aid the Sudanese who have suffered as a result of civil war, and has been instrumental in bringing former slaves and abductees back to their villages of origin.

www.savethechildren.org

Concern: In 2003, Valentino and Dave flew on a Concern cargo flight back to Marial Bai. Concern brings food and supplies to war-ravaged areas. Their work in Sudan now focuses on nutrition, water sanitation, and shelter for people affected by the war.

www.concern.net

The UNHCR: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees maintained the refugee camps at Pinyudo and Kakuma mentioned in What Is the What. The agency is now working to help refugees return to their communities in Southern Sudan, and to make the reintegration process a safe and sustainable one.

www.unhcr.org

International Crisis Group: This is a worldwide think tank that monitors, analyzes, and suggests solutions to conflicts and humanitarian crises around the world. Home of John Prendergast, one of the foremost American experts on Sudan—and the expert on whom Valentino and Dave continually rely. We believe that their work in Sudan, and on U.S. policy toward Sudan, is crucial.

www.crisisgroup.org

4. SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS LOBBYING FOR AN END TO GENOCIDE IN SUDAN 
Just a few of these organizations:

ENOUGH: The ENOUGH campaign seeks to unite and strengthen the efforts of grassroots activists, policy makers, advocates, concerned journalists, and others by giving them up-to-date information from on the ground in Darfur and offering practical pressure points to end the violence.

www.enoughproject.org

The Save Darfur Coalition: The SDC includes more than 170 organizations working toward more international involvement in combating the killing in Darfur. Contributions allow them to continue raising awareness in the media and directing pressure toward policymakers.

www.savedarfur.org

Genocide Intervention Network: GI-Net supports African Union peacekeepers currently on the ground in Sudan by channeling private donations into the resources they need and catalyzing government support for the peacekeepers. They also started the anti-genocide hotline 1-800-GENOCIDE.

www.genocideintervention.net

http://www.wfp.org/get-involved

5. SUPPORT THE VALENTINO ACHAK DENG FOUNDATION
The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation aims to empower war-affected Southern Sudanese communities by constructing schools, increasing access to quality education, improving girls’ enrollment in school, creating new teacher-training programs, and promoting literacy for children, women, and men.

In May 2009, the Foundation opened a brand new secondary school in Valentino's hometown of Marial Bai, Southern Sudan. It's the very first secondary school in the entire region. Donations to Valentino’s foundation go directly to support this new school, and to expand the campus into a large educational center, comprising the following:

The nine-classroom secondary school featuring a science lab, computer rooms, solar power, and student dormitories.

A teacher-training college bringing together local teachers, members of the Sudanese diaspora, and Western educators through collaborative teaching methods and symposia.

A library offering literacy programs for children, women, and men, a well-lighted study space for students, and a collection of more than 10,000 books.

A community center for local organizations, women’s groups, and cultural events, as well as classes for vocational training and community health and hygiene.

Sports facilities and programming for youth enrichment.Now that the school is built, we need your help to keep it running and to finish the educational center; please consider making a donation .

To hold a fundraiser, contact info@valentinoachakdeng.org.

To donate by mail, send your tax-deductible check to The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, 849 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110. You will be sent a notice confirming the donation and a tax receipt.

6. SUPPORT SUDANESE COMMUNITIES IN YOUR REGION
There are Sudanese all over the United States, and it doesn't take long to find a community near you. Volunteer at a local non-profit organization that helps refugees, such as the International Rescue Committee, or use search tools like Volunteer Match. Rest assured that communities of exiles and refugees near you can use your help—financially, logistically, and with the many other adjustments to life in the United States.

7. SUPPORT DIVESTMENT EFFORTS
The Sudan Divestment Task Force is coordinating dozens of "targeted divestment" campaigns around the world. Their approach focuses on maximizing impact on the Sudanese government while protecting Sudanese civilians and the organizations that provide for them. Since U.S.-based pension funds have more than $90 billion invested in Sudan-related holdings, the potential impact is significant. Several states have already adopted the targeted divestment model, and legislation is pending in many others. You can help by getting involved in campaigns in your area—in your city, your state, your school, or your company. The Task Force also has everything you need to know to start a new campaign if none exists where you live.

www.sudandivestment.org

8. SUPPORT THE PEOPLE AND GOVERNMENT OF SOUTHERN SUDAN
According to the peace agreement signed between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Army, in 2011 the south will be able to vote on whether or not they want to secede from the north and become their own autonomous country. This is the course favored by Valentino Deng and most Southern Sudanese. But in order for this to happen, the international community needs to maintain pressure on Khartoum. If the current course continues, whereby the world stands idly by and watches Khartoum annihilate its own people in Darfur, there will be little chance that the Sudanese government will honor their agreement to allow the secession of Southern Sudan. Already the Southern Sudanese are preparing for another civil war. But it doesn't have to be this way. If the world supports the Southern Sudanese financially and politically, the nascent government of Southern Sudan will grow stronger, and Khartoum will find it more difficult to violate their agreement.

9. PRESS FOR PUNITIVE MEASURES AGAINST THE REGIME
The same government prosecuting the genocide in Sudan is the one that was primarily responsible for two million deaths in Southern Sudan. How long are we going to allow this to occur without imposing some kind of cost? In July 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity-but much more can be done by the international community to enact punitive measures against Sudan. In your letters to members of Congress, you should demand that they support U.N. sanctions on responsible Sudanese officials and their businesses, and demand that the U.S. declassifies and shares its considerable intelligence with the International Criminal Court to accelerate indictments against those officials.

10. JOIN AN ORGANIZATION
Many advocacy organizations are already working to help end the suffering in Sudan. Here are just a few resources available to you:

For students: With over 600 college and high-school chapters across the nation, STAND (Students Taking Action Now: Darfur) is one of the largest grassroots efforts advocating an end to the genocide in Darfur. Students should visit the STAND website to find out how they can get involved.

www.standnow.org

For congregations: If you belong to a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple, get your community involved in Sudan advocacy. Many national religious organizations have taken up the cause, but it is more meaningful when a local group contacts their congressperson or senator and tells them that this issue is important to them as voters and as people of faith. Congregations can learn more by joining the Save Darfur Congregational Network, which offers Faith Action Packs with specific resources for faith-based organizations.

www.savedarfur/org/pages/organize_your_congregation

For communities: Local groups have played a critical role in pushing for action on Darfur. At the Save Darfur website, you can search for community organizations in your area, or learn how to start your own group.

www.savedarfur.org/page/group
 
Don't wait for others to do something about this and don't wait for tomorrow.  Do whatever you can to help, spread the word and tell others what they can do to help.  Keep this tragedy in the spotlight, bring attention to it and together we will succeed.  Saving a life should be always be a priority, always.


Editor: J. Schapiro

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Color Me Blind


It was back in December of 1992 when the world was horrified at the atrocities being committed by the Bosnian Serbs against the Bosnian Croats and particularly the Muslim community. It was an ethnic cleansing that lasted approximately three long years and where approximately 8,372 civilians died.

The murdering of civilians at the hands of the Serbian army was terrible, but as it usually happens when a group of men dominate another and where violence and hate is rampant, murdering was not the only crime these killers committed. Among the cruel acts the Serbs routinely committed was rape, beating, robbery, assault and torture to women and children. When the Serbs didn’t murder their victims, they deported them to concentration camps much like Hitler did with the Jews during WWII. The Serbs left a path of destruction in all the towns previously occupied by the Croats and Muslims, destroying their houses, businesses, places of worship and ultimately their lives.

It took 6 years for the International Criminal Tribunal to judge that the crimes committed by the Serbs against Croatians and Muslims were Crimes against Humanity and to classify it as genocide but the ICT failed to established that the “accused possessed genocidal intent.” This is the equivalent of ruling that a murder wasn’t premeditated, that provoked the ire of the world.

It took 10 years for the United States to publicly declare what took place as genocide, and to offer our support for the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Shortly after that, calm returned to the region if not peace in its entirety.

For those that don’t know where the countries of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina are, they are in Europe.

The Serbian-Bosnian conflict is considered to be the worst European massacre since WWII.


_________________________________________________________________________________


Eight years later in February 2003 there was a civil war in another continent, the African continent, in the region of Sudan. This time the conflict was between non-Arabs and Arabs. The Janjaweed militia, supported by the government began eliminating not only the insurgents, but all non-Arab civilians as well. The massacre that took place included dismemberment of women, men, children and even babiesl raping, burning whole communities alive and shelling of over one million people.

The Janjaweeds, with the support of the Sudanese government, controlled the water and food supply driving the surviving non-Arab populations to seek refuge in the neighboring country of Chad. The United Nations Security Council tried to protect them and offered humanitarian help. However, due to the remoteness where many hundreds of thousands of the victims were, the government of Sudan was able to cut all help from reaching them and practically starved them to death.

During July 2005, there was an attack in the town of Adré, in Chad where there were many Sudanese refugees.  300 non-Arabs refugees were killed in that attack, but the Sudanese government denied any involvement or responsibility for the attack.

In 2006 in an attempt to bring peace to the region, President George W. Bush signed an agreement with Minni Minnawi, the leader of the Sudanese Liberation Army at the time, but two different smaller political groups in Sudan rejected the agreement and the attempt failed.

The genocide in Sudan continues to this day. It is estimated that about 400,000 people have been killed and about 80,000 have died from starvation. These figures are only a conservative number since no one knows what other atrocities may have taken place outside the public eye or unreported.

In 2005 the Security Council formally referred these events to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court but without mentioning any specific crimes, to issue a warrant against the Sudanese government. There were two members of the Security Council that declined to vote on the ICC resolution: United States of America and People's Republic of China.

Three years after that, in 2008, the ICC Prosecutor included ten charges of war crimes, three counts of genocide and five counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes and issued a warrant for the arrest of al-Bashir, the President of Sudan. The Arab League, composed of 21 countries and the African Union have made public their support and solidarity with al-Bashir.

Amnesty International has issued a report accusing Russia and the People’s Republic of China of violating the UN arms embargo against Darfur, Sudan. There have been reports, the latest witnessed by American actor George Clooney, of aerial attacks to villages in Darfur. There are many pictures of the equipment being used by the Sudan Air Force where it can be seen that the helicopters and airplanes used in these attacks are Russian made. According to Wikipedia, Airforces Monthly Magazine in it’s June 2007 issue confirmed that China and Iran have financed and delivered new aircrafts to Sudan.

Due to the involvement of Russia and China in this conflict, the international community and United States specifically are being very cautious and practically are not getting involved at least not directly or openly and if they are, it's been very quietly.  Too quietly.

The genocide continues to this day. Thousands of innocent people keep dying by the relentless air attacks perpetrated by the Sudanese government or by starvation. Thousands are hiding in the caves of Darfur almost forgotten by the world except when, as it happened almost a month ago, someone like George Clooney shines a light in this sinister crime that is taking place far away in the Dark Continent... unfortunately, we have shown that when it comes to black people, we have a very short attention span.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Let’s play ball!


It is incredible how many people are still protesting against the Health Care Reform Act and carrying big signs denouncing the unconstitutionality or their outrage for this bill.

I can understand up to a point that the people feel upset that they will be forced to get health insurance. What I can’t understand is their outcry that they don’t want government to get involved in their health issues… That outrage of course lasts until they reach their golden years and retire. The sad thing is, these seniors and retirees that are screaming that they don’t want government “making their health care decisions” have Medicare, and God forbid that someone takes that away from them! What do these people think Medicare is? Medicare is what all of us would have been entitled to if it wasn’t for all the morons that were against single payer or public option. The stigma of the government involved in our health issues was greater than the benefits we could have enjoyed.

Since we couldn’t get the public option or single payer because of all the false allegations that the political liars used to instill fear on the elderly and the gullible, we now have to pay for private insurance… because the rights of the health insurance companies were far more important than our own personal interests.  We have the Tea Party and Republicans to thank for that one. The same people that didn’t want to have a single payer or public option and don’t want to be forced to get health insurance claiming it is unconstitutional. Why is health insurance unconstitutional and not, let’s say, automobile insurance? Why is it that health insurance is an evil thing that government shouldn’t mandate or impose on all of us when not having it affects us ALL yet, it is OK to be forced to have auto insurance for every single vehicle we own?  Why is it OK for one type of enforced insurance but not the other?

When a person that doesn’t have health insurance is hospitalized and can't or won't pay the bill, we end up ‘picking up’ that tab. Every year hospitals nationwide ‘lose’ millions of dollars in unpaid balances incurred by uninsured people incapable or unwilling to pay their debt. The reality is that no hospital really loses money, they just increase the price of their services making all of us that have insurance to pay for those that didn’t. And all of us, those that incurred in the bill and those who see their premium increase pay again in the form of taxes, the government assumes a lot of those loses... kind of a bail out for hospitals.

If you have an automobile or motorcycle and you have a traffic accident, chances are that there will be two cars involved.  Usually, the person that hits pay for the repairs or medical needs of the injured through their insurance and their insurance premiums most likely will increase when they renew their policies.  Automobile insurance companies raise the premiums nationwide according to the accident ratio within that city or state.  Most of us hate them, but since it is the law to have it, we conform... Except if you live in New Hampshire where having automobile insurance it's an option, I think I will move there!

It seems that for Americans protecting an object is far more important than protecting themselves.  We hear people say all the time when their vehicles have been stolen things like "thank God I had insurance!"or "I don't worry because I'm insured."  Why don't they think the same way when it comes to their own person, their own bodies?  Once again, an object is far more important than a person.  No wonder they granted "personhood" status to corporations and we, the workers, have become the property of these corporations!

And now, here we are again fighting against the “Obamacare” as it has been "baptized". This bill has been taken to the Supreme Court to deem it unconstitutional.  It is sad that most likely they will win and repeal the law, after all the Supreme Justices enjoy having Public Option until the day they die.

I believe that is a shame. Many people that could be insured with preexisting conditions will  have no insurance and that includes babies and children. These people once again will have no insurance and perhaps due to being uninsured they may lose their lives.  We can place this injustice on those same people that are constantly yelling how precious every life is: the pro-life people. Once again they have proven that the only life they care for are the one before it passes the birth canal, once you take a breath you are on your own!


I suggest that all the judges and politicians that are fighting and claiming Obamacare as unconstitutional to have their insurance revoked. No more government insurance for them since it is so evil. We progressives and liberals are always trying to work for the people and if these people don’t want insurance especially insurance provided by the government, then we should take that burden away from them. The same can be said about all the senior citizens that have fought so vehemently against government subsidized insurance; let’s cancel their Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps. What do they think those are, manna?  I am sure they will be thrilled since in their opinion they do not use any government assistance and want government out of their lives, let’s be nice and give them what they want.

Let’s repeal Obamacare but do what I suggest above. All congressmen that are against Obamacare, revoke their insurance. Every citizen that has signed anything against Obamacare, let’s cancel his or her government provided insurance. Let’s start playing their game. Let's begin by automatically canceling health insurance of all the fat cats in Congress that have done nothing but inflict fear in their constituents and of all the seniors that claim that government should stay away from their health insurance.  When they stop getting these benefits, they will be begging for the Single Payer Option, not Obamacare which is the watered down version of what was original intended… Let the games begin!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

When Racism Goes Rampant


I think I can’t get away from the Trayvon Martin’s case even if I wanted to.  Every day I hear more information and what disturbs me the most is that there are so many people defending George Zimmerman.  I try very hard not express what I really think at the first confrontation, but if I am to be honest, the thought in my mind always is: “sure, because Martin was black we must give the benefit of the doubt to Zimmerman.”

How can anyone say that there is any doubt?  Martin was walking on a sidewalk, if he looked suspicious or not it shouldn’t matter.  His actions are what should have been important.  All he was doing when Zimmerman saw him was walking, and when Martin realized he was being followed, he walked faster.  The way a person walks should not serve as an excuse to kill them.  Assuming, and this is not true by the way, that Martin was drunk or on drugs on his way home.  Still Zimmerman had no right to kill him.  Simple.

Then I have met a few people on Facebook who keep posting articles of black men that have killed white folks, with comments such as “where is the rage for these people?”  I must mention that the black men that committed those horrific crimes were caught and are in jail, even the one that claimed that he killed the victim in self-defense.  That is not the case with Zimmerman who is free almost a month after he murdered Martin.

There are those that mention the now infamous “John.”  The elusive neighbor that said that Martin was the one on top of the obese Zimmerman and Zimmerman was the one crying for help.  The same John that doesn’t want to face the reporters and that most likely will not appear in court.

A month after the assassination of this young man, the white racists that are so abundant in this country are trying to make the victim out of the victimizer… The thing is, their “logic’ simply doesn’t add up.
Analyzing things from a purely objective perspective, I can say that:

1. Trayvon Martin had all the right in the world to walk in that gated community at whatever time he wanted as long as he wasn’t disturbing the peace – walking doesn’t disturb anyone.  His father lived there and Martin was staying in that community.  He wasn’t an “intruder.”

2. Zimmerman in his vehicle (which can be a lethal “weapon”) was the one following Martin even going against the police officer suggestion of to not follow Martin.  Martin was trying to get away from Zimmerman.

3. Zimmerman confronted Martin and to do this he stepped out of the car.  Martin didn’t go to Zimmerman’s car and knock on the window.

4. Zimmerman claimed to police after the killing, that he stepped out of the car to take a better look at the street name to be sure he would give the cops the correct street where Martin was.  There are so many holes in this claim that I am surprised that no one has made any comments about it.  Why would a man that patrols the neighborhood every night and therefore should know the community like the palm of his hand, step out of the car to read the street name?  He should have known it.  Second, if Martin was walking, by the time the police would arrive I am sure that Martin would no longer be there… so why look at the street name?  That statement alone doesn’t hold any water.

5. Zimmerman claims that while he was looking at the street name, Martin attacked him from behind and beat him to the ground.  Zimmerman claims he was screaming for help.  Keep in mind that Zimmerman was 100 pounds heavier than Martin and that Zimmerman was carrying a gun while Martin was carrying an Arizona Tea can and Skittles.  But we are to believe this story!  Sorry, but I don’t.  

All autopsies are Public Record, the Sanford police haven’t released the results of Martin’s autopsy (almost a month after his death) but I am sure that if what Zimmerman claims was true, by now the Sanford police would have at least make mention that Martin’s knuckles showed signs of aggression (this could still be true if he was defending himself) but the fact that the police, who has been so terrible in their investigation to the point of stepping down, haven’t mentioned it to at least "save their reputation" leads me to believe it is because there are no signs of aggression whatsoever.  

6. People are claiming that Martin attacked Zimmerman and the fact that Zimmerman was ‘bloody’ from his nose and his shirt showed grass stains suggesting a struggle is proof enough.  It would not be the first time that a murderer staged a scene to protect himself, especially one that had aspirations of becoming a cop and knows the tricks of the trade.  Smacking yourself on the back of the head or even punching yourself on the nose in order to avoid jail is not unthinkable nor would it be the first time it has ever been done.

7. Then we have idiots like Geraldo Rivera that blame Martin for wearing a hoodie… Since when an article of clothing it's an excuse for murder?  


Or others like the lunatic of Glenn Beck that is claiming that because Martin was suspended from school he was a no-good individual.  If that was true, most of us belong in the same category.  



8. There is one witness who is on tape with the 911 police that states quite the contrary of what Zimmerman or John said.  This caller saw the whole thing at ground level – not from inside his house  or from a window (like John).  This caller was walking his dog and saw Martin on the grass screaming for help.  He was going to help him but his dog got away.  As he went to get his dog and while Martin was screaming, he heard the one shot that ended Martin’s life.  This man is on tape telling police what he had witnessed but no one seems to care.   Listen to the tape at around 01:07, that's when this witness picks up the phone from his sister to talk to the police.


So I beg of you, all the racists out there that persist in blaming Martin and are saying that we are not allowing due process to take place, that we are serving as juror, judges and executioners to stop this bullshit. If this case is being investigated (a month after the murder) at all it’s precisely because people have demanded it, because if it was for people like you, Zimmerman probably would receive a medal of honor!  For people like you, it is a crime to be black.  Period.


Edited by: J. Schapiro

Friday, March 23, 2012

Etch A Sketch, a Bible or a Blackberry?

Ever since Mitt Romney’s Campaign Advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom, made the analogy of Romney's campaign with an Etch A Sketch no other statement has been more accurate or prompted the other candidates to speak their minds freely for us to have a better, clearer and irrefutable idea of what the GOP principles truly are: a never-ending adjustment to fit the needs of the audience but not what they truly mean or plan to do if they win the Presidency.

To begin with and thanks to that comment, we now know for a fact what up to now we suspected but had no tangible proof:  Mitt Romney will say and do whatever you want him to.  Like the Etch A Sketch toy, he shakes up and presents the image you want if by doing so he will get your vote.  What are Romney’s own ideals and ideas? Only he knows that for sure and even then I have my doubts, it must be really difficult to maintain your own concepts after you keep changing them to please others.

Now Santorum is claiming that to have an “Etch A Sketch” President, we might as well keep the one we currently have – I like his suggestion and I do hope that all the republicans out there listen and do exactly that: Vote for Obama over Romney!


I know that there are Independents out there that are undecided – Why? Beats me!  But they are.  Some say that they don’t like the “Obamacare” that will force them to purchase health insurance.  It’s funny that no one resents being forced to buy insurance for their cars or homes, if they happen to own their homes, but if they are forced to care for what is their main source of income – themselves – then it is the end of the world as we know it.  Others think that President Obama hasn’t done enough of what he promised, and resent him for it.  There are others that are not happy that we are still fighting wars and that Gizmo still is operating.  And the many excuses they provide for their indecision is endless.  I have a question for all of them, from all the Presidents that have led this country while you have been alive… Please, can you name one President that has fulfilled ALL his promises and all OUR expectations?  I am sure that there will be none and if someone provides me with a name, they will be lying because there is no such a thing here or anywhere else, not now not ever.

Having that hurdle cleared, we can continue to analyze what we are risking if we vote for Romney or Santorum in November 2012:

Mitt Romney: Considered the less extremist of the candidates on these primaries, Mitt Romney is offering a bureaucratic and protectionist approach towards big corporations and Wall Street.    Mitt Romney is a man that was born into wealth, not having to worry about a thing since the day he was born, he is your typical 1%.  For him it is normal for a person to own 5 luxury cars, an even great number of houses and have as friends the owners of Nascar or any other multimillion-dollar corporation, and these elites are his best buddies.  The "poor guy" doesn’t even know how to talk to the working class!  It is well known that you can judge people by the way they treat animals, specially their pets and we all know the answer to that one.  How can we expect compassion from a man that didn’t care for his own dog?  No.  He is heartless!  No wonder he says that he enjoys “firing people!”  It is a known fact that he will protect and promote corporations, not people; after all, he is a corporate man with no experience whatsoever on how to be a “regular” guy.  He also has a tendency to say whatever the people that is listening to him wants to hear and even his campaign manager agrees to this.  We owe Eric Fehrnstrom a great deal for the accurate description he gave of Romney’s campaign strategy as an “Etch A Sketch."  With friends like that… who needs enemies, right?



Rick Santorum:  All the sudden I have this urge to drop to my knees and pray… and I am agnostic!   Rick Santorum is a super religious man that envisions this country as a religious country.  For him, separation of church and State means that the State has no saying on what the church does but not the other way around.  If Santorum should win the elections, very remote possibility at this point, he will implement prayers in school and in every governmental office.  He will assign judges to the Supreme Court that shares his extreme religious views.  We can rest assure that he will push for banning abortions at all stages and there will be no exceptions to the rule.  It is a known fact that his wife had an abortion, to safe her life, but that doesn’t matter for this super religious freak if it is your life or that of your wife or daughter the one that needs saving.  All he cares is that there will be no abortions for any reason, so if the women in your life die... it was meant to be and, who are you to question God’s ways?

Santorum is not for the 1% but he is certainly not for the 99% either.  He is for small numbers, the smaller the better; his main purpose for running is to pay the debt and control the budget.  Very commendable if it was plausible at the times we are living.  Are we willing to do without enough police to protect us (I know, after the fiasco we are witnessing with the Trayvon Martin’s case we have to wonder if they are worth it); are we willing to lay-off half of our fire department?  Are we ok with the potholes on our roads?  A cut in our public services which will include public transportation, street lights, food stamps for those that are unemployed, Medicare and Medicaid for the elderly, a cut in our Social Security funds, reducing the unemployment benefits (which we have contributed to), etc.?  Most likely, Santorum will privatize most of the public services in order to cut expenses.  This means that we will have to pay if we want those services, otherwise, your house can burn to the ground before the fire department would do a thing about it – we’ve seen cases like this already in towns where they are privatizing fire departments.  Santorum believes that George W. Bush was a great president; that statement alone should raise all the flags! If Santorum gets his ways, government will have a saying on what transpires in a bedroom… talk about cutting expenses!! He believes that for the good of society, there cannot be pornography, he will prohibit them even at cheap motel rooms!  He is against antithetical sexual actions that according to him go against the traditional family… if it was up to him, he would monitor how we conduct ourselves while copulating.  He would probably fine us if we are wild and enjoying a good orgasm, since he probably doesn’t know what that is and envy can be a bad advisor.  He also has compared gay sex to bestiality and pedophilia.  What can I say?  The guy is a “jewel!”

President Barack Obama: If you ask me, he is the most sensible and reasonable candidate of all.  He inherited a chaotic presidency where the banking institutions were collapsing and where all the experts were foreseeing a financial calamity similar to the Great Depression.  He prevented that from happening.  That the economy has been awful?  True, but we didn’t fall into a Depression.  That he didn’t bring the troops home?  True, but we have no idea what the Generals on the ground have confided in him, I am sure there are good reasons for President Obama to continue that war and we will know one day.  President Obama has tried tirelessly to work for the American people, he had to compromise a lot in order to get things done, but he got them done.  That it could have been better?  Perhaps, but we have ourselves to blame, not him.  I blame all of us that thought we were invincible and stayed home during the 2010 elections hoping for others to do what it was our duty to do: VOTE.  So we failed and lost the majority.  That majority we enjoyed from 2008 – 2010 was not a true majority.  There were way too many blue dogs that sided with the Republicans and didn’t allowed things to progress.  From 2010 till now, with all the Tea Party representatives in Congress plus the old geezers from the GOP that remained, things have been even slower but still things are improving and things are getting done… Imagine what we can do if we had a stronghold in Congress, no blue dogs, just a super majority of real Democrats and Progressives, image what we can accomplish then!  So, unless you want the government to tell you how to make love and to control how many kids you can have; or unless you are one of the lucky ones that belong to the 1%... What are you thinking of?  There should be no doubt, no question in your mind.  Vote for the future, vote for Obama, after all… Etch A Sketch is so passé!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hispanic, White, Jew or German... Who Cares! A Murderer.

I thought I was not going to write again about the murder of Trayvon Martin at least not the day after I posted the article, but I was wrong.  Today, Sanford Police Chief, Bill Lee Jr. removed himself from the investigation and released a letter that I will include here.

First, let me begin by saying that I keep reading that George Zimmerman was white, then Latino, and then that his mother is Hispanic and his father is Jewish, some have even suggested that his father is German.  Let me enlighten the readers, just a little bit.  There is no such thing as a Hispanic, Latino or Jewish race they are ethnic groups.  The White (Caucasian) race is not an exclusive of the United States and just as there were immigrants from all walks of life, all countries and all races migrating to the United States, the same happened throughout Latin America.   We can say more or less the same thing about the Jews; I’ve seen Jews that are blonde, brunettes, olive skinned, white as chalk and that come from different points of the world.  So I beg of all of you to stop saying that Zimmerman is not White that he is Hispanic.  He is a Hispanic that happens to be White…  Surprise!

I’ve heard too that George Zimmerman was adopted, and then that he wasn’t adopted.  Having been born in Virginia and raised by Mr. Zimmerman, who is an American, all of the sudden George Zimmerman speaks Spanish.  My question is, so what?  Just as there are people from all races, creeds, and classes in United States the same can be said about Latin America… and there are racists there too.  I would appreciate it if people would stop trying to make it seem as it couldn’t be racial because George Zimmerman was Hispanic, there is bigotry and racism among Hispanics too, sad but true.

So let’s call this what it really is: an insecure man that always wanted to be a policeman but failed, who had been in trouble before, who by previous records has an aggressive personality (even though his friends are trying to portray him as almost a saint), who even had a restraining order issued by one of his girlfriends in the past and that patrolling that neighborhood gave him a sense of superiority, of fulfillment, a sense of control.  This George Zimmerman took laws into his own hands, he was looking for trouble and for a chance to show what a “big man” he was by “saving” the neighborhood, the hero.

He saw a black guy walking in "his" neighborhood and automatically labeled Trayvon Martin as a criminal, drug user up to no good and Martin was just right for Zimmerman to show everyone what a "good guy" he was.  Zimmerman was a total loser that needed desperately to proof that he was better than the cops that always allowed the "Fucking coons" to walk away.  Those were George Zimmerman's own words... the messed up law of Stand Your Ground might have let him get away with murder and I am sure that is what Zimmerman expected and why he staged the attack, but thanks to this wonderful contraption that is the Internet, it won't be so easy to get away with murder as thousands are demanding justice all throughout the United States.

OK, so we all know that the 2005 law commonly known as Stand Your Ground is all messed up.  But, even when it is and according to the letter, (2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

What more probable cause than a young man dead on the grounds of a public area?  What more probable cause is needed other than the fact that George Zimmerman was the one that confronted Trayvon Martin? What more probable cause is needed than the fact that George Zimmerman had a weapon and Trayvon Martin didn’t?

George Zimmerman would have been arrested on the spot if he had done the same thing to a police officer in civilian clothing.  George Zimmerman would have been arrested on the spot if he had killed a WHITE lady. George Zimmerman would have been arrested on the spot if he had run a stop sign and had a suspended license… But for killing an unarmed young Black man?  Nah!!!!  He had all the right to do it, after all, it is still the South, the Bible belt where a Black man’s life is worthless and so is a Latino’s, maybe that is why all of the sudden George Zimmerman is Hispanic.

Andale, andale... pa'rriba, pa'rriba!  Get the Hispanic-Jew-German-White-Catholic and any other race, religion or ethnic group you want to add to the mix, even black; it’s irrelevant. For me he is plain and simple a racist son of a bitch that deserves to rot in jail!



I promised to post the letter from Sanford’s Chief of Police.  Here it is:

"Fellow Citizens:  
There has been a lot of media attention to the recent incident where George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin.  This is indeed a tragic situation and has caused a flood of questions and strong emotions from within our community, the region and nation. On behalf of the employees of the City of Sanford, Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to the family and friends of Trayvon Martin.  As a father, I can only image the pain Trayvon’s family must be going though.   
In an effort to continue to be as responsive as possible to the public seeking information on the incident, I have asked Chief Lee to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this matter.  Below are his responses.  Please understand that since this is still an ongoing investigation, the Police Department is limited in what information it can publicly release.    
The City of Sanford is committed to insuring that justice is served and, therefore, the City of Sanford has contacted the United States Attorney General’s Office for assistance in this matter.  
The men and women of the Sanford Police Department extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Martin family. This is indeed a tragic situation. The death of anyone due to violence, especially a 17 year old young man, is morally appalling. As this incident has generated a lot of media attention, we wanted to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.   
Why was George Zimmerman not arrested the night of the shooting? When the Sanford Police Department arrived at the scene of the incident, Mr. Zimmerman provided a statement claiming he acted in self defense which at the time was supported by physical evidence and testimony.  By Florida Statute, law enforcement was PROHIBITED from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time.  Additionally, when any police officer makes an arrest for any reason, the officer MUST swear and affirm that he/she is making the arrest in good faith and with probable cause.  If the arrest is done maliciously and in bad faith, the officer and the City may be held liable.  
According to Florida Statute 776.032 :  
776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s.  776.012, s.  776.013, or s.  776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant. 
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.   
Why weren’t the 911 tapes initially released? There are exemptions to the public records laws for active criminal intelligence and for ongoing investigations.  In this instance, the 911 calls made by neighbors in the subdivision, and the nonemergency call made by Mr. Zimmerman are all key to the investigation by Sanford Police Department.  In consultation with the Office of the State Attorney, the Sanford police department had decided not to release the audio recordings of the 911 calls due to the ongoing investigation.   
Many times, specific information is contained in those recordings which is vital to the integrity of the investigation.  At the time, it was determined that if revealed, the information may compromise the integrity of the investigation prior to its completion. The 911 tapes have since been released.   
Why did Mr. Zimmerman have a firearm in his possession while acting in the role of a neighborhood watch member? Mr. Zimmerman holds a concealed weapon permit issued from the State of Florida.  He is authorized to carry the weapon in a concealed manner wherever Florida Statute dictates. 
Neighborhood Watch programs are designed for members of a neighborhood to be “eyes and ears” for police and to watch out for their neighbors.  They are not members of the Police Department nor are they vigilantes.  Training provided by law enforcement agencies to Neighborhood Watch organizations stresses non-contact surveillance of suspicious situations and notifying police of those situations so that law enforcement can respond and take control of the situation.  
Mr. Zimmerman was not acting outside the legal boundaries of Florida Statute by carrying his weapon when this incident occurred.  He was in fact on a personal errand in his vehicle when he observed Mr. Martin in the community and called the Sanford Police Department.    
If Zimmerman was told not to continue to follow Trayvon, can that be considered in this investigation?Yes it will; however, the telecommunications call taker asked Zimmerman “are you following him”.  Zimmerman replied, “yes”.  The call taker stated “you don’t need to do that”.  The call taker’s suggestion is not a lawful order that Mr. Zimmerman would be required to follow.   Zimmerman’s statement was that he had lost sight of Trayvon and was returning to his truck to meet the police officer when he says he was attacked by Trayvon. 
Why was George Zimmerman labeled as “squeaky clean” when in fact he has a prior arrest history? In one of the initial meetings with the father of the victim the investigator related to him the account that Mr. Zimmerman provided of the incident.  At that time the investigator said that Mr. Zimmerman portrayed himself to be “squeaky clean”.  We are aware of the background information regarding both individuals involved in this event.  We believe Mr. Martin may have misconstrued this information.    

What about media reenactments of the shooting incident? Any media reenactments of the shooting incident are purely speculation.  To date the Sanford Police Department has not released any rendition of the events of the evening to anyone other than the Office of the State Attorney.  The renditions we have seen are not consistent with the evidence in this case. The Sanford Police Department has conducted a complete and fair investigation of this incident.   
We have provided the results of our investigation to the Office of the State Attorney for their review and consideration for possible criminal prosecution.  
Although the Police Department is the target of the troubling questions, let me assure you we too feel the pain of this senseless tragedy that has dramatically affected our community. Therefore, as we move forward and strive to answer the questions that are a point of controversy in the community, we ask for your patience, understanding and assistance in getting the correct information to the community.   
Thank you,   
Norton N. Bonaparte, Jr., ICMA-CM
City Manager
March 19, 2012"



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Is Being Black STILL A Crime in America?


We all know what tragic event took place in a neighborhood near Orlando, Florida on February 26, 2012. It was the night that a young, healthy and innocent black young man was murdered by an untrained Neighborhood Crime Watch “Captain”, George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin was a high school student from Miami, Florida that was visiting his father who lived with his fiancée at Twin Lakes, a gated community near Orlando. That fateful night, Martin went to a nearby store to purchase a can of ice tea and some candy. While Martin was walking back home George Zimmerman, a self-proclaimed Captain and only member of the Neighborhood Crime Watch, spotted him. The fact that Martin was black was enough for Mr. Zimmerman to find him suspicious so he called 911. The funny thing is, that Zimmerman was always calling the cops for anything that he thought it was "suspicious" and many of his calls to the police during his evening rounds included a neighbor’s dog barking. I am sure that by now the police knew that Zimmerman was inclined to exaggerations. Nevertheless, the call was handled as what it seemed routine. One of the questions the police officer asked is a key question that goes to proof the racial profiling of both the police department in Sanford and that of Mr. Zimmerman. When Zimmerman called to report a suspicious individual in his neighborhood, the police officer asked if the individual was Hispanic or black. Why? Do the police in Sanford, Florida thinks that if it was a blonde and blue eyes man then he couldn’t be a criminal? Really? That alone disgusts me.

I have to admit that the police officer told Zimmerman not to follow Martin, that they were on their way and they would handle it. How much different would they have handled the situation, given that for them a Hispanic or a Black man is automatically ‘suspicious’ no one will ever know – I have my doubts. The fact is that Mr. Zimmerman disobeyed those orders and followed Martin anyway. Martin’s girlfriend, who during all this time was on the phone with Martin, can shine some light into it. According to her, Martin was scared of the man who was following him and even when she advised him to run, he decided not to but walked at a fast pace. At some point, Zimmerman got off the car and approached Martin. It is thought that most likely Zimmerman pushed Martin but this is only speculation since the call was suddenly disconnected. In any event, Zimmerman was armed and Martin wasn’t. Martin didn’t have a criminal record, actually no record whatsoever, and the same can’t be said for Zimmerman.

Zimmerman is a 28-year-old man, weighting about 100 pounds more than Martin. Zimmerman had a gun, Martin a can of ice tea. Zimmerman was in a car and Martin was on foot. But regardless of the oddities, the advantages that Zimmerman had over Martin in every way imaginable, Zimmerman claimed that he shot Martin in self-defense. When the police finally got there to find the Martin’s lifeless body they found Zimmerman, with blood running from the back of his head and grass stains on his shirt and pants. Zimmerman’s explanation of what happened can be summarized as follows: He stepped out of the car to confront the suspect and find out what he was doing in the neighborhood. As he was returning to the car (he didn’t explained why was he returning to the car) Martin hit him in the back of the head and they struggled on the grass and, in an act of self-defense, he shot Martin. Zimmerman claims that while he was being attacked by Martin he, Zimmerman, was screaming for help. That explanation was enough for the police, who allowed this murdered to walk free, no bail-bond, no time in jail.

Now, can anyone explain to me how or why would Martin, a 17 year-old kid weighting 100 pounds less than Zimmerman, attack this giant? How was it that Martin was able to hold Zimmerman on the ground, struggling and apparently overpowering Zimmerman to the point where Zimmerman was crying for help? And the police believed him? Please!

The whole country is crying foul and while we do, the story keeps spinning. Now Zimmerman is Hispanic, adopted by a Jewish family and guess what… Mr. Robert Zimmerman, George Zimmerman’s father, is claiming that George was an “altar boy” next thing they’ll claim is that a black priest molested him and that is the reason that he shot Martin!

I don’t care that George Zimmerman was a Neighborhood Crime Watch Captain. I don’t care that he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. I couldn’t care less that the controversial 2005 law known as “Stand your Ground” allows a person to use lethal force against an attacker if they think their lives are in danger… I don’t care. Trayvon Martin didn’t follow George Zimmerman; actually he was walking away from him. George Zimmerman was told by a police officer not to pursue Martin but he ignored that order and gave pursue. George Zimmerman stepped out of his car and confronted Martin, not the other way around. If anyone felt their life was in danger and could have used the Stand Your Ground law was Martin, not Zimmerman, after all he is the one that paid the ultimate price for going to the store for candy and a tea.

Please, sign the petition to force the arrest and prosecution for murder of George Zimmerman, let’s bring justice to this unjust case.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Passing Gas

I find it ridiculously humorous that the entertainers posing as newscasters in Fox News keep blaming President Obama for the price of gasoline.  Equally humorous is the fact that Newt Gingrich keeps promising that if elected he will bring those prices down.  If someone had any doubt of the lies the far right tell, those absurd claims and accusations should be enough to show the world what big liars they are.

First and foremost, crude oil belongs to the oil companies that own the wells, not the government of the United States, unless of course it is offshore drilling. Even in that case, only if it’s within 3 nautical miles off the coast. Nowadays, deep sea drilling occurs at distances greater than 3 nautical miles, so the Federal and State governments don't receive any profit from it. Most of the time the refineries where the crude oil is processed and turned into gasoline belong to the big gasoline companies but not one belongs to the government of the United States.  Then we have the gas stations, who are privately owned and under contract with the gasoline companies.  So far, I am sure, everyone agrees.

The law of supply and demand stipulates the price of a barrel.  The less the demand, the lower the price and vice versa.  Over 82% of the price we pay at the pump goes to pay for the extraction of the oil (68%), the refinery (7%), marketing and distribution (10%) and finally a portion is the mark up for the gas station (1%).  Around 14% of the total price is taxes.  We don’t have to be rocket scientists to see that the bulk of the price comes from the owners of the well, not the government, the refineries or the gas station owners.


President Obama can’t lower these prices.  No president can.  Fox News knows this, Newt Gingrich knows this, Wall Street knows this and most of the 1% knows this.  The average American is so gullible (we know this from past experience, when they believed the infamous "death panels") that they do believe O'Reilly when he states that Pres Obama is driving the prices up or when NG promises to bring them down. These people suffer from what I call “selective amnesia” and even though they are an avid audience of Fox News, they forget not too long ago when George W. Bush was president and gas prices were rising, Bill O’Reilly explained to his audience that no president can change the price of gas... However, now that the president is a democrat, O’Reilly changes the rules to suit his purpose or party.

We want lower gas?  Let’s begin by being smart consumers.  If you are going to buy a new car, do the environment and your wallet a favor and buy a hybrid or electric car.  Try to drive as little as possible and stretch that tank of gas as much as you can and buy the cheapest gasoline brand, most likely that gasoline comes from the same well and the same refinery just under a different label.

Let’s change the supply and demand, remember if we demand less they’ll be stuck with the barrels of oil and will have to reduce the prices to move their product… Walk a little more; it’s good for the environment, your body and the price at the pump.  Pass the gas… you’ll feel better!

Oil companies lobbying in Congress by Party.

Edited by J. Schapiro

Friday, March 16, 2012



I am lucky enough to have other bloggers as friends and that have me in a high regards to reward me with bloggers awards, today I found out I was granted the H.U.G. Awards by a dear friend and fellow blogger, the Obamacrat.

This award is very special.  It's an award for those who promote hope, love, peace, equality, and unity for all people and I am honored to be a recipient.  As it's customary with blogger's awards, it is my duty to pass this award to other bloggers or people who I believe are contributing to spread hope, love, peace, equality and unity in the world we live in.  I have many people that I would like to nominate, and as the guidelines says, I can give this award to others in the future.

Here are my nominees, for now:

1.  M.E. Diaz de Villegas. I've known Diaz de Villegas since I was 4 years old and I can honestly say that I have never met a gentler and kinder soul than her.  In all the years that we've known each other, never have I witnessed a selfish act from this woman.  There might be others than can be at the same level of kindness and love but no one can surpass her.  I am truly honored to have been lucky enough to have her in my path through life and I truly hope we meet again in the next one - she is like a sister to me and I love her.

2.  Farlefty.   Another expressive blogger who fights for what's right, using a good doze of sense of humor, after all laughter it's said to be the best medicine.

3.  Unabashed Left.  A pacifist, optimistic, always willing to help his fellow-man, loving and sweet in everything he does.  Never have I read anything offensive or negative from Unabashed.  

4.  Democracy First.  To this blogger I owe my initiation in the bloggers' world.  Unselfish, relentless, a fighter of just causes and a great friend and co-blogger.

5.  J. Schapiro.  A friend who's help is invaluable for me and who with a sense of humor and refined attitude can defend the defenseless, a person that has gone through hell and back and who I am sure that would go back to hell if it is to help someone.  A true and great friend.

6.  The Progressives Influence.  A blogger that fights for what's right and expose the injustices that plague this world.

7.  And finally, I have to re-nominate or at least mention, The Obamacrat.  He is a tireless fighter for equality, for love and a defender of women's rights like no other and thank you once more for thinking so highly of me!



The Killing Fields

There are only a handful of Hollywood actors that I do admire. Most of these Hollywood actors are so full of themselves, they’re involved in so many frivolities and are so narcissistic that I don’t waste my time with them. I couldn’t care less which of them is fucking who, who bought a multimillion dollar mansion or made a scene at a party… Some of them do not deserve to make the money they get for making a film, they might be beautiful to look at but their talent is nothing out of this world. There are others whose personal lives are worthless, but we must admit they are masters at their craft and I enjoy watching a film if they’re in it. Usually the starlets use their fame and money to bring attention to themselves; they couldn’t care less about the world that surrounds them.

Then we have those few and brilliant actors that deserve all the attention they get and all the money they make. These are the actors that I admire the most, not because of their career but because of who they truly are. They use their fame and fortune to help others or to bring attention to important issues which otherwise would go unnoticed. Such is the case with George Clooney. George Clooney doesn’t devote all of his spare time defending causes, after all he is a human being, but it is commendable that he does use most of his free time to do precisely that. While the starlets use every chance they get to promote themselves in front of the cameras, George Clooney uses his fame to bring attention to important issues, human issues.

The last thing he has done, on purpose and very successfully I may add, was to get arrested, handcuffed and taken away today for trespassing and protesting in front of the Embassy of Sudan in Washington, D.C. It is said that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and Mr. Clooney’s passion must run in his genes, since his 78 year old father, Mr. Nick Clooney, was with him and was also arrested and his mother, Nina Clooney, was witnessing their efforts in support; she was very proud of her son and her husband. There were other public figures that were arrested with the Clooneys: Martin Luther King III; former Rep. Tom Andrews (D-Mass.); Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.); Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Ben Jealous, President of NAACP.

George Clooney knew very well what he was doing. He is a public figure that knows how to use his fame and popularity to bring attention where it matters most, and this time the cause mattered… a lot.

Let’s begin by honoring Mr. Clooney’s wishes by exposing the criminal behavior of the government of Sudan.



President Omar al-Bashir has two arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The first arrest warrant was issued back in March 4th, 2009 which was overturned because of insufficient evidence to prosecute and the second one filed on July 12th, 2010 and this time the ICC found that there was sufficient evidence to charge al-Bashir of genocide. Since this brutal dictator took power and proclaimed himself “president”, according to Wikipidea, there has been an approximate 200,000 to 400,000 deaths in Sudan and more than 2.5 million people displaced in what it’s clearly an ethnic cleansing.

The government of Sudan is blocking any aid to the displaced people of Sudan, allowing women, children and men to slowly die of starvation while at the same time, conducting air attacks bombing these unarmed villagers who desperately run towards caves for protection. The world should not ignore these actions; we must stop this genocide from continuing a minute longer… Someone has to help these people; someone has to stop this massacre. All the countries that believe and stand for humanity should unite to stop and arrest the officials of Sudan; we as a united voice should demand it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When instead of a heart we find a stone

Today as I was parking at a drug store chain, an older man and what seemed to be his wife approached me. They looked clean and sober but they also looked malnourished, especially the man. He asked me if I had any change I could spare that he was embarrassed to ask but, he had lost his job a year ago and up to now he had been able to make the $125.00 a month payment for his motorcycle but that now he had no more money and he was 3 months short from paying off the bike which was his only means of transportation. He said he could lie and say he had a sick child, or sick wife but that he had never been a liar and he preferred to say the truth. I felt sorry for the man, he seemed sincere and we all know the rough times in which we live.

I told him that Friday I could help them, but that today I was broke myself. I began walking and, decided to look into my wallet and saw I had $4.00, my entire capital until Friday. I was tempted to continue walking, I must be honest but then again that isn’t me and I know I could not live with my conscience so I returned, showed him the $4 and told him that was all I had and gave them half. Their appreciation and gratitude was too much for the miserable $2 I was able to spare and that made me feel very uncomfortable, I didn’t deserve such praise!

Finally, I was able to walk away after countless “thank you's” and “God bless you's” and the obligatory “your welcome”; while I was walking I noticed a car with a handicap tag hanging from the rear view mirror, going against the traffic. A woman that looked healthier than the couple I had left behind called me and in not a very proper way either. She just said “Hey, you! Come here!” Looking around and realizing she was referring to me I walked toward her window. She was insulted because she had seen me giving money to “those people”, I asked her why did she think there was a problem with my action to which she replied: “They’ve been here for an hour asking people for money!” When I told her what the man had told me she moved her arms in disgust and yelled a few obscenities and with the pedal to the metal left, or so I though.

As I was reaching the drugstore, I saw her parking. She came out of the car and I had to laugh! She was no handicapped! So, it’s perfectly all right for her to be a liar and abuser but God forbid someone asks for help, then that represents a problem.

What is wrong with this society? Whatever happened to sympathy, cordiality, and compassion? I am a firm believer that nothing, absolutely nothing happens for no reason and I am beginning to understand why the economy is the way it is – from a human point of view, not a economist one. There are way too many people that have to hit rock bottom financially for them to get off their high horse. There have been homeless people for about 30 years roaming our streets and no one cared. The homeless were invisible for most; they were even considered some sort of pest, which many wished they would simply disappear. Not everyone was like this, but sadly the vast majority couldn’t care less and walked passed them without even noticing they were there. Today, more and more middle class people are getting closer and closer to becoming homeless themselves. Many are struggling to make ends meet, myself included. Perhaps, this economic and social collapse is a necessity for humanity to regain its humanity which has been lost since long ago over to selfishness, greed and ambition.