Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Genetically Modified Sheep

sheepI was going to write about what Congress did this year… But we all know that Congress accomplished almost nothing – to be magnanimous – and that it will go into the annals of history as the laziest, most incompetent Congress in history. Quite an accomplishment!

The whole world is a mess!

2013 has proven to be quite a disastrous year, where the poor get poorer and middle class is quickly disappearing, if it hasn’t disappeared already.

During 2013, we were witnesses of the greed and lack of compassion from almost every government around the globe. The rich is getting richer, most reporting profits never seen before and yet, there are no jobs, here or anywhere else.

What’s more, while these fat cats are purring in content with their accomplishments, they are reducing salaries, laying off more people, forcing people to work harder for less… and we silently obey.

In this country, at State and Federal level, many bills have been presented by the insensible Right wing to change the laws of this country to allow for children to earn a living. Of course they dress up the bill as a way to help families in need, so there is more money coming to the family and all that crap that they think will make them look “compassionate.” Of course, a child that works for any company (no limitations in the type of work or hours worked) will earn less than an adult… isn’t that grand? That will create more lay-offs of adults, since we do know for certain a corporation will not give a damn about a worker’s needs, if they can hire someone else to do the job for far less, they will do it without hesitation... after all for corporations, all it matters is to keep the shareholders happy.

Several attempts by the GOP have been made to privatize education… There is a collective effort to squash the middle class, to create more and cheaper labor to please the elite class. And we are doing nothing, we remain silent.

During 2013, they went as far as claiming that a person can survive, perfectly well, on $4.50 a day. Of course, for them it didn’t matter that nutritious food couldn’t be purchased with $4.50 a day; you won’t go hungry, you may not last long, but you will have your tummy filled with ramen soup and some slices of bread, good enough for the poor. So they slashed food stamps, damn poor people! How dare they get $4.50 a day?

Abortion is another issue where bills are being introduced all over the country, repeatedly. They need more people, more cheap labor and they are doing all possible to get them, as fast as possible. Of course, no health insurance for these indigents, that’s why they have tried to repeal “Obamacare” so many times and they are completely against single payer… who do we think we are for them to “pay” for anything that will benefit the masses? They want us broke in spirit and financially, ignorant and in masses, the more the merrier, after all… the more poor and broken people there are, the cheapest the labor for their masters.

Not satisfied with creating Citizen's United, turning Corporations into people as far as contributions is concerned, various bills have been introduced by the GOP and Teabaggers in Congress giving corporations the right to vote! Fortunately, these bills have died on the floor... but we know they'll keep trying and pretty soon, "We, the People" will be referring only to corporations as we will become "We, the Parasites."

The above wasn’t sufficient, so Congress closed the year with a bang. They ended unemployment benefits for over a million people and went on, to what in their opinion was a well-earned vacation, to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s with their families, at their mansions and with their stomach filled with the best the country has to offer. Theirs is a life of luxury: a good job with great salaries and benefits, a good future even if they are voted out… if they are, they’ll tour the country giving speeches for a few hundred thousand dollars and life will keep going, as grand as ever.

I truly hope for the sake of this country and my own, that 2014 will be different… But as long as the people are dormant, ignorant, condescending and sheepish nothing will truly change. We will still be extremely happy at the dry bone they throw at us and we will lick their hands in appreciation. We cannot conceive any other way of life but to be slaves for the rest of our lives while others earn in a year, at minimum, ten times more than we will ever earn in our lifetime and for far less work… No, it doesn’t matter, as long as we can pay for a roof over our heads at ever escalating prices, a car that won’t last for more than 10 years, insurance that when needed doesn’t cover much, electricity that keeps rising, water which is contaminated, food which has been genetically modified and the list goes on and on, but we are happy… at the end, we work and we work, but no matter how hard we do it, we will not have money left over for a decent vacation or to save for when we are too old to continue with the madness.

What would it take to change our fate? Basically a miracle! We must accept that we are either cowards, conformists or we have been genetically modified to be sheep.


Saturday, December 28, 2013


2013 was a damn awesome year
For the wealthy, the lobbyist and the rich puppeteers
$4.50 a day was too much for a meal
So they slashed food stamps and destroyed meal on wheels.
Healthcare for everyone? What a terrible idea!
They fought and they fought
To block it, to change it and to have it repealed.
They cried about jobs, because there was none
But not once they came up with a thought or a plan
To create more jobs or to help the unemployed.
In virtue of the situation
With so many without work
They decided it was best
Not to help the unemployed.
Off goes the unemployment assistance!
Off goes food for the needy! After all, they are claiming
The poor, the elderly, the unemployed and the vets
It’s what’s causing our country to have such great debts.
So have a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year
Remember who screwed us
And vote them out next year.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Faith in Humanity

xmas blogThis year has been a very tough year. I lost my job, my mother was very ill for several months and I lost my uncle, who I loved as a father. In order to make ends meet, I moved to a smaller place that is basically a dump but at least we were able to be together, my mother and me, and that’s all that really matters, that is what is truly important.
Many of you know that I’ve been having computer issues and that I’ve tried to raise funds through ads that no one ever clicked, through actually begging for donations, etc. I was never able to raise not even $100. I understood because not only I am unknown to most of you but also because most of us are struggling – I know that I am not alone.
But, I am grateful for the trying times I’m going through. If it wasn’t because of this time in my life where I have nothing, none of the magical and wonderful experiences that I am receiving from friends I’ve never met in person and who are at faraway places, would have taken place.
I love nature and animals… I love people and life. Those that know me know that along with politics, I am very passionate about animals.
A dear friend of mine, who lives in England, surprised me with a very kind gesture: A 2014 Calendar from the Save the Elephant Foundation (SEF), he knew I couldn’t afford to purchase one and ordered it for me. It is now sitting on my desk; I get to enjoy daily the pictures of these wonderful creatures, greeting me every day… I encourage everyone to get one, you will be helping a wonderful cause.
That gesture moved me, I wasn’t expecting it and fills me with joy ever since.
Then, I had the most wonderful proof that there is still kind people out there.
Another friend, who I haven’t met in person, made an offer to me that I couldn’t refuse. I was offered to buy any computer I wanted as long as it had everything I needed to continue my blog and school. The offer was made in such a way that I couldn’t refuse. My friend offered to buy it for me and I could pay it back once I got back on my feet… or not, it was up to me. I was astonished! I have never seen such generosity from those close to me, imagine from a virtual friend! I began to cry, couldn’t contain myself… it wasn’t as much the computer but the act of generosity, the unexpected act and unselfishness from a friend that really moved me, that restored my faith in humanity, which was almost completely gone.
Today, I received another confirmation of how wonderfully unselfish people can be. A friend from Canada sent me a package that contained beautiful ornaments, two of which had the picture of a very loving child that I adore: Hannah. Hannah is a very special little girl that sings like an angel! I’ve never seen her in person, but I can tell you all I love her very much and try to follow all her advances and sometimes, her tribulations. This little girl is an example to follow, she has gone through hell and back… she is a true champion and fighter. The package also included two Christmas ornaments of two angels, which were done by my friend’s mother who makes them, sells them and the money collected she donates to help cancer patients. What a wonderful gesture, what a wonderful woman! Inside the box was an envelope that clearly had a card in it; the envelope read: OPEN LAST, so I obeyed. When I opened it I began to weep… it contained $60! Thanks to my friend, my mother and I will have a Christmas dinner since I didn’t have any money for that this year.
I am so happy that I have had the honor of knowing wonderful people such as my friends, friends that I have been mocked for calling them friends when we haven’t met. I have always said that I didn’t need to meet someone in person to feel close to them, to feel their happiness and joys, their pain and frustrations and to be “there” for them even when we are thousands of miles away. I know some people in person that have no idea of what I am going through, however, my cyber-friends do. Perhaps it is because I feel free to express myself since I will not see their faces if they disapprove of what I am saying. Maybe it is because it is so easy to unfriend someone in Facebook… who knows! All I know is that I’ve spilled my soul with them and they have been there, every time, every step of the way and I am grateful to have them in my life... Every single one of them.
I might be going through very rough times, rougher than anything I’ve gone through before but… I am thankful and very fortunate for it. It is in times such as this that you learn who your friends are and in my case, the best gift I have had in all of my life was given to me this holiday season where I learned, first hand, that there are good people out there, that humanity hasn’t been lost.
To my wonderful friends: I will never have enough words to thank you for your kindness and for the love you’ve shown me, but know that you have a friend in me, unconditionally, until the day I die.
Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Takes Two To Tango

scaleThis week Michigan became the 9th state where a woman would need private and separate health insurance to have an abortion. It is known as “Abortion Insurance Rider.”

A Rider is an extra expense weighing on women and women only. But even though a woman pays an additional premium for this coverage, if she is not ready to have a family or if the fetus has no chance of surviving outside the womb, she still is not allowed to have an abortion unless the State gives her the thumbs up.

These laws are being forced on women by the religious right who cares not for the rights of anyone, who doesn’t believe in the democratic system of voting – mostly because they know that if these bills are placed on the ballot, they will be rejected by the minority - so they sneak their opinion and believes into other bills, sometimes not even related to health or reproduction.

In most red states, only if the mother’s life is at risk can a woman have an abortion. This means, that even when she pays more for her insurance plan than her partner and more than a woman from another, she still doesn’t have the right to end a pregnancy… it is not her choice, it is the choice of the State, the religious right and the doctor, but never the woman.

In Idaho [R] women must get a Rider to cover the possibility of an elective abortion. The only acceptable reasons to have an abortion in Idaho is if the woman’s life is at risk and if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. No other reason is accepted, even with a Rider.

In Kansas [R], Kentucky [D], Michigan [R], Missouri [D], Nebraska [R], North Dakota [R] and Oklahoma [R] a woman can have an abortion only to “preserve the life of the female.” Rape, incest, a deformed fetus or intrauterine death (fetus dead in the womb) any of these possibilities are not good enough reasons to have an abortion, not even with a Rider.

Oddly enough, out of the nine states that have passed legislation to control a woman’s womb, Utah legislation on Riders is not as strict. Utah’s legislation is the only one that allows an abortion for fetal impairment.

Every one of these nine States prohibits health insurance plans in the Healthcare Exchanges to provide elective abortion coverage in their plans.

According to The Guttmacher Institute, the percentage of abortions in each of these states (latest data collected is from 2008) is very low and the study doesn’t specify the reason for these abortions, only the number of abortions that occurred that year. Given the figures, I truly cannot understand the obsession by the Right to interfere with a woman’s right to choose.

abortion per state 2008
Most of the Red States, if not all, have been very busy passing legislature to prohibit women control over their own genitalia and reproductive system. These are the same governors and legislators that claim they want smaller government, but they do not mind to expand that government as much as they can if by doing so they can keep women under their control.

It’s worth mentioning that many of the States prohibiting abortions even in the case of incest or rape, gives parental and visitation rights to rapists. If this is not absurd and an openly war on women, then nothing is!

We are slowly going back to the times where women were sub-citizens, at the mercy of the men in her family, church, neighborhood and the state. When a country needs to create laws to subjugate and control one section of its citizens, then that government cannot call itself a Democracy.

I am yet to see any legislation regulating men’s genitalia... the only one was to have Viagra deemed a necessary drug covered by all insurance plans… You see, most legislators at State and Federal levels are old enough for their penises not to work properly; it is in their interest to have that blue pill covered by insurance.

If we can’t reverse these horrific laws, then I think it’s way overdue that we start getting into men’s prostate, testicles and penises. If we want to preserve our Democracy, the government should get into every citizen’s genitalia. We might have to consider mandatory vasectomies and Riders for men between the ages of 14 to 90 that will cover supporting a child until adulthood, in case they impregnate a woman by mistake... After all, when it comes to sex, it needs two to tango.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Handshake

obama-raul castro 

A handshake.

Yesterday all the media was overwhelmed with the sensationalist news that President Obama had the audacity of handshaking the hand of Cuban President Raul Castro. This simple act of civility created a wave of insults from the Right, as if behaving civilly during the farewell ceremony honoring Mr. Nelson Mandela is sufficient proof that the United States President is a communist.

The Cuban-American relationship has been broken since 1959; the United States useless embargo has been in place since 1962 and has done nothing to break the grip the Castros have on the island, quite the contrary, it has promulgated the sympathy of the world for the Castro’s regime… after all, it is one tiny island that has survived the powerful attacks from the most powerful nation on this planet. The embargo has created a martyr of the dictators of the island.

Many from the Cuban community in the States are outraged by the Obama-Castro handshake. They want things to continue the way they are indefinitely, they have too much to lose if the embargo is lifted and negotiations between the two countries become a reality.

In Miami, you see many businesses offering services to Cuba, from sending medicine to relatives in Cuba to sending money at outrageous prices. There are also travel agencies that promote trips to Cuba, at a price equal to traveling to the most expensive country in Europe, if not more. Offering these services is a very lucrative business that will crumble if the embargo is ever lifted.

Because of this, the Cuban-American community has the most to lose if the embargo is lifted and if they suspect any negotiation or civil approach with the Cuban regime they don’t waste a millisecond to scream at the top of their lungs their disapproval and if anyone thinks differently than them, they quickly use the old and abused label of “Communist!” So far, their tactics have worked and the useless and counterproductive embargo it’s still in place after 51 years.

And now, they’re up in arms again because of a single handshake. It is a well-known fact that the Right Wing has selective memory and some even suffer from a severe case of amnesia. They forget how many times their political representatives have done the same in the past, and even when they remember it they come up with a thousand and one excuses to justify their actions.

Lets take a look at famous Republican Presidents handshakes:
famous handshakes
As seen above, a handshake can result in progress and peace. It can bring the oppressive regime to its knees faster and more fruitfully than war, as it happened with China and the Soviet Union.

The handshake between President Obama and President Castro might be nothing else but a simple courteous handshake between the leaders of two countries forced by the circumstances… But it might be the first step to change what hasn’t worked for more than half a century. When things don’t work, one must look for another way to reach a goal, otherwise nothing will change. I truly hope this handshake, criticized only by the Right Wing nuts and the retroactive Cuban-American community, lead to negotiations and finally the end of the embargo… The last thing a person should lose is hope.
Useful links:
Mobutu Sese Seko: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobutu_Sese_Seko
Leonid Brezhnev: http://www.historyguide.org/europe/brezhnev.html

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Rolihlahla Mandela (July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013)

nelson mandela2“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
His birth name was Rolihiahia Mandela, later while attending school he was forced to have a Christian name and his teacher named him Nelson. Mr. Mandela is also known as Madiba, The Nelson Mandela Foundation  explains the name as follows: Madiba – This is the name of the clan of which Mr Mandela is a member. A clan name is much more important than a surname as it refers to the ancestor from which a person is descended. Madiba was the name of a Thembu chief who ruled in the Transkei in the 18th century. It is considered very polite to use someone’s clan name.

There is nothing I can add to everything that has been written about Mr. Rolihlahia “Nelson” Mandela. He led an exemplary life and the fortitude of his spirit that most of us wished we could possess.

I’ve always admired this man, who devoted his entire life to fight for what was right for his people and his country… for humanity. It would have been so easy for him to renounce to his ideals and have a “normal” life instead of spending the prime years of his life in Robben Island Prison (from May 27, 1963 to March 31, 1982). He was at this prison for almost 19 years, his cell in that prison had no bed or plumbing, he was allowed only one visitor every six months and was harshly punished for insignificant offenses; a typical punishment for political inmates was to bury them in the ground up to their necks and while buried, the guards urinated on them.

Instead of succumbing to his captors while in prison, Mr. Mandela  earned a bachelor of law degree from the University of London and wrote his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom.”

Back in 1980 the “Free Nelson Mandela” campaign created by Oliver Tambo made the injustices committed against Mr. Mandela and the apartheid regime of South Africa was exposed to the world. Under international pressure, the government of South Africa tried to buy Mr. Mandela’s integrity by offering his freedom if he abandoned his fight for equality, but his ideal were not for sale.

In 1989 Mr. F.W. de Klerk was elected president of South Africa. Mr. de Klerk ended the ban on the African National Congress (ANC) and campaigned to end the apartheid regime. The following year, on February 11, 1990 Mr. de Klerk ordered Mr. Mandela to be released from Victor Verster Prison.

Upon his freedom, Mr. Mandela became the head of the ANC and together with Mr. de Klerk, fought to end apartheid in South Africa. These efforts earned Mr. Mandela and Mr. de Klerk the Nobel Peace Price in December 1993. On April 26,1994 the first multiracial parliamentary elections in South Africa were held and on May 10th, 1994 history was made when Mr. Mandela became the first black president of South Africa and Mr. de Klerk became his first deputy.

While president Mr. Mandela concentrated his efforts in human rights and investigating political violations by those opposing and supporting the apartheid ideology to help achieve these goals, he created the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mr. Mandela presided in the creation of the new South African constitution that implemented a central government prohibiting discrimination against any race, particularly whites.

Mr. Mandela was a man that had every reason to hate those that had tried to crush him, that subjected him to indescribable humiliations but nothing could be further from the truth. It is thanks to this man integrity, high standards, and human values that there was no retaliation against the whites that had mistreated the black population for so long. He always promoted peace and inclusion. He always opted for harmony and equality.

Mr. Mandela passed away on December 5, 2013 but his name will forever be remembered as one of the greatest man of South Africa and the world.


Below is an excerpt from his book, "Long Walk to Freedom."

I was not born with a hunger to be free. I was born free-free in every way that I could know. Free to run in the fields near my mother's hut, free to swim in the clear stream that ran through my village, free to roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of slow-moving bulls. As long as I obeyed my father and abided by the customs of my tribe, I was not troubled by the laws of man or God.

It was only when I began to learn that my boyhood freedom was an illusion, when I discovered as a young man that my freedom had already been taken from me, that I began to hunger for it. At first, as a student, I wanted freedom only for myself, the transitory freedoms of being able to stay out at night, read what I pleased, and go where I chose. Later, as a young man in Johannesburg, I yearned for the basic and honorable freedoms of achieving my potential, or earning my keep, of marrying and having a family-the freedom not to be obstructed in a lawful life.

But then I slowly saw that not only was I not free, but my brothers and sisters were not free. I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did. That is when I joined the African National Congress, and that is when the hunger for my own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of my people. It was this desire for the freedom of my people to live their lives with dignity and self-respect that animated my life, that transformed a frightened young man into a bold one, that drove a law-abiding attorney to become a criminal, that turned a family-loving husband into a man without a home, that forced a life-loving man to live like a monk. I am no more virtuous or self-sacrificing than the next man, but I found that I could not even enjoy the poor and limited freedoms I was allowed when I knew my people were not free. Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.

It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.

When I walked out of prison, that was my mission, to liberate the oppressed and the oppressor both. Some say that has now been achieved. But I know that that is not the case. The truth is that we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free, the right not to be oppressed. We have not taken the final step of our journey, but the first step on a longer and even more difficult road. For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. The true test of our devotion to freedom is just beginning.

I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.”

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The More I Learn About God, The More I Love My Dog

I’ve always loved animals. When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I used to rescue every critter that crossed my path, trying to save them from the cruel world. I was successful at bringing back to health some of them; but more often than not they died while in my care… I cried for every single one of the animals I was not able to “save” but that didn’t deterred me in my efforts to help them. I was born that way.

I was raised a Catholic, but my family didn’t go to church too often. My grandfather was a socialist atheist who offered me a different perspective from what was being hammered into my brain while I was attending catechism. My grandfather was very wise and didn’t push me into believing what he believed in; he subtlety gave me a different point of view.

My mother also played an important role in my upbringing; she allowed me to be myself even when she didn’t understand half of the things I was doing. Not once did she tried to deter me from my quest of saving every creature I thought need saving, including humans.

When I was about 10 years old or less, I found a mother and three little kids that were begging on the steps of the church I used to attend. I used to go alone, as my family didn’t enjoy attending church as I previously mentioned. Seeing this mother and her little kids, dirty, dressed in rags broke my heart. I couldn’t understand how people were walking out of church pass them as if they were invisible. This mother was asking for money to feed her kids so I went up to her and brought the whole family home for lunch. I asked my mother to sit them at our table, share our food with them and using our china and silverware. My mother did as I asked her, without a frown and with a big smile on her face. She made them feel welcomed and this poor mother was so grateful that to this day I remember her gratitude. After they left, my mother did reprimanded me, not for offered them food but because I sat them at our table and they – according to my mother – could have germs and she said she was sure they had lice and I could get “infected.” But she didn’t mind my altruistic inclinations; actually she was proud of them.

My stepfather loved to enrich my brain with books. He bought me every book he could find and loved to see me devouring the books he so happily found for me. I read every single one, from Sci-Fi to history books. I’m very thankful that he not only helped developed my brain, but he encouraged my appetite for learning.

When my grandfather passed away I was heartbroken as he and I were very close. But the thought of him going to hell tormented me. I went to see my priest and shared those dark and fearful thoughts with him, I was hoping he could comfort me and tell me that my grandfather was a good man and therefore, regardless of his religious views, he was going to go to heaven. To my surprise, he told me that unless he had accepted Jesus in his heart before he died, he was condemned for eternity to hell. I rejected this; I couldn’t accept that a good man, a righteous man was going to burn in hell for eternity. What type of arrogant, narcissist God was this that a good man was sent to hell while a criminal or murderer that “accepted Jesus in his heart” before dying was welcomed in heaven? So my search to prove the priest wrong began at the tender age of 11.

I read every theology book I could get my hands on, which was a difficult task since I lived in a Communist country… but I found them, hidden in some libraries or in my stepfather’s book collection. I read them all. The more I read, the more convinced I became that God was just a figment of the imagination; a reason to justify terrible things and a way to manipulate the weak and a method to control the masses.

I do believe in a force, a universal energy force; an energy that we all have within us. But the concept of a god that is there, judging everything, choosing and picking who is good and who is not, based on how much they adore him is nonsense.

Today, so many years later, I am agnostic tending into atheism. When I see what the religious right is doing to this country, when I see how hateful and pompous the religious institutions are and how they manipulate their congregation into crushing other’s rights, the more I am leaning into atheism… Throughout history many crimes against humanity have taken place and most, if not all, were inflicted on humanity in the name of God. It is happening to this day.

This is why after so much reading and after so many years have gone by, the more I learn about god... the more I love my dog.