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Things changed for me in 2008, and I switched to writing at www.TheGhousediary.com or TheGhousediary.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Obama : The shepherd

OBAMA, THE SHEPHERD
Mike Ghouse, February 27, 2008


This is the first time in our nation's history that some one is speaking the needs, wants and voices of a majority of the people. He is neither a right winger extremist, nor a leftist but a moderate right down the middle embracing and bringing every American together to participate and contribute towards the success, safety and security of America.

An overwhelming majority of us are moderates, people who want to get along with everyone and focus on living the American dream; education, employment, family, children, car, home and a secure retirement. Thank God for Obama, he mirrors the aspirations of millions of Americans and is our new shepherd on the political spectrum. He will lead us to a safe, secure, strong, and respectable and a healthy America.

Obama is for a strong America, where our economic and military strength is leveraged to persuade nations to follow the policy of live and let live and imbibe the democratic principles of honoring the voices and acknowledging the validity of every member of the society. It is in our interest to have peace around us, it is in our interest to create a just world, when others are at peace, and we reap the dividends as well. It is economical to pursue peace than bully around and frighten others. When others are frightened, our peace and safety is on the line as well.

Barak believes in talking with enemy, rather than frustrating the enemy to a point where we have to guard our selves every moment of the day and watch out for the destruction of our own peace, safety and security. Mother Teresa had once said "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies."

A healthy America is not a social medicine, as my fellow Republicans are brainwashed to believe. Our investment in the health of our people ensures that we have a reliable and productive work force, the healthier we are, the lesser the loss of time on job, more income produces more revenue. Where as an unhealthy America makes us lose on productivity and the costs that go with it. A healthy America is a productive America and it is in our national interest to preserve and strengthen it, this is the other side of coin of a strong America. It is not a charity; it is the best investment a nation can make in her people. The money we blew in Iraq could have done so much better for us at home.

Not all, but the core of the Republican Party is focused on manufacturing fear, building empires and relentlessly making enemies. We don’t need their nightmares. Neither of one of us in the world would live in peace with those attitudes. Their approach to Iraq has given birth to Al-Qaeda that was not there before and our presence in Iraq will produce more of them. It is time to respectfully give them their land and come back home with dignity and respect for the Iraqi’s to manage their own affairs. We are worse off today than we were in 2002. The few extremists in Republican Party frighten the public and then create false security, it is time for the majority of Republicans to speak up or lose in the elections. Barak has the inclination to remove the causes for such fears and his administration will restore our respect in the community of nations. That would be the best thing that can happen. It will make us morally strong again.

The Chinese philosopher Fo-Sho-Hing-Tsan-King meant to pass the following wisdom to our War mongers, “Conquer your foe by force, you increase his enmity; conquer by love, and you will reap no after-sorrow.” Until the hard core Republicans come down from their high horses and believe in humility, compassion, peace and respect for humanity, the Americans will keep them frustrated. The frighteners cannot be saviors.

A strong, safe, prosperous and healthy America should be our goal and Barak is the one who will deliver it.

Please register at: http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=43583

Two part event: 1) Learn and share about Obama and 2) Make phone calls from your cell.


Sunday, March 2, 2008 - 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Banquet hall next door to Barbeque Tonite Restaurant
2540 Old Denton road, suite 173 - Old Denton at Trinity Mills (Bush Frwy)/ (972) 877-9133

Mike Ghouse
A Republican for Obama
(214) 325-1916

Write your comments to: CommentstoMike@Gmail.com
In the subject line please write :: Obama the Shepherd.
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SELECTED COMMENTS
PUBLICATION OF AN OPINION IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE OPINION. ALL VIEW ARE INVITED.
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From Ann Garner:

Hi Mike,

It is wonderful article about Obama. This is the FIRST time that I, as a minister, have openly discussed with MANY people of all faiths in my belief that Obama is the person for us in this hour as a nation.

I just returned from a one-month trip to our farm to Nanih Waiya, Mississippi (I’m part Cherokee Indian). Needless to say, the folks there are strong republicans. Their minds are pretty much SET on voting Republican regardless of issues and things they hear . . . most interesting to Steve and me. We have always been Independents and voted for the person we felt was best qualified for the position. Yesterday, I voted early and was told I had to say if I was a Republican or Democrat. I said proudly, “Democrat.” I received some pretty interesting looks from folks around the room. Again, interesting in light of today’s mixed society.

The black community I grew up with in Mississippi was for Clinton, a shocker for me. None of them could really explain why he/she favored her, so we engaged in a dialogue about the two of them. For the most part, each one appeared to ‘re-think’ his/her position.

Thursday evening, I attended the speech by Obama in Fort Worth, the first time I’ve ever attended a speech by a Presidential candidate. My next door neighbor and her two teenage children went with me (they’re Muslims from Pakistan). We stooped and picked up a 16 yr old Black Muslim. The young people were ‘bedazzled!’ When Obama came out from behind the curtains, I’ve NEVER witnessed such a response by an audience. I immediately felt a strong ‘anointing’ with him. That’s the acid test for me. I’d felt it when I watched him on TV, but knew that I needed to see and hear him in person. He kept the audience captivated better than ANYONE I’ve ever witnessed. What a Godly and wise man! Several of us were hoping he would walk back to the curtains on our side so we could shake his hand (this I DEEPLY desired so that I could pray for him as I shook his hand). Unfortunately, they did not escort him in our direction : - (

Yesterday afternoon, I went to a small Middle Eastern restaurant for dessert having just eaten a late lunch with my dear Sikh friends who own an Indian Restaurant (across from Arlington High School in Arlington). I also dropped in and saw my Egyptian friend who owns a delightful store “Dollar Smart.” He favored Clinton, but by the time I left the store he was open to discussing the qualities of Obama. Then I went into the electronics repair shop owned by a man from Jordan. Quiet an international shopping center, isn’t it?!

So, when I walked into the Middle Eastern restaurant, I ended up sitting with seven men, three of whom are Imams (Arlington Mosque on Center Street). It was quiet a lively dialogue, especially with the head Imam. He was not in favor of Obama, even after attending the speech Thursday night. We went back through a lot of Obama’s speech and he conceded that indeed he is a Godly man and is not ‘beholden’ to any special interest group. It ended on a good note. In fact, the owner would not charge me for my dessert!

Wish I could attend the meeting tomorrow afternoon but I’m leaving town again Tuesday and have lots of catching up to do.

Keep up the GREAT service to humanity dear brother!

Onward, upward and inward,

Ann

# # #

From Saeed Qureshi

Dear Mike,

Jesus Christ was not a white man. He was the forbearer of the Jews and Palestinians (they look alike) as one race or ethnic group and not two different religious entities.

Yet white races believe in him as the savior, son of god, Messiah and the redeemer and indeed a shepherd. So non-white person can be a redeemer. America belongs to all the Americans irrespective of their ethnic, race background or pigment.

Obama can be a savior and a shepherd for American nation, turned adrift and directionless under the ultra orthodox or conservatives. The conservatives (neo cons) despite being the followers of Jesus have plunged the US and the world at large in a furnace of hatred and in a quagmire of crises. American nation has never been so traumatized and lost as has been rendered to under the 8 years iron fisted and myopic rule of the Republicans. When Obama questions the rationale behind war in Iraq, he is absolutely right so.

Obama is for change and he inspires hope for this nation like Christ who spoke against the Jewish wickedness in his times and thus turned the tide for a better religion called Christianity. It is another thing that Christianity of the present day world is engaged in a process of self destruction just to save Judaism and state of Israel despite countless monstrosities by the Jews against the humanity. Holocaust did not make Jews more humane but more macabre.

Obama is the only hope in these turbulent times for this great nation. He is the one who can restore the fading glory of America. He has new approach towards national or international issues. He aims at building bridges of understanding and conduits of trust between America and the nations treated as hostile. His approach based on peace and amity among nations augurs well for the future of mankind as well as that of America.

God bless America.

Saeed Qureshi

# # #

Ann Sanders

Hi Again Mike,

Yesterday was indeed a busy day religiously as well as culturally. Couple of other things to note . . .

After going to the post office yesterday morning, I dropped by a print shop to get a bid on a printing project. While waiting for the man, I noticed a large black and white old print of Al Capone, the infamous mobster, with a few people in the picture. I asked the man where he got the picture. “My father gave it to me before he died. I’m not sure where he got it.”

Then he suddenly looked inside his brief case and took out another large picture of him with President Bill Clinton which was signed by Pres. Clinton. “That’s interesting . . . do you know him personally?”

“Yes, I’ll be seeing Mrs. Clinton at dinner tonight.”

“Hmmm . . . how much are you paying to sit and eat in the same room with her for a short time?”

“$5,000.”

“ZOWIE! Little plain folks like me could not do that. Is there any chance of me ever meeting her if I paid $20.00 OR gave my emergency $100 bill to them?”

“Nope . . . no chance at all in my opinion.”

“Well, I do find it interesting that Mr. Obama commented the other night that his average contribution is slightly over $100. Do you think Mrs. Clinton could say the same thing?”

“I’m not sure.”

“One other thing . . . a VERY upsetting thing about President and Mrs. Clinton. Most people have had issues with their ‘flesh person.’ He certainly has had that . . . and she obviously kept tuning her eyes away. We must begin to hold our politicians to a higher moral standard. More is ‘ exacted’ by those who purport to be leaders. Do you approve of him having that VERY young woman come to his oval office for he fleshly desires, knowing that, in my opinion, Mrs. Clinton was probably aware of the situation?” He looked down at the floor and would not answer my question.

“If you have the courage, please tell Mrs. Clinton what I’ve said and let her know that I interact with LOTS of folks around the planet.”

We shook hands and I left the shop.

On my way home, I dropped by City Hall to get our third recycle bin (another pet peeve of mine since we ob serve ‘perpetual Christmas decorations’ of plastic bags hanging from the trees on the creek bank that runs through our property . . . we use cloth and/or recycled plastic flat-bottomed bags for ALL shopping). I tried to go to the mayor’s office and discuss it with him and/or staff. The elevators were being guarded by plain-clothed policeman (Yes, I can tell when I see a policeman/woman, CIA, FBI or Homeland Security person . . . to me they’re pretty obvious, even when in ‘ disguise.’ But, that’s OK since they’re here to protect us). I asked several staff people what was going on and each one said he/she did not know . . . simply that there was an upcoming rally being held in a short time. Finally, I walked over to the policeman and teased them, holding out the two recycle bins (an extra one for our neighbors as well) and asked, “Do you want to be recycled?” They laughed and I asked about the rally. They then told me it was for the young black couple here in Arlington who se garage door had been painted with racial slurs. Also, she was attacked by a white woman. I came home and quickly ate a snack and went back up there. I’m glad I went. It gave me deep insights into what people of color still face today. I took lots of pictures but cannot attach them because of apparent ongoing difficulties with AT&T.

Ongoing Blessings,

Ann




Please register your attendance at:

http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=43583

Two part event: 1) Learn and share about Obama and 2) Make phone calls from your cell.


Sunday, March 2, 2008
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Barbeque Tonite Restaurant
2540 Old Denton road, suite 173
Old Denton at Trinity Mills (Bush Frwy)
(972) 877-9133

Mike Ghouse
A Republican for Obama
(214) 325-1916
http://www.mikeghouse.net/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com or (214) 325-1916

Obama - The Power of Words

Obama and the Power of Words
By STEPHEN F. HAYES
February 26, 2008; Page A19
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120398899374792349.html

Bible, Qur'aan, Torah, Gita, Guru Granth, Avesta, Vedas and all the other holy books are mere words that have lasted for centuries and will continue to inspire people. The Crusades, the Wars and the conflicts germinate in words. The words of Bush and Ahmedinejad were a game to those two, but were dangerous to the peace of the world and had the potential to Kill another million people, thank God the words of the intelligence agency robbed the war from these two war mongers. Obama's choice of words are powerful, uplifting and inspirational. It is the message of hope that keeps us living and moving - The purpose of religion is bring peace to oneself and what surrounds him. Mike Ghouse

These are words that move and uplift, that give hope to the hopeless. These words inspired millions of voters nationwide to join the grand experiment called democracy, casting votes for their candidate, their country, their destiny:

"More than anything else, I want my candidacy to unify our country, to renew the American spirit and sense of purpose. I want to carry our message to every American, regardless of party affiliation, who is a member of this community of shared values . . . For those who have abandoned hope, we'll restore hope and we'll welcome them into a great national crusade to make America great again!"

So Ronald Reagan proclaimed on July 17, 1980, as he accepted his party's nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Mich.


Earlier that day, the New York Times ran a long profile of Reagan on its front page. The author, Howell Raines, lamented that the news media had been unsuccessful in getting Reagan to speak in anything other than "sweeping generalities about economic and military policy." Mr. Raines further noted: "political critics who characterize him as banal and shallow, a mouther of right-wing platitudes, delight in recalling that he co-starred with a chimpanzee in 'Bedtime for Bonzo.'"
Throughout his campaign, Reagan fought off charges that his candidacy was built more on optimism than policies. The charges came from reporters and opponents. John Anderson, a rival in the Republican primary who ran as an independent in the general election, complained that Reagan offered little more than "old platitudes and old generalities."
Conservatives understood that this Reagan-as-a-simpleton view was a caricature (something made even clearer in several recent books, particularly Reagan's own diaries). That his opponents never got this is what led to their undoing. Those critics who giggled about his turn alongside a chimp were considerably less delighted when Reagan won 44 states and 489 electoral votes in November.

One Reagan adviser had predicted such a win shortly after Reagan had become the de facto nominee the previous spring. In a memo about the coming general election contest with Jimmy Carter, Richard Whalen wrote Reagan's "secret weapon" was that "Democrats fail to take him very seriously."

Are Republicans making the same mistake with Barack Obama?

For months now, Hillary Clinton has suggested that Mr. Obama is all rhetoric, no substance. This claim, or some version of it, has been at the center of her campaign since November. One day after losing to him in Wisconsin and Hawaii -- her ninth and tenth consecutive defeats -- she rather incredibly went back to it again. "It's time we moved from good words to good works, from sound bites to sound solutions," she said -- a formulation that could be mistaken for a sound bite.

As she complained about his lack of substance, tens of thousands of people lined up in city after city, sometimes in subfreezing temperatures, for a chance to get a shot of some Mr. Obama hopemongering. Plainly, her critique is not working.

And yet, Republicans are picking it up. In just the past week, conservative commentators have accused Mr. Obama of speaking in "Sesame Street platitudes," of giving speeches that are "almost content free," of "saying nothing." He has been likened to Chance the Gardner, the clueless mope in Jerzy Koscinski's "Being There," whose banal utterances are taken as brilliant by a gullible political class. Others complain that his campaign is "messianic," too self-aggrandizing and too self-referential.

John McCain has joined the fray. In a speech after he won primaries in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland, Mr. McCain said: "To encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude." After Wisconsin, he sharpened the attack, warning that he would expose Mr. Obama's "eloquent but empty call for change."

The assumption behind much of this criticism is that because Mr. Obama gives a good speech he cannot do substance. This is wrong. Mr. Obama has done well in most of the Democratic debates because he has consistently shown himself able to think on his feet. Even on health care, a complicated national issue that should be Mrs. Clinton's strength, Mr. Obama has regularly fought her to a draw by displaying a grasp of the details that rivals hers, and talking about it in ways Americans can understand.


In Iowa, long before the race became the national campaign it is today, Mr. Obama spent much of his time at town halls in which he took questions from the audience. His answers in such settings were often as good or better than the rhetoric in his stump speech, and usually more substantive. He spoke about issues like immigration and national service in a thoughtful manner -- not wonky, not pedantic, but in a way that suggested he'd spent some time thinking about them before.
More important for the race ahead, Mr. Obama has the unique ability to offer doctrinaire liberal positions in a way that avoids the stridency of many recent Democratic candidates. That he managed to do this in the days before the Iowa caucuses -- at a time when he might have been expected to be at his most liberal -- was quite striking.

His rhetorical gimmick is simple. When he addresses a contentious issue, Mr. Obama almost always begins his answer with a respectful nod in the direction of the view he is rejecting -- a line or two that suggests he understands or perhaps even sympathizes with the concerns of a conservative.

At Cornell College on Dec. 5, for example, a student asked Mr. Obama how his administration would view the Second Amendment. He replied: "There's a Supreme Court case that's going to be decided fairly soon about what the Second Amendment means. I taught Constitutional Law for 10 years, so I've got my opinion. And my opinion is that the Second Amendment is probably -- it is an individual right and not just a right of the militia. That's what I expect the Supreme Court to rule. I think that's a fair reading of the text of the Constitution. And so I respect the right of lawful gun owners to hunt, fish, protect their families."

Then came the pivot:
"Like all rights, though, they are constrained and bound by the needs of the community . . . So when I look at Chicago and 34 Chicago public school students gunned down in a single school year, then I don't think the Second Amendment prohibits us from taking action and making sure that, for example, ATF can share tracing information about illegal handguns that are used on the streets and track them to the gun dealers to find out -- what are you doing?"

In conclusion:
"There is a tradition of gun ownership in this country that can be respected that is not mutually exclusive with making sure that we are shutting down gun traffic that is killing kids on our streets. The argument I have with the NRA is not whether people have the right to bear arms. The problem is they believe any constraint or regulation whatsoever is something that they have to beat back. And I don't think that's how most lawful firearms owners think."

In the end, Mr. Obama is simply campaigning for office in the same way he says he would operate if he were elected. "We're not looking for a chief operating officer when we select a president," he said during a question and answer session at Google headquarters back in December.

"What we're looking for is somebody who will chart a course and say: Here is where America needs to go -- here is how to solve our energy crisis, here's how we need to revamp our education system -- and then gather the talent together and then mobilize that talent to achieve that goal. And to inspire a sense of hope and possibility."
Like Ronald Reagan did.

Mr. Hayes, a senior writer for The Weekly Standard, is the author of "Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President," (HarperCollins, 2007).
See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus video commentary, on Opinion Journal1.

Muslim envoy to OIC

Austinite Ismaili Muslim, the new envoy to OIC.

Congratulations to Mr. Sada Cumber for his appointment as a special envoy to the Organization of Islamic Countries. Thanks to Jason Embry for writing such a fine piece (appended below).

Indeed, I was gunning for that position and had sent a note to the state department about it. I am pleased to see Mr. Sada Cumber has been appointed. He is he right guy. At least in his last days, the President has done some thing right, it is a good decision and Sada will deliver results. When Barak takes over the office, Sada certainly can change the false perception that the same President had manufactured "they hate us" without any substantiation and no Journalist ever asking him to prove.

Our country needs a person who can unite the nation together, and bring the people from every race, ethnicity, nationality, culture and faiths together to rededicate our pledge in one nation under God with liberty and Justice.

One nation is a concept where we learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 301 Million of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. Barak will be a catalyst to realize the American vision of one nation under God.

Mike Ghouse
# # #

http://www.statesman.com/shared-gen/content/shared-gen/ap/US_President_And_White_House_Advisers/Bush_Muslim_Envoy.html?cxntlid=inform

Bush Names Envoy to Muslim Nations
By DEB RIECHMANN
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON — President Bush, acknowledging that the U.S. needs to burnish its image in the Islamic world, named a Texas entrepreneur as liaison to The Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Sada Cumber, who is a Muslim by faith, is the first U.S. special envoy to the intergovernmental organization, which represents more than 50 Islamic states and promotes Muslim solidarity in social and political affairs.

(enlarge photo)
President Bush meets with Sada Cumber, left, the first U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Bush said the United States is misunderstood and that Cumber's mission is to explain to the Islamic world that America "is a friend of freedom" and that the United States values the freedom of religion.
"Now, a lot of people love America, don't get me wrong," Bush said in the Oval Office where he met with Cumber. "After all, there's a lot of people trying to come here because of what we stand for. But we've got work to do in certain areas."
Creating a U.S. envoy to the group comes as the protracted war in Iraq has fanned anti-American sentiment across the Muslim world. The OIC, which has 57 members, was created in 1969 in response to an arson attack on the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Bush's new envoy has founded six companies in the past 25 years and currently is chairman of SozoTek Inc., a global imaging technology company in Austin.
Before founding SozoTek, he was chairman of Psionic Technologies Inc., an Internet security software company acquired by Cisco Systems in 2002. In 1995, he co-founded Applied Science Fiction, a company specializing in a digital dry film process whose technologies were recently acquired by Kodak. He previously owned Triumph Flexo Industries, which was acquired by American Greetings in 1994.
Cumber also serves as the chairman of TCMS-LLC, an intellectual property development company, and he is a principal in Texas Global-LLP, a partnership that manages the strategic intersection between business, government and public affairs.
___
February 27, 2008 - 2:50 p.m. CST
Copyright 2008, The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP Online news report may not be published, broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

President Bush meets with Sada Cumber, left, the first U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Obama - Safety issues

Obama - Safety issues
Register to attend "Yes we can Obama Rally" on Sunday, March 2
in Carrollton between 4 PM and 6:30 PM


I am duly concerned about the safety of Obama, whenever good emerges in a nation; evil forces get activated and attempt to harm the good. It is in our interest to safeguard the new hope for America; Obama.

This is the first time in our nation's history; some one is speaking the needs, wants and voice of the majority of the people. He is not a right winger extremist, nor a left winger but right down the middle, touching every mind and soul on either side. A majority of us are moderates, people who want to get along with all, people who do not want to breed hate, anger and dirt in our hearts, people who do not want to earn our living by frightening others.

Thanks God for Obama, he is our new shepherd on the political pluralism.
Here are a few articles that bring out the issue to the fore;

1. Secret Service leaves Obama at Risk
2. Police concerned about order to stop screening
3. Leaving Obama Vulnerable Leaves National Security At Risk
______________________________________________

February 22, 2008 at 11:44:12

Headlined on 2/22/08:
SECRET SERVICE LEAVES OBAMA AT RISK /

RAISES GRAVE CONCERNS

by Allen L Roland

http://www.opednews.com


The U.S. Secret Service ordered Dallas police not to screen for weapons an hour before a recent Dallas Obama rally not only putting Barack at unnecessary risk but raising grave concerns about his safety ~ as his populist movement continues to gain momentum: Allen L Roland

My one growing concern as the Obama movement continues to gain momentum is that the Military / Industrial complex will do anything in their power to remove threats to their power ~ and that certainly would include political leaders who do not believe in Bush's illegal war, occupation and economic rape of Iraq.


The Secret Service apparently ordered the Dallas police to shut down their weapons screening an hour before a major Obama rally on Wednesday putting Obama at risk ~ which obviously surprised many police officers.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Jack Douglas, Dallas-Star Telegram reported yesterday that " Several Dallas police officers said it worried them that the arena was packed with people who got in without even a cursory inspection."
"How can you not be concerned in this day and age," said one policeman.

For myself and millions of Americans this raises grave concerns about Obama's safety as his populist movement continues to gain momentum.
______________________________________________

Allen L Roland http://blogs.salon.com/0002255/2008/02/22.html

Police concerned about order to stop screening

By JACK DOUGLAS Jr.
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
http://www.star-telegram.com/dallas_news/story/486413.html

STAR-TELEGRAM/RODGER MALLISON
Barack Obama speaks Wednesday at a Democratic rally in Dallas' Reunion Arena. Police were told to stop screening people for weapons before the rally began.
DALLAS 02/21/08 Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order ~ apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service ~ was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

"Sure," said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a "friendly crowd."

The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

Doors opened to the public at 10 a.m., and for the first hour security officers scanned each person who came in and checked their belongings in a process that kept movement of the long lines at a crawl. Then, about 11 a.m., an order came down to allow the people in without being checked.

Several Dallas police officers said it worried them that the arena was packed with people who got in without even a cursory inspection.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because, they said, the order was made by federal officials who were in charge of security at the event.

"How can you not be concerned in this day and age," said one policeman.

Allen L Roland http://blogs.salon.com/0002255/2008/02/22.html

______________________________________________

Leaving Obama Vulnerable Leaves National Security At Risk
by Gail Minor Page 1 of 1 page(s)

http://www.opednews.com

Let's get one thing straight. This is a new day, and I would hate for it to take a horrific event for some to come to terms with this point. I don't care how clueless the person calling for the change in security protecting Presidential hopeful Barack Obama may be. If it is malicious in intent or a circumstance of poor judgement that results in harm to this man, those responsible for this reduction in security will get a crash course I am sure their butts and this nation are not ready for.

Black folk this time will not be burning their own neighborhood as occured upon the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And, the National Guard will not be able to do anything to quail what will result or protect those that appear to be responsible. Let's not forget, the Blacks in the hood and the Whites on the farms that are ALL supporting Obama may not be card carrying members of the NRA...but they are packing and they will handle business.



This is not the sixties, and as much as Obama reminds all of us of the Kennedy's and King...times are very different and history will not look the same this time around. Not only are Blacks and Whites, Native Americans and Latinos, Asians and others all unified on this candidate. Not only are people anxious to live the dream and promise he so eloquently describes to us. Not only are they passionate about Obama's leadership and sick and tired of the old Washington and it's evil. The lives of so many people are depending on Barack Obama keeping his promise of "Change We Can Believe In." And it is this passion that would fuel the likes of a backlash never felt before in America.

Let's not forget...so many people are in desparate need for Obama's promise to be real, for it to improve peoples lot in life. Killing this spirit and hope would make folk feel they have personally been assaulted or are under attack. Expectedly and in self-defense, they will fight back..their reaction, while unpredictable, would certainly be frightening. Today's American citizens have a dark, vigilante side to them that in instances like this, we should worry about. Here are some points of proof.

First of all, we are no longer a nation prone to tears. We start with our infants, giving them no more tears shampoo. We attend courses and listen to motivational speakers that tell us we can not be a victim. There are more children being taught that if someone hits you or pushes you, you push or hit back. You hardly hear mention of the idea of turning the other cheek anymore...unless of course your child attends a Christian school.

Second, let's look at the cinama. Good guys who break the law to injure the bad guy, to bring him to justice or distribute their own brand of payback is acceptable in the eyes of many. And all we see on television and in movies are stories like this...showing those who are breaking the rules to correct an injustice...the vigilante cop, mom, rape victim.

Third, there was a time in our history when people trusted government to protect them, act in their best interest and be fair. Those times are gone. Today Americans are suspicious and untrusting when it comes to Government. They have resolved themselves to the fact that they must take care of themselves...and by any means necessary.

Barack Obama changed that. He has reawakened hope and trust.
People are believing again, trusting again, and open to the possibility that government is not only by the people, but for the people. So protecting him is paramount and there is no room for short cuts or laziness or excuses to reduces security on him. His dreams and promise cannot be lost or deferred--we can't afford it.

In a poem, Langston Hughes asked,

"What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sagslike a heavy load.
Or does it explode?"

If harm comes to Barack Obama, we all will find out.

Friday, February 22, 2008

End to the Siege of Gaza

JVP's Call for an End to the Siege of Gaza

Each one of us needs to be in the forefront to demand justice for every human on the earth. Justice brings security to each one big or the small, knowing that if someone wrongs them, there is going to be justice or vice versa. It helps keep the individuals on line. Justice for others is justice and safety for us.

Justice is the mother that gives birth to truthfulness, honesty, integrity and peace.

I am pleased to see the Jewish efforts about this. The Bush administration and the Israeli Governments do not believe in Justice, and let cruelties like Gaza continue. The ultimate bearers of this injustice are the Americans and Israeli citizens. It is time for us to speak out against any injustice.

Mike Ghouse

##

The people of Gaza cannot leave, even if they have a medical emergency. One and a half million people are packed into an area less than 1/10th the size of Rhode Island. They are being deliberately malnourished because Israel controls the flow of food and supplies. Without crucial filters, the water is becoming a source of sickness and death. A few miles away in Sderot, a working class community of Israelis is caught in the line of fire and is also dying, their suffering manipulated by their own government. Israeli papers are now talking of possible plans for a major incursion into Gaza.

Giving a donation to JVP right now is a way to take action to support an end to the siege of Gaza.
In late January, a convoy of Israeli peace and human rights organizations, in partnership with Palestinian civil society groups, drove to the entrance of the Gaza Strip to deliver badly needed food and medical supplies. Thousands of you wrote letters to your legislators to ask them to help end the siege. JVP supporters across the country stood on street corners, spoke to the media, and raised funds to support the convoy. On February 18, over 6 tons of supplies from the convoy were finally let through.

But the blockade goes on and JVP is not stopping its work on the Call to End the Siege of Gaza.

We are taking out several ads in The Nation, including a full page color ad on the back cover.
We are using online advertising to bring thousands of people to our website to access information they are not getting in the US media.
We will offer resources, posters, action alerts and ways to plug in to local and international nonviolent campaigns being led by civil society groups in Gaza and Israel.
A gift of $35, $80 or $100 will bring thousands of people to support our work.
The larger we are, the more powerful we are!

Click on the thumbnail image to the right to see a larger version of the poster.

Join JVP's Call for an End to the Siege of Gaza.

Donating is easy and will raise our voices to end the injustices in Gaza and the needless deaths of Palestinians and Israelis..

Thank you
Cecilie, Sydney, Rachel

Donation link: https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/301/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=3335

Learn more:

1. The war on Gaza's children
http://imeu.net/news/article006533.shtml

2. Life must go on in Gaza and Sderot (blog)
http://gaza-sderot.blogspot.com/

3. JVP Gaza Action and Information Center
http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/gaza.shtml

4. Sderot protest, the ISrael they don't belong to
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/953269.html

Nationalism, American Style

Nationalism, American Style

The article is appended following my comments:


We Americans are indeed a peaceful people, without any doubt a majority of us are. However, we are chickens too. Most of us don’t want to be bothered with what goes on around us, as long as it does not affect us today at this moment. And shamelessly we take pride in being called the silent majority, some of us don’t even have the guts and some are plain bamboozled into believing what our administration dishes out to us in the disguise of patriotism.

We believed in the lies of weapons of mass destruction and let our admin wage war against Iraq killing over a million Iraqi’s and four thousand of our own men and women and mass destruction of their country, we have put half a million women on the streets, and we have sown the seeds to discontentment that is showing up in the form of civil war. We owe an apology to the Iraqi people if we need our conscience to be clear of guilt. Thanks to Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore and thousands of our heroes who risked their livelihood to protect our democracy from becoming a fascist government. Thanks to them for mitigating the power of our administration from doing evil things and war is evil, especially a war based on lies.

I appreciate you for reading articles like this, at least to prevent you from the extremist’s right wing Neocon propaganda of fear. You can proudly say, you are a free as you are informed on both sides of the issue.

Mike Ghouse
##

Love, American Style

by David Michael Green February 22, 2008 - 10:30am
http://www.smirkingchimp.com/user/david_michael_green

"Outside I hear the ground shaking
Up from underneath
It's only when the empire's breaking
That you see their teeth"
-- Al Stewart, "Rain Barrel"

Americans love to think that we're a peaceful people, and that we fight wars only when we must.

Unfortunately, you can count in nanoseconds how long those assertions hold up when exposed to such insidious commie dirty tricks as the application of logic or the examination of empirical history.

Sure, any war can be spun as some necessity against some Very Bad Person, preferably of brown skin, slanted eyes and/or differing deity. Not only can any war be so spun, probably every war there ever was has been, at least since the days when governments had to start offering some justification or another for their little foreign adventures.

But pick your barometer - any one will work - and you'll quickly see who are the militant folks on the planet. For America, it turns out - gulp - to be that bloated, frightened meth-addict staring back at us in the mirror, not some overseas evil emperor du jour.

For example, suppose you wanted to measure comparative national war-like tendencies by simply counting wars. Since World War II, the US has messed around, in ways big and small, in Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Lebanon, Granada, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, Somalia, Afghanistan again, and Iraq again. No country in the world can begin to match this record in the last half-century. And I'm not even listing here the covert operations (almost everywhere), including the ones that toppled democratically elected governments (Iran, Guatemala, Chile, etc.), the long-term occupations of Latin American countries by the US military, the gunboat diplomacy of the American Navy around the world, the aiding and abetting of other killers (Saddam invading Iran, for example, apartheid South Africa or the Israeli occupation of Palestine), the militarization of the oceans and of space, or the myriad other ways in which the US leads the planet in aggressive tendencies. (For a whole century's worth of overseas fun - not even counting the big stuff - Stephen Kinzer's Overthrow is highly recommended reading.)

Who has China been invading lately? Russia? Fidel? Those perfidious (and perfumed) French? Heck, even Saddam couldn't touch this record for aggression, especially once you account for the fact that the US government assisted his foreign soiree into Iran (complete with the chemical weapons, of course) and likely green-lighted the one into Kuwait as well. And let's even grant that one or two of those American adventures had some measure of altruism associated with them, as perhaps the Balkan or Somalian affairs might have (I'd like to know the full story before making that judgement). Isn't the sheer volume of them - especially relative to the number of wars other countries have fought - a bit problematic for maintaining the pretense of America's pacific intent? My conservative (in both senses of the word) list above goes to nearly twenty. Isn't that a bit much for a peace-loving country?

But scratch that measure if you must (perhaps it cuts too close to the bone). Maybe we can detect America's dislike for war in another metric, say military spending. Oops. Turns out that's going to be a bit problematic too. I guess it won't be a huge surprise to anybody that the US spends more on 'defense' than any other country in the world. Maybe that's not so completely absurd, given that we have the third largest population on the planet. (At least it's not entirely out of line if you set aside the slightly inconvenient fact that the two larger countries are about four times bigger than we are). But here's the truly scary part: The United States not only outspends every other country in the world on military goodies, it outspends ALL other countries of the world. Combined. That's right. Take all 190-plus countries out there and add together their defense budgets and you still won't equal America's alone. What's more, that doesn't even include the $100 billion or so that we're dropping each year in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor the additional costs in veterans' (so-called) care, munitions replacement and economic losses we have been hemorrhaging for those wars, and will continue to, for decades to come, estimated to run up toward two trillion bucks total. (Oh, and did I mention that one-sixth of our population doesn't have healthcare coverage? Never mind. I'm sure those are completely unrelated facts.) Anyhow, does that sound like a peace-loving country to you? We love it so much that we outspend nearly 200 other countries in the world - combined! - in buying shit for war? And think about this for a second: How absolutely disastrous does your diplomacy have to get so that you need to be able to fight off every other country of the world, all at once?!

Okay, okay, so that one didn't work out so well either. The good news is that at least we don't make the world an uglier place by continually inventing new and more vicious weaponry. Not us peace-loving Americans! You know, like atom bombs, napalm, bunker-busters, cluster bombs, neutron bombs, space lasers, phosphorous bombs and stuff like that! Who would build such things? What kind of depraved mind would harness so much of its scientific and industrial establishment to such ends? Who would... er... um... Hey, wait a minute! What do you mean that we invented and manufactured all those things?!?! I thought we were the peace-loving people! Meanwhile, can I interest you in some depleted uranium at a very, very attractive price?

Okay, but we must be good neighbors, really, because we're always the ones who are pushing for all sorts of international treaties to limit war, weapons and the worst practices of nasty governments. You know, for example, how we signed on to the United Nations Charter (which we more or less also wrote), and its requirement that states may only use militarized aggression in the case of self-defense or when authorized by the Security Council to do so in a collective security operation. Hey, sometimes we even comply with it! Or maybe you prefer the treaties against land mines, child soldiers or the weaponization of space, which we're pretty much the only folks not signing? The "quaint" and "obsolete" Geneva Conventions against torture and war crimes? How about the International Criminal Court, which John Bolton led the Bush administration into single-handedly trying to destroy? Hmmm... Wonder why they would have wanted to get rid of that? Gee, I thought genocide and war crimes were a bad thing! America is the world leader in supporting human rights and seeking peace. So, remember, if you hear someone tell you that we've been abdicating, avoiding, ignoring and destroying all these (and myriad other) treaties that seek to end or prevent war, it's just the liberal America-hating media elites telling lies again, because they want us to lose our wars. (And why would they want that? That's easy! So some other country can march in, take away their enormously profitable media franchises, steal their mansions and yachts, and then hang them for treason and pillaging, of course. Who wouldn't trade their current set-up for that? Trust me, these guys know a good thing when they see it.)

Alright, alright, so it turns out that none of these measures of warlike tendencies turned out so very well. American is winning these contests about as often as is Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. And with about as much grace, too. But at least the rest of the world thinks of us as nice, peaceful neighbors, right? Well, actually, they sometimes do! Just not now. And just not when we're, uh, engaged in most of our wars. Vietnam wasn't exactly appreciated out there in the global community, and that opinion hasn't changed a whole lot, even after we've established a lovely little trading relationship with that same communist country that we once argued would be so dangerous if it went... er, well, communist. You know, like China! That's why we don't trade with them now, or - perish the thought - make ourselves vulnerable by allowing them to finance our national binge borrowing. No sense aiding and abetting the enemy, eh?! (This is getting so confusing, though. Are communists our friends or our adversaries? Are we trying to help them or hurt them? Why does it seem like it depends on how much money there is to be made?)

Sorry - I digress. Despite ourselves, America is in fact sometimes admired in world opinion. But not when we play our war games. People didn't like Vietnam, they didn't like Central America in the 1980s, they didn't care for Iran, Guatemala or Chile, Granada or Lebanon, and they resent the hell out of our support for Israeli colonialism in Palestine. They can't stand America's duplicity, hypocrisy and arrogance when it comes to so many aspects of international diplomacy, including the aforementioned treaties we've avoided when we're not trying to destroy them. Yet nothing has so inflamed world opinion as the gross transgression against international law and human morality that is Iraq. America's standing in world opinion isn't the only measure of how comparatively warlike we are, but it certainly is a valid one. When everybody else in the neighborhood hates you, or hates something you do, it's a moment for a little reflection and introspection, isn't it? Unless, of course, you're just an asshole. Then why bother?

No, America's standing in world opinion isn't the only barometer of our aggressive tendencies, but then again, every single one of them we've examined has turned out the same. We fight by far and away more wars than any other country in the world. We spend way more money on our military than every other country in the world, combined! - nearly 200 hundred of them altogether! We out-do the world in creating new and vicious ways to liberate more and more people from the ongoing hassle of being alive. We abdicate every treaty meant to keep the dogs of war at bay, from ABM to Geneva to the UN Charter. Or else we smash them. And, finally, we are admired for our peaceful tendencies in every part of the world. Except where we're not. Which turns out to be just about everywhere nowadays.

What a record, eh? Even the East German judge has to give this puppy a high score for consistency! Even if you disqualify one of these measures for some reason or another, surely the fact that they all point in the same direction is uncomfortably telling.

I don't want to give the wrong impression. Much as I'd like to be, I'm not a pacifist, because I realize that there are genuinely bad actors out there who can't be tamed by a Dick Cheney charm offensive, or beaten into submission by a Condoleeza Rice piano sonata. I'm glad the US military was there to stomp Hitler. Maybe even Korea, Bosnia and Kosovo could be justified as a response to aggression, though here it gets murkier. But Vietnam? No way. Today's Iraq war? Utterly shameful. The Mexican War? Spanish-American War? Cuba? Nicaragua? Guatemala? Granada? Be serious. Way too often America's pacific intentions are harder to find than the elusive Higgs boson particle. Probably you'd need a massive supercollider and a bunch of expensive detection equipment to do it, too.

And god knows I'm not blaming the troops for this. Indeed, too often they're the second victims (the truth being the first) of policymakers like Lyndon Johnson, George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton, for whom war is a game and people are pawns.

But because of these monsters and the record they've created, Americans have to face an ugly and unfortunate fact. Despite what your sixth grade civics teacher told you, we're not the white-hats of the world. Or at least not often enough. We just like to think we are.

But thinking and being are, alas, two different things, as we found out going into Iraq - thinking we'd be greeted with chocolates and flowers.

We may get them yet, however. Perhaps they'll be handed to us at the exit ramp, as the next president extricates a sobered United States from the disaster of its latest example of bringing love, American-style to the world.

Open-Armed Policy Cuba

Open-Armed Policy Cuba
by Cindy Sheehan |

Last year, on the 5th anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo torture camp in Cuba, I had the singular privilege of being able to travel there. Travel to Cuba by Americans is, of course, banned, but where in a "free and democratic" society does my government get off telling me where I can travel or not travel? So, defying the incomprehensible ban, our group of intrepid anti-torture and pro-justice activists set off from Cancun, Mexico to Havana on Cubana Airlines.

In my humble opinion, it is imperative that we citizens of the US look at anything that our government says, or does, with healthy skepticism. Knowing that the Bush regime did not invent lying and murder for profit, we can never go back to the days when we believed that the USA was always right and if the US kills or oppresses other humans, then it must be okay because "God Is On Our Side." Especially when we have a "leader" who has a hot line to a God that seems particularly violent and vindictive. The anti-Cuban rhetoric has been prevalent from the establishment since I was born.

So, after being an American for almost 50 years (at that point), I expected to find a Cuba that was beat down and broken under decades of communism and the dictatorship of "Comandante Fidel" who just recently announced that he would be renouncing his role as president. Even though I expected to find a depressed Cuba, I also found it, again, very hypocritical of our government to normalize relations with a very oppressive communist government of China, but would not cut the nation of Cuba (which lies just 90 short miles off of our coast) any kind of economic slack. It may come as no surprise to people, but relations with Cuba have only grown worse during BushCo's reign of terror.

After a few days in Cuba, talking to people on the street (who are far more educated than the average American due to free university education), I was amazed at how happy and healthy (due to free medical care--which is good, since I had to avail of it myself when I was there) everyone seems. We visited the medical school which trains doctors from all over the world (including the US) for no tuition with the only requirement being that the new doctor must work in a poor community for a certain number of years after obtaining a license from the country where he/she wants to practice.

Since the "Special Period" in Cuba of starvation and massive deprivation due to the collapse of Cuba's major trading partner, the USSR; all agriculture in Cuba has been organic or permaculture and food is fresh and it tastes like food, not plastic.

One of the glaring differences in US/Cuban leadership is that after Katrina, Cuban doctors and Emergency Medical Technicians organized to go down to New Orleans to help, but the USA rejected the offer, even though our resources were stretched paper thin, economically and strategically, by the twin disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan. However, during Cuba's "Special Period" all the US did for our brothers and sisters down south was to strengthen the embargo against Cuba by forbidding any subsidiary companies that do business with the US to trade with Cuba. The Cubans managed to eke out subsistence through conservation, rationing and ingenuity to struggle through the Special Period. Cuban women are rightly proud of the methods they used to stretch their family's rations by, for example, grinding banana peel to add to the food. However, I did hear horror stories of fathers watching their children slowly starve and cry from hunger. Cubans lost an average of 20 pounds each during the decade of the "Special Period" which was roughly the entire 1990's.

When we arrived in Guantanamo, Cuba, we found a small town of family farms, (and large sugar plantations) chickens, horse and buggies and horse drawn wagons. The Internet connection was iffy and we did not have hot water for showers, but I was struck by the difference between the average Cuban life and the average American life. If, like during the Special Period in Cuba, America had 80% of our imports and exports curtailed, what would we do? Would we have to dig up our concrete and plant crops to be harvested sometime after we had already starved? Would we have riots for food and other consumables? What would happen if our oil faucet ran dry? It would be pure chaos, but Cuba survived conditions like these due to their already simple way of life.

If life in Cuba is as awful as some would claim, then why do they have a longer life expectancy than we do here in America and why is their infant mortality rate lower? Do we give up "quality" of life for "quantity" of material possessions? I live in a city now where homelessness is rampant and a huge challenge, whereas in Cuba, homelessness is unheard of. Is the "bigger, better, more at any cost" lifestyle of capitalism more humane than communism? Here in America our lifestyle is obtained off the backs of so many around the world, and here at home, we have to ask ourselves if it is worth it for a few extra square feet of living space or to drive an urban attack vehicle that guzzles precious resources and belches toxic waste.

I hope the trade and travel embargo is lifted from Cuba soon. They do suffer from having to import medical supplies and other goods from China and Europe and we suffer from being deprived of the opportunity to travel to a beautiful country where the people are welcoming and generous with the little that they do have. But with the notice that Fidel is retiring after surviving over 600 assassination attempts by the CIA, even Democratic hopefuls parroted the corporate party line and there is slim chance of a lifting of the embargo. Since the USA has a detention facility on Cuban soil where we torture and hold humans in adverse conditions without the basic human right of due process under the law, how can we condemn Cuba for human rights violations?

After the fall of the Soviet Bloc, Cuba is learning to form positive alliances with other countries in South America, and I would challenge our leaders to consider doing the same. Using our military to spread corporate colonialism throughout Latin America has led to the growth of populist governments (Venezuela and Bolivia for example), and instead of trying to undermine these governments, we should work with them to prove that we care more about humane democracy and less about supporting oppressive governments.

We need an "open-armed policy" with our neighbors in this hemisphere, not an "armed and dangerous" persona. America is certainly perceived as a bully all over the world, but in the case of Cuba, it could not be more exemplified.

The US talking tough to Cuba is like a lion roaring at a mouse. Reaching across the channel with fair trade and open arms will go farther towards Cuba becoming more free and democratic than strengthening embargoes that hurt families and only strengthen anti-democracy and anti-American sentiments.

Obama rally in Carrollton

Obama - Rally in Carrollton

Register to attend "Yes we can Obama Rally" on Sunday, March 2 between 4 PM and 6:30 PM - Please register at: http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/event.html?event_id=43583
.

.Sunday, March 2, 2008
4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Barbeque tonite Restaurant
2540 Old Denton road, suite 173
Old Denton at Trinity Mills (Bush Frwy)
(972) 877-9133



For the first time in our history, we have a candidate who is representing you, me and every American; he is an all inclusive candidate.

“as the son of an immigrant, his experience can affirm that the American dream is still intact for everyone, regardless of where one's parents were born. His dedication to his family, strong work ethic, opposition to the war in Iraq and deep faith are all qualities that are important to Latino voters." Indeed, he represents the hopes of every American; born, naturalized, white, Black, brown or yellow, Atheist, Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Native Indian, Sikh, Shinto, Wicca, Zoroastrian and every American. Obama has become a powerful symbol of pluralism and inclusiveness.

Join us between 4 and 6 PM on Sunday, March 2 at Barbeque tonite, in Carrollton at the SE Corner of Old Denton and Trinity Mills (Bush Frwy or I-90). Be a part of the change to put American on the path of peace, progress and co-existence.

Mike Ghouse (214) 325-1916
http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Progress in Pakistan.

Progress in Pakistan.

I am mighty pleased to see the Dallas Morning News editorial, expressed in similar tone as my op-ed two days ago.

I hope the new coalition government in Pakistan reflects the sentiments of her people, except one election a few years ago; the Pakistani people have consistently rejected the religious right, and have always chosen a moderate path. Unfortunately, the people of Pakistan never got a government that reflected their aspirations. I am pleased to see the Dallas Morning News make a note of that.

It is also time to appreciate President Musharraf, despite being a dictator; he did not hinder the democratic process in the last few weeks, nor did he curb the media even though it was to his detriment.

Justice, fairness and inclusion will go long ways. May Pakistan become a democracy and work on checking the extremism and become a source of peace and prosperity to herself and to the subcontinent comprising of India and Afghanistan as its neighbors.

Together, they can meet their first obligation to the people – Hope. Education, employment, freedom, security and safety to raise families who would be contributors to the world peace and co-existence.

http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2008/02/pakistan-time-for-action.html

Progress in Pakistan
Dallas Morning news

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-pakistan_21edi.ART.State.Edition1.46669c6.html

06:48 AM CST on Thursday, February 21, 2008

Good news, for once, from Pakistan: The religious parties lost badly in the recent parliamentary elections, giving lie to President Pervez Musharraf's claim that he's the only thing keeping the nuclear-armed Muslim nation from being lost to the radicals.

It's a fortunate thing that the Islamist parties did so poorly, because Mr. Musharraf's party did even worse. This week's results represented a total rejection of the autocratic president, who has bullied the judiciary and the news media in an increasingly desperate bid to hold on to power.

The United States, which placed all its chips on Mr. Musharraf, is now left with its Pakistan policy in ruins.

The only reasonable thing left for the Pakistani president to do is resign. And the Bush administration must now reconcile itself to the new realities in Pakistan and reach out wholeheartedly to the centrist, relatively secular Pakistan People's Party and the Muslim League, the two big winners of Monday's balloting.

Leaders of both parties – Asif Ali Zardari, widower of assassinated Pakistan People's Party leader Benazir Bhutto, and the Muslim League's Nawaz Sharif – would be wise to exercise humility and magnanimity in victory. Both parties' pasts in Pakistan were rife with corruption. Mr. Sharif's crooked reign in 1999 caused the Pakistani military to overthrow him and suspend democracy, making Gen. Musharraf, then Army chief, the nation's ruler.

It may be damning him with faint praise, but Mr. Musharraf, who retired as military head in November, apparently and laudably decided to let this week's elections go off with relatively few attempts at vote-rigging, which had been widely feared.

Perhaps he underestimated the depth of his unpopularity, or perhaps he knew that stealing this election would tear his country apart. Whatever the reason, he has done his nation a favor.

He could do it an even greater service by resigning or fading into the background by restoring the presidency to its largely ceremonial role. He could do either, consoled that the Pakistani people, while rejecting him, also rejected the forces of religious extremism. Now comes the rebuilding of civil society, the free press and the independent judiciary. Thanks to Pakistani voters, what some call the world's most dangerous nation has become a bit less so.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pakistan - time for action

Pakistan, time for individual action
Mike Ghouse, Dallas


God willing, Pakistan will see the formation and transition of the government without bloodshed, turmoil or sentiments of getting even. Every one has to drop the malice and hate towards each other and come together for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan. It is the Muslim thing to mitigate conflicts, and it is Islamic ideology to cause and bring peace, let this be re-awakened and the time now to change the course of history.

A prayers of gratitude is in order for positive reinforcement of good governance, let this be a major media event, if this event gets TV coverage at least in a few US and Canadian Cities, it will send a good positive message to the future leaders. Time is of essence, it must be done immediately to be effective. Every one understands the Public relations effort and it’s far reaching positive impact, here and abroad.

It is also time to appreciate President Musharraf, despite being called a dictator; he did not hinder the democratic process in the last few weeks, nor did he curb the media to his credit even though it was to his detriment. He should be honored and treated with utmost respect. Muslims need to demonstrate their understanding of the old adage, if you want honey, you don’t kick the beehive. No one should have a gain at the cost of the other; such benefits are deleterious to lasting peace and progress of Pakistan.

If the leaders sincerely believe in developing and bringing a civic rule, then they need to show it by being civil, un-selfish and make a sincere effort to include all parties in the decision making process. That would be the smart thing to do, the minute one takes advantage of the other or plans to undo the other, it is certain that the opposite force will be planning the same. Let the energy and time be spent in progress and not bickering. To expect others do take the first step is not smart, you as an individual must ask yourselves to take that first step towards reconciliation.

Dr. Allama Iqbal’s, the philosopher poet of the Subcontinent wrote a poem that you may find it meaningful, it is very soothing to the soul as well. The video has English subtitles as well for those who want to understand the meaning. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvBd_F-Fn3w

• Lab pay aati hai duwa ban ke tamanna meri
• zindagi shamma ki soorat ho khudaya meri

It is time to drop the revenge, hate and animosity towards each other, as that has never produced results and will mess up the nation again. It is each one’s responsibility to encourage positive ideas and clearly discourage destructive thoughts. It is indeed time to come together and say the Shukrana (gratitude) Prayers.

Justice, fairness and inclusion will go long ways. May Pakistan become a democracy and work on checking the extremism and become a source of peace and prosperity to her self and to her neighbors India and Afghanistan.

Write your comments to: https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7749972631105101061&postID=7776557964682964922

In the subject line please write :: Pakistan time for individual action

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. His comments, news analysis, opinions and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website www.MikeGhouse.net. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com or (214) 325-1916

Friday, February 15, 2008

Democrats' Choice: Obama

The Democrats' Choice: Barack Obama

By PREETA D. BANSAL

Preeta Bansal, former Solicitor General of the State of New York, is a partner at a leading Wall Street law firm in New York and a Commissioner and Past Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan federal agency. She previously served as a special counsel in the Clinton White House and Justice Department and was a law clerk to United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. A law school contemporary of Senator Obama – she wrote this moving endorsement of Senator Obama in an op-ed in the upcoming issue of India Abroad:

[The following op-ed will appear in the coming edition of India Abroad.]

This is a Presidential race like no other. On the Democratic side, we have the choice of exceptional candidates : intelligent public servants who are passionate in their commitments to a strong and inclusive America. But we have neither the luxury nor constraint of making our choice this time based purely on policy differences, because the Democratic candidates have laid out detailed plans and prescriptions that are largely similar. So instead, in this election, other qualities – especially a candidate’s character and ability to unite Americans of all persuasions around common policy goals – play a larger role than usual.

Indeed, we are offered, for the first time in many decades, the choice of a candidate of extraordinary character, leadership, judgment, integrity, and inspiration – a combination and range of qualities that is rare to find in someone operating at the highest political levels. And so we can make our choice in this election based on a rare convergence of both our minds and our hearts.

Barack Obama is the right man for the Presidency, and his time is now. He has been a phenomenon for more than 20 years, when I first encountered him at Harvard Law School. But he is not the kind of flash-in-the-pan phenomenon that some of his rivals had been hoping for and expecting. He is the real thing.

I worked in the Clinton White House and Administration, and was very proud to do so. But I left Washington for New York after the first term in 1996 because I came to feel that it would be easy within our nation’s capital to become a “moon” – one who basks in the reflected light of others and feels important because one is in an important position, around important people, or dealing with important issues. I felt that it was hard (and rare), hanging around the Beltway, to become a “sun” who had discovered and cultivated the inner light within oneself, and who came to Washington
having something truly unique and creative to offer and wanting to extend that light outward to others.

Now, twelve years later, I can truly say that we have the option of electing a sun, and he is Barack Obama. Much has been said about Senator Obama’s extraordinary gifts of oratory and inspiration. But less has been said about the inner strengths and qualities that are manifested in his outer sheen. Unlike his rival, who “found [her] own voice” just a few weeks ago in the snows of New Hampshire,
Barack has lived his life of service from the inside out. He knows who he is, and has a moral compass that will guide him and our nation well. He pursues politics not as an end or as an art form in itself, but as a necessary means to achieve higher ends. He understands that the Presidency is not simply about being battle-tested and ready to take on old opponents from day one, but is also about having the self-awareness and reach to achieve results by inspiring new participants and creating new majorities and alliances.

And so this campaign for the Presidency is not – as he frequently says in his public appearances – about him; it is about us. It is not a vehicle for him to find his voice; it is a catalyst for inspiring Americans to overcome our doubts and fears to express our collective voice. He talks not about what “I will do for you,” but about what “we will achieve together.” He will help all of us, together, usher in a whole new era of politics, one in which we can truly be inspired to reclaim our sense of active, empowered citizenship. In a world that has experienced too often the failures and dangers of top-down political structures, the prospect of revitalizing American democracy through active, common-sense citizen involvement from the bottom up, is the change we need to see in the world. We hear much about candidates’ relative experience and inexperience in terms only of their years in Washington or in politics. But we hear little of candidates’ life experiences outside of politics, or the grit and stamina and grace they may have displayed in getting to where they are from where they came.

More than any other major figure on the American political scene, Senator Obama’s political outlook is shaped by truly having been a citizen of the world. He was born to a black Kenyan father, and a white mother from Kansas. A self-made man, he was raised by his single mother and maternal
grandparents in an environment without many material advantages. His paternal African grandmother still lives in a Kenyan hut without running water and electricity. Raised in the multicultural environments of Hawaii and Indonesia, Senator Obama can passionately engage with, actively listen to and respectfully speak with people of all backgrounds and faiths.

Senator Obama is a man of faith, but an inclusive sense of faith – a faith that tempers his great intellect with humility, not a faith that aims to cover up a lack of intellect with false certitude. His office displays a portrait of Gandhi, and he is moved by theologians such as Reinhold Niebuhr, who coincidentally expressed my favorite sentiment ever: that power without love is brutality, but love without power is mere sentimentality. As someone who travels the world as a U.S. diplomat, including to many predominantly Muslim countries, I can attest just how critical Senator Obama’s unique life experience is in formulating and projecting a forceful but intelligent American foreign policy that above all protects America but also commands the respect of the world. As one noted commentator wrote recently, even apart from his articulated policies for enhancing America’s standing in the world, his mere election to the Presidency would lead to an immediate “rebranding” of America and increase
immeasurably our “soft power” in the world.

The Senator’s unique life experience, combined with his correct and consistent judgment about the Iraq war from the beginning, hearken back to another great leader who was challenged as having a “thin” resume because he had served in the Illinois state legislature, practiced law, and returned to politics to serve only one term as a representative in Congress before deciding to run for President. That leader, of course, was Abraham Lincoln. But after making a name for himself in the presidential campaign by exhibiting the courage to speak out against the deeply accepted practice of slavery, Lincoln was able, as president, to take the side of the nation’s better angels and to change the course of American history. In contrast to many of his opponents, who have built their lives and ambitions in Beltway politics, Senator Obama is not someone who approaches politics as an end. He is a true public servant who, despite dazzling intellectual achievements – including being President of the Harvard Law Review and at the very top of his class at Harvard Law School – gave up every lucrative and prestigious opportunity to go back to Chicago where he had been a community organizer for many years.

Yet while rooted in the experience of organizing working class communities in Chicago – and while personally and deeply aware of conditions of global poverty – he has the intelligence and judgment to speak comfortably with leaders in London, Mumbai, Brussels or Wall Street about economic theory and foreign policy.

Senator Obama – through the multitude of his life experiences and the calm, respectful style of his leadership – is someone who naturally and instinctively bridges so many divides. He connects and brings together the global background of his youth with the local communities he organized as an adult; the ordinary experiences of working class people in America and globally with the perspectives of highly educated academics, policymakers and professionals; the blue states of Democrats with the red states from which his mother and grandparents came. Because governing and tackling the
major challenges facing our nation these days require more than a bare majority of support, it is essential that we elect someone who in style and substance is able and willing to reach out beyond the traditional Democratic “base”, and who can inspire large numbers of American citizens to transcend the often-bitter attempts in our politics to divide us.

Let me add, finally, that there is sometimes an attempt to perceive or create divisions between immigrants and African Americans. But we are all beneficiaries of the struggles to overcome this nation’s racial injustices. The very reason for our presence in this country is the 1965 Immigration
Act, which eliminated the last remaining formal color line in the US laws – the exclusion of Asians that appeared in the immigration laws since the late 1800s. Those legal hurdles came down following the successes of the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act.

So as we try to work to clean up America’s image and policy toward the world and its policies at home, I can think of no better leader than Senator Obama, who – in part because of who he is and where he came from, but also because of what he believes and what he has accomplished – would give America a whole new fresh chance. He truly believes in Gandhi’s approach that we must lead by the example of our ideals and our actions – including by fostering economic opportunity for each individual, and by respecting pluralism and restoring the rule of law at home and abroad. His light has a transformative potential at this critical juncture in our nation’s and our world’s affairs. He has the character, intellect, judgment, experience, integrity, and leadership to lead our nation well.

http://www.safo2008.com/news_view.aspx?ArticleID=47

Obama preaching hope

Rafael Anchía: Obama is preaching the politics of hope - not division
05:24 PM CST on Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mike: For the first time in our history, we have a candidate who is representing every American, he is an inclusive candidate. In the California debates, Hillary baited him to respond to the statement that she will be making history as the first "Woman President" as if he was going to pigeon hole himself as "Black Candidate".... my wife and I debated and agreed that he will not fall into the Hillary trap, sure enough, he did not even address her, he simply went on with his appeal to all Americans giving hope.

Rafael in his article in Dallas Morning News rightly points out that "Obama is referred to as a "black" candidate, in truth he is of mixed race, as are many Latinos. And, as the son of an immigrant, his experience can affirm that the American dream is still intact for everyone, regardless of where one's parents were born. His dedication to his family, strong work ethic, opposition to the war in Iraq and deep faith are all qualities that are important to Latino voters." Indeed, he represents the hopes of every American; born, naturalized, white, Black, brown or yellow, Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim or others. Obama has become a powerful icon of pluralism and inclusiveness.

Elections 2008 coverage

During recent weeks, I have watched with increasing dismay the media suggestions that Latinos will not vote for Barack Obama in the Democratic primary because of underlying racism or tension that exists between African-Americans and us.

What surprises me most is the overly facile and inaccurate juxtaposition of Latino vs. African-Americans as a "race" conflict. I chair the National Association of Latino Elected Officials Educational Fund and, in that capacity, work with Latinos at every level of government across the country.

And guess what? We are black, indigenous, white and everything in between. We are also blond-haired and blue-eyed, we are Catholic and Protestant, Republican and Democratic, and, as far as I have been able to determine, we are not unanimously supporting one candidate more than another. The idea that all Latinos speak with one political voice is a false dichotomy and makes flawed assumptions that show a basic ignorance of Latinos and our very diverse culture.

As the son of a Mexican mother and Spanish father who grew up in a Cuban and El Salvadoran neighborhood, I have lived this diversity and recognize that Latino Democratic primary voting trends are much more about familiarity with the candidate and much less about race.

Hillary Clinton has done well among Latinos during the early Democratic primary season and figures to continue that success in Texas. However, rather than suggest she might win a greater share of the Latino vote in Texas because of racism, a more responsible view would acknowledge that the Clinton brand is still strong here. She campaigned in South Texas for George McGovern in the 1970s, was the first lady of a neighboring state in the 1980s and was the first lady to a president popular among Latinos for most of the 1990s.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, however, Texas provides Sen. Barack Obama with a huge opportunity to court Latinos. Texas Latinos have a recent history of supporting non-Latino African-American candidates. Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and Houston Mayor Lee Brown were elected and then re-elected against Latino challengers (Margaret Donnelly and Orlando Sanchez, respectively) with sizeable support from Latinos.

After beating Latino candidate Victor Morales in the Democratic primary runoff in 2002, Mr. Kirk actually did as well as or better among Latinos in the Rio Grande Valley during his senatorial bid than Laredo gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez.

And while Mr. Obama is referred to as a "black" candidate, in truth he is of mixed race, as are many Latinos. And, as the son of an immigrant, his experience can affirm that the American dream is still intact for everyone, regardless of where one's parents were born.

His dedication to his family, strong work ethic, opposition to the war in Iraq and deep faith are all qualities that are important to Latino voters. A recently released analysis of Super Tuesday results by the Willie Velasquez Institute shows that Mr. Obama is making important strides among Latino voters, including among late-breaking undecided Latinos.

Super Tuesday results also showed that Mr. Obama makes up big ground among all voters who see him and are exposed to his message. With the Texas Democratic primary still several weeks away, there is time for Barack Obama to further connect with Texas Latinos.

With all the distracting talk of an African-American-Latino electoral divide, it is easy to lose perspective of the ultimate goal of electing a president who can bring the United States together.

Our main focus should not be on who can appeal to which racial or ethnic group more than another, but which candidate can unite all races, ethnicities, age groups, faiths and economic classes as a nation to address our common challenges and to restore our historic position as a respected leader of the free world.

I am the Latino son of immigrants, but, rather than engaging in the contrived politics of division, I want Barack Obama, a black man of mixed ethnicity, to be my president. How's that for the politics of hope?


Rafael Anchía is a state representative from Dallas, the 2005 LULAC "National Man of the Year" and chairman of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials Educational Fund.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/viewpoints/stories/DN-anchia_15edi.State.Edition1.1e38d00.html

Executing Terrorists

9/11 Justice: Executing terrorists not in nation's best interest
07:03 AM CST on Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mike Ghouse: Executing the 9/11 Terrorists is perhaps the easiest thing to do, however the editors have prudently suggested to keep them in solitary confinement for life and deny them the only satisfaction they yearn for; to be the martyrs. Heck, they are no martyrs.

This certainly will hold a few potential candidates from martyrdom and cause a few in the cells to ponder and renounce violence, as some 300 of them did in Yemen about three years ago.


It further sends a clear signal to the terrorists that we are not like them who shamelessly slaughter innocent humans and hang them on the bridges and place the disgusting video on the internet. They need to know that we are a civil society and value life, but will prevent the individual from becoming a threat to the society.

##

The U.S. government's plan to seek the death penalty against six Guantánamo Bay detainees in the Sept. 11 attacks is bound to have enthusiastic public appeal. It might seem fitting punishment for anyone found responsible for nearly 3,000 deaths, 600 more than in the Japanese ambush at Pearl Harbor.

Yet the effort to assign guilt for the barbaric Sept. 11 raids – this generation's own "day of infamy" – should not end in an execution chamber. That would not be in this nation's best interest.

Carrying out the death penalty would put the government's questionable and untested military tribunal system on trial simultaneously. It's a test the nation could not afford to fail as it tries to assert moral authority in the war on terror.

Justice could not be served in a trial stemming from coerced confessions. One of the six suspects, alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, has undergone CIA interrogation that included waterboarding, a practice widely considered torture and prone to produce unreliable information. American and international legal traditions demand better. And make no mistake: Trying these suspects will have global implications.

The military tribunal also could very well curtail traditional rights of defendants, such as open-court proceedings and challenging government evidence. While some deviation from standard court procedures might be tolerable for security reasons, a high-stakes capital punishment trial is not the time to grope for a balance.

There is a better option for the American people, although it's admittedly a hard case to make in light of emotions that will remain forever raw on the subject: Terrorists who bring savagery to our shores should spend the rest of their lives isolated in secure prison cells.

Advantages are many. For one, the government could gain truly useful information through methodical interviews. Second, unending solitary confinement could lead a terrorist to reflect on and renounce fanaticism, which would pay rich propaganda dividends. Third, imprisonment would have deterrent value by denying Islamo-terrorists a reward they crave – the glory of martyrdom for their twisted cause.

Finally, no one should underestimate the punitive value of condemning someone to look at four bare concrete walls for the rest of his life.

In the words of the judge who pronounced a life sentence on terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui two years ago: "You will die with a whimper."

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-911gitmo_14edi.ART.State.Edition1.44f7391.html

Texas : Adopting Shariah

The law of the land: Adopting Shariah is no way to bridge cultures
06:37 AM CST on Friday, February 15, 2008

Mike Ghouse: I am pleased to hear that the North Texas Muslim leaders said that “their religious doctrine calls for Muslim migrants to abide by the laws of their host country. These are the words for everyone to live by.”

Sharia laws are derivatives from Qur’aan and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad on living a life of Justice and peace. As with every group, the extreme interpretations by certain institutions and individuals, and their perpetuation have become contentious. The conflicts are in the areas of divorce, apostasy and women where fine tuning of our understanding is needed.

The basis for Qur'aan is justice, when there is justice people feel secure and live in peace, harmony and prosperity. As far as the Sharia in public life is concerned, our civil laws are just and are good for every one. The rest of the Sharia is about one's devotion to God and how it is carried out, and it usually remains in the private domain.

American and Canadian Muslims value and trust our justice system and do not feel the need for any other laws.


##

It's hardly surprising that British politicians and tabloids are thoroughly roasting the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, for remarking last week that partially adapting Islamic Shariah law into the U.K. legal code "seems unavoidable."

A big surprise, though, was the ripple effect his comments had in North Texas. American Web sites and blogs, including that of Fox News commentator Sean Hannity, came alive with a bizarre discussion of Islamic law already being imposed in our courts.

First, let's debunk the myth: Shariah is not now and should never be a part of the Texas legal code. We live in a secular society where the laws are designed specifically not to be influenced by religion or reflect a religious preference.

The question arose when an Arlington Muslim couple, Rola and Jamal Qaddura, filed for divorce in 1999. After prolonged court battles, they agreed to arbitration by a private Richardson-based group, the Texas Islamic Court. The arbitration agreement wound up in the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, which upheld its validity in 2005.

Throughout the case, our courts never relinquished judicial control. And that's how it must always be. In the eyes of the law, the Texas Islamic Court has zero judicial authority and was brought in only as a private civil arbiter, a common practice.

The British and U.S. secular legal systems are rooted in the Magna Carta. The law of our land should never adapt to the ebb and flow of migrants from countries where other legal codes prevail – particularly not a religious code like Shariah, which authorizes harsh treatment of women and severing the hands of thieves.

Editors and reporters from this newspaper met 14 months ago with North Texas Muslim leaders, including, coincidentally, one of the arbiters in the Qaddura case. They said their religious doctrine calls for Muslim migrants to abide by the laws of their host country. These are words for everyone to live by.

Considering the rising tensions between Muslims and Christians across Europe, it's hard to criticize the archbishop of Canterbury for trying to strike a conciliatory tone. But adaptation to Shariah is no way to bridge our cultures.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/editorials/stories/DN-sharia_15edi.ART.State.Edition1.46053d3.html