Archive for the ‘Politics’ category

How Do We Remember 9-11?

September 11, 2009

9-11-01-logoA few of my co-workers and I happened into this conversation this morning as we walked back to our desks, sipping our coffee. A morning like any other, except for this conversation.

It started with recollections of where we were and what we were doing on the day everything changed for America and the world. We all remembered the morning of September 11, 2001 vividly. I mean, to the detail of what they were thinking and how they were feeling when we found out what was going on. it’s funny, on the days of our lives when everything changes, these are the days when our memories serve us best.

Still recollecting, we remembered the victims of the attacks. Those working at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the passengers on those planes. Someone remarked that, “these people were just going about their business, with no idea they would be paying this kind of sacrifice.”

Sacrifice… One of the lead officers of our organization is a retired four-star General. He lost his secretary at the Pentagon that day. For me, having grown up in New Jersey, I was fortunate to not have anybody close to me die but I do have many friends who lost someone in the attacks. Even one of our own ninjas lost his dad in the towers that day. Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters…. These weren’t just victims to an attack, they were people’s loved ones. And in many ways, the families of those victims are still paying. I think we all lost something something that day. And in many ways, we’re all still sacrificing.

firemen-raising-flagMoving on in our talk, we spoke of heroes. Those who may have been aware of  the potential circumstances of their actions but decided to act anyway. Like the men at the Pentagon who tried to hold people back from attemping to run into a burning building. …And those who ran into the burning building anyway in an attempt to save more lives before the walls collapsed. Like all the NYC Firefighters, Police, and Port Authority workers who risked, and in many instances gave, their lives doing their duty. They ran against the tide, which must have been a sea of people covered in soot, bewildered, crying, running desperately to get down, out of harm’s way. That’s what makes a hero.

You risk yourself in the face of imminent danger, facing an uncertain future, with the sole purpose of doing the right thing.

Makes you think. Would you do the same in those circumstances?

Anyways, we talked about a lot this morning after what I mentioned above above. I won’t bore you with every detail of our conversation but we spoke about a myriad of issues, each of which could have started an argument but didn’t today.

The main thing we got at was, what have we learned in the last eight years since the attacks? How can we move forward? What will we do to become better human beings? How do we remember 9-11?

Then it dawned on me…. my conclusion. Here we were, four people in my office. We all come from different backgrounds… A white man, black woman, Hispanic, and me, an Asian, talking about all these geopolitical and ideological issues, not arguing and disagreeing, but coming together around one key central theme, doing good and growing as people.

I now think to myself the hope that if everyone can come together like this – ignoring petty differences and learning from the past to make a better future – that is how you honor those who were affected by September 11, 2001. This is how you grow as an individual. As a country. And as a people.

Reflect. Learn. Progess.

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Laura Ling and Euna Lee Break Slience on Being Captive in North Korea

September 2, 2009

homecomingIn a joint-opinion piece in Monday’s LA Times entitled Hostages of the Hermit Kingdom, Laura Ling and Euna Lee break their nearly one-month silence since being freed from five months of captivity in the Juche-socialist republic of North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The two reporters were freed during a private humanitarian mission led by a important envoy, former United States President Bill Clinton to North Korea and its diminutive dictator, Kim Jong-Il.

Ling and Lee were captured on the morning of March 17th after crossing the Tumen River that separates North Korea from China. In the LA Times article, the women recount how they following their Korean-Chinese guide across the border to cover a story they were developing on human trafficking for Current TV.

When we set out, we had no intention of leaving China, but when our guide beckoned for us to follow him beyond the middle of the river, we did, eventually arriving at the riverbank on the North Korean side. He pointed out a small village in the distance where he told us that North Koreans waited in safe houses to be smuggled into China via a well-established network that has escorted tens of thousands across the porous border.
 
Feeling nervous about where we were, we quickly turned back toward China. Midway across the ice, we heard yelling. We looked back and saw two North Korean soldiers with rifles running toward us. Instinctively, we ran.
 
We were firmly back inside China when the soldiers apprehended us. Producer Mitch Koss and our guide were both able to outrun the border guards. We were not. We tried with all our might to cling to bushes, ground, anything that would keep us on Chinese soil, but we were no match for the determined soldiers. They violently dragged us back across the ice to North Korea and marched us to a nearby army base, where we were detained.

clintonenvoyThe two journalists were intentionally vague about describing details of their 140 days in captivity, citing memories too painful to recall at this present time. Instead of focusing on Pyongyang and offering a description of what they endured, the two reporters instead chose to shed light on the subject matter they intended to expose in the first place – the plight of North Korean defectors who live in terror of being deported back to their homeland and the lives they are forced to lead. The two reporters state that these lives often include involvement in illicit trades such as working as internet sex workers. Still they say that even this kind of life beats the impoverished and hungry existence defectors would have to look forward to if sent back to North Korea. In concluding their first statement since being released, Laura Ling and Euna Lee want to re-focus the world’s attention on the dangerous issues like this covered in Vanguard Journalism that they want to expose in the first place.

As an observer of the Laura Ling and Euna Lee Saga, I am left with several questions which I fear will go unanswered despite their article. How were they really treated during their 140-day confinement? What political and socio-economic impact will be produced long-term by President Clinton’s visit? Surely he and and the Kim Jon-Il regime didn’t discuss anything beyond freedom for these two reporters… 

Though not ‘official,’ Clinton’s private visit marks the closest North Korea has gotten to bilateral talks with the U.S.  in a long, long time. So what happened…  I guess time will tell but one thing’s for certain, inquiring minds want to know.

Sarah Silverman for President 2008

October 9, 2008

I guess she is on to a new mission other than “F*cking Matt Damon”. I am not saying what my political point of view is…but Republican or Democrat, you cannot help but laugh. Have a great day!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Pocket Ninja

2008 Vice Presidential Debate – Opinions

October 3, 2008

Did you guys watch the Vice Presidential debate last evening?

Other than miss-pronouncing a few things (“Nuculeer”) and repeating “maverick” many many times, Palin did reasonably well. The VPIF candidate finally showed the American public more than the standard talking points and spoke more like your next-door neighbor than a career politician. Middle America is going to identify with her.

Watch her as she goes in this, the best hightlight video of the Vice Presidential Debate.

Also, I was impressed by Joe Biden last night. His composure and refusal to attack Palin was impressive. Taking the high road was definitely the smarter political move. And his answers on most of the questions did not lose him any points. Biden had a clear understanding of the facts, citing the record of both he and McCain on many occasions.

I was not shocked to hear that it scored a 30% higher Nielsen Rating than the first Presidential Debate.

Full Video of the Vice Presidential Debate

That Hugo Chavez is quite a character

September 28, 2008

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September 28 – That Hugo Chavez is quite a character. The revolutionary social President of Venezuela and the U.S.’s chief antagonist in the western hemisphere never fails to take a potshot at US President George Bush whenever there is an opportunity.

In light of the recent proposed government bailout of insurance giant AIG, Chavez recently said his oil-based economy is insulated from the U.S. crisis by its growing detachment from “this perverse financial system.”

He mocked Bush for using government funds to bail out private companies. The Bush administration is seeking congressional authority to buy as much as $700 billion in bad investments from financial firms to unfreeze the U.S. financial system.

“I nationalize strategic companies and get criticized, but when Bush does it, it’s OK,” Chavez said on his weekly television program Sept. 21. “Bush is turning socialist. How are you, comrade Bush?

Ooh. That’s gotta burn just a little…

Thoughts on the presidential debate

September 26, 2008

Re-post of Bryan’s notes from the Presidential Debate over at Subliminal Gary

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Presidential Debate – September 26, 2008

McCain’s tie is truly awful. Obama took the center of the ring immediately. Guess he’s going to take the initiative.

Q1: Where do you stand on the bailout plan?

Obama looks good. Speaking directly to the camera. Looks smooth and relaxed and prepared. Obama draws first blood by blaming the current crisis on Bush, supported by McCain.

McCain mentions Kennedy being in the hospital right off the bat. Interesting tactic. McCain appears to be looking at and speaking directly to the moderator, not the television audience. Not sure how that will play to the television audience. Obama is speaking directly to us, McCain does not appear to be doing so.

Q1a: Are you in favor of the plan, damnit?

Obama says we haven’t seen the language of the plan yet and goes on the attack again. Too aggressive? At least he is wearing his lapel pin!

McCain says he will vote for the plan but basically brushes off the question. Seems a bit blase about seeing the crisis coming.

Jim Lehrer is a bit of a dork. Is he trying to increase the drama or run a debate?

Q2: Are there fundamental differences between the two candidates in how they would solve the economic problem?

McCain says we have to curb government spending. Mentions earmarking specifically. Studying DNA of bears? WTF is he talking about? Attacks Obama for wanting 900+ million for something.

Obama responds that McCain wants 300 billion in tax cuts for wealthy and corporations. Obama’s tax plan gives release to 90+% of people.

McCain just doesn’t look good. He points at the moderator very mechanically when he makes points and often laughs nervously.

Q3: What will you give up to pay for the economic bailout?

Obama says we have to have energy independence through alternative energy. Have to fix health care system. Education (science and technology!). Rebuild infrastructure and broadband lines. Electricity grid.

McCain says we have to cut spending. See Q2, apparently. Eliminate ethanol subsidies. Return defense spending? What? Need fixed cost contracts.

Obama insults Bush and McCain laughs. A bipartisan moment!

McCain says spending freeze is the answer except for defense and veterans. Obama says that is overkill. Obama finally plays the Iraq card.

McCain mentions climate change. Huh.

McCain doesn’t seem to have any message other than cutting spending.

Orgy of spending! Obamamania!

Q4: Lessons of Iraq.

McCain: Can’t have a failed strategy. Now we’re winning. Huzzah!

Obama: Should we have gone into war in the first place? Nope. Obama opposed war from the beginning. Didn’t finish job in Afghanistan. We’ve made things worse. And spending 10 billion a month. While Iraq as surplus. Have to use military wisely.

McCain is condescending towards Obama after having mistakes pointed out. That won’t play well. But he’s left-handed. How about that?

Q5: Afghanistan: More troops? How many and when?

Obama: Yes and as soon as possible. Safe havens in Pakistan.

McCain: Won’t make mistake of…ever leaving the middle east?

Oh sweet jesus something is moving inside of McCain’s face!

It sounds like McCain is making a lot of factually incorrect statements and accusations towards Obama. Hopefully there will be some fact-checking in the post-debate.

How many times now has McCain said that Obama doesn’t understand something? 10?

Q6: Iran.

McCain says Iran is a threat to Israel and region if they get nukes. A second holocaust? McCain wants to replace UN with a new league that doesn’t include anyone who opposes us.

Obama says Iran was made more powerful by war in Iraq. Tougher sanctions. Need support of Russia.

Q7: Russia.

Obama: Entire approach needs to be reassessed. Work with Russia.

McCain: Obama doesn’t understand. Over and over again. McCain is going to get hammered for this, I gotta think.

Q8: Likelihood of another 9/11.

McCain: Much less than it was at 9/11. Long way to go.

Obama: Safer in some ways. Airport security. Securing targets. Long way to go. Need port security. Terrorism spreading. Regain international respect.

Tough to call a winner here. Obama is a much better speaker and debater, but McCain’s foreign policy experience is very strong. If people believe that the war in Iraq is destroying the country, Obama should be declared the winner.

Thoughts?

Hilarious McCain/Palin Video!

September 17, 2008

LOL @ LisaNova – you funny, goofy, sexy bitch you!

Lisa’s latest spoof on McCain and Palin is hilarious! You should be able to enjoy this regardless of party affiliation.