Middle East Peace? is it likely?


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With the recent fall of Mubarak in Egypt I have fallen to wondering if it is possible that Peace could break out in the middle east.

Learned people will tell us that our problem is that we do not understand other cultures.  That may be true but, does that mean that we have to pander to them?   In about 1980 to 1982 I was stationed at MacDill AFB, it was NOT called Fort MacDill, and was on a mobility team aimed to deploy to Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia.  Every so often we would have exercises where we would play at going over.  This would include everything we needed to do up to the point of getting on an aircraft.  One of the things they would brief us on would be letting the ladies know that if they had dark skin they could ask to be relieved of this assignment.  The reason was that when they did deploy there they would be expected to follow the customs of the host country which included wearing the face covering like the women who live there.   It seems that, in an effort to respect local customs, our females would have to wear the scarves, even in UNIFORM, when they went off base.  That seems reasonable, to a degree, that we would respect their local customs, right?

So, how come, when they come here we still have to respect their local customs?  Makes no sense to me.

So, lets agree that there are things we don’t understand about other customs.  We shall just have to muddle along on what we do believe.

Mubarak is out of Egypt.. HU RA.  The madman of Libya seems ready to fall.. OH GOSH.

Does this mean that peace might break out in the Middle East?  Does this mean that DEMOCRACY might follow?  Those are good questions.  Democracies were not founded over night.  The American version, what we have grown accustomed to is a variation of the European idea, and was adapted to what our founders thought we needed.  They took a bunch of these ideas and put them into our constitution, a document that give legal structure to the United States of America.  This document that they finally agreed on was not the first.  First there had to be the documents that laid out the colonies, then there was OUR first document which was the Articles of Federation, then there was the U. S. Constitution.  This document was made up to replace the earlier Articles that were found to be unsuitable, due to the fact that the Federal Government could not make the states do what they did not want to do.  What we have now has been build on that idea.

How important is this?  The Constitution of the United States of America is just a document, it is the people in charge who have to follow it.  There has to be a means by which we can be sure that the rules it lays out are being followed, and we call it the Supreme Court.  This court has the responsibility for telling who is NOT going by the rules, and voiding laws that they believe are contrary to the rules established by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

What if we had not put in that third branch of government?  Picture how it could be with out some of the decisions that the Supreme Court has made over the years.  Consider what might have happened without the court telling the president that his actions were illeagal, or telling the Congress that a law was improper?

The make up of a government is very important but, a constitution is only a piece of paper and can not enforce itself.  In the 1960s, when I was in Junior High School, it was Webb Jr. H. S. in Tampa, Fl.  A history teacher by the name of Mathews explain this point to us.  He went on to say that surprisingly, one of the most freedom loving Constitutions in the world belonged to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  This is the USSR that under Josef Stalin killed millions of their own citizens, and had to build a wall around their area of influence, just to keep the citizens from escaping.  So, what was the deal there?

The deal there was that the Communist did not believe their Constitution and there was no one around to enforce it, so they just did what they wanted.

So here is where I start to get to my point…  Democracy in the west did not come about over a short period of time, it took gradual increments with many concepts added to the mix before a document like our Constitution could come to be, and still, even now, we have to keep vigilant in our efforts to keep the government honest.  We have over time become used to our rights.  How many times have you seen a movie where the American, overseas, says “I’m an American, you can’t do this to me!”  We get used to our rights, and sometimes forget that other people are NOT used to those same things.

There was an article, sometime ago, in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, in either the letters to the editor section and in the op-ed section where the writer went on about what the people in the regions were use to.  His point was that we could no expect people in that area to embrace a democracy for the simple reason that they were not used to the idea.  Look at Afghanistan or the area between Afghanistan and Pakistan and you will see TRIBAL areas.  These areas are ruled by tribal leaders who’s interest are centered around small areas.  Picture what might have happened if the 13 colonies had been made up of small tribal areas, all of whom had their own interest, and then ask them to give this up so that the power could go to some central authority that they would have little control over.  They would be a people who had not been brought up to respect the “rule of law”.  What would you get?  Most likely a middle east on our eastern shores.  It would have been much like what we see in the middle east now.  Rulers like Mummar Ghadafi, and the Mullahs of Iran have no respect for law, either their own or international, and just do what they want.  Some years ago there was a protest against Ghadafi outside the Libyan Embassy in London.  It was during the uproar with the protesters that one of the Libyan Security people shot, killing, an English Bobbie.  I am sure you remember how Iran kept the American Embassy personnel hostage for 444 days.

It would be really nice to think that Democracy and Peace will break out in the region but, if  this situation goes the way it looks, then we could be facing another Iran, or Somalia.

I hope not…  There are a lot of young people there who are in poverty situations, from a government that does not spend it’s oil wealth to better its population, much like Egypt, so we could also wind up with another Taliban type gang in power..

I guess we will just have to wait and see.

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When if FREE not FREE….


The question is: when is “FREE” not “FREE”. Maybe your perception of FREE is what matters. I see the word “FREE” and think they are sending it to me for “FREE”, though I would accept a reasonable shipping charge.

I see ads that say they will send me something for “FREE”, all I have to do is buy their product. BUZZ BUZZ.

While I am not picking on Newsmax Magazine I will use the disclaimer from their web site to make a point.

I understand I can only order one hat perhousehold. At the end of my free trial, I’ll be sent a renewal notice. If I like Newsmax magazine I can do nothing and my subscription will automatically renew for an additional 12 issues at the low annual price of $39.95 by charging my credit/debit card or my checking account. There’s no risk — I’ll always receive advance notice of annual renewals, and I can cancel at any time for a full refund of the unused portion of my subscription. I understand that if I cancel the trial subscription before the notice of renewal, I will be charged the full retail price of $22.95 for the hat.

The intention here, of course, is to get you to get a subcription to their magazine.  OK.

It is a trial subscription, I know, and yes the subscription is “FREE”.  All you have to do is wait for the renewal notice, and then let them know you do not want to renew.

If you cancel the trial subscription before you get the renewal notice you have to pay $22.95 for the hat.

If they send you the renewal notice, and you just wanted the hat, can you call them up on the phone to decline the renewal?  What if you have to send it in and they do not get it in time, or if the post office loses it?

I have not dealt with newsmax in the past, and am not interested in the hat but, is it a “FREE” hat?  Or is it an “at not additional charge”  hat.

That is my question.

Let’s Get to Work..?


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The results, of the election, are in and the new people are starting to “Get to Work”.

4 out of 10 Floridians made the choice to vote, and the results are going to start being felt.. soon.

When someone complains, in the coming months, you should ask them if they voted and then, if they had not voted you should explain to them that since they did not voice their opinion when it was important they do NOT have anything to say NOW. I sometimes hear people complain that the reasons they did not vote were that: one person was going to win anyway, it was not worth my time, or it was too inconvenient.

Looking at some of the recent elections, such as the 2008 votes I would have said that only real left wingers would have voted for Obama, and I would have been wrong. In this last election, here in Florida, I would have said that the obvious choice would have been Alex Sink for Governor, or Meek or Crist for Senator, I was wrong all the way down.

In the past couple of years some of Florida’s counties, and cities, have passed amendments that would make it harder for their local government to authorize increased density in zoning plans. Growth management is an important issue here, as developers want to make their money from building more and more homes, and the people want to have to have odd things like, roads that are not congested, homes that are not crammed onto little lots, or enough schools for the students. Impact fees were set up so that new homes would help to pay for these things. Rick Scott is promising, by appointing developers to office, to curtail growth management, and open Florida to urban sprawl.

Rick Scott plans to roll back all of the advances we have made here, and let the developers have free reign to cram houses everywhere, endanger our drinking supplies, the environment, and our beaches.

Make sure you let him know that you want to keep Florida Beautiful, uncluttered, and unpolluted.

Let us make sure that he understands that the infrastructure, such as roads, schools, water, electric, etc., should be in place before the homes are built.

I have seen the bay front, in Sarasota, change to look more like Miami Beach – Tacky.

Peacfull? I wonder.


I recently read an article by Tony Blair, the ex-Prime Minister of the UK, where he pointed out that out of 22 conflicts going on in the world , all but one of them involved Muslims.

It is easy to point to this kind of article and say, “no, they are not a peaceful religion”, or look at the Qur’an and see where they are supposed to be tolerant of other religions. Much like the Christian Bible.

What is needed to be done is to look at what they do. Like Forrest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does”, and the same goes here. It does not matter what you say if, you do not do what you say.

I would love to think that it is just the radicals who a responsible for the violence. The problem is in that statement by Tony Blair…

Do not just look at the middle east, look around the world and see the attacks on other cultures, or even their own, and it is hard to think that they are indeed peaceful.

I remember a time when in the Irish had a war going on between the Catholics and Protestants, they made peace eventually, and I have not heard of a resurgence of hate, but could you use that to say that either the Protestants, or Catholics, were a violent people? Some might.

The real question is.. is that conduct wide spread? Does it only happen in a limited area, such as the middle east, or is it global? It is global… and takes place in Africa, obviously the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and even in the Pacific Rim countries.. Does that make Islam a dangerous religion? Yes!

Are there radicals in Islam? Yes. Are there moderates who prefer peach? Oh, yes.

When 911 happened, how many of the moderates came out of the Mosques and said how horrible it was that 3,000 people were killed. Did any of the go on the airwaves to talk about who evil this act was? Did you see any of them? No, we saw on the news broadcast happy crowds rejoicing at the deaths suffered by the “Great Satan“.

I recently saw a video, I can’t remember his name, about a man who pointed out some of the similarity between Christianity and Islam, and then pointed out that the main difference was that Christian populations were better at assimilating into the host countries.

You can look back at the Crusades, 7 or 8 of them in a 200 year period, or the eradication of other European religions as the church spread across Europe and said tat Christians were evil. What you should keep in mind is that they got over it. Islam started 570-632 A.D, and has yet to learn the tolerance that the Christians display.

Christians have practice for thousands of years so, maybe there is a chance that Islam will mature into the kind of religion they say they are now.

Smile, your on Candid Camera?


There have been, in the last couple of years, moves to place cameras at stop lights The idea, of course, is to catch people who rum red lights. The theory is very simple, it is the implementation that gets complicated. In Florida the legislature had to pass a law making this legal. With out the law the cameras could not be placed in the actual intersections as they are state right of way.

There was also talk about how the tickets would be issued. Would they be criminal, such as your speeding ticked, or civil. Lets look at a speeding ticket. When the officer, deputy, trooper, issues you a ticket he has just arrested you for a criminal offense, and you are granted a kind of bail when you sign the ticket, which only means that you will show up in court and is NOT a confession. The problem with trying to issue criminal complaints based on photos of the incident is that for an arrest to be made, and these are misdemeanor charges, the officer has to have observed the incident. If you want to test this just try getting a cop to issue a ticket to someone for running a red light, which the officer, deputy, trooper, did not personally see. He won’t do it.

From what I have seen, in the press, most of the people who will be running the cameras will be employed by private companies and not by local government. So what would be the chance that they would pay a state certified law enforcement officer to sit at a camera, snapping pictures, so he can say, “Yes, I personally saw the violation”?
The proving of guilt in a civil court is different than that of a criminal court. In a criminal court they have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” but, in a civil case they only need a “preponderance of evidence”. Plus, in the civil court there is NO actual arrest. The fine would have to go to the owner of the vehicle, and not necessarily the driver. This would have to do with the fact that no one was there to get ID information from the offender, such as would be accomplished with a real traffic stop, and, probably, the only ID factor would be a picture of the vehicles license plate, which would not prove that Junior was not driving the car that day.

Big Brother is coming, or, depending on who you talk to, is already here. We are getting used to cameras at the bank, watching traffic on the highways, in shopping malls, and many residential areas. The watchword is Safety.

So, when you go out, and about, smile at the camera where Big Brother maybe watching.

Better yet! Think about how long it will take for someone to figure out how to make you safer in the home by installing a camera, just in case you fall down and can’t get up, or maybe the insurance companies might want to be sure you took all safety precautions in your home.

I don’t want to sound paranoid but, ever since 911 I have been hearing about how was are supposed to give up certain amount of privacy to ensure our safety. The question is, how much of your privacy do you wish to part with.

Would we like the feeling that our TV is watching us as we watch it? Would you like to think that, while watching TV one night, you might mention roaches in the kitchen and the next day a health inspector knocks son your door to check the sanitary conditions of you kitchen?

Of course there is also the idea that if you are murdered in your home that the culprits might be caught on film. That part might be nice. They might not get there in time to stop it but the bad guys will be caught, and then they can show your death in court. Justice served.

Think about it…