Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Romney/Ryan – You do the math

While listening to Romney’s Foreign Policy speech, I was again reminded there is a HUGE disconnect between him and the American people! It isn’t  just that speech. This occurs time and time again with speeches, “off the cuff remarks”, speaking to or avoiding the press and in his views on many topics. This is also very true with Paul Ryan, his choice for Vice President.

It does appear the two of them are trying to avoid answering many specific questions which would allow the American public to see these gaps and disconnect but the availability of video, past speeches and current speeches are always available, in full, online.

Who are Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan? What are their intentions and beliefs on topics that are very relevant to the majority of Americans?

Here is a paper Paul Ryan wrote for the Heritage Foundation in 2010, “The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom.“  It’s explaining his views and goals on the Rights of “Personhood”.

I am not saying that Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan are bad people. I AM saying they are disconnected from much of what is going on around them.

Their views on pro-life and abortion aren’t backed up with their views and choices in other policies? First, people aren’t PRO-abortion. People do however want to make their own decisions. Women want to be able to make a choice. The vast majority of course don’t want to have to get to the point of having to make THAT choice!

Are there more solutions? Yes, one is birth control. WAIT! Did I just hear Rush Limbaugh scream?? The words, “Birth Control” are not always wrapped in the word “FREE”. No, again, it is a choice, something that should be available. Many people have insurance that will cover theirs and others may need assistance but the fact is (and this is proven), birth control helps cut down on unplanned pregnancies and therefore the abortion rate.

There are all of those that will argue, abstinence helps cut down on pregnancy. Yes, that is true. Most everyone knows that. Now, moving on.

I think about how PRO-LIFE these two candidates SAY they are but then why are they trying to cut back on things that help everyone? They want to decrease funding in educational programs, food stamp programs, job training funds and housing subsidies. They want to cut funds going to Planned Parenthood funds and other funds aimed at helping the “poor” (not one of Romney’s strongest support groups as he sees it).

The question is why are they against the greatest healthcare accomplishment in decades that helps more people get quality care and why they want to cut funds to Planned Parenthood which provides family planning services, birth control and many preventative care services to woman. All of this would fall under Pro-Life.

They don’t want to help fund early education programs or keep job training programs strong and running. These are programs which help get people back to work or train for a better and more productive career. Again, isn’t this something Romney and Ryan run on? Getting people back to work, higher paying jobs? Or, are those just stump speeches for votes when in all actuality they plan to cut the programs that help people and put those dollars toward tax cuts for the rich?

Romney made it quite clear how he felt about those using food stamps, government aide or any type of relief funds from the government so that clears up any questions about support for those in poverty. Does he understand many people in poverty were doing well not too long ago? Does he realize a lack of healthcare can put people in poverty due to outrageous medical bills? Does he realize his lack of listening AND understanding as well as his Parties same ignorance is taking our Country through a different type of recession? While they bicker and fight and refuse to advance on helping this country move forward at an even faster rate, people are hurting. While their number one goal is to make President Obama a one term President, our country has to wait for bills to pass and things to get done.  Really?

Now, Romney and Ryan want us to put that same Party as President? He talks about how President Obama has failed our Country, failed our military and wants people to believe the only way we can fix the “mess we are in” is to bring on more of this Party and our country will get back on track?

I think one big thing Romney is hoping is people will forget about history, not remember who he was years back, months back or even days ago. He hopes voters will not listen to campaign speeches, debates and certainly don’t listen to fact checkers. He claims those are lies.

Romney talks about how America needs to regain its military leadership and how in the past we have always led the world. But, while his speeches seem to be half insult and half anger, he has yet to really acknowledge how far our country has come over this past four years. He gives very little credit to our troops in uniform or our military leaders.

This may be a political campaign to him but this is our country. For those who watch the stock market, the housing market, the job market, we can see the improvements. Of course, there is more to be done and the only way to accomplish that is to not tear down what has been accomplished with lies, implications trying to anger people across the nation and abroad, our allies and other nations but by accepting responsibility in both parties for the deceit that is currently taking place right before time of elections. Be a leader even before Election Day.

For example, in his Foreign Policy speech, Romney was speaking about countries receiving foreign aid from the U.S. He said he would stipulate they respect the rights of every citizen including women and minorities. I’m not sure which Romney was speaking but the one campaigning on TV and around the Nation is running under a Party that wants to take the rights of women’s healthcare choices and are currently making voting nearly impossible for thousands across the U.S. Both of those issues are taking our country backwards by decades and both are rights people in other countries are fighting and dying for, countries Romney was speaking about in his speech, today.

America doesn’t need a President who divides us but sees diversity as the quality enabling us to achieve greatness for generations to come.

If Romney wants a strong military today and tomorrow, invest in education for their children today and the recruits of tomorrow. Invest in healthcare so they know their families are taken care of just as his family is taken care of. Have programs such as the Making Home Affordable programs accessible so their families can keep their homes and soldiers have a home to return to.  Keep the job placement programs for soldiers returning home because it is the right thing to do.  Keep access to mental health programs available and practical. Continue access to student loan assistance for families as well as counseling and job placement programs available at all times.

Be aware of what surrounds each soldier.

Romney speaks about people in his stump speech but has often left them out at moments he could have shown gratitude and honor. Many of the rights our country has, our military has helped us achieve them. Our military is not something we threaten the world with but our freedom is something we hope everyone can share.

The military is not just made up of weapons, ships and soldiers. It is made up of families with individual and group needs both when they join, while they are enlisted both home and abroad and after they return home.

Our military isn’t something to be sent, used or regarded as a threat. They are and always have been people who put their lives on the line for our country and we should be willing to do the same for them at home, in Washington, at a stump speech or behind closed doors.

They are heroes. They are us. We are all Americans.

Not just a story

Our world is under a constant change. That is a given. Those who try to stop change or stand in the way of progress are slowly being rooted out.
That is certainly being seen across the Middle East as they continue to fight for their freedom of speech, equalities and the ability to finally be out from under the unspeakable acts of cowardly dictators that have ruled over them for decades.

As each day passes, bravery becomes more evident because to share the turmoil going on in places such as Egypt, Syria, Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, it literally means risking arrest or even one’s life. Making a phone call, sending a picture, a tweet, updating a blog or even carrying on a conversation on the street or anywhere in public can cost a person their life on the spot or have them detained, tortured, or kidnapped leaving their family to wonder whatever became of them. This is not something that is exaggerated or made up. This is life for the people of these countries and has been for decades.

Most reporters sent in are there under government watch and only go places with government permission, in government convoys and to places the governments wants them to see. Example of this is in Tripoli’s famous Rixos Hotel where a large group of reporters have stayed and covered Libya’s conflict for an ongoing amount of time. This is where Iman Al Obaidi ran in to share her story of what happened while she was held by Gaddafi’s soldiers. Her story became internationally known once it was shared by worldwide news organizations and across social media websites. This became possible only because she risked her life to go into that hotel in the first place.

Other reporters have been thrown out of Libya and other countries for sharing too much of the truth as well as having been detained, beaten, raped or are still missing or or have been killed.

To name just a few, Chris Hondros, Tim Hetherington, Mohammed Al-Nabbous, Anton Hammerl were killed just recently. These are just a few and are just naming ones killed in Libya.

Why do “outsiders” risk their lives to share these “stories”?

I’ll answer this question very directly so as to be very clear.

These aren’t just stories, this is life. Just because I am an American writing about people that are living all the way around the world, doesn’t make this any less relevant than if I were writing about something locally, not to me.

You see, these people in many ways are just like me. They have hopes, dreams, families, loved ones, and friends.

Rebel fighters at the Wazin Border Crossing(Tunisia and Nafusa Mountains) May11th
Photo Courtesy of: @ShababLibya

A mother losing her child or a child losing their parents somewhere else in the world is just as upsetting as if that happened here, or to me. A friend watching their friend die is no less painful because it is further away or because it is in a time of war. Many of those fighting in these current revolutions are students, lawyers, doctors or young kids. Most are not soldiers and had never held a weapon before in their life. They are protecting their homes, businesses, families and their lives. They didn’t want to fight. They don’t want to fight. They want to be free which is the opposite of fighting.

As an American, I want our government to be able to help, of course.

I also know that many times, U.S. involvement comes with a cost and although at first glance and in a time of crisis, it seems great and the right thing to do when making arrangements but the long term effects, due to diplomatic arrangements made to reach that original agreement, often far outweigh the long term benefit. Doesn’t sound right, does it?

Let me explain. Iraq and Afghanistan.

The need for help is there and the desire to help is there but the actual response and outcome is often so jumbled up in politics, the RSVP would have been better to have been lost in the mail.

Some situations are so clear, up front, one would think there wouldn’t be any issues. One would think.

In Libya, Gaddafi was making it abundantly clear that he had no problem with taking as many lives each day as he could without any given reason. He also made it clear he wasn’t listening to reason. Once the UN came to an agreement and NATO started its response against Gaddafi’s crimes against his own people, it wasn’t as quick of a process as it would have once been thought.

At this point, it seems communication on the ground (what little there is) doesn’t get heard by the right people, quickly enough. I personally think if it were, Gaddafi would have been cut off much quicker.

Syria has tried to hide what is going on in their country but they haven’t been able to do this, not completely. The government says one thing and does another. It seems they want to act like Iran, dress like Iran but not be treated like Iran. When do threats from the U.S. end? Syria’s government has clearly chosen its path.

In Yemen today, President Saleh refused to sign the exit deal to hopefully bring an end to the political crises. Saleh has ruled for 32 years.
For months now, Yemen has been filled with protests for him to step down. Hundreds have been killed and he has refused to sign a deal at least twice before.

Saleh is demanding the opposition be present at the signing. The opposition refuses saying it will send the wrong message to the revolution leaders in Sanaa, making Saleh look victorious.

The opposition signed their part of the agreement on Saturday, May 21st with the understanding Saleh would sign his on Sunday.
About Saudi Arabia…this is a country with a great deal of oppression toward women.

I am a woman. I drive. Recently Manal Al Sharif was arrested for doing exactly the same thing in the eastern town of Khobar, Saudi Arabia which defies a long standing ban on women’s driving. Yeh, that’s right.

Manal Al Sharif 32 year old Saudi Arabian woman detained for driving in Saudi Arabia

It’s said that about two-thirds of a woman’s salary goes toward their transportation. They can’t walk on the street or drive so they must pay a taxi or private driver. There’s no public transportation.

On June 17th, there’s a campaign #Women2Drive which is growing in numbers on their Facebook page. The idea is for those women, with foreign licenses, to go out in the Kingdom of Saudi and drive that day. Some are even offering to teach others how to drive. Manal Al Sharif remains detained at this moment but in an interview to Gulf news she said, “Every lady has something to do in the city, she’ll just drive, do her business and come back. So it’s as simple as that. People can’t call it a demonstration, we’re not going against the law, we’re not going against anyone, we’re not even demonstrating.”

I was going to divide this article into two parts but I think it’s important to keep it as one.

You see, as a nation, we have an enormous amount of freedoms. I am writing this article which I will shortly post because I have the freedom to do so. I have the ability to share the information which I freely read about on the Internet or via links that were sent to me. Information is golden.

Education is priceless. The ability to have those available to us should never be taken for granted.

In many parts of our world, these freedoms or abilities do not exist. Our freedoms were fought for by very brave people before us and to take anything at all for granted, to me, just seems wrong. It also seems wrong to take lightly why others would want these same freedoms as well as the loss of lives they are experiencing while fighting for their freedom.

Many have chosen to come here, to the U.S., seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Around the world, America has been known as the “Land of the Free”, but is it? Do we truly know where these people are coming from, why they are seeking freedom and can they still find it here? In coming here, they have often made many sacrifices leaving behind the only homes they have ever known and family members to still live under dictators and the very life they are running from.

It’s been a while since I have written. I’ve been following much of what has been going on around the world, devastating natural disasters, revolutions and our own nation and its many ups and downs.

I hadn’t planned to write quite yet until I read a comment about the woman in Saudi, Manal, who had been arrested for, driving. The comment was basically along the lines of the fact the reader would never live in a place that wouldn’t allow a woman to drive!

My question: What if you were born there?

Homegrown Terrorism

It has become clear what goes on in one part of the world will be seen all over the world, often times in a matter of moments. Good news travels fast but it seems bad news travels even faster and is often repeated the most.

In July, the Dove World Outreach Center’s preacher, Terry Jones set the date of September 11th to burn the Holy Book of the Islamic religion, the Qur’an. What was his reason? He says Islam is of the devil.

In an interview with Rick Sanchez on CNN, July 29th he said, “We believe Islam is of the Devil. It is causing billions of people to go to hell. It is a deceptive religion. It is a violent religion. That is proven many many times.”

This pastor may feel how he wants to feel, as may anyone. However by setting this date to hold a burning of a Holy Book to the Islam religion, there are many consequences coming out of this from this one person’s choice.

Monday in Afghanistan, a protest was held in the capital. We have tens of thousands of troops fighting there and they aren’t fighting the Afghanistan people. They are helping them by fighting against their enemies, Al Qaeda.

Monday though, many of those people at the protest were getting mixed messages due to this news of what was going on at this church in the U.S. wanting to burn their Holy Book and saying their religion is of the devil? Maybe they should just give up on the American people. Why trust them?

This pastor is talking about burning another religion’s Holy Book while he lives in a country that is based on FREEDOM OF RELIGION. Does he choose what religions are free? Does he choose WHO has those freedoms?

This pastor believes he is a “patriot” but the highest ranking military officials are watching the reactions from overseas and saying it’s not good for America. Is that not enough of an alert? He’s not being a patriot. He is stirring up a conflict both here and abroad. He is doing this by choice and with full knowledge of the consequences arising and with numerous warnings from different government agencies, local officials and many around the world.

In a statement from one of the top American Generals in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, he said, “We’re over here to defend the rights of the American citizens and we’re not debating the first amendment rights that people have, but what I will tell you is that their very actions will jeopardize the safety of the young men and women who are serving in uniform over here and also undermine the very mission that we’re trying to accomplish. I would hope they would understand that there are second and third order effects that would occur that will affect the young men and women who’s out there on point for America serving their nation today because of their actions in the United States.”

These people serving our country and fighting the war on terror, are pointing out not only is this harmful for our troop’s safety and mission but also goes against the safety for America and many around the world.

Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan released a statement to the Wallstreet Journal saying, “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic Community.”

The safety of America and American troops has always been the priority but since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the heightened security has been more focused and more attention has been on Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden.

For many people the focus has shifted to the Muslim people and more recently causing a great deal of debates over the building of or even the expansions of existing mosque.

Often times, people fear what they don’t understand or what they are told is bad or evil.

This “pastor”, Terry Jones is causing a greater amount of conflict and danger on this nation, our troops who have been risking their lives and he is doing this all for a selfish reason, because he is trying to make a point.

Although he may fully believe everything he is saying and his estimated 50 church followers may believe him as well, is America’s safety or the safety of our troops, Americans abroad or other nations that have also fought the war on terror ready to face this added terror his actions may provoke, most likely will provoke?

Someone willing to put that great of a risk on other people’s lives for their own cause is as much of a terrorist as those he claims to be fighting against.

It doesn’t matter where he is born, what religion he claims to follow or what color his skin is.

He has been told to stop. He has been told of the dangers. He has been told of the risk he is putting America, its people and its troops in and yet he is refusing to stop.

Terry Jones does not care. He has a higher calling.

Does this sound familiar? Does this sound like the behavior words of a terrorist?