Search This Blog

21 October 2008

US Politics

The fickle nature of political alliances was amply demonstrated the other day by the visit of the French President to Camp David. It was only a few short years ago that the French were being reviled in Washington and French Fries were off the menu. Now Dubya is best mates with President Sarkozy, and has also been referring to "our European partners". Amazing, isn't it, what a financial crisis can bring about?

In the presidential election campaign it is encouraging to see how well Barak Obama is doing in the polls right now, and so far as I can see, the McCain campaign continues to dig itself deeper into a hole by the continued use of negative and personal attacks on Obama. The Alaskan dingbat Palin continued to display her unlikeable character in a recent visit to North Carolina (where the Democrats are making unexpected inroads). The following is taken from the New York Times ..

No Democratic presidential candidate has won North Carolina since Jimmy Carter did so in 1976. The state has long been a bastion of cultural conservatism; it was in Greensboro last week that Ms. Palin said she loved visiting the “pro-America” parts of the country.

How stupidly arrogant and insulting this is .. it implies that those parts of the American population who are NOT sympathetic to the Republican cause are anti-America. What utter garbage!

Colin Powell, a Republican for whom I have a great respect has now come out in favour of Barak Obama, and has also touched on the negative nuances of the Republican campaign. I was impressed by his condemnation of the insidious drip, drip, drip of stories that Obama is a Muslim (and therefore by implication, a terrorist). He pointed out correctly that Obama is a Christian, but then went on to pose the "real question" .. so what would it matter? He referred to the grave of a young man in Arlington Cemetery who had died in military service for his country. At the top of the headstone there was no Christian Cross; there was no Star of David; there was a Crescent and Star.

These people who peddle stories around the Internet implying that Obama is some kind of security threat are beneath contempt.

13 October 2008

Religious Fundamentalism

As we continue to read about religious fundamentalists causing grief and mayhem around the world - the latest comes from an eastern region of India where Hindus are forcing Christian villagers to convert or have the homes burned down - it is refreshing to read the comments of the multi-millionaire recruitment entrepeneur James Caan (well known for his appearance on the British TV show "Dragons' Den").

Caan is a Pakistani immigrant to the UK who had the intelligence to realise that the way to be a successful immigrant is to make some effort to blend into the customs and cultures of the host country. As you would expect from a Pakistani, Caan was brought up as a Muslim.

“My view is that you have got to integrate yourself because you choose to live here. The Muslim faith is no different to the Christian faith or the Jewish faith. We believe in all the things that Christians believe in. If you break it down, where are the differences? In rituals, not the fundamentals.” 

I am not sure I entirely agree that what he says about Christianity, Judaism and Islam is strictly factual, but he's close, and I think we have to applaud his attitude.

The most disgusting thing about religious fundamentalists - from whatever faith - is their arrogant assumption that they have some kind of right to impose their views on other people and dictate how others should think and what they should believe.

I'm tempted to yell "Death to all fundamentalists", but I don't, because that would make me just like them.

08 October 2008

Role Reversal

It has already been demonstrated that Communism doesn't work; now, apparently, neither does Capitalism.

This week we have come to the strange realisation that Russia is now full of oil-rich capitalists whilst America and Europe are busy bringing financial institutions under State control.

What a topsy-turby world we live in.

Who would have guessed that the American Republican Party, proponents of SMALL government, would end up running HUGE government! Who would have guessed that Britain's New Labour Party, having ditched all that old socialist dogma to bring them back out of the wilderness in 1997, would end up by nationalising banks!

The way things are going at present, those of us who believe it might be better to keep our money under the bed might be forgiven for wondering if we will have beds under which to keep it.

Onwards and downwards.