Sunday, October 19, 2008

What Has America Done for Europe?

I was at a pub last night discussing politics with a group of friends. We talked about the US presidential election this November and various other topics. Throughout our friendly chat, I was reminded once again why the US, and the world, needs Barack Obama. Our image around the world has been very badly tarnished by the Bush administration, and a new Obama administration would do all it can to improve America's prestige around the world. That is the least he could do.

In the middle of our chat, a brilliant young lady from Germany asked me, "What has the United States done for Europe?" That question took me by a surprise. After all, the US was deeply involved in both World Wars, Europe's post war reconstruction, the Cold War, and a million other projects and initiatives directly benefiting Europe. Before going any further, allow me to make a full and complete disclosure. I am very aware of the fact that America's involvement in Europe was also aimed at preserving and protecting US interests. Having said that, it is justified to say that Europe benefited greatly from America's presence and support in the continent.

To prove this point, I am going to pose a few questions. What would have happened to Europe without an American intervention in WWII? Could Britain defeat Nazi Germany alone? Could the Soviets push the Germans back without a Western front opened by the US? What about the post war years? Could Europe pay for its reconstruction after having fought a bloody and costly war? What about the fight against communism and the USSR? Was it not the US that carried out the massive "Berlin airlift?" Was it not the US that helped West Germany secure its borders, and then committed American men and women to defend Germany against a possible invasion from the east? What about Bosnia and Kosovo? Was it not NATO, lead by the US, that stopped a genocide in the Balkans? These are just a handful of examples I came up with in five minutes.

You tell me. What has the US done for Europe?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Let's Hate!

John McCain's negative campaigning is now hurting McCain himself. But what really bothers me is how willing people are to demonize the opposition's candidate. I have voted for both Democratic and Republican candidates in the past, but I never thought the person I was Not voting for was evil or a terrorist. Watch this clip now and you will find out what I am talking about. This kind of hatred is bad for the country. Do you think Obama is a terrorist? I certainly don't and I will proudly vote for him.

This Makes Me Mad!

I got really upset today. Well, first of all, I am in London. I have been here for almost three weeks. Anyhow, I spoke to my mother today and informed her of my packages' arrival. She told me she went to the post office to mail a jacket and a few shirts to an orphan child she takes care of in Iran, and the person at the post office told her "Shipments to Iran are temporarily unavailable”... and that she needed special permission from so and so to send those clothing items to a 7 year-old boy in Iran.

That makes me mad! Mr. Ahmadinejad spends millions of dollars helping out those organizations labeled as "Terrorist" while Iranian children are bereft of basic supplies for the upcoming winter. Mr. Ahmadinejad speaks so shamelessly of freedoms in Iran as if there are no political prisoners there.

Two weeks ago, there was the Quds Day rally here in London. Only a handful of loyalists showed up. Do you know who pays for these events? The Iranian government! They are so fond of throwing such events in London and Islam Abad yet they forget about the needs of 7 year-olds in their own country.

Mr. Ahmadinejad! Iran is facing grave dangers. You might have noticed! What have you gained from your hostile, racist, and violent rhetoric? Has it been anything but more pain, suffering, and agony for your own people?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hillary's Lack of Courage

Hillary Clinton ran a losing campaign second to none in modern American history. She made numerous strategic mistakes such as lack of infrastructure in post Super Tuesday states. She was so confident of Obama’s defeat on Super Tuesday that she failed to set up the most basic campaign facilities in post Super Tuesday states such as Nebraska or Washington. Mark Penn, Clinton’s chief strategist, only added to her troubles by not knowing California’s primary was NOT a winner take all contest! This was a huge mistake by someone who has spent a life time in US politics and was credited to have been one of Democrat’s best strategists.

Clinton’s camp made mistakes, and no one is denying that. But what really caused Hillary the presidency was her bad timing to enter the race. Clinton announced her candidacy convinced of an anti Bush/anti GOP mood in the country. She thought she picked an easy fight,until Obama entered the race. Clinton’s calculations about an easy Democratic victory against a GOP candidate were correct. She made only one mistake: She ran four years too late! Obama and his message of change was much more appealing to the disgruntled, angry Democratic voter and Hillary’s moderate stances did not stand a chance.

Hillary lost her dream because of her political calculations in 2004. You may ask why? The Democratic Party entered the 2004 election without a quality candidate. Kerry supporters voted against Bush and not for Kerry. The Democratic nominee for presidency in 2004 was mediocre at best. He ran a terrible campaign and lost to President Bush in November. Hillary did not enter the race because she believed it was not possible or too hard to unseat a president. She could have easily won the Democratic primaries in 2004 but Hillary did not have the COURAGE to pick a fight. She set her sights on an easy victory in 2008 and gladly, she lost!

That is why Clinton, in my opinion, is a political opportunist! She tried to ride the waves of dissent and dissatisfaction in 2008. She could have had it all had she run 4 years earlier. Sometimes in politics, courage is much more important than precise calculations.

Congratulations to Senator Barack Obama for courageously making history this past week!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Are Americans Ready for a Woman President?

By Jacinda Chan
UC Berkeley

As International Women’s Day passes, a celebration of the achievements of women’s right, can we say the United States has advanced to the point of electing a woman as president? Well, let us look at some basic facts.

Despite advancements women have made, they still earn only seventy-seven cents for every $1 their male counterpart earns, and women of color earn even less than that. Women still face the challenge of balancing work and family. To get to the top of your career, a woman must sacrifice her family life. According to one report, 42 percent of corporate women are childless by age 40, but only 14 percent planned to be.

Obviously, women are still somewhat second class citizens in the workplace because they cannot have both a family and a career like men. Because of this disparity, America is clearly not ready for a woman to hold such a high power position because the discrimination that happens in this country has to do with careers.

Even after Clinton’s victory in Texas, she will still not able to beat McCain because not enough people like her. A good strategy for Clinton would be to get Obama to choose her as his running mate. This way the two can combine both their supporters to hopefully outnumber McCain, who will probably get more support just for being a traditional Caucasian man. Not only that, but they can combine the best of both plans, and in this way Clinton can prepare the U.S. for having a woman leader. Plus in eight years, if Obama is reelected, Clinton will become the most likely nominee of the democratic party. Nobody ever said it would be easy for a woman to advance her career. In fact, it would probably be a struggle, but at least, this way she would be making progress for all women.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

From Fidel to Raul: No Change will Occur

By Jacinda Chan
UC Berkeley

Raul Castro has officially taken office as the new leader of Cuba. Some media experts expect a change, economically, but they are wrong. No change will occur. They say Raul intends to implement a Chinese economic model of state-led capitalism like Deng Xiaoping, but Raul is missing two of the three necessary requirements needed for a growing economy.

For starters, for Cuba’s economy to really develop, Raul Castro will need to allow more privatization. Right now a barber earns as much as a street vendor and people working for foreign company’s must pay huge amounts of taxes to redistribute the money evenly. The way China’s economy started growing was by allowing economic disparities. Deng Xiaoping believed that people worked best when they were able to keep their earnings. Raul’s Cuba does not allow the people to thrive the way Deng Xaioping believes is needed for a growing economy, and wanting to continue rule with an iron fist will not allow privatization.

More importantly, reporters have stated that Raul will open Cuba up to foreign investment, but for this is to work, Raul will have to be selective about which imports he allows to choose one’s that will not outdo local businesses.

Currently, a main importer, the U.S., has an embargo on Cuba, and in a recent debate, Clinton has refused to negotiate with Raul until he has implemented reforms, and Obama would meet with Raul only to discuss human rights issues. Because Raul does not intend to change much, he can expect little help from the U.S. if a democrat is elected.

Even if the U.S. decides to lift the embargo, they would probably not let him choose the imports or buy out U.S. businesses once they are established, another criteria for successful foreign investments according to Deng Xiaoping. The U.S. does not trust Cuba. So giving Cuba choices and the option to buy out business would give them more power, scaring the U.S.

Unless Raul Castro’s plans to improve Cuba’s human rights record and the economy involve drastic privatization, and the U.S. changes its stance on how to treat Cuba, Cubans can expect to be stuck in a drudge forever. Not only will this embargo severely limit economic growth, but who know where Raul will go for foreign investment, possibly aligning himself with even more oppressive governments, and the U.S. will have no say because Cuba will not be dependent on it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reconsider Obama’s Iraq Strategy

-By Jacinda Chan
UC Berkeley

Does Obama really know what he is doing when it comes to Iraq? He wants to just pull out of Iraq and talk to Middle Eastern leaders, but do you really think that will work? Of course, pulling out in such a way will benefit American troops, but what about the Iraqi people who we pulled into this mess and have to live with the consequences? Let’s take a quick survey of two world examples of what happened when countries decide to pull quickly out of another’s mess, only this was our mess.

Let’s look at when Britain decided to leave India and Pakistan hastily. Obama wants to talk to the leaders of the Middle East just like Mountbatten tried to talk to Nehru, Jinnah, and Gandhi but to no avail. The British decided to leave anyways without a resolution, and India and Pakistan continue to have crisis to this day. As result of these crisis, India and Pakistan have a constant threat of nuclear war. I don’t think you want Iraq to pose such a threat.

The second example is Rwanda. As soon as all the U.N. troops left the camps they were guarding, the Tutsi had no more protection, which allowed the Hutu to sweep in and commit mass GENOCIDE. Same as now, the world just thought it was civil war. However, if we withdraw the way Obama wants to, we could witness more nuclear threats, or even worse,

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Obama,Flaws and All-Why I Support Obama

By Dr.Clive Leeman

I've been supporting Barack Obama since his announcement of candidacy a
year ago on the steps of the Springfield Capitol before 30,000 people
standing in freezing rain. I realized then that he is the kind of gifted leader
who only comes along perhaps once in every 50 years.

He has a superb creative intelligence and gift for empathy. Each one
of his major speeches is different from his other speeches--always original,
graceful, and philosophically challenging, rather like Martin Luther King's.

The best piece on Obama I've read is "Barack Obama's unlikely political
education. The Agitator." by Ryan Lizza, The New Republic, Issue date:

It explores his years as a community organizer in Chicago's South Side,
a job he took instead of one of the $500,000 corporate positions offered top
Harvard Law School graduates.

I came away from reading that article in a state of awe about the man.
It concentrates on his years as a community organizer when he excelled at
inspiring demoralized communities and became the best local grassroots organizer
in living memory. During his successful run for the state senate, he
demonstrated that he had a spine of steel and unerring political instincts.

The South Carolina primary has shown that, in a groundswell, more and
more Americans are recognizing his presidential capacities, even his
authority. I hope and pray he stays safe for our sake and the sake of history.

During the campaign, Obama, a strong supporter of Israel, has spoken
sympathetically about the Palestinians, running the risk of antagonizing the
pro-Israeli lobby.

He has even more directly defied another powerful lobby (anti-Castro
Cubans)to say he will meet with Castro once he's President.

Obama is the only one of the candidates except Kucinich to have spoken
out against the war before the occupation of Iraq. I support him partly
because of my own antiwar principles.

Some of hls more recent statements on the Iraq war and on the Middle
East in general, however, have disappointed me and his health insurance plan
is not as strong as I would like it to be (single payer). And, although he
has refused to take money from corporate lobbyists, raising millions of
dollars from ordinary people online, he does not seem to recognize the criminal
nature of U.S.corporate foreign policy (see John Perkins's Confesssions of an
Economic Hit Man).

But my policy disagreements with Obama have not prevented me from
understanding that he has become an extraordinary presence on the
political landscape, aforce for good; that he has come to us in the
midst of MLK's "fierce urgency
of now"; that his transformative gifts are just what we desperately need after
the dreadful desolation of the Bush years; that, in journalist Laura Flander's
words, he has the capacity to be a "charismatic optimist" as president,just
like FDR, who began as a moderate but, through his sympathetic connection with
the people, was able to carry out the most radically significant legislation
in U.S. history.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

It is Much Easier on the Democratic Side

The Democratic Party is surprisingly more united than the GOP in this election cycle. Despite the occasional Obama/Clinton mud slinging that is typical of campaigning, the Democratic candidates are rather united ideologically. Both Clinton and Obama take very similar positions on issues from health care to the war in Iraq. The fight on the Democratic side is not an ideological one, rather it's a popularity contest.

On the Republican side however, the fight is between the different factions of the Republican Party and the conservative movement as a whole. McCain, Huckabee, Romney and Paul, all represent a different facet of the Republican Party.

The McCain/Giuliani wing is what I call the neo conservative faction. Although not everyone may agree with this, Sen.McCain's foreign policy is of an interventionist and unilateral nature. He has been and still is an outspoken supporter of the war in Iraq and the fight against "radical Islamic extremism" is the dominant message of his campaign. His list of foreign policy advisers include names such as William Kristol , Robert Kagan and Randy Scheunemann, all outspoken neo conservatives.

Huckabee represents the evangelical wing of the party. The religious/evangelical wing of the GOP has enabled the Republicans to dominate Southern politics in recent years. They are also very influential in the Midwest and many western states such as Arizona and Nevada. The evangelical base is a very loyal segment of the Republican Party which has proven its political significance by showing huge turnouts in every major election for every major Republican candidate.

Romney represents the fiscally conservative wing. Despite his recent change of heart on many issues, the true Mitt Romney who lead in Massachusetts, was a secular and pragmatic Republican who came from a very successful business background.

And finally, Ron Paul. He is the libertarian side of the GOP. Despite his irrelevance on many issues, Paul has been able to attract the attention of many likely voters with his opposition to the war in Iraq and his support for an isolationist foreign policy.

The Democrats, myself included , have a much easier task. Whether it is going to be Barack or Hillary, the Democrats are united on almost all the issues. But the race on the GOP side is about core issues facing the party of Abraham Lincoln. Is the party going to be a religious party or a fiscally conservative one? Is it going to favor preemptive warfare or is it going to restrict American involvement around the world? This is a defining moment for the Republicans and their decision in 2008 will have long lasting effects for the party.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are There Any Conservatives Left?

Rudy left the race too. Giuliani's departure and his endorsement of McCain would embolden McCain's already prominent position in the race. His victory in the winner takes all contests in Florida has given him more confidence to believe that he can become the Republican presidential nominee in 2008. I hear my conservative friends describing the current Republican field as"very diverse". I hear "...Republican voters had many options to choose from". Really? I don't think so.

The Republican field had a Libertarian, a liberal, a neo conservative, a convert, an evangelical and a few irrelevant contenders. But what the GOP field lacked was a true CONSERVATIVE. Someone like Ronald Reagan who was for low taxes, small government, socially conservative values and a firm belief in free markets. Reagan embodied what a true conservative should be like.

Is there anyone in the race today who has all those qualities? You may say that Romney comes very close. Yes, but Romney has also been a flamboyant advocate of gay rights, abortion, and gun control when it served him politically. Romney is the convert. And many doubt his sincerity.

What the GOP field didn't have and continues to lack is a true conservative. After Rudy's departure, the race is between McCain, Romney, Huckabee and Paul. Paul and Huckabee have no real chance of winning the primaries so the GOP must pick between a liberal and a convert.

As I write this piece, the GOP candidates are debating only a very short distance away from me at the Reagan Library. I am not watching the live broadcast of the debate but I am sure that Reagan's name will be mentioned many many times tonight by the candidates. It is up to the voters to pick between the candidates while asking themselves the following questions:
Can we trust McCain? Can we trust Romney? Who would be a better fit for the needs of a Republican Party so devastated by Bush's leadership? This election may decide the relevance of the Republican Party in American politics for many years to come. So choose carefully my friends, choose carefully.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Who Won the Debate Tonight?

The GOP debate in Florida turned out to be more civil than expected. Despite fierce competition between McCain, Romney and Giuliani , the debate went on without any personal attacks as we saw a few nights ago on the Democratic side. So who was the winner of tonight's debate?

Romney has been moving up steadily in the polls while Giuliani has managed to lose his lead and is now trailing in third place after Romney and McCain. Romney did a great job tonight, while staying away from direct attacks he managed to focus on his record as a true conservative.

McCain and Huckabee exchanged a few friendly remarks and McCain praised Giuliani on his leadership after 9/11. So, who won? I'd say Hillary Clinton! She was mentioned in this debate more than Ronald Reagan. She is the right's boogie man or to be politically correct, boogie woman! The right hates nothing more than the Clintons back in the White House. Although Hillary Clinton does not really represent the left wing of the Democratic party, yet the Republicans despise the Clintons for their political skill, sleekness and Bill's successful presidency of 8 years. They don't hate Hillary for her tax policies now as much as for her involvement in policy making as the first lady. After all she deified the traditional role of the first lady while Bill was in office.

So she was mentioned several times at the GOP debate. Why? To mobilize the Republican base who passionately dislikes the idea of Hillary Clinton as the Commander in Chief. So Berkeley Forum declares Hillary Clinton the winner of tonight's debate. She received free air time and was presumed to be the Democratic nominee.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MLK Holiday & Human Rights Assessment of the Candidate's Health Care Plans

Elahe Amani

While today in our city Martin Luther King Parade Brought Community Out To Remember & Celebrate, many reflected on the true legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as a leader with conviction and passion for civil rights and human rights as it is important to take the meaning of this day further than an exercise in platitudes and official declarations from the White House the State House or City Hall and ask the candidates some tough questions such as what are they really doing to address, in Dr. King's words, "the shocking injustice" that is our health care system? Are they seriously committed to protecting our health? Their health care proposals to date suggest otherwise.

Historians Fear MLK's Legacy Being Lost and candidates running for president wondered how they measure up to his legacy. Even Black Agenda Report suggests to Give the Candidates the MLK Test .

The National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and the National Health Law Program have assessed the candidates' plans,using a framework based on the human right to health care. The results are a wake up call: Anja Rudiger, Right to Health Program Director believes that "we need to tell candidates to stop treating us as consumers who can choose to buy or forgo health care. Instead, they must put forward plans for real change: for universal access to quality care for all, on an equitable basis" and I agree with her!


To read the assessment, visit or



In Search of Cyrus the Great

With the presence of world's most renowned scholars and top performing artists

on January 26, 2008 at UCLA (7.00PM)


" In Search of Cyrus the Great" is a factually-based documentary film

in need of your help and participation.

Date: Saturday January 26, 2008 (7:00 PM)

Place: UCLA Freud PlayHouse | MAP | Direction

Tel: 310 825 2101


Thompson Finally Leaves the Race

Fred Thompson is finally gone. He made an announcement today and left the race to those who are serious about running for the Republican nomination. I never understood the hype when Thompson decided to run. He was not a very well known politician and he certainly was not a world class celebrity. What he had going for him were some similarities that his supporters drew to an Ronald Reagan. That Thompson was an actor just like Reagan and that he is tall as was Reagan and that he was a true conservative who could unify the party.

Thompson proved to be none of the above. He could barely meet expectations with his poor performances in the GOP debates. He did not have a clear message and did a poor job campaigning in the early states.

I still don't know why some seasoned political observers considered Thompson to have a good chance at winning the nomination. He never had a shot at it. In a Republican field dominated by Romney's money, McCain's appeal and Huckabee's evangelicalism , Thompson could only get the crumbs . This country does not need lazy politicians or lazy presidents. we don't need someone " lazy like a fox" as Newsweek put it. We need a uniter, a hard worker and an American hero who understand the daily lives of middle class Americans.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Huckabee and the Grand Dragon

Today was Martin Luther King day. A holiday not well received in many parts of our country. It saddens me to learn that racial bigotry still plays a role in our presidential election. When Mike Huckabee announced his candidacy for seeking the Republican nomination, I was the only one among my friends who had ever hear of him. You might ask me what does Huckabee have anything to do with MLK? I will tell you.

I saw Huckabee as a very likable guy, someone form humble roots and self made man who had risen to the top in his state of Arkansas. Huckabee had also lost over 100 pounds to prove that even a southerner can say no to fried food!

At any rate, Huckabee was never my favorite candidate. I never thought of voting for him , mainly because of his religious fanaticism but I found him to be a genuine man, someone who knew what it means to be poor and not have loads of money and special privilege.

But Huckabee went to South Carolina and turned us all off. He said the unimaginable. Huckabee was supposed to be "...the kind of conseravtive who wasn't mad at anybody...". Well I guess not. As Huckabee went to South Carolina, he started making the most insulting remarks a decent man could make. He began defending the Confederate flag and how no one should mess with it! Really Mike, Because I never thought you sympathized with the Confederates and I know you Don't. So why now? Just to win votes? What's next? Photo op with David Duke and the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan?

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