Human Rights Violators should NOT be rewarded with Money or Prestige!

This picture was sent to me earlier this year by a friend that is a Buddhist monk.  We are both of the faith typically called “Tibetan”  Buddhism.  As such, we’re pretty much automatically labelled enemies of the Chinese People.  I wanted to share this picture with you because of several things going on right now concerning His Holiness the Dali Lama, the candidates for President, and the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

This picture demonstrates the real force being the so-called rioting monks and the violence last April in Tibet.  It was posed so China could justify the disappearance of over 10,000 Buddhist monks and nuns. You are seeing this correctly.  It is a group of Chinese soldiers holding monk garb.  This was taken by a friend of ours right after some of the riots. I think you can figure out the rest for yourself.

I decided to re-open this issue  since I was also speaking to my Lama today. A lama is a spiritual teacher along the lines of a Rabbi in Judaism.  His wife, Ang Dawa,  is an activist for the Sherpa peoples.  They both are from Nepal but were born in a section where the line between Nepal and China is more relevant to countries than native peoples.  The Sherpas are indigenous people living in the Himalaya Mountains and you all probably know them best for their incredible mountaineering skills.  Ang Dawa has just been elected to the new Nepali parliament and has been an activist/journalist for the UN for many years for Human and Women’s Rights.  She just wrote an article in the local newspaper stating that there are basic human rights and they include being able to practice religion as you see fit, including becoming monks and nuns. It was a very generic article on human rights and mentioned no countries by name.  However, there are over 10,000 tibetan buddhist monks and nun–many of which are Sherpa–unaccounted for after the april/may so-called uprisings. This includes some of the senior most and most respected rinpoches.  They have simply disappeared.

While I am not surprised the President George W. Bush has decided to attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, I had held out some hope.  This week there have been several headlines out there concerning both the Olympics and the struggles of the Tibetan people to maintain their cultural identity and practice their religion. There have also been some activities on the parts of presidential candidates.  I argue, both activities are essential windows into their approaches to Human Rights.

The first was this picture of John McCain and his Holiness the Dali Lama.  The New York Times in its story stated this:

“But other Republicans — the so-called foreign policy pragmatists, many of whom have come to view the Iraq war as a mistake — say the administration’s policy shifts highlight the more confrontational nature of Mr. McCain’s foreign policy, particularly in his approach toward Russia and his embrace on Friday of the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese regard as the fomenter of a rebellion in Tibet. They say the meeting will only antagonize China before the Summer Olympics, and at a moment when the United States is seeking its cooperation on economic issues and negotiations with North Korea.”


At the same time, we see this move from the Obama Campaign.

As reported by Advertising Age, it appears that the Obama campaign is going to be a major TV sponsor of the Beijing Olympics.

“It’s official. Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign will be among the TV sponsors of NBC Universal’s Olympics coverage. In the first significant network-TV buy of any presidential candidate in at least 16 years, the Obama campaign has taken a $5 million package of Olympics spots that includes network TV as well as cable ads. According to NBC’s political file, the campaign had initially requested information about 500,000, $2 million and $4 million package of Olympics spots. The network also offered the candidate a $10 million package.”

So, let me ask you a question.  Aren’t the progressives supposed to be the ones concerned with Human Rights and standing up for them regardless of the economic consequences?  Is it way too cynical of me to see this move by the Obama campaign as finding a way to profit and gain votes from an event that highlights a country that mistreats its peoples?  This is Communist China folks!  Monks and Nuns disappear there.  Google and MIcrosoft have had to build limits into their software to suppress free speech in this country.

Oh, btw, after the Chinese government protested the publication of Ang Dawa’s statement of basic human rights, there were threats issued to the publisher of that paper in Nepal.  The paper has been been barred from further publication.

Is this the type of thing the Obama campaign should be sponsoring with campaign dollars?

I read the news today, OH BOY!

If I was in need of a mini-vacation then I have to tell you that reading the latest Vanity Fair was not going to do it for me.  There were three articles that brought me down to earth with a thud!  One was the account by Christopher Hitchens who voluntarily underwent water boarding and concluded that it really is torture.  I think the most valuable quote I got from the article was bolded and oversized and said  “If waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.”

Hitchens was one of the biggest drummers in the drumbeat to the Iraq War. This article is about four pages and has some very close up and big pictures showing the manner in which George Bush has defined the “American Way’ to the world.  You can also find a video of his experiences on youtube.  It is not for the faint of heart and I’ll let you google it.

The second article was a dissection of Hillary’s campaign.  This was a depressing walk down the first six months of  the year.  My favorite part of the article was this bit:

“The air began to go out of Barack Obama’s balloon on the night of March 13, when ABC News ran clips from inflammatory sermons by the pastor from an Afro-centric church in Chicago, in which Reverend Jeremiah Wright twisted “God Bless America’ into “God Damn America.”  Then on April 11, less than two weeks before the Pennsylvania vote, Penn read comments on the Huffington Post from a closed door speech Obama had given at a San Francisco fund-raiser.  He seized on Obama’s characterization of small-town, working class Pennsylvania voters as “bitter’ because of economic distress and disposed to cling to “guns or religion.”

This was the turning point that came a little too late for Hillary but still is turning on Barrack Obama.  Of course, after we were told that this was NOT the Jermiah Wright Obama knew, he moved on.  After the FISA vote today, I’m sure there are a lot of folks saying this is not the Obama they thought THEY knew.  Obama has now decided that granting Telecom companies immunity for conspiring to spy on American citizens is acceptable. Perhaps this version is not the IMMUNITY GRANT he once knew and swore he’d filibuster.  He voted for it. Hillary stood by her convictions and voted against it.

This came after a week of selling-out on so many issues so noticeably that we caught a rare morsel of the frustration of black activists on primetime with Jesse Jackson’s poignant but crude remark.  He wanted to “cut off Obama’s nuts” for “talking down to black people on morality” without mentioning the bigger issues of many young black men who grow up in neighborhoods filled with violence, horrid schools, and Mt. Everest-level unemployment rates. I’m pretty sure NARAL felt that way too when Obama implied that women will seek unnecessary third term abortions just because they feel a little ‘blue’.  However, nice ladies talk about removing men’s private parts away from live microphones

The final article was about the Bear Sterns bailout.  This was again pertinent since we’re now talking about multi-million dollar bailouts of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  Ben Bernanke has been on the stump for expanded regulatory powers of the Fed in the mortgage and mortgage derivatives markets.  Afterall, if they’re stuck with these nonperforming assets on the tax payer’s books, they might as well have the ability to stop these demons of greed before they strike again. This while more foreclosures are imminent and the illustrious Secretary of the Treasury says there’s no way to bail out the poor unfortunates stuck into risky mortgage vehicles because banks really wanted some high points.  This is going to be no solace to anyone shortly.  Even if you are making your mortgage payment, it only takes a few neighbors not paying to put your home’s equity on a downward spiral.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard NADA, zilch, ZIP, NOTHING about this big problem from either of the presidential candidates.  Probably because Obama’s finance committee and big donors are mostly the folks that created this problem and well, let’s face it, I’ve never met a Republican willing to go mano-y-mano with the American Banker’s Association.

All of this after I woke up to the news that Iran had just successfully tested a new long range missile capable of hitting Israel AND carrying a nuclear warhead.  Of course, the Russians and Chinese, those folks whose sudden turn to capitalism has made them friends of Dubya, had something to do with this.  As far as I can tell, once a totalitarian regime, ALWAYS a totalitarian regime. But you know, it’s more important that George gets to wave from the stands of the Olympic Opening ceremonies rather than stand for anything like, NOT throwing folks in prison for disagreeing with the government.  OH, right, I forgot, that’s what could happen with the FISA thing and Obama voted for it and McCain just didn’t think it significant enough to show up and do anything about.  Plus, Obama is just looking forward to getting elected so he can have a kumbayah moment with these guys. Yeah, that’s going to work real well.  Perhaps he can send Jesse and Jeremiah over there to soften them up a bit.

So, this is the best our democracy offers us–two men who have no compass to point out what is right or wrong.

Two men who will say and do anything to be president while the newspapers are filled with situations outlining serious problems that need solutions.  Next time I feel like a good summer read, I think I’ll find a good comic book.   Maybe I’ll look for some thing from Japan with one of those Ninja warriors that takes on all the injustices of the world and lives by the samauri code.  Maybe we can find one that will fight for truth, justice and the American way.