Friday, July 31, 2009

Video: Philippines Former President Aquino Dies

From Denny: This unassuming lady was a force in her own right and will be remembered globally as a peace activist and the first female and populist President of the Philippines. Sorry to see her demise from cancer at the age of 76.

Video: Beer with the President in the Rose Garden

From Denny: The long awaited "Beer Summit" went well by all accounts. VP Joe Biden also attended.

CNN's Candy Crowley reports on the White House meeting between the Harvard professor and the Cambridge cop.

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Video: 3 American Hiking Tourists Detained in Iran

From Denny: Three Americans were hiking in Turkey and crossed over the Iranian border inadvertantly. A fourth member of the party was too sick to hike and remained behind and so did not end up arrested in Iran.

This comes at a delicate time. The opposition party protestors are on trial in Iran. Holding these Americans can be a bargaining chip with the West, a real victory lap for the harsh regime and a way to shut up America about how the trial turns out. It will be interesting to see how this new subplot to the ongoing drama plays out.

Three Americans have been arrested after they strayed over the Iraqi border into Iran. CNN's Arwa Damon reports

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Video: President's Coming Beer Summit

From Denny: This Presidential comment about the racial profiling case with Prof. Gates has unleashed a firestorm of racial blowback across America. Understandably, the President was himself racially profiled when younger and is hypersensitive to the subject. The wise thing to do would have been to get all the facts of the case before - or if - offering any comment. The President now realizes that his word carries a lot of power and to use it carefully. Every new President goes through this process in their first year of discovering every word they utter has greater significance than before they took office.

CNN: Obama said Sgt. Crowley acted "stupidly." The reporter that asked the question spoke with CNN's Carol Costello.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Video: Comedian Bill Maher Rips Palin

From Denny: On a lighter note about circus acts in politics...

CNN: Comedian Bill Maher attacks former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Here's the news story about her leaving the Alaskan Governor's Mansion with 18 months left to serve. She just up and quit like some diva, surprising everyone and angering Republicans for being a quitter. Guess she can't fade the heat of 16 ethics charges.

CNN: CNN's Candy Crowley reports on the questions remaining following Sarah Palin's decision to quit her job.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Video: Colin Powell Says GOP Afraid of Crossing Limbaugh

From Denny: Colin Powell has always been a class act. Why he is a Republican though is beyond me. All they have ever done is trash an honorable man who has done a lot of good work in the community for children.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Video: Economic Worst Is Over?

From Denny: The public wallet has yet to rally as fast as these big businesses. Unemployment is almost double digits, the economy is on life support propped up by bail outs which translates as coming from the wallets of the middle class who lost their jobs those same big businesses chose to send overseas. It isn't really very smart when a business takes jobs away from the very people who turn around and purchase their products, now is it? That's basically what has happened.

There is a significant need to get serious about regulating Wall Street and other robber baron big businesses in America. Until then, the average middle class investor will not trust them with their money. Until regulation is done, overseas investors won't have a healthy long-term confidence either.

Realistically, expect a correction in these rosy statistics.

"The stock market recently rallied to its best level all year, which is making investors hope that this could be a signal that the worst of the economic downturn is over. Karen Brown reports."

Watch CBS Videos Online

United States, economy, news

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Video: Hillary Taking Charge

From Denny: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may not have been elected President but she sure got the next best thing: America's Chief Diplomat. The reality is that her personality is actually best suited to the job. She isn't flashy yet is a tenacious bulldog who can hang in there for the long term until a project is concluded.

She also isn't shy about standing up for what is right. On Meet The Press this past weekend she definitely laid down the law with Iran in no uncertain terms; I loved it!

"Secretary Of State, Hillary Clinton is laying down the law, not just with Iran and North Korea, but here in the U.S. As for foreign policy, Clinton is leading the charge. Kimberly Dozier reports."

Watch CBS Videos Online

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Video: Uninsured America

From Denny: We all have been watching a lot of news like this from time to time, how the health care industry is decimating the average person's wallet. Now with job loss across the board from well-off to working class, well, it's everyone's problem: how to pay the bills when you have had a catastrophic illness in the family.

Here's one fact I found out recently: Did you know that a bone marrow test now costs $300,000? That's just for the test, folks! How much more for the transplant and the anti-rejection drugs and critical care?

With the baby boomer generation getting older, so does the cancer risk go up. Basic health care reform is more necessary than ever in order to not empty people's savings accounts and so parents can leave some kind of inheritance for their children beyond a mountain of health care debt.

"Millions of Americans are uninsured and another 25 million are underinsured. They may think they're covered, but don't realize their policy limitations. Michelle Miller reports."

Watch CBS Videos Online

health care costs, bone marrow test, video

Friday, July 24, 2009

Video: Bob Schieffer Analyzes Obama's Reform

From Denny: A few details we did not know about how the political process is playing out.

"Katie Couric speaks with "Face The Nation" host Bob Schieffer and CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes about Pres. Obama's primetime press conference on health care reform."

Watch CBS Videos Online

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Video: Obama's Prime Time News Conference Health Care Appeal

From Denny: President Obama makes his case for national health care reform of some kind, preferably by August, though it looks like that deadline is going to be pushed back to Labor Day in September or longer.

Americans continue to groan under the weight of a weak economy, now 20 million people have experienced home foreclosure, banks are still failing, health care costs are still high, and continued, though somewhat slowed, job loss. The problem is that it will take a good decade to develop new jobs to a sustainable level. Meanwhile, families are going broke trying to pay for health care that often is denied when it comes time for the insurance companies to pay out.

Did I say our economy is in a real mess because it went unattended for eight years by the previous Bush administration? :) Considering the freefall going on it's pretty amazing anyone with a rational mind would oppose health care of some kind.

The reality is that it is needed and we had better start with something basic for everyone so we can stop breaking the backs of the hospitals with the uninsured flooding the emergency rooms for standard sore throat, colds and flu care. Preventive care and education of how to handle basics at home is also required so we don't end up with a nation of hypochondriacsrunning to the doctor for every sniffle.

Amazing too that Congress thinks it's OK to waltz off on a holiday while the majority of America is groaning under the weight of rising costs from every angle: food, gas, local and state taxes as well as health care.

Barack Obama, Health care, Insurance, Health, Breaking News, Health Policy, Labor Day, United States

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

U.S. bombs poppy crop to cut Taliban drug ties

From Denny: Well, it took long enough! Finally, we are starting to bomb the daylights out of the drug crops in Afghanistan. These farmers have repeatedly been offered free seeds and other resources to raise other crops that will bring income. As usual for weak human beings, they go for the easy and fast cash offered by the new drug dealers in town: the Taliban.

Here's an excerpt from a CNN article. It's also linked on my link companion page: Dennys Global Politics Fav Links under the North America section.

"KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The U.S. military bombed about 300 tons of poppy seeds in a dusty field in southern Afghanistan Tuesday in a dramatic show of force designed to break up the Taliban's connection to heroin.

The U.S. military bombed about 300 tons of poppy seeds in a dusty field in southern Afghanistan Tuesday.

The air strike occurred mid-day in Helmand province.

The military dropped a series of 1,000-pound bombs from planes on the mounds of poppy seeds and then followed with strikes from helicopters.

Tony Wayne, with the U.S. State Department, said the strikes on poppy seeds, that can be used to make opium and heroin, is part of a strategy shift for the military to stop the Taliban and other insurgents from profiting from drugs.

In a bid to encourage Afghan farmers to swap out their poppy plants for wheat crops the U.S. Agency for International Development has been offering them seeds, fertilizers and improved irrigation.

Many of Afghanistan's northern and eastern provinces have already benefited from USAID alternative farming programs, which have doled out more than $22 million to nearly 210,000 Afghans to build or repair 435 miles (700 kilometers) of roads and some 2,050 miles (3,300 kilometers) of irrigation and drainage canals.

Giving Afghan farmers improved access to markets and improved irrigation is successfully weaning them away from poppy production, according to officials at USAID.

Over the years, opium and heroin -- both derivatives of the poppy -- have served as a major source of revenue for the insurgency, most notably the Taliban movement that once ruled Afghanistan.

"If you can just help the people of Afghanistan in this way, the fighting will go away," said Abdul Qadir, a farmer in Lashkar Gah. "The Taliban and other enemies of the country will also disappear."

To read the full article and watch a video, just click on the title link. Thanks for visiting!

Subscribe today to Dennys Global Politics, just click on the orange feed icon or the email link!

Photo by Department of Defense

Afghanistan, Taliban, United States, heroin, poppy seeds, war, farmers, bombings, Kabul, USAID, farm aid

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Video: Nuclear Weapons, Who Has Them and How Much?

From Denny: Thanks to who brought this video to my attention over at the Blogged Directory and who produced it! This video is a couple of years old from 2007 so the numbers might be slightly off. Who knows how many nukes Russia may have sold to bolster its flagging bad economy? For those who don't know the actual numbers this video is a real eye-opener!

This is the promo text: "Nuclear weaponry is the most devastating technology on the planet, and has brought us to the brink of civilization-ending conflagrations. In 2007, who has them? Who is beefing up their arsenal? Who is scaling down? And what would a single nuclear weapon do to Manhattan?"

Russia, Nuclear weapon, Dmitry Medvedev, United States, Nuclear, North Korea, Barack Obama

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Video: Interrogators threatened to quit over waterboarding

From Denny: Here's something I knew years ago when the prisoner torture started. It was reported here and there in the news but the Bush White House squashed the reports of CIA personnel balking at doing this torture which is why Bush and Cheney turned to the military to do it for them.

It's nice to finally see the truth brought to the light of day. In every organization there are people who say No! to doing wrong, even when they lose their jobs, even their lives over it. More is to come out about this shameful period in America's history from the Bush years. Just the tip of the iceberg folks.

Bloggers Unite: Global Human Rights Abuses

From Denny: This is a post I ran over at The Social Poets Friday evening for the Bloggers Unite Human Rights Day post on 17 July 2009. Bloggers everywhere are all blogging on the same day about human rights.


Humanity is at a crossroads in our world history where we must make a profound decision. It’s time to live better.

Currently, human rights abuses are no longer exclusive to certain regions of the globe. There is a sharp increase in human rights abuses worldwide for decades now and situations are increasing in violence yearly.

Stories abound globally of the most heinous crimes to humanity. Nothing good is accomplished by mankind trying to annihilate mankind. Just what is going on in the world? Here are just a few areas:

• Hamas and Taliban Islamic terrorists and other terrorist groups worldwide are on a bloodthirsty killing spree with bombings of civilians, women and children in many places in the world.

Photo by azrainman @ flickr

• Rogue unstable governments, covertly cozy with terrorist groups, working feverishly to acquire the nuclear bomb so they can kill off their neighbors they don’t like because they are another religion, a different economic or another kind of social system – or just plain won’t give them what they want.

• Genocide in Africa because people of different tribes can’t work out their differences like civilized people.

• Jailing journalists - trying to report the truth - as political temper tantrums to get their own way: North Korea and Iran.

• Tortured prisoners worldwide with the most notable recent heinous acts perpetrated during the Bush years on terrorist suspects never given trials, mainly because there was no real hard evidence.

• Under Taliban Islamic law and culture women are still regarded as subhuman and not deserving of first class treatment like men.

• Here in the United States, during the Bush years, women were raped, often savage gang rapes, at our military universities yet went unreported.

• Then there are battered women worldwide from Islamic to Christian countries whose husbands will not stop pummeling them.

We, the majority, are allowing the few to terrorize us, our neighbors and our loved ones. We must mobilize to stop it. How? Education for starters.
In the end, in order for humanity to not come to an end, we must consider a working alternative to what exists today in the way of abuses. It is a basic human right to be loved. Loved, you say? Yes, loved. We all have the right to be loved.

Love comes in many forms. We have the human right to certain expectations of basic decency and civility. We have the human right to healthy drinking water and sanitation and affordable housing. We have the human right to expect our political leaders that are guardians of our country to be honest and get serious about addressing pressing social and economic issues.

Photo by alicepopkorn @ flickr

Human rights abuses worldwide, in our own countries, in our homes will continue until the average person stands up and says "No!" to it all. Human rights abuses will continue until we all get serious about connecting up to create a tsunami force to push humanity along until we all do better, choose better and, in the end, start living better. Now that’s Love in action! We all have the human right to be loved. Let’s give Love.

A few places you can go for education and plug in to help:

Bloggers Unite where you can help by blogging

Youth Movement For Human Rights - worldwide

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International, dedicated to bringing world attention to human rights abuse

North Korea, United States, denny lyon, Human rights, Nuclear weapon, Africa, Amnesty International, Human Rights and Liberties, Sharia, The Social Poets

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Video: Mideast Conflict of Israel and Palestine

From Denny: While this may be a simplistic overview with an interesting twist - it really is a good video to familiarize you with the focus of what people are thinking and feeling in the Middle East. As someone who grew up in the American intelligence community it did give me an ironic smile to see they used the demographics from the CIA's World Factbook. Well, the CIA has been the clearinghouse for world statistics for decades now and practically invented the discipline of demographics.

Demographics is a good way to track trends and that is what these reporters are talking about: How the population trend among the Palestinians can possibly push the Israelis to a new stance on the two-state solution. Of course, what no one mentioned as to the reason for the Palestinian uptick in population is that they tend to die young - and violently - therefore creating greater fertility.

Any time a population, human or animal, faces a harsh march to achieving adulthood or a long life, they tend to have a lot of offspring - in the hopes some of those offspring achieve full flower. Let's hope and pray both sides get their heads screwed on straight, their hearts emptied of hate and revenge and get truly serious about a lasting peace effort.

Watch CBS Videos Online

CIA demographics Israel Palestine CBS Two-state solution Middle East statistics America population trend World Factbook

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Video: Foreign Exchange Student Scandal in United States

Update: There were such a great comments on this story that I just had to repost this story for you to read. I really like it when someone wants to seriously discuss a social issue. What comes out of any good discussion is more understanding and some new facts to investigate. I have an inkling that this story is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Time will tell as more reporters look into the veracity of the experts and the accusers.

Federal Agents Investigate Burger Kings Treatment of Foreign Students - An excerpt: "RIVERTON, Wyo. – Federal agents from the Department of Immigrations are expected to arrive in Riverton today to investigate a possible indentured service case involving foreign students. Five university students working in the states through an exchange program said they were fired from the local Burger King and evicted from squalid living quarters provided by the company after they complained about the conditions.

They described the 15x15-foot house as a boiler room prison, because the windows wouldn’t open, bunkbeds with air mattresses were the beds, a hot-plate on a counter sufficed for a kitchen stove and the toilet and shower stall were unsanitary due to corrosion.

Riverton police, who executed the eviction notice over the weekend, were appalled at the conditions found and reported the situation to immigrations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Local Burger King management has refused comment and corporate officials in Florida say they were unaware of the situation. The students were matched with the local Burger King through the work/travel programs of Worldwide International Student Exchange (WISE) and Aspire Worldwide. They paid $3,500 to $5,000 each to participate, and were told adequate housing would be provided at an affordable fee.

They said rent for the house was $1,800 a month, paid to Burger King District Manager Peggy Handran. Her phone number listed on the work agreement is no longer in service.

The university students are all men, ages 18-21, coming from Turkey, Mongolia, Azerbaijan and the Ukraine. They have found temporary sanctuary with a neighbor, Donna Michel."

Click on the title link for the rest of the story.

The Discussion



This case is unfortunate and I feel bad for the kids, but the vast majority (95%) of exchanges are positive for the students and the families and communities which host them. I urge the press to investigate Danielle Grijalva, director of Committee for Safety and Chris Gould, a retired British police investigator and PURPORTED consultant to foreign exchange programs worldwide. They say mistreatment of foreign students is significantly underreported. What basis do they use to show underreporting? What is the board make up of the committee for safety? What foreign exchange programs is Chris Gould a consultant for? You will find these two people have NO basis for their setting themselves up as experts, and that they are acting together, but essentially alone (no real committee, no board oversight of organization, restraining order against Danielle...), just trolling the internet for sensationalized cases of exchange student abuse and posting them on one website repeatedly.

16 July, 2009 22:21
Denny Lyon said...
Hi, smbpott, thanks for visiting and leaving your comment!

As with most stories like this, it isn't about how well the majority has been treated but rather about the abused minority that went unreported or not investigated.

This story is really not about the concept of foreign exchange students as it is a great idea culturally. It isn't about the whole organization either.

What this story is about is the fact that nothing was done to address these problems, not enough or perhaps any oversight on the part of our government - most likely the vast majority of issues happened during the Bush years of "non-doing."

It was foolish for our current State Dept. not to fine tooth comb every project they had in operation during the Bush years looking for this kind of thing. As it was the GAO was prevented from investigating AND reporting by Bush and Cheney. Normally, they handle these kinds of investigations as these problems always follow one culprit: follow the money. Most likely, Bush and Cheney cut the funds for oversight and hired outside political cronies as payback for campaign funds.

BTW, do you have proof to back up the stats you give that 95% of the foreign exchange students do not encounter any problem? If there was no oversight, no reporting, no surveys, where did you get this stat?

In the end, we are both coming at this problem from different sides and meeting in the middle in complete agreement: not enough oversight to prove either the good or the bad satisfactorily!

I'm glad these people have finally gotten the courage to speak up and speak out about their abuse. It went pretty much the same in the religious community, especially Catholic, when for decades people complained about sexual abuse. The same arguments abounded that it wasn't that bad, it wasn't true, that 95% etc., etc. Since then the abused began to speak up and the whole truth came out: there were thousands worldwide who were badly abused for decades.

My policy is never to deny a listen to anyone who has been abused, especially when it was as a result of an institutional entity for which as part of the public I am partly responsible.

17 July, 2009 08:57

From Denny: This is a video story I tried to put up yesterday but CNN did not yet have it up on its site until today. Unbelievable what foreign exchange students have lived through when visiting the United States during the Bush years and recently. The truth is just now coming out.

It's a real horror story that our own government funded this abuse and did not take the interest to regulate these agencies that promote and place these students in American homes. Some of those homes were convicted felons, students were raped, starved, forced to live in filthy situations, even placed with known and registered sex offenders! How perverted can you get?

Politics foreign exchange students rape sex offenders starvation abuse America United States State Department investigation

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

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Video: Operation Mend

From Denny: This story of two men and their families was profiled on Memorial Day. It demonstrates just how much people have to treat healing from severe trauma like it is an extreme sport. It is well worth the watching. If ever you feel you are having a bad day just come back and watch this video. These young men have been dealing with a lot over an extended period of time. It's interesting to hear their doctor talk about their desire to create this new program to help mend these soldiers of horrific wounds.

Experiences like this is one reason I've always opposed war - because I know and have seen the long-term consequences both for the soldiers and their families. Nor have I ever had much patience for the kind of people who recklessly promote needless war - and then don't have the good grace to properly and fully give a 100% to healing the people they sent off to war.

While the Republicans constantly disparage, deride and despise the Democrats as the Mommy Party they have done little for the returning disfigured veterans, writing them off as cannon fodder. As far as I'm concerned it takes far more courage to go to bat for all these soldiers to help them heal than it does to send nameless faces off to war. At least now the country and many volunteers are putting their wallets where they belong: promoting life instead of the taking of it or a depraved indifference as to their quality of life once they return from the battlefield. It's time Americans wake up and appreciate the efforts of people like this.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Democrats Republicans war anti-war veterans Iraq Afghanistan trauma burns cannon fodder wars and conflicts quality of life

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Video: Foreign Exchange Students Abused in the United States

From Denny: This is a video story I tried to put up yesterday but CNN did not yet have it up on its site until today. Unbelievable what foreign exchange students have lived through when visiting the United States during the Bush years and recently. The truth is just now coming out.

It's a real horror story that our own government funded this abuse and did not take the interest to regulate these agencies that promote and place these students in American homes. Some of those homes were convicted felons, students were raped, starved, forced to live in filthy situations, even placed with known and registered sex offenders! How perverted can you get?

Politics foreign exchange students rape sex offenders starvation abuse America United States

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Video: Transforming Inner City Blight

From Denny: I really like these kind of stories where people go into inner cities and turn city blight back into thriving communities by building new AND affordable homes. Listen to their story of those who did well for themselves and then came back to give back to the community! From NBC News' Making a Difference segment.

Breaking News, community, housing,, NBC News, poverty, Programs, Society and Culture, Television, Urban, World News

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Video: Why Did 168 People Die in Iran Plane Crash?

From Denny: If you haven't already heard of this sad news... a Soviet made plane has crashed in Iran and all 168 people are dead. Complete confirmation may take days.

It does cause us to take pause and ask a few questions: Was someone targeted on that plane and innocent travelers died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Or was it a case of metal fatigue as the old Soviet air fleet is not exactly known for its standard of excellence in the area of maintenance. Metal fatigue comes about when the plane is constantly pressurized and then de-pressurized, causing the metal skin to expand and contract thousands of times. Sooner or later it loses its ability to do so without consequences.

Since the plane crashed in a part of the world that does not allow true investigation and professionals into their country to help them solve the problem we may never know the truth of why this plane crashed.

Breaking News, CNN, international politics, investigations, Iran, metal fatigue

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Video: Bruno (Comedian Cohen) Talks to Real Terrorist!

From Denny: I usually ignore outrageous movie previews but I have to admit this comedian is actually funnier and MORE outrageous in interview! Check him out on the late night circuit and his interview with a (alleged) terrorist who clearly looked ticked off! We may have to label his style of comedy as terrorist comedy...

Bruno movie comedy Cohen comedian funny video terrorist outrageous CNN

Monday, July 13, 2009

Video: News of the Absurd - Twitter, Soc the Cat and Religion

From Denny: It's all about Twitter and the absurd in this amusing CNN segment!

Twitter Religion Soc Cat Absurd Video humor Twitter Followers Society and Culture
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