Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Butterflies are free

Friday, May 24, 2013

England's Brutal Terrorist Murder

My condolences and sympathy go out to the family of the English soldier so brutally murdered by jihadist terrorists this week.   My sympathy and empathy go out to all of England and its people for
having this horrible attack take place in their country.  To be so cruelly cut down in the name of Islam is too much for most people to bear.

The viciousness of this attack has stunned the world.  To literally be hacked down by knives and machetes on the street in broad daylight is horrendous.  And, for people to have had to witness this is beyond belief.  Thank heavens the terrorists have been apprehended and are now in jail.  I hope that justice will be swift.

We here in America feel your pain, England, having just recently experienced the Boston Marathon murders by terrorists.

Where and how this conflict with the terrorists of Islam will ever end I don't know.   All the good nations of the world are in this conflict with these terrorists for the long haul.  We will not bend or break in our quest to end this scourge from the world.

But, where are the good and peaceful believers of Islam?  Why are you not stepping up and doing more for your people so they do not turn to these hateful terrorists?   Please understand that all we are seeing are these horrible attacks in the name of Islam and your religion is becoming darker and darker by each attack.  How can a true and peaceful religion remain silent and condone such acts?  Why are you not more vocal and vigilant in rooting out these horrible people on your own.

I understand these terrorists' justification for these horrible acts.   Our armies are in your native lands killing your friends and family also.  But, we did not start this.  It is you, jihadist terrorists that attacked us first on 9/11.  Did you think we would just sit by and do nothing?  Or was that your manipulation?  Knowing we would do something about such a heinous attack on our country, so that you could perpetrate more and more attacks on us?  A tit for tat?

Perhaps our country's decision to invade Iraq and Afghanistan was not a good one in your opinion.  But, we have brought a modicum of democracy to those nations.  The people have been able to choose their own government and their own leaders.  We have done this in the name of good and in the name of democracy.  We are trying to do what is the most good for the most people living in those areas.  Our involvement in those countries was not perpetrated by hate, but by love of justice and wanting to free an oppressed people.  Our intentions are for good, not evil.

We are now as a country winding down our involvement in those countries and the middle east.  We are leaving and bringing more and more of our troops home.  So is England.  So these attacks you make on innocent people here are not justified.

I used to believe it was just a a fundamentalist sect of Islam that was perpetrating these acts of violence.  But, I don't hear the good people of Islam speaking out enough against these attacks.
Could it be these terrorists are doing your dirty work for you?

Is the religion of Islam being taken over by these fundamentalist terrorists?  Today, when I see women with scarves on their heads I almost look at them in disdain and derision.  I never used to do that.   I always kept an open mind about other cultures and other religions.  But, as these attacks continue on innocent people just going about their lives, my opinion of women in scarves and the Islam beliefs and religion are beginning to change.  I am beginning to see it is a hateful religion at its core.

If the true and good believers of Islam do no step up to the plate and do more to stop these ugly terrorists, I will continue to loose respect for you and for your religion.  Now is the time for your voices to be heard and to condemn what has happened in the U.S. and England over the past month.

I am calling on the entire Islamic world to come together and work to find a way to end this terrorism that is in the name of your religion and Allah.

And, if you truly and sincerely do work to find a way to end this terrorism, America and England will help you achieve that goal.

Copyright (c)  2013  Suzannah Wolf Walker  all rights reserved

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Brandywine Falls - CVNP in Ohio - a photo essay

 Hiking to the Falls --CVNP

 Brandywine Falls in Sagamore Hills Township, Ohio -- CVNP

 All photos taken by Suzannah Wolf Walker

Copyright (c)  2013   Suzannah Wolf Walker    all rights reserved

Where has our democracy gone?

Mountains' majesty
Where has our democracy gone?  We are suppose to be the home of the free and the brave.  Purple mountain majesties is part of our folklore.  In God we Trust.  Americana.  Don't tread on me.

What has happened to America?  We seem to have misplaced our democracy along the way.  Exactly which way are we going?  Exactly which road are we taking?

I am saddened to hear our own Justice Department, headed by Eric Holder, has been wiretapping journalists' telephones and/or confiscating their phone records at the Associated Press (AP).  Not one journalist, but about twenty have been wiretapped.  This has compromised their sources and informants and is an egregious breach of freedom of the press.

We have a First Amendment that guarantees a free press.  The reason it is First, is because it holds our most important freedoms - freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom to assemble and protest. There are no more important freedoms than those and that is why they are First.

Yet, our own Justice Department is trampling on our freedom of press.  We need that freedom to have a democracy.  If we have a press that is run by the government or is fearful of the government then we have lost our freedom of the press.

It was always my understanding that to wiretap a telephone in America for any reason or confiscating phone records, the government or Justice Department had to have a subpoena to do so issued by a judge.  There had to be probable cause to wiretap the phone of any American and evidence to that effect had to be presented to a judge in order for the judge of make a decision as to whether to issue the subpoena or not.

But, the Justice Department has wiretapped these journalists' telephones and confiscated phone records at the AP offices without a subpoena from any judge.  This is overstepping their boundaries as a government office.  This is how governments become dictatorships and tyrannies.  I think we have been through this back in 1776?  And revisited this during Watergate in the 1970's?

The Justice Department has no business wiretapping journalists' telephones and confiscating phone records without going through the court system, subpoenas and judges.  Even if the cause is to find terrorists and root them out, the Justice Department is going about it in  the wrong way.  If it is so important to national security, then getting a judge's subpoena should not be a problem.

I am saddened to hear this 'news' and to see we are losing our freedoms and in turn our democracy.  If President Obama does not know about this -- he should.  The buck stops in his office.  This is dangerous territory and President Obama needs to put the brakes on Eric Holder and the Justice Department.

We cannot have a free press to look into our government and do its duty and responsibility if journalists' are being secretly wiretapped.  This is an invasion of privacy and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Where has our democracy gone?

And now the infamous and notorious IRS is harassing and targeting political parties and congressmen?  I don't like the Tea Party or their set of values and beliefs.  But, they have a right to group together, and have their set of values and beliefs in the United States of America.

The First Amendment gives them the right to free assembly and protest if they want to do so.  Do I like their protests?  No I don't. They are ridiculous.  They are right wing fundamentalists that are far too conservative for my tastes.  But, I will always defend their right to have their Tea Party, to assemble, and to protest whenever they want to without IRS harassment or looking into their lives.

What is happening to our First Amendment rights in this country?  Where does the IRS get the idea they can harass and target the Tea Party or any conservative thinking congressman/woman?

This is absolutely outrageous.  Again, President Obama is not aware this is going on.  Well, he should as the leader of this nation.  This situation is so Nixonian it is disturbing.  Have we not learned anything from our past?

We teach our students and children to make good and right decisions and choices and to accept the consequences when they don't.  We counsel them to learn from their past mistakes, move forward and do better.  And, now we have a government agency that can't seem to make good and right choices and decisions.  They have not learned from their past mistakes or from Richard Nixon's presidency and his sick paranoia.

I am outraged.  I am appalled at both of these dire situations that have come to light this week in the news.  Both the Justice Department, what a play on the word justice here, and the IRS two of the most powerful government agencies, just overstepping their boundaries in such egregious ways.

I am also concerned and saddened that these oversteppings of democratic boundaries are happening during Obama's presidency.  He should be aware of his own government agencies and departments and what they are doing at all times.  I thought better of Obama and his management abilities.

Where has our democracy gone?


It's tulip time in Ohio!  White tulips signify forgiveness.

Get to really know those that you call 'friend.'

Monday, May 13, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Benghazi, the Cleveland kidnap victims, Boston Marathon 2013


As usual everyone in Washington is dancing around the issue and no one is taking responsibility for the deaths of one diplomat and several others working in the overseas embassy.  Will we ever know the truth about this situation?  Probably not.

Who is ultimately responsible?  The commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama is ultimately the one responsible.  He puts individuals in harms' way and he is responsible for their safety.  If he didn't know what was going on at that embassy, he should have.

Former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, is directly responsible as this happened on her watch.  If she didn't know what was going on at that embassy, she should have.  Diplomats and workers assigned to embassies go right through the State Department and are assigned their posts by whom?  The Secretary of State and the President of the United States.  These two are who are responsible for the deaths at Benghazi.  I like both the President and Hilary, but sadly, they are responsible.

The CIA is also responsible because they are suppose to be sending excellent intelligence to the Secretary of State and the President.  If they don't know what is going on, then who does?    These agents and spies have dropped the ball so many times in this country, I don't know why we have a CIA.  Apparently, our guys (and gals) are not able to get to the correct information or any information in time before the horrible events occur.  We need to get spies and operatives embedded in these terrorist groups, so that we can get relevant and current information.

Again and again, "we have a failure to communicate."  How many times does this have to happen before we CHANGE what we are doing and revamp our government departments and communication processes?

Cleveland, OH and the three kidnap victims

Thankfully, Amanda Berry, Gina de Jesus, and Michelle McKnight are free from bondage and are now able to heal after ten years of torture and mayhem.  The true hero in all this is Amanda Berry, who risked her life to free herself, her daughter and the other two women on that fateful day, Monday, May 6.  Thank God someone from the neighborhood helped to free her from the house and did not just 'not get involved' as people are so good at doing.  We mind our own business at the wrong times.  Finally, someone helped kick the door in so Amanda and her daughter could get free.

The kidnapper, Ariel Castro, is the worst of the worst.  He is right up there with Adoph Hitler as far as evil is concerned.  To have kept and tortured these women and at the same time to have helped in looking for them, searching for them, and attending and helping raise money for their fundraisers is unconscionable.

I have to take the Cleveland Police Department to task on this one.  I realize the police can't just search any house they want.  That is part of our freedoms in the U.S. Constitution and our bill of rights.  Sadly, I believe the Clevelanders that have come forward and said they called the Cleveland police and reported something suspicious going on at the house on Seymour Street, but the police didn't bother to check or follow through on their claims.  When individuals complain who are from a poverty stricken area or a bad area of town, their claims are not taken seriously.

Also, there is a gender issue.  Men's statements to police carry heavier weight than the statements women make to the police.

The Cleveland Police said they followed every lead in these women's disappearances.  I do believe that.  But, did they follow through on every complaint about the house on Seymour Street?   That is also what they needed to follow through on too.   Had they, these women would not have been kept in bondage and torture for ten years.

The police insist they did not receive all these calls from these people.  I know from my own experience, that some calls are not recorded and kept.  During my divorce I made 911 calls about my husband that were deleted.  When we went to court and went to get record of my 911 calls they had mysteriously vanished.  Why?  Because his parents were best friends with the Akron Police Chief at the time, Phil Barnes.

When I was married, we lived next door to an Akron Police Detective.  He knew and heard shouting and screaming that went on in our house.  Did he ever once check to see what was going on?  No.  During one argument we had, I was able to get out of the house and ran to the detective's house.  Did he do anything?  No, he counseled me to get help through social agencies and therapists, but 'didn't want to get involved' because it was a domestic situation.

Had I not had a 911 call made in Florida when we were vacationing there, I would not have been believed when I walked into court for my divorce trial.  There in Florida, my 911 call was on record -- but in Akron, not one of several 911 calls I made were on record.  When we told my husband's attorney we would have the Florida officers brought up there to Akron to testify in my behalf, my husband finally backed down.

If these people don't want to get involved, who will?  Women, especially, are very vulnerable when it comes to domestic situations and the police are reticent to get involved.   So, I believe it when these neighbors say they contacted and called the police about checking out the Seymour house and I do believe them when they say their pleas were not followed through.

Again, "we have a failure to communicate."   The Cleveland Police Department is responsible for these women being kept against their will for ten years.  Had one of these neighborhood complaints been followed through these women would have been saved from a lot of torture.  If Ariel Castro said it was nothing but a domestic spat when reports of screaming were reported,  the police had a right and a duty to say, "I want to see that person is okay or I want to speak to that person."

Therefore, I hold the Cleveland Police Department responsible for the length of time these girls were held.  Until the Cleveland Police Department CHANGES its procedures for following through on these calls, the same thing will happen next time.

Also, the Cleveland Police Department and other police departments throughout the United States have to stop assuming all women that go missing between the ages of 13-21 are automatic run-a-ways.  Too many of these situations are happening and then we find the women were stolen and killed or as these three kidnapped for years and years.

Young people are vulnerable and impressionable and their brains are not yet fully developed.  They are many times threatened with death or their family's death and too scared to run away.  It took Amanda ten years before she had the courage to flee her captor.  But, had our local agencies and police department been on their toes, she could have been rescued sooner.

How many other young girls have to be kidnapped, tortured or killed for our police departments to CHANGE their procedures and assumptions in these matters?

Boston Marathon Bombings

What can I say here?  Another terrorist bombing by jihadists, more Americans killed and maimed.  The jihadists are at war with us, the U.S., and we are still so wide eyed and confounded when they strike again and again.

Russia, of all countries, is the one who contacted us to question the older Tsarnaev brother as to his activities and we don't keep him on our terrorist list or at least monitor his goings on in this country. Our FBI and CIA act like the Keystone Kops, fumbling around and never zeroing in on the true terrorists in this country.  No, they are pulling people like me, my friends, my family out of line at the airport and checking us, but they never seem to get the terrorists who are flying back and forth and committing these bombings.  How did we manage to miss this potential terrorist when we were warned by Russian itself, not even one of our most friendly of countries?

Again, "we have a failure to communicate."  Our wires are all crossed here in the United States.  Why are the FBI and the CIA not communicating correctly?  Why do we have two separate and bumbling agencies that keep telling us we are safe and they have our backs when obviously they do not?

When are we going to CHANGE the FBI and CIA and create an agency that truly can handle the tracking down of these terrorists.  Even when we have our tracking down handed to us on a silver platter by Russia, we can't seem to follow through on it.

Our country is in a world of hurt because our public agencies are not working properly, do not communicate properly and do not follow through on incidents like they are suppose to.  Then there is out and out corruption within our public agencies and not all 911 calls are recorded and kept.  If we do not CHANGE how we handle these situations, all three of these situations will continue to happen.

We are our own worst enemies.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Whenever anyone asks, "What's your favorite all time movie?", I guess I would have to respond, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), made long ago by today's standards, but still a classic to which all 'buddy movies' since made have been compared.

It starred Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid. Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy, and Katharine Ross as Etta Place, friends to both.  They played true historical figures in a true story of their lives together.

Paul Newman was cast first for the movie by George Roy Hill and Newman thought he would be the Sundance Kid, because he considered the Kid the better part.  Then, Steve McQueen was about to be cast in the movie by Hill, but before that happened McQueen became intimidated by Newman's stature as an actor, and believe it or not, Newman's good looks, and McQueen bolted from the movie.

Then, the search was on for another actor to play opposite Newman.  Newman knew of and had seen Redford play in other movies and suggested him to Hill.  Hill called Redford in and cast him in the role of the Sundance Kid and Redford accepted the role.  Newman was flabbergasted when Hill told him he had cast Redford as the Kid, because Newman thought he would play the part.  Hill told Newman he only saw him as Butch Cassidy and Newman thought about it for a while and decided the two parts were equally good and was happy to play Butch Cassidy.  So that is how we ended up with these two great actors in these rolls.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid became Redford's break-out role as a bonafide movie star.

 The charming bicycle scene and "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head."
I don't think there are two more handsome, talented or quality actors, or authentic men like Robert Redford and Paul Newman.  They played these characters with affection and playfulness and made the audience love them and cheer for them, even though they were bank and train robbers.  The wonderful personalities of Redford and Newman transferred to their characters and made us laugh at their silly antics and then cry at the end when they were ambushed and killed in South America.

And, the bicycle scene between Newman and Katharine Ross was charming, light and fun, and the affection these two characters had for each other came across as pure and beautiful.
Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid and Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy.
Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid.

Katharine Ross as Etta Place.

Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy.  Hard to believe he is deceased now.
Butch Cassidy and the Hole in the Wall Gang.

The Academy Award winning song "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head."

The end of Butch and Sundance as they come out guns blazing.

Friday, May 3, 2013

We need a zen moment

Can we all just chill out and take a Zen moment and relax?  Ever since the day of the Boston Marathon bombings, there has been nothing on the news, especially on the cable 24 hour news stations, but news about the two bombers.  The Tsarnaev  brothers.

Every move, sound, sneeze, word, and comment the remaining brother says is announced, commented on, analyzed, dissected, pulled apart, put back together and then its done again ad nauseum

I thought we agreed that constant coverage of these terrorists was a bad thing to do?  Why are we glorifying them and putting them on a pedestal?  Why are we obsessing over these two brothers, one dead and the other one most likely to spend the rest of his life in prison?

Why are we giving these two yahoos and their denying parents any broadcast time?    Our news programs act like there is nothing else going on anywhere in the world but at the prison cell or bedside of the younger brother.

Just let the police do their investigation, bring in whoever else they find was involved in this and then report on the findings.  Every day reporting the drip, drip, drip of this investigation is agonizing and painful, especially to those injured and the families of those killed.

We have to learn to move on.  Okay, the bombings happened. We have to go forward.   If we are going to obsess and continue to look the situation, let's at least focus on those injured making their heroic physical and psychological rehabilitation.  Lets look at something or someone positive instead of looking back at the mayhem and bombs these two brothers produced.

We do this every time there is a terrorist incident.  We keep focusing on the terrorists.  The ones in the middle east are watching us obsess thinking, "See, we really mess up their lives and mess with their heads when we are able to bomb them and commit terrorist acts."

We are just giving future terrorists a reason to bomb us.  They see that a terrorist incident can stop us in our tracks and bring an entire city to lockdown.  When that happens, the terrorist has won.  They have done exactly what they set out to do - kill Americans and take away our freedom and we are playing right into their hands.

So, who really are the stupid ones here?   We need to go on with our lives and not give this remaining brother, the dead brother, the wife, or these boys' parents the time of day.   We are only rewarding bad behavior.  These terrorists need to see that they are nothing more than a mere drop of news in the entire ocean of humanity.