Thursday, May 29, 2014

Veteran Affairs / Edward Snowden / War / Obama's West Point Speech


So much to write and comment about! 

 First and foremost our country's veterans of war are the most important.  They are the most important to take care of when they return from battle.  And what has happened at the Department of Veteran Affairs?  A systemic failure across all  U.S. veteran hospitals  to medically care for our war veterans has been announced. 

This is unconscionable!  How can we ask our young men and women to fight and serve our country and then fail them when they come back both physically and mentally harmed by their sacrifice?  Where is our sacrifice to help these men and women?

Our country has hit a new low, in my opinion, when it comes Veteran Affairs.  And, yes, why does General Shinseki, head of Veteran Affairs not have a better handle on his bureaucratic department?   Why has the daily running of our country become such a dismal failure and disaster?

If we need more doctors and employees at our veteran hospitals to run them smoothly, then let's hire them.  Why not create more jobs?  If we need to get our financial house in order to do this then let's do it.

Congress has become so ineffective at a time when we need them the most to help run our country along with the other branches of government.  

It is not important to me who heads the office of Veteran Affairs, but let's get someone who can cut through all the red tape and start taking care of our veterans.  I am embarrassed to look a war veteran in the eye knowing this disaster has happened.  Thank God my father, a WWII war veteran,  has passed on and is not seeing this.  

Edward Snowden and U.S. Constitution

I watched NBC's Brian Williams interview Edward Snowden last night.  For heaven's sake, Give Edward Snowden Amnesty!

I found the interview very interesting and Edward Snowden to be quite credible.  It is time for the U.S. government to cut its losses and just let him come home with amnesty.  He is not a traitor nor a criminal.  

I, for one, am glad he leaked the NSA information to the media, because I am glad to know the surveillance my government has been doing on its own citizens.  Who is the real criminal here?

The U.S. government, through the NSA, has breached our U.S. Consititution under Article IV and a few others in the name of rooting out terrorism.  This is illegal.  So one illegal act should cancel out the other.

Dragging Edward Snowden through the court system and then imprisoning him serves no purpose. Whistleblowers will still whistleblow.  I believe Snowden has done a great service to the American people and I am glad to know my government spies on me.  At least it is out in the open. 

No, I'm not doing anything wrong or breaking the law, so the government can snoop away and won't find anything on me.  But, the fact, that the government has the capability to do this is wrong.  I deserve my privacy and so does every other citizen in the U.S.  It seems our own government is watching us behind closed doors.  How sad that our country, formed on democratic ideals, now has a U.S. constitutional breaking government bent on spying on us all.

U.S. Army troops training members of Ghanian Defense Forces in Africa

As we are closing down the war in Afghanistan, we are sending more of our troops to Africa.  In fact, all across Africa, east to west, our American troops are being sent to watch situations, to help the African nations with their own armies, and to aid our African neighbors in their fights against terrorism

I hope to God we have American troops in Nigeria looking for the 300+ missing Nigerian girls kidnapped and sold into slavery.  Those kinds of missions the U.S. military should be involved in and in giving help.  

President Obama has just sent eighty more troops to Africa.

But, will there ever be truly peace in this world?  Will there ever come a time when our military presence is not needed overseas?  It seems peace is as elusive as ever.  

And, it is so easy to become involved in full time war no matter where our military presence is. Can we successfully keep out of other nation's wars?  While we are the world's leader, can we NOT get involved?  

It seems not to be involved in war while at the same time being the world's leader is an oxymoron.


Once again President Barak Obama has spoken!

Yesterday, he gave yet another commencement speech to the graduates of West Point Military Academy.  These young men and women will serve in our Army as officers.

In the West Point speech, President Obama laid out his foreign policy vision for the rest of his presidential term and he also seemed on the defensive against critics who say his policies are week and ineffectual.

His main point seemed to be that  not every world crisis or foreign affairs event merits American military intervention.  I could agree with that if we were just not coming off of the Ukranian issue.

President Obama makes strong statements of American military support and draws red lines only to follow up with weak actions or not actions at all.  Look at Syria.  He drew the red line in the sand and then dithered when it came to going into Syria and really doing some damage to Assad and his army.  We ended up doing nothing and Assad is stronger than ever.

When Putin and his Russian forces marched into Ukraine and yanked back the Crimea to be part of Russia and then put his troops on the border of Ukraine, I thought we should have followed that up with massing NATO forces on the other side of the Ukraine borders to face the Russian Army.  But, no, President Obama would not do that.  Economic sanctions were in store for Putin and his cabal.  Have economic sanctions really done any damage to them?

In doing this, President Obama has set America up for a loss of U.S. credibility in the world.  I am not for getting into another war, especially with Russia, but a show of force in Ukraine would have shown Putin and the Russians we are a force to be reckoned with.  So many brave Ukranians have died over Russians invading Ukraine.

I know that President Obama wants to be known as the president that got us out of war not into one, but the times and crises are what they are and instead of looking weak and ineffectual, we need to look strong and as a world leader.

On the one had, Obama says we are 'exceptional leaders,' but on the other hand his actions have made us look weak to the rest of the world.

Copyright (c)  2014   Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Monday, May 19, 2014

Jill Abramson debate over her firing from the NYTimes

Jill Abramson, former NYTimes Executive Editor
As I am sure everyone has heard by now, Jill Abramson, the first woman executive editor of the NYTimes newspaper, was fired last week by the publisher.   A debate has been raging on about why she was fired.  Was it for her so called "abrasive, tough and pushy" manner in the newsroom or because she recently hired an attorney to look into pay inequity she believed she was experiencing with men, her counterparts?

Abramson is an acclaimed author and journalist, former graduate of Harvard University, and considered the best in her profession.  She ran a tight newsroom and under her management there were no scandals and she worked hard to maintain a commitment to truth and accountability in the news.

Again, do we have a woman berated and fired from her position because she displayed those qualities and personality traits that men are heralded for:  abrasive, tough, pushy and blunt and to the point?  While we admire these traits in men, we are horrified when these traits are displayed by women.  

If Abramson displays these qualities she must be nasty, controlling, and not connecting with her newsroom employees.  There is tension in the newsroom and she is the cause of it.  Never mind that she has supporters, she is difficult and not easy to work with.  Therefore, she must go.

Or, is it just the perfect timing for firing her since she has the audacity to suggest that she is experiencing pay inequity with men in the organization, and has hired an attorney to investigate and look into the matter.

Abramson was summoned and asked to resign which to her credit she refused to do.  She has done nothing wrong so why should she resign?    She has done a stellar job of running the Times' newsroom and should not be judged any differently than her male counterparts or paid any differently than her male counterparts.

We received a lengthy press release from the publisher maintaining the firing has nothing to do with the pay inequity she questions, but because of her "abrasiveness."  But, the fact that the publisher has had to put out a public statement to those outraged by her firing says a lot.  Why has a private employee matter become so public?

"Doth the publisher protest too much?"

Quite the coincidence that her firing and her request for information pertaining to pay inequity happened at the very same time.

Pay inequity has been an issue the President has brought up many times.  Women have shattered the glass ceiling, but are not being paid what men are paid.  In this day and age that is outrageous.  Women who have the same educational experience, work experience, leadership qualities, and proven themselves along the way should be paid exactly what a man would be paid.  

What is it about this country that women are expected to be second class citizens when it comes to compensation for their work?  This is the bottom line and the crux of the matter. 

To her credit, Abramson showed up and spoke at the Wake Forest commencement today. She emphasized resilience as the one quality most needed in the work force and careers of today.  I would say so and she certainly displayed it today.  I can imagine how difficult it was to give her speech in the wake of her recent firing.  She emphasized the graduates in her speech, but, of course, had to refer to her own situation in some instances.

When asked about her famous Time's iconic script T tattoo on her back, she said she's keeping it.   

That's resilience!

Copyright  2014   Suzannah Wolf Walker   all rights reserved

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Nigerian Girls - too little to late?

"God is watching us . . . from a distance." - Bette Midler

Finally, the world has taken notice of the stolen girls from Nigeria.  But, is the world's response, too little tool late? 

 President Obama has sent hostage negotiators and American intelligence to Nigeria in the hope of helping to find the girls.  Michelle Obama has finally come out and is publicly speaking and calling for support in finding the Nigerian girls.   The UK has also sent help in the form of government officials to Nigeria.

But, what has taken so long for this help to arrive in Nigeria?  When 300+ girls are stolen from a school and then sold into sexual slavery, why is the world dragging its feet to help find them?

If "love is the answer," then how has it taken three weeks for the world to actually send help?   We post platitude after platitude on Facebook each day, and if "love is the answer," our love sure has taken awhile to kick in to this world situation.

Do we pick and choose which terrorist groups we fight against?  Al Quaeda and Jihadist groups are the terrorists the U.S. chooses to fight, but not Boko Haram?  

Terrorism is terrorism no matter who the terrorist group is.  They are all evil and perpetuate that evil on the world.  We must snuff out these terrorist groups where ever they appear and snuff out what ever specific type of evil they display.  So this month it is Boko Haram that terrorizes 300+ Nigerian girls and their families.  We, the U.S., must fight them too.

Is Africa a continent we choose to let terrorism linger and take hold?  Is this continent not important to our national interests and safety, so we ignore Boko Haram and let them run wild in Nigeria and anywhere else in Africa they choose to roam?

How could 300+ girls of any nation, continent or color NOT be important enough for the world to take notice and rescue from such an abominable fate?

Some have criticized me for criticizing the world on this topic.  But, waiting three weeks to offer help to Nigeria and waiting three weeks to start finding the girls - is it too little to late?  This is a situation that bears criticizing.

Another sad fact, is that many people, world over, were not even aware these Nigerian girls had been kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery.  We need the world population to be informed - watch the news daily.  

We already know from American intelligence that the girls are no longer together but spit up into smaller groups.  By now, they could be sold into sexual slavery anywhere to anyone in the world.  We presume, most of them have been dispersed to other areas in Africa.

 What is the solution to this problem?  Love IS the answer, but we must love all of God's children throughout the world.  No child in the world is less deserving of help and rescue than another one. We cannot pick and choose which terrorist groups we fight - we must fight them all!  We cannot pick and choose which children we rescue from disastrous fates - we must rescue them all!

Ah, but where does the money come from to fight terrorism and rescue these girls?  It should be coming from every nation in the world.  Every nation should be contributing to the pot.  It will probably come from the U.S. and the UK.  That is business as usual in this world.

The children are our future.  If we allow terrorist groups to steal them away, they have no future and then, we, the world has no future.

Why should any child in this world feel safe, secure, and have trust in us adults when they see how we responded to the Nigerian girls?  

"God is watching us . . . "  We aren't doing so well in rescuing the Nigerian girls and God is watching this and so are the Nigerian girls.

Copyright (c)  2014  Suzannah Wolf Walker  all rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

More Nigerian girls stolen!


Where is the world's moral compass?  I'd like to know. 

 More girls have been stolen from their school to add to the more than 200 girls stolen three weeks ago from a school in Nigeria.  And why were they stolen?

Because these girls dared to attend school.  They dared to get an education.  They dared to better themselves, and their families fully supported this.  These parents wanted their girls to get an education.  This way, they could escape their back country lives and become part of the educated society in Nigeria.

And so what happened?  Evil has prevailed.  Some terrorist or war lord gang burst into the school and at gunpoint stole or kidnapped these girls right out of their desks, their classrooms and from their teachers.  

No one in Nigeria has any idea where these girls are.  They have simply vanished.  And a few days ago, the gang's leaders announced these girls were kidnapped because girls should not be educated.  They further announced the girls are now slaves and will be sold into marriage or into prostitution trafficking.

And what is the world's response?  Silence.  Nothing.  Zip.  Nada.

What is wrong with this world?  How can nearly 300 girls vanish and a war lord of a terrorist group announce that he is against girls being educated (that in itself should have caused world outrage) and then announces they are now slaves, mere chattel, to be sold into marriage or prostitution.  

I am personally outraged by this and outraged that the world sits by and does nothing.  Finally, President Barak Obama has stepped forth and said he is sending help with intelligence gathering to at least find out where the girls are.  Three weeks later?  Many of the girls could be gone by now, their lives ruined by this group of pirates and marauders.  

And, Nigeria is slow in taking help from other nations in finding its girls - its future strength and role models?  My assessment of this is the world is insane.

When it takes three weeks for distraught and devastated Nigerian parents to get the world to respond, there is something wrong with the rest of us.  There is something wrong with the world. Why are these girls not important enough to save? Why are these girls relegated to a brief note on the news?  Why are these girls not a priority to be saved?

Is it because these are girls of color?  Is it because Nigeria is a third world nation?   Is it because they are merely girls?   We can spend millions and billions to search for Malaysian Flight #370, and we should be doing this. But, we ignore the plight of these 300+ girls?

It is unconscionable to me that these girls are not a world priority to rescue.  Where is the UN in all of this?  Why isn't the United Nations on this and sticking on this until all the girls are returned?  What is the point of UNICEF if it doesn't come to the aid of these 300 Nigerian girls?

We are so absorbed in our own world and lives that what is happening in a small African country thousands of miles away is of little consequence to us.  Why should we worry about barefooted Nigerian girls trying to get an education in this world?  

We have to carpool the kids to school,  baseball practice, cheer leading, ballet lessons, piano lessons, band practice and all the other activities our children are involved with.  We have no time to think or care about 300 girls in Nigeria.  

That is exactly what is wrong in the world today.  We are so self-absorbed that we don't notice or care about Nigerian girls kidnapped and turned into slaves living at the whim of terrorist men who are against girls/women being educated.  Keep these Nigerian girls barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.  Every woman in the world should be rising up and demanding action in finding and returning these girls to their families and school.

The world's moral compass has gone south - and how sad that is!

Copyright (c)  Suzannah Wolf Walker  all rights reserved