The Ukraine unrest….not so black and white

There is a lot of buzz (okay maybe not a lot) going around about the civil unrest in the Ukraine. The media outlets are painting pictures using just black and white. This doesn’t surprise me at all. US media over simplify conflicts to sway the public into believing their side of the story. Like always, there are two, three sometimes four versions/sides of this story all holding some truth and validity, some sides more than others. It’s all about whose perspective one wishes to believe or fits what they want to believe. Here is my take on the situation after trying to take in many different views of the Ukraine dilemma.

Here is a quick rundown for those who may not be to up on what is happening. Like most real issues of importance, the Ukraine unrest is getting very little attention in the US. The Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych was close to signing an agreement with the European Union but chose to pull out of signing the EU agreement. Many of the Ukraine population felt that the EU agreement would have greatly help the country’s many growing problems with government corruption and often violent repression as well as aided them in joining the EU. This resulted is more protesting and rioting then had already been in process before their President pulled out of singing the agreement. There have been peaceful protests met with violence from Ukraine police and violent protests of course met with violence as well. After the president pulled out of the agreement, violent protest surged. There also seems to be a lot of political outside forces fueling the protest/oppositions against the Ukraine government.

Here I introduce the not so black and white picture US media is trying to sell to everyone. This isn’t just about unhappy Ukraine citizens, repression and a corrupt president. This is about the US, Russia and the European Union. Ukraine signing the agreement with the EU benefits the US in many ways, good reason for them to want to aid and be on the side of protesters and resistance to the government. The opposition against the current Ukraine government is getting support from the US State Department, the EU and German government. Oddly,  is was not that long ago that the US supported the Ukraine President and he had US backing. We switch sides quick don’t we? Russia for obvious reason doesn’t want to see Ukraine signing a EU agreement or becoming part of the union. Russia is resistant to joining the EU. I believe President Yanukovych was getting a ton of pressure and heat from Russia not to sign the agreement. Russia offered aid to the Ukraine in December after Yanukovych pulled out of signing the agreement. This is just the little snippet of what I am sure goes much deeper politically, economically and financially than we can imagine.

Yesterday the Ukraine Prime Minister and his entire government resigned. Russia also sat down and had a talk with the heads of the EU. Russian is holding off on giving the bail out money now that there is uncertainty of the new government that may come to office and its intentions. Honestly, I don’t trust the EU anymore than I trust the US or Russia. I think like most entities the EU hide behind a false idea of union for the better good of others, a smoke screen for more sinister and greedy issues. The euro their big brainchild isn’t doing so well and they don’t have that great of a track record in uplifting the countries that are part of their union. The EU has gotten in the habit of manipulating or bullying countries to try to get them to join if they resist, Russia being one of those countries. The EU is increasingly making trade to Europe more expensive for Russia after refusing to join the union. Russian’s pipeline still has very strong pull on Europe’s energy supply and the EU doesn’t like that.

In the end is all boils down to what everyone involved has to gain out of this. Unfortunately, the citizens of the Ukraine, no matter the outcome, will be the ones who don’t benefit directly from any resolutions and if they do it will be a long time. They are the ones suffering from the repression, violence and war games of the EU, Russia and the US for their better gain not for the Ukraine.


Supernova picture and the wonders of space

Today scientist caught a picture of a supernova as it was happening. How cool is it that humans now have this kind of technology to catch something 12 million miles away in a picture. The amount of power in a supernova is incredible. A supernova is also completely destructive to that particular solar system. In addition, a couple of weeks ago astronomers discovered a dormant a black hole in our galaxy. This is another reminder to appreciate life fully because the end of this world can come from sources outside of ourselves at any time. I know this doesn’t fascinate everyone but am a space dork. I love to watch documentaries on space. I’m not out gazing in telescopes or trying to act like I have enough brain power to do anything but watch the cool digital effect and stare in wonder at the TV. To be honest, most of what I watch blows my mind and is more than my brain can comprehend. This doesn’t make it any less fascinating to me.

Space is the great unknown. So much of what we see and hear about in books and documentaries are theory or speculation. The planets, stars, galaxies, nebulas, supernovas, black holes and black matter are mysterious and beautiful. Nebulas and black holes intrigue me the most. Nebulas are so beautiful and it seems fitting that they are the birth of planets and galaxies. Black holes are just plain creepy, at black void sucking up and destroying everything in its path. All that energy it absorbs has to go somewhere, right?

When I am stressed and need a since of peace I just go outside at night and look up into the sky. It reminds me there is so much more than my four walls, job and daily routine. In today’s busy world, people are often stuck looking only ahead or down. If more people would pause and look up into the stars, we may have a little less arrogance, destruction and selfishness in the world. People need to look up and really think about how lucky we are to be on this planet and remember how small and insignificant we are in comparison to what is displayed above us. Everyone feels something different when they actually stop to look up into the stars. It can be spiritual, peaceful, overwhelming, scary a challenge, and/or a religious experience. I simply find it humbling and peaceful. The night brings stillness and quiet as well as the stars. The vastness of space is a reminder not to take life so seriously and to slow down. There are so many thing we do not understand about space as well as our own planet and probably never will. I’ll end this blog with a poem I wrote:

Star gazer:

Vast, majestic and shrouded by daylight

Only darkness can reveals your beauty

Millions of dots sparkle in the night and a round beacon of light calls softly to the world below

Every twinkle is a glimpse into the past

Light and time shimmer in my eyes with the essence of creation and destruction

A magnificent dance wages on beyond the stillness

After sometime relinquishing it’s elegant display to fire and light.

Extension for Unemployment Insurance??

Another extension for unemployment benefits is in the works. Today the senate democrats will move to vote on a three-month extension for unemployment insurance. Now this is only a vote to bring this idea into debate and create a bill. It is not shocking that an issue brought to the political table that helps those in need and the middle class lacks little support from Republicans. Only a small handful of republicans are set to vote on this issue. Unemployment insurance is an often a huge issue and a subject of debate. There is a lot a unneeded hostility towards those receiving unemployment. Like normal, people needlessly lump everyone into one generalized category. Much of the populace gets this ridiculous collective vision of people on unemployment as lazy worthless slums milking the government cash cow never looking for a job. Another ridiculous notion is that unemployment benefits actually make it harder for people to get a job. That makes no sense. I believe Rand Paul stated, “Unemployment is a disservice to the American worker.” Stating that people will not look for work if they get benefits is insulting to Americans. There is something truly wrong with that sociopathic hate monger.

 The problem goes beyond just extending benefits. Cutting benefits or expecting that a three-month extension will fix the real problem is unrealistic. There are not enough jobs to go around. I know people that are managers and work in HR. The amount of applications for one job is overwhelming. For one job, there are often 100’s of applicants. This country is urgent need of creating quality jobs. Creating jobs is the only way to fix the unemployment problem not just extending benefits. In December, 1.3 million people lost their unemployment income. Not only does this cut a sustainable amount of people’s income but it also believed this will cuts jobs. It is estimated that 240,000 jobs may be cut if benefits are not extended, another negative outcome of cutting extensions.

I realize there are people who abuse the unemployment benefits system just like those that abuse welfare but they are the minority of people. Punishing the majority who are in need of something just because of a few who abuse the system is wrong and unjust. The US job market is suffering therefore its citizens are suffering. My mother lost her full time decent wage job. It took her seven months with a bachelor’s degree to find a job. She found a part time job working in retail for fifty cents above minimum wage. Her job helps notch down that little unemployment rate number but her new job is not sufficient income. In NC the amount of pay from unemployment benefits is not sufficient income either. In all their infinite stupidity the Republican dominant government lowered the rate of unemployment too $255.00 a week max. That is $1020.00 a month before taxes. The average rent is around $500-$700 a month for a good place to live that and that price does not leave much left over. Add groceries for a family that go over well $400 a month they are close to going in the negative or already in the hole.

I do not understand the Republican’s apprehensions to extending unemployment benefits. George Bush a mainstream conservative put into place the unemployment extension that the republicans have fought so hard to do away with. Oddly enough, when Bush put this extension into play in 2007, the unemployment rate for the country was 5.5 percent. Currently the unemployment rate is 7%. It seems the current Republican regime is trying to cut cost in all the wrong places. Many Republicans believe passing extension for unemployment benefits is not fiscally responsible. Neither is allowing families and individuals to lose their cars, homes, go hungry and live in poverty. If the country can give millions away to large corporations and other countries for aid why not aid its citizens. The greedy senators and congress need to stop using the deficit as an excuse to take advantages of, under cut and exploit citizens.

Tomorrow democrats and republicans must come together and stop playing childish games in order to extend unemployment benefits for the many people who desperately need them. The Republican Party is starting to feel some pressure from the American middle and lower class majority. Pressure to start making laws and pass legislation that is in the favor of American citizens instead of in favor of government official’s bank accounts. The key is to pass the extensions without the Republicans need to attach stipulations and sad bargaining deals in order to get something they want. This will only prolong what needs to be done. Guarantee that the republicans will use this as another bargaining chip for breaking down the Affordable Care Act. Extend the benefits and actually be a productive senate. The next huge step for our government is to create good wage jobs that are trainable and available for all people. Without creating jobs, unemployment insurance will continue to be a necessity, worry and debate. For now, let us hope people get unemployment extensions soon!

Pope Frances…wise words or puppet.

Pope Frances seems to be shaking foundations with his “radical” ideas of compassion, tolerance, and peace as well as attacking capitalism and today’s poverty stricken war torn world. He delivered a powerful Christmas speech and New Year speech. He also released a revealing 224-page paper. As a slightly paranoid person who questions things that seem too good to be true, I have to question the Pope’s sincerity. He seems to be exactly what the world needs and the complete opposite of what the Catholic Church would want. The Catholic Church is need of an image reboot. Is Pope Frances the real deal or sheep in wolves clothing providing the reboot they need? It seems that those in charge of electing the Pope would not want him crashing their party of over indulgence, arrogance and greed.I really appreciate and agree with a lot of what this man is trying to get out into the world. It is not just a message of Catholicism but also a message of love, compassion and peace, topics that surpass religion.

Popes Frances 224 page Apostolic Exhortation is where the media is getting all those buzz topics he discusses on economy and capitalism. The first several chapters talk about joy, what’s wrong in the hearts of people today and urge people to peacefully spread the word of god by converting people through evangelicalism and mission. The paper also reminds Christians/Catholics of their purpose to aid all those in need the sick, poor, incapable and more. Not a bad message but for me a reminder that he is still the leader of the Catholic church still wanting to convert and spread the world of god, which of course it what a huge part of that religion, so I get it. I also appreciate the section on the selfishness and spiritual sloth of many people. His paper and message is definitely still one of peace, calmness, forgiveness, understanding and an attack on selfish consumerism. In a world dominated by greed and self-interest it is hard for people to cultivate peace, joy, tolerance and compassion. There really is no arguing with what he states.

“The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor.”

In section one under chapter two Pope Frances starts to address the changing of the world through science and technology and how these changes are used for selfish interest by those in power but hold tons of potential for good. He explains that even with all the advances of today people are needlessly sick, living in despair, impoverish and deprived.  Greed has used the tools of technology to gain control.  This section is where media outlets found all the wonderful quotes from the Pope on the economy and capitalism. Pope Frances makes strong claims here that ring with nothing but truth. I could go on for days with quotes from the Apostolic Exhortation that I like but here some of my favorite quotes from sections in Chapter 2:

“We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity.

“Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say, “thou shalt not”, to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”

“Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person.”

“Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric.”

“As Long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the worlds problems or, for that matter, to any problems.

“Today everything comes under the law of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless…masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any mean of escape.”

“Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. It is no long simply about exploitation and oppression but something new. The excluded are not the exploited but the outcast, the “leftovers”.

“We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on a worldwide dimensions.”


The Pope spoke on Christmas and then again on New Years calling for peace to wore torn countries and sending sympathy for those who die, struggle and live in poverty and fear in war torn countries. “True peace is not a balance of opposing forces. It is not a lovely “façade” which conceals conflicts and divisions.” Seems that we can’t reach peace with war despite constantly being taught that the only way to get peace is through war. I have watched several of his conferences and interviews on YouTube. In one conference he talks about women being ordained in the church. Basically he says that isn’t going to happen. John Paul II made it indefinite that women cannot be ordained. In this same conference he talks about homosexuals. He is by no way condoning people being gay but he still refers to acceptance, judgment and tolerance:  Two powerful statements from this conference:

“The door is closed. But let me tell you something, Our Lady, was more important than the apostles, bishops, deacons and priests. Women play a role that’s more important than that of bishops, or priests. How? This is what we have to explain better publically.”

“If a gay person, is a person of good will who seeks god, who am I too judge him.” That is a very powerful statement from the head of the church.


Overall I like the man. He seems genuine but I must remember he is Catholic so he will uphold laws and doctrine that supports those beliefs. I am glad to see such an influential spiritual leader adopt a more peaceful accepting form of religion than in the past. I hope that his message is real and not a revamp of the churches image and that what he says can start to make a difference in this corrupt world I live in. Change comes when a man many people admire publicly stands against greed, poverty, corruption and war. The Catholic Church itself is still filled with many of the same ailments Pope Frances addresses about society. Time will eventual reveal the truth and his commitment to uphold what he preaches. We shall see.

“Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort. Indeed, those who enjoy life most are those who leave security on the shore and become excited by the mission of communicating life to others.”