Disgust and Hope

It’s too bad thousands of dead Palestinian kids do not get the same attention and generate the same public outrage as 7 aid workers working under a celebrity chef do otherwise the U.S. probably would have taken a firmer approach to Israel months ago. This long overdue approach of conditioning U.S. support on concrete and immediate actions to alleviate suffering and avoid civilian casualties is most welcomed but it is still too little too late as this should have been a starting point, a precondition to any foreign aid or weapons transfers, and not where we arrive after the deaths of over 10,000 kids and at least another 10,000 innocent adults.

U.S. tax payers should not be buying the bombs used to indiscriminately drop on innocent people even if there are a couple of terrorists hiding amongst them. Fighting a war like this where you are killing far more women and children than you are terrorists or even military aged men is only bound to create more terrorists than it destroys and make a solution to this decades old conflict even more allusive. It’s an absolute shame that the U.S. and Israel didn’t understand this before the post October 7th retaliation even started when much of the world was on its side and instead dealt with Hamas and justifiable Palestinian discontent in a much more effective way.

Akira Toriyama

On March 1st 2024 the great Akira Toriyama passed away while in the midst of multiple projects due to an acute subdural hematoma which is a type of bleeding near the brain. He was just 68 years old and is best known for creating the Dragon Ball series which was first published in 1984. Dragon Ball Z Kai Episodes 1-98, which originally aired between 2009 and 2011, is by far the best segment of the ongoing Dragon Ball series which has entertained and inspired generations of people around the world. I strongly recommend you watch these 98 episodes of greatness in the original Japanese audio with subtitles in your native language. Thank you Toriyama-sensei!

Dean Phillips 2024

I sent in my vote for the Michigan Presidential Primary on February 27th 2024 and was just notified that it had been received. I strongly encourage you to vote in your State’s primary elections and not simply allow your November 5th options to be chosen for you. The U.S. needs to move on from Biden and Trump and the only other choices we have on the Democratic and Republican sides are Phillips and Haley and that’s an easy choice for me as an independent voter who seriously considers every viable candidate.

I hope others will step up and say NO! to a repeat of Biden vs Trump because I fear the Trump cult and a weak Republican Party who doesn’t dare to criticize their orange demigod will ensure that he is the Republican nominee and as was the case with Hillary in 2016 the Democratic Party will do all it can to prevent primary challengers in order to take a chance, a chance that is looking worse by the day, with the candidate most entrenched and loyal to the party rather than the one that actually stands the best chance of defeating the dangerous and delusional Donald.

Trump must not be reelected therefore we must choose the candidate most capable of beating him in November and at this time that candidate is Dean Phillips. I thank him for having the foresight to see what will happen in a Biden vs Trump rematch and the courage to go against the Democratic Party establishment and their undemocratic system of coronations of party elders and loyalists in order to ensure the U.S. doesn’t have to endure another Trump presidency. The U.S. needs a sane, moral, and pragmatic president that puts country before party and personal interests and that is why I support Dean Phillips for President.

A Free Press

I thought it was suicide when Navalny went back to Putin’s Russia in 2021 after recovering in Germany from being poisoned in Russia so although news of his death is sad it’s not surprising. At the same time Assange is still in a U.K. prison and his extradition to and imprisonment in the U.S. would set a chilling precedent for the free world and that is why I sent the following to my representatives in government.

While it’s good to see the U.S. and other nations that claim to cherish the right to free speech and support a free press provide their condolences and criticisms of those responsible for Navalny’s death it’s quite hypocritical of them to do so when Assange, an Australian citizen, is still rotting in a U.K. jail as he continues to fight against extradition to the U.S. where he faces up to 175 years in prison. Regardless of what you think of Assange no journalist should be prosecuted for shedding light on the misdeeds of those in power as that is their most important job and it’s why good journalists, freedom of speech, and a free press are essential in a free society.

Assange did not obtain the material he published illegally and the person that did was tried, convicted, and spent 7 years in prison. Whether or not that is too long or not long enough is up for debate however Assange has done nothing other than publish material that was in the public interest. Imagine how the U.S. would respond if someone in Russia leaked classified information which documented Russian war crimes to an Australian journalist that was based in the U.S.? Do you think for a second the U.S. would even consider sending this person to Russia to face punishment? The U.S. needs to decide if it’s going to start standing for the values it purports to espouse or if it’s going to continue to act like Russia has with Navalny.

Never Again

Never again can we elect a president who blatantly puts themself above the constitution and country they were chosen to protect and serve and that has no qualms about incessantly lying in pursuit of personal gain. To the remaining Trump devotees: Wake up and free yourself from the cult. Wrong is wrong and unfit is unfit so dump Trump and choose a half-way decent Republican candidate. If the talent pool in your Grand Old Party is that shallow then just pick a name out of a phone book in a deep-red district and as long as they prove to be a decent or good person with average or above average cognitive skills and are willing to serve their country for 4 years then maybe I and other independent voters will vote for them as we aren’t looking forward to another 4 years of Biden either.

East China West China

Today is election day in Taiwan and I hope voters will shun any candidates or political parties intent on moving towards independence. The U.S. needs to oppose moves towards Taiwan independence as strongly as it does reunification by force and make it clear that if the voters of Taiwan do decide they want to elect pro-independence parties and politicians then they will be left to face the consequences on their own without any economic, political, or military support from the U.S..

The U.S. and the rest of the world must understand that the situation between China and Taiwan is not akin to Russia and Ukraine which are and have been separate countries. China and Taiwan are more like East and West Germany or North and South Vietnam. This is because their separation is a relic of the cold war and like these other two countries that had been divided over capitalist / communist ideology and U.S. / U.S.S.R. alliances China too will eventually be reunited.

The question is will it be reunified by force because of the irresponsible words and actions of politicians and the inability of the voters of Taiwan to see that the DPP is leading them towards disaster, or will it be reunified peacefully when mainland China looks and functions a lot more like Taiwan. The best thing Taiwan can do for itself, the rest of China, and the world is to maintain the status quo and continue to set an example of what kind of an open and prosperous society freedom and democracy can bring.

The UN Chief and Israel

It’s unreasonable for Israel’s UN Ambassador to accuse the UN Chief of “tolerating terrorism” and call for him to resign when all he said was “It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation” moreover he followed by saying “the grievances of the Palestinian people can not justify the appalling attacks by Hamas and those appalling attacks can not justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”. Ignoring the underlying causes of this century-old conflict will not help achieve any kind of long-term peace and any attempts by Israel to rewrite, cover up, or silence those who shed light on the history of this conflict will fail regardless of how hard they try to keep people ignorant of the crimes, past and present, that their nation was built upon and continues to illegally expand upon in the West Bank.

With that said Israel did return all of Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 and instead of making the most of it while peacefully advocating for an independent and contiguous Palestinian state they elected Hamas in 2006 who was already well-known for their violent fanaticism. Although Hamas did not win a majority of votes in that election and although most of the people in Gaza were too young or not even yet born to vote in that 2006 election they have been stuck with them for the past 17 years. As for the West Bank while all Israeli settlements there are illegal it unfortunately seems that continued Israeli military control, NOT continued settlement expansion, carried out as respectfully as possible is necessary until the vast majority of Palestinians come to the realization that despite being unjustly founded Israel is here to stay and that the best they can hope for is a two-state solution and that can only come by renouncing all forms of violence and opposing any groups or political parties that advocate for it.

Better yet if they could all put their religious differences aside and agree to a unified secular state, something like a Singapore of the Middle East, then there would be no need to put up security walls and fight over borders within the same country. Unfortunately there’s no shortage of violent fanatics on both sides who would never accept living with each other within a secular state and under a modern constitution that gave everyone equal rights. Maybe one day when more people can breakout of their old tribal mindsets such a state will be possible but in the meantime it seems the only viable path forward is two independent states living side by side but I think this would only work if the Palestinian state disarmed and allowed Israel to secure the borders in the interest of both states while allowing Palestinians to govern and police a contiguous Palestinian state under Palestinian law and under what I would hope would be a modern and tolerant Palestinian constitution.

Stop the Bombing – Free the Hostages

What happened to those poor people in Israel on Saturday October 7th was horrific and it’s hard to believe such large-scale and indiscriminate violence specifically targeted at innocent civilians is even possible. To make things worse rather than seeking to reduce tensions and prevent future terrorist attacks Israel is responding exactly how Hamas wanted them to and as a result it has already lost much of the sympathy and support it had gained from that tragic and unprecedented terrorist attack.

Rather than relentlessly dropping bombs on such a densely populated area and preparing for a ground invasion and possible occupation Israel should have focused on replacing its own incompetent leadership and on fixing its massive security flaws by doing things like expanding the buffer zone around Gaza to the point it would be impossible to cross without ample time to detect, respond, and repel any future attacks. All aerial bombing should be reserved for clear and legitimate targets like rocket launch sites.

As for the monsters who orchestrated and perpetrated the October 7th attack/massacre if they aren’t killed on the spot and can be taken alive they should be sentenced to a life of hard labor or serve as test subjects for new drugs and vaccines. Regardless of the punishment I hope they all eventually meet up with Israeli Special Forces in precisely targeted operations because this is preferable to the current approach of mass bombing which is without a doubt creating more terrorists than it’s destroying and sowing the seeds for future violence.

P.S. Here is what I sent to the President and my state’s Senators. I also tried sending it twice to my representative in Congress but his website is garbage.

The U.S. needs to stop funding Israel and become a neutral broker of peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. It can start by advocating for an immediate cease-fire and the release of all hostages. The vast majority of people suffering in Gaza are not responsible for the atrocities committed on October 7th and therefore should not be collectively punished for them.

No More Near Misses

The U.S. should reach an agreement with China before there’s an accident in the Taiwan Strait and before it further emboldens Taiwan separatists into thinking the U.S. will send its citizens to fight and die in support of Taiwan independence. To put it simply, if the Chinese Navy doesn’t sail their ships into the territorial seas controlled by Taiwan or take any other unprovoked military actions against Taiwan then the U.S. navy should not sail their ships through the Taiwan Strait as doing so is an unnecessary provocation that serves no positive purpose.

If an agreement like this was enacted China would not be as pressed into feeling an increased sense of urgency to retake Taiwan and voters in Taiwan would be less likely to press their luck by supporting politicians and political parties that increasingly and irresponsibly flirt with the idea of Taiwan independence. Moreover this gesture of respect, show of support for the One China policy, and meaningful attempt to reduce tensions will not diminish the U.S. capability or resolve to come to the aid of Taiwan in the event of an unprovoked invasion from the mainland.

Peace Talks Now

After 9 years of armed conflict, which includes the past 53 weeks of death and destruction, there needs to be immediate peace talks. These talks should be held by the U.N. and in these talks Ukraine and Russia need to state their case and tell the world what they want in order to immediately end this war and remain good neighbors in perpetuity. If an agreement can’t be reached then after hearing both sides all U.N. member states, particularly those responsible for directly or indirectly fueling this conflict, need to decide which side is being reasonable and which is not, and drop their support whether it be economic, military, or moral for the country they feel is responsible for perpetuating this conflict and gambling with the fate of humanity.

Police Belligerence and Brutality

I watched the Tyre Nichols video so you didn’t have to and was shocked at the incompetency of the police involved and shocked that the Memphis police department, or any police department, would hire such unqualified people to serve as police officers. Moreover whoever decided to put them into a group and give them the name “Scorpion Unit” should be fired as if that in itself wasn’t a warning sign that such a unit might become even more aggressive in order to maintain their reputation as the bad-ass unit and to one-up their fellow scorpions. It seemed like for every point of police incompetence came two points of police anger and aggression as if they were punishing Tyre for their own lack of cardio and composure. From start to finish the officers involved did everything you’re not supposed to do to deescalate a situation and turned a traffic stop into a murder so it’s good they were fired and are being criminally charged. The Memphis police department, and all police departments, need to reevaluate their training programs and raise the mental and physical requirements for serving the public as a police officer.

Police Officer Training Lesson One:

Just because a person may not be in full compliance with your instructions, especially after being manhandled, tased, and pepper sprayed, you as a law enforcement officer do not have the right to punch them in the face, kick them in the head, or beat them with a baton. A police officer does not have the right to punish people for not fully following their instructions or respecting their authority regardless of whether it’s because that person is intoxicated, mentally ill, or in a state of shock and panic, however a police officer does have the responsibility to try and deescalate the situation and get the person under control with as little force as possible while protecting themselves, fellow officers, and the public. Once in custody any suspects or perpetrators will face whatever charges they have coming to them and serve any punishment that is given to them not on the street, in the back of a police vehicle, or in a police station, but in a court of law.


A colugo is an arboreal gliding mammal native to Southeast Asia and they are more closely related to humans and other primates than they are bats, squirrels, or sugar gliders. If you’re hearing about this interesting animal for the first time count them as one more reason on a list of many to protect the forests, preserve biodiversity, and save the planet.

2022 Midterms

It’s already been two weeks since my vote and all the other votes were counted but I still feel I should thank and congratulate the U.S. voters who rejected many of the Trump-endorsed election-denying crazies who were endorsed by Trump not because they were the best choice for the country but because they were the best choice for him. It seems more Republican voters are waking up to the fact that with Trump it was never “America First” it was “Trump First” and it will always be “Trump First” and the sooner the rest of Republican voters wake up to this reality and start supporting candidates who are for democracy, against dictatorship, and put the country before their own narrow and narcissistic interests the better.

Congratulations Brazil!

Thank you for sparing us another four years of Bolsonaro and we look forward to a return to responsible environmental stewardship of the Amazon rainforest.

Every vote counts and that’s why I went out of my way today to send in my absentee ballot for the U.S. mid-term elections. Stay informed, speak up, and vote!

Iranian Protests

The world is inspired by the brave people protesting injustice in Iran. Governments need to focus on improving people’s lives and not on enforcing what they can or must wear.

Brazilian Elections

Another 4 years of Bolsonaro would be a disaster for Brazil, the Amazon, and the World so Brazilian voters need to vote this dangerous and delusional joke of a president out of office like we did with Trump!

臺灣 Taiwan 台湾

The best way to safeguard Taiwan as the beacon of freedom and democracy it is, and in particular Chinese freedom and democracy, is to not take provocative and counterproductive actions that embolden Taiwan separatists and make the mainland feel that the island is being pulled away from reunification and towards independence by the U.S.. This ill-advised Pelosi visit does nothing for peace, stability, or freedom in the region. It only puts Taiwan at greater risk of invasion and forced reunification while increasing the chances of miscalculations and misunderstandings between the U.S. and China.

The leaders of China understand the difficulty and costs of invading a heavily armed island of nearly 24 million people and will be less likely to do so if that island shows no signs of moving towards independence or unilaterally changing the status quo. This is the best chance that Taiwan has at existing in its current state for as long as possible into the future and until both sides decide to reunify by peaceful means in a mutually beneficial way. I hope at that time the mainland will socially and politically look a lot more like Taiwan than it does now and until then it still has a lot to learn from free and democratic Taiwan.

Happy Lunar New Year!

Depending on which calendar a society uses there are many different New Year’s and in some places more than one is celebrated. Calendars are generally one of three types: lunar, solar, or lunisolar. A lunar calendar is based on the revolution of the moon around the earth, a solar calendar is based on the revolution of the earth around the sun, and a lunisolar calendar is based on the moon’s revolution around the earth but includes a thirteenth month, aka leap month, every two or three years to keep it in sync with the earth’s revolution around the sun.

In lunisolar calendars like the Chinese calendar a leap month is periodically added so the months correspond with the seasons. It takes the moon around 29.5 days to revolve around the earth which means 12 lunar months is around 354 days and since it takes the earth around 365 days to revolve around the sun the months and seasons would drift apart around 11 days each year without this leap month. The New Year’s that takes place on January 1st is according to the Gregorian or Western calendar which is a solar calendar and the New Year’s that takes place today and every year on the new moon between late January and late February is according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar.

Happy New Year! 新年快樂!

Sheen = new 新
Nee-en = year 年
Kwai Luh = happy 快樂

Sheen Nee-en Kwai Luh! Try it if you encounter a Chinese speaking person this week because unlike the Western New Year Chinese New Year, aka Spring Festival, is a multi-day mega holiday that doesn’t officially conclude until the 15th day which marks the first full moon of the new year and is celebrated as Lantern Festival.