Category Archives: US Politics

Peace cannot be kept by force

Lenin statueMy big brother, Robert, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

My brother, George, was a naval gunner, during World War II.

I was eager to join them and to serve my country.

I never got the chance because I was not of age to serve, still in high school in 1945 and my parents said I had to graduate and go to college. Like millions of other Americans I was eager, so eager to fight. I was young, and after all the young are immortal.

On August 6, 1945, President Harry S. Truman approved the use of a horrific weapon, atomic bombs, to be dropped on two Japanese cities – Hiroshima and Nagasaki – and in the aftermath, for all purposes the war was over.

I never got to go to war.

But I have seen first-hand what war can do…at Leningrad, Stalingrad. Kursk and many, many other cities. My young life would drastically change when I decided to live in the Soviet Union.

In the wake of the bloodletting in that second global war, and with the creation of the United Nations, I, and many like myself, believed the Atomic Age would usher in an era of peace and good-will. After all, who in his right mind would want a war when nations can drop atomic and hydrogen bombs and wipe mankind off the face of the earth?

Apparently, I – and many like me – are wrong.

The world and its leaders have not learned from the past. We were at war yesterday and we are at war today. And tomorrow, our would-be presidents are willing to shoot down Russian planes to threaten those who disagree with them.

Never-ending war.  Its cells are malignant and once ingrained in the nation’s belly spread unchecked. Where will it strike next: Syria? Russia? Which of the 50-plus African nations?

After 13 years of constant fighting, and the loss of thousands of lives, it is unconscionable to even think about sending troops into the Middle East. The followers of Islam have been at each other’s throats since the Prophet Mohammed’s death in 634 on issues we in the western world could never comprehend. If, for nearly 2000 years these religious fanatics can’t settle their differences, how can anyone else in this world have the audacity to believe they can resolve the issues?

If you are Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, and you have a huge arsenal of atomic and hydrogen bombs in your nuclear stockpile, what would you do when candidates for the presidency of the United States of America publicly threaten your country by saying they, if elected, would put missiles in your backyard (Poland)? And when they threaten to shoot down any Russian pilot who violates a no-fly zone (in Syria), knowing that would be an act of war, would you, President Putin, not prepare for war?

And the beat goes on.

“We are at war,” says another candidate. “We won’t allow a Muslim to come into this country…”

A Muslim. How about an Armenian? Or a Jew? Or a Pole? Italian? Scot? Irish? German? Italian?

Are we not all immigrants?

Words… words that shatter the very foundation upon which this great democracy was built.

Oh, how we have forgotten the power of the spoken and written word. Words are alive….they are infinite….they soothe…they provoke…they can speak…they can be translated into action…

Like:

“You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.” “These are the times that try men’s souls.” “Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!” “Let them eat cake.”.”I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

Yes, Gov. Christie….shoot down  that Russian plane, if it violates a space that is unknown to most Americans….but you will, in doing so, change life on earth.

Let me leave you with this thought, a thought offered by a genius who knew earth and the universe better than most of us. This incredible human being convinced President Franklin Roosevelt that he should consider research into the making of an atomic weapon because Nazi scientists were already creating a weapon and “…a single bomb of this type, carried by a boat and exploded in a port, might well destroy the whole port, together with some of the surrounding territory.”  FDR was convinced. The project became known as the “Manhattan Project”. The scientist’s name is Albert Einstein.

In contrast, Einstein noted, “Peace cannot be kept by force….it can be achieved by understanding.”

 

 ***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

Save

Putin, Russia, and US

Russian Flag
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Vlado

Being a political reporter, as I have been for more than forty years, the question I would ask a candidate who is seeking to become the 45th President of the United States is, “How would you deal with President Putin and Russia?”

Like 2008’s presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, I also believe the biggest threat to our security comes from Putin. Our candidates need to do some research into world history:

  • Donald Trump, the great deal-maker and wall builder, may have to face Reagan’s return and the demand, “Tear down that wall!”;
  • Hillary Clinton, the Queen of Spades who digs herself out of any mess she manages to get into;
  • Ben Carson, who went to the same school I went to, so I say nothing else about him here but that he is a Prospector;
  • Jeb Bush, whose dreams of perpetuating a dynasty is being shattered by his ineptness to communicate and the bitter taste of the name Bush;
  • Marco Rubio, a very articulate speaker, apparently has more problems balancing his personal finances than he may have tackling the 17 trillion debt our nation is facing, and
  • Ted Cruz, like the Wisconsin Senator who served from 1947-1957, used emotionally charged words – “Bolshevik” and “Menshevik” – during a recent debate, demonstrating that he doesn’t know a byte about Soviet Russia.

However, the Cold War, the “Iron Curtain”, and the days of socialism and communism are over.

Or are they? With those two words (Bolshevik and Menshevik) during a recent debate, the junior Republican senator from Texas conjured up in my mind the horrific days and nights of the McCarthy Era, the Dies Era, and the ghosts of those who believed they had absolute power over the people of the United States. One only had to say “He (or she) is a communist” and that would end a bright career.

Dies and his Committee and Senator Joseph McCarthy remind us that the worst threat to our freedoms is to close our eyes to injustice. It can’t happen here? Friends, it did happen here…

Back to our candidates. Please note, I do not list the candidates according to their party affiliation. We are Americans and after the last ballot is cast in November of 2016, the President of the United States and the congressmen and women shall serve no party. They are bound by their allegiance the People of the United States.

An unsuccessful candidate for the Presidency, Governor of Illinois Adlai E. Stevenson,  once wrote, “We have to serve the truth as candidates for public office and not mislead, misguide, misdirect the people merely to provoke emotional response and win votes that way.”

These are words that one who seeks our vote should remember.

Back to Putin…just give him enough rope… But also remind him that his tutor, Joseph Stalin, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, wrote and thanked President Franklin D. Roosevelt on November 4, 1941:

“Your decision, Mr. President, to grant the Soviet Union an interest-free loan to the value of $1,000,000,000 to meet deliveries of munitions and raw materials to the Soviet Union is accepted by the Soviet Government with heartfelt gratitude as vital aid to the Soviet Union in its tremendous and onerous struggle against our common enemy – bloody Hitlerism…”

Yours very sincerely,
J. Stalin”

****

Note the word LOAN…Webster defines the word as “something to be used for a short time…to be given back with interest…” He never paid us back.

And I believe it would not be fair to the other candidates seeking the presidency if I did not, at least, mention their names. They are: Kentucky Senator Rand Paul; the Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Carly Fiorina; Ohio Governor John Kasick; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley; South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal; and also unforgettable former Governor Arkansas Mike Huckabee; former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore; former New York Governor George Pataki, and let us not forget former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.

There are a few others who have filed that you may want to consider for the Oval Office. I (and probably you) know little if anything about: George Bailey (not the character in It’s a Wonderful Life); Esteban Oliverz; Jefferson Sherman; Dale Christenson; Chris Hill; Michael Petyo; Brian Russell; Valma Kittington; K. Ross Newland; James Mitchell, Jr.; Jack Feller (Is he related to Bobby?); Mark Everson; John Dummett; Kerry Bowers; Bartholomew Lower; Eric Cavanagh; Jim Hayden; Brooks Cullinson; Skip Andrews; Michael Bickelmeyer; Andy Martin; Howell Astor; Morrison  Bonpass; Jeff Boss; Harry Brown; Andy Caffrey; Willie Carter; Lloyd Kelson; Doug Shriffer; Michael Steinberg; Robbie Wells; Willie Wilson, and Brad Winston.

If I missed any of the wannabe Presidents, I apologize.

 

 ***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

Save

The Girl from the Ukraine

Ukraine flag with "why" graffiti
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius

She is seventeen. Sharp and tenacious. Born, raised and educated in the in a free and independent Ukraine, she saw her life and the lives of her friends disintegrate as Russian nationalists stood toe-to-toe in her hometown, Ukrainian soil, each claiming the land as theirs.

“Our neighbors were Russians. I grew up with their children. They were and are my friends. I never believed that there would be bloodshed.”

There was. And still is.

As history so often shows and repeats, the on-going political debacle in the southeastern sector of the Ukraine ended in utter defeat for the unprepared Ukrainians as its arch-enemy, Russian and its pariah Russian President Putin occupied the Crimea. And without firing a single shot. Now Moscow is claiming to the rights to the Donetsk basin, the industrial hub of eastern Ukraine.

“My family is fortunate,” she said. “My grandmother lives in Kiev. We left our village after the rockets begin to fall. We moved in with her.”

Though it was almost a year ago that she had left her country, she has not forgotten the explosions and the fires that followed. She says she will never forget the madness she witnessed.

Safe now thanks to a U.S.-Ukrainian foreign student exchange program, she is attending classes in a nearby high school. Her host family thought it would do her some good “to talk to someone who knew her language and had spent time in Russia.”

My wife and I were pleased to have her as a guest at our home.

Her English, thank goodness, is far better than my Russian.

She told me she had heard so much about America and was eager to learn more. She believed that America was an extraordinary country filled with extraordinary talented people and was especially honored to be able to come here and attend school.

I told her that I had spent time in her country and played basketball the cities of Sverdlovsk and Dnepropetrovsk and Kiev. And I believe that her country and the Russian
people, like most Americans, are hard-working and peace-loving people.

“Then, why must we have wars. When will all this madness stop?”

Clearly, I couldn’t give her an answer.

I don’t think any human being could.

 

 ***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

Save

Should we not be helping those who need help now?

Dzovinar Mooradian: Mother, Grandmother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and Armenian Genocide survivor
Dzovinar Mooradian: Mother, Grandmother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and Armenian Genocide survivor

In the eyes of each and every Syrian refugee fleeing their war-torn homeland today,  I can see the face of my mother.

My mother, orphaned before she was 10 during the 1915 Turkish genocide of Christian Armenians, walked hundreds of miles over hostile, mountainous terrain, leaving behind her the ancient and sacred waters of the Euphrates. The nightmare of the bodies of her parents left in a home plundered and torched by the savage Turk would be a never-ending nightmare.

That she survived is a miracle.

Without food, without shelter, witnessing terrible atrocities, she took to the nearby mountains where she found other refugees who shared whatever little food they had. She and the others were eventually saved by angels who appeared in the form of the International Red Cross.

The Red Cross, through its resources, managed to transport the children to orphanages in Europe and America.

Like many other Armenians, my mother eventually ended up on Ellis Island where, in time, she became just another “one of those starving Armenians.” She and my father built a life in their adopted land that stressed hard work and respect for all…no matter the color of their skin or religious beliefs..

Though her lips were sealed whenever we asked her to recall the journey from Turkey to America, she would always praise the Red Cross and the Near East Relief Society for the work they did in saving her and the other Armenians.

Because of her unique and tragic childhood, mother devoted her life to helping those who needed help.

And who today will step forward to help the brave refugees from war-torn Syria? Iraq? Afghanistan?  Who will stop the despicable crimes the terrorists are committing across the globe?

Is it I, Lord?

Hymns are inspiring, words incite, but actions by those who have the power can save the day.

We are adrift as a nation, a house divided, breaking our pledges to friends, bickering over walls, and who will our “Nation Great Again.” In the meantime, the nation suffers, the people suffer, as our so-called elected officials point fingers.

Bodies of children are being washed ashore. Hundreds, no, thousands sit on the shores, hungry for freedom and liberty, finding nothing but misery. God forgive us for WE do not know what course to take.

If we are to be “great again,” should we not be helping those who need help now?

Men, women, and children, fleeing tyranny and war, are being exploited by ruthless and manipulating hordes who promise to show them the sea to the “promise land” in exchange for anything of value.  And once the precarious crossing is made, those who survive soon discover that that land of milk and honey is but a mirage.

These are times to build bridges, not walls. Walls divide. Bridges carry us over troubled waters.

I am reminded of a sonnet penned by Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your stories pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift the lamp beside the golden door!”

 ***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

Save

Code of Ethics

Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore

My God, these would-be presidential candidates must think the American electorate is stupid.

Believe me, after a half-century in the newspaper business, I know they are not. People know a real thing or a fraud when they see one.

But then… maybe some of us are fools. After all, we willingly sit for hours in front of our TV sets and listen to them debate, bicker and berate their opponents.  In return, we, the electorate, get nothing in substance back for our time except grief.

This sordid corps of candidates for the presidency know how to point fingers at everything and everyone but offer no solutions to the nation’s problems.  They quickly accuse the national Press and Media of injecting into the debates lethal and self-incriminating questions that would, if answered, destroy their hopes and their aspirations of becoming the 45th President of the United States. These Republican and Democrats believe that it is the media that holds the key to their kingdom.

How wrong they are.

It is we, the people, who will decide their fate.  And, if they want us, the people, to award them the Presidential Suite, then they must prove to us they have the remedies to cure and heal this nation whose people are hurting economically, morally and in its greatest peril since Pearl Harbor.

At this writing, this nation is fighting three wars: In Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Syria. And we don’t even know who are enemies are. We train those who flee from the field and when they stand with us in battle we do not know if they will turn their weapons towards the enemy, or us.

This nation’s underemployment rate is unacceptable and the gap between the rich and the poor is disturbing to the point that even the rich are feeling uncomfortable. And how can we even think to “improve academic environment” when our children are being killed in their classrooms or when walking the streets to school?

And the response to these senseless killings is: “Guns don’t kill, people do.”

When a candidate fears to speak out and take on the NRA, can we rely on him to confront ISIS?

As a nation we have lost our sense of morally.  Today we can find no refuge from the indignation of sexually implicit ads and commercials and movies that promote violence. Instead of accusing others of being a Bolshevik or a Menshevik – obviously to get media attention and applause, why not tell us how he will stop the militaristic designs of the dictator who presently occupies the Kremlin?

Inform the electorate, dear candidates, how you will put an end to President Putin (a.k.a. Rasputin by his own people) and Russia’s imperialistic aggression. Instead of pointing figures unveil your plans to serve the people and not betray our trusts once in office.

While there is no actual phrase, phrase Primum non Nocere (do no harm,) in the Hippocratic Oath, medical professionals are still under the legal and moral obligation to do the best for their patients. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee in the Archimedesian Oath that engineers or scientists will use their knowledge for the benefit of mankind….look at all the rockets and bombs that have been released in our lifetimes.

I have looked hard and long and turned hundreds if not thousands of pages for some sort of “Code of Ethics” for those candidates desiring to enter the profession of politics. I have found none. Maybe it is time to establish one.

As for me I will always be faithful to those to my profession, a profession that works to right wrongs and enlighten us all.  I stand in reverence of my teachers, such icons as Edward R. Morrow, William A. White, Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, Dan Rathers, Chet Huntley, John Chancellor, Erving R. Levine, Dorothy Thompson, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Roy Essoyian, Mitch Kehetian, Barbara Walters, and many others have set a high standard for our profession – yes, I repeat, I am a newspaper man and I have great respect for my colleagues and my profession.

Without freedom of the press history has proven to all there can be no freedom.

 ***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

 

Save

The Lie, the Legislator, and the Apology

Barack Obama, US President
Image courtesy of Janeb13 and Pixabay

From the beginning, it has been made clear that certain segments of our nation detest the 44th President of the United States, Barrack Obama, I have heard the wild rumors about this President in our dining rooms, our coffee shops, on the radio, and TV. This President is not acceptable because of the color of his skin and his life among the Moslem community. Some people are and will remain prejudice when they don’t understand and are ignorant of those who have not touched their lives. There is little anyone can do to change their attitudes, except hopefully they will in time overcome their fears.

Fine.

This is after all a democracy. A republic. A country whose Constitution guarantees free speech…if you do not violate the rights of others you may continue to live the way you wish. We also have in this country due process. Thank God we are free to “think” what we will and write what we want without repercussions.

But there are certain codes of ethics. Certain rules of conduct. Certain manners we are taught from Day 1 – we don’t go around calling people liars in print or in speech, unless we can prove it. Slander and libel laws prevent us from tainting the reputations of even those who are in public office.

When Congressman Joseph Wilson, a South Carolina legislator, disrupted our President’s address to the nation the other night, and called the president a “liar” he violated every code of civility, decency, and political protocol there is. His shameful conduct was followed up later with an apology to the President.

I, and I believe millions of others, were stunned by Wilson’s outburst. And shocked. Shocked because the legislator did not show respect to the person speaking, to a nation, or to the office he had. In this case the man happened to be the President of the United States.

Wilson’s defamatory remark ranks with the Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zurdi’s shoe-throwing disrespect for former President Bush. Wilson has fallen into the nadir of his legislative career, and he is a disgrace, an embarrassment to the State he represents. If not recalled, he should be censured by his Congressional colleagues.

The seemingly unperturbed and unnerved President Obama, showing greatest aplomb, calmly continued to present his argument for a national health insurance program to the nation.

Historically, in our country, legislators publicly and nationally do not offend their Presidents. The action by Wilson is unprecedented. They may criticize, even ridicule those who differ from their political views, but they usually have the decency to allow the speaker to express their view before they offer their opposing viewpoints.

I am reminded of another great American patriot, Patrick Henry, who patiently waited for one speaker to finish his pitch for loyalty to the Crown before he retorted “…I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend with my life the right for you to say it.” This philosophy is a sacred cornerstone of this great nation’s foundation. Though many may not think so, we are the envy of the world. I know for I have seen the eyes of those who covet the right to join us here in this land.

Personally, I fought the leaders and the ideology of the oppressive Soviet Union for 13 years before they granted me permission, the privilege, to return to my native land. I believed then as I do today that a man or woman has the right to express his or her opinion, without repercussion or humiliation. He or she does not have the right to disrupt others while they speak, let alone those we have elected to office.

We look to our elected officials and statesmen for guidance. That is why they are in office. They have, I believe, the qualifications, the wisdom, and the intelligence to lead our country. If they show otherwise, we, the people, have the right to put them into the unemployment lines.

If he truly believes that the President was lying, Wilson has an obligation to present his case to the people of the United States. I am sure the Media and the Press will be eager, as they have shown in the past, to interview him.

As Emil Ludwig points out in his brilliant biography of Napoleon, “In his highest embodiment, the statesman shapes all our destinies.”

These past eight years it seems that Congress has shown us there are not many statesmen in their midst.

The President has accepted Mr. Wilson’s apology, but the people, especially the voters of South Carolina, should not. Do we need yet another legislator of spurious character in Washington?

Wilson should feel fortunate that he lives in the US. If I had the power to take him with me back into time…to Moscow…to the Stalin Era…and those frightening evenings when we all feared those knocks on our apartment doors at midnight. If Wilson had publicly called Stalin a liar during an open forum, surely he would have been visited by the KGB and, before dawn, Wilson would have stood before an execution squad.

Free speech is a sacred altar where all freedom-loving people bend their knees in prayer.

I watched and listened for nearly one hour to the 44th President of the United States’ speech and, yes, I, too, questioned some of his arguments specifically where this nation would get the money to pay for the massive overall of a much-needed national health and medical program. And we await our legislators presenting this program to us. Let us hope the plan is a viable one.

But I also sat and listened in awe at Obama who continued his delivery unnerved and undaunted by the rude and inappropriate outburst by one who embarrassed me and his constituents in South Carolina by his inappropriate behavior.

I know not how other Americans feel, but for myself I am proud to say that I am confident in this President and that I know in this moment in time I have a President in office whom I can truly trust, can be proud of, and who I can believe in and respect.

To paraphrase another great president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was in office at the worst of times, who, after four years of trying to lift his fellow country men out of the Great Depression, said during his second inauguration speech, “…this generation of Americans has a date with destiny.”

This President and this Congress also have a “Date with Destiny”.

And I personally believe when historians look back on our times and study the incredible challenges we faced and conquered – the financial collapse of our financial institutions, the world-wide unemployment, the famine, and the end of wars and genocides…that they, too, will stand in awe of this generation and place us among the greatest generations in American History.

***

bookTom Mooradian was one of 151 Americans who traveled to Soviet Armenia to repatriate during the 1940’s. Thought to be a spy by the KGB, Tom miraculously survived 13 years behind the Iron Curtain winning the hearts of the Soviets through his basketball prowess.  Filled with political drama, romance, and intrigue, Tom’s autobiography, The Repatriate reads like a novel, and will have you guessing how Tom managed to return to America alive.
The Second Edition is now available on Kindle and in Paperback!

Save

Save