Thursday, July 12, 2018

Watch The Olympics & The World Cup But Don't Ignore the Corruption

Everyone knows that sports is big money. Placidly accepting this as the "cost of doing business", we acknowledge and endorse corruption that in ANY OTHER INDUSTRY would be vigorously and relentlessly investigated and unrelentingly prosecuted. 
Symbols of sport... or signs of corruption?
On the eve of the 2018 World Cup final, here's a brief look at systemic corruption in the "Sports Industrial Complex".
The scandal-plagued USOC recently appointed its fourth CEO in a decade, USGA's Sarah Hirshland. The USOC's shameful (some allege, criminal) mishandling of sexually abused gymnasts and swimmers reveals a culture that prizes money and medals above all. (For details, read Sally Jenkins' article in the 7/5 Washington Post.)
Unfortunately, the USOC isn't alone in its corruption. In fact, corruption is standard operating procedure among the so-called world "governing bodies" of sports.
The USOC's corruption parallels FIFA, a mafia-like criminal enterprise run by self-righteous gangsters who milk revenue for as much personal gain as possible.
To wit: Millions of dollars in “inducements” to secure contracts to televise matches... Bribes sought by FIFA executives with the power to determine World Cup hosts.... Death threats for cooperating with investigators... "Incentives" by oil-rich Sheikhs to buy the votes that would secure Qatar (QATAR!) as host for the 2022 World Cup. (See "The Dirty Game" by Andrew Jennings.)
FIFA's contemptuously corrupt process of awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar is straight from the IOC playbook--specifically, the vote-buying scandal that resulted in the selection of Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
In 2000, a federal grand jury indicted the two chief organizers of Salt Lake City's bid to win the 2002 Winter games on charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, fraud and racketeering related to a vote-buying scandal. Thomas Welch (former president of the Salt Lake City bid committee) and David Johnson (former VP), paid $1M to improperly influence votes of more than a dozen delegates of the International Olympic Committee, which awards the host sites for the Winter and Summer Games.
Welch and Johnson secretly paid a USOC official to "help" Salt Lake City's bid, drew up a series of bogus contracts, falsified books, records and other documents to conceal their activities, and personally diverted $130,000 in bid committee money.
The bloated and bleating FIFA leadership you see in the most expensive seats at Sunday's soccer match will say they love The Beautiful Game and point to the Championship match as proof of FIFA's "transparency". Don't believe it. As long as the big money spigot stays on, corruption will flow from the faucet.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Honoring Law Enforcement Officers This Peace Officers Memorial Day

The Rose and Shield is the symbol of the
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
On May 15th--Peace Officers Memorial Day--and throughout National Police Week (May 8-15), we acknowledge the incredible service and sacrifices law enforcement personnel make daily for their fellow Americans. The brave men and women of our Nation’s law enforcement work long hours, often in dangerous situations, to protect our lives, liberty and property.
Today we lower flags to half staff to respect, honor and remember ALL fallen law enforcement officers, including the 129 who died in the line of duty in 2017. Inscribed on the granite walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. are the names of 21,541 peace officers who have died in the line of duty since 1791. We will never forget their courage.
The National Blue Alert Networkis an emergency alert and early warning system that protects America’s law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. The Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission worked together to establish a dedicated Emergency Alert System event code. This code facilitates rapid dissemination of critical information to law enforcement agencies and the public about violent offenders who have killed, seriously injured, or who pose an imminent and credible threat to law enforcement officers.
The White House lit in blue to honor fallen law enforcement officers
The safety and health of our officers must be a priority for all Americans. Every day, members of law enforcement risk their lives in service to those they have pledged to protect and defend.  We must not take their devotion to duty for granted, and we must do everything in our power to ensure their physical and mental well-being. The new Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017 helps provide police officers the resources they need to deal with job stress and trauma associated with their demanding career field.
The work of law enforcement officers is essential to preserving peace in our communities and to ensuring the safety of precious lives and personal property. Today, we solemnly acknowledge our debt to those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. These officers and their families have our prayers and unwavering gratitude.
By a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962, as amended (76 Stat. 676), and by Public Law 103-322, as amended (36 U.S.C. 136-137), the President has been authorized and requested to designate May 15 of each year as “Peace Officers Memorial Day” and the week in which it falls as “Police Week.”

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Gone But Never Forgotten: April 9 is National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day

First proclaimed by Former President Ronald Reagan in 1987, National Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day honors the courageous men and women who endured brutal treatment at the hands of their captors, separation from family and who displayed incredible endurance and faith during their captivity.
On this day in 1942, the largest number of U.S. forces were captured by Japanese troops in the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. After battling through extreme conditions and prolonged battles, the captured troops were forced to march 65 miles to the prison camp (The "Bataan Death March"). Without medical attention, food or water thousands died.

The mistreatment continued for those who survived the brutal journey: In the compounds, deep in the jungle, the hardships, brutality, and suffering lasted more than two years for those who could survive.
Many POWs endured conditions much like this. These heroes deserve a day of recognition. An annual presidential proclamation is signed for National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day and government officials, veterans, civic and private organizations observe the day with ceremonies and events. Some states require the POW/MIA flag to be flown on April 9.

According to the Department of Defense's POW/MIA Accounting Agency, currently more than 82,000 Americans remain missing from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf Wars/other conflicts. Out of the 82,000 missing, 75% of the losses are located in the Indo-Pacific

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Lunar New Year! (Gung Hey Fat Choy)

Since I started playing soccer with a bunch of Chinese guys, I've been exposed to a lot of Chinese culture. Last weekend's game was noticeably short on players, so I asked one of the regulars where everyone was. He said that many of the other regulars had traveled to China to visit family during Lunar New Year.

He explained that in China, travel leading up to Lunar New Year represents the largest seasonal human migration. This piqued my curiosity... hence this post, which I hope you find illuminating and educational.

Widely celebrated in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam (even though the lunar calendar originated in the Chinese culture), Lunar New Year marks the first day of the year in the lunar calendar. Celebrations of the Lunar New Year end on the 15th day of the first lunar month.

Each year in the lunar calendar is represented by a zodiac animal sign in a cycle of 12: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.  2018 is the Year of the Dog. Dog is the eleventh in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac sign. Other “Years of the Dog” include 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, and 2006.

The Chinese regard the dog as an auspicious animal: If a dog happens to come to a house, it symbolizes the coming of fortune. According to Chinese legend, the invincible God Erlang used a loyal wolfhound to help him capture monsters.

China's most important festival falls on Friday; people travel to either return to their hometowns or vacation destinations. Photos of crammed airport terminals, standing-room-only trains and traffic-filled highways reinforce the fact that the Lunar New Year travel rush represents the world's largest seasonal human migration.

During Lunar New Year, celebrators usually wear red or other brightly-colored clothes: The color red symbolizes good luck, which also acts to scare away spirits of bad fortune (just as firecrackers would).

Like most cultures, food is an important part of the holiday. Different dishes/food symbolize good fortune: For example, having oranges in a mound that represents a mound of gold, or spring rolls symbolizing gold bars. Traditionally, in the first five days of the New Year, people eat long noodles to symbolize long life. On the 15th and final day of the New Year, round dumplings shaped like the full moon are shared as a sign of the family unit and of perfection.

Instead of exchanging gifts, elders give the younger generation money in lucky packets (Lucky Money).  It is believed that if the children keep their Lucky Money from their parents under the pillow over New Year's Eve, this translates into praying for their parents' longevity.

The typical New Year’s greeting in the subject line, above, means: "May you come into much riches!").

Check out this daily guide for what celebrators might do each day of the Lunar New Year.