Category Archives: Justice

An Ill-Timed and Unnecessary Genocide Resolution againt Turkey

This week, Democratic leaders in the House will seek to pass a non-binding resolution officially classifying the mass-murders of Armenians by the Turks in World War I as genocide.  This is a terribly ill-timed and strange move on the part of the Democrats.   If it passes there could, and likely will be, significant detrimental effects on U.S. – Turkish relations.  Detrimental effects that we cannot afford.  

Certainly, what the Turks did to the Armenians in 1915 is a genocide.  There is no argument here and there should be no argument anywhere.   Additionally, genocide needs to be condemned wherever it is found. 

But why now?  Our relations with Turkey are already strained by the coalition forces’ inability to curb the increasing number of Kurdish militias staging incursions into Turkish territory.  Also, we need Turkey.  They are one of our few Muslim country allies and the most moderate of Muslim states.  Passing this resolution will only prove to have negative effects on our relations with little good in return.  

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that Turkey’s top general, General Yasar Buyukanit, warned that the passing of this resolution may result in the U.S. losing access to Incirlik Air Base, a key cargo and transportation hub for our military.  He also added that, “If this resolution passes the House, our Military ties with the U.S. will never be the same.”  These are huge implications not only for us, but for the greater war on terror.  We need Turkey on board and we need Incirlik Air Base. 

It is indeed important that history be accurate and refer to genocide for what it is.  But why can’t this be done during a time of peace or at least when our key international issue is not bordering the country we are about to deeply offend.  This genocide occured nearly 100 years ago, what will a few more years of waiting to do this harm?  If Congress is intent on this, they should  pass this measure in 2015 at the 100 year anniversary or when it is less politically harmful.  But now is not the time. 

So, there are two options that we have that may serve to solve the problem, we could pull the resolution from the table or have it defeated.  Or we could pass the resolution then encourage the Turkish parliament to offically classify our treatment of the American Indians in the 1800′s as genocide and then call it even.  I prefer the former.  This is a strange and unnecessary move on the part of the Democrats, if it passes and Turkey does indeed follow through on their threats, we had better place full blame on Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats. 

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Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Conservative, Democracy, Democrats, Diane Feinstein, Election 2008, Genocide, Hillary Clinton, International Affairs, Iraq, Justice, Law, Liberal, Liberalism, Marines, Media, Military, Murder, Politics, Progress, Progressive, Republicans, Terror, terrorism

Myanmar Exemplifies Catch-22 for World Powers

 

The recent history and current situation in Myanmar is among the most tragic in the last century.  It ranks right up there with Sudan, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Zimbabwe, and North Korea among others.  But Myanmar’s, like Lebanon and Zimbabwe in some ways, is not tragic because of Genocide, for we are far from that, but it is tragic because of the fall of a culture and productive country.  Prior to the rise of the military Junta in 1990, Myanmar was fairly democratic and was a “shining star” in SE Asia.  They had a strong economy and a great and historical culture.  It is among the most beautiful countries in the world and has incredible architecture, and now it is all thrown away.  The military Junta, like all military controlled governments, will eventually turn the country into a garbage pile. 

The events of the last two weeks have been fascinating and frustrating to watch.  What a great sight it was to see thousands of Buddhist monks and their supporters stage massive protests against a repressive regime.  At the height of the protests I wondered how the Junta would handle it.  They could ill afford a Tiannanmen Square incident.  The military leaders had to know that mass killings of monks would cause massive outcry in the world community, an outcry that may force the world to act with stronger muscle than usual.  Monks are the human embodiment of peace and oneness, regardless of if you believe in buddhism or not.  They come across as pure, pious, and innocent, the world would not stand for well-publicized mass killings of such a people.

 Sadly, the Junta was aware of this and played their hand extremely well.  They allowed the protests, allowed the people to get most of it out of their systems and then instituted curfews and prohibited gatherings of people; pretty standard for authoritarian states.  Once the media and world attention lessened a bit the violence started, first just in short bursts – nothing more than a few beatings and occasional killing of an out of hand protester.  But the Junta had a larger plan.  They new that the real problem were the monks, the people were loyal to the monks and would follow them.  So what how do you keep power if you don’t have loyalty?  You make people fear you.  And that is just what they did.  Over the last few days the Military cleared the monasteries and temples of monks that were the harbingers of the protests and killed many of them in brutal fashion.  Reports are that thousands have been massacred

Why is there no outcry? no outrage?  Because the American public no longer cares.  It was exciting and fun to watch for a day or two, but we lose interest in world events pretty quick.  Why concern ourselves with different looking people in a land that exists somewhere in the world called Myanmar when we need to find out if Britany is losing her children.  And because there is no public outrage there is no government action.

But then again what are Western governments supposed to do?  This is the same catch-22 that we have in dealing with Sudan, Rwanda in the ’90′s, Congo, etc.  We have no vested interest in these countries.  We have limited resources.  Because of international accords, we are expected to respect the territorial rights of a country, etc. etc.   Myanmar is no threat to the U.S., no threat to Britain or Germany or France; militarily or economically.  Not only that, but China is a close ally of the Junta.  If we press to hard on Myanmar, we may have to deal with China.  What if China decides, because of our actions against their ally, that they are going to fully reclaim Taiwan militarily.  Then we have world war.  Certainly this scenario is unlikely, but not out of the realm possibility.   On the other hand, don’t countries like us and France and Britain who have freedom and democracy at least supposed to stand for human rights and protect those who can’t protect themselves?  We have an obligation almost.  How can we stand by and allow a mini (or perhaps soon to be major) genocide occur, regardless of the circumstance behind it.   This is the catch-22 for our country.   Usually, in these situations we deal with it through sanctions or other economic penalties. But all this does is hurts the people who are already being oppressed.  Sanctions can only work if all major countries are on board, but with China supporting the junta, they are a waste of time and will only draw Myanmar closer to China.  The currently policy against Myanmar is not working and will not work unless we get China on board, which won’t happen.  Unfortunately, I don’t know what the solution is (although I have a few ideas).  But that is the job of the policy makers and they will probably screw it up.  

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Filed under Britain, Burma, Democracy, Democrats, Election 2008, International Affairs, Justice, Law, Military, Murder, Myanmar, People, Politics, Republicans, Terror, terrorism, War

Libertarians must hate the children

On this very blog, amongst other places, I have said openly that I think that career politicians are a poison to our democratic system of government. I actually have no idea what their respective backgrounds are, but the bi-partisan dynamic duo of Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) and (now infamous) Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Vice Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) should both be relieved of their duties that have to do with technology immediately.

Just like Kip, I love technology too and I hate seeing it be misunderstood and blamed for something that’s not it’s fault. Recently the aforementioned dynamic duo took part in a meeting that called for universal implementation of filtering and monitoring technologies on the Internet. The last thing I want is my ISP, HOA or other public group deciding what is and isn’t decent for the entire world. I don’t have any problem regulating open transmissions like radio and unencrypted television etc. However, trying to filter the Internet universally to “protect the children” is just stupid. Only someone that doesn’t understand how to filter the “series of tubes” as he called it, would make such a ridiculous claim. All in the name of the children.

My problem with this whole scenario is that it’s coming in a wake of debates about Net Neutrality. Shocker that the two leaders of our commerce are now calling for monitoring implementations universally on our global Internet. I wonder if any of the nation’s broadband providers have paid any lobbying money to get network traffic filtering legislated, so they can then levee that into offering consumers premium (higher priority, means you don’t have to wait in line) broadband plans for a premium price leaving the rest of the consumers in the cold. Or possibly more deviant, the larger ISP (Your AT&T’s, Verizon’s etc) that are required to lease the usage of the large tier networks to smaller broadband providers (a.k.a. their direct competition) would like to make their traffic more reliable and their lessee’s traffic worse, so the lessee’s customer’s switch providers for a better connection. Couldn’t be…….nah, never.

That being said, here is my real issue with the duo’s remarks: from Sen Inouye

“While filtering and monitoring technologies help parents to screen out offensive content and to monitor their child’s online activities, the use of these technologies is far from universal and may not be fool-proof in keeping kids away from adult material, ….. In that context, we must evaluate our current efforts to combat child pornography and consider what further measures may be needed to stop the spread of such illegal material over high-speed broadband connections.”

Who does he think he’s kidding? The current best technology isn’t enough to keep kids away from porn, therefore we must universally implement this inadequate technology universally? Wow, what a moron. He then says that contextually we need to determine what measures may be used to stop spreading child pornography. Here’s how to stop child pornography: Make the punishment so stiff (worldwide) that it becomes too dangerous to casually view, store, serve or create such pornography. Sounds great doesn’t it? Except, we go back to the age old “I know pornography when I see it” ruling. How can you attempt to determine measures to stop something that you can’t define what “it” is (thank you Mr. Clinton).

These two should be fired for one of two reasons:

1) They are absolutely incompetent to make the decisions to regulate our commerce of technological nature (which they’ve both shown).

2) They are heads of a committee that should be fighting for capitalism, not caving to the lobby of the large broadband providers that want to eliminate the lower tier competition by not giving them reliable connections on the large tier networks.

All in the name of protecting the children of course……

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Wisdoms of Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill is one of the mose revered men of the 20th Century.  While not everyone thinks highly of him, most people do.  He was a steady leader for his country in a time of immense crisis in the heat of World War II.  He was a close ally with FDR and the two of them together lead the West to victory in the “Great War.”

I am by no means a Churchill historian (although we do have a common ancestor not too far back), but I respect what he was able to accomplish.  A few weeks ago I was looking for a specific quote that was attributed to him and, as a result, read many of his other quotes, a few of which are quite applicable today. So I thought I would share some of those; a nice light read heading into the weekend.

Applicable to our current political situation

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last” — Amen to that

“I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents”  — If this is true, Bush could be the best President ever!

“It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all others that have been tried.”

“It’s not enough that we do our best, sometimes we have to do what’s required.” –Terrorists seem to follow this (at least according to the rationality of their own mind)

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry up as if nothing ever happened.” — Congress?

“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.  The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforseeable and uncontrollable events.”  — Bush and Rummy could have used this in ’03, Dems and Libs from then on (at least the first sentence).

“One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it.  If you do that, you will double the danger.  But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”  – Reagan and Bush understood this.  The rest of America (or at least 71%) doesn’t.  By the way, Terrorists get it too; see Mogadishu and now AQI in Iraq.

“To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years.  To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”  — Hence why Iraq is so difficult and why we Americans need to be more patient.

“So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.” — We eptomize this.

“We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire.  Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down.  Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”

“Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.  Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”  — Fantastic!

Some fun and perhaps inspiring ones:

“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”

“I am prepared to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

“The British nation is unique in this respect: They are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.”  — This could be the truest thing he said!

“Don’t talk to me about naval tradition. It’s nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash.”

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”

“All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”

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“Bush has Major Cojones”

I have often argued that the whole Scooter Libby prosecution and trial was a farce and just a political ploy.  I am more confident of that than ever after reading the linked piece by Ben Stein.  If the things he writes are true, I am severely disappointed in much of the power in DC; willing to do anything for power. I now call for Bush to give a full pardon to Libby.

Bush Amazes – Ben Stein, American Spectator

If there is one thing you can say about Bush, it is that he sticks to his guns and will not cower to political or public pressure.  Whether you find that admirable or not, it is more than you can say about most other Politicians; I applaud it.

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