Sunday, January 30, 2005

A Post Iraqi Election Observation

The bitter opposition has wasted little time in making their usual and highly predictable negative comments, following one of the most exciting events most Iraqi citizens have ever experienced. In their bitterness, they have consistently given very little support to this process. And, have consistently offered much unwarranted criticism in the days leading up to the election. To hear them tell it, this election was never going to be pulled off. But now the election is over and they are lining up to discredit this election, much in the same way that the left has tried to discredit our own.

"It is hard to say that something is legitimate when whole portions of the country can't vote and doesn't vote," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said on NBC's "Meet The Press."

Instead of being positive and happy for the Iraqi people, the Massachusetts Senator gives the impression that he is sorry that it was held. Instead of conveying a message of hope and optimism, he gave a message with the same old tired negativity, that only succeeds in breeding more negativity. Arguments just for arguments' sake are nothing more than the equivalents of pouting and in some more extreme cases, temper tantrums.

To the liberal left I say, do not minimize this moment. Do not cast doubt on any honest attempt to offer an opportunity for people that have been oppressed for many years, to begin a road towards freedom, liberty, and self-determination. To the right wing I say, do not look at this as a total victory. It is just one step in a series of steps, but quite a large step nonetheless. To both sides I would say that we will not know if this has been a success or a failure, until well after the fact. History has a way of judging outcomes in these types of situations far better than both overconfidence and naysaying does .

Saturday, January 29, 2005

The UN's Struggle For Relevancy

The Sudanese government is bombing Darfur again. Today, many indications point to North Korea and Iran developing nukes. And just what is the UN doing about any of it? In fact, a good question to ask would be just what does the UN do, period? Before the invasion of Iraq, it seems that the UN could have played a significant role in getting Saddam to cooperate with inspections, the right way. Could it be that the UN was and is powerless to do anything of any noteworthy value? Could it be that the UN has outlived its usefulness? Why would the organization set up to settle disputes between the nations, sit back and allow the systematic elimination of Sudanese Christians and allow two very acerbic nations to develop nuclear weapons, without taking some form of action, even if it is just taking a symbolic vote to condemn these actions? I find it interesting that those who defend the UN and see it is as some magical panacea to peace on earth, cannot adequately explain what the primary function of the UN is.

I know they can recite the UN Charter, I know they can quote the bylaws and explain procedure. They can even tell us what the UN was set up to do. But where is the evidence that anything constructive is happening? Where is the peacemaking? Where are the diplomats negotiating, where are they condemning the actions of the unjust? In fact, where do we ever read that the UN General Assembly does much of anything, except when they find some way to blame the United States for the ills of the world?

A tsunami hits Asia and before the complete reports are in, one of the top UN officials starts calling the US stingy, before any serious thought could be given as to what the US government could donate. Terrorists attack the US using airplanes as weapons and before the dust even settled, UN officials and apologists start telling Americans and the rest of the world that US policy is to blame. They tell us that because we support Israel and the Saudi Royal family, we have created a great misunderstanding in the world of oppressed Muslims. And as a result, many oppressed Muslims now feel there is no other hope for them, but to kill innocent people. So essentially, what we appear to have is, a world body designed to settle disputes, taking sides in a dispute.

But meanwhile, North Korea and Iran are preparing to join the nuclear club, the Sudanese government is openly engaging in the slaughter of innocent people, and the UN does nothing.

Now before you jump the gun and automatically lump me into the right wing, let me just say that although the UN is severely broken, I believe that it can be fixed. Before you start believing me to be one of those anti-UN zealots that think that the only answer to combat this blatant neglect and inefficiency is to withdraw and kick them out of country, let me say that the UN is not broken beyond repair. But action must be taken soon or the UN will lose any relevancy it has left, faster than you can say, “League Of Nations”.

First, Kofi Annan has to go. Besides being too closely involved with the “Oil for Food Scandal”, he is the most ineffective leader in UN history. All of these conditions I have described have developed and worsened under his watch.

Secondly, his replacement should be Bill Clinton. The former President is well liked abroad and especially in the European Union, where much of the vocal opposition toward the US has come. I know the right wing will protest wildly, loudly, and persistently. But if Bill Clinton were Secretary General, I believe he could greatly assist in bridging the gap that has developed between the US and the rest of the world. And in doing so, I believe he would do it in a way as to not compromise the goals and interests of the United States.

And finally, it will take some understanding on the part of America’s critics.

Europe especially needs to take an active interest in the War on Terror. Muslims are moving into Europe at accelerated rates. Most of them are good people that want to make better lives for themselves and their families. They want to have opportunities that do not readily exist in their nations. But with them, come some unsavory elements that are hell bent on destroying Western Society.

It would pay for Europe to think about who these radical terrorists would be targeting, if there were no America to hate. China and the rest of Asia would do well to realize that a nuclear armed North Korea would risk destabilizing the whole continent. Europe and Asia would do well to consider that Iran may soon have nuclear capabilities, which could easily threaten and destabilize both continents.

These problems exist despite what the UN and apologists would like to think and say. They will not be going away anytime soon and stand to only worsen, if the UN continues to do nothing. Time is not on our side. It is time for the UN to act and act soon. It is time for the UN to return to its original function and return to some reasonable form of relevancy, before it is too late.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Quote Of The Week

There are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, and the third is useless.

Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.Italian dramatist, historian, & philosopher (1469 - 1527)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Some Observations From A Skeptical Cynic

Call me skeptical, call me cynical. I can’t help it.

When dealing with an alcoholic or a drug addict, you often encounter many broken promises. Many times when you hear those promises you just sit and wait for them to be broken, again and again. We watch them destroy themselves a little here, a little there; we watch them hit rock bottom and appear to get the message, but they soon revert back to their old ways.

After the 2004 election, the Democrats were again at rock bottom. Many shook their heads in disbelief, many refused to accept it. But they all felt the same disappointment, some to the degree that they sought counseling to cope with the reality of the loss. Others just got angrier.

Some Democrats appeared sincere in their troubleshooting assessments after the election. Many were, but many weren’t. The far left wing of the party got angrier and they continue to do so, the more they think about it. The centrists of the party have been giving serious thought as to how they can polish their image. They have accurately concluded that to win the White House, they simply must curb the personal vendettas and attacks, if they ever want to win back the Presidency. You can’t win a Presidency by telling what the opposition does wrong, without telling what you would do right.

As I watched the confirmation hearings for Secretary Of State Designee Dr. Rice, I am amazed that the most experienced and seasoned politicians have not realized what lost them the election. If they did, they would not have spent hours attacking Dr. Rice for what they just spent months attacking President Bush for. We just spent a whole year of hateful vile attacks and accusations of lying and conspiracy theories that the American people simply did not want to hear.

Dr. Rice and the President may have had faulty information and may have acted on that same faulty information, hastily. But, that does not constitute lying. Miscalculations are not lies, they are mistakes and we all have made them. But today, a whole cadre of Democratic Senators wasted a whole day of the people’s time calling Dr. Rice a liar and for what? The whole nomination was never in danger.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with asking hard questions. They need to be asked. I want them asked.

Debating the issues that we now face are necessary for our system to flourish. I have no trouble with debating policies; I have no problem describing problems as long as there are solutions proposed with them. But, to tie up a whole day when the outcome is never in question, indicates that many in the Democratic leadership do not learn lessons well.

So go right ahead. Call me cynical and call me skeptical, if you wish. I just don’t see a lot of evidence that there will be a kinder, gentler, and issues oriented Democratic Party anytime soon. And you can take that to the bank, if Howard Dean wins the chairmanship. But, if this is the course that Democrats continue to follow, then it should come as no surprise when they lose another election in 2008.

President-elect Gingrich won’t mind at all.

Monday, January 24, 2005

A Farewell To Johnny Carson

The loss of “Late Night King” Johnny Carson has affected many people in different ways. Celebrity tributes have poured into media outlets, throughout the last 24 hours, many telling of their personal and professional experiences with him, and what his loss meant to them. But let me tell you what it means to one of his many loyal “nobody you’d know” fans.

For millions of second shifters that were having their first cold one while kicking their feet up in their living rooms after work, he was someone that could make a tired worker forget about their tough evening at the salt mines. For millions of insomniacs, he was someone that would help ease the terrible anxieties that kept them awake through humor and entertainment. And for millions that had an extra long hard day, he was that someone that could put a smile on someone’s face, so they could have something to chat about at the water cooler the next day.

In a talk show format that was not designed specifically for him, he made it his own and it stayed his, for three decades. Some talented people tried to just "tap into" his market share, with the same or similar format (in the same time slot), but the result was always the same.

He was an artist, businessman, and had a true gift for gauging outstanding but unknown talents and gave scores and scores great opportunities to market their talents. One talent in particular, has become his successor. I recall vividly that night when Johnny brought him out and remember how pleased he looked that Jay had come out and wowed that audience remarkably.

Today, the late night talk show market share once owned and operated by Mr. Carson, is now split fairly evenly between Leno and Letterman. It is truly amazing to realize that the market that was once dominated by Johnny now can have two same type format shows, in the same time slot, and have both successful at it. But that’s just how big he was. He didn’t realize just how much of an impact he was making, because his interests and primary focus was putting out the very best product he could.

In 1992, Johnny Carson closed the door on his career while still on top. He did it the way he wanted to, he did it on his own terms. Since then, he has made few public appearances and has valued his privacy greatly. That door was closed for his fans, almost thirteen years ago. On Sunday, it closed for those closest to him.

He will be sorely missed by all who knew and watched him.

Friday, January 21, 2005


Welcome to Political Yen/Yang.

I am new to the the blog world, but I have posted on aol message boards for several years, under the name LASunsett. This is an intriguing medium of communication and is enjoying a significant success, after bloggers were credited with being the spark that ignited the whole Rathergate controversy. This is certainly a communication tool that gauges the pulses, of those that are a part of this ever growing high tech world and only stands to gain more popularity, in the coming years.

For this reason I have decided to join the ranks of anonymous posters that do not seek fame and fortune, but rather enjoy a good debate with like minded people, regardless of political affiliation and regardless of ideology. I hope all that read my posts will enjoy reading some thought provoking pieces. You may agree with them or you may not.

My objective is not to convert anyone to any beliefs I may hold. My objectives are:

1. To provoke others to think for themselves in a fair and objective manner, free from partisanship.

2. To learn from those that choose to participate.

(But partisans are certainly welcome to comment, if they feel inclined to. I only ask that you present your comments and arguments in an intelligent fashion, without personal insults. The same courtesy will be afforded to all that do.)

In the coming days, I will post some thought provoking commentaries on issues of the day, as well as some events and issues of the past that have affected where we are today, and where we want to go. We cannot effectively gauge the future if we do not understand where we have been and where we are today. All events past and present have meaning and many times they can give us a foundation, for understanding how to successfully navigate the future.

So, once again, welcome to Political Yen/Yang. I hope you enjoy your experience, visit often, and tell your friends about this blog.