Monday, February 28, 2005

Power To The People

The Pro-Syrian government has fallen. The Lebanese people are speaking. Syrian occupation will soon be ending. The liberal theory that people don't want freedom is being proven to be a fallacy.

Two down and many more to go. In the words of a famous songwriter, " Power to the people, right on!"

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Politics and Religion

Politics and Religion

This is an excellent blog and another must save/read. Its adminstrator makes some very poignant comments about the state of affairs in today's world. I highly recommend it.

Great Blog - Keep Up To Date With Iran

This is a great blog. It is updated daily and provides information that the mainstream media overlooks. Check it out and keep abreast of the current situations in Iran and other Middle East nations. It is a must save and read.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Quote Of The Week

Peace is not an emotion, it is an understanding.

Rev. Eugene V. Snider (1914-2001)

Peace is not a state of well being within an individual that keeps him/her from emotional and/or spiritual turmoil. But rather, it is the understandings we gather that help us to understand the reasons behind the emotional/spiritual sufferings we, as human beings, go through in our daily lives. The greater the understanding, the more peace we have in our lives.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Issues And Answers: China And Taiwan

For better than 50 years, China and Taiwan have shared a common disdain for each other. Since the Nationalists fled to the island then known as Formosa, the two have been at odds over the status of said island and today things aren't much different. China considers Taiwan a renegade province and they are not likely reverse that stance, ever. On the other side of the coin, Taiwan still considers itself the legitimate government of the mainland, in exile.

After the return of Hong Kong, China enjoyed an economic boom (after an early rocky start). Although corruption remains in the Chinese bureaucracy, the economy is producing and selling well and is producing more revenue for the government; that means more for military expenditures. These military expenditures are going for an eventual invasion of Taiwan, to return sovereignty of the island and its booming economy back under Beijing control. They will not be swayed.

I can't say what is right or what is wrong here. In the People's Republic, many things have certainly changed, since the revolution. They have the same old tired undemocratic government structure, but they have done well in converting from a socialist agrarian economy to a vibrant free market economy. Bringing Taiwan back into the fold, would strengthen them even further. More military might in China, could be a problem down the road.

On the other hand, there is Taiwan. They want none of it. They built their country without mainland help and they see not need to pay taxes to Beijing, much less allow themselves to be governed by what they still consider the illegitmate government. That's a valid argument, but these people are still Chinese and Chinese people generally come from China.

But something will soon need to give. China is growing impatient. Since it is apparent that the UN is more concerned with bad-mouthing America, I believe that President Bush should help start talks between both parties. Sooner is better than later.

In return, China must promise to not invade and must listen and address the concerns that the Taiwanese have concerning reunification. Taiwan must come with an open mind, also. Both must speak to each other and listen to each other. It won't be easy, it won't be fast. But talking will ease some tensions and hopefully, solve the problem through diplomacy instead of military conflict.

It is certainly worth a try.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Decade of Jihad and the Rogue State

The reason Syria needs to be considered a major destabilizer in the Middle East has now been confirmed to anyone that has the capabilities to reason. More and more the evidence seems to be stacking up against the rogue nation; but the question is, how much more evidence is going to be needed before the world gets serious about it?

Syria seems to have a problem with democracy just like its new "partner in crime", Iran. Both of them with North Korea, have assured the world of that this will be the decade of the rogue nation. This will also be the decade that the lunatic fringed terrorists (and other war mongers) will seek to terrorize and intimidate everyone that gets in their way, including their own people. This will be the decade of Jihad, that is, unless the world community gets damned serious, real quickly.

Europe doesn't appear to be very serious about the idea that Jihadists, backed by Syria (and Iran), are the single greatest threat to peace and stability in the Middle East and to those in the European theater. Maybe it is because the Arab and overall Muslim population is swelling in numbers at a rapid rate in countries like France, Germany, and Britain. Maybe it scares them, so they try to pretend the threat isn't valid.

You would think that Russia would be quite concerned about terrorists and states that support them. The recent attacks within Mother Russia, should be enough to convince them that terror is truly a threat and that Syria is sponsoring such acts. No doubt, they are in the law enforcement mode of their war on terror, saying, "Syria hasn't threatened or attacked us, why should we care?". But if mere complacency isn't enough, they plan to sell them missiles.

Hello? Mr. Putin? Are you the ex-head of the KGB or the Russian Boy Scouts?

China doesn't seem to have a care in the world. Not only do they deny any terror threat exists, they don't even seem to care that a madman and his sycophants next door are claiming to have nukes. Reluctantly, they are initiating talks with the little emperor wannabe, but believe me, it's been like pulling teeth. When will China realize that their security is at stake? Good question, but don't hold your breath.

When oh when, will the world learn that those that live under a banner of hatred and oppression can make this world a dangerous place to live? When will Europeans learn that terrorists driven by a dangerous and evil ideology, are not their friends? When will Russia act like they are not exempt from terror attacks backed and financed by Al-Qaeda and the Jihad Movement? When will China see the unholy alliance between North Korea and Middle Eastern terrorists (and the states that sponsor them) as real threat to their peace and security? Who knows? But one thing is for sure, until the world starts to work together by pressuring these rogue states into toning down their acts, they will continue to grow in boldness, strength, and in numbers.

Until the world stops treating the U.S. as the cause of the world's ills and until Europe, Russia, China, and others stop trying to be the last one the lion eats, the lion will continue to devour, one by one, until he has consumed us all. He will not be satisfied with just one meal.

Let's all think about this a second. If there were no America, who would the Jihadists hate then? The whole concept of Jihad is spreading holy war for the sole purpose of converting all non-believers to Islam and establishing an world Islamic empire. Once America (and Israel) would be out of the way, who would then have the title of "Great Satan" bestowed upon them? Would it be European Christendom? Would it be the Indian Hindus, the Asian Buddhists, or the secularists of the world? Which ancient architectural landmarks and other works of art would be destroyed, Taliban style?

If the world community would act now, through serious diplomatic and (if necessary) economic pressure, there would be no need for war. If the world would just go proactive instead of reactive, many lives could (and would) be saved. But to wait, will mean many years of war and bloodshed at the hands of evil people that do not regard the sanctity of human life. To wait, would yield worse results than if Hitler had conquered the world under the Nazi banner.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Issues and Answers: The War On Drugs

When you mention government operations or programs that can be labeled as inefficient and/or wasteful, the War on Drugs must be considered. The billions that have been spent over the years have not yielded anywhere near the intended results that were promised at its inception. But that's not the half of it. Right now, the government is losing the War on Drugs because the way to combat drug addiction is not on the supply side. The only way to stop drugs from getting into this country is to slow the demand.

For every shipment that gets stopped, five or more get through. The drugs that make it in are then sold down the supply line padding pockets all along the way. There aren't enough DEA agents and/or law enforcement officers to even make a dent in the trade, so what is the use of spending the massive amounts of money to make token busts that won't even cause the slightest amount of a reduction in availability. With that in mind, it seems ludicrous to continue the old school approach of locking them up and throwing away the key.

By putting a halt to this waste and inefficiency, there are several positive outcomes that can be expected:

1. Taking the DEA agents and reassigning them to patrol the border would be a better use of manpower. Resources could be better spent by preventing terrorists from entering the country.

2. By legalizing or at very least, decriminalizing some drugs, more room can be made for the violent criminals that seem to get released when jails and prisons get overcrowded.

3. If legalized, taxes could be imposed to give grants to private programs that treat substance abuse, thus helping to lower the demand.

4. Law enforcement would then be free to investigate other more serious crimes.

But make no mistake, if certain drugs were legalized, the same penalties for DUI and other crimes that take place while under the influence should remain firmly planted on the books. And laws that prohibit minors from consuming should be kept, as well. Any attempt at legalization should be done with a good plan for regulation, just like alcohol and tobacco.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Issues And Answers

I have been busy, busy. So to those that I know read this blog, I apologize for not getting more done the past couple of weeks. But real life commitments tend to take priority over hobbies and this has certainly been the case, of late.

Luckily not much has been happening on the world scene and sometimes that is a good thing. If nothing of any noteworthy value has happened, at least nothing bad has happened. Most that has happened has definitely been predictable. As is the case in the infancy of any Presidential term, the posturing of all camps has commenced right on schedule. Those for and opposed are beginning their early sales pitches for their own brands of political snake oils, mostly right down party lines.

There are many issues that are being used in the posturing processes, a lot focusing on the President's agenda. But there are many others that aren't getting much attention and deserve to be brought to the forefront of the political process.

In the coming days and weeks, I will try to highlight some obscure issues that don't get a lot of attention, but will need to be addressed at some point during this session.

I have said before and I will say again that descriptions of problems are easy, but solutions are far more difficult. So, with my issues I will propose solutions that I believe are viable options. Some will no doubt be popular with some and not so popular with others.

So stay tuned for a segment I will call Issues and Answers. It will be guaranteed to stimulate the gray matter.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

What We Heard

Last night, President Bush gave his first "State of the Union" speech of his second term and immediately we heard the wheels turning. The moment he uttered the words "God Bless America", spinsters on both sides were ready to start the neverending barrage of pundit analysis and commentary.

Those of us that watched it, know that it was a well-written speech. Whether one agrees with the content of the speech or not, it was by far the most memorable speech of his Presidency to date. Although the highlight moment did not come from behind the podium, what did flow was the President's vision of what he wants for the country.

What we heard, somewhat depends on what we expected to hear and what we wanted to hear. Whatever disposition we carried into the speech has a direct correlation as to what we are saying today. If someone has been highly critical of the President, that's not likely to change today. If someone has been highly supportive, that probably won't change either. But to those that have judged Mr. Bush's performance in a fair and objective manner in the past, really watched and listened closely. We heard his words, we can even read the text again, if we like. We can spend weeks and weeks dissecting and analyzing the whole thing, piece by piece. We know that one side loved it and one side hated it, but just what did he really say?

Here is what I heard:

1. I heard confidence, commitment, and triumph. With the success of the Iraqi elections behind him, I heard more determination and will. Although he has taken emormous heat from the left for our involvement in that country, he has consistently communicated his vision of liberty and freedom, which leads to peace, throughout his entire Presidency. And, last night was no exception.

2. I heard him challenge the Democrats to step up to the plate and take some strong political risks. Some just will not publicly admit that Social Security is in grave danger of bankrupting, even though President Clinton and many other Democrats have said the same thing for years. Others admit it, but minimize it. The President threw all of them an opportunity to be involved in making the necessary repairs to save it. He told each and every member of Congress, that any/everything is on the table and he will listen to any idea from anyone. The ball is now in the Democrats' court.

3. I heard an agenda of priorities that accurately reflects his belief and value systems. From liberty/freedom to Social Security, we heard it. From cutting inefficient and wasteful programs that do not meet their objectives to creating new effective programs like medical treatment for AIDS and adequate legal representation for those accused in capital murder cases, from beginning to end, that was George W. Bush ( like him or not).

In the coming days, we will hear many things from the Democrats. What I hope I do not hear is how the President is a liar or how he doesn't care about average Americans. And, I don't want to hear how he is a Nazi and is dangerous for America. Don't get me wrong, I want to hear dissent if it's warranted. But I want it to be accompanied by better ideas and better solutions and not just descriptions of the problems. We all see the problems. Griping and complaining is easy. Being part of the solution is hard work. It is the difference between statemanship and plain old politics. Anyone can complain, but not many can lead.