Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Birthday

A provocative question for (imaginary) readers: Shouldn't Happy Birthday be sung on Christmas?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Looking Back

Often, especially when referring to the Iraq War, many politicians say something along the lines of "Knowing what I know now…" and then make an excuse for voting for the Iraq war or agreeing with it. This is an unacceptable excuse. Knowing what the U.S. knows now, would they still have dropped a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima? Would they fight in Vietnam? You can't look back on what you did and say, "Knowing what I know now, knowing how it turned out, I wouldn't have done that." That is just a pathetic excuse. Saying, "Thinking back, even only knowing what I knew then, I regret making that decision," makes perfect sense because you're realizing you should have realized then it was a bad decision. Judging people in the past also has to be done carefully. Before judging, think about the time period and what the people thought and believed.

Taken from BBC

The fading of the dream has led to a falling-out among the neo-conservatives themselves.

In particular, two leading neo-conservatives, Richard Perle and Kenneth Adelman, attacked the Bush team in Vanity Fair magazine. Both had been on a Pentagon advisory board. Both had argued for war in Iraq.

In an article called "Neo Culpa", Richard Perle declared that had he known how it would turn out, he would have been against it: "I think now I probably would have said: 'No, let's consider other strategies'."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dead Soldier's Idea

Dead Soldier Spells Out Iraq Solution...With Stick Figures

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Illegal Immigration starts with Economics

Once upon a time, in a not-so-far off land called North America, there were two neighboring cities. Usa and Mex were their names, and the river Immigration ran strong through them. The native citizens of Usa did not like this river running through their town; they even have an ordinance against rivers running through the city, but because of many different complicated reasons, this ordinance wasn’t enforced. Mex was happy just to have all of that water out of their town because it wasn’t doing any good there. The council of Usa decided something had to be done. They came up with a plan. They convinced Mex to build a dam in the river to block most of Immigration River. In exchange, Mex would get a wheel from the town of Usa that would provide hydroelectric power. To finish the job, Usa would build another dam on the edge of Usa to stop the trickle of Immigration River that could get through Mex’s dam. Everyone lived happily ever after.

Sound familiar? It should. This represents the illegal immigration problem the United States is currently facing. It also represents what could be happening to end the dilemma. If the United States (Usa) could provide support (hydroelectric wheel) to the Mexican poor (Mex represented Mexico) and demolish the crime and drug lords, everyone’s happy (first dam built). With jobs and a better life, fewer immigrants (Immigrant River) would sneak into the country. Then Washington could worry about the problem back in their territory (the second dam). Ending immigration starts with the first step of aiding the poor and needy in Mexico.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Excerpts from Rumsfeld's Parting Memo

These are some of the possible options soon-to-be former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld outlined in a classified memo to President Bush for "a major adjustment" in Iraq.

  • Significantly boost the number of US trainers and transfer more equipment to the Iraqi security forces.
  • Decrease quickly the number of US bases, now 55, to five by July 2007.
  • Provide US security only in cities or provinces that actively cooperate.
  • Focus reconstruction "in those parts of Iraq that are behaving . . . No more reconstruction assistance in areas where there is violence."
  • Place substantial US forces near the borders with Syria and Iran to reduce infiltration and reduce Iran's influence.
  • Withdraw US forces from vulnerable positions, such as patrols, and use them as a quick-reaction force to assist Iraqi security forces when needed.
  • Begin modest withdrawals of US and coalition forces to encourage the Iraqi government to take charge.
  • Provide money to political and religious leaders "to get them to help us through this difficult period."
  • Announce that the United States is trying out a new approach, which would allow further adjustments, if necessary.

Source: Boston Globe

Interesting, especially after the Iraq Study Group came out with its report.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Iraq a Civil War?

Sunnis kill over 200 Shiites, Shiites retaliate

NBC and MSNBC recently reported that they will now call what is going on in Iraq a “civil war.”

Definition of "Civil War" A war between political factions or regions within the same country.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: A war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country.

Webster’s New World Dictionary Second Edition: A war between different factions of the same nation.

Is the violence in Iraq a civil war? Make the decision yourself.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Letter to Senator John Kerry on the Situation in Darfur

November 28, 2006

Senator John F. Kerry

304 Russell Senate Office Bldg.

3rd Floor

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Kerry,

Although you are busy, please a take a moment to read this letter. Recently a speaker from Rwanda spoke to a group of activists. Her name was Sifa, and she told this group about her experience in the genocide in Rwanda. She also speaks for those dying of malnutrition, disease, and slaughter in an ongoing genocide, the non-Arab of Sudan. The tragedy is an atrocity and must be stopped. As the sole superpower in the world, the U.S. has the responsibility to stop these horrendous killings. While understanding the U.S. has done a lot compared to other countries; being the first to call the genocide a genocide, putting pressure on the U.N. and Sudan to stop the killing, etc; in contrast to what the U.S. could be doing, it isn’t enough. Sifa complains there are political complications. Are political desires really valued the same as lives of over 300,000 people and growing? Each person had a family, friends, a life, and was special. The genocide in Sudan needs to be ended.

The ethnic cleansing in the Darfur region of Sudan is horrible, and can only be expected to get worse. Over 300,000 people have been killed. The world should care for those who are being killed, tortured and raped in Sudan. Imagine if 300,000 people were killed in the United States. There would be outrage around the world, and something would be done. The world does not want another Rwanda. This is a modern Holocaust. While it’s still possible and while there are still Sudanese left to save the world needs to end the genocide. Everyone should care because of the suffering the native Sudanese go through. In the refugee camps, they are tortured by hunger, dehydration, malady, climate, grief of lost loved ones, rape and injury. If it is possible for anyone to do something about this unacceptable event, they have the right and the responsibility to do so. You have the power to do something, and you should.

Not only should you care as a human being, but as a senator of the United States. If you could help stop the genocide, there would be political benefits. You would gain support from humanitarian groups, and others who are glad about the end of a reign of terror. After Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, it would be good for the U.S. to demonstrate it won’t stand for abuses of human rights and doesn’t want these abuses to occur. Although there may be reasons for not dealing with the killing of non-Arab Sudanese, there is no way it can outweigh the killing of 300,000 innocent lives.

There are several things you can do because you are in a position of influence. Just because you are known and have so much influence, just promoting awareness helps the cause. Endorsing groups, such as Amnesty International that are attempting to end the conflict also gives aid. The largest move you could make is sponsoring a bill in Congress. This bill could have different possible objectives, including sanctions or possibly even sending troops there. Sending troops would almost certainly be impossible, with our valiant troops already fighting two wars. Any of these suggestions would be a great aid to the cause of stopping the killing in Darfur, Sudan.

The genocide in Sudan is not only Sudan’s or Africa’s problem. It is the world’s problem. Something has to be done to stop this intolerable act of injustice. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Been busy sorry :-(

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Staying the Course"

Tony Snow recently announced that the Bush administration is no longer adhering to the phrase “staying the course” in Iraq. “It allowed critics to say, 'Well, here is an administration that's just embarked upon a policy not looking at what the situation is,' when in fact it's just the opposite,” Snow said. Many people have said that America should set a timetable and leave after that certain amount of time. The President labeled this “cutting and running”. In the 2004 presidential election, John Kerry (D-MA) supported this. There have been many heated debates over this. Cutting and running in Iraq would not only embolden terrorists, but also rogue states such as Iran and North Korea to try and stand up to the United States.

So-called cutting and running in Iraq would weaken the United State’s influence in the world. Terrorists would be emboldened; rogue countries would pay no heed to the U.S. and U.N. alike. The power of the world’s only superpower would be diminished. Because of the failure in Iraq, that power has already been diminished, some would say beyond repair. Leaving would be even worse. Imagine what Al-Qaeda or Hezbollah would think. After North Korea has just tested a bomb, would looking weak be a good idea? It’s hard enough with China not enforcing sanctions. The U.S. must look decisive. Iran’s nuclear ambition could be solved if the Security Council could stand united. Exiting, too, would affect the unity. Increased terrorism would be more obvious than rogue states, but both are equally threatening. Some would say by leaving Iraq, hatred for America would decrease, therefore decreasing the “production” of new terrorists. This is most likely true, but the negatives of retreating outweigh the positive. Terrorists would gain new confidence, and multiple videos from extremist groups would be released declaring victory. Israel would definitely feel repercussions. Nothing would be able to be accomplished because a country who once would have never thought of standing up to the United States now would. A Time article (Would Defeat in Iraq Be So Bad) recently publishes questions whether defeat in Iraq would be so bad. It would be just as bad as predicted, and worse.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

North Korea Claims to Test a Nuclear Bomb

Now, especially after North Korea "tested" a nuclear bomb, the U.N. and the United states must stay together and agree. The U.S. must not offer carrots and sticks, but either just carrots or sticks. The different administrations have varied too much, giving incentives, then imposing sanctions. If the Clinton administration had been hard-line or the Bush administration softer, diplomacy may have succeeded. Although it is too late, now the U.S. and the U.N. still can either only give incentives or be tough about it and possibly achieve success with North Korea, without war.

Although it is cruel to the people of North Korea, aid must also be stopped. Even though there is very little chance of rebellion, and even less chance of it succeeding, there will be benefits. Kim Jong-Il obviously doesn’t care for his people very much, but it may have some effects. If Pyongyang gives more money to spend on the people, they will lower military spending. By giving the people of a communist regime aid, we have allowed North Korea to allocate more money for its military. International assistance must be cut off for diplomacy with North Korea to triumph.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

North Korea Threatens a Nuclear Test

North Korea is led by an unstable regime, almost definitely with nuclear weapons. In July, while in the middle of a devastating flood in occurring in their country, killing hundreds and leaving thousands homeless, Pyongyang test-fired six missiles, including the new Taepodong-2, believed to be capable of reaching western United States. Although it failed after 40 seconds, the launching was labeled “provocative” and North Korea was immediately slapped by more sanctions from Japan, and an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting was called in New York. Because of the harsh sanctions the North Koreans are already facing, not much was achieved from this meeting. Recently, evidence has been building up that North Korea is going to attempt a nuclear test. Spy satellites have shown activity around a possible test site. Then this week, Pyongyang has announced that it will conduct a nuclear test. The U.S. representative to the United Nations, John Bolton, said a test “would be extraordinarily serious.” Kim Jong Il, the leader of North Korea, must either reform or choose a new government, as well as not being allowed to carry out a nuclear test.

There are four options to dealing with possibly the most dangerous of the “axis of evil”; non-aggressive diplomacy, more aggressive diplomacy, living with a nuclear North Korea, or the second Korean War. Because aggressive diplomacy is taking a long time to work (if it ever works), non-aggressive diplomacy could seem a good option. There are many problems with soft diplomacy. This would mean mainly the U.S. and Japan would have to give into Jong Il’s demands. Included in these demands are that the United States would return frozen assets of a North Korean’s banks back to the Macau bank. In addition, Japan would have to stop sanctioning Pyongyang. The U.S. would grudgingly sign a non-aggression pack, leaving South Korea at risk. The major problem with a treaty with North Korea and soft diplomacy is that the last time an agreement was made by the U.S., by former President Bill Clinton, it was broken by Pyongyang, and the Jong Il decided to blame it on President Clinton. Another option, a little more aggressive diplomacy, might involve more sanctions but definitely six-party talks involving the United States, Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, and of course North Korea. This has occurred before, but negotiations have stalled. For the negotiations to restart, North Korea demands that the U.S. let go of taken assets from a Macau bank the United States and others believe counterfeits American dollars. China is North Korea’s closest ally, and must work harder in these talks. An additional option, doing nothing, would most likely lead to an arms race in the region if Taiwan or South Korea obtains nuclear weapons. Besides that, the North would also be able to threaten countries, and terrorists might be able to obtain a nuclear weapon, or materials for a dirty bomb. A military operation could easily have dire consequences, but there might be the chance of victory. If successful, there would most likely not be an insurgency, as in Iraq. The problem would not be after the war, as with Iraq, but during. North Korea has the world’s fourth largest army, the third biggest chemical and biological weapons arsenal, and most importantly, probably around 4 or 5 nuclear warheads. But first, diplomacy must be attempted. Even though everyone wants this to have a peaceful outcome, war is still an option. But if the world cannot come to terms with North Korea, and a military force is either unsuccessful or is decided to be not worth the risk, we will have to live with this insane dictatorship.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

On Torture

Although torture is meant to keep the United States of America safe, it does not always have that effect. Sometimes, in dire emergencies, torture may be necessary. Usually, this is not the case. President Bush does not agree with this. He thinks that torture is necessary to prevent another terrorist attack. While the President believes that, others, who have been in the military, including Republican Senators John McCain, John Warner, and Lindsey Graham, have the opposite view on interrogation techniques. Both sides have proposed a bill. The senate bill, which was approved by the Senate Armed Service Committee (led by McCain, Warner, and Graham), is not much better than the President's bill. It would allow the President to have the final word on torture. If he wanted to torture a detainee, he would NOT have to make his intentions public.

The effects of torture are worse than the information gained from it, excluding extreme cases. If the United States tortures prisoners, other countries will too. This puts the United StatesÂ’ soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan in danger. Tortured POWs often give false information to receive better treatment. One well known case Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a terrorism suspect, admitted” that Iraq and Al-Qaeda were connected so he would not be tortured by the Egyptians. Countries become less trustful, creating weaker treaties. Besides that, the U.S. agreed to the Geneva Conventions. Bush has no right to decide that he can just over rule the agreement. Mistreating captured enemy combatants is morally wrong, and diminishes how the world looks at the U.S. Even for people who donÂ’t believe in any God must agree that torture is wrong. A watered down version of the McCain bill, or even better, a new bill, must be passed in Congress if the United States is to regain its image of fairness and the soldiers of the United States are to remain safe.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Origin of Life

There are three main theories on the origin of life; the Theory of Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Creationism. These are all called theories. One thing must be said about scientific theories first, because scientific theories are different from normal theories. Scientific theories have proof behind them, and are accepted by more than one person. The Theory of Evolution is the current theory on the origin of life taught in almost all science curriculums in public schools. It is the theory that all species of plants and animals descended from a common ancestor. Natural Selection, first voiced by Charles Darwin, is also expressed in this theory. Public schools do not currently teach Intelligent Design, but there are people who believe it should be taught. Intelligent Design says that there was a creator instead of a planless mechanism. While this theory does not reject evolution as change over time, or common ancestry, it does not accept natural selection being random. Creationism is also not in science curriculums, but as with Intelligent Design, some want it to be taught in public schools. Creationism is a religious idea that a supernatural creator (God) made the world and all life. It's usually based on the Bible. Out of the three main theories on the origin of life, the Theory of Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Creationism, the Theory of Evolution is the only theory taught in public schools, and is the only real scientific theory.

"You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes." The United States President, George W. Bush, believes that students should be exposed to different ideas on evolution, meaning he thinks that Intelligent Design should also be taught in schools. Not everyone agrees, but the President consistently supports this view. It is also clear that President Bush does not want to get deep into this argument and that he believes it should be the state government, not the federal government that makes the final decision on what should be taught. From the Washington Post, before Bush was President, "Bush's spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said, 'He believes both Creationism and evolution ought to be taught...He believes it a question for states and local school boards to decide he believes both ought to be taught.'" To reiterate, Bush believes other theories alongside the Theory of Evolution should be taught in schools, but it should be the states decision what the curriculum is.

While Bush and others believe Intelligent Design should be taught in schools, there are others who don't. This group includes Barry W. Lynn, who is the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He says Bush, "...doesn't understand that one is a religious viewpoint (Intelligent Design) and one is a scientific viewpoint", and that Bush showed a "low level of understanding of science." Supporters of the Theory of Evolution concur that Darwin's Theory of Evolution should be taught in schools. The population that agrees with the Kansas professor that called intelligent design "creation in a cheap tuxedo” says there is no valid debate on the subject. As explained earlier, a scientific theory has evidence to back itself up. Many people argue that there is no evidence of a Creator, neither religious or from Intelligent Design. The most well known debate occurred in Kansas, where the board of education there now requires high school teachers to teach the doubts about evolution. This ruling is victory for President Bush and his allies, but a defeat for Barry Lynn and others like him.

The Theory of Evolution should be the only theory taught in schools. As stated at the beginning of this, the Theory of Evolution is the only real scientific theory. The other “theories” are really just called theories more as a marketing ploy. The amount of evidence the Theory of Evolution has is colossal compared the Creationism or Intelligent Design. Humans have never found evidence of an Intelligent Creator, or any Gods, of any religion, besides a bible (different per religion), which each was written a very long time ago. No one has any concrete evidence that their bible was sent from their God. In contrast, evidence of evolution can be found virtually everywhere. If one finds a living thing, including plants, you have evidence of evolution and natural selection. And no matter where one goes, one still has his or herself, which is also a product of evolution. By looking at fossils one can see how life has changed over time. Also, because public schools are bound by the laws of separation of church and state, they shouldn’t even be allowed to teach Intelligent Design, let alone Creationism. Even though President Bush and others believe we should be exposed to different ideas, which is true with most things, religion and science do not mix. If we are to uphold The Constitution, and maintain one of the most important traits of the United States, the separation of church and state, we will listen to the facts and only teach the Theory of Evolution.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


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