Saturday, January 28, 2006

What about Latin America?

Undoubtedly the Palestinian Elections are of paramount importance to the United States and Europe, but what of the United States’ relationship with Mexico, Central, and South America? The United States has been losing the ideological and economic war in that part of its sphere of influence even before Fidel Castro came to power. Yet there is hope for reconciliation and good relations. There are two major factors that will come into play. First Fidel and his acolytes are actually weak and fearful, despite the Cindy Shehans of the world. Second immigration, legal and illegal, will tilt American public opinion in favor of a gentler view of the Southern Hemisphere.

I say Fidel and his acolytes are fearful, let me present a recent example of this. Recently the US Consulate has be electronically passing world news along to the Cuban people in the form of an electronic ticker-tape. Castro is incensed of course because even though there is undoubtedly some element of propaganda, it is a news outlet he cannot control. In response he is building some kind of shield to prevent its viewing by the Cuban people. Why would he do this if his is a free and open society?

The Southern Hemisphere is a large and diverse place, but many if not most, Americans think of it as monolithic. Nothing could be further from the truth. The cultural and ethnic makeup of each nation is very different as are the agricultural and mineral resources each possesses. The United States has always been Eurocentric which explains the attention paid there and to the Middle East. The Arabian and European history is so intertwined it’s amazing that we are at war there. The simple explanation is Islam v. Christianity, but that doesn’t work anymore. The truth is exploitation of resources without a thought to the people who are ruled by tyrants.

At the moment the United States is about to slip into the same situation south of its borders. The historical relationship of the US to its southern neighbors is that of exploitation and dominance. This does not mean it has been all bad; rather the assumptions are mostly wrong when it comes to even thinking about Mexico and Latin America let alone interacting with its population. The United States assumes that because it is richer, not larger mind you, and stronger that these nations should naturally bend to our will. That this is a mistaken view must seem obvious; it is not I can assure you. The education system in the United States is so poorly constructed that I doubt if one in ten can name all the nations let alone their location on the continent.

This condition will change over the next 50 years. During that time the United States will become more sympathetic to this region simply because many more of our citizens will be second generation immigrants from there. They will become politicians with influence, judges, business people etc. The true union of these two regions northern and southern hemispheres based on trust and respect, will form a block that will be a force to be reckoned with. We must start now if its energy is to be harnessed for good.

A productive dialogue, even with Castro, Chavez, Evo, and company, must be started. By productive I mean the United States should be slow to react to the stupid things said by these “leaders” and a sympathetic vision of how to meet the general population’s expectations and wants should be put forward. An application of the protestant work ethic would be most helpful. The US should delay gratification of its desire for strong influence by laying a solid foundation for the future. This can be done by ignoring, to a certain extent, the demagogue’s that seize power from time to time and prod them along a path that benefits their people and ours.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Some Major Issues for the Next US Elections.

There will be several major issues in the next US election, perhaps lasting even through the 2008 elections.  These will include illegal immigration from Mexico, Iran’s nuclear program, Palestine, dependence on foreign energy sources, all of which are losers for the Democrats as presently constructed.  Why, oh why can’t they come up with a reason to support them?  George Bush is a good president, not a great one as I had first thought, and at least tries to do what he set out to do.  This is confusing to the opposition.

The Democrats are so distracted by anger that they have forgotten that being trusted with the government implies passing legislation that has something to do with real life, not just their donation base.  Bush has missed the boat on a critical issue, that of illegal immigration.  By failing to address this problem he should be in danger of losing support; and he is.  The only saving grace for him is that the Democrats are doing a worse job.  They see votes in the illegal population, which just shows how intellectually bankrupt they really are.  Bush on the other hand doesn’t seem to care one way or the other.  Meanwhile the American voters are getting fed up with the situation.

There will be another war or at least some kind of military action against Iran if a reasonable solution is not found and it will not be.  The Iranians are overestimating their situation.  A joint strike force of US and European bombers can wreak havoc on Iran and its nuclear construction facilities.  This would provide a short term solution, but might result in the loss of any good will that can presently be found among dissident Iranians.  A better solution would be sanctions that are tough and that all nations participate in fully.  This would put pressure on the mullahs and the population and most likely a rebellion would be fomented.  This is the best long term solution.

The elections in Palestine prove the worth of the Bush plan to spread democracy throughout the Middle East; though it is fraught with danger.  There should be some dialogue with Hamas, limited perhaps or even secret.  To promote democracy and ignore the elected party seems a bit strange; after all we do have diplomatic relations with China, Venezuela, Egypt, and other undesirable governments.  We can best support Israel by trying to help Hamas mature.  The American Jewish lobby may make this untenable.

Dependence on foreign energy sources is a real loser for the Democrats as they will oppose any development of domestic resources.  Cynical at worst na├»ve at best they are held hostage by a minority of environmental wackos.  The new configuration of the Supreme Court may change this and give the Democrats a way out. This is very appropriate as recent studies have shown that the Europeans greenhouse emissions have risen despite their endorsement of the Kyoto treaty while those of the US have actually been reduced even though we did not endorse Kyoto.  This simple fact will, or should, begin to defang those on the far left who are willing to see us crawl instead of standing up for ourselves.

The moral failure of the left is starting to hurt them.  They dance to the tune of the ultra left strident ravings from Michael Moore, George Soros, and others.  Why do you think Ted Kennedy, the killer of Mary Jo Kopechne, and John Kerry, the false hero, are suggesting a filibuster against Alito?  It is simple: money.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Jimmy Carter - The worst ever?

Who was the worst president of the United States? For my money it is Jimmy Carter. He is primarily responsible for the emergence of Iran as an Islamic state. His actions and policies at the time have come to haunt us and the world. I think his “stature” among our enemies is proof of this assertion. Without Carter’s insistence that the Shah be overthrown and Khomeini installed as chief mullah we would not be facing another military “option” in the region. Many people either don’t remember or fail to remember that the US and France insisted upon Khomeini being allowed back to Iran from self-imposed exile. The ostensible rationale was that the Shah was unbearably cruel to his subjects, that he had been illegitimately installed as ruler in 1953, and that an Islamic Republic would be a kinder, gentler, place. Since then tens, if not hundreds of thousands have been executed for various Islamic violations. People like Sean Penn are willing tools of the mullahs. Carter’s plan backfired almost immediately as the mullahs allowed “students” to storm the US Embassy and capture the staff. I had a friend stationed in Iran at the time, a civilian, working on telecommunications for Iran. As an American his situation was tenuous at best. He managed to escape but it was touch and go for a while.

Jimmy Carter’s domestic economic policies were disastrous as interest rates reached 21% and inflation was also in double digits, prices changed almost daily. Being in debt was a good thing because the debt was being paid off in ever cheaper dollars. Savings accounts paid more than 12% but the money was worth less and less each month. Carter was a vacillator, afraid to make decisions. He did follow-up on the Nixon plan to bring China into a full relationship with the US and in fact Carter did establish a full diplomatic relationship with China.

Today Jimmy Carter is an America hater, what could be worse and more ridiculous? He thinks Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro are role models for leadership and morality. Carter is like all ultra left wing wackos: he hates himself, his country, and his lucky birth as a white person in the USA. He is ashamed without reason. Anyone born in the United States is luckier than most people on earth. The personal opportunities here are without parallel, try to better yourself in Cuba, it's worth 10 years in prison.

There were other presidents that were weak, venal, and vain: McKinley, Grant, Fillmore, and Cleveland to name a few. None of them went around the world legitimizing false elections and calling their country the greatest threat to world peace, a statement that flies in the face of the evidence.

The Death Penalty is Unneccessary

The execution of murderers is unnecessary.  I won’t make it a moral issue and say it is wrong, even though the risks involved might make it so.  The death penalty is risky simply because of the lack of checks and balances in the justice system.  Yes, it is true that the convicted have many opportunities to appeal, but are these appeals really taken seriously.  There have been too many instances where prosecutors have behaved, at the least badly, and at the worst illegally themselves.  It is odd to me that the justice system of the United States appears to be interested only in the conviction rate, not in making certain that the correct person is apprehended and punished. Box scores are inappropriate in judging how effective a justice system is.  In my state, North Carolina, we have had occasions where the prosecutors and governor refuse to reconsider a case even in the face of new evidence.  The typical response is “The jury has spoken” which is true but did they have enough information to decide?

We all know of DNA rescues, death bed confessions by others, and accidental evidence finding while investigating another case, why then, do members of the prosecutorial side resist making amends?  The death penalty does something else; it coarsens society itself making life taking that much easier.  It also excuses abortion, which is amazing from both points of view.  The pro-choice side is opposed to the death penalty  yet endorse abortion, and pro-life is generally in favor the death penalty but opposed to abortion; go figure.

Why not consider an alternative?  I have for years proposed that murderers should not be executed simply because death is too easy for them.  This is especially true in the case of torture killings and child murder.  It is my opinion that these criminals should be housed in someplace cold like Alaska, North Dakota, and Idaho, someplace where escape is not an option.  They should be kept in solitary confinement, no communication with their families, television, newspapers, magazines, and take their meals alone in their cell.  This is equivalent to death without putting pressure on society.  When these murderers die in prison their families may be given the option to claim the body or they will be buried in the prison graveyard.  The graveyard should be visible from the prison to remind these monsters of what awaits them.

In every case new evidence must considered and the prosecutors may have little or no say so in the matter.  I also propose that prosecutors that “railroad” a suspect should be severely disciplined with a minimum prison sentence of five years hard time with no chance parole.  It is time to realize that technology makes it possible to prove innocence and there is no need to execute criminals to punish them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Roe v Wade The Return to the States

I’m just thinking about yesterday’s anti-abortion demonstration, Judge Alito’s confirmation floor debate and vote, and an article about sonograms in the Wall Street Journal.  The abortion debate has undoubtedly divided the nation’s electorate and brought forth evidence of hatred and intolerance on both sides; not to mention the pandering to voters by politicians that consider them too stupid to think for themselves.  This issue will definitely come before the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade will be reversed if only on a limited scale.  The legislative authority for abortion regulation will be returned to the states; Judge Alito’s confirmation practically guarantees this.  So what?  Does it really matter?

The liberal side of the debate frames the argument as a right of privacy, a “woman’s right to choose” and as the definition of women’s rights in society.  This argument does not really stand up under today’s conditions. At this point nearly all scholars left and right agree that there is no right to privacy explicit in the constitution, reading between the lines is tricky and unreliable.  Further medical advances are making it a difficult “choice” because an accidental pregnancy is quite unnecessary, given the many prevention tools that are currently available; abortion must not be allowed as a method of birth control.  Technological advances are impinging on this problem as sonograms become more sophisticated and the evidence of a living human being waiting to complete its development is clearer, many women (and men) will hesitate before killing the baby.  The last part of the argument is specious.  Women can advance in their careers without abortion; to suggest otherwise is insulting and demeaning to women who want a career.  The interest groups promoting these arguments are now institutions and offer careers of their own.  I don’t know the answer to this question, but how many people are employed by NARAL to promote abortion?

The conservative view is presented in two ways: as a moral issue and as an issue that the voters in each state have a right to decide the question instead of receiving the answer as a court dictum.  As a moral issue I think the argument is accurate but weak in today’s American society; morality doesn’t seem to count for much even at the highest levels.  The morality part does resonate with me as the killing of defenseless people is reprehensible.  There can be no doubt that the fetus is a human being, even if its still in training.  Another thing about the conservative argument that has always interested me is the fact that the Pro-Life leaders are almost exclusively men, which to my mind weakens its credibility.  I don’t mean the credibility that abortion is inherently wrong, I mean that the motives of some of these leaders must be considered suspect.  The stronger argument is to let each state have its own view of the situation, which I think was the original intent of the Roe v. Wade decision.  The more liberal states will have a more liberal view and the same goes for the more conservative states.  Such a situation would actually help develop a greater sense of personal responsibility and “morality” as the people will be in charge of their destinies in this case.

No matter, until the voters get the power to decide this issue it will continue to burn brightly.  There are other forces at work as I mentioned but they will take time to have an effect.  Our country needs to get this divisive question behind us we are facing great threats and cannot continue to waste our time on this.  Unfortunately the two bases of the Democrat party; Afro-Americans and Pro-Choice voters will make resolution difficult, though it may still be a problem for the Democrats.  They are beginning to lose their monopoly on black folks, a single issue party is difficult to maintain.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Seahawks 34- Panthers 14

The Superbowl is set: Pittsburgh v. Seattle.  I had already predicted the outcome of this week’s play and the winner of the Superbowl to be played in Detroit in two weeks.  I was correct then and I am correct now.  At least the Bronco’s stayed in the game when compared to the Panthers, but neither team played up to their potential.  Jake Plummer may be the Bronco’s main offensive asset but he is also one of the team’s biggest weaknesses.  The Steelers handled the Bronco’s in the same way they handled the Patriots: they simply dominated them.  Still the Bronco’s had a chance to pull the victory off.  The Panthers on the other hand didn’t even put up a fight.

Admittedly Carolina was lacking offensive weapons due to injury, but as usual the Panther’s early game performance reveals which team has shown up for the game.  In last night’s case it was the losing team.  Their timing was off; penalties hurt them and definitely helped the Seahawks.  The Panther’s are a very nervous team and they are not able to control their collective anxiety.  I never expected Carolina to win in their depleted state, but they should have been able to make it a contest.  It was obvious from the first set of downs that they game was already over, at least to the keen observer of Carolina Panther behavior it was clear.

The future is not clear for Carolina much depends on the off season and physical conditioning.  Steve Smith will be back and so will most of the team, but John Fox must acquire a better running back to support DeShaun Foster and perhaps replace him.  Last night the team rushed for 34 yards while Shaun Alexander rushed for 132 yards an absolute disgrace for Carolina. Had they advanced the Panthers still would have lost to Pittsburgh as will the Seahawks.