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Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category

LAND MINES?

You may recall that about six years ago I wrote a brief blog about my disenchantment with the U.S.goverment refusing to joint the global treaty banning land mines.At that point 141 countries had ratified the Ottawa Convention’s land mine prohibition of antipersonnel mines. The Bush administration refused to ratify it because we needed to be able to use them in order to protect our national security.

And now, six years later, more than 150 nations have signed the treaty including most of our NATO allies and even Iraq, Afghanistan and Columbia. Meanwhile,the Obama administration has determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we signed this convention. We stand proudly with China and Russia as the only major nations to refuse to sign. While we haven’t used them since the 1991 Gulf War, We have a stockpile of more than 10 million land mines.

As a recent editorial in the Jan Jose Mercury News states:

“Land mines caused more than 5000 causalties in 2008, many of them outside current war zones.  More than a third of the victims were children. If the United States can support treaties against the use of chemical weapons and other atrocities, surely it can ban devices that keep on killing the innocent years after the war is over.

The notion that our security rests on them now is ludicrous – a distortion of reality unworthy of a president who claims to want to restore U.S. stature in the international community. U.S. officials backtracked a bit on their position last week after humanitarian groups exploded in rage. They now say the policy is “under review.”  What’s left to review?”

LAND MINES

You man recall that about six years ago I wrote a brief blog about my disenchantment with the U.S.goverment refusing to joint the global treaty banning land mines.At that point 141 countries had ratified the Ottawa Convention’s land mine prohibition of antipersonnel mines. The Bush administration refused to ratify it because we needed to be able to use them in order to protect our national security.
And now, six years later, more than 150 nations have signed the treaty including most of our NATO allies and even Iraq, Afghanistan and Columbia. Meanwhile,the Obama administration has determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we signed this convention. We stand proudly with China and Russia as the only major nations to refuse to sign. While we haven’t used them since the 1991 Gulf War, We have a stockpile of more than 10 million land mines.

As ann editorial in the Jan Jose Mercury News states:
The notion that our security rests on them now is ludicrous – a distortion of reality unworthy of a president who claims to want to restore U.S. stature in the international community. U.S. officials backtracked a bit on their position last week after humanitarian groups exploded in rage. They now say the policy is “under review.”  What’s left to review?

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For the most part, the health care debate (debate?)  has been sufficiently inane (death panels, birthers, rampant socialism) and lacking rational dialogue about real issues we are facing that I’m feeling somewhat embarrassed about being a citizen of country that actually elects to congress some of the members that have been public supporting the false irrelevant drivel that has so intrigued the media.  I am acutely aware that ranting such drivel only encourages others (including me) to rant responses.  I’m also aware that the only change that ranting produces is a change in one’s blood pressure level.  I have therefore decided that it is time for me to post a blog that makes a simple straightforward statement of what it is I want from my government.

Regarding health care I continue to support and want a federal income tax supported single payer system.  This would likely require a rather substantial increase in the income taxes that we pay. Be reminded that we are at once the richest nation in the history world, and the lowest taxed industrialized nation. To that end, I support tax increases necessary to provide appropriate health care, education, social security and other social safety nets.  (For an outstanding assessment of the value and importance of competent government read Mario Cuomo’s Reason to Believe published in 1995.  Reagan was wrong, government is not the problem, capitalistic greed is the
problem.)

I subscribe to our country moving in the following directions:

  • Advocate and financially support and the UN taking the lead in international crises,
    including the current situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, (At this point the best known international humanitarian organizations estimate the total war on terror deaths at 3.4 million. – Does this mean we’re winning?)
    Rely on diplomatic and economic measures rather than military ones in confronting terrorism,
    Accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the World Court,
    Sign, support, and carry forward the Kyoto Protocols,
    Adhere to the traditional interpretation of the UN Charter,
    Give up the Security Council veto,
    Avoid use of force except in self-defense against an ongoing or imminent armed attack.
    Comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which we have signed.
    Comply with the Geneva Convention Treaty which we have signed.
    Comply with the UN Genocide Convention Treaty which we have signed;
    Sign and comply with the Ottawa Convention agreements banning the use of antipersonnel mines.
    Reestablish habeas corpus .
    Repeal the Patriot Act
    Cut back sharply on military spending,
    Dramatically increase social spending,
    A federal income tax supported single payer health care system that includes coverage of preventive, mental and dental health.

And I continue to advocate compulsory voting for all national elections! Let’s hear from everyone!

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Who would ever have thought that so many U.S. Senators would  seize the occasion to publicly demonstate and affirm the accuracy of Judge Sotomayor’s comment about how the wisdom of aging Latina women compares favorably with that of old white men.  Apparently several senators simply could not pass up the photo-op to once again display their prejudicial buffoonery for the edification of the electorate.

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In 1936 A.M Hocart the eminent English anthropologist who wrote extensively on Polynesian cultures published a book entitled Kings and Councillors which anaylized in depth the tribal structure of the Fiji Islanders.

He points out that the tribal chief was considered divine and thereby had access to the gods and how to plese them and thus invoke prosperity for the tribe. Hocart goes on to say “if the harvest was good the people were prepared to put up with a moderate amount of tyranny.”

How profoundly similar to the situation in which President Obama now finds himself!  Times haven’t changed much over the centuries.

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In 1936 A.M Hocart the eminent English anthropologist who wrote extensively on Polynesian cultures published a book entitled Kings and Councillors which anaylized in depth the tribal structure of the Fiji Islanders.

He points out that the tribal chief was considered divine and thereby had access to the gods and how to plese them and thus invoke prosperity for the tribe. Hocart goes on to say “if the harvest was good the people were prepared to put up with a moderate amount of tyranny.”

How profoundly similar to the situation in which President Obama now finds himself!  Times haven’t changed much over the centuries.

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Military Advice

Dear President Obama, Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates:

No military victory will ever be achieved in Afghanistan or Pakistan.  Continued military attempts will only swell the ranks of those who desperately resort to terrorist acts. There can be no ‘War Against Terrorism’ because going to war with an ideology is a non sequitur.  Defining our response to terrorist attacks as a war dictates how we respond and how we utilize (waste) our financial resources. There are no “terrorist nations” against whom to declare war.  terrorists are international criminals engaging in heinous acts for political reasons.  They must be hunted down and brought to justice for their crimes. Only a diplomatic political response which solicits the cooperation of all nations will reduce the threat of terrorist attacks. I urge you to curtail all military activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Respectfully yours in the inappropriate, unlawful, meaningless and unsuccessful slaughter of innocent human beings,   Collateral Damage

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Some suggestions of what we as a nation might do to abandon our stance as a rouge state and rejoin the international community.

1. Accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the World Court;

2. Sign and carry forward the Kyoto protocols while negotiating for their improvement;

3. Let the UN take the lead in international crises including Afghanistan;

4. Rely on diplomatic and economic measures rather than military ones in confronting terrors;

5. Keep to the traditional interpretation of the UN Charter;

6. Give up the Security Council veto and have ‘a decent respect for the opinion of mankind,’ as the Declaration of Independence advises;

7. Cut back sharply on military spending and sharply increase social spending.

8. Comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which we have signed.

9. Comply with the Geneva Convention Treaty which we have signed.

10. Comply with the UN Genocide Convention Treaty which we have signed;

11. Sign and comply with the Ottawa Convention agreements banning the use of antipersonnel mines.

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