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Friday, May 3, 2013

We're coming close to war




Gees, can this situation get any crazier? Since when do Israel and Iran find it to be acceptable to threaten each other? I just hope that both sides will show restraint and let a dialog resume. No need for any military action, and let the pressure from the sanctions bring back a new round o negotiations.

New developments in the Middle East

Well not surprisingly, Israel's making noise about bombing Iran, and Iran is saying the same for Israel. I know why, it's because both seem desparate to distract their publics from economic troubles at home. Now, I won't argue about who's right to be doing this since neither are in my eyes. Israel is correct in saying that a nuclear armed Iran has every intention of creating another Holocaust, and take out any Jewish livelihood in the area. However, Iran has a point in saying that by becoming a hypothetical nuclear power, it will achieve parity and bring about a balance of power. In addition, it has been further correct in calling out Israel's campaign of assassinations of many of its nuclear scientists.

Regardless, neither Israel nor Iran need nuclear weapons. Israel, as an undeclared nuclear power, should immediately declare that it is, and immediately take steps in accordance with those who have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970, and begin to disarm itself. Iran, as a signatory, should adhere to its obligations as per the treaty and show more transparency in its nuclear program. If such a program is for creating nuclear power and isotopes for medicinal purposes, then Iran is within its rights to hold such a program. However, if such underlying secrecy is hiding a weapons program, then there is no reason for Iran to have a program at all.

This is why I believe that Presidents Obama and Medvedev got it right to begin with in trying to get Iran to talk, but I still think that additional sanctions won't conduce any kind of dialogue. I do have to admit one thing though, the sanctions seem to be making Iran desparate, which can account for its tantrumous behavior, i.e., threatening to close down the Hormuz Strait. This is a credible, though fairly short term, threat.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

New Low for Racial Discrimination

I don't know where to start. What is the point of US Airways telling two Black passengers that they cannot board unless they change their outfits, but letting a White passenger on wearing the same outfit they were? This seems like racism at its most basic core in my eyes, and I think Alter Net really deserves the credit for putting this story up to its followers and for showing us that racist chauvinism is still lurking within our country to this day, even though it's faced a successful mask since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Still, it doesn't help that the Black community still faces too many barriers to achieve their dream of full racial equality, and receive the same opportunities as their White counterparts. I have to say, as someone who is a student of History, we are entering a new phase of race-based violence and terrorism, but at the same time, entering a new opportunity to look our inner-most demons in the eye and learning from our past mistakes. If anything, the Tea Party, like the Coffee Party and Occupy Movements, have shown us that activism, from either the Left or Right, brings change that is neither simple nor clean. However, they serve as a reminder when the political extremes break loose. Only this time, the side going off the rails is not the Left, it's the Right. How might one ask? The answer is convoluted and messy, just like the process of change.

Think of the 40 years of Conservative governmental control, and you can start drawing a series of confirming moments about how we ended up in our current mess. Much of the social aspect goes back to the reaction in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Voting Rights Act in 1965, and the Housing Rights Act in 1968, all of which culminated in Richard Nixon's election to the Presidency. Unsurprisingly, Nixon campaigned on "Law and Order" to appeal to mostly conservative Whites in the South, as well as on a new expanded version of Barry Goldwater's campaign theme of States' Rights. At the close of the 1960's, this message was especially popular given all the upheavals that came with that decade of radical change. In fact, Nixon's campaign put forth a platform of running against the newly adopted Supreme Court ruling mandating the states put forth busing programs to desegregate schools. The policy Nixon advocated during the 1968 campaign was to end this order immediately. Well go to the 1980 campaign and its aftermath (of course following Nixon's forced resignation following the Watergate Scandal in 1974, and Jimmy Carter's victory over Gerald Ford in the presidential campaign of 1976), we see the Conservative Movement's resurgence in the victory Ronald Reagan heralded in that year's presidential race. Reagan instilled not just supply-side economics which America had not seen since the 1920's, but also a series of roll-backs of Civil Rights policies nearly to the point where they were back in the 1950's. Well, fast foward to the Republican Congressional take-over in 1994, following the Democratic (Bill Clinton) Presidential triumph just 2 years earlier, and Presidential win in 2000, now we're getting to where we are currently, especially at the closing of the Clinton years and the start of the Bush era.

It was under George W. Bush that most of this far-right ideology began taking root, especially following the attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. For the next 4 1/2 years, think of the amount of activity the Religious Right and Crony Capitalists engaged in. I find it's easy enough to see how these actions, together with a real growing disdain for the Black community continued to grow, due to their constant agitation for full equality. However, this cycle of constantly railing about the "Black agenda", the "Homosexual agenda", etc., would eventually catch up with the Conservative movement. Think of the debacle in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans (Case in point), and that should be enough to draw a line towards the Democratic Congressional take-over in 2006, and Barack Obama's presidential sweep just 2 years later.

It's the fact that Obama's been office since 2009, and that under him racism has exploded to the most severe extent since the late 1950's and early 1960's. However, Obama is not the one to blame, as his victory in 2008 marked a shattering of a major glass-ceiling for the Black community and began a new era of racial definition. At the same time, Obama has provided the American people with a whole different kind of opportunity, not just because of his race, but because of his real ability to connect with people of many walks of life, and embodying what our most difficult daily struggles are. Going back to my earlier commentary, the fact is that when Obama took office in January 2009, some of the worst lunatic fringes of the far-right went completely haywire. The reason: a Black man should not occupy the White House. The previous statement is a testament to the fact that the fringe in question is the White Supremacist faction that tends to be one the most vocal backers of the Republican Party (No, this is not to say that all Republicans are racist, not all are, just many from this particular fringe tend to be). Well you see where that got them, as of last year's election, just in control of the recently gerrymandered House of Representatives, as Obama's still in the Presidency, and the Democrats still have control of the Senate, albeit by a slightly bigger margin.

Friday, April 12, 2013

New developments with North Korea

Where do I even begin? Well, like I've been posting on Facebook and Twitter, it's kind of becoming a massive worry on my end that Kim Jong Un (the new North Korean leader) will actually do something stupid. So far, North Korea's threatened to invoke its right to wage pre-emptive nuclear war with America (its sworn enemy), and to bring down South Korea (its direct prosporous neighbor and sworn enemy on the other side of the DMZ - the Demilitarized Zone).

Engaging in this type of reckless behavior is not only counterintuitive, but it's also exceedingly suicidal. At this point, I'm beginning to think that Kim Jong Un has a massive death wish, especially in trying to start a war with the world's 2nd largest nuclear arsenal, especially in atomic warfare. If there's one thing America wants to seriously avoid, as stated by President Barack Obama, and both Foreign Secretary John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, it's a nuclear war, and all have made warnings to North Korea to not even go that route, as it will only bring unnecessary suffering to its people.

It should be said that this situation is more dangerous than the one in the Mideast, there at least things are much quieter. So far Iran isn't making many provocative statements, at least for the time being, and Israel isn't saber-rattling to the extent it was last year.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bomb Threat

Good God, how is it that San Francisco is the site of yet another bomb threat? Seriously, this is getting old fast. Luckily, this time it turned out to be nothing, as the suspicious package apparently was harmless. Still one can never know when some far-right or far-left extremist could plant a device that will cause massive distruction and casualities. I just pray that does not happen given what happened near the Powell Station. The 45-minute delay for both Muni and BART would have been the least of everyone's problems, just trying to get to work or appointments, or to go shopping. Had that been a real bomb, I just don't want to think of how many lives could have been taken.

I credit SFPD and BART PD's quick response in securing the area and determining the nature of the package. Additionally, I credit SFPD's decision to have a bomb squad robot look at the package as well.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Toshiba

I have to say, this is the third laptop I've gone through that's from Toshiba. I'm not saying their products are bad-looking, they're not, but they're very fragile and really leave a lot to be desired in terms of operational longevity. I had a Satellite L300, which lasted for 3 years, but the current one, which is a Satellite L855-S5372, well this is the second in 3 months. Now explain to me how a product is supposed to be top notch if the motherboard keeps short-circutting. It's an issue that seems to happen too often.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

North Korea

Well this is certainly not a surprising development. Apparently North Korea has decided, once again, to start threatening America and South Korea with nuclear anihilation. One can rest assured, this is a fairly routine threat coming from the Kim regime, as they always make statements with this type of violent rhetoric. However, there's a massive and much more frightening difference in this series than in the past: there's enough credible intelligence to suggest that they may actually take their extremely violent rhetoric and turn it into real violence.

Why the Kim regime insists on picking a fight with the Obama administration goes beyond any logical sense. True, America does have soldiers (28,000 to be exact) stationed in South Korea, which the North views as a major threat to its sovereignty. It's also true that China does not look favorably on this situation as well, but does not go out of its way to make the situation worse by consistently threatening invasion or other military action. What's missing here is that America does not wish to keep those soldiers in that area of the world, but feels it has few options due to the continual violent threats that come from the North.

Well because of the Kim regime's threats of a preemptive nuclear strike on America, the Obama administration has taken the precaution of placing 14 more anti-ballistic missiles in both California and Alaska. In fact, the American Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the announcement that the administration took this action as a deterrent to any North Korean missile launches. One of the ways the Obama administration pulled this off was by all-together scrapping the planned project of placing a missile shield in both Poland and Romania (the cancellation has brought a more cooperative attitude from Russia), which freed up funds to put the additional missiles on the West Coast and possibly to construct one on the East Coast as well.

As for Russia, I think that Pres. Obama and Secs. Kerry and Hagel made the point clear to Pres. Putin and company that America needs its help in dealing with this and the Iranian nuclear issue, as well as to maintain the continuing progress on disarming both the American and Russian nuclear arsenals. However, there's also a message going out to China at the same time.

For China, the message is very simple. America, while not seeking to contain it, wants to get the concept across that China needs to be more proactive about reigning in its small, yet provocative ally, North Korea, if it does not wish to see a larger American military presence in the area. Knowing Chinese aversion to any massive American military build-up in its neighborhood, it's easy to see why China will cooperate with America.

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