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Friday, May 10, 2013

Recent step by China against North Korea

Well, ain't this a piece of good news. Then again, it confirms what I've said in my last posting about the situation with North Korea. In this new development, by the New York Times, it turns out the Bank of China, one of its state-owned commercial banks, has cut ties to some North Korean banks (essentially refusing to lend them any more money). The reason for saying that this is a positive step and is a real step in showing China's growing frustration is that North Korea has largely been ignoring all kinds of warnings telling it not to continue on with its illegal nuclear weapons program, nor more provocative actions. Only now can we see what steps North Korea will take in response. Maybe in the next week, or several, I think the North Koreans will start launching massive threatening volleys at the Chinese, and perhaps, at the Russians as well, since both seem committed to implementing the newer and heavier sanctions just passed in March.

I selected this post to be featured on my blog’s page at Blog Nation.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Recent news in America and around the World

Where should I start? Well, I guess the best place to begin is with the news in America. Apparently, for once, the Republicans have come up with something as a useful alternative to constant overtime payments by businesses (especially for small business). I'll wait to cast some judgment until I know the details, but it doesn't seem like a far-fetched idea to give paid time off, instead of overtime, but still it should be known that overtime is still a necessity in the private sector until it becomes more unionized. Anyway, there's that and Republicans looking for other ways to show that they're in fact reasonable problem-solvers. This is only a ruse in my eyes, but I'll go along with it for the time being.

My main concern, is not the Republicans at the moment. It's actually events abroad and here in the Bay Area. Let's start locally first. Over the weekend, there was apparently a bad fire that killed 5 people going to a bachellorette party in a limo. Well, as tragic as it is, I think there needs to be more details as to what happened.

As for events abroad, well let's take what's going on with the situations in both the Mideast and North Korea. The Mideast is no surprise in my eyes, as Iran's doing everything to distract world attention away from its ilicit nuclear program (I say this in the sense that Iran's senior governing officials still refuse to make the mandatory disclosures to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is the international watchdog for all national atomic programs as per the Non-Proliferation Treaty). Additionally, it feels that its chief ally in Syria (Bashar al-Assad) needs a distraction from the rebellion back home; and what better way than to build up tensions with Assad's neighbor, Israel? Well, that's fairly self-explanatory.

As for North Korea, apparently there was a father-son duo charged with conspiring to illegally sell the Kim regime components to further help them construct their illegal nuclear weapons program, even doing so through the nose of America's sanctions. Well, let's see how else this plays out, because this is very serious. My major concern with North Korea, is that it won't be long until Kim Jong Un decides to unleash the 1,000,000 man Korean People's Army against South Korea, as well launch a nuclear strike against it. This is because Kim feels he has less to lose by picking a fight with the numerically weaker Military forces in the South, than by picking a fight with America, who could easily bring to bear both Russia and China in this sense. I know off-hand that both the Russians and the Chinese will join the Americans in defending the South Koreans and Japanese in this scenario, because of the fact that both the Russian and Chinese leaderships' patience with the North has worn exceedingly thin, and both, I'm quite sure, have warned the Kim regime that more provocative behavior will result in more dire consequences as well as making it harder for them to justify their continued resistance to additional action in the United Nations.

In addition, both America and Russia have a long standing partnership in counter-proliferation, and both see the North Korean nuclear program as a massive destabilizing factor in East Asia. Additionally, China's come to see that the Kim regime does not provide a good enough buffer to deter any American military presence. I think America's Foreign Secretary, John Kerry, made this quite clear to the Chinese leadership, in saying that unless they do more to reign in their ally's provocative actions and threats of pre-emptive nuclear war, they can expect to see a much larger American military presence in the region, and a much more aggressive stance to defend itself.

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.

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