Monthly Archives: November 2007

Mission Impossible For Mission Accomplished Man!

Today marks the beginning of the Annapolis conference which supposedly will deal with issues related to resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. After seven years of doing very little about this issue, President Bush is now claiming a great interest in resolving a complex problem. His failure to push hard on the Israel government in order to obtain an agreement regarding establishing key issues on the agenda or to clarify a timetable to attain goals has placed a damper on the meeting. The Saudi foreign minister has already indicated he won’t even shake the hands of Israel representatives. Part of the problem in accomplishing anything is the president’s lack of knowledge regarding historical developments in the region or understanding the desires and needs of Palestinian leaders. According to Flynt Everett, who was a key advisor to Condi Rice, he was at a 2002 meeting at which Bush stated that once Palestine had a democratic government its leaders would cease making a fuss about borders or its desire for control of east Jerusalem.

The reality of this conference is the inability of President Abbas to make broad decisions since Hamas controls Gaza and the lack of political leverage for Prime Minister Olmert who confronts hostile groups in West Bank settlers and religious leaders. The prospect is a more likely wonderful time for photographs of smiling people, but it is doubtful if Bush will proclaim “Mission Accomplished” after this conference.

Japan’s Schools Falling Behind The Modern World

In the world of globalization, businessmen must compete with their rivals on a world scale, and this attitude has even spread to universities in the United States and the European Union. However, Japan’s schools, particularly their universities, are falling behind and are in need of serious reform. The World University Rankings of major institutions that is issued by The Times Education Supplement only lists three Japanese universities among the world’s top 100. American universities constitute 11 of the top 20 and 33 of the entire 100. The TES rankings are based on the number of foreign teaching staff and students, the faculty-student ration, and citations of works published in academic journals. It is evident Japan’s universities make scant effort to recruit foreign faculty or students and their government places too many restrictions in the way of foreigners obtaining work permits in their nation. The historic Japanese quest to be self sufficient is now endangering the quality of work in Japanese universities.

Pakistan Leader Returns Amidst Confusing Rumors

Nawaz Sharif, the exiled Pakistan political leader, returned from his exile in Saudi Arabia where he has been living since forced to leave the nation in 2001. On his arrival, he discovered police had detained over 1,000 of his supporters on grounds they were merely trying to prevent problems from arising. Sharif has been telling the press that he intended to have his political party boycott the upcoming January elections due to the dictatorial behavior of President Musharraf who has declared martial law. During the past few years, Sharif has been living very comfortably in Saudi Arabia and rumors indicate some type of deal was made between Saudi officials and Musharraf. Pakistan is very dependent on Saudi oil as well as financial support, and experts suggest the Saudi government persuaded Sharif to take no part in the January election while making Musharraf allow him to return. Pakistan’s Chief Justice Abdul Hammeed Dogar has already stated Sharif is not able to stand for office since he was a convicted felon.

Musharraf continues his manipulation and refuses to allow a free election. Behind the scene activities such as trying to manipulate the activities of Sharif and, most probably, get him to boycott the election, will assist Musharraf to obtain an “electoral victory” while claiming everything was legal. Is this the best man to represent democracy in Pakistan?

American Muslim Views Differ From European Muslim Views

A recent study by the authoritative Pew Forum discovered Europe’s Muslims tend to be “markedly less well off thatn the general population” while most American Muslims, say “their communities are excellent or good places” to live; About 71% believe they can succeed in the United States by working hard and their income levels and number of college graduates match those of the general population. Sixty-three percent of American Muslims report no conflict between religious devotion and living in a modern society.

An interesting facet of the study is that 53% of US Muslims think life is more difficult since 9/11, but they place fault in the Bush administration rather than neighbors. In fact, 71% say they have never experienced any discrimination and 85% believe suicide bombing is never justified. Unlike poor European Muslims who frequently become alienated, poor American Muslims rarely express alienation with living in the United States. America’s long history of conflict and assimilation with many racial, ethnic, and religious groups m ay account for the feeling among US Muslims they can succeed. American Muslims are more prone to become active in the political world and their economic success leads to participating in significant organizations. The headscarf issue which causes such continual debate in Europe is barely ever discussed in America.

Al-Qaeda Leader Denounces Violence

Sayed Eman,(also known as Dr. Fadl) the man who authored the blueprint for the armed struggle adopted by Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, this week renounced the use of violence and asked his comrades to “put an end to the bloodbath around the world.” Eman;’s Jihad, was among the most feared terrorist groups in Egypt and carried out the massacre
of 58 tourists in 1997. Islamic lawyer, Montasser El Zayat, says “his revisions are the outcome of long years of reflection and debate.” it appears that even among those caught in a terrorist mode of behavior, some are beginning to examine the consequences for the Muslim people of strategies that invariably result in the death of innocent Muslim women, men, and children.

Al-Qaeda, undoubtedly, will reject the ideas of men like Sayed Eman, but at least it offers the Muslim world alternative jurisprudence which regards violence as antithetical to the Muslim religion. Hopefully, others will commence the long road towards creating a liberation strategy that utilizes peaceful alternatives.

Wounded Soldier- Pay Up, Not Our Fault You Got Shot!

A soldier whose wounds in iraq forced him to leave the military early got the shock of his life when he opened the mail and found a letter from the United States Army asking him to repay of portion of his sign-up bonus. Pfc. Jordan Fox was asked to repay $2,800 of his $7,500 enlistment bonus because he did not serve out the entire length of time. The military is now checking to find out if any other wounded soldiers received such an idiotic letter. Jordan was partially blinded in the right eye as a result of a roadside bomb. Perhaps, the military felt since he only got blinded in one eye, he was perfectly fit to fire a weapon with the other good eye.

This is just another example of how so many of those brave young men and women who serve in Iraq have been treated. We have a president who argued against the 3.5% pay increase proposed by Democratic congressmen because it was excessive and he initially opposed increasing funding for the VA until forced by the Democratic Party.

Bipartisan Movement In Congress To Control Declaring War

There is a growing sense among both Republican and Democratic members of Congress that the issue of when and how the United States becomes involved in fighting a war should be under the control of Congress, not merely the Executive. A proposed bill would amend the War Powers Resolution which was enacted during the Vietnam War over a Nixon veto in an effort to restore Congressional control by requiring the president to report any military action to Congress within 48 hours. It also required the president to withdraw forces after 60-90 days unless Congress didn’t explicitly vote an extension. The Constitution clearly places power to declare war in the hands of Congress, but in recent years presidents have simply bypassed that body and deployed troops in war situations. According to Republican Rep. Walter Jones of North carolina, “Throughout American history, the balance too often has been ignored” since Congress has not been allowed to exercise its war making power.

The proposed legislation would prohibit the president from ordering a military actions without congressional approval unless American troops were attacked. This proposal is certainly in the spirit of what our Founding Fathers wanted when they wrote the Constitution. AS Republican congressman, Ron Paul, stated, “we don’t want the debate after the war,”

Drug Use Soars In England As Blair Policy Proves Incompetent!

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair was not only enamored of his beloved American friend, George Bush, but he also actually believed the American FBI knew how to deal with drug problems. Blair created an FBI style the Serious Organized Crime AGency(SOCR) to crush the influx of drugs into Great Britain. Last year approximately 3 tons of drugs were seized compared to over 9 tons in 2004-2005. SOCR has proved to be as much a fiasco as Blair’s policy in supporting the war in Iraq. Drugs are flooding the nation resulting in a dramatic drop in the price of heroin from $140 a gram ten years ago to $90 a gram in 2007. Ironically, the overall drug use in England has probably dropped due to a decrease by young people in using cannabis. Drug experts point out today one can walk the streets of London and get your pick of the drug of your desire. In sections of north London like Camden Town, drug sellers merely wait until the police walk by and then return to openly selling their wares. Most police believe the switch from a local police effort to a centralized national approach has proved to be disastrous.

This writer opposes all drug laws and argues for the government to establish a monopoly on drugs. A combination of controlling all drug use under proper medical supervision and extensive educational programs concerning the harmful effects of drugs will do more to reduce drug use than the current system which only results in crime and enormous financial power given drug lords. America has over 600,000 drug users in jail where they receive an education in becoming a criminal and costs society about $35,000 a year for their imprisonment. Rehabilitation should be the focus of drug programs since drugs cause incredible damage to the physical and mental lives of humans. Drug users need to be medically supervised and provided psychological and counseling assistance as well as access to meaningful work if we desire to win the war against drugs. I hate drugs but also recognize the current approach has only resulted in devastating societies all over the world by giving enormous financial power to sick and violent drug lords.

Domestic Violence Against Women On Rise In China

According to evidence compiled by the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF) there has been a significant rise in the number of complaints filed by women regarding being abused by their spouse. Just in the past year, the number increased by 70% and now is at a level of about 50,000 complaints per years. “This increase indicates that domestic violence is widespread in China and women’s awareness of safeguarding their rights and interests has been improved with reinforced publicity by relevant institutions,” notes the ACWF. As the Chinese government ceases to restrict the publication of such information, more and more women are becoming aware they have a right to file complaints. A major problem undoubtedly stems from the financial inability of women to defend their rights. The number of domestic violent complaints is about 11.6% in rural areas, but that rises to 13.5% once those women move to an urban area. The rise is probably due to greater financial ability of women to file for divorce as well as being able to gain information about the issue.

Putin Police Goons Break Up Democratic Protest In Moscow

Riot police broke up a march against President Vladmir Putin and arrested chess legend Garry Kasparov and several other opposition leaders. The marchers were peaceful and solely intent on presenting a petition questioning the adherence to democratic principles by authorities in the upcoming election when police armed with truncheons moved in on the marchers. The protest group had just come from an authorized meeting and simply wanted to present a petition. Kaspartov commented: “Once more they have demonstrated that the only language they can use with their own people is the language of violence, truncheons, and riot police.” He was then immediately surrounded by police and hustled into a police van.

The attack on Kasparov is simply another in a series of actions against anyone or dares oppose the rule of Putin. Although, opposition to Putin is weak and fragmented, the president appears obsessed with eliminating any semblance of opposition to this rule. In a sense, Putin is living up to his education and training in the KGB.