Monthly Archives: January 2008

Bush Returns National Guard To Control Of Governors

President Bush signed http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/01/gns_guardcontrol_080130/n which was pushed through by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont that repealed a controversial law which made easier for the White House to take control over America’s National Guard. The Bush administration even used National Guard units to patrol the border with Mexico as well as employing them in the ongoing war in Iraq. The nation’s governors had complained that the Insurrection Act, passed as part of the 2006 defense bill hurt the ability of states to use the National Guard in responding to state disasters.

The bill also increases the clout of the National Guard in the Pentagon when decisions are made about the guard’s mission and staffing. Thge change elevates the chief of the National guard from the rank of Lieutenant General to the rank of General and makes that person the main adviser on guard maters to the defense secretary. It will allow leaders of the National Guard to have a more vital voice in matters impacting its members.

Edwards Drops Out–Who Can Catch His Followers?

John Edwads dropped out of the Democratic contest for the nomination as candidate for the presidency but left in his wake uncertainty as to who would capture the voters he was attracting. His departure places new pressure on Clinton and Obama to address his issues of poverty and concern for the underclass of America. Edwards refused to indicate who was his choice for the presidency, but undoubtedly his exit requires Clinton and Obama to come up with ideas that would capture the support of those who were voting for the fromer senator.

Barack Obama continues making a connection to the legacy of John F. Kennedy, a figure who is in the minds of Baby Boomers. However, Obama fails to realize for the elderly of this nation, the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman is much more significant than the brief interlude when Kennedy was president. Edwards understood union people connect with New Deal legislation which finally gave freedom for unions to organize workers against the power of corporate interests. Edwards knows how to speak with a working man who dislikes the “guys in the suits,” a different conception than what Obama argues when he calls for people to come together. It is the men in suits who wield power over the lives of working people and John Edwards knew how to arouse that feeling. If Obama wants that group, he will have to change his words and program.

Hillary Clinton is gaining the support of the elderly and union members. Obama is most probably gaining the support of youngrer Democrats and Baby Boomers. Unfortunately for Obama, a higher percent of the elderly and union people vote in primaries and that is why Clinton won in Florida. Will Obama be able to address those people and their needs? If he does not, he will not gain the nomination.

Suge II Proposed For Afghanistan By Think Tank

The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, is urging adaptation of the surge notion as a remedy for dealing with problems in Afghanistan. Resident scholar Fred Kagan said the AEI study was not initiated by the Bush administration even though the think tank has close working relations with many Republican leadeers. The AEI group is concerned about continuing Taliban growth in power and control over many areas in Afghanistan. Among recommendations of the group were:
* Deploy an extra brigade into Khandahar and a Marine batalion into Helmand.
* Deploy an extra 3,000 Marines into Afghanistan.
* Accelerate development of an Afghan armed force.
* Construct more forward bases.

The Planning Group also had recommendations for Pakistan:

* Threaten the Pakistanis with unilateral strikes into Pakistani territory unless more effective action is taken against militants.
* Make US aid dependent upon changes in Pakistan’s military strategy.

Bush oriented policy groups have a wonderful way of recommending invading nations or conducting air strikes into an ally’s territory without any fear such action might upset your ally. They have an unbiding belief the United States can attack whomever it desires and that other nations must accept American advice or else. It is planning done by the AEI and other such groups that got America bogged down in Iraq fighting a war about non-existent WMd.

US Tries Selling Radar Station To Dubious Czechs

After two days of robustly selling the virtues of having a radar station on Czech Republic soil, Geneal Henry Obering, head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, still had failed to completely obtain support from Czech officials. He insisted myths the missile system was not an effective protective device were downgraded by the American military leader. General Obering raised the fear of Iran by warning “I believe that the day is coming for Europe with respect to threats from Iran specifically.” However, his fearmongering failed to persuade the Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia(KSCM) that a real threat existed and it could be met by the American missile defense system. Hassa Charfo of KSCM commented the government is “trying to find any reason to avoid a vote by the people” and there is fear if the radar is placed on Czech soil, “we will be targets.”

During his talk, Obering raised the bloody flag of 9/11 to stir fear but many were not convinced that Iran was a possible sources of terror. The recent report by a Bush intelligence outfit insists that Iran is not engaged in development of nuclea weapons, but Obering continues hammering away at the fear ploy.

Key Kenya Issues Outlined By Kofi Annan

Former UN chief, Kofi Annan, listed four key issues that were central to restoring peace in Kenya. First, is an immediate halt to violence and the restoration of fundamental rights and liberties. Second, is promotion of reconciliation between tribes presently engaged in brutal action against one another. Third, resolve the current political crisis that began when President Kibai literally stole the election. Fourth, investigation of long term issues that will prevent future outbreaks of such virulent hatred between tribal groups in Kenya. Annan titled his proposals: “Suggested Agenda for the National Dialogue on the Resolution of the Political Crisis in Kenya.” ODM leader, Raila Odinga asked for the word “mediation” to be substituted for “dialogue.” It is expected that Annan would chair mediation procedures but will be assisted by other leading African figures like the former president of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa and by Ms. Graca Machel.

President Kibaki is currently attending a meeting of the African Union and apparently acted as though there were no problems in his nation. Fortunately, the South African delegation insisted on discussing the current situation. Kibaki insists there are some internal problems but they will be resolved. Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula told AU delegates, “We can handle the situation and have enough internal capacities to solve the problem. There is no need for external support.”

President Kibaki fears outside support because it will make public his efforts to subvert a free election by doctoring vote counts. No wonder, he wants to “handle the situation.”

Musharraf “Foreign Hand” Ploy

An editorial in the Lahore Daily Times criticised the Musharraf government for explaining away problems by casting blame on a “foreign hand” as being behind those forces causing problems. It quoted federal interior secretary, Syed Kamal Shah, as asserting the government had “cedible evidence” that “hostile foreign intelligence agencies” were fanning terrorism in Pakistan. Although no names were mentioned, it is assumed the foreign sources are from India. “We can recall the number of times the government and its senior bureuacrats have relied on it to explain acts of terrorism in the past.”

Musharraf is continually blaming America or Great Britain or India for his own failures. The Taliban was created by Pakistan’s ISI and tribal unrest in northwest regions is the result of local groups expressing anger toward the government. Musharraf, not foreign hands, instituted a state of emergency, it was Musharraf, not outsiders, who sacked members of the Supreme Court who opposed his dictatorial rule. During his current trip to Great Britain, the president has boasted that he cracks down on terrorism while all the British do is talk, but never take action. Perhaps, Musharraf has not lately gazed on the situation in the northwest where there is open rebellion. Its not me, its them is his ongoing explanation.

Iran Supports Hamas And Anti-Israel Activities

A senior member of Hamas, Abu Marzouk, chair of its political bureau, told a Tehran-based Arabic langauge newspaper, al-Wafaq, that Iran is a major supporter of his organization as well as aiding other groups that are fighting against Israel. He expressed the appreciation of Hamas for assistance received and emphasized Israel was not interested in establishing relations with Muslim nations but its only goal is “to deceive them.” He claimed the fighting in Gaza over the past week has resulted in at least 50 Palestinian “youth” killed and 80 wounded. Doctors at al-Shifta Hospital in Gaza City claimed that all 50 women, children, and youth admitted to the hopsital on January 16 had lost limbs.

One can argue against Israel’s actions in Gaza on severa levels ranging from human rights to practicality, but when Hamas makes outrageous claims that all 50 patients “lost limbs” it is indicative of what is wrong with that organization. Hamas believes exaggeration and denial of reality is the best means to aid the people of Gaza. The refusal of Hamas to take action to halt rocket attacks only hurts Gazans. The people of Gaza need access to markets for their goods, they need the right to seek work in Israel, but they don’t need wild claims and support for activities that threaten the lives of Gazans.

Headscarf War Rages In Turkish Universities

The first official objection to allowing the use of the headscarf in state universities came from the Inonu University Senate, which forsees tension and conflict between students with different religious and political beliefs. University Rector, Fatih Himioglu, warned, “Permitting the headscarf will spark a regime crisis in Turkey. It will propgte down quickly to high schools and elementary schools.” The university Senate stated its objections: “Constitutional Court Decisions are binding on the legislative just like any other institution, and no amendment can run counter to the Constitution’s unalterable clauses.” Article 4 of the Constitutin forbidss changing or proposing a change in the first three articles. Article 2 states that Turkey is a secular republic. It is clear that the drive to open the path for the use of the headscarf in universities is meant as a tentative m oe toward changing the nature of th regime, read the statement.

It is clear university faculty regards the headscarf as an opening wedge to throttle free speech and behavior in higher education institutions. There is also fear once the headscarf is allowed in universities, the idea will spread to high school and the elementary grades where it is much more difficult for girls to resist demands to wear one. There is need for the Justice and Development Party to clarify its long term goals regarding use of the headscarf in education. Is it an opening wedge?

Four Foreign Views On Florida Primary

Following are four views from foreign newspapers regarding the Republican primary in the state of Florida:

Great Britain, The Independent:
“Humiiated Giuliani Set To Endorse McCain”
“Rudy Giuliani, whose dreams of becoming the American president were abruptly breached in the Republican primary in Florida last night will today signal his intention to bow out of the nomination contest and transfer his support to the winner, Senator John McCain.”

Canada, Toronto Star:
“McCain Pulls Away From Pack”
“Arizona Senator John McCain has emerged as the front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, winning yesterday’s crucial Floriday primary and expecting an endorsement today from the vanquished former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani.”

Germany, Der Spiegel:
“John McCain Trumps Romney, Giuliani In Florida”
“The Republican field has been looking more like a scrum than a campaign. With John McCain winning the primary in Florida on tuesday though, the race is now a two-man spring to next week’s Super Tuesday and Big Mac looks to have the advantage.”

Australia, Sydney Morning Herald:
“Ascendant McCain Leaves Rivals Trailing”
“JOHN MCCAIN has become the frontrunner in a Republican nominee race that could be decided as soon as next week. Senator McCain cemented his claim with a hard-fought win over M itt Romney in th e Florida primary on Tuesday.”

John Edwards Bows Out Of Presidential Race

Senator John Edwards will announce today his decision to exit the presidential nomination process and, most probably for the moment, end his political career. He endeavored to inject concern during the nomination process in issues related to the needs of poor people, but apparently his message was not strong enough to be heard by the American people. His announcement will be made in New Orleans where his original intention was to make a speech about poverty.

It is quite clear to John Edwards after failing to make a strong showing in South Carolina and now doing poorly in Florida that his chance to obtain the Democratic Party nomination for president is not merely a long shot, it is an impossible dream. He bows out with his head held high and in knowledge he, among all candidates, attempted to focus on the needs and aspirations of poor people. In this day and age, the underclass of America is not in the minds and hearts of people. The only remaining question is whether or not Edwards will endore Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.