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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The UN International Day of Peace. Not A Joke.

Today is the United Nations International Day of Peace.  I wouldn't have known this if it wasn't on my desk calendar.  I find it ironic that my Dilbert calendar, crammed with comedy, notes the UN declared day of peace. 

From the International Day of Peace website:

"The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982.  In 2002 the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.   By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged all of mankind to work in cooperation for this goal."

Does the United Nations really know what peace is and how to achieve it?  Their record suggests otherwise.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has said the UN is hobbled "by bad management, by sex and corruption" and a lack of confidence in its ability to carry out missions.  An organization with such leadership will, on occasion, luck it's way into success.  But, the failures are massive and the decades-long list of those failures leave a path of death and destruction whenever this body of 'peace' gets involved. 

A few examples...

Rwanda - The United Nations admitted failure in preventing genocide in the 1994 massacre, which left over 800,000 dead.

Darfur - The United Nations debated endlessly over the wording of a resolution to stop the genocide.  Meanwhile, thousands died, being slaughtered by contracted Arab militiamen, with the direct or implied approval of the government of Sudan.

The Congo - The United Nations forces were supposed to keep the peace, but instead, they were accused of rape on a massive scale and of worsening the violence. 

East Timor - Military forces under the political direction of General Suharto's New Order regime entered East Timor in December 1975. In the weeks and months immediately after that invasion, the UN Security Council and later the General Assembly called for the withdrawal of Indonesian military forces. When the Indonesian military finally withdrew 24 years later, much of East Timor had been destroyed, 200,000 East Timorese had been killed and more than 100,000 had been displaced.

Serbia - Secretary General Kofi Annan laid out in a self-critical report the tragic story of how the United Nations allowed the Bosnian Muslim ''safe area'' of Srebrenica to be overrun in July 1995 by Bosnian Serbs, who then systematically killed thousands of the town's men and boys.

The United Nations has become an organization riddled with waste, fraud and abuse.  Most people are unaware of the outrageous expenditures for some of the UN peacekeeping operations.  Dale Van Atta of Reader's Digest has summarized a few.

Andrew Thomson, Kenneth Cain and Heidi Postlewait, all former UN staffers, have a book titled "Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures", in which they chronicle their early enthusiasm for "changing the world" and their eventual cynicism after witnessing the chaos brought by the UN.

The three have told of a wild contingent of Bulgarian peacekeepers in Cambodia in 1993.  The UN was there to help organize elections.  The Bulgarians, allegedly recruited from prisons and mental hospitals to fill the UN quota, were "A battalion of criminal lunatics arrive in a lawless land," Cain observes in their book. "They're drunk as sailors, rape vulnerable Cambodian women and crash their UN Land Cruisers with remarkable frequency."

Perhaps the title of my post is just wrong.  The UN declared Day of Peace is a joke.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oklahoma and Sharia Law

Last week the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver began hearing arguments on the Oklahoma voter-approved law that prohibits state courts and judges from considering international law or Sharia law when deciding cases. 

Voters overwhelmingly approved State Question 755 in November 2010 with 70 percent voting for passage.

The law states that "Oklahoma courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures.  Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law.  The provisions of this subsection shall apply to all cases before the respective courts including, but not limited to, cases of first impression."

Muneer Awad, the executive director of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations, had filed the lawsuit challenging the constitutional amendment.  Awad says in his lawsuit that the measure transforms Oklahoma's constitution into a condemnation of Islam by singling it out.

Naturally, the American Civil Liberties Union is backing the lawsuit.  Daniel Mach, the director of the ACLU's Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, said, "The government should never play favorites with religions, and the 'Save Our State Amendment' does just that.  It effectively enshrines anti-Muslim bias into the Oklahoma Constitution."

According to the ACLU's webpage on the lawsuit, the attorney representing Oklahoma in the court proceedings "repeatedly sought to rewrite the amendment, arguing that it somehow doesn't mean what it says.  The amendment, Oklahoma argued to the three-judge appellate panel, doesn't target a particular religion, but instead mentions Sharia only by way of clarification or illustration."

If that description of Oklahoma's argument to the court is accurate, I'm not optimistic about the outcome of these proceedings.   With the panel of judges in this case including one George W. Bush appointee, a Carter appointee and an Obama appointee, I will be very surprised if the plaintiff does not prevail.

The measure as passed by Oklahoma voters was one of the first actions at the state level to focus on Sharia Law and attempt to prohibit its consideration in state court cases.  I've read that more than twenty other states are considering similar measures and are likely watching this case closely.

Legal experts say the measure is unnecessary and that courts only consider international law when deciding issues involving a federal treaty, a business contract or a will that incorporates international law.

If it's unnecessary then why is CAIR working so hard to block it?

Friday, September 9, 2011

NBC News Twitter Feed Hacked

The Twitter feed for NBC news was hacked a short while ago and the hacker then sent fake messages about a hijacked plane crashing at Ground Zero. 

Choose better passwords people!  Something besides "weloveobama".

Update 9/10/11 - NBC News has released a statement condeming the act as "reckless and irresponsible".  They should add that apology to the end of all their news releases.

California Stupidity

Today being the 161st anniversary of California's admittance to the Union, I thought it would be a good time to see how things are going on the left coast.  Not very well, it appears.

California has recently made the news for a bill expected to become law that would require parents to  provide workers' compensation benefits, rest and meal breaks and paid vacation time for…babysitters!

Under AB 889, household “employers” (aka “parents”) who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers' compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck.

This is just one item on a long list of California stupidity I read recently:

#1 For seven years in a row, a major survey of U.S. CEOs has ranked California as the worst state for business. Yet California lawmakers continue to pile on the rules, regulations and taxes.

#2 Businesses are fleeing the state in droves and the leadership of the state doesn't seem to care too much. Unemployment in many areas of California is over 20% and the state has lost 1.2 million jobs over the last three years. The number of people unemployed in the state of California is approximately equal to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined. Last year, only about 37 percent of the population of the entire state of California had a job.

#3 Residents of California get absolutely hammered by taxes. The state of California currently has the third highest state income tax in the nation: a 9.3% tax bracket at $46,766 and a 10.3% tax bracket at $1,000,000. California also has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation by far at 8.25%. Indiana has the next highest at 7%. In addition, residents of California pay the highest gasoline taxes (over 67 cents per gallon) in the United States.

#4 The politicians in Sacramento love to pass more laws. At this point, just about everything is illegal in California. The number of new laws is absolutely mind blowing. For example, 725 new laws (most of them either completely pointless or completely stupid) went into effect in the state of California on January 1st alone.

#5 Thanks to endless taxes and fees, people that live in California seem to pay more for just about everything. For example, residents of California pay some of the highest electricity prices in the entire nation.

#6 As businesses flee and the economy decays, many California towns are being transformed into hellholes. The following is an excerpt from a recent New York Times article that describes what is going on in Vallejo, California....

Vallejo is still in bankruptcy. The police force has shrunk from 153 officers to 92. Calls for any but the most serious crimes go unanswered. Residents who complain about prostitutes or vandals are told to fill out a form. Three of the city’s firehouses were closed. Last summer, a fire ravaged a house in one of the city’s better neighborhoods; one of the firetrucks came from another town, 15 miles away. Is this America’s future?

#7 California has some of the worst public schools in the nation. In the late 70s, California was number one in per-pupil spending on education, but now the state has fallen to 48th place. Instead of focusing on the basics, lawmakers keep passing bills requiring even more hardcore "politically correct" indoctrination of California's young children. In one school district in California, children as young as five years old are being forced to watch propaganda films that tout the benefits of "alternative lifestyles", and parents are being told that no "opting out" will be permitted.

#8 As bad as things are now, the future looks even worse for California. The problems are obvious but nobody seems to want to fix them. Forbes recently compiled a list entitled "Cities Where The Economy May Get Worse". Six of the top seven spots were held by cities in California.

#9 The state of California is now dealing with millions upon millions of people that have developed an "entitlement mentality". Incredibly, 60 percent of all students attending California public schools now qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.

#10 Huge numbers of poor people and illegal aliens are taking advantage of "free" medical care at hospital emergency rooms and this has caused dozens of hospitals across the state of California to completely shut down. As a result, the state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

If you're not already disgusted enough, reasons #11 through #20 can be found here.

Big Macs For Food Stamp Recipients

Oklahoma City's News 9 has an article detailing the push by Yum! Brands to have the use of food stamps be allowed at fast food locations.  Yum! Brands operates Taco Bell, KFC, Long John Silver’s and Pizza Hut.

After years of various government entities berating the fast food industry for making everyone fat, this is an odd turn of events. 

CNS News has an excellent article about a report from the Institute for Medicine on strategies for local governments to combat childhood obesity by restricting fast food establishments near schools and public playgrounds. 

And yet some states already allow the use of tax dollars to purchase fast food for children.  ABC News has a list of those:

Michigan
Church’s Chicken
Kentucky Fried Chicken
McDonald’s
Subway
Grandma’s Famous Chicken
Eight Mile Pancake House
Mr. T’s BBQ
Vito’s Pizza

California
Jack in the Box
Subway
El Pollo Loco
Papa Murphy’s Pizza

Florida
KFC
Taco Bell
Pizza Hut
Papa Murphy’s Pizza

Arizona
Domino’s Pizza
Golden Corral
Southern Cuisine
Rally’s Hamburger

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Real Lynching Party

Last week a video of Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus Job Tour made the rounds of the Internet. In this video Carson claimed the Tea Party was preventing African Americans from making progress toward equality with whites.  He said "This is the effort that we are seeing of Jim Crow.  Some of these folks in Congress right now would love to see us as second class citizens.  Some of them in Congress right now with this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me...hanging on a tree."

Let's just take a look at the historical record and see who was hanging who from trees, who was trying to get it stopped, and who was thwarting that effort. 

The Tuskegee University has recorded 3,446 blacks and 1,297 whites lynched between 1881 and 1968.

After the Civil War, there was a period of heavy violence in the South.  White Democrats attacked blacks and white Republicans.  Military historian Stephen Budiansky's book The Bloody Shirt details the violence and the guerrilla war waged by Southerners desperate to assert white supremacy.  Southern newspapers waged war on Republican Party officials.  'Upstanding' citizens aided the Ku Klux Klan and other insurgents who burned black schoolhouses, incited riots, assassinated public officials and beat and whipped blacks who tried to take part in civil society. It was a period of partisan political violence.

After this period, from the 1870's on, violence in the South continued.  In Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida, the Democratic Party relied on groups such as the White Camelia to terrorize, intimidate and murder blacks and white Republicans in an effort to regain power.  The campaign worked and Democrats were swept into power in the state legislatures.  White Democrats then passed laws making voter registration more complicated; a move to further exclude black voters from the polls.

In Mississippi, Democrats passed the Mississippi Plan to control the 1876 election and used armed militias to murder political leaders, hunt down community members, and to intimidate and turn away voters, successfully suppressing black suffrage and civil rights. 

More than 85 percent of the post Civil War period lynchings occurred in the South.  After the creation of the Jim Crow laws in the 1890's terror and lynching were used to enforce these laws and a variety of unwritten rules meant to control blacks and assert white domination.

In a 2008 New York Times column, Bob Herbert tells of one southern Democrat, Benjamin Tillman, who had prominent positions in South Carolina.

"They still honor Benjamin Tillman down here, which is very much like honoring a malignant tumor. A statue of Tillman, who was known as Pitchfork Ben, is on prominent display outside the statehouse.

Tillman served as governor and U.S. senator in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A mortal enemy of black people, he bragged that he and his followers had disenfranchised “as many as we could,” and he publicly defended the murder of blacks.

In a speech on the Senate floor, he declared: “We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him.”

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People organized support from white and black Americans and ran a national campaign to get a federal anti-lynching law passed. In 1920 the Republican Party promised at its national convention to support an anti-lynching law. Rep. Leonidas Dyer, a Missouri Republican, sponsored an anti-lynching bill in 1921 and it was passed in the US House of Representatives in January 1922. A Senate filibuster by Southern white Democrats defeated the bill in December 1922. With the NAACP's help, Rep. Dyer spoke across the country in support of his bill in 1923, but the Southern Democrats filibustered it again.

From 1882 to 1968 nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress and three passed the House. Seven presidents between 1880 and 1952 petitioned Congress to pass a federal anti-lynching law. No bill was approved by the Senate because of the strong opposition from the Southern Democrats.

In 1934 Senators Robert Wagner and Edward Costigan drafted the Wagner-Costigan bill to require local authorities to protect prisoners from lynch mobs.  Like Dyer's bill, it made lynching a Federal crime.  Virtually all Southern Democrat senators blocked the Wagner-Costigan bill by using a filibuster to prevent a vote on the bill.

There are many other examples that could be given to show that the white Southern Democrats were the driving force behind lynching and disenfranchisement of blacks.  The Civil War may have ended in 1865 but the war against Republicans and blacks continued, even intensified in guerrilla fashion.  Whenever an effort was made to put a stop to the lynching, that effort was always thwarted by white Southern Democrats.

Rep. Carson says the Tea Party would love to see "you and me" hanging on a tree.  Saying that at the Congressional Black Caucus Job Tour leaves no doubt he was meaning other black people.

Carson is either completely ignorant of his own party's history or he decided long ago to sell himself and black people out to the party of lynching.  The party of the Ku Klux Klan.  The party of Jim Crow.  The party of Bull Connor.  The party of segregation.

So why are Carson and other African Americans in the Democratic Party?  This poster I found on the Internet might be supplying the answer.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Egyptian Blogger May Die In Jail

It seems like every other person I know has a blog of some type.  Some political, some about food, some about travel, and even one about comic books.  I believe a lot of people take for granted the freedom we have in this country to put our thoughts and opinions out there for all the world to see.  Not everyone does, as a man in Egypt has learned. 

An Egyptian military court convicted Maikel Nabil Sanad in April on charges of insulting the armed forces, prompting US lawmakers to send a letter to the military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, demanding his release.

Sanad's trial was the first of a blogger since the military took charge of the country in February following president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow by a nationwide uprising.

Mr. Sanad was sentenced to three years in prison in April. He had been arrested by the Egyptian Military Council in March and charged with "insulting the military establishment" and "spreading false information" because of a blog entry titled "The Army and People were never one hand".

In the March 8 blog entry that resulted in Maikel's imprisonment, he wrote extensively about the military council being a "repressive institution" and its hypocritical message of peace delivered to the people to garner their support.

"Their actions contradict their words all the time. The army warble us, by a sweet-talk method," he wrote, adding that the military council had become the country's biggest enemy, becoming more frightening than Hosni Mubarak, the country's former president, now on trial on charges of corruption and murdering protesters.

Maikel said that army was implicit in the torture and sexual harassment of hundreds of activists, including himself.

Sanad began a hunger strike on August 23 and stopped drinking water August 30.

Sanad's blog can be found here and it appears the March 8 entry has been removed:  http://www.maikelnabil.com/2007/12/welcome.html

Read more from The National:  http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east/fears-for-egyptian-blogger-on-hunger-strike-in-jail