Thursday, March 31, 2005

Michael Howard: UK's version of Rudy Guliani

Fire of Liberty

Michael Howard, the Tories PM candidate, is really showing his understanding of the English people's concern with crime. It's a real shame that the UK taxpayers have endured such lawlessness during Labour's eight year reign. I guess when you lock up people for some 6 months for blowing air guns at hooligans and drunk drivers who kills a children some 2 months you get this. Just look at what this article and see what Howard had to say:
Speaking at a London news conference, Howard accused Prime Minister Tony Blair of "losing the plot" on crime and allowing "yob culture" to thrive.

"I don't want members of the public looking over their shoulders; I want the yobs looking around in fear.

"Let there be no misunderstanding," he said. "I want to make yobs fear the police.

"Decent, hard-working families are regularly intimidated by yobs on their streets and in their town centers," Howard said.

"It makes me sick that people have to put up with this kind of nonsense. In today's Britain no one seems prepared to take a stand -- to hold these arrogant young yobs to account for their appalling behavior."

My best advice is for Howard and his party to keep it up. It's now time for Blair and Labour to explain why this crime is a problem. Its reminiscent of Mrs. Thatcher and the GOP in 1994.

Zimbabwe: Who Will Win?

Fire of Liberty

While Mugabe has a hold on Zimbabwe on paper, we could discover that the people might beg to differ. From from reading Xan Rice's recent article in The Times, It seems that the Zimbabwean people are ready for change. Just read this and see for yourself:
At Gweru I left the main road for Somabhula, a tiny rural village in a constituency that fell to the MDC in 2000. A woman carrying a pile of firewood on her head walked along dirt road. She spoke little English but showed with her finger that she had voted. “MDC,” she said.

Lovemore Ndlovu, 47, a railway worker, was riding his bicycle away from the primary school after casting his vote. “We are suffering in this country,” he said. “Fuel and food are scarce.” But yesterday his spirits were high. “I’m so happy. The MDC is going to win.”

Cutting back across the main road I made for Insiza, a Zanu (PF) seat in the southwest of the country. As the rain poured down the dirt road became nearly impassable. But George Sibanda, wearing a leather hat and blue overall, seemed unaffected, riding his old black bi- cycle slowly along the track. He had just voted at the Ensango Resettlement School. “Zanu (PF)?” I asked, hoping for my first hit. “Ah, no,” said Mr Sibanda, 69, firmly. “MDC.”
Sounds good to me, just hope such massive support shows up in the results. Also read here and here for more on Zimbabwe under Mugabe.

Pope John Paul: A Great Ambassador of God

Fire of Liberty
St. John's Parish

My prayers go out to the ailing Pontiff as he battles his various illnesses. While I have many historic figures that I deeply admire, Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher are the top three people that have had a great impact on my life. I guess the main reason I like these three people is that they posses strong wills and are completely devoted to their ideals and principles no matter how great the odds may be. I hope the Pope fights through for many years to come and continues his demonstration of faith. One thing that the Pope, Reagan, and Thatcher all share is their bouts with diseases and ailments that destroy their once charismatic and vocal abilities. Whether it was President Reagan's bout with Alzheimers (which he fought for some 10 years), Baroness T's bout with strokes and the Pontiff's bout with Parkinson's have either robed them if their powerful voices and limited their activities but they continue to live life to the fullest thus demonstrating how precious life really is. You just have to be proud of such devotion to life, I just wish more people were more like these great individuals. So lets take a minute to say our prayers for this magnificent man and reflect on his magnificent works.

Here's a piece by Marc A. Thiessen over @ National Review Online on Pope John Paul II and the great lesson that he continues to teach us each and every day.

P.S. Thanks to St. John the Evangelist Roman Cathloc Church for the photo.

German Chancellor Schroder: No Steel in his Spine

Fire of Liberty

It seems Germany' Chancellor Gerhard Schroder is insistent that the EU lifts the arms-embargo on China. I guess Herr Schoder is still playing his "To hell with human rights, show me the money" game. What's even more troubling is the fact that Schroder's own political party and his coalition partners are also against lifting the arms-embargo while the Chancellor insists his decision over-rules the parliament. Why is it with Schroder and his willingness to deal with dictatorships like Iraq's and authoritarian regimes like China and their outright disgust of free nations like the US and Taiwan. I guess Schroder has some economic interest, I'd have one to if I presided of an economy with an 12.6% un-employment rate like Germany. This is rather sad that a nation with a past like Germany's would make deals with such dangerous states like China.

Wolfowitz: He's the World Bank's New Man

Fire of Liberty

Congrats go out to Secretary Wolfowitz on his unanimous approval to the presidency of the World Bank. I hope he gets into this institution and puts some sanity into the internationalist mad-house (It's a tad bit better than the UN but not that much). I'm looking forward to the breath of fresh air and ideas that Secretary Wolfowitz will bring in. Just think, Wolfowitz could bring with him effective solutions to fighting malaria and HIV/AIDS and pulling the poverty stricken nations out of the muck they've found themselves in (It'll be a Booker T. Washington "Pull yourself up with your boot-straps" approach in the same light of the late Lord P.T. Bauer). Come to think of it, Secretary Wolfowitz's new role as the President of the World Bank will peak my interest to the activities of the World Bank. When a conservative like me becomes interested or even mildly interested in a international institute like the World Bank, you understand my admiration for Secretary Wolfowitz. I bid him a good future and great fortune in his new position.

Happy Trails Kofi

Fire of Liberty

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has a good editorial calling for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to step down from his post after this Oil for Food debacle. In the same vein as the editorial board and most of America, I'm pretty much inclined to agree that Kofi has got to go. There's a great stench coming from Turtle Bay and it's not the river but from the executive offices of the UN. When one of the biggest financial frauds in the World occurs and a considerable amount of Kofi's lieutenants as well as his son Kojo are implicated in this scandal, you'd have to be crazy to deny Kofi's knowledge of what was going on. Just read Claudia Rosett's long list of columns at OpinionJournal and countless articles in magazines like National Review, Commentary and The New Republic, or look and read Senator Norm Coleman's investigations on the scandal, as well as watch the countless hours of the excellent investigative reporting by FOX News' Eric Shaun and Johnathan Hunt and you'll see that Kofi knew more and did more that Paul Volker was allowed to investigate. I do believe Kofi needs to be put to pasture. Though his replacement might be worse, I'm willing to risk the chances.

Zimbabwe: Mugabe's Machine at Work

Fire of Liberty

Voting is underway in Zimbabwe and it seems Ole Mugabe and his followers of Zanu PF are up to their old tricks. Whether it's voter intimidation or the disqualifying of various election observers due to technicalities or other inane foul-ups, the tentacles of Bob Mugabe's tyranny continues to wrap themselves around the people of Zimbabwe. I hope the voters show Mr. Mugabe what they feel about such actions.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Michael Howard: Could he be the next UK PM?

Fire of Liberty

Here's an interesting article in The Financial Times on Michael Howard, the Tory candidate for UK MP, who seems to be showing some great merit in his campaign and statements. It's about time that Howard turned on his Thatcher charm and brought the Tories back to the forefront in the UK politics. Just look at what Howard has to say about the EU and China's arms-embargo:
The Tory leader attacked the prime minister for his “obsession” with the EU, and said lifting the embargo could jeopardise British jobs in the defence industry. He added: “I oppose any moves by the European Union to lift the embargo on arms exports to China. We need the government to make a clear, unambiguous statement on where it stands.”
I'm starting to like Howard, he might finally get the Tories over the hump. After reading this article I'm more enthusiastic about Howard. It seems the Tories are pushing more Thatcherism especially in policies like re-negotiating EU treaties (If a "no" vote squashes the EU constitution) or reducing redtape/regulations. Small government conservatism at it's finest, sounds good to me.

Zimbabwe: The Election is on.

Fire of Liberty

As you are aware, tomorrow is Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections and will determine if Robert Mugabe stays or is put to pasture. From what I've seen so far, Mugabe is fightin' like hell to ensure that the opposition MDC party never takes over. As with most tyrants, "Uncle Bob" is one who will pull out all his chits and push all his buttons to embarrass and diminish the resolve of his opponent in order to continue his 25 year reign. Just look at what an article in The Times has on the octogenarian president's rallies:
At his final campaign rally in Harare today, attended by some 3,000 supporters, Mr Mugabe condemned black people who vote for the resurgent opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), as "traitors".

In comments which have added to concern as tensions rise in the run-up to the election, he described Morgan Tsvangiri, its leader, as a "big-headed man with no brain".

A coalition of human rights groups has warned that despite the unprecedented peace of the campaign, which marks a major shift from the elections five and three years ago when scores were killed and beaten in political violence, vote-rigging and intimidation were still likely to skew the result which is already heavily weighted in Zanu-PF's favour.
Ole Bob Mugabe seems to think this "campaign event" will stave off a deluge of votes to his MDC opponent Morgan Tsvangiri who is on a surging wave of support amongst the people in parts of Zimbabwe. Though the odds are in Mugabe's favor, what, with Zanu PF owning the newspaper, TV and radio as well as a great political machine that loves to use coercion to get the votes, the people of this African nation could give Mugabe a what for. We'll see how everything turns out tomorrow. I'd make a non-monetary wager on MDC winning, just wait and see.

Along with the above article from The Times, Roger Bate has an article over @ Tech Central Station about the sky-rocketing AIDS epidemic that is not just wreaking havoc on Zimbabwe. Though AIDS is an African problem, it seems to be a disaster in epic proportions in Mugabe's tyranny. Just see how bad Zimbabwe has become:
Everything is falling to pieces in Bulawayo and especially the health care system. But while the regional African Presidents see refugees pushing up their burden of malaria and HIV, they shy from breaking ranks with a fellow African leader and refuse to condemn Zimbabwe's patent contempt for democracy. It's time to ask whether aid to the region should be stopped until these spineless leaders decide to act on the only leader Zimbabwe has ever known -- his excellency, comrade President Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's rapidly escalating and politically-induced humanitarian disaster, which has manifested itself in chronic shortages of food, medicine, fuel, electricity and hard cash, has driven over three million Zimbabweans into South Africa, Botswana and other neighboring states. In a chilling echo of what the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia in the 1970s, Didymus Mutasa, Secretary of President Mugabe's Zanu-PF government, said: "We would be better off with only six million people". Prior to the crisis, Zimbabwe's population estimate was 12 million; today 60 to 70 percent of the country's productive population is now living elsewhere. Since the World Food Programme (WFP) was thrown out of the country in December, what food remains is allocated along political lines, leaving over 5 million malnourished: Secretary Mutasa may get his wish.
When a nation starts losing this many people due to the virtual collapse of the Zimbabwean economy and health care system, you generally have a problem with the leadership. I guess when you take all the farms and industry from the original owners and give it to your friends and family who let the fields go fallow and allow machinery to rust up this is what happens. I just feel for the people of Zimbabwe who are dying due to Mugabe's inadequacies.

Also, check out more on Zimbabwe's election here and here.

Wolfowitz: In Europe's Good Graces

Fire of Liberty

The Financial Times is reporting today that Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is on the verge of being approved by the 24 member executive board of the Bank. Things are definitely bright for Secretary Wolfowitz especially when you read things like this:
After a two hour meeting with Mr Wolfowitz, Agnes van Aardenne, the Dutch development minister, said: "We have seen that he is very much committed to the mission of the World Bank as a multilateral institution and this removes a lot of our concerns."
I'm holding my congrats for tomorrow after he's confirmed.

Zimbabwe: There's a small Flame of Liberty Over There

Fire of Liberty

Here's a great commentary on Zimbabwe by Magnus Linklater in today's edition of The Times. He points out that while the people in Zimbabwe have endured countless years of Robert Mugabe's tyranny, there is a considerable amount of courageous voices challenging Mugabe and his Zanu PF party rule. The most outspoken voice is Archbishop Pius Ncube, who has risked life and limb to carry out his campaign to end "Uncle Bob's" rule. Just look at what Linklater wrote about the Archbishop:

When, tomorrow, the voters of Zimbabwe go to the polls, they will do so with the words of Archbishop Ncube ringing in their ears: "Somewhere there shall come a resurrection for Zimbabwe," he told his congregation on Easter Day. He called for a "popular mass uprising" to remove Mr Mugabe from power. "The people have been too soft with this Government," he said. "They should pluck up a bit of courage and stand up against him and chase him away."

I greatly admire such fortitude in souls like Archbishop Ncube. People like him make you realize that we all have a certain calling in life. I just hope the Archbishop and the people of Zimbabwe will get their wish, they truly deserve Mugabe out of their lives. Go MDC!!!

Wolfowitz: A New Hope for Africa

Fire of Liberty

Richard Tren and Roger Bate have a wonderful piece over @ National Review Online on the future of the World Bank's Malaria eradication program. Unlike the current leadership of the World Bank who muddle on and on about how much money they've spent on the solution, Tren and Bank argue that Wolfowitz will garner results by looking at actual solutions to combating AIDS and eliminating Malaria.

China's Increased Presence in Africa

Fire of Liberty

It seems that the Chinese have begun to establish great inroads into the various capitals of Africa. Though the Chinese haven't established military outposts our alliances throughout the continent like the Soviets did in the 1960's to 1980's, they have established substantial relationships with such states. In an effort to establish greater access to the minerals and oil that reside under the ground in the continent, the Chinese have help build various roads in nations like Kenya, Rwanda or increasing trade with various nations throughout the region. What's worrisome about this whole new Chinese adventure is that the PRC (People's Republic of China) has thrown its support behind various regimes that are considered some of the worst tyrannies in Africa. The most obvious example of the communist PRC's dealings with such file regimes is it's newfound relationship with Zimbabwe. Aside from helping to construct Robert Mugabe's exquisite palaces throughout the capital Harare, the Chinese have also turned towards its tyrannical roots through other surreptitious actions. Just look at what The Christian Science Monitor reported:

In addition, China or its businesses have reportedly:

• provided a radio-jamming device for a military base outside the capital, preventing independent stations from balancing state-controlled media during the election campaign;

• begun to deliver 12 fighter jets and 100 trucks to Zimbabwe's Army amid a Western arms embargo; and

• designed President Robert Mugabe's new 25-bedroom mansion, complete with helipad. The cobalt-blue tiles for its swooping roof, which echoes Beijing's Forbidden City, were a Chinese gift.

What the World doesn't need is a large nation like China gaining a great influence in some of the worst autocracies in the African continent. Unlike the US, who demand democratic change for aid or trade deals, the Chinese are more than willing to look the other way and continue to deal with such vile regimes in return for oil or backing in the UN Security Council. I guess the US will have to use its weight to demonstrate to the people that their best interest are with the US and its message of freedom and democracy. It beats continued starvation and tyranny by the government.

India and China: A New Strategic Bond

Fire of Liberty

According to this article in The Financial Times, India and the US are developing stronger diplomatic/military ties which ensure a healthy strategic partnership in this volatile region. With the Chinese Dragon slowly but surely emerging in the region, the US has decided to ensure that it can apply some brakes on Beijing by teaming up with an Anglosphere cousin. Though India and the US have disagreed on various problems since 1948, they're still one thing better than China, which is their both democratic nation-states who know tyranny when they see it. I hope this relationship blossoms into one of the greatest strategic relationships on par with NATO, UK, Japan and Israel. We might have our ups and downs but this relationship has only blue skies before it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Mugabe's Fleecing of Zimbabwe

Fire of Liberty

While the people of Zimbabwe gear up for the March 31, 2005 parliamentary elections they should look around and see their own financial shape, housing conditions and empty bellies and then take a view of the "high-life" that President Mugabe and his sycophant lives before casting their votes. The most extreme example of the tyrannical and inane actions of Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party is his continued fleecing of the Zimbabwean economy to buy elaborate homes and lavish lifestyles that the general Zimbabwean citizen could never fathom. While the people scrape for a living, which can barely afford the small morsels of food available, Mugabe has gone on a massive spending spree building a enormous house which is estimated to have a cost from some $15 million to a high range of $25 million. Just look at what The Times had to say about such a massive project in today's paper:
Since 2000, during which time the Zimbabwean economy has shrunk by 40 per cent, Mr Mugabe is estimated to have spent £8 million pounds on the home, which was built by a construction company from the former Yugoslavia. Inside, there are reported to be double-storey receptions rooms, a ballroom, and hand-carved fittings.

Armed guards patrol the perimeter of the property, which also includes a lake, day and night.

President Mugabe, who has the use of two official residences in Harare and others in Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare, already owns a number of lavish properties.
The only problem with the whole situation is that this home was supposed to be a retirement home for Mugabe but with his tight grip on the nation, he's expected to ensure his reign well into this decade.

Hopefully, the people of Zimbabwe don't have blinders on when they pass by the lavish homes and lifestyles of Mugabe, his higher ups and his best friends. While voter intimidation by Zanu PF is very high throughout the nation, the people still have eyes and empty bellies and the knowledge that the ruling party is living high on the hog while their children and neighbors are fighting the scourge of poverty and hunger. Expect Mugabe's opponents to fare well this Thursday. All I can say is vote MDC and pray for a miracle and a return some sanity to this newfound "heart of darkness."

Monday, March 28, 2005

Zimbabwe: Fist of Tyranny

Fire of Liberty

Here's a Leader from The Times pretty much says it about Robert Mugabe and his goons in Zanu PF. Just look here:
The raised fist of the ruling Zanu (PF), once the symbol of national liberation, now signifies repression, intolerance and a capricious authoritarianism that has ruined the lives of all but an unjustly favoured few. One of Africa’s most developed countries is now its fastest declining economy. With the collapse of commercial agriculture, and the industries that serviced it, four out of five people have no job, hyperinflation has destroyed what savings they had, and hunger afflicts half the nation. Mr Mugabe offers no panaceas, instead harping on anticolonialism in a hysterical “anti-Blair” campaign. This has backfired. People hardly need telling that Mr Mugabe, not Mr Blair, is their President, and that after 25 years in power, their increasingly desperate state is his responsibility.
Poor ole Bob, he had it all and it went to his head. How many more years will Africa endure such tyrannical embarrassments.

North Korea: A dent in the Hermit Kingdom's Armor

Fire of Liberty

The Christian Science Monitor has a startling article on the horrific treatment that various North Korea refugees face if they're ever repatriated to the Hermit Kingdom. Just read what awaits these poor souls in this frozen Korean hell-hole:
North Korean refugees claim that an underground group called Youth League for Freedom shot the tape, which records about 104 minutes over two days.

The camera is held at mid-body and initial images are of a rush of dark winter coats, a thronging crowd, police officers pushing people into line. Some 1,500 persons appear scattered around a rocky ravine. At one point, a white "propaganda truck" pulls up and over a megaphone one hears a charge read out. The accused are described as prostitute traffickers. (Sources insist the executed were helping Koreans escape the North.)

In due course, white posts are hammered into the ground. Then two men are escorted from a tent. Their arms are tied to the post. People stand on top of bicycles to see. A woman is heard to say, "I can't watch this." A police chief's voice calls out, "Aim, fire, fire, fire." Nine shots by three soldiers ring out from behind the prisoners, who instantly fall. An official with a megaphone can be heard saying, "How pathetic is the end of these traitors of the fatherland."
What's even worse is that the South Korean government refuses to accept this as fact let alone allow this to be aired due to a fear of offending the odious regime of the North. It's sad that a beacon of freedom and democracy on the Korean peninsula is all too willing to appease the North Koreans in their idiotic "sunshine policy" in hope of re-unifying the two Koreas. The only problem is that Kim Jong Il will continue such bad behavior as long as the South Koreans continue this inane "sunshine policy" while avoiding an outright confrontation of the North as a tyrannical regime which commits various atrocities against its people. The longer one works with the wicked regime of North Korea, the longer the people of North Korea suffer. Can't we end this sanity and stop beating around the bush on this manner. I think this particular film will be one of many cracks in the regime of Kim Jong Il.

For more on North Korea check here, here, and here.

Cuba: Castro up to old tricks.

Fire of Liberty

While Castro might be recovering from a broken leg/hip he still seems to continue his old tyrannical habits. According to this piece in The Economist, El Hefe continues to deny the Cuban people their God given rights of life and liberty because he's "the boss". Just recently, Castro's minions attacked several women who were protesting Cuba's crackdown on individuals who merely espoused their disapproval of the "bearded one." The Economist put it best when they noted that Cuba will only change when Castro dies. I hope his future is very short, the Cuban people sure deserve it.

North Korea: Executes People who try to flee the Hermit Kingdom

Fire of Liberty

Look at what the The Independent (UK newspaper) has revealed about the great tyranny of the north. One day all this madness will end, the sooner the better.

Afghanistan Poppy Production Down

Fire of Liberty

It seems the Karzai government has found some success in the poppy eradication policy. They just need to introduce more substitute crops that can work in the region. I even heard on cable news this weekend that the US government or several private labs have created a new microscopic fungus that kills all poppy plants and prevents anymore from growing while allowing the ground to be fertile for future alternative crops. Hopefully, they'll have the same results as our friends in Colombia have achieved in their eradication of cocoa plants.

US Courts vs. ICC

Fire of Liberty

Here's another example of how our national sovereignty is being held captive by the Men in Black in our Supreme Court who sit on Mt. Olympus and hand their judgments down. The greatest problem is that these individuals (Justice Kennedy, Ginsburg) need to base their decisions on the US Constitution rather than a persistent reference to International laws and statutes. Until they do so, be aware of what this vaunted body does. Also check out this piece by Sen. Cornyn on the issue over @ NRO.

Zimbabwe: Where have all the Property Rights Laws gone?

Fire of Liberty

Zimbabwe needs reinstatement of land rights and compensation to those robbed. Some white farmers I spoke too still hold on to their original title deeds in the hope that they will be able to reclaim their land. Turning dead capital into something with life will do more than anything else to reverse the disaster that is Zimbabwe. This can not happen with the current government. But Mugabe will die, become too infirm to Govern or be the victim of the coup at some stage; then there is a chance for democratic reform. While political reform is a necessary condition for economic growth, it is not sufficient -- only private property right enforcement adds sufficiency for growth.
This is part of a great article over at Tech Central Station by Roger Bate on the problem that's plaguing Zimbabwe. While starvation and political intimidation are rampant in the African nation they pale in comparison to the denial of one of the greatest rights which are property rights. When you take away these rights, you destroy the soul of farming as well as domestic/foreign investment in the nation of Zimbabwe.

I have to say that Bate is on to something here. Its hard to write otherwise, especially when economist like Hernando De Soto and historians like Richard Pipes have written countless articles a several good books on this particular fact.

Diplomatic Foibles in US Embassy in Pakistan

Fire of Liberty

It seems that Nancy Powell, former US Ambassador to Pakistan from 2002 to 2004, didn't make the hunt for Osama bin Laden as big of an priority as she should have. According to this article in The New York Sun, the Ambassador played the typical role of a diplomat trying not to step on toes in Pakistan by freezing a promotional campaign for the apprehension of bin Laden through the usage of Urdu and Pashto language wanted posters, radio ads as well as matchbooks. Luckily, the new US Ambassador of Pakistan seems to lack the State Department mind-set and is willing to say "damn the torpedoes" and forge ahead.

Iraq: A Corner Turned?

Fire of Liberty

Rowan Scarborough of The Washington Times has a great article today on the change of the tides in Iraq. It seems the people of Iraq are stepping up to the plate against the terrorists of Jordan, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia and taking their country back. I knew that such would happen but couldn't be for sure until individuals like Scarborough started reporting this as fact. I hope the Iraqis show the various doubting Thomas's in the World that they can indeed create a bright and shining democracy

Zimbabwe: The Opposition see's a Bright Future

Fire of Liberty

According to this article in The Financial Times, Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change has an upbeat assessment of its future prospects in the March 31, 2005 election. While the odds are great of the MDC winning, you still have to give it to the party for an rosy outlook. I guess they feel that the people of Zimbabwe have had enough mass starvation, high un-employment, Zanu PF intimidation and Mugabe's dirty tricks to last them a lifetime. I hope the enthusiasm that Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the Movement for Democratic Change has for these election are shared by the voters.

Zimbabwe: Tyranny at its Finest

Fire of Liberty

With the March 31, 2005 Parliamentarian elections in Zimbabwe fast approaching, there has been a considerable amount of articles in the The Times on the upcoming "elections." According to this article in The Times, Tyrant Bob Mugabe and his minion are finding a bevy of excuses for Zimbabwe's decline in agriculture production, gargatuan inflation, unemployment and starvation levels, which is Tony Blair. That's right, Mugabe in the fashion of similar dictators has decided to pull the Wizard of Oz trick of putting a great show and telling the people not to pay any attention to the man behind the curtain. It's very reminiscent of the way the various dictatorships like the Nazi's, Soviets, or even Saddam's Ba'athist regime in Iraq. Such a show seems to be having an affect on the hinterland especially when the forces of Mugabe and his joke of a party Zanu PF control all mechanisms of communication. Just read what The Times wrote about such control:
In rural areas, where more than 60 per cent of people rely on radio for their information, they are fed a daily diet of Zanu (PF) propaganda. Since election coverage began on February 26, Zimbabwe Television Network, the country’s only terrestrial television station, has given 82 per cent of its time to Zanu (PF), and 18 per cent to the MDC, according to Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe. The newspapers are scarcely any better. Under the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, four independent newspapers have been closed since 2003, including the Daily News, which had become the most popular newspaper in the country.
I guess when you seal off a free and open press, that people in the Free World take for granted, you develop a myopic view on life and your surroundings. While the people in the countryside might lack the information on who to blame for their problems, the can see through their own eyes whose more at fault and that's Uncle Bob. They know why they starve and its not Blair and the British but its Mugabe's security forces who guard the food supplies and will only alot them such supplies if they vote for Zanu PF. When it is either a vote for Mugabe or starvation, a considerable lot of people will chose food in their bellies rather worry about who wins. Just look at how bad the starvation has gotten in this article in The Times by Christina Lamb. In fact, the callapse of the food supply and zero to no harvests might ignite a wave of change towards Mugabe. It seems the "hungry, hungry" campaign might catch on and launch a thousand ships to destroy the mighty Battleship Mugabe in the upcoming election. (We'll see if it happens, Mugabe might have a greater grasp on Zimbabwe.)

Also see these articles on Zimbabwe here and here. I wish the opposition and the people of Zimbabwe good fortune and hope they can throw Mugabe to the curb a end his 25 year tyranny.

China Arms-Embargo

Fire of Liberty

Timothy Garton Ash had a thought provoking commentary on the Chinese arms-embargo in the March 24, 2005 issue of The Guardian. While I'm no great fan of Mr. Ash's politics or his pro-EU stance, he still writes one mean commentary. Ash notes that with incidents like Abu Gharib, the EU has sat on its high horse saying they're more moral and civilized than the US and would never fall so low. The only problem is that the EU was doing just what they condemned through their talks of lifting the 1989 arms-embargo on China. Just think about it, the EU condems the US for everything in the book by some out of control hoodlums in a jail in Iraq while they were talking about opening up the weapon sales floodgate to one of the biggest human rights abuser in the World. What makes things worse is the actions that the various EU leaders have done in order to ensure successful deals in the future. Just take a look here:
Jacques Chirac picked this up, and urged the EU to oblige. Meanwhile, he declared 2004 the "year of China", painted (or rather, illuminated) the Eiffel Tower red, backed the Chinese official position on Taiwan and failed to criticise its record on human rights. His servility was rewarded with a few trade contracts and qualified Chinese endorsement of his vision of a "multipolar" world, to counterbalance American power.

The main motive for wanting to lift the arms embargo is not political but, as one senior European commissioner put it to me, "mercantilist". With sluggish growth and high unemployment, France and Germany are desperate to secure more export contracts from the world's largest emerging economy. On the eve of his own wooing journey to Beijing, Chancellor Schröder described this policy as an expression of "true patriotism". Translation: jobs for Germans take precedence over human rights for Chinese.

I guess these EU leaders seem to have lost their moral clarity at the drop of a euro or yuan. When they are willing to sale these arms and only back down when the US threatens to cut defense contracts or slap sanctions on them, you know some steel has been removed from their spines. And these people think they're going to compete with the US on an equal footing.
Along with Ash's piece, here's another piece by Gerard Baker in the March 23, 2005 issue of The Times. He notes that the EU thought it had a blockbuster deal with its lifting of the arms-embargo against the Chinese but it would go down in flames shortly thereafter when the Chinese Parliament passed the Anti-Seccession Law, which was directed at Taiwan. I guess when you appease the Chinese Dragon, it will eventually bite you on the rear. You shouldn't deal with a regime that hasn't reformed from the behavior that resulted in sanctions in the first place. Time is not on China's or the EU's side with these new deals especially with President Bush push for democracy. I think Baker put it best in the following paragraphs:
The US is not back to a pre-September 11 mindset in foreign policy, but it has stopped seeing the entire world through the prism of Middle Eastern terrorism.

Managing China may still be the biggest challenge of the 21st century, and with his commitment to promoting democracy around the world it is hard to see how President Bush cannot take a less accommodating line towards China, especially if it continues to rattle the sabre against Taiwan.

Intriguingly, earlier this month the US signed a new defence pact with Japan, which included for the first time an explicit reference to the mutual interest in security in the Taiwan Straits.

The EU has now got cold feet about lifting the embargo. What looked like such a smart move a year ago has now put the EU in the uncomfortable position of choosing between seriously irritating the US or angering China.
I for one am glad that the US turned up the heat on the EU and its efforts to resume an arms-trade with the Chinese. Chalk one up for the forces of freedom and Democracy.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Taiwan: The Democratic China

Fire of Liberty

This article shows how much more democratic the people of Taiwan are than their neighbors in the north in China. I just wished the PRC would leave the peace loving nation of Taiwan alone, after 47 years of there own parliament, president, economic as well as a foreign policy, you'd think the 800lb. Gorilla China would get the point and stop warning Taiwan about declaring its independence. China might think that it was presenting its strength and power by making the anti-secession act into law they seem to have forgot that when they push too hard on people who are accustomed to freedom like the Taiwanese they get a stiff response. Expect the democratic movement in Taiwan to gain the upper hand, freedom always wins when pitted against an authoritarian/tyrannical regime.

EU Constution: England's Quandary

Fire of Liberty

Michael Portillo, a former Tory MP, has a wonderful commentary in The Sunday Times on how a yes vote on the EU Constitution in France could have a disastrous affect on Tony Blair's and Britian's future. If you want a well reasoned argument about why Tony Blair should run from the yes campaign, Portillo's piece is the best place to start.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Awesome Radio

Fire of Liberty

If your a fan of C-SPAN's Washington Journal especially on Friday's show with Brian Lamb, you probably heard of radio host John Batchelor. During the dark days of 9-11, John Batchelor gave a voice of sanity and a great knowledge of the enemy and tasks before this nation. I've been listening to his show on WABC-770 AM (New York) since the last week of September 2001 and I've amassed a considerable amount of knowledge from listening to him. For those who aren't big fans of AM-Radio's format, they'll find Bathelor's show refreshing. Just imagine a NPR type setting of long segments with knowledgeable guests but without the lefty non-sense of public radio. Aside from politics, the show focuses on terrorism, travel, science and history (I love the Civil War coverage on July 3, 4, 5, which is our Independence Day and the Anniversary of Gettysburg in 1863.) Also, check out his new website here.

Law of the Sea Treaty

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David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey, who both served in the Justice Department under Presidents Reagan and Bush 41, have written a wonderful Op/Ed in The Washington Times arguing against the absurd piece of UN bilge known as LOST. Here's a sneek peek:
For anyone who cares about the principle of national sovereignty — which is the very basis of our right to self-government, honors private property and believes that market forces lead to the most efficient utilization of natural resources — the idea of a "global commons" must ring alarm bells. Actually vesting authority over more than two-thirds of the Earth's surface — which is today open to American citizens as to others under customary international law — in an international governing body should be anathema. Obviously, President Bush does care deeply about American sovereignty — as he has proven on many occasions. So why does his administration support the treaty?
Yes, Mr. President, why are you doing this? Don't let Kofi Annan lead you down his "primrose path" of this lofty but wrong treaty. Remember, the Gipper is your loadstar not Kofi Annan. Anyway, it's an excellent and important read.

Progress: It'll get ya

Fire of Liberty

Jonah Goldberg has written a wonderful column on how progress can be a good thing but can also be a hindrance to man at the same time. I guess you could look at it this way. While the advent of satellite television provides countless homes with twenty-four hours of movies, crime-dramas, news, educational shows as well as music provides us countless hours of entertainment and a bevy of information it also has a way of corrupting society. Think about it, when kids get home from school they turn on the tube while parents are at work and watch countless hours of nonsense as well as inappropriate material that tends to lead to their dumbing down and causing corrupt behavior. Even worse, when most parents (not all) get home, they also sack out on the couch and watch hours of television while never taking time to talk to their kids and see what's going on in their life. Therefore, television is great but it tends to contribute to the moral/social decay of this nation, its youth as well as the whole family structure. Though television is a small aspect of this moral/social decay, it's a chief example of how progress can be a millstone on society eventually.

Read Jonah's piece, that's why he's the columnist and I'm the blogger.

Tulip Revolution

Fire of Liberty

The New York Sun has a good article on the Tulip Revolution in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan. While the MSM has presented the revolution as a dangerous event, It's been a relativly quiet revolution compared to others that have occurred throughout the region and Russia. Though the US has been focused on promoting democracy in the Middle East, the State Department seems to have continued its promotion of such values in the region well after the Soviets met their demise in 1991. Just see for yourself:
While the message from Washington yesterday may have been one of caution with an emphasis on keeping order, behind the scenes, successive Democratic and Republican administrations have been making an investment in democracy throughout Central Asia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"When a society is moving towards a point of protest, it takes years of preparation to acquire the information, to develop networks of informal associations and civil society organizations. It is not just the result of one group to bring the people to the streets," the director for Europe and Eurasia programs at the National Endowment for Democracy, Nadia Diuk, said yesterday in an interview.

Ms. Diuk oversaw slightly more than $600,000 of grants to projects in the Kyrgyz Republic for 2004, including the establishment of the American Center for International Labor Solidarity. Other projects include training for human rights programs, legal aid, and a project to publish a Kyrgyz guide to press freedoms.
I'd have to say that this small investment seems to have caught on and worked out in a good way, especially after Akayev skipped out of town. Congrats to the Tulip Revolutionaries in their fight.

Islamic Terrorists: Movements backing into Corner

Fire of Liberty

According to Amir Taheri's column in The New York Post, the various Islamic terrorists are being decimated, running out of hiding places, losing their institutes of hate, as well as the loss of their various bank accounts and funds due to governmental pressure and the freezing of said assets. Taheri seems to hit everything on its head. Though I beg to differ with his notion that Osama wouldn't be working with Iran because they're Shiite Muslims. I believe Al Qaeda follows that old dictum: "An enemy of my enemy is my friend." While they might hate each other's guts, they both have a vested interest in destroying the US and would generally support each other to do so. Aside from that, Taheri has written a "jam up" piece.

Yucca Mountain

Fire of Liberty

George Will has a great column in The New York Post on Yucca Mountain which is the future nuclear waste repository in Nevada. While the building of the site has generated a bevy of complaints from the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) crowd in Nevada, Will points out that it will provide a safe and secure site for such deadly material. It's far easier too secure the waste in one central location rather than having it dispersed in the countless powerplants throughout the nation that requires far greater security. Stay tuned to this issue, nuclear energy and its subsequent storage will be a chief concern, what with the dependency on oil from volatile areas.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Fire of Liberty


Do you remember this photo of this man trying to escape from Cuba? Well, according to this article in The Times, it seems the brave soul and his family have finally made it from the hell-hole of Castro's island gulag. It just goes to show you how powerful the desire to live in freedom is in Cuba. Hopefully one day the El Hefe will knock over dead and the Cuban people will enjoy the same fruits of freedom that we enjoy and tend to take for granted from time to time.

UK Election

Fire of Liberty

The UK has kicked of its election cycle with several speeches by the respective parties. Unlike the US election, the Brits have an campaign process that lasts for only several weeks thus when Parliament dissolves on April 4 or 5, they have just about a month to campaign then the people will vote in the general election on May 5, 2005. For anyone not up on the UK politics, let me fill you in on who's running. Since this is a parliamentary system, there will be more than your US style two candidate election. While there's several minor parties in the running, we'll just focus on the Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat parties to safe time and prevent confusion. Anyway the candidates in these respective parties are Tony Blair of Labour, Michael Howard of the Conservatives and the rascal Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats. Lets put it this way Tony Blair is the UK's version of Bill Clinton (The difference is Blair has been faithful to his wife), he's a master of triangulation but seems to have a steely nerve, what with Iraq and the War on Terror. Next up, you have Michael Howard is a devotee of Margaret Thatcher but doesn't seem to have the fire or a pocketbook with Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty in it. He seems to be gaining on Blair and could overcome the Labour tide that's been blowing the Tories around John Major lost the government to Labour in 1997. Finally, you have Charles Kennedy of the Liberal Democrats who is in the same league as Ralph Nader. If this man and his party ever win, It's going to be a cold day in the UK and will ice over a relationship with the US in Iraq.

While I like the steely nerve of Blair during our four year fight with Al Qaeda and the war in Iraq, I'm not really interested in the man's politics and its creeping socialism. Therefore, If I could vote in the UK election, I'd pick Michael Howard and his Conservatives. They'll restore some of the culture and policies that the British people adore. He also will prevent the UK from finding its way into the single euro currency or joining the EU(I think the Brits will vote down the EU without Howard). Go Tories and knock it out of the park for Mrs. Thatcher.

El Hefe II: The Saga Continues

Fire of Liberty

I'd have to say that this cover of National Review best describes the tyrant of Caracas. Hopefully, the White House has a solution to the second coming of El Hefe.


Fire of Liberty

According to The New York Sun, Libyan opposition leader Fathi el-Jahmi has taken a turn for the worse in his prison cell in Tripoli. He's been a chief concern of the State Department and the White House who are always concerned about advocates of democracy are held against their will by a tyrannical regime. Just look at this paragraph from the Sun:
Mr. el-Jahmi, a former governor of al-Khaleej province and an early ally of Colonel Muammar Gadhafi, was one of the first dissidents to publicly criticize Libya's leader during the 1970s. On March 26, 2004, he was released from jail only to be abducted by security services 14 days later - along with his wife and two sons. Today, he is being held at an undisclosed prison in Libya. While he is not charged with any crime, his most recent arrest coincides with a series of interviews he gave on Arab satellite television stations calling on Colonel Gadhafi to hold regular elections and allow basic political rights. Mr. el-Jahmi's wife and children were later released.
I hope that the wily Colonel in the oil-rich African nation sees the light and let el-Jahmi out to see a doctor but I highly doubt such will conspire. Though Gadhafi scrapped his WMD program, he's still a tyrant in bed with terrorists who has no respect for freedom or democracy. Pressure from State might work but I think a better solution is for some us to send some B-2's to Libya and finish what Reagan started in 1986.

Tulip Revolution

Fire of Liberty

According to this story at ABC News, Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akayev and his family have left the small Central Asia nation. I guess the protests and social unrest throughout the nation got on this autocrat's last nerves. Seems that the storming of government buildings and the release of political prisoners convinced the president to get the heck out of Dodge. Just look at what The Guardian out of England reported on the situation. This is very similar to the events in Romania in 1989 when Ceausescu was forced to leave his presidential palace via helicopter. The only difference is that he eventually caught and shot to death. I guess Akayev read the writing on the wall.

India: Naval Expansion

Fire of Liberty

The Financial Times has an article on India building its third aircraft carrier. This is definitely good news for the US, Australia and Japan who are currently looking for a way to control the rise of China. Even better, India is a democracy who is on good terms with the US. I kind of find it very ironic that India is considered in some parts of the World as a third-world nation but will have more aircraft carriers than the French and British do. I just hope India and the US become greater allies, we need a steady partner in this region. Speaking about this burgeoning relationship, check out James C. Bennett's book The Anglosphere Challenge.

US has an eye on Chavez

Fire of Liberty

According to this article in The Financial Times, the US government has publicly expressed its concern about Venezuela's arm procurements. I figured that the powers that be @ State and Defense have always kept their eyes on the South America nation. It's great to have agencies that are pros at multi-tasking.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Fire of Liberty

Suzanne Fields has a good Op/Ed on the massive un-employment that is wreaking havoc on the German nation, harks back to the 1930's. Whenever you read Mrs. Fields' work, you generally come away from it with a new-found bit of knowledge. Expect the same today.

Hugo Chavez: Terror Master of South America

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Douglas MacKinnon has a great commentary in today's Washington Times on Hugo Chavez, America's greatest backyard threat. Judging from the following paragraph, you'll probably concur the same:
What acts define Mr. Chavez as a terrorist? Since first coming to power in 1998, Mr. Chavez has openly courted and met with terrorist leaders from around the world. He just hosted the mullahs of Iran and joined them in denouncing the United States. His mentor for life and role model is Cuba's Fidel Castro. He has imported thousands of Cuban intelligence agents to spy on and terrorize his own people. He openly supports, harbors, and bankrolls the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) of Colombia. He is trying to destabilize the presidency of U.S. ally Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. He bankrolls and exports terrorism throughout Latin America. He has welcomed al Qaeda operatives into Venezuela and given them refuge. And finally, he has named President Bush and the United States as the sworn enemies of his "revolution."
I just hope the leadership at State has their eye and finger on this growing threat before it jumps up and bites us on the leg. I'm suspecting there's great talk between Secretary Rumsfeld and the various South American defense ministers during his tour of the area on the Commandante.

Culture of Death

Fire of Liberty

The great John O'Sullivan has one of the most moving commentaries in today's Chicago Sun-Times on the Terri Schiavo epic that is racking the nation. I just wish more people in the MSM had a clear view of the whole situation like Mr. O'Sullivan. Here's a look at O'Sullivan's moving piece:
It was a secretive and shameful business. Whatever Nazi theory held about the unfit, the Nazis feared the German people would resist the murder of innocent people with mental illnesses. Even in a society hardened by war and brutalized by Nazi propaganda, they took refuge in euphemisms. The official Nazi form letter sent to relatives included this sentence: "In view of the nature of his serious, incurable ailment, his death, which saved him from a lifelong institutional sojourn, is to be regarded merely as a release."

There are echoes in those words of the current advocacy of euthanasia and assisted suicide -- and, inevitably, of the Terri Schiavo case. In most such cases, the welfare of the proposed deceased is always said to be the dominant consideration. Yet the costs of looking after him or her -- social as well as individual -- are surely factors that inevitably push us toward seeing their deaths as necessary or beneficial. Unless there is a strong ethic of life to restrain us, we will always be able to find good reasons as to why a helpless invalid should quietly disappear and leave us in peace.

John O'Sullivan is definitely on to something when he notes the twin evils from the culture of death, euthanasia and assisted suicide. One only has to look at the state of Oregon and the Netherlands at the horrific use of such policies. If you want more on this culture of death, just look at the excellent writings of Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow @ Discovery Institute and author of the book, Consumer's Guide to a Brave New World. Here's his latest over @ National Review Online.

Screwtape's Take on Terri Schiavo

Fire of Liberty

Meghan Cox Gurdon has a presented a modern day take on C.S. Lewis's classic The Screwtape Letters but puts it in the context of this horrific concept known as the "culture of death." If you want an interesting look at the Brave New World we're heading towards, just read Gurdon's rendition.

Turtle Bay Pollution Alert!!!

Fire of Liberty

The Iraqis are infuriated at the UN and Kofi Annan after The New York Sun revealed that Benon Sevan, the UN's man who implicated in the Oil-For-Food scandal. It seems the UN's been paying Sevan out of the Iraqi money during an investigation of his wrong-doing. Just look here at the ill feelings in Iraq:
"It's like asking the depositor in a bank to pay for the defense of a bank employee who stole the bank's money," Mr. Istrabadi told The New York Sun yesterday. He said Iraq has demanded several times that the United Nations stop using money from the "2.2% account," as it is known, to finance the investigation led by Paul Volcker and for other expenses. Instead, Iraq said the account should be used to pay Iraq's $19 million debt to the United Nations.

This just shows how much of a madhouse that the UN has become under Kofi's tenure. Thank God, John Bolton is heading there to straighten out the mess.

Paul Wolfowitz

Fire of Liberty

Here's Christopher Hitchens' take on Secretary Wolfowitz and his nomination to the World Bank. It's very interesting coming from Hitchens who is a self-avowed liberal. Thank God he lacks the hateful vitriol that most people on the left reserve for Secretary Wolfowitz. One area that I'd beg to differ with Hitchens is his claim that The National Interest is the home publication of the neo-cons. I'd say that Commentary is probably a better place magazine to focus on. Yes, The National Interest was the foreign policy publication of most neo-cons but it's not the chief home. He's right that it's taken a realist turn more akin to Pat Buchanan's isolationistic magazine The American Conservative thus forcing me to cancel my subscription.

I guess it would be best if I described my conservative philosophy. In the field of foreign policy,I'd say that its more akin to Charles Krauthammer's Democratic- Realism. I believe we should conduct a foreign policy based on our own national interests and the spread of freedom and democracy is a key component. As for the economy and the function of government I'd say its "classic liberalism" mixed with supply-side economics mixed in which end up being very limited intervention via the government. You could say I'm a Ronald Reagan/Hayek devotee in this aspect. As for the rest of me, I'd say I'm a social conservative in the likes of C.S. Lewis or William Bennett or Marvin Olasky. It's a weird concoction that bumps into each other from time to time but it all works out in the long run.

Kofi's Diversion

Fire of Liberty

It seems that the UN Secretary General has slipped some dangerous language in his reforms @ Turtle Bay. Just look at what The Pittsburgh Tribune Review has gleamed from Kofi's reforms.

Also, Mr. Annan's son Kojo has found himself in a little pickle in the Oil-for-Food scandal. Seems that he's a recipient of a large sum of cash from Cotecna.

Euroskepticism on Rise in France & Germany

Fire of Liberty

According to this article in The Financial Times,France & Germany, the chief proponents of the EU and its mammoth constitution, are slowly but surely turning on the yes campaign. I guess that silent majority I spoke about in previous posts are coming out of the woodwork. We'll see how this plays out in France on May 31, 2005, too bad the German government doesn't allow a referendum on the EU Constitution. Could they know their better and know they'd vote no.


Fire of Liberty

The US has stepped up to the situation in Sudan and has proposed some three resolutions to the UN. The first resolution is a 10,000 man UN peacekeeping force to ensure a peaceful resolution between the north and the south forces of Sudan. Secondly, the US has proposed a set of sanctions on Sudan due to its inability to respond or condem the genocide in Darfur. Finally, the US has also proposed the creation of an ad hoc tribunal based in Tanzania to try the people resonsible for the horrific crimes in the Sudanese heartland.

As with most things in the UN, there is a considerable amount of disagreement amongst the member states in the Security Council. To fully understand this, check here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Terri Schiavo: Good Reads.

Fire of Liberty

Dr. Marc K. Siegel has written a pretty good Op/Ed in The New York Post on the Schiavo case. I just hope that there's more Doctors like Siegel than the callous individuals in Schiavo's hospice who abide by legal codes but not by their Hippocratic oath to "first do no harm." As for the best article, it would be James Q. Wilson's Op/Ed in Monday's edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Fire of Liberty

Fire of Liberty

George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center has a wonderful Op/Ed on Pope John Paul II in today's Washington Post. If you haven't read much of Weigel's writings, this is a good place to start. Here's a sample:

The world has missed a lot of Karol Wojtyla's story in his 26 years as pope, because the world tries to understand him in political terms, as another power player on the global stage. There's no doubt that John Paul II has been the most politically influential pope in centuries. But that is not who he is, or what he's about, at his deepest level. His two recent hospitalizations and his unembarrassed struggle to live out the commitment to service that he made at his election in 1978 should remind everyone that this man is, first and foremost, a Christian pastor who is going to challenge us with the message of the cross -- the message of Good Friday and Easter -- until the end.

Great stuff.

Iraqi Citizens Stand Up to Terrorists

Fire of Liberty

According to this story, the Iraqi people are mad as hell with the terrorist in their streets and pulled a Charles Bronson on them much like he did to the various thugs in the movie Death Wish 3. Go you brave souls, show em' you mean business.

Thanks Instapundit.


Fire of Liberty

Ralph Peters has a good column on the lack of anger towards the US in the streets of Europe. It seems that the young protestors in Europe has a way of forgetting things very quickly. Sounds good to me.

Zimbabwe: Tyranny's Shining Becon

Fire of Liberty

If you want to see the true nature of Robert Mugabe and his psycophants, just look at this headline: "Less violence seen in Mugabe campaign." What part of fair & free elections don't these thugs understand?

Flag of Lebanon

Fire of Liberty

It looks like The Cedar Revolution has created a market for the flag of Lebanon. Just look at this article from The New York Times. Awesome, long live the Cedar Revolution.

EU Constitution: Europe's burden

Fire of Liberty

It seems the much ballyhooed EU Constitution is losing support and momentum left and right throughout Europe. I hope the construct goes splat, it's time for the people of Europe to stand up for their personal & national sovereignty and vote no. It's getting more interesting in the ole EU.

Zimbabwe: A new North Korea without Nukes.

Fire of Liberty

Well, The Times has a telling article on the madness that is occurring in one of the Outposts of Tyranny. Zimbabwe is going down a similar path that tyrannies like North Korea and Cambodia have with their radical policies of controlling the land and the people who once made Zimbabwe a bread-basket of Africa. I seems that Bob Mugabe is taking his nation into Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. While he and his party hacks enjoy the wealth of their ill gotten wealth and fatten their bellies on food, the people of Zimbabwe become more impoverished and hunger for morsels of food that the government has destroyed from giving some 3,600 farms to people who let them go unplanted. Just look at how The Times presents the land of Mugabe:
"We're suffering. Things are very tight here. It used to be good, but he has chased you (whites) all away," said Charles, a painter who has not worked for almost two years. He had waited more than two hours for a lift. "Sometimes you can wait all day, but so what? We have nothing else to do these days."

Visiting Mr Mugabe's Zimbabwe is like entering a time warp — a throwback to the days of Eastern Europe before the collapse of communism. It is a country of nervous whispers, anxious backward glances and hollow declarations praising visionary leadership. Meanwhile, most of the country's 11 million people struggle to feed their families.
It pains me that someone of Mugabe's ilk is running a great nation in the ground. What makes it even worse, Mugabe has fixed the system to ensure that he will be president for life or that his party cronies will continue to hold the nation in its clutches for years to come. Just yesterday, The Times reported that the people of Zimbabwe will be denied a fair & free election because of the actions of Mugabe's all powerful regime. A real shame if I say so myself.

Also, here's a scathing but insightful column by Peter Worthington over @ The Toronto Sun on the happenings in Zimbabwe. I want you to note this passage in Mr. Worthington's column:
He has modeled his rule on Joseph Stalin, preaching one thing while practicing oppression, intimidation, elimination of opponents.

Arguably, Zimbabwe is the sorriest country in Africa.

At independence in 1980 it was virtually self-sufficient, with the best infrastructure on the continent, rivaling South Africa.
I guess Lord Acton's saying: Power corrupts, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely," is coming to fruition in the African nation. Where's the UN at on this. Oh, I forgot, they don't like to take sides, just look at Rwanda.

Canadian Tories: Do They Have a Chance?

Fire of Liberty

To discover the answers, check out this column by Paul Jackson from The Calgary Sun. He seems to hit the answer right on the head.

The Cedar Revolution Carries On.

Fire of Liberty

Claudia Rosett keeps up her great reporting on Lebanon's Cedar Revolution for The New York Sun and The Foundation for the Defense of Democracy in this piece. She notes that with the advent of technologies like Instant Messaging and the Internet, the students and people participating in the Cedar Revolution are able to get their message out and around the pro-Syrian government and forces. Just think what Andrie Sakharov, Natan Sharansky, and Havel would have been able to do with such technology. Anyway, check out this passage by Mrs. Rosett:

And though Lebanon's people have spoken up vehemently in recent weeks about their desire for liberty and self-rule, the Cedar Revolution is not yet out of the woods. The folks here know that communication is one of their prime weapons. And it's a peaceful one. One of the chief tools of a repressive regime is to isolate and silence individuals, cutting off people who might try to share their discontent or try to bring about change. For years, stifling dissent in Lebanon was the job of the Syrian-infested secret police. The deeper message of today's traffic is that the Lebanese are less and less afraid to speak their minds.

On Lebanon's grapevine, feelings run high, and not all the gags make for family reading. Among the more polite is a text message now making the rounds, announcing that the Lebanese quisling regime is changing its emblem from a cedar tree to a condom, "because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance." How so? The answer (slightly redacted) is that "a condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation ... and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed."
Awesome, don't you think? There's some insightful people within the Cedar Revolution.

Here's here piece from yesterday's NY Sun. Just read her great writing:

The bottom line is that years of pernicious Syrian occupation have provided many Lebanese with a common cause: "Syria out!" It has been enough to unite Sunni Muslims, Druze, and Christians in the desire for a better way of life, to which many here are putting the basic labels of democracy and freedom. And though some see the lack of a single opposition leader as a weak point, there are others who argue that in this coalition may well be the germ of genuine democratic process. More than any other country in the Middle East, Lebanon prior to its 1975 descent into civil war enjoyed the basic liberties and institutions of democracy. What tipped into civil war was the presence in Lebanon of Yasser Arafat and his Palestine Liberation Organization. Arafat is dead, and while Lebanon remains grudging host to a deeply unhappy and armed population of more than 400,000 Palestinian refugees, they are not calling the shots now.
I smell a Pulitzer. Lord, she deserves it. Keep up the good work.

Aside from Rosett, here's two articles from The Christian Science Monitor, here and here. Long live The Cedar Revolution!!!

Secretary Wolfowitz: Visionary @ World Bank

Fire of Liberty

Amity Shlaes has a good column on the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to the World Bank. She notes that Secretary Wolfowitz will provide a new found breath of life into an institute that has devoted more time to the environment and badmouthing corporations. With Wolfowitz at the helm , Shlaes reminds the reader that they will see the Secretary redirect the World Bank back to its the main job which is fighting poverty. Instead of getting stuck in the minutia of the various World causes, one should expect the new president to devote more time towards promoting the ideas entrepreneurialism, grants and various other concepts of development that are workable. With his past history, Secretary Wolfowitz is a proven diplomat who gets things done when given the chance. Just think, someone who gets things done in a Worldly institute like the World Bank. Mr. Shlaes notes that Secretary Wolfowitz as well as Secretary Bolton will prove their mettle and garner considerable support from the US Congress because they are will to yell stop in these World institutions and help right their courses. Expect great things from these great men.

Also, check out this positive Editorial on Secretary Wolfowitz from Monday's edition of The Christian Science Monitor. When you get support from a paper like this, you're doing good.

Here's another Editorial from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Iraq: It's Getting Better.

Fire of Liberty

Here's a good article by The New York Times' John Burns, who has done a bang-up job on his reports from Iraq. Make sure you read this one.

Arab Street?

Fire of Liberty

If you've paid attention to CNN or other MSM entities in the past and especially know, you generally hear the State Department types and other talking heads who throw the term Arab Street out in interviews. Before and during the Iraq War, one would hear someone expressing their fears that the Arab Street will rise up in a fit of hatred towards the US throughout the region because we attacked a fellow Muslim nation. The "Arab Street" has also been a favorite bogey-man which was shared by the various dictators and regimes in the Middle East. These regimes have argued that Arab Street was raging with American hatred and Islamic fundamentalists who would wreak chaos on the region if they were roused due to the removal of a fellow Autocrat or the loosening of their power. Unfortunately for these regimes, the violent Arab Street never emerged but a Arab Democratic Spring arose after the war and subsequent elections in Iraq. Instead of hating America, the Arab Street loves the US and has taken to the streets against their masters.

I think one of the best arguments of such ideas is an article over @ Tech Central Station by Michael J. Totten. As a World traveler(especially of the Arab states) who immerses himself into the various cultures he visits, Totten has a good finger on the pulse of the area.

EU: Liberty's Damper

Fire of Liberty

Here's a good piece by Pete DuPont over @ Opinion Journal on the impending unification of the EU 25 member states into a United States of Europe. The impending EU Super-State has garnered a considerable bit of detractors who are devotees to classical liberalism, namely Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, who feels the EU is becoming yet another over-regulated behemoth that dampens individual freedom. Take a look at what President Klaus has to say about the EU:
"The current European unification process is not predominantly about opening up," he continues, "It is about introducing massive regulation and protection, about imposing uniform rules, laws, and policies." It is about a "rush into the European Union which is currently the most visible and the most powerful embodiment of ambition to create something else--supposedly better--than a free society."
As the late Johnny Carson used to say, "This is very interesting stuff." Indeed, it is. I wished there were more people like Klaus in the other EU member states or maybe there's just a silent majority voting in the referendums in their respected nations. We'll see. Please vote no.

EU Arms embargo on China

Fire of Liberty

It seems that the EU has lost some wind in its sails on their efforts to end their 16 year arms embargo on China. The only problem is that the EU is proposing to delay the lifting until 2006. I guess a year delay will give us a big enough window to quash the EU plans.

Paul Wolfowitz: Gets Germany's nod.

Fire of Liberty

It looks like the Germans are on board with the President's nomination of Secretary Wolfowitz to the World Bank.


Fire of Liberty

During the past week & weekend, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been traveling throughout Asia to mull over the regional issues with the Heads of States in India, Japan, South Korea and China. Also during her trip, several articles and commentaries have popped up in the various newspapers in the US. The two commentaries that have piqued my interest is this one by Joseph S. Nye and this one by Wenran Jiang which appeared opposite each other in The San Diego Union Tribune.

In his piece, Professor Nye points out that the Chinese are re-emerging as a source of power throughout Asia and will reach an economic parity with the US by 2025. While the professor notes the economic he argues that the Chinese are a long way from competing with the US militarily and their actions will be based on what the US does. He then dabbles into the "moon-bat" territory when he argues that nations only strike out when cornered much like Japan did in its attack on Pearl Harbor. I guess Nye could care less that Japan was a military empire during the 1930's (Does Manchuria, Nanking ring a bell) which was staking out World conquest and not the absurdities of the US cutting of steel or oil. China has also sought to expand its empire in Asia and are building a military to show it, 12.5% defense expenditure isn't peanuts.

Contrast that to Wenran Jiang who notes that the rise of China is indeed a growing threat to Asia. This fear of a rising China is evident in the new containment policy being constructed by the United States and Japan. When the US and Japan increase their capabilities to deter the Chinese Dragon in the event it attacks Taiwan or decides to venture out in Asia you realize the seriousness of the situation. Due to this, Wenran Jiang asks if the EU is willing to prevent the rise of a militaristic China or are they going to appease them and sell countless millions of dollars worth of military armaments and equipment.

Whatever side you fall on, the fact is that the Chinese are rising as a power in Asia that could be good news or bad news based on China's actions. I prefer peace and hope that China keeps its powder dry on Taiwan and other territorial problems. Though peace is preferable, the US and Japan needs to be ready for Chinese aggression if they initiate some action. This is definitely true when you look at this article in The Christian Science Monitor on the strengthening of the relationship between Japan and the US. I foresee a spread of democracy in Asia with such a partnership.

To get a better grasp on the rise of China, check out this debate in the Jan/Feb 2005 issue of Foreign Policy between Zbigniew Brzezinski and John Mearsheimer. And for a non-foreign policy/security perspective of China's rise check out this piece by National Review Online's John Derbyshire, it's pretty good. Also check out this essay from The Prospect on China. All good reads.

Tulip Revolution

Fire of Liberty

The Tulip Revolution keeps "Buggering On" in the small former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan, see here. By the way guys, stop burning down things. Akayev wants you to slip up, it gives him leverage to use a strong hand, remember how well the Ukrainians did without violence.

North Korea

Fire of Liberty

Here's a good article over @ The New York Sun on Secretary of State Rice's visit to South Korea and her talks on finding a solution to the North Korean nuclear weapons program. Also during this visit, Dr. Norbert Vollersten, who is a human rights activist and a former Dr. Without Border's member who served several tours of delivering health-care to the North Korean people. Based on this article, Dr. Vollersten shouted several questions to Secretary Rice, see for yourself:
"Miss Rice, the North Korean people are dying and they are crying for your help," Dr. Vollertsen shouted as he was dragged from a hotel function room by security personnel. He clutched a poster that read, "Freedom for North Korea: 50 Years Overdue." During the scuffle, an embassy employee ripped the sign in half, the Associated Press reported.
Unfortunately, the State Department had spotted the good doctor and shut him down. It's kind of ironic that an institute created to spread the message of freedom and democracy throughout the World would prevent this person from expressing such sentiments. I guess the State Department has a good way to go.

By the way, Dr. Vollersten has a good book on the horrific conditions that he's seen the North Korean live in during his tour of duty in the Hermit Kingdom. The book is called Inside North Korea and offers a considerable amount of info on the regime of Kim Jong Il. Here' what it looks like:

Paul Wolfowitz

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John Podhoretz has a informative piece in The New York Post which notes that the reason why President Bush appointed Secretary Wolfowitz to the World Bank, Condolleezza Rice @ State and Bolton @ the UN is because they thought "outside the box" in the field of foreign policy. These individuals went against the tide of the foreign policy establishment and proposed concepts and policies that were frowned upon by the stuffed shirts @ the Council of Foreign Relations and the US Foreign Service Organization. It's good that we've got brave souls like these.

Also here's a commentary in The Times by Gerard Baker on Paul Wolfowitz. It clears up some of the blurriness on the whole term neo-conservative which has created great hysteria on the left. Boy, these people need to get out and read more. This could be a good starting point.


Fire of Liberty

"I am the second Fidel Castro of Latin America."
-Hugo Chavez

Well if that doesn't send a chill down your spine I don't know what will. To make matters worse, Chavez has billions in petro-dollars to spread his maniacal tentacles throughout the region. This article makes the situation in Venezuela even worse. I've been warning about Commandante Chavez's rise and its danger to the whole of South America. Hopefully, the NSC, the State Department, the Pentagon and the White House are focused on this rising tide in Caracas. We'll see.

Dutch Immigration Problems

Fire of Liberty

Here's a thought provoking article from the February 27, 2005 issue of The Sunday Times Magazine on the Immigration problems that are wreaking havoc in The Netherlands. It seems that the pro-immigration, PC, non-assimilation policies in Holland has finally caught up with The Dutch. If you truly want to understand the immigration problems that are plagueing the whole European countryside, then this is a good start.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Steyn on UN

Fire of Liberty

The great Mark Steyn has a good commentary in The Chicago Sun-Times on the nomination of John Bolton to the UN and Paul Wolfowitz to the World Bank and there effects on bringing reform to these institutes. It's very informative in Steyn's own unique way.

Army Recruiting

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Jack Kelly has a informative piece in today's Pittsburgh Post Gazette on the much ballyhooed reports in the MSM that enlistment in the US Army is declining. While others have argued that these numbers are going down because of their opposition to the war, Kelly argues that the improving economy and lack of knowledge that benefit packages have been increased is more the reason. Just read Kelly's piece if you want to go beyond the MSM clap-trap and learn the truth.

Border Problems

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It seems that Mexico's President Fox has created a little flap over his criticism of the Minuteman Project, which is a group of 950 US citizens in Arizona who have aiding US border patrol agents in the apprehesion of illegal immigrants crossing the border. See here. Such comments prompted this response from Arizona Senator Jon Kyl in the Mohave Daily News:
"I agree with President Fox that it is unacceptable for civilian groups to take the law into their own hands, and that individuals who volunteer to help the Border Patrol in a lawful way must guard against extremism in their ranks," Kyl said. "But at the same time, President Fox does not appear to grasp the high level of frustration over illegal immigration in states like Arizona, and his pre-emptive threats to file lawsuits on behalf of those crossing the border unlawfully is hardly helpful, since it presumes that illegal aliens have more of a right to break American law than American citizens have to peacefully assist authorities in enforcing it."
While I'm not completely in the nativist column, I still have a problem with illegal immigration. They end up hurting the chances of legal immigrants who are going through the right channels to get in. At least Senator Kyl has a good grasp on the problem.

Tulip Revolution

Fire of Liberty

It seems that the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan is building up some energy in the former Soviet Republic. Just see here and here for more.
Keep up the revolution but don't get out of hand like with the burning of police station, civil disobedience is the best measure with wily autocrats. It doesn't give him grounds to enact a horrible response. Aside from that, keep the Fire of Liberty burning. Long live the Tulip Revolution.

UN Reforms Called By Annan

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Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations proposed sweeping reforms Sunday, recommending the expansion of the Security Council to reflect modern realities of global power and need, the restructuring of the discredited Human Rights Commission to keep rights violators from becoming members, and the adoption of a definition of terror that would end justifying it as an act of national resistance.

The above passage is from an article in The International Herald Tribune on the various reforms of the UN that Kofi Annan will announce in a speech tomorrow. I have to give the people at the UN a hand for proposing these reforms. The only problem that I have with these reforms is that they won't be enacted until after a special session of the UN General Assembly gathering in September where the 193 member states will vote to approve/disapprove the changes. I can foresee some problems arising during this gathering, expect some of the Outposts of Tyranny nations and the other rouge regimes/kleptocracies to put up a fuss. Expect John Bolton to shine during such debates.

I'm looking forward to the changes to the UN Security Council. If I had my say, I'd choose the first option of adding six new permanent members namely Brazil (Largest and only South American nation), Germany(Don't know, prefer Poland), India (Large population and a democracy), Japan (Second Largest economy/aid donor), Egypt(Prefer Turkey or even better Iraq at least their greater democracies than Mubarak's Egypt), Nigeria or South Africa(prefer Nigeria) along with 3 new two year term members. At least we'd have more allies on our side in the Security Council. Should be fun. We'll see if something comes out of this. It's about time.

Presidential Reading Lists

Fire of Liberty

Here's a terrific article by historian Richard Norton Smith in The Weekly Standard on the various books that the various Commander in Chief's have chosen to read during their lifetime and tenure in The Oval Office. It's great to have a historian like Mr. Smith around to demonstrate that our President's are readers too. I gives you a new perspective.

Iranian Dissident

Fire of Liberty

Here's an interesting article from The New York Sun on the Iranian freedom movement.

Iranian Democracy Movement

Fire of Liberty

Michael Ledeen has a good piece over @ National Review Online on the burgeoning democracy movement that is sweeping the streets of several cities of Iran. Ledeen notes that the MSM has presented the events in the streets as a rabble-rousing crowd of soccer hooligans playing with fire during the Zoroastrian New Year festival of fire known as Norooz who had to be put down by the police, the truth is that large crowds of young Iranians have taken to the streets protesting the regime, burning various mullahs in effigies, and shouting for America's help while enduring beatings, tear gas, torture and indefinite stays in Iran's infamous prisons.

During these massive rallies, you also have countless individuals in these crowds demanding help from the US to end the mullahs' grasp on their throats. The only problem is that the US seems to be resting on its laurels after the spread of freedom and the democratic process in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestinian Territories, and especially in Lebanon. The problem with this, is that the US has gone somewhat soft in making accommodative gestures with the EU and other international organizations with their appeasement policies, just to look nice in the World for the time being. By letting up on the forces of evil in Iran, Syria and those vile thugs in Hezbollah, President Bush just allows a longer window of time for these mavens of terror to stamp out the Fire of Liberty that burns in the hearts of the brave souls in these Outposts of Tyranny. I think Mr. Ledeen puts the argument in a better light with the following paragraphs:
But above all, the clever stratagem adopted by the administration ignores Machiavelli's greatest lesson: Leadership is all about winning and losing, not about elegance and deep thinking. If we win the Europeans and lose the Middle East, we will have lost. But if we win the Middle East, the Europeans will hail us, as we see from their grudging tributes to Bush's successful liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq. "If you are victorious," Machiavelli says in his uncompromising way, "people will always judge the means you used to have been appropriate."

Syria and Iran are tottering, and if they fall, the terror network will break into relatively impotent shards that we will be able to destroy. Forget about diplomacy, this is war. Every day we hear about plans to attack the United States directly, and every day more Americans die in Iraq. Is it not too clever by half to resort to cunning diplomacy at such a time? Is it not immoral to leave American fighting men and women in harm's way an hour longer than is absolutely necessary?
I just wished President Bush had more people like Mr. Ledeen in his council than the milquetoast diplomats in the State Department and the National Security Council who are too scared to ruffle the feathers of the EU and the tyrants in The Middle East who ride roughshod over these freedom/democratic movements. Hopefully the newly appointed Karen Hughes and Nina Powell at State and John Bolton at the UN is a start. I prefer the creation of a new USIA, an increase in VOA/Radio Farsi's budget, financial and vocal support of the freedom/democracy movements in these nations by our leaders than the silly Kabuki dance with Europe. One day they'll catch on, I hope it's not too late.