Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Obama Administration Has Waited Too Long to Act against the Syrian Regime

           In response to the alleged use by the Syrian dictatorship of weapons of mass destruction against its civilians, the Obama Administration is finally considering military action against Syria.  The United States had warned Syria that using weapons of mass destruction would be unacceptable.

The Obama Administration has waited until after more than 100,000 people have died in the Syrian civil war, including countless civilians killed in indiscriminate shelling by the Syrian regime, after the Syrians crossed the line against which the U.S. urged them not to cross, not only of moving their chemical weapons around, but of actually using them against civilians.  The Administration has also waited until after al-Qaeda and other Islamists have become a dominant force in the opposition to the Assad regime, which will complicate the international community’s efforts to support the non-Islamist Syrian opposition and replace the Syrian dictatorship with a representative government that respects the liberty of its citizens. 

The Syrian regime, starting with the late President Hafez al-Assad in 1983 and continuing up to the present with his son, President Bashir Assad, has been at war with the United States for thirty years, either through direct combat or through its sponsorship of jihadists who have targeted Americans by acts of terrorism or other unprovoked violent acts.  Syria harbors and financially supports Lebanese Shi’ite terrorists Hezbollah, as well as Palestinian terrorist organizations, all of whom have targeted Americans, French, Israelis and Lebanese.  Furthermore, Syria is the closest ally of Iran, the mortal enemy of the U.S.  As such, the Syrian regime has been complicit in Iranian machinations against the U.S. and its Iraqi allies in Iraq.  There is no doubt that the elimination of the Assad dynasty would serve critical American interests and promote peace in the region.

Syria, as terrorist-sponsoring regime with weapons of mass destruction, should have been named part of the Axis of Evil.  A former Soviet client state, Syria is supported not only by the Iranians, but propped up by Russia and therefore should be considered part of what I call the Axis of Rogues, which refers to the mutual help provided among various rogue regimes, such as Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, etc., as well as their terrorist allies.

I note what we are seeing in response to the Syrian civil war is the international community’s liberal diplomatic mindset that compels it to negotiate in good faith with despotic regimes that butcher their own or other people as these dictators negotiate in bad faith and string out the negotiations while squeezing out more blood.  As the international diplomats favor exhausting every method of persuasion in order to avoid the most effective one – military force – and as they assuage their self-righteousness in not appearing to have “started” an “unnecessary” war, the despotic regime slaughters more and more civilians.  Only when a consensus is finally reached that there is no other option, does the international community send in combat forces, or after the regime has satisfied its blood-lust and changed matters strategically to a more favorable position, does the international community send in peacekeepers.  Then the international community congratulates itself on what a good thing it has done, ignoring all the deaths that its pointless, protracted diplomacy in the name of “peace” had allowed beforehand.  Indeed, there is something in the liberal mindset that makes it difficult to recognize evil in anyone, except, of course, in conservatives, especially those conservatives who espouse morals based upon objective truths.  

The Obama Administration has been right to oppose the Syrian regime, but wrong to have allowed Assad and his henchmen to get away with murder for far too long.  Now is the time for American leadership – and not “leadership from behind,” as in Libya, but moral and military leadership.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pennsylvania Joins the Interstate Voter Registration Cross-Check Consortium

Pennsylvania has joined with 23 other States in a consortium that shares voter registration data in order to cross-check for individuals who are registered in more than one state.  Those individuals can then be purged from the voter rolls by the state in which they are not resident in order to prevent them from voting in more than one state, which is illegal.

The Keystone State is the first Northeastern State to join the consortium, called the Interstate Voter Registration Cross-Check Program, which is administered by Kansas.  Other Northeastern States should also join because many residents there also maintain winter residences in the South, especially in Florida.  These snowbirds sometimes do vote in both states, one in person and the other by absentee ballot.  A number of registered Democrats who resided in New York, for example, voted for the Gore-Lieberman slate of Presidential Electors in the disputed Election of 2000 in both the Excelsior and Sunshine States, thereby contributing to the closeness of the contest.  

I commend the Corbett Administration for its efforts in favor of ballot integrity, both in joining the consortium and in continuing the legal defense of the voter identification law approved by the Republican-led legislature and signed by Governor Tom Corbett, who is also a Republican, which I posted about several times last year.  The new law will still not go into effect in time for the General Election this year because of legal challenges by liberal Democrats.  Pennsylvania should continue to support voter identification and other common-sense anti-fraud measures that prevent the dilution of the vote of the honest electors and give more confidence to the people in the results of elections for public office.

Spain Must Accept Self-Determination for Gibraltar

I urge the Spanish government to drop its claims to Gibraltar, the British possession on its southern coast.  North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies Spain and the United Kingdom are currently involved in a row over the strategic territory.

Gibraltar has been in British hands since 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession, and was legally transferred to England by the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713.  The Gibraltarians have strongly registered their intent to remain British in two referenda, most recently in 2002, and have not indicated any recent change of their minds.

I had posted in March of this year in support of the self-determination of the residents of the Falkland Islands to remain British instead of becoming part of Argentina (See my post, Falklanders Vote Overwhelmingly to Remain British,  My consistency is in regard to popular sovereignty, it must be noted, is not necessarily because of any pro-British bias.  In fact, I would support Scottish independence from the U.K. based upon this principle.  Indeed, I am concerned that the Kingdom of Spain is undermining its own claims to its possessions in North Africa, such as Ceuta and Melilla against Morocco, which it ought not to relinquish.  I note Spain seems to be conceding the inevitability of the independence of Catalonia.  

I oppose imperialism and aggression – for the very reason that they violate self-determination – but whether the issue is territories that had been unclaimed and that were then claimed and occupied peacefully, or lands taken long ago in war and transferred by peace treaty.  If we accept the principle of popular sovereignty, then we must accept the will of the people, especially when it is expressed by the great majority of the people, regardless of whether or not we agree.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Words Being Misused to Mean Their Opposites

           There are several words that are being misused nowadays in such ways as to mean the opposite of what they were intended to mean, or at least nearly the opposite.

            The use of this word has been corrupted from that which is true, to that which is nearly true, to that which is fake.  A “virtual world” does not mean a true world, but an artificial, computer-generated one.

To Implode
            An implosion is that which draws matter in (i.e. is attractive).  It is being used in order to refer to that which has becomes unattractive (i.e. is repulsive).  An implosion is the opposite of an explosion.  In an explosion, material is ejected outward (repelled) from the source, whereas in an implosion, matter is drawn into the source (attracted).  The confusion arises because certain explosions, such as controlled building demolitions, mimic the results of implosions.  The use of the word implosions to describe such events has led people to conclude falsely that an implosion is synonymous with collapses, both of the literal and figurative kind, especially those that figuratively collapse of their own weight.  Therefore, the figurative collapse of an institution, policy or enterprise that causes it to lose public support (to become unattractive or repulsive) is being described with a word that means that is attractive.

            The use of this word refers to the ability of a virus to replicate and transfer itself.  However, it is being used in reference to that which is copied and transferred by others, in addition to its figurative use in regard to computer viruses, which spread themselves.  Viral is thus being used to refer to something that spreads like a virus, but only in the sense of rapidity and not in the characteristic manner in which a virus spreads.  In fact, the manner in which the word is being used is opposite that used by a virus. 

Lame duck
            This term has been expanded beyond its original meaning of an elected official who has been defeated for reelection and is now being use to refer to an elected official who has been re-elected.  It is not meant for all out-going elected officials, but only those who have lost political legitimacy by losing reelection, as opposed to those elected officials who many not stand again for election, but who have not lost political legitimacy by losing reelection.

            This word comes from the Latin for “things to be done.”  It comes from the same root word as in the cognate to act and thus necessarily implies action.  It is being used, however, to describe not only things to be done, but also refraining from things to be done.  An agendum (note the singular form of his plural word; there is no such word as “agendas”) to refrain from something, such as increasing taxes or violating neutrality, for example, by not taking any action is not something “to be done.”  Therefore, refraining from actions cannot constitute agenda

           As I have noted frequently on this blog, the correct usage of words is of critical importance to freedom when liberty is based upon written law.  In addition to offending the Truth, the danger to liberty in a republic of misusing or misunderstanding the meaning of words, coupled with disregard for the original intent of those who wrote the law, is manifested when laws are essentially amended or even repealed by judges in circumvention of public debate and the legislative decision-making of the representatives of the people.  To use words properly is to defend liberty.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Presidential Elections in Mali, Iran and Zimbabwe

            Mali conducted its first presidential elections since the military coup in 2012 and since the Malian government, aided by an international coalition led by the French, regained control from al-Qaeda and other Islamist rebels in the breakaway northern part of the country in the Sahara Desert earlier this year.  The elections marked a successful return to democracy.

            The turnout was reportedly low in northern Mali where there remains strong sentiment among the Tuaregs for succession.  There were reports that Tuaregs threatened citizens not to vote.

            Iranians chose the least hard-line Islamist candidate for president among the pool of candidates allowed by the theocratic mullahs.  The results suggest the economic sanctions that have been imposed on Iran because of its nuclear weapons program are having some effect, as the sanctions were one of the campaign issues.  However, Iran’s policy is not likely to change significantly.

           As happens every time there is a presidential election in Zimbabwe, long-time dictator Robert Mugabe officially wins a majority of the vote amidst widespread allegations of fraud committed by his government.  The international community seems to tolerate human rights violations in the racist, failed socialist state that has been suffering from hyperinflation.