Monday, September 30, 2013

Irresistable Force Met the Immovable Object ....

A government shutdown is looming here in the United States.  Time to put up or shut up?

When Charles Krauthammer thinks that an objective observer for events currently unfolding in Washington, D.C., is a "Martian", you know that things must be really, really bad in our nation's capitol. Would that the American people were able to make the distinction between the legally passed (by Congress), signed (by President) and upheld (by the Supreme Court) portions of Obama-care and the unilaterally amended (politically motivated) waivers subsequently handed out by President Obama's Administration. But thus far, President Obama's Administration has been adeptly skillful in waging (and winning) the battle of perception, time and time again ... Sadly, perception seems to be the new American truth.

Personally, I have to applaud the Republicans who are willing to stand up in order to speak and act for justice on behalf of their constituents.  Enough of this prevailing double standard!  What's good enough for the goose ought to be good enough for the gander.  If members of Congress, their respective staffs, and Big Business get a one year delay (and/or government subsidies) which exempt them from being bound by Obama-care's legislation (and penalties thereof), then this one year delay should apply across the board to individuals as well -- and it should be noted that all of the latter modifications to the originally legislatively passed healthcare law have been made unilaterally, by the Obama administration, in the absence of a legitimate congressional vote.  Sometimes, in order to be truly heard you have to be willing to have the courage of your convictions --in spite of name-hurling and negative media bias-- and be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to fight the hard fight. 

To my way of thinking, Republicans making this stand against the immediate implementation of the "individual mandate" portion of the Obama-care law are waging a modern-day version of the Boston Tea Party:  "No taxation without equal representation!"

Friday, September 27, 2013

Drive By Shooting ...

Shot with my cell phone that is.  A glorious Texas sunset, as shot from a moving vehicle on the way back from the lake.  Taken the day before an extremely parched North Texas finally received some much needed rain. 

 "Texas Sunset:  Bring on the Rain!"
@2013 Copyrighted Photograph:  Isabelle Black Smith.  Non-profit Public Domain use permitted.
It was nice to completely unplug for an entire week++ and it was good to be 'home'.  Now it's good to be home.  Absence kind of helps with that whole appreciation, growing fonder thing, I think.  Hope it lasts for a little while, at least.  Stranger things have happened.

Saw that the world went mad, again, in my absence ... Praying for all involved in the mall shooting in Nairobi, Kenya.  The world seems to need a lot of prayers these days?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Justice Defends Innocence ....

So Pres. Obama and V. Putin meet face to face today. Seems Putin has concerns about destabilization in Syria if U.S. moves forward with its retaliatory strikes?   Hmmm … I am thinking Russia fears another ‘Iraq situation’, where Russia lost beaucoup bucks owed to the Russian government when the Husain government was successfully toppled. Following the almighty dollar usually sheds light on any given situation, doesn’t it? Sad but, true; we are living in a material world.

Given the above, would this not lend credence to the idea of Russia changing it’s security council vote in favor of U.N. sanctions against Assad’s Syrian government? Doesn’t ‘stability’ in Syria  ---and hence protection of Russia’s monetary investments in Syria-- stand a much better chance with global intervention and sanctions as opposed to unilateral action being taken –and dictated by— the U.S. alone (with possible French assistance ... think 8 additional nations support action being taken against Assad's government, but the latter do not want to be directly involved)?

At this point, even other Middle Eastern --specifically Saudi Arabia-- nations have openly acknowledged the need for intervention in order to protect the innocent caught up in the middle of this power struggle. These Middle Eastern nations even draw the line at the use of chemical weapons --other motivations for intervention aside … and I’m still actively pondering these.


Sculpture Title:  "Justice Defends Innocence"

On another point, Ban Ki Moon says ”only self-defense is justification for retaliation” in Syria. Defense of innocent people, not to mention children, who were attacked with chemical weapons by their own government and lacking the means to defend themselves meets this criteria in my book. Think the U.N. terminology needs to be reworded in order to account for instances where those under attack are powerless to execute authentic 'self-defense'. And to the end of defense of the innocent, the global community should be ready to act on behalf of the innocent if the evidence supports the fact that the chemical weapons used in the Aug. 21st attack were in fact launched by the Syrian government. Though it is unlikely that the evidence gathered by the U.N. inspection team will actually confirm anything other than the fact chemical weapons were indeed used. Think the U.N. needs to get some physicists, engineers and intelligence analysts on their team of investigators to back up the chemical analysts. I mean what good is collected evidence if it winds up being inconclusive and merely confirms the blatantly obvious (i.e.., that chemical weapons were indeed used)? Then again, perhaps this ineptitude on the part of the U.N. is also politically motivated?

The bottom line is that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! The time for meaningful and decisive action has been too long coming. Something has to be done and time is of the essence. The questions now should be focused on finding the most effective means by which the innocent in Syria can be protected from further harm moving forward. And a U.S. strike only has merit if it can be effective towards this end:   A slap on the wrist serves no meaningful end. To my way of thinking --after much information gathering and many hours of thought— the best way forward would be a targeted global response --even if this response does not come with full U.N. backing-- aimed at degrading, if not completely eliminating, the Assad regime's capability to launch further chemical attacks. That being said, it is my sincere hope that the U.N. will reach a consensus for meaningful action in Syria because a U.N. backed, negotiated peace --even if only temporary-- followed by U.N. inspectors and troops on the ground would be the most effective means for finding and removing chemical weapons from Syria. Given both China and Russia's continued resistance to impose sanctions upon the Assad government, perhaps the criteria for being a voting member on the U.N. Security Council needs to re-evaluated. Although it seems to me that both Russia and China are missing a golden opportunity to gain respect within the global community by demonstrating that they do in fact have respect for basic human rights and dignity --despite past actions on behalf of these governments to the contrary.

Given all that I have contemplated above, I have to wonder if the U.N. has, in this modern day and age, become an ineffective governing body, incapable of carrying out any meaningful global action or even enforcing it's own governing 'international laws' beyond mere rhetoric.

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."  ~Edmund Burke

When I hear people state that our getting involved in Syria "does not serve U.S. interests" over and over again  --completely removing the human factor from the equation, mostly on the Republican side of the debate-- I find myself  reminded of the reasons why some of the rest of world might consider our nation, the United States of America, to be nothing better than a bunch of self-serving hypocrites.

[How's that for day 6 of a pounding headache?]

9/6/2013   If we do nothing else, we should exercise every avenue for diplomacy in an effort to persuade Russia to change its U.N. Security Council vote in favor of imposing sanctions against Syria, as well as additional subsequent action for Assad's government having used chemical weapons on civilians. Perhaps if Russia comes around China will follow suit?? Furthermore if U.N. evidence does not support that it was in fact the Assad regime who launched the chemical weapons and the U.S. has evidence to the contrary, then the U.S. needs to be forthcoming with dissemination of their information to the appropriate persons such that other nations would then be willing to join in taking limited action against the Syrian government in an effort to prevent the future use of chemical weapons.

I truly believe that if U.N. is incapable of taking any meaningful action on behalf of the global community in a concerted effort to address the use of chemical weapons upon Syrian civilians that it will, by its failure to act, have signaled end of the United Nations as a viable and effective world governing body moving forward.

9/9/2013  I am extremely glad that a new, and rather unexpected, option has come to light with light with respect to chemical weapons being used in Syria.  Russia surprises the world yet again?  Although, I had hope that Russia would come through all along.  Seems to me Russia's brokering a deal is in their best interests as well.  Think U.S. and other supporting world powers have to keep the credible threat of a military strike on the table in order for Assad to take this offer and its subsequent follow-through seriously.  Let us hope also that the U.N. can actually come through in terms of providing meaningful inspection of delivered chemical weapons to ensure that all weapons are in fact turned over to U.N., as well as a rigid follow-through on over-seeing the destruction of these weapons.  Think what I said a few weeks back --w.r.t. Edward Snowden-- seems to be holding true (new trend in this crazy world of ours?):  "Justice moves in mysterious ways these days."

9/12/2013 Speak softly, and maybe sometimes carry a big stick.