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    The united states navy a legacy of power

     

    The U. S. Navy was started in an era when the true measure of a country was the size and strength of its naval forces. A strong fleet of ships could mean the difference between losing and winning a war. The Revolutionary War was just getting started, and the matter of a navy began to become more pressing as imminent battle drew near. Some argued that it would be impossible to challenge the British navy, since they had the most powerful of the time. However, in a move to protect shipments and defend the new country, Congress began to build a fleet. However, this first navy didn’t last for long, and the ships were decommissioned soon. But later, the Naval Act of 1794 was established, which called for six frigates to be constructed and turned into a naval fleet. Fortunately, they didn’t see too much action, though they did fight in a few wars, including the undeclared war with France, and the War of 1812. During this time, the USA began to see the benefit of having strong ships around, and steadily added more to the fleet. The Navy played huge roles in the Mexican-American war, and the Civil War. Since then, the U. S. Navy has continued to grow and grow. In 1880, a program was started to modernize the ships. Since then, technology has progressed at such a fast rate, that this program has, in effect, never stopped. Now, in the 21st century, the U. S. Navy is made up of huge metal battleships that are always being updated with new technology, weapons, and abilities. The Navy a huge force, protecting America and carrying out missions. It has been like this for hundreds of years, and with modern technology it appears that the importance of the U. S. Navy will not lessen anytime soon.

         
    The ussr that could have been lenin s new economic policy

     

    Mikhail Gorbachev (1931- ) was not the first to introduce Perestroika - the economic liberalization of the communist system along capitalistic lines. During the Russian civil war (1918-1922) the Bolsheviks implemented what they called "War Communism" (1917-1921), the militarization of the economy. Between 1916 and 1920, industrial output plunged by more than four fifths. Grain harvests in both 1920 and 1921 disastrously dwindled, leading to widespread famine, claiming five million lives. A series of rebellions of sailors broke out, most famously in the Krohnstadt naval base. To counter the party's loosening grip on power, Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) introduced the New Economic Policy (NEP). Trade was liberalized, as were industrial and agricultural production. Peasants were allowed to sell surplus produce on the open market and taxes were made proportional to net output. In stark departure from communist ideology, farmers could lease land and hire laborers. The state embarked on an ambitious privatization program of small and medium-size enterprises, though it maintained control of the finance, transportation, heavy industry, and foreign trade sectors (the "commanding heights", as they were called at the time). In 1921-2, Lenin re-introduced money to re-monetize the economy which consisted of barter, quotas, and centrally issued economic directives. Within less than 7 years, production in many parts of the economy reverted to pre-revolutionary levels. Nor did the NEP die with Lenin. It continued for 4 years after his death in 1924. But the policy was not without its faults. NEP was characterized by inflation and the need to cap the prices of non-agricultural goods. Peasants hoarded grain for speculation purposes. A black market in goods was developed by Nepmen - private tradersmunist party General Secretary Joseph Stalin (1879-1953), reinstated agricultural production quotas in 1929, collectivized all arable land, and criminalized private trading in 1930. In 1928, he promulgated the first Five-Year Plan (1928-1932) and central planning replaced market mechanisms. The NEP was dead.

         
    The violence against women act a powerful solution or vigilantism

     

    Senator Joseph Biden just announced his bid for the presidency; a candidacy that will no doubt be embraced by the powerful domestic violence lobby. As sponsor of the Violence against Women Act (VAWA), Senator Biden has championed the cause of eradicating domestic violence and aligned himself with a very powerful feminist special interest. For a Democrat in the Senate, championing this cause is a political no-brainer. The question is will he risk the benefits of this political gravy train to admit this "Emperor" is not wearing clothes. The domestic violence community is now a billion-dollar industry, creating political fiefdoms of unprecedented power in our local communities. We’ve come to believe domestic violence is at such epidemic proportions, that in our collective shame we have sanctioned a movement that has become cult-like in its power over our courts. Every day, in family courts, in every jurisdiction in this county, someone (often a competent parent), becomes the target of a fraudulent domestic violence restraining order. Without the complaining party having to produce a shred of evidence, respondents are routinely put through a process of institutionalized denigration without the same Sixth Amendment protection we give to murders, thieves and pedophiles of our society. Responding to a TRO is an arduous, humiliating, and expensive task. In the aftermath, respondents are often separated from their children, suffer from depression, and exhibit symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many of the falsely accused bear the emotional scars of never being vindicated. While men appear to be the victims of fraudulent restraining orders more often than women, in increasing numbers it is the male abuser who files for a restraining order against the female victim. In a recent San Francisco case, a woman was served with a Temporary Restraining Order after being thrown down a flight of stairs. Her court-savvy husband filed for a TRO claiming he was "afraid" of her because she had become emotionally unstable. Family violence is a complex issue. The one-size-fits-all approach does a great disservice to families whose story does not fit the stereotypical model. In cases where violence can be verified and where there is a clear pattern of ongoing, escalating, abuse, then the draconian solutions of the VAWA may be appropriate. For the huge volume of cases that do not fit this model (studies indicate as many as 50 percent), some kind of assessment or evaluation should be done before a family is forced to live in the toxic environment these orders create. Moreover, there must be real consequences to larcenous petitioners and their nefarious attorneys who ride the coat tails of popular politics to exploit these laws for their own advantage. Capital Hill should sanction the Violence Against Women Act, but with provisions that balance the system -- a system that in some jurisdictions borders on fanatical. Senator Biden, we simply can not remain oblivious to the harm this legislation can cause innocent, gullible adults and children swept up its tide wave.

         
    This is not your dad s republican party anymore

     

    Stock markets are strange because they reflect the sum total of all our hopes, fears and prejudices at the end of each day. Every so often something big comes along that can have very strong influence on the stock market, and the direction the market is going to take. Bear markets when they do come, come out of nowhere. Everybody is surprised by them, but once they happen, the pundits have what seem to be perfectly reasonable explanations for why they happen. I submit to you that next week’s Congressional midterm elections will be seen retrospectively as a so-called WATERSHED election whereby dramatic change will be brought about. You will only know this in hindsight over time. If the Republicans are trounced in the House, and lose heavily in the Senate, there will be a tidal wave type change in the direction that the country is going. During the course of the modern Presidency which is considered to be 1932 onward with FDR’s election, our leaders have always been influenced by polls. This is true for all Presidents except for our current President, George Bush. It is absolutely amazing to consider that our President won the White House by 557 votes in Florida in 2000 and 85,000 votes in Ohio in 2004, and nevertheless governs like he had a 40 state landslide. He has adopted the notion that all he had to do is win by one vote, and the power was his to effectuate and do whatever he wanted to. For six years, he has been right. The Congress has essentially rubber-stamped everything the President has asked for, and he has not been held accountable for the false assumptions under which the war in Iraq was initially waged. Next week will be the first time to hold the President accountable for the mismanagement of the war over the last three years. What kind of conservative is the President? He has outspent any liberal Democratic President in history, mounting up deficits at a rate that a drunken sailor would envy. He gave tax cuts to the rich, and financed the cuts through deficit spending by borrowing the money from Japan, China, and Europe, and leaving the unpaid burden to our children to worry about. Does this make sense to you? If you are going to give tax cuts, shouldn’t your budget be in surplus first. He has chosen to cut all spending for stem cell research to protect the rights of the unborn, yet doesn’t believe in programs for the poor. A third of this country is running around without even the most basic health insurance, and he’s protecting the rights of the unborn. He doesn’t want the government to fund abortions. Okay, but think about this. Without abortions over the last generation, there would have been 20 million unloved, uncared for additional children born in America. It would not have affected the rich; they always had access to abortions, and always will, regardless of the law. Where would we be today with such a policy? If you want to argue that these unborn children would have been adopted and cared for, I have one word for you, SURE. There are already hundreds of thousands of abused children going through our foster care system that nobody wants. The President would have added 20 million more. Iraq is bleeding this country financially, and is in the very beginning of destroying our social fabric. You can count the children serving in Iraq of our Senators and Congressmen, and White House staff on the fingers of a mutilated left hand. Why is it that the so called folks who run the government never seem to have their children’s blood spilled on these foreign adventures? They are always willing to send somebody else to die. By the way, just so you know, I consider myserlf a conservative Republican that is appalled at the actions of the leaders I participated in putting into office. This is not the party of Barry Goldwater who believed that abortion is a personal right, who believed that you don’t wage wars, unless you bring overwhelming force to the objective. This party has turned into a party of elitists, who were elected by average citizens just trying to do the right thing. At the same time, these elected leaders are not responsive to us. Strange as it may seem, we elect our leaders, and after the election, the lobbyists OWN them. How can you possibly spend a hundred billion dollars on drugs for senior citizens, a program I support, and NOT write into the law that the government has the right to negotiate lower prices for these drugs? Wow, the drug companies give the Republicans over $10 million to fund the election, and the Republicans give the drug companies another $20 to $40 billion dollars in excess payments for their drugs. Frankly, the payoff wasn’t big enough. How did it come to this point? The Republicans always stood for the rights of the individuals, and fiscal responsibility. Now we have thrown fiscal responsibility out the window. The leaders argue as long as the rate of growth, of the deficit is lower than the rate of growth of the economy, its okay to have deficits. This is the same line the Democrats used for 40 years, only now it’s coming out of the mouths of the Republicans. Here’s the bottom line, and read it carefully. You and I as citizens of the greatest country in 10,000 years of civilization are at the crossroads. We have to choose and choose now. Our freedoms are being usurped by corporate and institutional interests. Once we elect officials, it seems they are at the mercy of lobbyists who have what seems like infinite amounts of money to influence our democratically chosen leaders. The laws and programs that you, and I as liberal, and conservative thinkers would choose are not getting done. Instead, it seems that special interests are having their needs met to the detriment of 300 million Americans. We can not survive very long as a viable society, and meet the growing economic and military threat posed by China’s emergence, as well as other nation states unless we are all aligned in the same direction. The waste and mismanaged programs we are seeing are going to generate a drag on our system that will make us far less competitive in the next ten years to deal with the rest of the world. Farming is gone, it’s a non factor. Manufacturing is heading the same way, with globalization. We are headed towards a post-industrial society. We are almost there. We will move towards a fully service oriented society shortly. Will we have the jobs for our people to replace those jobs going overseas? Maybe, maybe not, but next week we have an election, you must choose, choose wisely. Goodbye and Good Luck Richard Stoyeck PS: The biggest joke is that if the Democrats get elected, we are going to trade one set of lobbyists for another, one set of special interests for another, one party devoid of ideas for another. Somehow, the people need to be back in control again, and voting for the default party isn’t the right answer either.

         
    Thomas garrett and delaware s underground railroad

     

    The Underground Railroad’s last stop in the slave-holding state of Delaware was located on Shipley Street in Wilmington at the home of a Quaker merchant named Thomas Garrett. Over 2,700 runaway slaves were given safe harbor there before making their way to the free states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Garrett’s passionate commitment to the abolition of slavery would cost him a great deal over the course of his life. Maryland authorities went so far as to offer $10,000.00 for his arrest. In 1848 federal court fines bankrupted him, forcing him accept the charity of his abolitionist friends to stay in business. During the Civil War his life was in constant danger so that he had to be guarded by African-American volunteers. But throughout his trials, Garrett never wavered from his principled stand again the evils of slavery. Though Thomas Garret is today recognized as one of Delaware’s most honored citizens, he was in fact born in Upper Darby Pennsylvania in August of 1789. Garrett’s parents instilled in him a respect for human freedom at an early age by hiding runaway slaves on the family farm. When Garrett was a young man a family servant was kidnapped and forced into slavery. Garrett managed to track the family’s friend and employ down and affect an escape, but the incident left an indelible impression. He moved to Wilmington, Delaware in 1822, but his personal convictions and deep commitment to his Quaker religious beliefs put him at odds with the state’s pro-slavery stance. It was only a few years before Garrett once again resumed his efforts to aid escaped slaves. For the next 40 years he did everything in his power to do so. In 1848 Garrett and fellow abolitionist John Hunn were convicted of aiding the Hawkins family in their escape from slavery in Maryland. The sentence, a bank-breaking fine that would leave both men virtually penniless, was handed down in the New Castle, Delaware courthouse by US Chief Justice Roger Taney. After the sentence was read and unrepentant Garrett gave an impassioned speech so moving that even a slave-holding juror offered him his hand, “I say to thee and to all in this court room, that if anyone knows a fugitive who wants shelter” he said “send him to Thomas Garrett and he will befriend him." Garrett continued to fight against inequality even after the end of the Civil War, acting as an advocate for the rights of former slaves. When the 15th Amendment was passed in 1870, giving African-Americans the right to vote, Garrett was paraded through the streets by his grateful supporters. Some went as far as to refer to him as “out Moses”. On January 25th of 1871 Thomas Garrett died. His funeral, attended by friends from all walks of life, including many he aided in their fight for freedom. Garrett's coffin was borne from shoulder to shoulder to his final resting place in the cemetery at the Wilmington Friends Meeting House at 4th and West Streets in Quaker Hill.

         
    Thoughts on nuclear power as a source of emission free energy

     

    For decades, the terms nuclear power have sent feelings of fear in those hearing them. We have all been influenced by the movies and reports on the devastating impact that nuclear power can have on our Nation. However, nuclear power can also be a positive thing for our Nation, offering as an alternate source of emission free energy. Used properly, nuclear reactions can be used to generate energy in the forms of heat and electricity. Few people realize that many countries, including the United States are already using nuclear power as a source of energy. The United States uses nuclear power to supply up to 20% of the overall usage. Other countries use it a lot more. For example, France produces up to 80% of its energy from nuclear power. Not only is nuclear power able to produce emissions free energy, research indicates that using it can help reverse the greenhouse effects. That is one of the main reason environmentalists are pushing so hard for nuclear power to replace the use of fossil fuels. The issue has been pushed to the back burner for decades. However, the government and the people have found a renewed interest in nuclear power as an energy source due to the continuous rise in the price of oil. The average citizen is frustrated and worried about the high price of gas, with no relief in sight. Some developers worry about the risk of building nuclear power plants. Special designs are being considered to help prevent accidents from occurring. Another concern is the possibility of radioactive contamination from such nuclear power plants. It seems everyone wants to use the energy, yet no one wants a plant to be built in their area. Further worries involve nuclear power plants being used in terrorist’s attacks. The prospect of using nuclear power as an emissions free energy source is very good. With the right technology, it may one day replace fossil fuels as our main source of energy. Doing so would result in the United States being less dependent on other countries that supply us with vast amounts of oil. Until the actual risk can be assessed, this idea will continue to be in the works with the government, researchers, and designers.

         
    Thousands of failures but thousands of patents

     

    Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before he revolutionized the world by inventing and patenting the incandescent light bulb. Because of his desire to create the incandescent light, he was one of the most persistent people in history. The invention in which Edison had the most failures, the incandescent light, was one of his most famous inventions. His persistence also led to many other great inventions. He had patents on items such as electricity, batteries, cement, motion pictures, phonographs, mining, telegraphs and telephones. How many times have you failed in your endeavors? When you were learning how to ride a bike, roller skate, play the piano, learn a foreign language, etc., didn’t you fail many times? Many modern conveniences are the result of Edison’s ingenuity. Edison did amazing things simply by persevering. 1. Edison was persistent After fifty years of efforts to create a long-lasting incandescent light bulb, Edison achieved success with the incandescent light bulb. Edison needed a material that would be compatible to form a long-lasting filament. He initially tried platinum, which only worked for about one to two hours. He tried carbon, which had the highest melting point. When carbon didn’t seem to work, Edison tried boron, chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, nickel, platinum (again). Finally, Edison got carbon to work as a filament material for his light bulb, which lit for over 40 hours. What are some of the things that you are doing in your life and careers? Do you like what you are doing for a living? Are there other things that you would like to be doing as a career? You may ask, “what if I try something and it doesn’t work?” Try something else. And if you’re not successful, try again! Reference the example with a baby learning how to walk. How do most people walk? They kept on trying, no matter how long it took, to walk. 2. Edison learned how to meet the unmet need The classic marketing philosophy says to “fill the unmet need.” Edison invented practical items that a majority of the population could use, such as the light bulb, the phonograph, batteries, etc. Edison not only could invent things, he could invent practical things. Every one of us has practical skills that we can offer the world. The world needs your talents much like the world needed Edison’s talents. What are some ideas that you have that would meet the unmet need? What are you seeing around you that could be improved? Edison did the same pondering and look at how much he accomplished. 3. Edison knew he could invent something when he was determined Edison’s quest to invent the incandescent light bulb took him about four years. About his electric light experiments, he said “I was never myself discouraged or inclined to be hopeless of success.” Edison knew that he could find a way to make the light bulb work and to be a practical item for the general public to use. For those of you involved in obtaining goals, are you determined enough that you are going to succeed? Do you have that attitude of accomplishing something no matter what? Edison saw thousands of better ways of doing things. He had to literally make many things happen in order to achieve success. Edison did not think that any of his failures were actually “failures.” Edison said “If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is just one more step forward....” Do you turn your “mistakes” into learning experiences? Adopt the same attitude as Edison did. Learn from mistakes. Be persistent.

         
    Tips for running for local office

     

    What do you need to win a race for a local office? Yes there are photo sessions, lots of handshakes, victory speeches, and hype. Yet what makes running for political office a success are not only those. There is a lot of behind the scenes work that shows off in front of the voters giving you their trust, and eventually, their vote. Let’s look at a few things you can do to improve your chances and make it a worthwhile effort to run for your local political office. Find out the Requirements There is more to politics than what meets the eye; start with doing your homework properly, check the requirements of the position you want to run for and see if you are eligible. Build Votes on Your Actions There can be times when people just get off their daily lives and run for a local election and win easy, those are instances that are too rare to invest in. If you intend to ever have a political ounce in your body, be sure to build your image beforehand. Get involved with organizations, education programs, and local societies. See what people are interested in and get down to the issues. Career Decisions Before you jump into the political life, be sure it is what you want. Will you withstand the pressure that ensues or do you mind people talking about your personal life like their breakfast cereal? If you do, think again, you will end up wanting them to talk of you, but just the good stuff. Personal grooming Looks don’t count when we talk about knowledge and the ability to solve the people’s problems but anyone with political know-how will tell you that good looks, a beautiful wife and cute kids do matter. Your family is the projection of your ‘human’ side, use it well and make the people associate it with you. Learn to Smile Sure it could be covered under the grooming section but it is too important to have a good smile, and a ready wit to bundle it with other things. People want to see an assured leader but they also want someone who has a sense of humor. People want someone who talks of serious things with a demeanor of a problem solver yet is still one who can still smile and laugh. Know your Opponent ‘Know Thyself’ is the popular phrase, but in politics it is just as important to know your opponent. Homework comes in again; keep a track of your opponent’s weaknesses and find out if there is something your opponent wants to keep hidden, it is virtually 99% of the time something that would throw his voters off and you have everything to gain. Bury your Weaknesses Deep It is a two way game though; you have to know when to shut up too. Surely there are going to be times when your have the dirt on your opponent but never get close to what your opponent might get on you. If you have something to hide, you should play the elections clean and to your strengths instead of your opponent’s weaknesses. The Media Newspaper media, radio and television are all your friends. If they are not, make them so. You can not visit every home personally for them to meet you; chances are though that newspapers, radio or television transmissions are watched in every home in your jurisdiction. Be at your very best when the camera points to you. Make sure to know the right answers, stammering in the face of questions is quite the campaign killer. Catchphrases and gestures that win people over and even quotes from the greats are wonderful public campaigning material, and as such, things you should practice before you speak. It is also a great asset for any politician to be quotable. Use short and pithy sentences, give them meaning and yet do not overburden them so the meaning is not lost,. After all, people do want to understand you. Campaign Organizers and Advisers It is always helpful to have people who know how to run a campaign around you. Surely your friends and family can help you at the local level but just be sure to think things through while you are planning; that can be the difference between a haphazard campaign and a meticulous one. Elections at any level require funds; work out your fund raising techniques. What slogans can you work with? Make friends with your catchphrases; work on local issues with local communities that would be happy to lend you a hand if you are able to project their cause well enough. Plus, campaign posters and signs are an important part of your drive as well, make sure you get enough exposure before the voting commences that you are a household name people recognize…and finally, did we say use family, friends and their friends too? Do that!

         
    Tony blair turkey eu and cyprus

     

    The stalling of US and UK ambitions for Turkey to become a member of the EU during December 2006 has presented a challenge for Tony Blair during his sunset period as British Prime Minister. Turkey is a longstanding member of NATO, and was actively supported by successive US administrations during the Cold War with the USSR, due to its strategic location. After the collapse of communism, Turkey assumed a new importance as a model for a secular and democratic Muslim state. In addition, its boundaries with Syria, Iraq and Iran place it adjacent to several ‘axis of evil’ states. It is well known that the US wished to use Turkey as a launch pad for invading Northern Iraq, but this request was refused. However, the Incirlik airbase in south east Turkey remains in US use, although this receives little publicity. What is less well known is that the US has made several overtures for Turkey to join the coalition forces currently occupying Iraq. Following the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, the Bush administration has signalled a new strategy for Iraq and the inclusion of Turks in the multinational force would be a major achievement. Although this is unlikely to happen, the proposal has been seriously considered in Ankara as it would allow Turkish troops to enter and probably administer Northern Iraq. This would enable them to neutralise the ongoing terrorist threat from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who are based in North Iraq. An integral part of the close relations between the US/UK and Turkey has been consistent support of Turkey’s application for EU membership, and also endorsement of the UN initiative for the reunification of Cyprus, the ‘Annan Plan’. The UN initiative would have ended the isolation of North Cyprus, which is governed by a Turkish backed administration. During the autumn of 2006, there were ominous signs that the progress of talks concerning Turkey were running into serious difficulties in Brussels. There was strident opposition to Turkey’s membership from France, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands. In addition, the Greek Republic of Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, had made repeated complaints that Turkey had failed to open ports in North Cyprus to Greek Cypriot ships. This latter point provided a legal justification for the thwarting of accession negotiations. However, there are more important considerations. Turkey has a population of some 70 million, most of whom are Muslims. The EU is a predominantly Christian, or post Christian union. Several EU states have already significant Turkish enclaves and there is widespread unease at the prospect of free movement of 70 million Turks across the EU. Tony Blair initially used terms such as ‘celebrating cultural diversity’ in reference to Turkey’s potential contribution to EU identity. In the wake of atrocities by home grown terrorists in the UK, this rhetoric has been dropped. Instead, the emphasis is now on facilitating an understanding of democracy and moderation by a predominantly Muslim state and the promotion of this model to neighbouring states that remain part of the ‘axis of evil’. This new approach does have merit. The impetus to what is now the EU was the aim of ensuring that France and Germany would never engage in hostilities again. This aim has been successful. The enlargement of the EU to include most of Western Europe also provided a bulwark against communism and the expansionist aims of the USSR. As the USSR is no longer in existence, and indeed, several former communist states are now members of the EU, the question does arise as to the purpose of the EU and its future role and direction. The expansion of the EU in 2004 to include 10 Eastern bloc states and the accession of Bulgaria and Romania on 1 January 2007 does call for a strategic review. The current size of the EU and the accession of economically undeveloped member states will necessitate increased budget contributions from the richer members, primarily Germany and the UK. It will also mean that the less developed regions of the UK, currently in receipt of EU structural funds, will lose this status. It may even stimulate the overhaul of the Common Agricultural Policy and the privileged protection of French agriculture, but perhaps this is too much to expect. One could argue that we stand at an historical crossroads at which the post Christian west is facing a resurgence of Islam. This resurgence is religious and political. Unfortunately for the west, militant Islam is threatening those middle east states which produce most of the planet’s oil supplies. Against this backcloth, the early accession of Turkey into the EU could have significant benefits. Firstly, it would assist the west in its understanding of Islam, secondly, it would demonstrate that a Muslim state could co-exist and prosper within a Christian club, namely the EU, and thirdly, it would promote a model of a democratic and secular Muslim state to neighbours who are in the grip of the ‘axis of evil’. During December 2006, the EU suspended discussions on 8 of the 35 chapters relevant to Turkey’s EU accession. As in many EU negotiations, there was an element of chaos and comedy. It was rumoured that Turkey had made an offer to open a North Cyprus port to Greek shipping, but for some inexplicable reason, this was never confirmed in writing. However, it has now been confirmed by the Turkish Prime Minister during the visit to Turkey of Tony Blair around 16 December. Tony Blair apparently launched a last minute diplomatic initiative to save the momentum of the EU Turkey talks and he has gained support from Spain, Sweden and Italy. The offer to open a North Cyprus port to Greek Cypriot shipping is a major concession by Turkey. The euphoria surrounding the 2004 Annan Plan, the majority vote of Turkish Cypriots in favour of the plan and the dishonoured promises of the EU to end the isolation of North Cyprus have led to cynicism in North Cyprus. During November it was proposed that the UN should be invited to administer the port of Famagusta in North Cyprus, and open the port to Greek Cypriot ships. This met with an outcry of protest from North Cyprus. It would appear that Tony Blair has achieved a significant diplomatic success in the Turkey EU arena. If he could cement this progress, and possibly even address the Cyprus problem, it would bestow on him the aura of a successful international statesman, and undoubtedly further his aspirations for a future role other than that of British Prime Minister.

         
    Troop surge in iraq will deepen quagmire

     

    It looks like President Bush is going to announce a “temporary increase” in the number of American troops serving in Iraq. The President is adding complexity to a series of wrong decisions he has made since the beginning of the invasion. It is difficult to imagine how a surge in American troops can fix a self-created problem? We have made the same mistake that five star General Douglas MacArthur warned about with regard to Asia, “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.” Presidents Kennedy and Johnson didn’t heed the advice, and the rest is history. Now once again, we have a President who has involved us voluntarily (the US was never attacked directly or indirectly by the evil Saddam Hussein) in a land war in an Arab country where suicide bombers are as common as a cup of coffee. The basis of General MacArthur’s advice was that life is cheap in Asia. Our country will tire, and the public will to continue the effort will wane before the opposition will tire of losing lives. The same advice applies to the Middle East as it did to Asia. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and the Mullah’s Iran lost several hundred thousand men in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980’s, and neither felt the loss. The United States openly backed Saddam Hussein during the war, and prevented an Iranian victory by stepping in with arms and intelligence information. Our President on the other hand continues to get very bad advice from the same people that initiated this effort. Let’s look at history to understand what’s going on. Saddam Hussein was a tyrant just like all the other tyrants in that section of the world. Goggle “Hama Massacre”, and you will see how the Syrian leadership killed tens of thousands of their own people in 1982. When the Mullahs took over Iran and deposed the Shah, perhaps several hundred thousand people died as a result. The history of the entire region is one of violence, instability, anarchy, and uncertainty. In that simple sentence you will understand why our President’s desire to install a democracy in Iraq cannot work. Every country in the Middle East has an unstable regime ruling a society whose members have low tolerance for one another, and are inherently volatile. Even if our President were successful in forcing our democratic principles on the people of Iraq, the whole system would of necessity fall apart in a matter of months to a year or two, as a new equilibrium would be formed among the warring factions. This is not George Bush’s fault. He has simply allowed himself to be misguided as to the reality of the day to day situation in Iraq. His advisors have failed him miserably, and he has failed America in not changing his advisers quickly enough to understand what he is dealing with. The primary goal of all American Presidents and not the Congress is to determine for our country what our interests should be. The President then must create policy to advance our interests. It is not a coincidence that the first invasion of Iraq in 1990 took place shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. Our Middle East policy up until that point was to prevent Soviet penetration, and domination of the OIL RICH Middle East. With the fall of the Soviet Union, our policy became to PREVENT any one country in the region from creating hegemony over the region (the reason being OIL). This was Saddam’s SIN. He attempted to control the oil wealth of the region by invading Kuwait, and therefore neutralizing Saudi Arabia. This had to be prevented at all costs. In 1990, the cost was a US led coalition to remove Saddam as a threat to the oil stability of the region, and that is why the first President Bush never marched to Baghdad. Saddam’s removal from Kuwait was enough to insure that hegemony would not be created. Somehow the current President Bush got it into his mind Saddam still represented a threat to the stability of the region, and therefore invaded again. In doing so, he has opened Pandora’s Box. Once that box was opened, no one can predict with any accuracy how this is going to play out. We have certainly done a number of things, none of which play to our favor: 1) We have strengthened and emboldened Iran. We are no longer in a position to threaten Iran with invasion for continuing its nuclear program. We do not have the force structure to back up our threats. 2) We have strengthened Syria in the same way as Iran. 3) We have aggravated the Arab-Israeli situation by weakening our own image as an honest third party to the conflict. 4) We have destabilized Iraq as a country, and as a functioning state, with no endgame in mind. 5) We have placed our prestige on the line, and are at the lowest level of respect in our allies’ eyes since World War II. 6) Our position as the moral guiding force of this planet is in jeopardy. 7) We have started a war that we do not know how to finish. What the President must do RIGHT NOW is recognize where we are at. This is why he lost the Congress in the last election. Americans are never sitting stay, or watch idly. We are an active nation. If the President isn’t moving fast enough, the people will elect others who will? Our current troops should be used only to train Iraqi forces, both police and military, and not act as combatants in a country whose government we already defeated. If the President finds it mandatory to deploy additional troops, again these additional forces should only be used to train Iraqi forces, not to intervene. This is no CIVIL WAR, with Moslem pitted against Moslem, and sect against sect. This is not about Catholic versus Protestant, or Jew versus Arab. This is all taking place within the context of the same religion. It is even taking place within the same sects. Sunni is also killing Sunni, and Shia is killing Shia. We could never hope to be able to intervene against such wanton killing. We are after all a democracy, the beacon of light in world where there is much darkness. Our continued efforts in Iraq may weaken this country so much more that it could result in potentially nuclear Iran creating the regional hegemony that we tried to prevent Iraq from creating. Wouldn’t that be a sad state of affairs? We replace one monster with another. Goodbye and Good Luck

         
    U. s. marines a strong history of bravery and service

     

    The United States Marines are a highly specialized branch of the U. S. Military, known for their rapid deployment and amphibious warfare abilities. The mission of the Marines is triple-pronged; to defend or seize naval bases and other land operations as needed, to develop equipment and tactics that will advance the capabilities of amphibious landing forces, and to perform other duties as directed by the President. Created on November 10, 1775 as the Continental Marines, this small force originally consisted of infantry soldiers who served aboard naval vessels, defending the ship, engaging in combat during landing and boarding actions, and manning any raiding parties. Having been involved in every armed American military conflict since, the force quickly evolved. During the War of 1812, Marines participated in frequent frigate battles, which were some of the first American victories in this eventually lost conflict. Though they still fought, the Marine forces experienced decline and disorganization in the latter part of the 19th century. It wasn't until the Spanish-American War of 1898 that the Marines entered what is often considered their formative years. During the conflict, Marines were responsible for leading forces ashore and were able to demonstrate their invaluable ability to deploy quickly. This was when the Marines seized Guatanamo Bay, a base still used today by the United States Navy. The Marines continued to play a crucial role in the first World War, and would capture America's imagination and pride in the Pacific battles of World War II. Marines were absolutely essential to the success of difficult island battles such as Tarawa, Okinawa, and Iwo Jima, a seize made famous by the infamous flag-raising photograph that is so often used as a symbol of victory and military commitment. Today, Marines are very focused on infantry development. Their philosophy emphasizes the importance of close combat, rather than depending solely on strategic bombing or more distance-oriented battle. Prized for their ability to deploy rapidly, their loyalty, and their proud traditions, the United States Marines are an integral part of the United States' Department of Defense.

         
    Understanding military reserve forces

     

    Although many people tend to get the two confused, there is a rather significant difference between a military reserve and a military reserve force – a military reserve is a group of personnel who are employed by the military, but who are not committed to engage in battle by their commanding officer. This way, they are able to move quickly to address unexpected situations or unforeseen circumstances. In order to do this effectively during battle, the military reserve is literally held back in a defensive position, just in case the enemy forces break through the front line. If the enemy makes a mistake or exposes a vulnerable area in their strategy, the military reserve can then be immediately committed to the battle. In some cases, the reserve may provide relief for the troops who are already engaged in fighting – like a second shift line. A military reserve force is quite different, as it can be either composed of part-time military personnel or civilians, all of whom are available to be called upon to fight if there is need for defense against invasion or in order to mobilize against war. Unlike the military reserve, the military reserve force is not counted as part of a country’s permanent body of armed forces. Why would a country bother with a military reserve force, in that case? Maintaining a reserve force allows a nation to reduce the amount of expenditures that might accumulate during times of peace, while ensuring that there is still a prepared force in case of war. In addition, there are some countries whose reserve force members are volunteers, committed only to a part-time obligation, but who would not be paid compensation should the country go to war. Nations such as Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States maintain voluntary reserve forces. Since military reserve forces are not actively engaged in battle on a regular basis, other countries legislate that mandatory service in their military can be counted as time spent as a member of the military reserve force. Israel and the Republic of China have a compulsory number of years that each individual must spend as a member of the military reserve force, in addition to completing one’s national service. There is a secondary type of military reserve force that functions slightly differently than the regular reserve forces, and this is known as the Home Guard. The Home Guard – such as the United States National Guard – is a military reserve force that is technically a militia, and can only be called upon to activate in the event of an invasion. The difference is that a Home Guard is composed strictly of civilians who have volunteered for the service, without part-time military personnel involved. How does that differ from what is regularly referred to as a militia? On occasion, a militia can be referred to as a group of citizen soldiers who are disassociated with their government, or it can also be the term of reference for a country’s police force.

         
    Viewing american politics from the perspective of martians

     

    I'm being silly, but indulge me here as I veer off into the realm of fantasy. Not *that* kind of fantasy, but the world from a Martian’s perspective. Say we're explorers from Mars sent to Washington D. C., in human form, in the year 2007. What would be our conclusions about American politics were we to come down fresh, understanding very little of the political system? We would understand immediately that there are purported to be 'two sides' (the validity of which is up for debate), and the two sides are represented by colors and animals--red or blue, elephant or donkey. There are also a few fringe sects, marginalized by the craziness of their philosophies, who angrily disagree with both the reds and the blues. So these are the two realistic options. Third or fourth candidates are not allowed to compete, really. They have "no chance of winning" or there's the fear that the third party will take votes away from "real" candidates. So the red and the blue appear to really dislike each other, but they're two sides of the same coin, always in line to keep out the fringe and so they have some common interests. Then things start to get good. . . They have an even bigger common enemy: the media. The media supposedly reports the activities of both sides so they make more money from advertisers. 'The Media' claims to be unbiased, but it isn't true. They are loyal to whomever is in power and whomever owns the media outlet. What's even more exciting for us explorers to discover is that there are even more enemies these two sides have. Prostitutes. Most recently Louisiana Senator David Vitters who gives an awful lot of lip service to abstinence only sex ed, was identified by the DC madam and the Canal Street Madam as being a client. Under aged boys. Uh oh. US Representative Mark Foley, crusader against child abuse and exploitation, became child abuser and exploiter when it came to light that he had a bit of a taste for Congressional pages. Women. Specifically wanton women. There was this one time, the woman was wearing a blue dress. He liked cigars. . . . At least Bill Clinton had the sense to make sure the woman was over the age of consent. Other noteworthy enemies include. . . Closeted homosexuality. This has turned out to plague a number of people lately. There's Larry Craig and the foot tapping incident ("misunderstanding"). And Democratic Governor of New Jersey Jim McGreevey. At least he's no longer in the closet. Extramarital affairs. The list is too long. And really, is this even an issue people care about anymore? Women who don't want to be groped. (CA Gov. Terminator). There are plenty of other enemies. Crack cocaine (Marion Barry), voter fraud, blah, blah, blah. Actually, voter fraud is only a problem for the big loser, not the fake winner. Blue, red, elephant, donkey, they seem to want to make all the laws and then break them. In our research as Martian anthropologists, we'd have to conclude that some form of perversion or criminal record is mandatory for political candidates. We'd also have to conclude that the non-politicians, the ones who vote (or don't vote), have such a short attention span that really, it doesn't much matter. It's football season and there's a new season of "The Biggest Loser" and it's back to school time and the kids need new backpacks. And before you know it, it's the holidays again. Jumping into this little fantasy world sometimes gives us a fresh perspective. It's all about framing. Putting a new lens on life. Try it with your life and your persuasion. See how it goes. Tell others about it, tell me about it on this blog. Create a discussion, invite your friends and colleagues to join the discussion here. Lord knows we need to step back from the craziness every once in a while and talk to each other intelligently about what we observe.

         
    Vote for mike gravel in 2008

     

    Former Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel is running for President in 2008. If you are a progressive person who is looking for real change in 2008 then I believe that you must look past the front runners such as Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama and look towards Mike Gravel. While Clinton, Edwards, and Obama will all make much better presidents than George W. Bush (or John McCain or Rudy Giuliani for that matter) they will also offer "politics as usual" and they are unlikely to make any major changes when it comes to our unjust tax system or our unjust drug laws. They are also unlikely to completely remove all soldiers from Iraq. This is where Mike Gravel differs greatly. Mike Gravel wants to completely change our tax system. Our current tax system involves so many loopholes (fought for by lobbyists) that people with the right know how can easily game the system and thus the very rich often pay a much lower percentage of taxes than they are supposed to. If you look into the history of the income tax then you will see that it has been corrupt from the beginning. It is time to do away with the income tax and the IRS altogether. Mike Gravel wants to replace the income tax with a national sales tax. This system of taxation will be much more simple without any loopholes so it cannot be gamed by anyone. Millions of dollars will be saved by this simplified tax code. Sound impossible? It's not. Things change if we really want them to. The income tax has not been around forever. There was no income tax for the first 127 years of this country's life. Gravel estimates that we can replace our current tax system with the new Fair Tax in less than one year. Mike Gravel wants to decriminalize drugs and end "The War on Drugs." Prohibition of alcohol didn't work in the 1920s and prohibition of drugs does not work now. In what is supposed to be a free society there should be no law against what one puts into their own body. It is unjust. Furthermore it's a waste of government time and money. The money wasted on the "War on Drugs" could be spent on education and health care. Mike Gravel was against the Iraq war from the start. Gravel came out against the Iraq war in 2002 and stated then what everyone knows now. George W Bush was lying about WMD. This a man who can see through the lies. This is a man that can tell the truth. This is a man who as president would never take our country into a war unless it was absolutely necessary. How many innocent people must die? Mike Gravel has a plan to end the Iraq war immediately. And unlike others who say they will end the war, Gravel wants to remove all of our soldiers from Iraq. We should not have a permanent residency in Iraq. It's time for a real change. It is time for Mike Gravel.

         
    Wahabism the evil roots of muslim terrorism

     

    Writing about Wahabism and Salafi-Islam, could fill many books. I will however in this article, try to make clear why it is of tremendous importance in our time. Both movements are considered as the origin of Islamic terrorism. A lot of recent Islamic terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, have been inspired by Wahabism. Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703 - 1792 ) was an Arab theologian born in Saudi Arabia and can be considered as the founder of Wahabism. Wahab is considered by many to be a great reformer of Islam, and at the same time as the "father of Islamic terrorism. Iwill not go deeply into his teachings, but expose the teachings of two of his contemporary followers. Salman bin Fahed al-Auda, in his book "The End of History", asserts that the solution to Islamic distress , that may bring about the fall of America and the Western world, "exists in one word which is Jihad". According to al-Auda, the meaning of jihad is much broader than fighting with a sword. Appealing to Muslims throughout the world, he wrote: "We should not simplify this issue and narrow its meaning to a restricted military battle in one of the Islamic regions or even to an all-out war against the West, which is possible and predicted and we assume is arriving... Life as a whole is a battlefield. The weapons are not only the rifle, the bullet, the airplane, the tank, and the cannon. Not at all! Thinking is a weapon, the economy is a weapon, money is a weapon, water is a weapon, planning is a weapon, unity is a weapon, and so there are many types of weapons." In "The End of History", al-Auda concluded that the West by itself was already in an advanced state of decay: "The West, and above all the United States, and Western culture, in general are undergoing a historical process that is deterministic. This process leads to its total collapse, sooner or later." His jihad was intended to accelerate that collapse. During the 1990's, he was regarded as the most influential preacher in Saudi Arabia and Osama Bin Laden often cites out of his work. Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, lin his book "Democracy is a Religion", denies the traditional protection given by Islam to Jews and Christians. For al-Maqdisi, democracy is a prohibited innovation that contradicts Islamic values and embodies a new heretical religion. Its followers are "infidels" and "polytheists," even if they consider themselves as Jews or Christians by religion. Al-Maqdisi based his claim on the following arguments: 1. "Democracy gives legitimacy to the legislation of the masses or to the despotic regime. It is not the rule of Allah....Allah ordered his Prophet to execute the commands given to him and forbade him to follow the emotions of the nation, the masses, and the people." 2. "Democracy is the rule of the masses or the rule of paganism, which is conducted according to a constitution and not according Allah's laws....Democracy has become the mother of laws and is considered by as a holy book. The religion of democracy has no relation to Quranic verses or the Prophet's way of life and it is not possible to legislate according to them unless they are compatible with the holy book (the constitution)." 3. "Democracy is an outcome of despicable secularism and its illegitimate daughter, since secularism is a heretical school striving to separate religion from state and government." Al-Maqdisi concludes: "Democracy is a religion that is not Allah's religion....It is the rule of paganism...it is a religion which includes other gods in its belief...the people represented in the religion of democracy by its delegates in the parliament...who are actually standing idols and false gods placed in their chapels and their pagan fortresses, namely, their legislative councils. They and their followers rule according to the religion of democracy and the constitution's laws upon which the government is based, and according to the paragraphs of their legislation....Their master is their God, their big idols who approve or reject legislation. He is their emir, their king, or their president Wahabism (together with the related Salafi-movement), is not representing the majority of Islam. Actually, it is however the most aggressive teaching and it act as if it represents all Muslims. Many terrorist groupings such as Hamas, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Al Quaida, Abu Sayyaf...,are followers of Wahabism (or Salafi). Enormous quantities of money are funneled through Charity organisations to these terrorist groups. Most of the money is distributed by the Saudi Monarchy. The U. S. has already blocked many of these channels. New ways for financing the radicals, will however always be found. The only way to stop terrorism is eradicating its roots and these roots are the teachings of Wahabism and the Salafi movement. These intolerant teachings have to be stopped. The House of Saud that has been connected to Wahabism since Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, must with the help of the moderate Muslims, renounce and forbid the Wahabi teachings and if necessary, banish the terror-preaching clergy. This is however an internal Muslim problem. The question is: has the moderate Muslim-world the wil and the strenght to realize this. Meanwhile, the "West" has no other choice than continue it's "War on Terror" westernfreedom

         
     
         
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