Sunday, March 29, 2009

Update: Serbs Ordered to Pay for the Mosques

Bosnian Serb authorities have been ordered to pay Muslims $42 million for the destruction of 16 mosques in the city of Banja-Luka during the 1992-1995 war.

As posted earlier, (Karadzic's Destruction of Bosnia Lasts Long After War), Bosnian Serbs destroyed every mosque in the Serb controlled city of Banja-Luka. Banja-Luka is now the capital of the Republika Srpska autonomous region of Bosnia-i-Hercegovinia.

The Srpska Republika News Agency quoted the Islamic Community's lawyer Esad Hrvacic as saying that "For us, what is far more important than material compensation is that for the first time Republika Srpska has taken complete responsibility for the destruction of the mosques."

The most prominent of the mosques, built in 1579, the Ferhadija Mosque was on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and is being rebuilt.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Against the War in Afghanistan? Are You High?

Afghanistan is NOT Iraq. The invasion of Iraq was a tantrum by a group of megalomaniacs. The invasion of Afghanistan, however, was not by choice. It was necessary to protect the United States and the united nations. This war against the Taliban needs to be concluded even if it means extending the war into Pakistan.

A recent CNN poll showed that a majority of Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan. We’re nearing the isolationist fervor we exhibited between the world wars, which ended in the disaster of the Nazi aggression and genocide in Europe. Afghanistan is not altogether different from Europe of the 1930s.


Since we seem to have forgotten, let’s start with a brief history of modern Afghanistan.

Following centuries of possession by foreign powers, Afghanistan finally emerged with a progressive secular, but pro-soviet, government in the 1970s. The United States decided to covertly fund the Mujahidin to annoy the Soviets. In 1979, the Soviets invaded to prop up the Soviet-leaning Afghan government. The United States then funded and trained the Mujahidin to fight a proxy war against the Soviets. After nine years of occupation, the USSR pulled out. Unfortunately, the United States similarly pulled out, leaving behind a horrific civil war. The Taliban came to power in 1996.

The Taliban government created an extreme Wahhabi version of Shariah law where women were to be illiterate baby producing machines. Women who were educated, showed any part of their bodies (even their eyes) in public, or were even found outside of the home without their husbands were publicly executed.

The Taliban supported and were supported by Al Qaida and Osama Bin Laden. When Bill Clinton managed to kick Bin Laden out of the Sudan, the Taliban gladly gave him room for his training camps. The ‘9/11’ hijackers were all trained in Bin Laden’s Afghan camps.

Although Al Qaida has been in hiding since the beginning of the Afghan war, the Taliban is reemerging as a power in the Waziristan regions of Pakistan.


The Taliban, one of the worst regimes in modern history, is regrouping; the weak (if not dysfunctional) Pakistani government has the bomb; opium production is at an all-time high; and civil war rages in the Khyber wastelands. The Asian people are as desperate as the people of 1930’s Europe and they have a leader: Bin Laden. Pakistani militants assassinated Benozir Bhutto, seiged Mumbai, and protect Al Qaida. Al Qaida and the Taliban intend to take down western civilization ….

So, how in the hell can you be against the war?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Love When Professionals Pick Up On My Posts

I Love When Professionals Pick Up On My Posts
This morning's USA Today includes an editorial called "In Defense of Earmarks - 'Pork' in Congress feeds the people," written by Ross K. Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University.

Nice pickup Ross.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

There’s Nothing Wrong With Pork

Many rail against ‘pork’ and ‘earmarks’ in government spending, but there’s just nothing wrong with either one. They say pork is wasteful spending and earmarks hide spending. Not true. The problem is in the definitions.

‘Pork’ is nothing more than Federal spending on local projects, or more to the point, spending on projects that have a location. There aren’t many projects that don’t have a location. All spending on bridges and roads, military bases, hospitals, etc. have a location. Even spending for the IRS has a location; they’ve got to put their personnel in an office, after all.

An ‘earmark’ is a directive, instructing a state how to spend congressionally appropriated money. Congress can’t get a bridge repaired unless it tells a state to use money for the project.

What is wrong with pork is when congressmen use undue influence or cave to lobbyist pressure in allocating money for projects. Complaints about earmarks surfaced when congressmen began inserting earmarks into comprehensive spending bills at the last moment, hiding the spending until it’s too late.

Even lobbyists are valuable and necessary when kept in their place. No congressman can actually be an expert on every issue before Congress. Lobbyists inform and educate. How could any person, on his own, understand the complexity of providing our world with energy while protecting it from energy? The problem is when congressmen stop listening to both sides of an issue. But when excessive campaign contributions push a congressman to take direction from a lobbyist or even allow the lobbyist to write legislation, lobbying must be curbed.

Now let’s stop flying off the handle over misused terms. Pork is necessary; earmarks are necessary; and even lobbyists are necessary. We should call congressmen on their misuse of legislative tools, not their necessary use.

Posted on CNN today: Earmarks: Myth and reality

Rational discussion of earmarks from President Obama: Obama calls for overhaul of earmarks