Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day Update

Here's the best comparison of Barack Obama's and Sarah Palin's experience.....Which one sounds more prepared? (a great read)

And here's some background information on why the Govenor of Alaska would have significant National Security and International experience (more than a Senator, even one like Joe Biden)

There's also a new term that you may come to hear in the near future from Barack Obama and the Democrats: "educational debt". Don't worry, you already knowwhat it means: reparations. It's just another of those links between Obama and William Ayers; you know, the neighbor down the street that he just said hello to.

Russia to US........Get over it!
Russia's decision to send troops to Georgia has set a new standard for defending its national interests and the United States must learn to live with it, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

"Through its response to the Georgian aggression, Russia has set a kind of standard for reaction, which fully complies with international law," Lavrov told students of Moscow's diplomatic college in a speech to mark the start of the new academic year.

"Russia has returned to the world stage as a responsible state which can defend its citizens."

Any doubts about this should have been dispelled by its action in Georgia and recognition of two pro-Russian provinces as independent states, said Lavrov, whose harshest words were addressed to Washington and NATO.

"America needs to acknowledge the reality of the post-American world and start adapting to it," Lavrov said. "An attempt to live in its own unipolar world has gone on too long, and this is dangerous in every respect."

NATO’s Disastrous Georgian Fudge
Roger Cohen has a thoughtful perspective on how NATO, and then subsequently George Bush, drastically mis-steped during the April summit meeting. The split evidenced by Russia's grab of Georgia's provinces, was some time in the making, and as well, it will not be corrected in a short period. Once again it demonstrates to me the truth that allowing small transgressions to go unaddressed, leads to large transgressions. And, just as in the NYC turn-around that Rudy Giuliani initiated by targeting hundreds of minor crimes for enforcement, the West should have, and now needs to, focus the same way on Russia's transgressions.

In retrospect the NATO summit declaration of April 3 about Georgia and Ukraine seems almost criminal in its irresponsibility: “We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO.”That lofty commitment emerged from a Bucharest meeting so split over the two countries’ aspirations to enter the Atlantic alliance that it could not even agree to offer the first step toward joining, the Membership Action Plan that prepares nations for NATO.

It is unconscionable to declare objectives for which the means do not exist, and to paper over European-American division through statements of ringing but empty principle. The history of the so-called “safe areas” in Bosnia, Srebrenica among them, is sufficient testimony to the bloodshed lurking in loose commitments.
The great Bucharest fudge succeeded only in infuriating the Russians without providing the deterrence value of concrete steps for Georgia and Ukraine. Vladimir Putin, then Russian president and now prime minister, made Moscow’s fury plain to President Bush afterward in Sochi, but Bush, no surprise, was asleep at the wheel. .......No, the West was not wrong to extend NATO to the former vassal states of the Soviet empire in central Europe and the Baltic. The debt incurred at Yalta and the indivisibility of a free Europe demanded no less.....Russia will pay a price for what it’s done. It’s angered China, opened a Pandora’s box for a state with its own breakaway candidates, and lost its international law card.

Rather than a new cold war, we’re in a new broad war with several players, headed by China, and Putin’s Russia has placed short-term gain before long-term interests.

So the West should not overplay its hand. Breaking off arms reduction and missile defense talks with Russia is in nobody’s interest. Nor are cheap shots like throwing Russia out of an (ever less relevant) G-8.

But nor can the West be cowed. It must shore up the Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, with financial and other support. It must keep the trans-Caspian, Russia-circumventing energy corridor open. It must bolster Ukraine’s independence. And, at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in December, it should replace Bucharest blather with basics: a Membership Action Plan for Georgia and Ukraine.

Resolve tempered by engagement won the cold war. It can help in the broad war.

EU united against Russia agression, says Brown
Gordon Brown today warned that there could be no more "business as usual" with Russia in the wake of Moscow's invasion of Georgia.

The Prime Minister, attending an emergency EU Summit in Brussels to discuss the crisis, said all 27 member states were united in their condemnation of Russia's "aggression" against its smaller neighbour.

Have we misunderestimated George W Bush?

A thoughtful, and appropriately lengthy, review of George Bush's actual vs. his perceived legacy at this time. More will come, and like many of his predecessors, he'll be much more appreciated in hindsight.
We may think we've got the measure of the 43rd President of the United States, the most unpopular man to have occupied the White House in modern times. But we'd be wrong, argues Rupert Cornwell. At home and abroad, the Bush years have seen real achievements – and history may judge him far more kindly than his critics would have us believe

Sun Makes History: First Spotless Month in a Century
Get ready for Cold Weather.

The sun has reached a milestone not seen for nearly 100 years: an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted. The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity – which determines the number of sunspots -- is an influencing factor for climate on earth.According to data from Mount Wilson Observatory, UCLA, more than an entire month has passed without a spot. The last time such an event occurred was June of 1913. Sunspot data has been collected since 1749.
three previous such events -- the Dalton, Maunder, and Spörer Minimums, have all led to rapid cooling. On was large enough to be called a "mini ice age". For a society dependent on agriculture, cold is more damaging than heat. The growing season shortens, yields drop, and the occurrence of crop-destroying frosts increases.
If that occurs, I guess we'll be burning anything that we can get; wearing fur will be smart; and property values in Florida, Arizona and New Mexico will skyrocket.

On a related note, the following article in the Times (UK), highlights to me what I realized while living and working in Europe for five years. Most Europeans who viewed the US as a poluter, actually had no idea about how "green" literally and figuratively the US was. Their perspective that we lack respect for the environment was usually based on our obvious display of material wealth, and our extravagant (to them) consumption of goods. It seemed to me that underlaying their critique of our environmental chops, was basically, envy. When you actually compared how we have protected and revived our environment in the US, to most European countries, we come out way ahead. Despite that, it's still easier for most of the world to cast the US as the environmental bogeyman. America is not an environmental villain

There is still a lot that can be said in its defence that is lost in the insults. The first point is the depth of the environmental tradition in American culture. The American reverence for the wilderness goes back before even the explorers who pushed the frontier westwards - back to Native American culture.......
A second point in America's favour is that the environmental laws which it passed in those decades are some of the world's toughest....... The US also moved quickly, when a 1976 National Academy of Sciences report found damage to the ozone layer, to ban chlorofluorocarbons from aerosols, a move resisted initially by the European Union.

What is more, America enforces these laws, even if their application is challenged in court. In contrast, while the EU has been prolific in passing ambitious regulations on environmental standards, the marvel is how patchily they are enforced......MORE

And as a fitting end to today's post.........

100 things to do before you die
Creator of the eponymous travel guide '100 things to do before you die', Dave Freeman, died this week. Click here to see his definitive list of life-changing experiences in pictures. Click here to see his definitive list of life-changing experiences in pictures.

New Orlean's Hot 8 Brass Band



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