December 27, 2011
Al Qaeda, Ali Adbullah Saleh, America, American Muslim, Arab Spring, Arabian Peninsula, Bahrain, Europe, Houthis, Muslims, Saudi Arabia, Syria, western world
The Arab Spring in Yemen Takes a Dangerous Turn, for America
Yemeni President Ali Adbulla Saleh is adamantly insisting that he will receive medical treatment in the United States for his war wounds. President Obama’s decision to allow or reject Saleh will either anger millions or send recruits directly to Al Qaeda.
While attempting to quell the Arab Spring in Yemen Saleh kill hundreds, risked civil war, and was nearly killed by an improvised explosive device.
The revolution is still struggling to gain power against Saleh’s loyalists; however, they have forced concessions. Saleh recently resigned from his presidency. This is only a token move: his son still controls the army and his vice president is almost certainly going to succeed Saleh. The Arab Spring Movement in Yemen has won a major battle, there is still a long war ahead of them.
Now Saleh is demanding medical attention in the United States, cornering the United States into a lose-lose situation.
If the government allows the tyrant to receive medical treatment this will be a stunning blow to the Arab Spring. Saleh has killed nearly two thousand of protesters and soldiers fighting for a more honest government. By providing medical treatment, rather than arresting, Saleh the United States is condoning his actions. Just allowing him into the country communicates to the world that America is okay with those who orchestrate genocide. The revolutionaries, American peace activists, and American Muslim community would all be outraged. These groups are gaining more power every year, while doing good, it would be disastrous to take this humanitarian route.
However, America also is endangered if Obama blocks Saleh’s visit.
American investment in the Arabian Peninsula is critical to our national security. Al Qaeda splinter cells have nested and flourished in Yemen during this last year of strife while the separatist Houthis are forming a small nation-state in northern Yemen. The country is the very definition of destabilized.
If America rejects Saleh it aggravates the country. Loyalists across Yemen will be aggravated by their president’s rejects. Al Qaeda will utilize the incident for recruiting. After the rejection many Yemenis will have a lot of undirected anger at the Americans. Who better than Al Qaeda to take advantage of anti-American sentiments.
Like I said, this is a lose-lose situation: either Obama antagonizes the Muslim world or arms Al Qaeda.
This microcosm of the results of the Arab Spring reflects the part the Western World will play after the tyrants from Bahrain to Syria are cast out. Governments in exile, royal families, and other unwanted pre-Arab Spring structures will flee to Europe and America for safety. This incident displays the question: should we take in butchers while angering own citizens or reject killers and build a more fearsome terrorist threat. There are no easy answers.
Personally, I believe all dictators of genocide should have access to medical treatments, such as electric chairs and firing squads.
December 24, 2011
America, China, Corruption, Eugenics, Hong Kong, Income Inequality, Infanticide, Japan, One-Child Policy, Politics, quote, Revolution, Sterilized
Cute Enough to Risk a Second?
At the heart of every blockbuster rests a simple question: how far would you go to save a loved one?
In China, the distances are further from here to a galaxy far, far away and the trials exceed Rocky’s worst nightmares.
Having a second child in China is not just heavily frowned upon, it is against the law. The government is ruthless and despicable in its dark crusade against the unborn: in some regions of China infanticide is commonplace, two-child mothers are forcibly sterilized, and corpses of the unborn are tossed in ditches on the side of the road. It is little surprise that around 500 women commit suicide every day in China
There are three major routes for the daring few to have a second child.
1) Face the Fines
Wealthy families can pay the stiffs fines to have seconds. The costs per child range with from providence to providence and with the ferocity of the population administrators. Many of the fines range between 200,000 yuan and 300,000 yuan, $20,000 and $30,000 American dollars, per year in a country where the household income is just over $10,000 American dollars. The costs rise quickly with additional child. Only the elite have two children, having three is almost unheard of , and more than that seems to be sacrilege. This path is only open to the wealthy. The 99% must look elsewhere.
2) Bribe the Bureaucrats
For the majority of the 160,000 “out of plan” children are born into China this is the best option since corruption is a core pillar in Chinese culture. For a bride, officials are more than happy to legitimize the paperwork for illegal children. Loopholes in the law are stretched to the breaking point. The second child can be declared a member of a childless family or that of a rural family which was alloted two children. More daring families risk simply declaring the second child a twin of the legal first-born one. As families get poorer they go to further extremes to meet the loophole conditions; it has driven some to marry relatives to hide seconds while others hide children when inspectors arrive. This path is dangerous, however it is the only option presented to most parents.
3) Births Abroad
Middle income parents choose to have babies abroad. Some are born in capitalist cities like Hong Kong, where the restrictions are not in place. Others go to great distances; some fly all the way to Japan or even the United States to birth children. Illegal clinics host the expecting mothers, paying lucrative rates, until their children are ready. These children are then birthed like normal babies in conventional hospitals. The problems arise with getting the mother and baby back to the family. Since the babies were born on foreign soil they are technically foreigners. This makes life difficult because parents still pay hiked rates for education and health of the children. This is generally the cheapest legal option.
Out of love and passion every year tens of thousands of children are born “out of plan” every year. This is a bold statement about the indomitable nature of mankind as the desire for having multiple children survived terrifying propaganda encompassing half a century.
This situation brings to mind a quote from chaos theorist Malcolm, of Jurassic Park, “Life will find a way.” Another, lesser known, Jurassic Park quote comes to mind as well: ” OH-MY-GO-THE-DINOSAURS-ARE-EATING-ME-SHOT-IT-SHOT-IT-SH——*crunch, crunch*.” With its one-child policy the Chinese government is fighting the very forces of evolution. A hundred thousand years of primal struggle cannot be snuffed out by a few misguided politicians and a little red book.
When the Jurassic side of China’s one-child-policy emerges the country will be torn asunder. Love of family is stronger than the logic of population parameters. These massing illegals parents and activists indicate a revolution will happen sooner rather than later. Change is coming to China: life will find a way.
December 24, 2011
Alan Gross, Catholic Church, Christmas, communism, cuba, Economics, Israel, Micro Loan, Middle Class, Palestine, Pope Benedict XVI, Prisoner Release, Raul Castro, Roman Catholic, Santa Clause
Pope Benedict XVI fosters big change in little Cuba
Cuba is about to meet with God.
Or at least his representative, the Pope.
Pope Benedict XVI has declared he will visit Cuba shortly before Easter in early 2012. Approximately eighty-five percent of the country is Roman Catholic so the papal visit is like Santa Claus coming to Christmas Party. The country is putting its best foot forward for the visit while going to great lengths to cover-up any blemishes. But like teenage acne, several sins mars country’s image. Their jails hold dozens of political prisoners and massive economic inequalities burden the population.
Nonetheless, the Cuban government is taking near unprecedented actions to legitimize itself; in the spirit of Christmas they have released 2900 prisoners on Christmas Eve.
The Cuban government’s motivations for this greatest of gifts is tainted. The released seem to be marginal political prisoners whose initial arrests are unjustified. Important prisoners have not been released. American Alan Gross, serving 15 years for subversive CIA-backed activities, has remain imprisoned alongside critical political prisoners. Cuba still expects to be congratulated for its humanitarianism.
It is like when my sister stole all the Christmas cookies; she expected to be congratulated upon returning the platter, despite every tasty gingerbread man missing at least one limb.
I speculate that Cuba is changing, for the better. Rather than maintaining the fantasy that Cuba is a socialist paradise its new leader, President Raul Castro, is moving to better Cuba pragmatically. Freeing these prisoners, whom never should have been behind bars in the first place, is one definite step towards legitimizing Cuba in the eyes of the international community.
Being legitimate is important; both Israel and Palestine are effectively countries, but Israel is de jure while Palestine is not. That is why Israel is a partner in international trade, operates in global alliances, and has a high standard of living while Palestine is not even on the map.
Already key political figures, such as Pope Benedict XVI, are acknowledging the increasing credibility of Cuba, with publicized visits.
It will take time, however I believe Cuba is now in the opening stages of positive trajectory that ends with it being an integrated member of the international community. There is corroborative evidence the country is changing for the better. Earlier this month the national banks launched a micro loan program to give every citizen financing to better his home and investments. There is even an emerging middle class.
It will take hard work and many years, but change is coming. The Christmas Spirit, inspiring both peace on earth and goodwill to all men, is one key ingredient to ending hardship in Cuba. Maybe Castro will give even better gifts next Christmas, or at least steal fewer cookies.
December 17, 2011
1967 Border, African Union, Age of the Internet, Age of World Wars, Al-Qaeda Islamic Maghred, Arab Spring, Darfur Genocide, Developed Countries, Developing Countries, Gaza Strip, government, Hamas, Houthis, Israel, Jews, Kosovo, Middle East, Muslims, Palestine, Prediction, President Obama, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Saleh, Separatist Wars, South Sudan, state-nation, Sudan, Third World, United Nations, Unrecognized Nations, Yemen
Modern maps lie.
Today, there are far more functional countries in the world than any map will list. These unrecognized countries are nation-states. This designation means they are identified by their a unified culture which is separate politically and socially from their official government. The Arab Spring has blown the lid off many of the worst autocracies, from the deserts of the Sahara to the Balkans peninsula. Corrupt central governments are receding before small nation-state across the Third World. In the twenty-first century stability in the Middle East and rapidly developing countries will be marked by the emergence of small, regional nation-states whose legitimization comes from their ties to the local cultures.
Since 2004 there have been two countries in Yemen. There is the recognized militaristic government under President Saleh, the target of international outrage as massing Arab Spring protesters demand his resignation and that of his heavy-handed parliament. UN observers have taken advantage of this strife to visit off-limits regions of the country. They have discovered a new nation.
In the north of Yemen the separatist Houthis have established a large territory, encompassing cities, which they operated independently from the recognized government. Their struggle for independence is largely hidden by the oppressive Saleh regime, who bombarded and assaulted northern towns indiscriminately. We learn from Yemen that there can be operating, unrecognized governments in destabilized nations. Some have already emerged.
South Sudan broke away from Sudan on July 9, 2011 to the applause and amazement of the world. Before their split from Sudan the South Sudanese were largely unrepresented in their ex-government’s corrupt and violent regime, which has killed hundreds of thousands in the Darfur Genocide. A separatist movement in South Sudan was able to win support for a new nation because natives wanted a government from their people for their people.
There is still unrest in South Sudan; however, they have even gained a foothold as an established nation. Money is beginning to flow into South Sudan. For example, the country recently won a $2.14 billion dollar oil export deal. Meanwhile, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has met with President Obama and begun to build tentative relations with the United States. South Sudan is here to stay. The African Union, one of the most notable inter-country organization in Africa, has admitted South Sudan as a full-fledged member. The future looks bright for South Sudan. We learn from Southern Sudan that unrecognized nations can emerge members of the international community. Other nation-states, still unrecognized, still have international impact.
Palestine is a new state-nation, despite what Israeli claims. It is one of the most renown largely, yet unrecognized, new nation-states in the world. For years they have lived under a trade embargo from Israel because of the Palestinian’s Hamas government, who seeks to wipe Israel from the map. However, with the winds of the Arab Spring change has come to the Gaza Strip. With Mubarak’s resignation in Egypt and the erosion of the Israel-Egyptian alliance the western border of Palestine has been opened. This derivative of the Arab Spring has allowed critical resources and new ideas to sweep through the Hamas government. It was suspected this would cause an explosion of terrorist activity into Israel and snowballing border war
This is not the case.
Instead, Hamas is calling for a mitigation of violence. They are even willing to consent to the 1967 borders between Israel and Palestine. In the aftermath of the Arab Spring these radicals are willing to yield where they once vowed they would not. I believe the Arab Spring is influencing these separatist leaders to make rational moves and take what they can get. If Israel can also agree to this deal they might be able to bring peace to a region that has been swamped in conflict for more than half a century through recognizing two separate states of Palestine and Israel. In the past they attempted several varieties of hegemony over the radically different Jews and Muslims with no success. Nation-states are the solution to end territorial conflicts because the end the predicament with a definitive border line. This solution is not limited to the Middle East.
In Europe, Kosovo has emerged as a semi-recognized nation-state within the borders of Serbia. Between Mali and Algeria Al-Qaeda Islamic Maghred is establish local support for a new territory of power. Despite each nation-state being radically different all of these, from across the world, share common traits. Each is recognized by its own unique cultures. In addition, these new countries have the ability to be self-sufficient because of the emotional investment the leaders have in their homeland. Finally, nation-states can emerge anywhere in the world where there is an unrepresented, by motivated, minority with a unified culture.
The Age of World Wars, which has lasted since the French-Indian War until the fall of the Berlin Wall, is over. We are entering the Separatist Wars, between emerging nation-states and their oppressive governments.
Nation-states will fight for new countries because that will be the only way they can secure their own futures. Rather than sweeping conflicts across conflicts the twenty-first century will be marked by numerous heated conflicts. Once the dust settles many cultural enclaves will emerge as state-nations.
The world will be off with nation-states governments will curtail of corruption and increase representation of otherwise ignored populations because of their cultural investments. This is my prediction, interpret it as you wish.
December 10, 2011
Artificial Personhood, Corporations are Not People, Elizabeth Warren, Exectutive, Government Contracts, Income Inequality, Judical, Lawrence Lessig, legistlation, Legistlative, Lost, Middle Class, Occupy Wall Street, One Person One Vote, Personhood, plutocracy, President, public opinion, republic, Second Gilded Age, senate, Supreme Court, Taxation, TEA Party, Unemployment, Washington DC
What is Next For Occupy Wall Street?
The Occupy Wall Street Movement is a bold and indecisive mess.
Public opinion is split between agreeing with their ideals and being annoyed by their gridlock of commuter traffic. More and more people are turning against the Occupy Movement simply because the movement is more of an inconvenience than a friend to the common man. In order for the movement to succeed, rather than be viewed as a disorganized TEA Party of the left, they need to embrace key principles that everyone can see the merit in. After winning general support, these principles need to made reality.
In order to win popular support Occupy Wall Street needs to embrace and express their following ideals:
A Job For Every Man
Unemployment among the Occupy Wall Street protesters is six percent higher than the national average. Having a job is not only a requirement for stability in also plays a key role in self-esteem, lifestyle, and happiness. Everyone is better off when people have more jobs; corporations make a higher profit, the government collects more taxes, and there is food on the tables of the new employees. Everybody wins. This route for this change is through Congress, the senators should support jobs bills because it supports their own constituencies. The protesters of Occupy Wall Street wants jobs, if they can find forums to actualize this simple vision they will gain public support and make a real difference in everyone’s lives.
One Person, One Vote
America is based on the idea of equal representation for all people; however, I truthfully doubt anyone reading this article has ever given money to a lobbyist. I know I have not and even if I did my life’s savings would not even be accounted as a rounding error in comparison to corporate expenditure or financing from the richest one percent. Currently in America those with the most money have the greatest political power; that is why many of the richest Americans have no problem dodging taxes while the middle class buckles under flat wages and massive debt. This gulf in political power illustrates the decay of the American integrity.
Lawrence Lessig, answers this dilemma in his book Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It, with legislative subsidies. Currently corporations and the plutocrats have excessive power because they have a disproportionate savings of money to finance their political campaigns. The legislative subsidies would give every American a tax rebate to give to political organizations or candidates of their choice. Each person is given the exact same amount of political dollars. This levels the playing field and gives every American an equal voice in the ballot box and in the campaigning.
The Senate is too polarized to embrace this radical change and the Supreme Court would also be divided because of its questionable censures of the first amendment. This change would have to come from the executive branch and a powerful president willing to sacrifice everything, perhaps including his presidency, for the good of America.
Corporation are Not People
The Civil War was fought to bring the fourteenth amendment, declaring that all people are people, has used approximately 150 times during the nineteenth century; 15 of those cases protected the rights of blacks, the remaining 135 were used to protect corporation. In the eyes of the law corporations are artificial persons and are entitled to all the rights that people are. This includes unlimited campaign donations and investing in lobbyists to secure contracts for them. The legal basis behind the fallacy is that since corporations are organizations of people and since peaceful assemblies are clearly protected in the constitution then corporations are as well.
Artificial people are not humans, people are people. A collection of algorithms, buildings, products, and data charts should not have larger voice in my government than any tax paying citizen. Our founding fathers declared no taxation without representation. Occupy Wall Street proclaim that there is no representation for those under taxation. Amending this mistake, along with its subsidies such as Citizen United v. FEC, will come down to the Supreme Court declaring corporations are not people. The people within corporations can still make their opinions known; however, since the chief job of corporations is to make money that should be the field they are confided to. Non-profits, activism groups, and other like-minded organizations who are genially interested in the future of America, not including lucrative contracts, should have a voice in Washington DC.
And In Summary…
To make real change on this front Occupy Wall Street needs to either put its own supporters in the Senate, such as Elizabeth Warren, who believe in protecting the common man. We need to restructure how voting is done in this country so the party with the most support, not the politicians with the best financing. The Occupy Wall Street also must make amendments to the Constitution to secure human rights only for humans. We are in a Second Gilded Age today, where the plutocrats and corporations run the show at the expense of you and me. This must change. Occupy Wall Street is the unrefined vehicle for progressive change in America, with a little hard work she will dazzle the world and change history.
December 8, 2011
Al WeiWei, Anti-immigration racism, Chengguan, China, Environmental, Human Rights, Pepper Spray, Police, Preach, Racism, Suppression, Syria
In China, criminals arrest the police.
The Chengguan, known officially as The City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau, is not as orderly as their name would suggest. Across China they are scorned because of their ruthless and violent tactics they use against illegal housing and unregistered street vendors and anyone who blocks the path of their perception of the law.
Their actions are similar to barbarians than public servants. The lists of atrocities they have committed known no end. A one-legged street vendor was brutally beaten to death in broad daylight. Western foreign exchange students were stalked and forced off a food stand they were operating. A police officer, aiding an old man who was being beaten by the Chengguan, was chased down, strangled, and arrested.
The Chengguan are above the law. Even in the incident with the brutalized police officer the Chengguan escaped unscathed. There was no follow-up investigation, police were report they have little knowledge of the incident, and the assaulted police officer refused to meet with the reporters.
This suppression of justice is commonplace in China. Even their twitter counterpart has administrators dedicated to rooting out any “polluted” information concerning the true face of the Chinese government. Radical artists, such as Al WeiWei, are mercilessly persecuted and arrested on downright false charges because of their antigovernment messages.
China aspires to be a world leader. Currently they are acting like a radical and destabilized country. Their human rights practices are more comparable to Syria, who has also been rightfully accused of butchering its own citizens. While racism and income and economic inequality persist in the developed countries their human rights violations are sporadic and severely mitigated. The single worst incidents of the Occupy Wall Street protests involved pepper spray. Isolated incidents of police brutality and violent discrimination taint the image of the Western World on the whole these are stable countries with honorable police.
China is the emerging superpower. This is fact. However, they will only be treated like an equal country once they treat all of their citizens equally and fairly. As long as rampant breaches of human rights, such as this state sponsored brutality, their widespread environmental disasters, and suppression of minorities, they will not be treated as an equal member in the developed world.
They have made it clear they want to be treated with respect. I say let them earn that respect by correcting these mistakes. That is how America got to where it is today. Fractures in that american integrity, such as widespread anti-immigration racism, are one of the great threats to that stability.
December 3, 2011
1980's Energy Crisis, 1991 Recession, 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, 2007 Recession, Age of the Internet, Case Study, GDP, globalization, Human Capital, Internet, Internet Bubble, Internet Usage, Singapore, Technological Capital, United States
How Are The Finances of the United States and Singapore Similar?
Financially these two countries are interconnected in our globalized world. Here are both countries GDP percentage growths for the last thirty years:
These countries are associated financially. In 1982, 1991, 2001, and 2009 sharp canyons affect both lines of data. Each gulf corresponds directly to a specific global recession. The 1982 dip is backlash from the 1980’s energy crises. The inflation epidemic of the early 1990’s caused the 1991 recession. Popping of the internet bubble in 2001 caused a major dip in both countries. Finally, fallout from the 2008 banking crises is seen in the 2008 and 2009 chasm.
Only in 1998 does Singapore act independently from the United States. During this year Singapore was negatively influenced by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. Despite being thousands of miles away from this regional problem there is a noticeable stun in America’s economic growth as well. These several associated data points mean these countries are financially related.
Are Measurements of Human Capital Similar?
Human capital is an abstract term that attempts to quantify the collective value of the education and habits of a citizenship. One good indicator of this is Internet usage; access to international data and technologies revolutionizes education at home, in schools, and in the workplace. Below is a comparison between the United States and Singapore numbers of internet users.
The data is skewed left with a steady incremental increase every year until both counties. At 2002 for the United States and 2004 for Singapore the data levels off and the numbers of new internet users decreases. The United States pioneered the Internet, so they have more widely spread usage. However, Singapore follows the United States timeline closely; during most years the numbers of internet users in Singapore is the same percentage of users the United States had two years prior. Here is the Internet usages growth compared in relation to each other at this staggered relation:
In this examination the positive values represent when Americans gained more internet users than the Singaporean and the negative values represent when the Singaporeans gained more users than the Americans. The same internet bubble that exploded in the GDP growth percentages can be seen building in both countries. Between 1998 and 1999 the Americans lose smaller and smaller incriminates as they rapidly proliferate the first internet startups. Following two years behind, in 2000 and 2001, Singapore establishes record numbers of internet users as the internet bubble balloons over Eastern Asia. These statistics are all interconnected just as the countries are.
What Lessons can America take from the Singapore?
The primary lesson from this analysis is that we are all connected. When America triggered a recession by bankrupting Lehmean Brothers in 2008 it triggered a recession that terrorized Singapore. Likewise, when the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis rocked Singapore America was also negatively affected. However, this relationship works both ways. The Internet has brought a new age of prosperity to America and Singapore. Perhaps their architecture techniques will return to America and allow us to better utilize our own space. As the world grows more globalized the altruistic options only proliferate.
Thank you for Reading Part 3 of our Case Study of the populstions Singapore and the United States: Please Read Part 1 and Part 2 for the full perspective.
“Inflation, Consumer Prices (annual %) | Data | Table.” Data | The World Bank. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. <http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/FP.CPI.TOTL.ZG>.
“List of Recessions in the United States.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions_in_the_United_States>.