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Posts Tagged ‘president’

If you’ve watched the world news or read a bit online, you’ve probably seen something about the riots in Kyrgyzstan, a former USSR republic that borders China and just tried to oust its president. Protesting masses took to the streets demanding a change in government, the president fled, hundreds of police were summoned to quell the riots, and many people were hurt and killed. President Kurmanbek Bakiev maintains he is still in power. An interim government spawned by the riots and headed by Roza Otunbayeva also claims leadership and openly seeks Bakiev’s resignation. So, you’re up to speed on the basics. Now for the nitty gritty.

This is all about corruption and political malfeasance. A head of government makes some questionable appointments, arrests some influential people, utilty prices skyrocket, a populace feels cheated, and suddenly dozens of people are dead and hundreds are wounded. It’s an old story, but one we seemingly never learn from. I’ve done little research on the heart of the matter (this article seems a good place to start if you want to) but I did catch a Nightline spot which mentioned police firing into a crowd of protestors. Which is really why I’m posting about it. Because I find that disgusting.

I don’t really care what the government and or President Bakiev did. Yes, it was probably dirty, and almost certainly unfair to the Kyrgyz people … because that’s what governments are good at. But to allow, and even encourage, armed enforcers to use live ammunition on an unarmed population is inexcusable.

And I’m not talking handguns, or sharpshooters taking out the small number of protestors armed with weapons taken from other guards/police/etc. Witnesses describe them as automatic sub-machine guns, and video clips show them firing full-tilt in the direction of protestors. A government that will permit such an excessive use of force on its people cannot be endorsed with any moral conscience whatsoever. With various non-lethal choices available, there is no reasonable explanation for such an action.

An ABC News article reports that initial protests in the capitol city of Bishkek were met with just that sort of non-lethal force: rubber bullets, tear gas, water cannons, concussion grenades. But the attempts to break up the crowds were not focused and angry protestors fought back with rocks, sticks, and sheer numbers. They overpowered some policemen and took their weapons, even their vehicles at times. When they congregated at the government headquarters known as the White House (no, that’s not a typo), things turned ugly.

The ABC article does not discuss why the police didn’t concentrate their efforts on the White House to begin with. It seems logical to me, especially with a demonstration in the western city of Talas the day before where protestors entered a government building and took control, purportedly holding a governor hostage. With a clear voice, the opposition was calling for the president’s resignation, so it’s a pretty good bet that sooner or later the protests would center on the White House. It would not be difficult to encircle the building with police and keep non-lethal weaponry at the ready.

Whatever the reasoning, police forces were scattered ineffectually around the city as protests became riotous and protestors grew violent. An armored vehicle, seized by protestors, threatened to ram the gates of the White House. Six men in the crowd reportedly fired shots into the air as the people decried the government. Then a group of police opened fire on the crowd.

It wasn’t clear if these police were stationed at the government building or pushing into the protestors from another direction, and to the dozens killed I doubt it matters. It also wasn’t clear why no effort was made to disperse the crowd using non-lethal means. That group of police purportedly numbered 200, were classified as “elite,” and yet never sent so much as a single canister of tear gas into the protestors before they “began firing, pushing the crowd back.” In retaliation and further protest, a government office was set on fire and several others damaged.

Protests and demonstrations in other cities deposed local heads of government. Media outlets were overtaken to spread the word of protest and opposition. And so the president fled. An interim governing body was assembled. Protestors calmed and divided. And the country – the world – waits for resolution.

I applaud the Kyrgyzstani people in standing up to what they believe is an unjust and corrupt government. I admire their determination and resolute push to see change. I hope the resolution is fair and sets the nation on a road with less upheaval and more freedom and justice. And I hope the United States stays out of it.

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My fellow Americans, and other readers from around the world, I believe something very strange has happened to us. An author named Robert Heinlein once wrote a book called Stranger in a Strange Land, and while I’ve never read said book I feel the title is all too accurate in describing my little corner of the world. I do indeed feel like a total stranger in a very strange land.

I used to think I had a pretty good handle on this world, and pretty well knew my place in it. But things change, don’t they? Oh my, yes, how things change. The kicker, of course, is that it’s really only my perception of things that has changed, not the things themselves. There was always deception and dishonor, corruption and cowardice, only now I really see them. Everywhere.

Does anyone else find it ridiculous that this country spent sixteen years under the thumb of two lying, cheating, self-serving men who left nothing behind but a wake of death and destruction? Or how about the fact that the popular vote in the last two presidential elections was completely ignored by the electoral college, the supposedly “representative” group of men and women who ultimately choose which candidate will rule the nation? Is it just me or has inflation made the prices of goods and services skyrocket while wages have only slowly crept upward? And isn’t this the same inflation that Washington still refuses to acknowledge while it prints fiat money as fast as it can?

Do these things make sense to anyone? Am I taking crazy pills or something??

Because they seem as wrong as wrong can be to me. It seems unfathomable to me that politicians now speak of “trillions of dollars” as if it were only millions. That Barack Obama is hailed as a saviour when so far his works have only driven us deeper in the ground. (Hey, buddy, we were already six feet under … isn’t that enough?) I find it hard to believe that China wants to drop the dollar when ten years ago a college professor explained to me how ludicrously unlikely it was that America would ever fail. How nonsensical that a major city should ever drown on the inaction of its leaders and the entire conglomeration of local, state and national governments; that the uncontrolled spending of large banks should bring the economy to its knees worldwide; that the Democratic platform and the Communist platform should differ on only two points.

I know that these things are true, but I have a hard time understanding them. It’s as though I’ve slipped into a parallel dimension, or, like Rip Van Winkle, somehow awoken to a future where little of the world I knew remains. Where corruption has infiltrated every facet of our legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government at every level, from small-town council to the president himself. Where corporate and political greed has nullified the needs of the American people. Where anything is for sale if the price is right and to hell with the consequences.

Welcome to the Strange Lands. It looks like the Dark Ages are back.

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“All the legislation in the world can’t fix what’s wrong with America.” – Jimmy Carter

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” – Gerald Ford

“When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Why shouldn’t the people fear the great? The liberties of mankind were never destroyed by any other class of men.” – Abraham Bishop

“America is great because America is good; and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” – Alexis de Toqueville

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Unless you’ve been in a coma or huddled in the dark under a very, very large rock, you’ve heard about our new president. Not just “president-elect” anymore but now officially entrenched, Barack Hussein Obama is the man in charge, commander-in-chief.

I don’t know about you but I didn’t exactly go out dancing in the street. I can’t honestly say I understand his plans for the country (I don’t believe anyone does; he’s given out precious little specifics about them) and that leaves me worried for the country. As he well noted in his inaugural speech, we are in trying times and finding a way out will take time. If, that is, we are indeed able to find our way out.

Obama probably has great plans for us. (Though, personally, I think it would take a real-life miracle to fix the crises we face.) He may employ brilliant advisers and ingenious schemes to reach his goals … but I just don’t think so. To carry out the objective he’s set forth, I think we stand to lose more than we would gain for the “greater good.” Not that it’s anything new (I hated Bush’s version of “national security” that cost us several of our freedoms) but I still don’t think it’s right.

And Obama keeps being compared to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but FDR enacted many programs that faltered for the better part of a decade and were only beginning to work when the economical “saving grace” of war came along. Desperate times call for desperate measures but when the government starts making up new rules and pulling rabbits out of hats, it’s getting ugly. You better hope whoever is holding the reins is worth trusting.

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People, I’m tired of all the politics flying around our media-centric country like flies around a fresh pile of poop.  I understand this is a presidential election with a black(ish) man as a potential future president.  I get it.  After an 8-year Republican run I’d say McCain’s chances are just over nil because it’s been, oh, decades, since there wasn’t a party shift after a presidential incumbent.  This isn’t rocket science, “my friends,” it’s a matter of historical record.  Let’s see here…  The most recent was the election of George H. W. Bush in 1988, after Republican incumbent Ronald Reagan’s term from 1980 through 1988.  Two decades, so not too bad…  But prior to that, we have to go all the way back to Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover to find an incumbent and a new president elect sharing the same party.  That was 1928

The Republican party knows it has virtually no chance of winning, especially against Obama.  First off, Geroge W. is one of the least-liked presidents in living memory and has sullied the GOP’s reputation for years to come.  Second, Obama is black, the first real black candidate ever, and he’s spouting utopian ideals and plans for “change, change, change!”  To further the Democratic cause, his pre-nomination competitor was a woman.  I mean, the Democratic party couldn’t have planned it better if they’d tried … hard on the heels of a stodgy, uptight, ignorant, conservative, corporate- and crony-helping incumbent, what better to stir attention and proclaim the “need” for the Dems to take charge?  Poor old McCain doesn’t stand a chance.  He was a lost cause from the start, a scarecrow for the Republican party to put on a stick and play pretend.  Not that I would have voted for him anyway.

I don’t consider myself a Republican or a Democrat.  I identify with planks of both party platforms and would never limit my choice of candidates to one side or the other purely for tradition or out of some misguided political obligation.  I just don’t care.  My vote will go toward whatever candidate I think could and would do the best job, regardless of party affiliation.  That said, it’s pretty well a sure thing that the winning official will have a neat (R) or (D) behind his name, no matter who the rest of us vote for (Independent, Green, Labor, Communist, etc).  And the crux of this post (I know, I was long enough getting to it) is that I really don’t understand all the hoopla over this election.  Either way, very little will change.  For the better, at least. 

Both candidates are deeply flawed, and I remain unconvinced that either has the best interest of the American majority at heart.  No matter who wins, thousands of families are still going to lose their homes, the economy is still going to play tilt-a-whirl until we hurl, and I very much doubt the troops are going anywhere in the near future.  Bush will get the blame in any event, but no matter who is in the White House in the next few years to come, things for the rest of us are going to suck. 

Under Obama or McCain, take your pick, I think unemployment is going to go way up, as will gasoline and other petrol products, wages will go down, as will property values, and our rampant consumerism is going to get a nasty wake-up call.  The government will take greater control of more facets of our lives (like the bank bailouts), which will only make things worse, and whoever is president will look and act more and more like a dictator.  With little concern for the Constitution and Bill of Rights, our freedoms and privacies will (further) dwindle amid assurances that it is all for the greater good.  The America our forefathers built and have died to protect ever since will exist in name only.  This has been brewing for a long time.  The bloated carcass of our corpulent government has only further ballooned over the years; the rancid flesh of red tape, regulation, and ridiculous budgetary expenditures has only swelled in further decay.  Behold the unlovely corpse of a failing democratic republic. 

No one group is to blame, and no one group should be held responsible, but I think it will take something monumental to flog some life back into this dead horse.  Something much more monumental than an inexperienced black man, a run-of-the-mill white man, or their typically ho-hum bureaucracy.  We need a real leader, a shepherd to lead we sheep out of the treacherous ravine we’ve climbed into.  We need a guide, someone to finally take real action and drive us to safer ground, someone with little things like honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, morals … not a politician worried about how to grab a buck in the latest kickback.  But the only names I see on the ballot belong to politicians.

Welcome to the Presidential Election 2008.

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