One more day before I am off to Korea and I am getting a little bit more anxious, but last night’s speech took my mind off of traveling onto the amazing week the Democrats have had. I am really impressed and I can say that Senator Obama hit exactly the right notes using a mix of issues and rhetoric while telling people why we cannot afford another 4 - 8 years of Senator McCain. This speech was aggressive while maintaining a message of hope and change that has resonated with so many Democrats. This speech, I believe, will be the catalyst to propel the democrats into a victory in November. Even though I will be further away from America in the coming months, I know Senator Obama will be the next President of the United States:
As much as I would like to talk about the burgeoning federal deficit, the endless series of funny McCain viral videos, universal healthcare; today is about the suppression of human rights in China. How many of us know about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? I spoke to some of my colleagues at work yesterday and asked this very question; not one person could name one article from the declaration.
No country is perfect as a Chinese friend of mine texted me the other day when he read a recent article I wrote concerning China on this blog. That being said, when I think about the human rights abuses that have occurred and are occurring in America, I realize there is no excuse and I do not support places like Guantanamo Bay which violate article 9 of the UDHR:
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
The violations of the UDHR undertaken by the American Government are serious but the difference between the USA and the PRC are that in America and the West we can actually protest these things. When Woeser tried to leave China to receive awards for her poetry, the Chinese government has denied her a passport because as I wrote in a previous post: her coverage of the Tibetan riots perturbed the Chinese Government and they want to make sure that there is one less critic of Chinese policies outside of China.
People cannot protest in China for the fear of threatening “stability” or “harmony.” Any such protests can sometimes lead to lengthy prison sentences as well as possible re-education. What can we do? We can hope that the media will attempt to make a difference when they are covering the games however this is highly doubtful given that Beijing has already broken the promise of complete media freedom:
Reports have just confirmed that foreign journalists working from the Olympics press center in Beijing are unable to access amnesty.org, the Amnesty International website. In addition, The China Debate, a site recently launched by Amnesty International as a forum to discuss human rights has been blocked in China.
A number of other websites are also reported to have been blocked, including Taiwan newspaper Liberty Times and the Chinese versions of both Germany’s Deutsche Welle and the BBC.
The media can be ruled out, so as citizens of the world, we have to pressure our respective governments to push China to use the Olympics to showcase its support for human rights. I must give credit where it is due, President Bush has done exactly that in recent months and I hope he will keep up the pressure throughout the Olympic Games so that we can see some sort of positive impact generated rather then support of the status quo. Today Politics Across The Pond stands with those people in China who want freedom:
This will be the only post available today, I will restore the usual settings of this blog tomorrow. Thank you for supporting this day and please stop by the Dragon Lady’s Den where can you can see censorship at work (could not get the code to work for this site).
President Bush has once again made a short-term decision in his leadership of the American people, this decision is no doubt meant to boost the standing of the Republican party in the upcoming general election while short-changing future generations of Americans for years to come. This decision could probably be broken down into three parts: one part big oil, one part polling, and the last and least most important part, the future of the United States of America.
The United States needs oil; the price of oil is currently where it is due to a combination of speculation, increasing demand and regional conflicts in oil supplying areas. Recent polls suggest that the majority of American’s support offshore oil drilling but I believe we can attribute that support to the Republican Party inciting support amongst their base for the wrong solution. The biggest factor as asserted by Boone Pickens of BP Capital Management is that there is not enough supply in the world. I agree with that statement given the increasing demand on the world’s oil supply by the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations. As much as the EU and the United States try to slow down oil consumption, that reduction is immediately offset by the exponential increase in the Far East. I wrote about Mr. Pickens in an earlier post some weeks ago where he outlined his plan on CNBC, however I am pleased to discover he has set up his own website to promote his “dependence on foreign oil reduction plan.”
I will admit that I am skeptical about wind power but in all the time I spent in America, I have to say I have never ventured to middle America where it is apparently quite windy. If it is indeed that windy and an investment in wind turbines would provide a 38% drop in oil consumption, I don’t see a reason why the government and private organizations should not start investing today.
Offshore oil drilling will only have a long-term impact as admitted by the GOP and Senator McCain however the politicians in Washington need to make the right choice, a choice to ensure America’s long term survival in an increasingly energy demanding world. Sustainable energy could also said to have a long term impact but the difference is that it would be long term infinite source of energy as opposed to drilling which is a short-term strategy using a finite resource. The survival of America is dependent on sustainable energy, unfortunately oil does not fall into that category.
I was doing my usual blog browsing today when I stumbled upon a post at CrooksAndLiars.com showcasing an interview with President Bush by RTÉ (Radio Telefís Éireann). This was an old interview done in 2004 when President Bush came to Ireland to meet the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern before heading to meet with the EU. It was a contentious interview with some people feeling that the interviewer(Carole Coleman) went too far and did not show enough respect to the President of the United States:
THE White House has strongly criticized the RTE interview with President Bush, claiming that journalist Carole Coleman constantly interrupted him, preventing him from getting his point of view across.
Other critics were quite happy with the interview as those kinds of questions never get asked by journalists in the United States. This goes back to my post yesterday about the defeat of liberal point of view in the American media. Arianna Huffington often pointed this out in her book as did Eric Alterman, that not enough hard questions have been asked of the current administration. If you visit the original video at YouTube, the presenter suggests that this was banned in the United States however the interview was mentioned in the media:
Meanwhile, the interview was raised on the Larry King show on CNN, CBS, the New York Times where it was described as “contentious”, and in other media.
I was unable to find anything through Google where Larry King might have mentioned the interview but the New York Times piece on the interview was appallingly short with just three paragraphs. A bastion of liberal journalism somehow managed to let go of an opportunity to criticize the President and his Iraq war policies… I wonder why? Maybe because as suggested by research done by the Center for American Progress that even in the NYT, conservatives have managed to gain some kind of control.
On January 22, 2005 CNN had a discussion with Ms. Coleman about President Bush’ second term inauguration. The essence of the discussion concerned the increasing need for the media to discover what is really going on in Iraq. The problem is that 3 years later we still do not have an accurate understanding of the Iraqi situation, and no news organization with the exception of Al-Jazeera is able to provide an detailed account of what is going on.
My point is that the media needs to be asking the hard-hitting questions to both presidential candidates because letting any candidate slide because of his “war hero” status or his “charisma” is simply not acceptable. The next American President is going to have an aircraft carrier’s worth of problems to deal with and if the American people are to vote for the right person, the media needs to step up to the plate and get back to old-fashioned hard-hitting journalism.
I was having breakfast this morning when I stumbled upon a discussion Fareed Zakaria was having with a presenter on Sky News about his latest book entitled: “The Post-American World.” This is not an American bashing book otherwise I would not even think about mentioning but rather a critical look at the changing world we find ourselves in and how the United States needs to adapt to this new world order. I have not read the book otherwise I would have written a more comprehensive review but rather I did a quick Google Search after breakfast and found a speech given by Mr. Zakaria at the Commonwealth of California Club on May 27th, 2008. This speech is fairly long so I encourage you to break out the popcorn or at least some sort of snack, but it is most enlightening and informative in terms of content so please do watch the whole discussion.
The author makes a host of valuable points in this video and if I decided to talk about all of them, I would be forced to write another dissertation which I am not inclined to do so at this point. For the next few days I will touch on a few points that he has mentioned in more detail but for today I want to talk about the position of America in the world. It is an undisputed fact that the world is not what it used to be 20 years ago, America used to be the sole power on the global throne but is now forced to share that throne with the likes of China, India and Russia.
This is not a bad change as the author mentions but he correctly calls the media out for fanning the flames of anti-globalization. There are two phrases in this speech that really mean a lot to me: “inter-dependent” and “work together.” Too often every nation put’s its own national interest above those of the global village so much so that we have reached a stalemate with regards to the climate crisis because no matter how much the West goes green, the Indians and the Chinese are going to continue setting up coal power plants to meet the needs of their burgeoning economies. Discussion is never considered because the current administration only talks to countries whose actions affect the national interest which is not global warming since the GOP does not believe in that “hullabaloo.”
Mr. Zakaria suggests and I agree with him on this point that the leadership of America needs to work with the global powers to counter-act threats like global warming, terrorism, and economic depression. America also needs to treat everyone equally rather than holding a standard for it’s allies and a different standard for everyone else. It is throug this change in foreign policy and attitude that America will grow as well as those countries currently driving the global economy.