Response to Janett

Interesting response. I didn’t know about the GOP’s plan for the Violence Against Women Act denying protect. I will definitely have to do my homework on this subject. Thanks for sharing.

janetw525

In response to my classmates blog entitled: Light in the darkness, I agree with your analysis at the seriousness of domestic violence. Given that violence against women is common in South Africa with 25% of men from all social strata admitting to having raped a woman, I think it is very unlikely justice of any sort will be found for this victim.  Women in South Africa are not protected, valued or given justice.  It is a tragic state of affairs, but not unique in the world.  Native American women in the US are about to be refused equal protection of their rights and freedoms by the GOP in their legislative proposals for the Violence Against Women Act….

I also agree that this was indeed murder, and not an accident as Pistorius alleges. I understand South Africa has a legal system different from our own, and the need to be careful…

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Response to Stacy

Yes, a new Pope is upon us. From the history his biography, a humble man who especially believes in helping the poor. The Catholic church has been on some interesting scrutiny. And rightfully so. I can’t say that society wants the church to give up their principle; however, acts against children are very devestating to say the least. Hopefully the new Pope will guide the Catholic masses, to include members of the clergy, to a reformed state to better assist them in their paths.

stacygooden

prayer-of-st-francis-of-assisi-bonnie-barry

Today the Catholic world has a new leader. I applaud the swift and sure way the cardinals came to this decision. Too bad the media has no story about a modern pope that is going to change the face of Catholicism into something more accepting of social norms. Did anybody really expect a pope that would be a champion of gay marriage, abortion and women in the priesthood? That church already exists. It’s called the Episcopal church. I understand that some people are heredity Catholics and want to carry on that family tradition. But religion is suppose to be an instrument of principle and personal faith. If that religion doesn’t subscribe to your principles and faith, then find one that does. The Catholic church has not left society, society has left the Catholic church. The church has always been the same. Why should they sacrifice their principles when so many other…

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South Korea’s Stance

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South Korea will launch a pre-emptive strike against Pyongyang if the antagonist to its north moves to test a nuclear weapon. Seoul said a first strike would be preferable to North Korea getting an atomic weapon, even if it risked open war. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Jung Seung-jo said Seoul would take action even if it meant risking war with its northern neighbor. Pyongyang recently announced it will conduct a nuclear bomb test in the near future, raising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

General Seung-jo maintained it would be better to risk open war with Pyongyang than have it strike first. Describing a pre-emptive attack as a necessary defense tactic, he went on to say it was paramount that the North does not manage to develop a nuclear weapon. “If [the North] shows a clear intent to use a nuclear weapon, it is better to get rid of it and go to war, rather than being attacked,” said the general, addressing the Joint Chiefs. He added that ”a pre-emptive attack against the North trying to use nuclear weapons does not require consultation with the United States and it is the right of self-defense.” The DPRK was quick to react to Seoul’s comments, condemning them as “warmongering.”

“They do not know what a real war is like and they would shudder after experiencing our military’s spirit to attack in a single breath,” wrote North Korean news site Uriminzokkiri, calling the South “vicious traitors of the nation.” North Korea has stepped up its aggressive rhetoric against Seoul recently, following a UN Security Council resolution in January that approved new sanctions against the rogue state. Pyongyong was enraged by the financial penalties and pledged to take “measures to boost and strengthen our defensive military power including nuclear deterrence.”

Following the announcement of the sanctions North Korea announced it would conduct its third nuclear weapons test, stressing that targeting the US and South Korea was not out of bounds. “We are not disguising the fact that the various satellites and long-range rockets that we will fire and the high-level nuclear test we will carry out are aimed at the United States,” North Korea’s National Defense Commission says. Pyongyang successfully conducted a ballistic missile test back in December, demonstrating that it has the potential to launch long-range rockets. North Korea claimed the December launch was to put a satellite into orbit, while it was perceived by the international community as a veiled attempt at testing Pyongyang’s missile capabilities.

International fears center around Pyongyang’s ability to construct a nuclear warhead small enough to be carried on a missile. UN inspectors believe North Korea does not possess the adequate technology, but Seoul maintains it is getting dangerously close.

The Character of North Korea

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Recent Korean history reveals a sobering possibility: It may only be a matter of time before North Korea launches a sudden, deadly attack on the South. And perhaps more unsettling, Seoul has vowed that this time, it will respond with an even stronger blow. Humiliated by past attacks, South Korea has promised — as recently as Tuesday — to hit back hard at the next assault from the North, opening up the prospect that a skirmish could turn into a wider war. Lost in the headline-making North Korean bluster about nuclear strikes on Washington in response to U.N. sanctions is a single sentence in a North Korean army Supreme Command statement of March 5. It said North Korea “will make a strike of justice at any target anytime as it pleases without limit.” Those words have a chilling link to the recent past, when Pyongyang, angry over perceived slights, took its time before exacting revenge on rival South Korea. Vows of retaliation after naval clashes with South Korea in 1999 and 2009, for example, were followed by more bloodshed, including attacks blamed on North Korea that killed 50 South Koreans in 2010.

Those attacks three years ago “are vivid reminders of the regime’s capabilities and intentions,” Bruce Klingner, a former U.S. intelligence official now at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, wrote in a recent think tank posting. Almost a mirror image of the current tensions happened in 2009, when the U.N. approved sanctions over North Korean missile and nuclear tests, and Pyongyang responded with fury. In November of that year, Seoul claimed victory in a sea battle with the North, and Pyongyang vowed revenge. The government of newly inaugurated President Park Geun-hye, also a conservative, has made similar comments, though she has also said she will try to build trust with North Korea and explore renewed dialogue and aid shipments.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday repeated that it would respond harshly to any future attack from the North. Spokesman Kim Min-seok said there were no signs that North Korea would attack anytime soon, but warned that if it did, it would suffer “much more powerful damage” than whatever it inflicted on South Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday visited artillery troops near disputed waters with South Korea and urged them to be on “maximum alert” because war could break out anytime, according to Pyongyang’s official media.

If war broke out, the United States would assume control of South Korea’s military because of the countries’ decades-old alliance that began with the U.S.-led military response to North Korean invaders in 1950. But South Korea has made clear that it has a sovereign right, and a political necessity, to respond strongly to future North Korean attacks. A clue to when North Korea might attack may be in the timing of the current threats. North Korea is furious over ongoing annual U.S.-South Korean military drills that will continue until the end of April. Pyongyang is highly unlikely to stage an attack when so much U.S. firepower is assembled, but analysts said it might hit South Korea after the drills end.

“They are quiet when tension is high and state-of-the-art (U.S.) weapons are brought to South Korea for the drills,” said Chon Hyun-joon, an analyst at the government-funded Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul. If history is any guide, the most likely flashpoint is the Yellow Sea, where North Korea has complained about sea boundaries since the 1950s. The U.S.-led U.N. Command drew the so-called Northern Limit Line after failed attempts to negotiate a border after the Korean War, and Pyongyang says it clearly favors the South by boxing in North Korea close to its shores.

Bloody sea battles in 1999, 2002 and 2009, and North Korea’s artillery bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010, took place weeks after annual drills by South Korea and the United States, Chon said. In those cases and in the current drills, North Korea’s state media reacted to the war games with harsh criticism, calling them preparations for a northward invasion. North Korea sometimes takes months to follow through on its occasionally cryptic threats or warnings, but it also has acted quickly.

North Korea has attempted a military provocation within weeks of every South Korean presidential inauguration dating to 1992, according to Victor Cha, a former Asia adviser to President George W. Bush, and Ellen Kim at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington. South Korea’s new president was inaugurated Feb. 25. “Expect a North Korean provocation in the coming weeks,” Cha and Kim stated last Thursday.

Response to Cedrick

In a statement from Karzai’s National Security Council, the government said that, “It became clear that armed individuals named as U.S. special force stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people. A recent example in the province is an incident in which nine people were disappeared in an operation by this suspicious force and in a separate incident a student was taken away at night from his home, whose tortured body with throat cut was found two days later under a bridge. However, Americans reject having conducted any such operation and any involvement of their special force.”

The council stated that the Ministry of Defense would be responsible for ensuring that U.S. Special Forces are “out of the province within two weeks,” that Afghan forces would be responsible for “effectively stopping and bringing to justice any groups that enter peoples’ homes in the name of Special Forces” and that NATO would have to stop all its Special Forces operations in Wardak immediately.
In a hurriedly convened press conference after the meeting, government spokesman Aimal Faizi clarified that it was not specifically US Special Forces, saying that, “There are some individuals, some Afghans, who are working within these cells, within these [U.S.] Special Forces groups” in Wardak province. “But they are part of U.S. special forces according to our sources and according to our local officials working in the province,” he said.
The U.S. and NATO have denied any wrongdoing. NATO officials on Monday said they had found “no evidence connecting U.S. troops to allegations of abuse, torture, harassment and murder of innocent Afghans in the region,” while on Tuesday Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said that a joint commission made up of Afghan and NATO officials would be formed to review Kabul’s accusations.
The decree may shed light on the government’s stance toward future counterterrorism operations on its territory after 2014, but with so many uncertainties remaining, the order may prove to be an instance of Karzai forcing General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the new commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, into a weaker role, rather than any indication of a future path. “The style in which Karzai has decided to deal with the issue, which has taken the form of a public shaming of NATO, fits in with the way that that relationship has been going in the last year or two. But I don’t think that that is necessarily a reason to discount the possibility that this violence really has happened,” says Barr.
Afghans, too, are worried about the situation – though for different reasons, reasons that could have an impact on security in Kabul, come the summer fighting season. In an upstairs room of the provincial governor’s offices, elders had gathered from Chak, one of the embattled districts who had mobilized to support Karzai’s decree. Holding forth over the rest of the elders, Senator Samir Shirzada, had a warning for NATO. “The Special Forces in Chak district are causing a lot of insecurity. They are causing problems for the people. In the winter there is no insurgency in our area. The insurgents go back to Pakistan or Iran or wherever they come from. But the Special Forces in the winter still arrest people,” says Shirzada. “They cause problems for the families and so the young men go and join the insurgency. Because the Special Forces disturb the people, this causes the people to join the insurgency. They are killing people, they are arresting people, and so the family members get angry and they go and join the insurgents.”
More to follow in this tale of atrocities.

slimgoodyc's Blog

Afghanistan’s president ordered all U.S. special forces to leave a strategically important eastern province within two weeks because of allegations that Afghans working with them are torturing and abusing other Afghans.

The decision Sunday seems to have surprised the coalition and U.S. Forces Afghanistan, a separate command. Americans have frequently angered the Afghan public over issues ranging from Qurans burned at a U.S. base to allegations of civilian killings.

“We take all allegations of misconduct seriously and go to great lengths to determine the facts surrounding them,” the U.S. forces said in a statement.

Also Sunday, a series of attacks in eastern Afghanistan showed insurgents remain on the offensive even as U.S. and other international forces prepare to end their combat mission by the end of 2014.

Suicide bombers targeted Afghanistan’s intelligence agency and other security forces in four coordinated attacks in the heart of Kabul and outlying areas in…

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Response to Janett:

The ongoing national debate about the employment practices of U.S. companies and private equity firms abroad features two phrases that confuse rather than clarify the issues: offshoring and outsourcing. For most Americans, the phrases are interchangeable, referring to the agonizing loss of jobs here in the United States, many in manufacturing, to workers abroad—aided and abetted by U.S. businesses and investors.
Indeed, a large percentage of Americans are concerned about jobs shifting from the United States to other countries. And they don’t put much stock into whether those jobs stay within a particular company or are contracted to a third party when the ultimate outcome is jobs lost at home. This is why most Americans find debates about outsourcing versus offshoring to be meaningless. To them it is all about the overseas outsourcing of jobs.
Still, before we present the five most important facts about overseas outsourcing, let’s first get the definitions right. According to Plunkett Research, a leading research group on outsourcing and offshoring practices, offshoring refers to:
The tendency among many U.S., Japanese and Western European firms to send both knowledge-based and manufacturing work to third-party firms in other nations. Often, the intent is to take advantage of lower wages and operating costs.
This differs from outsourcing, which Plunkett Research defines as “as the hiring of an outside company to perform a task that would otherwise be performed internally by a company.” The difference lies in the fact that outsourcing can take place within our domestic borders or abroad. But for the purposes of this column we will examine the combination of outsourcing to other countries and offshoring, and refer to the combination of these practices as “overseas outsourcing.”
So how pervasive is overseas outsourcing in our economy? Comprehensive data on overseas outsourcing practices are hard to establish, due in large part to limited government information which, according to the Congressional Research Service, were “not designed to link employment gains or losses in the United States, either for individual jobs, individual companies or in the aggregate, with the gains and losses of jobs abroad.”
Furthermore, companies attempt to limit exposure of their overseas outsourcing practices, leading researchers to believe that even the most extensive methodologies only capture one-third of all production shifts. Still, there are important factors to understand about outsourcing as the debate makes its way back onto the national stage.

janetw525

According to the Washington Post, across-the-board federal spending cuts set to take effect on March , 2013 are likely to have a negative impact on the states, Democratic Governors Association chairman Peter Shumlin said Friday. Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy said, “This is another kick in the teeth by Republicans to the middle class of America. That’s who’s going to pay the price because they don’t want to meet the president in the middle, they don’t want to negotiate”.

The problem is America off-sourcing our jobs to China and other foreign nations. And yes, it still continues today and it will until we pass effective legislation that makes it unprofitable for U.S. Corporations to send our high paying manufacturing and high-tech  jobs overseas. We have eviscerated our own tax base these past 30 years by our-sourcing over 30 MILLION JOBS to foreign nations through so-called “Fair-Trade Agreements” that have effectively destroyed our own…

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Dennis Rodman unofficial visit to North Korea

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Last week, Rodman went to Pyongyang, North Korea with the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and a camera crew from the upcoming HBO series, VICE. He hung out with Kim, sitting next to him at a basketball game and attending a party at the dictator’s palace. Rodman’s visit comes amid heightened tensions between North Korea and the United States.

Despite the threats, President Obama vowed to impose further sanctions on the country, whose citizens already suffer from crippling economic and social conditions, in attempt to isolate the regime. North Korea has said it intends to move forward with more long-range rocket and nuclear weapon testing.

The administration has faced criticism from GOP lawmakers who have urged a tougher approach against Kim. Administration officials also acknowledge there is still much they do not know about the new North Korean leader, who assumed power in 2011 and his intentions.

The State Department, though, has sought to distance itself from the basketball star’s trip, saying it has no plans to de-brief the star following his return. Rodman has spent more time with Kim since any other American since he succeeded his leader as father.

Rodman suggested that the North Korean leader had been misunderstood and did not seek conflict with Washington.

“He said, ‘If you can, Dennis – I don’t want [to] do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me,” Rodman said.

However, in January, after the U.N. Security Council voted to condemn the North’s successful rocket launch in December and expand penalties against Kim’s government, his National Defense Commission said in a statement that “settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words.” The statement also promised “a new phase of the anti-U.S. struggle that has lasted century after century.”

North Korea and the U.S. fought on opposite sides of the three-year Korean War, which ended in a truce in 1953. The foes technically remain at war. They never signed a peace treaty and do not have diplomatic relations.