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.

Immigration Reform 2013: Obama Speaks On Leaked Bill; Senators Debate Federal ID Card For All Workers

Immigration Reform 2013: Obama Speaks On Leaked Bill; Senators Debate Federal ID Card For All Workers

Although leaked, President Obama’s discusses his Immigration reform. He believes it won’t hurt talks on the reform. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, several key legislators are looking into the possibility of an immigration bill that would force every U.S. worker to carry a high-tech ID card that could use fingerprints or other markings to determine a person legal status.

Too often, in this highly politicized, highly polarized society, we approach questions through the lenses of politics or economics, job security, family concerns, security concerns – and these things become the categories and lenses through which we approach a particular question. And in addition, too often our thinking is by the pundits – what does Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Rachel Maddow or some other person that we listen to say and think about a particular issue.

Prosperous nations such as the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom will always attract immigrants that are in search for a better life. The problem is that many immigrants do not follow the proper immigration channels. The United States has an illegal immigration problem as immigrants enter the country illegally by crossing the border between the United States and Mexico, or they enter legally but overstay their visas. The United States Immigration Reform is specifically targeting the problem of 12 to 20 million undocumented workers in the United States.

On January 28, 2013, a bi-partisan group of eight Senators announced principles for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). The Senators involved include: Chuck Schumerof New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and Michael Bennet of Colorado, and Republicans John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Jeff Flake of Arizona.[10]

The policies envisioned by the Senators include the following provisions:

  1. A citizenship path for undocumented immigrants already in the United States contingent on certain border security and visa tracking improvements. The plan provides for permanent residence for undocumented immigrants only after legal immigrants waiting for a current priority date receive their permanent residence status and a different citizenship path for agricultural workers through an agricultural worker program.
  2. Business immigration system reforms, focusing on reducing current visa backlogs and fast tracking permanent residence for U.S. university immigrant graduates with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math also known as the STEM fields.
  3. An expanded and improved employment verification system for all employers to confirm employee work authorization.
  4. Improved work visa options for low-skill workers including an agricultural worker program.

As mention President Obama has his administration’s effort for immigration reform. I hope that our country will find a way to common ground on immigration, which is currently tearing us apart.

Response to Janett

In never cease to amaze me how peace talks with two opposing countries are at a stalemate due to another country’s interest in assisting them. Our country has been riddled with major issues such as market failure, natural disasters, and attacks from unknown enemies in our blind spots. I will add that these two opposing factions have been fighting almost a century. Wow! Here’s little history:
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict has its origins in the confrontation between immigrant Zionist Jews in the Mandate of Palestine and their interaction with the indigenous Palestinian Arabs in the 1920s and 1930s. Before that point, the immigration into the land had been a small trickle and Arabs were not terribly concerned. However, the Jewish immigration in the 1920s was quite large and disruptive. By the mid-1930s, both sides had developed militias which they used both to attack British colonial institutions and each other. In 1947, as UN Resolution 181 was being debated, a full-scale war erupted between the Jewish militias and the Arab militias. When Israel declared its independence in 1948, the neighboring Arab States joined in the War, which caused it to be internationally recognized and called the Arab-Israeli War of 1948-9.
The U.S. is a super power and we’ve helped so many. However, we still have to take care of home in order to help others.

janetw525

According to an article in the New York Times  President Barack Obama plans to visit Israel, the West Bank and Jordan this spring, the White House said on Tuesday, raising the prospects of a new U.S. push to restart long-stalled Israel-Palestinian peace efforts. For more than two years, many Israeli and Palestinian leaders have placed blame for their stalemated peace process not only on one another but on a lack of engagement by the Obama administration. This is clearly a complex situation that has many complex solutions, that I do not for one second propose to have the solution to, but IF the United States policy was concerned with peace we would withhold all aid to Israel. Why, You may ask?… well in my opinion, 400,000 Israelis will NOT be moving out of Gaza, and they will not stop settlement building, No territory is going to be turned over, and Israel…

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Voter Suppression

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New voter identification laws have sprung up across the country, requiring registered voters to show a government-issued identification card — a photo ID in 16 states — in order to cast a ballot. Supporters of these new voter ID laws argue that tighter security at polling stations cuts down on voter fraud and ensures cleaner elections. But critics of voter ID laws see something far more devious: a plot to disenfranchise or at least discourage targeted segments of the American electorate.

Voter suppression — also known as caging — is any action or behavior intended to deter an individual or group from voting. In the history of American politics, a wide range of dirty tactics have been used by both major political parties to intimidate or disqualify voters traditionally aligned with the opposition. During the “Jim Crow” era in the southern U.S., state and county governments evaded the 15th Amendment — prohibiting voter discrimination based on race or color — — by imposing a series of literacy tests, poll taxes and even thuggish “poll workers” to block African-American voters from casting a ballot. Modern methods of voter suppression are more subtle, but the intention is the same: to employ legal and illegal means to affect voter turnout in an election.

Critics of the new voter ID laws are crying foul, accusing the states of imposing a solution in search of a problem, citing Justice Department statistics that voter fraud is extremely rare: 86 convictions out of 300 million votes cast in recent elections. The real reason for the rash of new voter ID laws, critics argue, is that certain Democratic-leaning voters — African- and Hispanic-Americans, students, the elderly and the disabled — are less likely to possess a valid government-issued ID . Strict voter identification laws, they say, have the intended effect of discouraging or disqualifying traditionally Democratic voters.

Conversely, Supporters of the voter ID laws insist that voter fraud, particularly by third-party voter registration groups and illegal immigrants, is a serious problem. Moreover, if requiring a photo ID to vote is discriminatory, where are the cries of civil rights violations at the airport security kiosk or the liquor store? In a landmark 2008 decision, the Supreme Court sided with voter ID supporters in Indiana, citing a “valid interest” in deterring fraud and finding no significant obstacles to obtaining an ID.

In an era of passionately partisan politics, both parties will do everything in their power to gain a political advantage during an election. The question is, when does a savvy political tactic become an unconstitutional breach of civil rights?

Response to Brown

The comment that struck me was “She has been around people who have died before, this time she knew that the blood was on her hands.”
Please tell us all how former president Bush felt as he watched thousands of caskets return from an Iraqi war that he manufactured? He probably had the same bewildered look he had after being told that America was under attack on 911. An attack whose warnings he received but ignored.
Does anyone in America think that the Republicans are being honest brokers in this matter? Where was their outrage on really major events like 9/11/2001 (Who walked the plank for that?) and others? This is a serious matter and deserves an investigation (which it has had) but to make it a political witch hunt is reprehensible.

mrsbrownwright

One thing that angers me about the American ideal of a strong women. She is suppose to be strong enough to bare children but still can not appear to be stronger than a man. However when she works in a  male field, she must check those emotions at the door. If she does not she is seen as ill prepared or as  the  wrong person for the job. I am tried of seeing this occur. This is not the first time, for Mrs. Hilary Clinton, but she has come under attack again for her female sensibilities. Mrs. Clinton became emotional as she took on Republican critics of how her department handled the September terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of killed the U.S. Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans. Clinton passionately say’s ” I take responsibility”. Please stop being so hard on this woman, she is…

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Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision Anniversary. Are we really Celebrating?

Today marks the anniversary of the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion, Roe v. Wade. Here’s some history of the court’s decision:

Decided simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the Court ruled 7–2 that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that right must be balanced against the state’s two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting women’s health. Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the trimester of pregnancy.

Norma Leah McCorvey, better known by the legal pseudonym "Jane Roe"

Norma Leah McCorvey, better known by the legal pseudonym “Jane Roe”

Henry Wade, as Dallas County District Attorney

Henry Wade, as Dallas County District Attorney

In 2011, 92 abortion restrictions were passed in 24 states and in 2012, 19 states enacted 43 provisions restricting access to abortion services. So as we “celebrate” (and I use the term hesitantly) the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, does anyone know where one can obtain an abortion in a timely fashion without mortgaging their house?

In a perfect world there would be no need for abortions, women would not be sexually assaulted, and children would have no need to fear their own family members. But that isn’t the world we live in. We must protect those who are vulnerable and we must put an end to all types of violence. So forty years later, the struggle to preserve access to abortion is even more daunting than the fight to legalize it was.

Love to hear your thoughts on this controversial issue.