Thursday, December 27, 2007

R.I.P: Benazir Bhutto

Rest in Peace

Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan was assasinated while at a campaign rally in Rawalpindhi, Pakistan. The attack occurred just after Ms. Bhutto left the rally, where she had given a campaign address to party supporters in the run-up to the January 2008 parliamentary elections. She died at 6:16 pm local time at Rawalpindi General Hospital. There seems to be plenty of confusion as to what exactly happened - but it has been confirmed by spokespersons from Ms. Bhutto's party and the BBC that Ms. Bhutto was shot in the neck and the chest before the coward gunman proceded to blow himself up.

Benazir Bhutto, who was born in 1953, was Prime Minister of Pakistan twice. She was educated at Harvard and Oxford and was the first female leader of a Muslim nation in modern history. She returned from exile in October of 2007 in an effort to become a voice for the restoral of democracy in Pakistan.

She was by no means a perfect politician, as we can expect she had her foibles - both times she was PM, she was sacked due to corruption and mismanagement. However, she always worked for the democracy in Pakistan, and was an ally to the United States in the fight against terrorism. It is very likely that it was Al-Qaeda, and not Pervez Musharraf as some may think, who perpetrated this vicious and cowardly attack upon a woman who was working actively to bring democracy to Pakistan and fight against Islamic extremists. She was the last best hope that Pakistan ever had to restore democracy. This is a very sad, sad day for democracy.

This attack should serve as a reminder to moderate and secular Muslisms everywhere that Al-Qaeda is committed to the destruction and savage murder of those leaders that are committed to democracy - this should serve as a reminder to them that Al-Qaeda must be fought, and that it is still armed and dangerous, ready to deal a severe blow to the efforts of any country to democratize. We have seen it in Iraq, we have seen it in Afghanistan and now - we see it in Pakistan. This should be a wake-up call, and should make the Islamic world realize that fighting these extremists is the right thing to do.

As we all begin to point fingers, I think we should really think about who could have been behind this cowardly and vicious attack. The Musharraf government could not have provided any more security for Ms. Bhutto, it provided riot police as well as bodyguards and policemen to protect her. Not to mention the PPP (Pakistan People's Party, the party Bhutto was leading) was also providing plenty of security in itself. I seriously doubt that President Musharraf had ANYTHING to do with this horrendous murder. I think that by doing so he would risk losing support of the United States and further risk alienating himself from the people of Pakistan. He would trigger horrendous consequences, and perhaps the end of his regime by authorizing an assasination of Ms. Bhutto. Why would he risk the destabilization of the country he rules to get rid of Bhutto?

This is the work of none other but Al-Qaeda and/or the Taliban, who are strong in the Baluchistan/Northwest regions of Pakistan that border with Afghanistan. It's time that something is done and that the Pakistani government, with the support of the US and NATO, cracks down on the cowardly murderers in this region.

If we do not, what will be their next target? We risk allowing democracy to go down the drain in the Islamic world.

May she rest in peace, and may God bless her family, her supporters and the nation of Pakistan as they grieve her death.

[If you have any questions or are curious about this event or the implications it has for the world and for Pakistan, the BBC has a really good Q&A article in its website.]

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Capitalist Approach to Global Warming

I’ve done a lot of thinking about a lot of issues. I like to think that any issue I have a strong opinion on is an issues that I’m fairly well informed on. Yet, I still come across new ideas from others wiser than myself. I had such an experience at WMU when we went to see John Stossel speak on Capitalism.

Someone asked Mr. Stossel for his thoughts on global warming. The first part of what he said is basically an average of conservative opinions on the issue. That is to say he believes there is some evidence for it, but not nearly on the scale that the dems are talking about. He was careful to mention that Greenland is called that because it used to be green. We are so worried about the glaciers receding there, yet they weren’t there to begin with. He also touched on the fact that concerns like this are almost like fads and seem to come and go. This is very good information, though I had heard much of it before.

Mr. Stossel then went on to say something that had never occurred to me. If global warming is happening, then there is probably nothing we can do to stop it, but there is a lot we can do to adapt to it. He mentioned that much of the Netherlands would be underwater due to rising water levels if not for the dikes they have built there. This is great information, but how can we adapt to the climate? Wealth! We need wealth to be able to fund the great projects which may be required to keep us safe.

That wealth saves lives is easy to demonstrate. In third world countries, hundreds or thousands die whenever there is a major disaster such as an earthquake or tsunami. In America, virtually no one dies in floods. The reason is that we have the wealth to protect ourselves. We can fund the projects that protect thousands of lives. Isn’t it ironic that the Democrats, who talk the most about our environment, are the ones who will make it harder for us to deal with it?

Despite the vast wealth of information offered to us by Mr. Stossel, this will probably be our last post on him. Feel free to ask either Chaz or myself about the speech or even leave a comment here and we’ll tell you more. Even better, join us in going to other speeches. We are planning events right here at GRCC, so keep watching and we’ll let you know what’s happening. Also, if you want to know more about our meetings, find our group on Facebook: “Grand Rapids CC College Republicans”

Sunday, December 9, 2007

How the Liberals Respond to Capitalists

They’re really nice and friendly and say “Let’s agree to disagree” right? Ha! I wish. Perhaps some of them do, but there is a lot of nastiness from liberals toward those who disagree.

Last post, I mentioned that John Stossel spoke at WMU about capitalism. Well, the liberals were aware he was coming, so they spray painted “Capitalism Kills” on the office of the professor who invited him. Aside from the fact that there is no basis for such a crude statement, vandalizing property is inherently destructive, accomplishing nothing. I am reminded of the speech given by the ex terrorist at Calvin in that virtually all of the questions asked were of a nasty confrontational nature. At WMU the liberals weren’t even that polite. Only one or two liberals asked pointed questions (which Mr. Stossel answered intelligently and gracefully). Apparently they believe that vandalism is a better way to get their message across.

Mr. Stossel mentioned that he has gotten a great deal of hatred from his fellow reporters in the media. He’s gotten nasty messages and overall people there tend to just not like him because of his beliefs. What he said was most puzzling about this is that he’s not even a true conservative, but rather libertarian. He listed many issues on which he takes the liberal stance. Many liberals in the media do not see what they have in common but only what they disagree on.

Obviously, that liberals tend to act like this is sad, but what do we have to learn from it? I’m not just democrat bashing for no reason. So far, I have not seen this level of nastiness from Republicans. Yes, some Republicans are nasty, but I haven’t seen it on the same scale as with the Democrats. We need to maintain this. Indeed, let’s take it further. Let us live lives that demonstrate our enlightened attitude. When a Democrat comes looking for an argument, let’s remain calm as Mr. Stossel did, and not throw insults like the Dems. It may be very discouraging that the Democrats don’t want to work with us, but we must never sink to their level. A good attitude goes a long way.

Guess what? There’s still more I have to share from John Stossel’s speech.
Next post: The capitalist approach to the Global Warming issue

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

John Stossel at Western Michigan University

Last week on Wednesday, four of us from the GRCC College Republicans went down to Kalamazoo to see John Stossel speak on Capitalism. The speech was absolutely incredible. Mr. Stossel had a great wealth on information to share with us, and he had done his research on all of it. He made no end of good points, and I would like to repeat some of the topics here to encourage our Gentle Readers to look into these issues.

Mr. Stossel began my mentioning his original set of beliefs which included the belief that big business is bad. He thought that they were out to screw us and only serve themselves. As a result, he wanted to see more government regulation to keep the evil businesses in line. It did not take him long to notice that these rules come at a great cost. There’s the cost to taxpayers to enable the government to employ the people checking up on businesses, and there’s the enormous cost to businesses to comply with all the rules. Now here’s the ironic bit: It didn’t stop the crooks! Those few businesses that were evil minded, continued to be and simply found ways around the rules.

So what do these regulations do if not stop crooks? They strangle our economy. Businesses can’t grow because they’re spending all their money keeping themselves compliant with the rules. If they slip up and break a rule, they get huge fines which hinders them further. Whereas capitalism encourages economic growth, socialism and high regulations discourage it.

But what is to keep the evil businesses in line? Surely no one denies that there are some businesses out there who are less than honest. Mr. Stossel had an answer to this too: our freedom! That we are a free society, and that we have freedom of the press, means that there will be people to make a big deal out of any scams they find. Evil schemes always make the news. It’s simply good business thinking to not allow corrupt practices in your company because you will be found out eventually. Mr. Stossed also noted that there are almost never any nation-wide business scams. Scams almost always get found out long before the business is able to make it big.

It seems too perfect that we can just allow a capitalist market to run itself without government intervention. Do we really expect to just leave it alone and see it flourish? I’ve heard these arguments. I have to admit it is amazing that we can basically do this, but somehow it works. It only works in a free society, but it does work. Captialism isn’t perfect, and Mr. Stossel stressed that it’s not perfect, but it is by far the best system out there.

There is so much more from the speech that I want to share with you, so keep watching. Next post: “How the liberals respond to capitalists”