Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Minarets in Switzerland?

Want to know what the hot political topic in Switzerland is now? Of course you do!

Well, since you asked, the Swiss will vote next month on a referendum banning new construction of minarets on mosques.

If passed, the referendum, which has just one line, "The building of minarets is forbidden", will ban all future minarets, but not mosques.

At present, only a few mosques have minarets, but applications to add to existing mosques have led to disagreements, and more than 100,000 Swiss voters signed a petition to put the question to the voters by direct referendum.

Below are posters for and against the ban. Shouldn't be difficult to tell which is which.

Some cities, mostly in the Francophone west of the country, have banned the posters advocating a yes vote, while most large German speaking cities have allowed them -- citing free speech guarantees.

The UN is now involved. How unexpected is that?

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Why should we Americans be the only ones fooled by the guy?

Woody Allen's famous dictum, "80% of success is just showing up" is again demonstrated to be true -- especially if many imbue you with their hopes and dreams such that you become the walking avatar of Hope.

Obama showed up at Harvard Law... and was made editor of the Law Review. Of course, while there he failed to pen an article (most editors do contribute to their own issue -- it's kind of expected). Later he shows up in a few living rooms of influential supporters and is elected to the Illinois state senate. Beginning to see a pattern?

Finally, after duping 53% of the American electorate, he dupes 100% of the Nobel electors.

I wonder how they'll feel once the Peace Laureate annonces that his Afganistan strategy involves sending Predator drones and missles into Pakistan's airspace, and sending ground troops onto Pakistani soil at a rate not contemplated by his predecessor.

Last I heard, these are not the actions of a peace loving person. Rather, they are causus belli.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Will Obama be known as the man who lost Iran, Iraq, and Afganistan?

The question "who lost China?" was asked soon after Mao kicked Chiang Kai-shek's bony rump off the mainland in 1949. Immediate popular sentiment blamed Harry Truman and the old China hands at the State Department. Republicans used China's loss as a cudgel to beat Democrats for years.

Likely, no one "lost" China (except for Kai-shek), but people were still playing the blame game when I was a child.

President Obama, though, is looking history in its bloody and unforgiving maw. After the stabilizing of Iraq under Bush, Obama's policies threaten to weaken Iraq's government so that sectarian violence again flares up. His dithering on Iran, coupled with his inability to coerce China and Russia into supporting meaningful sanctions, means that Iran will almost assuredly become the world's next nuclear power.

It's hard to blame solely Obama if Iran gets the bomb, and Iraq seems pretty sure to make continual improvements (albiet slower and bloodier than necessary), but Obama's contemplated Afgan strategy looks certain to result in the return to power of the Taliban. Should that happen, Iran's nuclear bombs and Iraq's continuing difficulties will be placed at Obama's feet -- and he can expect Rebublicans to beat him and the Democrats for years to come with that club.

History and the electorate won't look kindly on the man who muffed his biggest foreign policy challenge and lost a whole region to the bad guys. Because Obama knows this, I'm guessing that he'll send more troops but not the amount Gen. McChyrstal asked for, all while hoping to run bin Laden to ground in order to forestall criticisms from the Right

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