Monthly Archives: August 2009

Belarussian Leader Rigs Elections… To Lower Victory Margin

This almost sounds like it was written by the Onion:

MOSCOW — Belarus’s strongman leader has admitted rigging the country’s last presidential election — because, he says, his popularity is so vast that the true margin of victory was unbelievable and had to be lowered.

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said in an interview published on Thursday that he took 93 percent of the vote in the country’s 2006 presidential polls, but had the number reduced for “psychological” reasons.

“I gave the order for it to be not 93 percent, but something around 80, I can’t remember how much. Because when you get over 90, this is not accepted psychologically. But it was the truth,” he told the Russian daily Izvestia.


Frankly, that is just an outstanding story.

I really cannot even comment much on it because it is just… A nice piece.

Great job.

Aborigines Ask UN For Refugee Status

this is an interesting problem that I have meant to keep up with. I recollect the report that came out concerning child sex abuse in aboriginal communities and how alcoholism was essentially ruining the society even further.

Here is the new news:

A group of Australian Aborigines has asked the United Nations to register them as refugees, claiming emergency laws brought in to curb alcoholism and sexual abuse have made them outcasts in their own land.

Richard Downs, a spokesperson for the Alywawarra nation which represents around 4000 indigenous people in central Australia, said the request had been given to James Anaya, a UN official visiting Australia on a fact finding mission.

The request urged the UN to register the Alywawarra under the international refugee convention as internally displaced persons.

Mr Downs said his people had been left with no choice because the 2007 Federal Intervention into indigenous communities in the Northern Territories had taken away their rights.

“We’ve got no say at all. We feel like an outcast in our community, refugees in our own country,” Mr Downs told ABC radio.

The request is one of hundreds of letters given to Mr Anaya, who is in Australia at the invitation of the Australian government to examine the controversial Intervention, brought in under the government of former Prime Minister John Howard. Continue reading

Legislative Blunder Allows Porn To Be Sold To Minors

I think this is the sort of thing that makes me glad I do not live in a bureaucratic country that falls under another bureaucratic heirarchy:

British retailers will be permitted to sell children violent and pornographic videos and computer games without fear of prosecution for the next three months — due to a legislative error made 25 years ago.

Britain was required to notify the European Commission, the commission which regulates the video recording industry, of the passage of the Video Recordings Act when it was passed, but failed to do so.

Because the European Commission was not informed, individuals currently being prosecuted under the act will not be convicted until a new act takes effect in three months — the required timeframe for consultation with other European Union members.

“Unfortunately, the discovery of this omission means that, a quarter of a century later, the VRA (Video Recordings Act ) is no longer enforceable against individuals in United Kingdom courts,” Barbara Follett, Minister for Culture and Tourism told Reuters. Continue reading

Hamas Executing Gaza Rivals

This sort of news is always unsurprising and merely shines a light on just how messed up things have gotten over there:

The video, shot by cell phone, was reportedly recorded August 15, when the group’s leader, Abdel Latif Moussa, delivered a Friday sermon declaring Gaza to be an Islamic emirate loyal to Osama bin Laden. That sparked the Hamas crackdown.

In the video, Hamas figures are seen executing members of the new group, known as Jund Ansar Allah (Warriors of God). At the end of the clash, a member of the faction detonated a suicide belt that killed Moussa and 24 others, including civilians.

The new organization is made up of defectors from Hamas and other Gazan Islamic groups. Its leaders believe that Hamas hasn’t been aggressive enough in confronting Israel.


The only good news is that they are simply attacking a group that is even more extreme than themselves. However, Hamas is merely behaving as a terrorist organization by continuing to use these sorts of terror attacks.
What would be an advance is if they were to bring these guys to trial!

It is never positive when we see a situation where the political structure of the community continues to meltdown and violence is still seen as a viable method of solving problems. Continue reading

정부, ‘北조문단’ 철통 경호

와  —

(서울=연합뉴스) 유현민 기자 = 정부가 21일 김대중 전 대통령의 서거에 조의를 표하고자 이날부터 이틀 동안 서울을 방문하는 북한 김정일 국방위원장의 조문사절을 맞이하기 위해 분주하다.

국장(國葬)으로 치러지는 김 전 대통령의 장례를 주관하는 주체로서 ‘특별한 북한 손님’을 맞이하는 데 만반의 준비를 하고 있는 것.

정부 관계자는 “국장이라는 국가행사의 틀에 맞게 통일부가 장의위원회의 일원으로서 유관부처의 협조를 받아 북한 조문단을 맞이할 준비를 하고 있다”면서 “특히 공항이나 이동, 북 조문단 숙소에서는 경찰을 비롯한 경비 인력의 도움을 받을 생각”이라고 말했다.

이를 위해 정부는 북한 조문단이 도착하는 김포공항과 숙소인 서울 시내 한 호텔과 그 주변에 각각 경찰 수 백 명씩 배치해 만일의 사태에 대비하는 한편 북 조문단의 이동 경로 곳곳에도 인력을 배치할 방침인 것으로 알려졌다.


내가 미국인 이니까 이런 것을 이해할 수 없다. 김정일은 핵무기를 발달하면서 북한 사람들이 다 고생하고 어디 든지 보면 영양부족아 있고 북한에서 자유가 100% 없다… 그런데 아직도 김대중의 장례를 다니고 대한민국이 이렇게 도움을 주고 있냐?


어떤 것을 죽을 때 까지 이해할 수 없다.

물론 김대중은 북한을 방문 했는데… 이 것 조금 과도하다고 생각한다.

A Boat Without An Anchor

Four years have gone by since I’ve come to Korea and I think the best metaphor for life here is being a boat without an anchor… You are always moving; everything is always changing; familiarity is nonexistent. There is nothing attaching you to anything, and you have forfeited all sense of roots.

Foreigners always have an odd way of attracting one another — they often have something inherent about themselves to relate to one another and find themselves pursuing the same goals and facing the same problems. In these lands, one becomes friends with a revolving door of foreigners who are coming and going; I have had countless friends who were friends but for a season. Just today I looked about and realized several people I had spent time intimately with were leaving all within a week of each other due to odd circumstances — when mom is sick, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be more scarce on the weekends; it means you’re going back home. When money runs out, your last choice is to go back to wherever. You cannot dwindle away on any local welfare system. When folks get arrested they seldom go to jail — they go home.

And more than that, one does not have any anchor to this nation.

When others go home for the holidays; when others go to see their high school friends; when people finish college and return to their hometowns… It is more clear you are adrift.

I have great Korean friends but at the same time I’ve never passed through any of the same rites of passage as them and thus have none of the glue that binds them together. I am an unattached friend. A friend of hobbies and interests, seldom a friend of experience.

Always, eternally, everything is changing. I wake up somewhere new, each day, it seems. I cannot anchor myself in a bay of contentedness but rather I must sail somewhere new each day.

But it does not upset me. It excites me.

I have a freedom that is ultimate and complete — none has expectations of me and no obligations; I make my life, each day.

By having no attachments I have attained ultimate freedom. By having no anchor, I drift with the seas; happy and carefree.

UK: Labor Changes Name Game To Woo Islamic Voters

This is directly related to the recent article concerning changing the name of the war on terrorism for the precise purpose of wooing the left, infuriating the right… Just enjoy, and hats off to Pete Ramone in UK for putting this up on conpunk:

Community cohesion minister Shahid Malik said he would be diverting money intended to prevent recruitment by Al Qaeda to tackle far-Right extremism.

He also said the Prevent strategy would be renamed because its emphasis on ‘violent extremism’ had upset some Muslims.

Last night a former government adviser accused Labour of succumbing to ‘political correctness’ by ditching the emphasis on tackling Muslim extremism even though that was ‘the main problem’.

Paul Richards, who worked closely with former communities secretary Hazel Blears, said it would be ‘dangerous at a time like this’ to divert some of the £45million budget away from Islamist extremism.

He said it was ‘ridiculous’ that ‘political ideologues’ had decided to divert scarce resources. Senior Tories branded the move a nakedly political attempt by ministers to woo Muslim voters.

Mr Malik spoke after a report by the New Local Government Network, a Left-wing campaign group, said the Prevent strategy had ‘stigmatised’ Muslims. He said: ‘We need to broaden things out. We cannot underestimate the threat from the far Right.’

Mail Online

The thing is… The ‘far right’ is at a point where people cannot even print out their propaganda (that is, if we are referring to the far right as the Nazis). They have not launched a terror attack in Britain since… when? Last I remember hearing about it there were some hooligans threatening to use pipe bombs on cops in the 1980s but I have no idea how far that ever got. Continue reading

War On Terrorism Over

The White house is playing games with the words that it uses — though it has done nearly nothing to change the policies of Pres. Bush, it is intent on putting the blinders over the horse’s eyes so they can ride it wherever they wish:

It’s official. The U.S. is no longer engaged in a “war on terrorism.” Neither is it fighting “jihadists” or in a “global war.”

President Obama’s top homeland security and counterterrorism official took all three terms off the table of acceptable words inside the White House during a speech Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

“The President does not describe this as a ‘war on terrorism,'” said John Brennan, head of the White House homeland security office, who outlined a “new way of seeing” the fight against terrorism.

The only terminology that Mr. Brennan said the administration is using is that the U.S. is “at war with al Qaeda.”

“We are at war with al Qaeda,” he said. “We are at war with its violent extremist allies who seek to carry on al Qaeda’s murderous agenda.”

Washington Times

This is a good strategy: keep frustrating conservatives by, in name, opposing the ideas of Pres. Bush. Keep the pundits frothing at the mouth and keep the folk distracted from the fact that you’ve barely delivered on any of your promises concerning actually ending the war. Continue reading

UK To Put Problem Families Under Surveillance

What an interesting notion we have here — we take families that are deemed to be problematic and we put cameras into their homes…

THOUSANDS of the worst families in England are to be put in “sin bins” in a bid to change their bad behaviour, Ed Balls announced yesterday.


The Children’s Secretary set out £400million plans to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV super-vision in their own homes.

They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.

Private security guards will also be sent round to carry out home checks, while parents will be given help to combat drug and alcohol addiction.

Around 2,000 families have gone through these Family Intervention Projects so far.

But ministers want to target 20,000 more in the next two years, with each costing between £5,000 and £20,000 – a potential total bill of £400million.

Ministers hope the move will reduce the number of youngsters who get drawn into crime because of their chaotic family lives, as portrayed in Channel 4 comedy drama Shameless.

Sin bin projects operate in half of council areas already but Mr Balls wants every local authority to fund them.

Sunday Express

In some senses this is already a violation of the rights people have to privacy within their homes but in another sense I could see why they would take such drastic actions in an attempt to curb the family issues which lead to the failures of children.

It is not always just the system’s fault; sometimes it is definitely the fault of parents who have failed.

But aren’t we also afraid of the idea that the UK could be becoming more and more of a police state? Cameras strewn all about London and now cameras entering into “problem homes.”

I can see agreeing with this policy if it was a last straw action — where the parent had the choice of being stripped of their child or being observed.

Otherwise, I am not sure how I feel about this.

I am also not so sure if observation can fix problems that come primarily from temper or are so ingrained they simply cannot be changed so easily.

This has the potential to result in the surveillance of many crimes, though.