January 31, 2003

Mandela's No Friend to America

I'm really pissed!

Nelson Mandela recently criticized America's policy toward Iraq in a speech "Former South African President Nelson Mandela made some very strong criticisms of U.S. policy toward Iraq in a speech delivered to the International Women's Forum meeting in Sandton, South Africa. The speech, on the theme of Courageous Leadership for Global Transformation, was recorded by SABC. What follows are excerpts from that speech."

Here are quotes from that speech reported on the All Africa website:

"If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America [APPLAUSE]. They don't care for human beings. Fifty-seven years ago, when Japan was retreating on all fronts, they decided to drop the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; killed a lot of innocent people, who are still suffering the effects of those bombs.

Those bombs were not aimed against the Japanese, they were aimed against the Soviet Union to say, 'look, this is the power that we have. If you dare oppose what we do, this is what is going to happen to you'. Because they are so arrogant, they decided to kill innocent people in Japan, who are still suffering from that.

Who are they, now, to pretend that they are the policemen of the world? [APPLAUSE] To want to decide for the people in Iraq what they should do with their government and with their leadership?

If this is done by the United Nations, if the United Nations says that 'Saddam Hussein is not carrying out the resolutions of the United Nations, therefore we the United Nations are going to take action,' I will support that without reservation. [APPLAUSE]

What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no Foresight, who cannot think properly, [LAUGHTER] is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust. I am happy that the people of the world - especially those of the United States of America - are standing up and opposing their own president.

I hope that that opposition will one day make him understand that he has made the greatest mistake of his life in trying to bring about carnage and to police the world, without any authority of the international body. It is something we have to condemn without reservation."

Nelson Mandela has shown himself with these remarks to be no friend of the US. Where is the US media's reporting of this 'hero" of South Africa's views? Where is the condemnation of these comments? His country is awash with AIDS, yet he condemns the president who, in his State of the Union address, recommends billions in AIDS help for Africa's epidemic.

I have lost all respect for Mr. Mandela. He is unworthy to be South Africa's leader.

January 23, 2003

How Can This Be?

In a noble effort to assure diversity and nondiscrimination within academia, the application of the rules has reached far beyond their noble intent and now border on the absurd. Any group, but particularly a religious group, has an inalienable right to require its leadership to hold beliefs that form the basis for the group's very existence. Here's hoping the courts reject arguments to the contrary and reach the logical conclusion without delay.

From Time Magazine January 13, 2003:

Does a Christian student organization have the right to insist that its leaders be Christians? Several universities say no, and a growing legal battle has resulted. The InterVarsity Multiethnic Christian Fellowship at Rutgers filed suit last week after the university eliminated the group's $1200. in funding. Rutgers claimed that the group was violating the university's antidiscrimination rules, which stipulate that an organization may not discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs when choosing its leaders. The group says the decision violates its freedom of religion and association.

Christian groups at the University of North Carolina and Harvard are fighting similar efforts to strip them of funding unless they embrace nondiscrimination clauses. The schools claim that they are simply adhering to antidiscrimination policies. The students say it makes no sense to forbid a Christian fellowship to require its leaders to agree with certain tenets of Christianity. "We're not trying to exclude," says Laura Vellenga. New Jersey area director for InterVarsity, which has fellowships on 560 campuses across the U.S. "But we want to reserve leadership positions to what the fellowship is about." -by Perry Bacon

January 17, 2003

Fuzzy Thinking

Olin Robison, a VPR commentator and President of the Salzburg seminar (not sure what they do) and former president of Middlebury College, in his commentary today portrays President Bush as lacking the sophisticated thinking required to deal with a complex, ambiguous world. He says:
"The president's repeated references to "evil doers" who are frequently a part of the "Axis of Evil" seems to play well in the polls at least so far. A couple of weeks ago the president visited the troops awaiting deployment at Fort Hood. In addressing these men and women, the president was clear: "Either you are with those who love freedom or you are with those who hate innocent life." No wonder this scares people. It is a stance that equates moral clarity with moral simplicity. It fails to understand that, frequently, moral clarity is in recognizing nuance, subtlety, ambiguity and complexity."

Mr Robison has it wrong. A leader should display his values and speak directly, clearly and espouse no-nonsense policy based on his beliefs and, particularly, his clear distinction of right from wrong. The world of "nuance, subtlety, ambiguity and complexity" is best left to diplomats, not the leader of America. Mr. Bush leaves no confused impression of where he stands.American's want certainty and clarity from their leader, particularly in these perilous times. The sophistication Mr. Robison espouses is the delight of academics and those with little responsibility for world-changing decisions.

Mr Bush is right to be morally clear. Morality is certainly not a policy, but it should underlie every policy whose implementation protects America's principles and freeedom. When the time is right, I believe President Bush will provide the facts that underlie our policy that may require war with Iraq. Stategically, it makes no sense to divulge intelligence prematurely. The public will know Mr. Hussein's secrets in due time.

January 14, 2003

Daniel Fogel, President of UVM, appeared on Vermont Public Radio' s Switchboard program tonight. While he is a thoughtful individual and said all the proper remarks, he was much too tentative. He is an academic leader, I believe, but he should be more forceful with his ideas and views. Although he has been in Vermont less than a year, he should 'take command' more aggressively and build confidence in his considerable abilities.

January 13, 2003

Vermont Jobs and Tax base

Vermont's fundamental dilemma and tax base is that jobs paying 'good' wages to people in the middle of the wconomic pecking order are evaporating so there's less upward mobility without specialty training. This job loss is an uncomfortable reality of globalization and tends to stratify the low end wage earners from the higher wage earners. The long term remedy to be pursued is multi-faceted reaching into education, tax policy, busines and public investment, and many other factors that feed into the perceived 'business climate.' There is no quick fix and Vermont will compete with the other states for the same supply of present and future jobs. We need to find ways to differentiate ourselves.

Effective permit reform is a good place to start. Thanks Gov. Douglas.

January 8, 2003

Evil in the World

Can there be any doubt that evil is rampant in the world? From the Houston man who beat his mother to death and ate part of her heart to the terrorist bombings in Israel and around the world, to the hatred that exists between races and ethnic groups, there can be no doubt that evil is a true and pervasive force within humanity. Some would say this is caused by people not 'knowing enough' thus needing education. Others would say hatred is like a disease spawned in the environment. Fix the envoironment, the culture and the social order and people will be better, if not 'good.'

The truth is that evil lurks in the heart of man. Some religions call this Original Sin. Others see it as something to be cleansed in righteous living through many incarnations. Still others see evil as a force to be embraced or appeased by sacrifice.

Because evil lives and breeds within the human character, as part of the inherent nature of Man, it cannot be expunged by the will of Man or tools he might devise. It can be controlled and managed in some degree by the police powers and sanctions of society but the ultimate purging of Evil can only be accomplished by personal belief in the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, the son of God and the Son of Man. This can happen only in one person at a time. While the evil is not removed, the sinful, evil nature is forgiven.

Education, psychotherapy, policemen, incarceration and punishment cannot remove evil nor forgive it. Man's best efforts can only ameliorate it.
True freedom from the devastating effects of evil only comes from forgiveness created by the shed blood of the God-Man.