THERE IS NO BOLIVIA?:

December 25, 2006

Bolivia’s Morales faces biggest test: Political leaders in wealthy regions, long alienated from his Andes power base, are pushing for more autonomy (Patrick J. McDonnell, December 25, 2006, LA Times)

A political insurrection has enveloped four provinces in Bolivia’s east, north and south, a swath of the country known as the half-moon that contains much of the nation’s wealth, including most of its gas reserves. Political leaders there, long alienated from Morales’ power base in the Andes heartland and the coca-growing tropics, are pushing for more autonomy.

Their supporters launched mass demonstrations, civic strikes and legislative action, culminating in huge protests Dec. 15.

“The road to autonomy is something that our society has been working toward for a long time, with mobilizations, protests and votes,” said Germ├ín Antelo, president of the Civic Committee of Santa Cruz, the thriving eastern lowland city that is the heart of the autonomy movement. “We’re not looking to break away from Bolivia. We just want respect for popular will that seeks autonomy.”

What autonomy would mean in practice is unclear, although it probably would include local governments receiving a larger share of taxes and royalties from their natural gas. This is not a small thing at a time when gas revenue is expected to increase by billions of dollars thanks to new contracts negotiated with foreign energy companies under Morales’ nationalization scheme.

The president has signaled that he regards talk of autonomy as the first step toward breaking up the country, South America’s poorest. He derides the autonomy movement as the elite’s response to his leftist reforms.

Base your politics on racial identity and you’ve already ceded the self-determination argument.


THERE IS NO BELGIUM:

December 20, 2006

Bye bye Belgium? (Robert Mnookin and Alain Verbeke, December 20, 2006, International Herald Tribune)

On Wednesday night last week, Belgium’s French-speaking public television network created a stir with a surprise 90-minute broadcast that began with a news flash that Flanders had declared independence and that the Belgian state was breaking apart. The broadcast was inspired by Orson Welles’s 1938 radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’s “War of the Worlds,” but touched upon a possibility less fanciful than an invasion from Mars. For the reality is that Belgium’s days as a united nation may indeed be numbered.

Belgium only became a nation in 1830 and its union of Dutch-speaking Flemings in the north and French-speaking Walloons in south was never a love match. Instead, it was a marriage arranged by the great powers bent on creating a neutral buffer state.

Where does that Nasrallah get his ideas?


GAIA'S GONNA GETCHA:

December 20, 2006

Climate ideology control (Paul Driessen, December 20, 2006, Washington Post)

Al Gore bristles at anyone who raises inconvenient truths about climate alarmism. Greenpeace calls us “climate criminals.” Grist magazine wants “Nuremberg-style war crimes trials” for climate disaster skeptics, probably followed by hangings, since burning at the stake would release greenhouse gases.

Climate catastrophist Ross Gelbspan told a Washington, D.C., audience: “Not only do journalists not have a responsibility to report what skeptical scientists have to say about global warming. They have a responsibility not to report what those scientists say.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, shamefully treated physician-scientist-author Michael Crichton like a child molester during a congressional hearing, for suggesting climate change theories be reviewed by double-blind studies and evidentiary standards akin to what the Food and Drug Administration uses for new medicine. And Sens. Olympia Snowe of Maine and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia have issued a “gag order” against ExxonMobil. “Its message: Start toeing the senators’ line on climate change, or else,” said the Wall Street Journal.

Earth-centered-universe dogmas have been replaced by a far more intolerant Church of Gaia catechism of cataclysm. We have entered an era of climate McCarthyism and eco-Inquisitions, whose goal appears to be slashing energy use and economic growth, by making activists, politicians and bureaucrats the final arbiters of every energy and economic decision.


YOU CAN SERVE THE INSTITUTION'S BUREAUCRACY OR ITS PRINCIPLES–HO CHOSE BADLY:

December 17, 2006

Kofi’s stain: UN chief wronged U.S., coddled dictators and ignored corruption (NILE GARDINER, 12/17/06, NY Daiuly News)

[A]nnan has been no friend of the American people, or of the Iraqi people. At every opportunity, he has undermined U.S. global leadership, most recently making a habit of deriding America’s decision to remove Saddam from power as “illegal.” People of good will can debate whether that decision was right or wrong – but it was Saddam, not Bush, who thumbed his nose at a dozen UN resolutions and systematically oppressed the Iraqi people.

Annan has a long track record of cozying up to dictators. He has consistently failed to condemn African tyrants such as Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe or Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan. And aside from a few perfunctory criticisms, he has been noticeably quiet about the threats against Israel posed by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Annan gave only a low-key response to Iran’s state-sponsored Holocaust denial conference, which sparked international outrage this week. To his credit, incoming Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has already strongly denounced it.

As a result of this and more, the UN’s standing as a moral authority on the world stage – not exactly stellar at the start of Annan’s tenure – has plummeted during his 10-year reign. He was forced to disband the UN Commission on Human Rights after Western complaints over human-rights abusers (Cuba, Libya, et al.) running the show. Yet his “reform” solution, the much-vaunted Human Rights Council, is just as bad. It has been unwilling even to condemn the regime in Khartoum over the crisis in Darfur.

Even worse, amid a culture of weak and permissive leadership, UN peacekeepers entrusted with protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable people have raped and abused hundreds of refugees in the Congo, Sierra Leone, Haiti and other war zones. Before he became secretary general, Annan was in charge of UN peacekeeping operations during the Rwanda slaughter and the mass killing at Srebrenica, in Bosnia. Suffice to say, in that capacity, he did not earn the top job.

The free world should not shed a tear at Annan’s departure. Rather, let New York bid good riddance to the most weak-kneed secretary general in the history of the United Nations, a shameless appeaser of despotism and tyranny. He may well be remembered as the Neville Chamberlain of our time.


IT'S THEIR NATION, LET THEM DECIDE:

December 5, 2006

Musharraf suggests Pakistan willing to give up Kashmir claim (The Associated Press, December 5, 2006)

Pakistan is willing to give up its claim to all of Kashmir if India agrees that the disputed Himalayan region should become self-governing and largely autonomous, Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Tuesday, according to an Indian television report.

Why should Kashmir be any different than Palestine, South Lebanon, Chechnya, etc….