Burma/Myanmar

As a follow up to this post the other day, the Washington Post today has a story on the UN sending an envoy there.

Here’s the quick history:

The military, which first seized power in 1962, has survived several uprisings through crackdowns similar to the one under way now, content to ride out international condemnation and confident that Burma’s petroleum reserves will continue to attract foreign investment. An estimated 3,000 people were killed in 1988 when troops opened fire on demonstrators; another uprising was put down in 1996 with massive arrests.

The violence this week has killed nine people and injured 31, according to an account read on official Burmese television, but exile groups say they have reports that the toll was considerably higher.

It seems that the UN is going there to calm things down and start dialogue. The US in the meantime is pushing for democracy now. While the actual exiled govt of Burma has no interest.

Like I said in the original post, if you’re going to try to take over a military dictatorship, you need some power. Or else be prepared to be killed. I admire the monks, but they did not seem ready for this at all.

The U.S. officials suggested the goal should be the generals’ departure from power, perhaps to exile in China, opening the way for a democratic government. But the National Council of the Union of Burma, a main exile umbrella group based in Thailand, said its goal at this stage was less ambitious: national dialogue between the military junta and other political forces in the country.

Maybe the UN can be useful! I’m not holding my breath, but I’ll keep hope alive!

Rudy

Robert Novak, who I’ve always thought was a smart man seems sdisappointed to find that Rudy Giuliani has no interest in attending a Values Conference of Social Conservatives along with other GOP potentials.

Giuliani’s absence suggests that he will fare badly in the conference’s straw vote, though he leads the national Republican polls.

Um – Mr. Giuliani is not a social conservative. He’s not going to fare well in such a straw vote either way!
Much of the reason Rudy has a lot of support right now is because of his more liberal social views than other Republicans running.

Links

David Brooks on the blogosphere and this election.

Both liberals and Republicans have an interest in exaggerating the netroots’ influence, but in reality that influence is surprisingly marginal, even among candidates for whom you’d think it would be strong.

(ht Tim Blair)
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John Podhoretz is pretty certain it’s going to be Hillary vs Rudy and calls it a “…tabloid journalists dream.”
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Syria is stomping it’s foot at Israel.

Israel sent several fighter jets towards its border with Syria Thursday after air force radar screens showed Syrian attack helicopters in flight on the Syrian side of the frontier, Israel Radio reported, adding that when the choppers were seen landing in Syrian territory, minutes afterward, the warplanes returned to base.

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Iraqi citizens continue to help find weapons caches.
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Here’s a story on the SCHIP vote without so much as word one about what the measure actually is for other than to help “poor children”. ROFL
I guess they did lower the income requirement a bit, but still…………….if poor people aren’t using SCHIP now why would you want to expand it other than to get more people to use it so you can call it succesful, even if that means middle income people get on it by cancelling their own private insurance.

Burma/Myanmar

Bloodthirsty Liberal continues to cover the goings on in Burma/Myanmar. I too am ambivalent about the situation. (not the part where the military is killing people) The monks started this protest over gas prices and it’s changed to be a protest over the military dictatorship.

Now imagine you’re a dictator and 10,000 people are rioting in the streets because of $5/gallon gas. You can’t “lose face” as we all know dictators like their “face”.
There’s going to be killing.

These people don’t want to lose, and they’re prepared to fight a lot dirtier than the monks are.

I’m a bit of the mind that if you want to take the govt over (or back from thugs) than you need to have power. Peaceful monks may make the newspapers, but basically they are looking for recognition for the crap that the Burmese put up with and some help from the outside.
The UN has always been useless and we’re pretty busy right now. I’m not a complete isolationist, but if you’re going to start something like this, it really should be thought through.

I’m curious what would happen if the junta would just lower gas prices.

Truly Amazing

From The Corner, by Mark Steyn. (ht instapundit)

Okay, Muslim foot-baths in Kansas City airport, gender-segregated swimming sessions at French municipal pools, banning pork from Aussie hospital menus, no eating donuts for Belgian cops during Ramadan, no seeing-eye dogs or alcohol in Minneapolis taxi cabs, fine, fine, fine. Must be sensitive and all that.

But this is an amazing victory. In Vancouver, infidels can’t smoke but Muslims can:

Read the link and weep.

Fix the Hospital!!

What the Hell! Why is a beauracracy holding up the fixing of Walter Reed?

Army units developed to shepherd recovering soldiers lack enough nurses and social workers, and proposals to streamline the military’s disability evaluation system and to provide “recovery coordinators” are behind schedule, according to the Government Accountability Office report.

Members of a congressional oversight committee, discussing the report at a hearing yesterday, said the effort to reform the medical bureaucracy has itself become mired in bureaucracy.

Send them money – hire people. Get er done!

Iranians, Sticks and Carrots

This “Viewpoint” from Kayhan in Iran (I can’t link directly but you can search for “Everything Belongs to America”) cracked me up this morning.

Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said prior to the vote: “Iran faces a choice between a very big carrot and a very sharp stick… it is my hope that they will take the carrot. But today, we are putting the stick in place.”
So president Ahmadinejad was not too far off the mark in his comments at Columbia University about the brand of homosexuality present in the West!!

The Debate and Iraq

Powerline (quoting the Bill Kristol)has a nice re-cap and thinks the GOP has a good shot at this election.

Last night, for the first time this election cycle, I watched a Democratic presidential debate. It was appalling. But it was also, in a way, encouraging. Before last night, I thought it was 50-50 that the Republican nominee would win in November 2008.
Now I think it’s 2 to 1. And if the Democrat is anyone but Hillary, it’s 4 to 1.

Captain Ed takes the words out of my head when he notes that General Petraeus has changed the Democrat’s narrative.

Federal vs State Govt

Apparently Thomas Friedman thinks the Federal Govt is the “real” govt.
Concerning climate initiatives he had this to say:

David Moskovitz, who directs the Regulatory Assistance Project, a nonprofit that helps promote green policies in China, was even more blunt: “The most frequent and difficult question we get in China with every policy initiative we put forward is: ‘If it is so good, why aren’t you doing it?’ It’s hard to answer — and somewhat embarrassing. So we point to good examples that some American states, or cities, or companies are implementing — but not to the federal government. We can’t point to America.”

Too bad. “It was America which put environmentalism on the world’s agenda in the 1970s and

’80s,” recalled Glenn Prickett, a senior vice president for Conservation International.

“We can’t point to America.”. I would suggest that America is the states/the cities, the companies. The title of his column is
“Lead, Follow or Move Aside”, and it’s about how places like Walmart are doing more than the Federal Govt. What it doesn’t address is what “America” is doing that is in the way of progress and that why he’s saying “Move aside”. Based on this column the Fed Govt has moved aside.