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The Ides of March

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M BHADRAKUMAR on Korea and The Year of the Snake

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According to Melkulangara Bhadrakumar: Everything about North Korea has to be speculative. That has been and is still the main problem. But one speculation seems to be ending, finally. It concerns China’s apparent ambivalence about North Korea’s nuclear program. Increasingly, Beijing is coming out on the ‘right side of history’.

Which in turn would unleash a host of profound consequences for the security of the Asia-Pacific and global politics as a whole, and, most important, for the future of what China’s new leader Xi Jinping enigmatically alluded to – but left undefined – as his “two great powers” concept during his visit to the United States last year when he was still a mere ‘princeling’.

Indeed, as the ‘breaking news’ accrued out of the bits and pieces of information of an obscure earthquake in North Korea early on Tuesday and it dawned on the world that the hermit kingdom has probably conducted its third underground nuclear test, all eyes began turning to China. For China watchers on the whole this is a veritable feast for the mind – how the new leadership in China would cope with a major foreign policy challenge – the second challenge simultaneously, in fact, if one were to add the feud between China and Japan over the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

At the end of the day, it transpires that Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao kept voicing counsels of reason to Pyongyang but also kept the North Korean economy uninterruptedly supplied with food, fuel and investment and virtually kept the international community at bay by restraining its hands from imposing punitive sanctions. In effect, the impression becomes unavoidable that Hu shielded North Korea from international outcry and tacitly tolerated North Korea’s nuclear program.

Then came the long-range missile launch by North Korea in December and Beijing’s stunning decision to join the United States in backing the United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang. The conventional wisdom at that point was that China would soon afterward revert to its “default position” on North Korea, as it had done many a time in the past. The interesting thing, in retrospect, is that things didn’t exactly happen that way. On the contrary, when Pyongyang let go a fierce attack on Beijing for signing on to the US-led sanctions at the UN Security Council and it threatened with a nuclear test in the downstream, China began publicly ticking off North Korea – although limited to the English-language media that is meant for the consumption of the world opinion.

There is no question that the editorial in the state-owned Global Times newspaper last week penned by Zhang Liangui, a North Korea expert who advises the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee needs to be taken seriously. The editorial was predicated on the assumption that Pyongyang would go ahead with the nuclear test no matter what it takes, and looking at the downstream it warned that North Korea would “pay a heavy price” in terms of China’s goodwill. The salient of the editorial was its unambiguous warning that Pyongyang would be wrong to (mis)calculate that it can play China against the United States – “Pyongyang shouldn’t misread China. China won’t put its relations with Pyongyang above other strategic interests.”

Clearly, China’s political relationship with Pyongyang has touched a low point. But then, what about China’s longstanding priorities? These are: no war on the Korean Peninsula; no destabilization of the North Korean regime; and, a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula. China may balk but humanitarian considerations will remain and the long-term relationship cannot be abandoned just like that. Besides, North Korea has acted as a crucial buffer against the US troops based in South Korea and Japan. Furthermore, against the backdrop of the US’ rebalancing in Asia and China’s troubled relations with Japan, Beijing needs to hedge and it can, therefore, at best afford to press the ‘pause’ button at this point.

China also can ill afford to be distracted by another foreign policy crisis on its doorstep when the mounting domestic problems require great attention. Clearly, China finds itself between a rock and a hard place with the North Korean nuclear test. By a curious coincidence, the nuclear test took place even as the Year of the Snake slithers in. Snake years have historically had a geopolitical bite – Pearl Harbor (1941), Tiananmen Square massacre (1989), 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington (2011). By the way, Xi himself was born in the snake year of 1953.

To read Melkulangara Bhadrakumar’s article: “A Bomb in the Year of the Snake,” check out http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/02/14/a-bomb-in-the-year-of-the-snake.html

Downsize Congress! Thin The Herd!

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435 Congressman is way too many. Nothing positive can get done with that unweildy number. We need to downsize the number to 365. I realize it will dilute our representation, but it will also have the affect of making it more difficult for extremists on both sides from getting elected and it will promote a more centrist legislature.As far as reducing their compensaton while they are in office. Here is why I am against it. Life has taught me time and time again that you basically get what you pay for. If you keep their salaries to low, the process will discourage canidates who have modest wealth and income streams. I believe the better solution is to pay them more but place greater restrictions on their ability to raise money and receive campaign contributions. The problem with our system lies not in paying millions of dollars on Congressional salaries, but in Congressmen and women spending trillions of dollars on God knows what.Pass it On.

Harenewscorp

Written by harenews

January 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm

DOD 313: Susan B Anthony: The Death of An Aquarius

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Susan Brownell Anthony (February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was a prominent American civil rights leader who played a pivotal role in the 19th century women’s rights movement to introducewomen’s suffrage into the United States. She was co-founder of the first Women’s Temperance Movement with Elizabeth Cady Stanton as President.[1] She also co-founded the women’s rights journal, The Revolution. She traveled the United States and Europe, and averaged 75 to 100 speeches per year.[2] She was one of the important advocates in leading the way for women’s rights to be acknowledged and instituted in the American government.[3]

Written by harenews

August 30, 2012 at 5:27 am

314: Billy Crystal: Star of the Stars

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William Edward “Billy” Crystal[1] (born March 14, 1948) is an American actor, writer, producer, comedian, and film director. He gained prominence in the 1970s for playing Jodie Dallas on the ABCsitcom Soap and became a Hollywood film star during the late 1980s and 1990s, appearing in the critical and box office successes When Harry Met Sally… and City Slickers. He has hosted theAcademy Awards nine times, including the 84th Academy Awards in 2012.[2]

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August 30, 2012 at 5:17 am

314: Michael Ford: Grandfather to the Messiah

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Michael Gerald Ford (born March 14, 1950) is the oldest of four children of former U.S. president Gerald R. Ford and his wife Betty Ford.

He is a minister, and leads the Office of Student Development, which oversees all student organizations atWake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is an alumnus of Wake Forest (BA, 1972) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1984). He was the president ofSigma Chi while a student at WFU. President Ford, when he was still in Congress, spoke at his son’s commencement.

He married Gayle Ann Brumbaugh (born 1951) on July 5, 1974. The Fords have three daughters,

  • Sarah Joyce (born 1979), who married Blake Goodfellow in 1999 and had four children with him:
    • Riley Ann (born 2001)
    • Ford William (born 2003)
    • Brady Michael (born 2005)
    • Tyler Elizabeth (born 2008)
  • Rebekah Elizabeth (Bekah, born 1982), who married Clay Cooke in 2004 and had a daughter with him:
    • Ever Elizabeth (born 2010)
  • Hannah Gayle (born 1985).

Written by harenews

August 30, 2012 at 5:05 am

OHA on Pisces Presidents

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Pisces Presidents

Posted on August 25, 2011 by

As the Republican Party is serving up two Pisces sun presidential candidates (Romney and Perry), I wanted to take a look at past Piscean presidents. Of our 43 presidents, there have been four with sun in Pisces:

  • George Washington (1789-1797)
  • James Madison (1809-1817)
  • Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
  • Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897)

The 18th and 19th centuries were better environments for Piscean US presidents. The 20th century produced none. Maybe the 21st century will see a return of this mutable water sign in the White House.

For more of Ohio Astrology’s Article on Pisces Presidents, please check out  their site @:  http://ohioastrology.wordpress.com/2011/08/25/pisces-presidents/

 

Written by harenews

July 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm

313: OHA and Harenewscorp Discuss Jamie Dimon’s Chart

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OHA:

Dimon is a Pisces sun with moon in Aries and Mars in Capricorn. Pisces is a mutable water sign so Dimon works more from intuition than his two competitors. He can sense things before they happen and understands how the average person will feel about a change. Dimon is more emotionally tuned in to the surroundings. That may be nice in a husband, but in a CEO? Venus in Taurus suggests his interest in banking involves deeper values of what wealth represents.

Harenews:

guess the inference is: that it helps to have a lot of cardinal signs in your chart if you want to lead a major bank. Out of the three bankers you profiled, Moynihan is the only attorney. Maybe having two planets in Libra explains why he took the JD route rather than MBA path. I have to disagree with you on the ultimate uber-banker. My money is on Dimon. With a Sun in Pisces and a moon in Aries that enalbles him to think both long and short term. Even though Capricorns are more prudent and cautious by nature, Capricorns spend way too much time dwelling on the past.

OHA:

You’re probably right on Jamie Dimon. For a banker, he’s charismatic. Plus his last name “Dimon” sounds a lot like “diamond.” What a winning name! Too bad we can’t all be born with auspicious names.

Written by harenews

June 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm

DOB 315: Andrew Jackson

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Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was the seventh President of the United States (1829–1837). Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (1814), and the British at the Battle of New Orleans (1815). A polarizing figure who dominated the Second Party System in the 1820s and 1830s, as president he destroyed the national bank and relocated most Indian tribes from the Southeast to west of the Mississippi River. His enthusiastic followers created the modern Democratic Party. The 1830-1850 period later became known as the era of Jacksonian democracy.[1

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February 24, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Neptune in Pisces and the Revolutions of 1848

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With a prediction by Urbain Le Verrier, telescopic observations confirming the existence of a major planet were made on the night of September 23, 1846, and into the early morning of the 24th,[1] at the Berlin Observatory, by astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle (assisted by Heinrich Louis d’Arrest), working from Le Verrier’s calculations. It was a sensational moment of 19th century science and dramatic confirmation of Newtonian gravitational theory. In François Arago‘s apt phrase, Le Verrier had discovered a planet “with the point of his pen.”

At the same time, numerous changes had been taking place in European society throughout the first half of the 19th century by the strokes  of “pens” and also by the strokes of “swords”. There were surges in technology that made ideas more accessible to the disenfranchised as well as middle classes. These included improvements in printing presses, invention of the telegraph as well as typewriter, Braille, longer hours for reading due to many new types of lighting, and countless other precursors of modern efficiency.

However there was also widespread hardships among the many due to famines, pestilence, and war.  Large groups of the nobility were discontented with royal absolutism or near-absolutism. In 1846 there had been an uprising of Polish nobility in Austrian Galicia, which was only countered when peasants, in turn, rose up against the nobles.[6] Additionally, an uprising by democratic forces against Prussia occurred in Greater Poland. Advances in the  publishing industry similar to  development of the Internet in our times,  began to inform the masses of injustices and economic disparities existing

On February 21, 1948, Marx and Engels published their Communist Manifesto .  once they began agitating in Germany following the March insurrection in Berlin, their demands were considerably reduced.  Life was very hard. In Europe, the aristocrats had serfs and in their many colonies elsewhere in the world, they had slaves.They issued their “Demands of the Communist Party in Germany”[7]from Paris in March; the pamphlet only urged unification of Germany, universal suffrage, abolition of feudal duties, and similar middle class goals.

The middle and working classes thus shared a desire for reform, and agreed on many of the specific aims. Their participations in the revolutions, however, differed. While much of the impetus came from the middle classes, much of the cannon fodder came from the lower.  Therevolts first erupted in the cities.

There were four buzz words in 1848: democracy, liberalism, nationalism, and socialism. Wikipedia has done our homework for us by defining what those words meant in the mid 1800s. Democracy, alas, pertained mainly to male suffrage. Liberalism, however, has real punch: consent of the governed and restrictions on the influence of church and state. Nationalism probably requires some sort of modern interpretation. In a world that was emerging from feudalism, there were countless states of varying degrees of stature. For instance, in what we now know as Italy, there were once — such as during the Renaissance — the hugely influential city-states, with names like Florence and Venice, as well as many kingdoms, Papal States, duchies, etc., some of which were ruled by Austrians.

There were multiple memories of the Revolution. Democrats looked to 1848, as a democratic revolution, which in the long run insured liberty, equality, and fraternity. Marxists denounced 1848 as a betrayal of working-class ideals by a bourgeoisie that was indifferent to the legitimate demands of the proletariat. For nationalists, 1848, was the springtime of hope when newly emerging nationalities rejected the old multinational empires. They were all bitterly disappointed in the short run. 1848, at best, was a glimmer of future hope, and at worst, it was a deadweight that strengthened the reactionaries and delayed further progress.[22]

In the post-revolutionary decade after 1848, little had visibly changed, and most historians considered the revolutions a failure, given the seeming lack of permanent structural changes.

Nevertheless, there were a few immediate successes for some revolutionary movements, notably in the Habsburg lands. Austria and Prussia eliminated feudalism by 1850, improving the lot of the peasants. European middle classes made political and economic gains over the next twenty years; France retained universal male suffrage. Russia would later free the serfs on February 19, 1861. The Habsburgs finally had to give the Hungarians more self-determination in the Ausgleich of 1867. The revolutions inspired lasting reform in Denmark as well as the Netherlands.

Written by harenews

February 14, 2012 at 11:01 pm

DOD: 313 Greatest American Litigator: Clarence Darrow

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Clarence Seward Darrow (April 18, 1857 – March 13, 1938)  considered to be one of the greatest American litigators , best known for defending teenage thrill killers Leopold and Loeb in their trial for murdering 14-year-old Robert “Bobby” Franks (1924) and defending John T. Scopes in the Scopes “Monkey” Trial (1925), in which he opposed William Jennings Bryan (statesman, noted orator, and 3-time presidential candidate). Called a “sophisticated country lawyer“,[2] he remains notable for his wit and agnosticism, which marked him as one of the most famous American lawyers and civil libertarians.

     Clarence Darrow was born in rural northeastern Ohio on April 18, 1857.[4] He was the son of Amirus Darrow and Emily (Eddy) Darrow. Both the Darrow and the Eddy farms had deep roots in colonial New England, and several of Darrow’s ancestors served in the American Revolution. Clarence’s father was an ardent abolitionist and a proud iconoclast and religious freethinker, known in town as the “village infidel.” Emily Darrow was an early supporter of female suffrage and a women’s rights advocate. Clarence attended Allegheny College and the University of Michigan Law School but did not graduate from either institution. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1878. The Clarence Darrow Octagon House, which was his childhood home in the small town of Kinsman, Ohio, contains a memorial to him.

In 1925, Darrow defended John T. Scopes in the State of Tennessee v. Scopes trial. It has often been called the “Scopes Monkey Trial,” a title popularized by author and journalist H.L. Mencken. This pitted Darrow against William Jennings Bryan in an American court case that tested the Butler Act, which had been passed on March 21, 1925. The act forbade the teaching in any state-funded educational establishment in Tennessee of “any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” The law made it illegal for public school teachers in Tennessee to teach that man evolved from lower organisms, but the law was sometimes interpreted as meaning that the law forbade the teaching of any aspect of the theory of evolution. The law did not prohibit the teaching of evolution of any other species of plant or animal.

During the trial, Darrow requested that Bryan be called to the stand as an expert witness on the Bible. Over the other prosecutor’s objection, Bryan agreed. Popular media at the time portrayed the following exchange as the deciding factor that turned public opinion against Bryan in the trial:

Darrow: “You have given considerable study to the Bible, haven’t you, Mr. Bryan?”
Bryan: “Yes, sir; I have tried to…. But, of course, I have studied it more as I have become older than when I was a boy.”
Darrow: “Do you claim then that everything in the Bible should be literally interpreted?”
Bryan: “I believe that everything in the Bible should be accepted as it is given there; some of the Bible is given illustratively. For instance: ‘Ye are the salt of the earth.’ I would not insist that man was actually salt, or that he had flesh of salt, but it is used in the sense of salt as saving God’s people.”

After about two hours, Judge John T. Raulston cut the questioning short and on the following morning ordered that the whole session (which in any case the jury had not witnessed) be expunged from the record, ruling that the testimony had no bearing on whether Scopes was guilty of teaching evolution. Scopes was found guilty and ordered to pay the minimum fine of $100.

A year later, the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Dayton court on a technicality—not on constitutional grounds, as Darrow had hoped. According to the court, the fine should have been set by the jury, not Raulston. Rather than send the case back for further action, however, the Tennessee Supreme Court dismissed the case. The court commented, “Nothing is to be gained by prolonging the life of this bizarre case.”

This event led to a change in public sentiment, and an increased discourse on the subject of faith versus science that still exists in America. It also became popularized in a play based loosely on the trial, Inherit the Wind, which later became a film.

In January 1931 Darrow had a debate with English writer G. K. Chesterton during the latter’s second trip to America. This was held at New York City’s Mecca Temple. The topic was “Will the World Return to Religion?”. At the end of the debate those in the hall were asked to vote for the man they thought had won the debate. Darrow received 1,022 votes while Chesterton received 2,359 votes. There is no known transcript of what was said except for third party accounts published later on. The earliest of these was that of February 4, 1931, issue of The Nation with an article written by Henry Hazlitt.

Written by harenews

February 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm