Civilian Airliner Shot Down Over Ukraine

As those reading this post know by now a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border.

My condolences to all those killed in this tragedy,

Who’s Responsible

It is currently unknown who shot the plane down: the Russians, the Russian backed insurgents, or the Ukrainians. All have access to weapons capable of taking down the airliner.

While Ukraine has anti-aircraft weapons as well, but has no reason to be firing them at large planes since the rebels have no such aircraft at their disposal. Hence, I am more dismissive of the idea that the Ukrainian military shot down the plane, as Russia claims

Given recent activities in the area (namely the rebels shooting at and shooting down Ukrainian aircraft) I believe it was in fact the insurgents using Russian supplied equipment like the Buk missile system, which does have the capacity to reach the cruise altitude the Malaysian Airliner was said to be at. I also base this on the rebels own claims on a social networking site of shooting down an aircraft around the same time as MH-17 went down, post which later were deleted once it became clear a civilian airliner had been shot down.

So at this point, I blame the insurgent separatists and, ultimately, Vladimir Putin for instigating the military crisis in Ukraine through the invasion of Crimea and Ukraine, supplying rebels with weapons, and fomenting his pan-Slavic ethnocentric ultra-nationalism in the region.

What Should Be Done

Regardless of who is responsible for the attack, every effort (including military means if need be) should be made in ending the rebels assaults in Ukraine and bring those responsible for killing hundreds of innocent passengers on the plane to justice. I know that isn’t likely, given Putin is already spinning the blame to everyone else but his own disastrous policy in the region. If it turns out the Russian (or even Ukrainian) military is directly involved in attack, there needs to be some serious repercussions. Repercussions along the lines of a ban on all travel to and from the offender nation (or their sponsor), an world wide embargo on products, a rapid deployment of EU and NATO forces to all nations to form a buffer between the conflicting sides, stripping away of all international economic and sporting events, and so forth. In other words, no more weak willed verbal rebukes but tangible punishments that hurt those committing these acts.

What Will Be Done

Sadly, with our current president whose early thought this event was: “It looks like it may be a terrible tragedy”, I suspect nothing. I think Obama was channeling George W. there. “May be”? Seriously? Regardless of how the plane went down it is a tragedy.

Obama has shown himself to be spineless in the past in a whole manner of violence and conflicts erupting across the face of the planet so I expect little to nothing to be done.

U.S. Aircraft Carrier to Head to Gulf

I get a strange set of irony in hearing the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier is being ordered to the Persian Gulf due to the rise of the ISIS terrorist group and it’s drive to topple the Iraqi government in Baghdad. This is especially so given the virulence of some pro-Obama anti-war towards the members of the Bush clan (admittedly their mindless ravings mostly aimed at the junior George W. rather than the senior George H.W.).

Perhaps more ironic is Iran, whose nation’s government despises everything that is the United States, has indicated that it is willing to work with the U.S. to combat ISIS.

But on a more serious note, it is concerning to see a regional war potentially cropping up in the region. A regional war that will not have clearly defined borders, opponents, or even objectives:

  • The Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) are reportedly solidifying their hold over the Kurdish region of Iraq as the Iraqi’s military and security forces pull out in the face of the ISIS assault and potential grab for Baghdad. I suspect given these events the Kurds are going to be even more emboldened to maintain or even expand their autonomy and military capabilities from external forces such as ISIS, Iran, Syria and Turkey.
  • Iran’s sudden involvement is not that surprising given they’re a Shia country where as ISIS is a Sunni based group. Other than not wanting the rise of a Sunni run government in Iraq I doubt the Iranian government cares much about their neighbors in anything other than in terms of controlling them for Iran’s benefit.
  • Iraq. I can’t say I’m surprised at the sudden rise of Sunni and ISIS over the discrimination Sunni’s have faced since the fall of Hussein. (Note that I am not too sympathetic to the Sunni’s given their own shoddy treatment of Shia’s and other non-Sunni’s during the Baath Party’s reign.) Ultimately this is a culmination of the hatred Iraqi Sunni and Shia have for one another for centuries, a hatred stoked by more recent decades of abuses aimed at one another. ISIS (a Wahhabi based group) feeds off of this with the idea that they will be victorious; beginning the first leg of their plan to create a new (allegedly sunni) caliphate in the region.
  • Syria. There’s not much really to say other than what’s happening there is a result of decades of the Assad’s and the Baath Party’s manipulation of the region and it’s people. ISIS has been successful in much of its campaign in Syria giving them a strong base from which to launch further attacks deeper into Syria and Iraq.

 

News Bits: Ossetia, Obama

So President Obama gave another useless, boring speech (along with numerous softball questions).

Obama News Conference: Economy A Hot Topic : NPR

President BARACK OBAMA: If the election is about the policies that are going to move us forward versus the policies that will get us back into a mess, then I think the Democrats will do very well.

Stick you fingers in your ear and hum real loudly, Mr. President. It won’t change the facts that the Democrats are going to suffer at the ballot box for moving us “forward”. Neither will repeatedly chanting the “Obama Mantra”: Republicans are evil, the “rich” are evil, business is evil, capitalism is evil, free trade is evil, oil is evil, banks are evil, money is evil, moderates are evil, conservative Democrats are evil, free speech is evil, questioning him is evil, tax breaks are evil (except when it garners support), making health care decisions for yourself is evil, small government is evil, etc., etc., ad nauseam. (Note variations that include descriptions like racist, bigoted, un-American, or any other word with negative implications.)

President Barack Obama Holds News Conference – September 10, 2010 « THE WASHINGTON REVIEW & COMMENTARY: Weekly News From The White House

Ossetia Bombing

15 Killed In North Ossetia Bombing

At least 15 people have been killed and 40 injured in a car bomb attack on a busy market in Vladikavkaz, capital of Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of North Ossetia.

Russia’s FSB detains 3 suspects in connection with N Ossetia bombing

Sadly this was inevitable after Russia invaded Georgia to sieze South Ossetia and Abkhazia after stirring up ethnic and religious tensions in the region to undermine the Georgian government. The Ossetia separatists made it clear back then that they wanted North Ossetia from Russia as well as South Ossetia to form their own nation. I suspect such attacks will become more common (as they have in Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Chechnya) if the Ossetian separatists do not get what they want, especially the closer the world gets to the starts of the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Just some thoughts

Meet the new boss, just like the old boss…

The Oathers

These guys are really grasping at straws trying to claim Obama may not be President because of the inaugural oath flub. Obama is President. Get over it. These “oathers” are putting themselves into the same nutter class as the ones demanding Bush be arrested, which makes them all idiots in my book. If you’re going to oppose Obama at least do it over legitimate differences in political philosophy, governance, and policy issues.

Lowry’s Benediction

Most of Rev. Lowry’s benediction was fine, but I admit feeling disturbed when he made the following statement and what I assume are unintended racist overtones:

“Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.”

Perhaps it’s because I was born and grew up after the civil rights era that I don’t get this part of the benediction and assume has some connotation from that time period that simply doesn’t fly for me in this time period. I particularly disliked several notions these saying bring to mind:

  • Asians (“yellow”) were somehow overly industrious (or even hinting at  aggressiveness of Asians towards non-Asians).
  • I find it disturbing that he implies the racism against blacks was somehow voluntary with the whole “asked to get back” shtick.
  • Implying whites have never done anything “right” until this inauguration. I’m sure Lincoln, the abolitionists, and all the assorted civil rights people appreciate having their work denigrated so

I’m going to assume it was just something resonating from the civil rights era and was not intended as a racist slight towards anyone. Perhaps it was a regional thing, since I never heard anything even remotely like those words during the assorted civil rights awareness programs, Black History month, and history classes in school.  In Arizona the emphasis was more on the civil rights leaders that impacted the state which tended more towards important women, Native Americans, and Hispanics than African Americans (also part of the reason MLK day in Arizona is officially called Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Day).  That’s the problem with sayings or phrases that are not cross-generational or too regional. They can become misconstrued as a society and generations change.

Gitmo Exec Order

Apparently there is already a draft version of an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay. About the only thing I don’t agree with in the order, if true, is halting the war crimes trials over the year long period the facility is being shut down. As they say, justice delayed is justice denied. Let the trials continue while shutting the facility down so the detainees innocence or guilt may be determined without further needless delay.

A Dose of Reality

I laud the fact that the United States has a black president now, but disagree with all those who view Obama’s ascendancy as a panacea for all the racial turmoil in this country, past and present, and the idea that the U.S. is now post-racial. Enjoy the moment, and be proud as Americans of what was accomplished, but don’t let Mr. Obama’s success be used as an excuse to ignore ongoing problems or be hijacked into pushing negative social or racial agendas.

Much hatred and discrimination remains between all races, religions, genders, and ethnicities toward other races, religions, genders, and ethnicities. The U.S. has come a long way, as evidenced by the ability for Mr. Obama, Ms. McKinney (Green Party Presidential nominee for those who were unaware), and Mrs Clinton’s abilities to run for the Presidency but we have much work to be done in eliminating discrimination, harmonizing relations, and basing a society on the merits of each individuals skills and abilities rather than some label they’ve been assigned.

World Conflict Today

Because, as much as we might want to allow the Olympics to erase the facts of what is going on in the world:

Russia-Georgia War

Global News Blog » Blog Archive » Cold War reheated as U.S. and Russia duke it out over Georgia | Blogs | Reuters.com

Russian military pushes into Georgia – CNN.com And this for me is the last straw, if true that Russian troops have invaded an indisputably Georgian city. Russia has crossed a final line in my view by now invading Georgia proper and has lost any slim credibility about only intending to “bring peace” to the South Ossetia region. It’s looking more and more like Russia is beginning an attempt to rebuild it’s Soviet empire.

Georgia and Russia claim ‘mass arrests’ – CNN.com

Russia calls for urgent meeting with NATO – China Daily

FOXNews.com – Russia Forces Move to Within 35 Miles of Tbilisi

RIA Novosti – World – U.S. military aircraft bring 800 Georgian troops home from Iraq

The Red Menace: Cyber Terrorists Attack Russian News Agency Not surprising given the Russian hackers (either civilians or government sanctioned) hacked Georgian sites shortly before the Russian invasion.

ITAR-TASS- Russia disappointed with UN Secretariat lack of understanding of Georgia-South Ossetian conflict

ITAR-TASS – Exercise of MMD antiaircraft battalions begins in Krasnodar Territory This could be relevant to the Russian-Georgian conflict as Krasnodar Krai borders both Ukraine and the Abkhazia region of Georgia. The exercises are scheduled to last until August 15.

Bloomberg.com: Worldwide – Russian Troops Launch Ground Offensive in Georgia (Update3)

Civil.GeCivil.Ge: Russia Says Senaki Takeover Part of Peacemaking Operation

Civil.Ge: ‘Russia Occupies Significant Part of Georgia’ – Saakashvili

Georgia to sue Russia in Hague International Criminal Court : Ukraine News by UNIAN This may explain another part of Russia’s invasion of Georgia if it is true Georgia has evidence of Russian attempts of genocide against Georgians in Abkhazia in 1992, especially given Russia’s sudden claims of Georgian genocide against Ossetians.

No servicemen of Ukrainian Armed Forces stay in Georgia : Ukraine News by UNIAN This further shatters Russian claims of mercenaries from Ukraine.

Ukraine may never feel safe any more – expert : Ukraine News by UNIAN

Side note: I was trying to access both Georgian and Russian news sites that I had viewed earlier shortly before posting here but now could not reach a number of them (including Civil Georgia, Izvestia, ITAR-TASS, and Novosti). I am assuming it’s the ongoing cyberspace war between Russian and Georgian hackers and their respective supporters and perhaps intentional cutting of internet access to prevent information from becoming internationally known.

ETA: Izvestia availability is erratic, presumably due to Georgian hackers.

ETA 2: Civil Georgia is now operating at the following site: Civil.ge due to DDOS attacks, presumably by Russian hackers.

China

Blasts kill two in China’s restive Xinjiang: report | Reuters

China investigating terrorist links in Xinjiang attack | International |
Reuters

China’s Uighur rebels switch to suicide bombs – Times Online

World News Commentary 01/05/2008

DNA Test Solve Russian Royal Mystery It’s good to know that the mystery has been definitively solved one way or the other. Perhaps it can be used to heal the wounds in Russia over what the Bolsheviks did to the aristocracy and vice versa.

Nelson Mandela on Terrorist Watch List I can understand how this occur given the ANC was deemed a terrorist organization for their past violent activities and support for communism while fighting aparthied in South Africa but you’d think someone would have updated the terrorism lists to be a bit more specific as too which members of the ANC should be questioned.

Georgia denounces Russian ‘harassment’ and Georgia accuses Russia of shooting down spy plane I saw this one coming given Russia continues to become frustrated over it’s perceived lack of international respect. It also seems to highlight Russia’s duplicity in claiming opposition to ethnic groups becoming indepedent states (as occurred recently with Kosovo) yet supports the same activities when Russia benefits from such an event. Just more Cold War fallout.

China to Meet Dalai Lama Envoy I take this as a small positive step on the PRC’s part. My hope is that the meeting is a genuine, if only tentative, step towards some dialog between the Tibetan exiled leaders and the PRC but I am not optimistic given the PRC’s recent vitriolic words against the Dalai Lama, supporters of Tibetan rights, and blaming others for the problems the PRC’s own policies in Tibet have created. Case in point: Dalai clique unqualified for talking about human rights.

The man who grew a finger I’m still impressed with the implications of this new substance and procedure. Looks to be quite fascinating and a major break through should it prove to as effective as it seems to be.

Electronics’ ‘missing link’ found Memristors. Sounds quite intriguing, especially if it can lead to greater micronization and improvement of electronic devices.

Web 2.0 debates internet’s future What I found amusing in the article was those dismissing Web 3.0 as nothing more than “some piece of marketing flim-flam dreamed up by companies pushing their products”. That’s what many say about Web 2.0 and yet it still stands. It’s curious that those who embraced Web 2.0 so readily dismiss Web 3.0.