Tag Archives: Freedom

President Obama’s Prison Visit & the Folly of the Left

Today President Obama became the first American President to visit a prison while in office. The core of his visit was to promote his newest campaign, reforming the criminal justice system. Now this is an issue many conservatives can actually get behind with prominent GOP members such as Rand Paul questioning the logic and wisdom of the current sentencing system. But as Barack Obama has done so many times before he takes an issue where bipartisan progress could be made and turns it into a leftist wet dream. In this case he is advocating increased spending on early childhood education. What? Anyway…

President Obama Visits Federal Prison

President Obama Visits Federal Prison

Buried inside his long wordy statement was a tremendously insightful glimpse into the leftist mind. The President said we should all look at the conditions in prison and be grateful that there but for the grace of god go we. WRONG. The president, like the institutional left, seems to think each of us is equally bad and but for luck we could have ended up in prison. WRONG. The vast majority of Americans are not in prison because they decided to NOT COMMIT CRIMES! Those who are there decided to break the law or hang around with those who did. They are not there because they learned to count watching Sesame Street and not in Pre-K, but because they lacked the self control to obey the law. Life isn’t easy for most people. Almost everyone has been in a bad place at one time or another where there was an easy way out that was not legal. The difference is the vast majority of people chose not to commit a crime. Many of us on the right would agree life in prison for a first offense drug dealer and 20 years for a bank robber is not fair and sentencing needs to be re-balanced. But the left has fundamentally believes there are no bad people and nobody is responsible for their own action.

The solution to crime is not more unionized teachers babysitting Pre-K or hot school lunches for all. Crime reduction will only be achieved when parents as well as the community teach people right from wrong, good from bad and to accept personal responsibility for your actions. America is a nation where the quality of an individual should not be judged by the size of one’s wallet and where we believe in second chances and redemption. But there are consequences to actions and while second chances are noble, repeat felons are not “unfortunate”, they are just bad and should be treated very humanly in prison. Sorry Mister President, your prison photo-op was a flop, but rather insightful.

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Filed under Barack Obama, crime, justice, Leftist Myths, Liberals

Freedom of Speech in Russia Crushed Under the Boot of Strongman Putin: Pussy Riot Jailed

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  Edmund Burke

Normally members of a Punk Rock bank being sentenced to two years in prison would hardly raise an eyebrow, let alone have the attention of people all over the world. For me personally that is almost as surprising as that I am about to use the “P” word in writing for which I fear my mother is about to roll over in her grave. Yet this seemingly irrelevant event has shaken those who cherish freedom around the world. In a Moscow court today, three members of the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for the crime of “Hooliganism”. Yet to virtually the entire world this is seen for what it is, retaliation for these three artists speaking out against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Members of the Russian Punk Rock Band Pussy Riot Protest in Moscow

This past March, three of the 10 members of Pussy Riot entered the Main Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and from the alter protested the alleged stealing of the Russian Presidential election by Vladimir Putin. As to whether those allegations are true is the subject of considerable debate and not the point of this essay. Indeed, I find the taking of political protests into a church distasteful and imprudent. However it is the reaction of the Russian prosecutors to the protest that has caused artists, politicians and average citizens around the world to speak out against the repressive actions of the Russian administration. The charges under which these young women were prosecuted carried up to 10 years imprisonment in Russia’s notorious prison system.

Since first becoming President on December 31, 1999 upon the resignation of Boris Yeltsin, Putin has restored a sense of order in Russia as well as establishing relative economic stability. Yet at the same time Putin has given cause for concern as to his commitment to freedom and democracy, especially in the wake of the constitutional two step which returned him to the presidency this year. I suspect his overwhelming election was in fact legitimate given the overwhelming desire of the Russian people to see stability and safety restored. At the same time his methods have only brought the legitimacy of his administration into question.

This is why three members of a formerly obscure punk rock band have been elevated to international symbols of freedom. While their words of protest may have been concerning to all those who value freedom, President Putin’s reaction has been frightening. Had Putin simply allowed these three to sing their songs and have their protest, they would be long forgotten. It has been Putin’s own actions which has given legitimacy to their words and united the free world in protest. If freedom fails in Russia we will find ourselves in a geopolitical crisis which could elevate tensions with the west to Cold War levels. The Russian people themselves rid themselves of the tyranny of the soviet system. President Putin would be well advised to embrace freedom and trust the Russian people themselves.

Thus I join millions of others around the world in calling for President Putin to immediately free these women and pardon them for all crimes they have been convicted. Furthermore, President Putin must embrace the freedoms the Russian people have given themselves. Ultimately his power is derived from the people of Russia and not imposed upon them. Should he fail to do this, the international community must not let this wrong stand. History has shown us that appeasement is simply an invitation to the extension of tyranny. So today the unlikely symbols of freedom are the three members of Pussy Riot who find themselves behind bars simply for their words. President Putin cannot be allowed to think that the world will allow this affront to democracy to go unchallenged or we may all find ourselves paying too high a price.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Politics, Russia, State Department

Chinese Communism at 90

This week, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its 90th anniversary, a milestone their Soviet counterpart never achieved. There will be parades with smiling children and banners exalting the virtues of Chinese Communism. Their success at building the world’s second largest economy will be trumpeted and their pride in one of the largest economic growth rates will be proudly hailed. Indeed the Chinese Communists will be celebrating what appears to be not only a successful past, but a bright future. This will be the narrative of the main stream media, yet as is often the case it will be disingenuously selective in its perspective.

Poster Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party

Buried deep in the coverage will be mention of how the Chinese Communist Party has held on to power when its older siblings in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are now on the ash pile of history. The true nature of the Chinese Communists was demonstrated in June 1989, the same time when European Communism was falling. The Soviets under Mikhail Gorbachev when faced with massive popular unrest reacted by implementing democratic reform and learned a truism of history, when people are given freedom they will seek more. In two years the Soviet Union was a failed chapter in the history books. The CCP did not emulate their European comrade’s mistake and reacted to the prodemocracy protests with the traditional tools of totalitarian dictatorships, they sent in the tanks.

Pro-Democracy Protesters in Tiananmen Square Surround the Goddess of Democracy in May 1989

Few of us who are old enough to have lived through that day will forget the images of the tanks arriving in Tiananmen Square where hundreds of thousands of protestors had gathered since April of that year to peacefully demand democratic reforms for the Chinese People. Today’s celebrations in that very Square are certain not to contain the 10 meter tall Goddess of Democracy created from wire, foam and paper mache by student which came to symbolize their desire for freedom. It is unlikely we will ever know how many people died that day, official government numbers were 241 and said to be mostly soldiers supposedly killed by those dangerous unarmed student protesters. The Red Cross initially reported 2,600 dead and countless wounded. Graphic video surfaced showing the effects tank tracks can have on unarmed protesters. While the Chinese Communist Party will flood the streets with protesters chanting of the greatness of modern China; the real symbol of the strength of the Chinese people is a single solitary man, who had been walking home with a bag in one hand and a packsack in the other who stepped out onto the streets alone and simply stood before the advancing tanks, moving when they move, and stopped them. He was later identified as 19 year old Wang Weilin whose fate has never been determined with certainty, however it has been reported he was executed 14 days later.

Lone Chinese Man Faces Down Advancing Communist Tank Column in Tiananmen Square June 1989

Lone Chinese Man Faces Down Advancing Communist Tank Column in Tiananmen Square June 1989

Twenty years later we are bombarded by the media’s message of a Chinese economic miracle and the inevitability of China emerging as the largest economy in the world. Indeed the west has been a willing participant in china’s development with massive technology transfers by companies like General Electric who just this January contributed its global avionics business into a joint venture with a Chinese state controlled firm (GE’s Chairman Jeffrey Immelt is also Chairman of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board). In doing so GE is working to build the Chinese aerospace industry in the naive hope of securing short term sales in china, a goal western firms are finding increasingly difficult. One can only imagine how much of the avionics technical knowhow being given to the Chinese Communists will ultimately find its way to the new Chengdu J-20 Fifth Generation Tactical Fighter which according to reports from the CIA rivals the performance of our own F22 Raptor. Yet much of the credit for China’s economic miracle has to go to the everyday westerner who enjoys the $600 iPad without consideration to the Chinese workers who live in near prison conditions in factory towns to produce cheap export goods fueling China’s economy. Maybe it is time for individual western citizens and corporations to take a look at how their own actions are impacting others in the world.

It is far from clear what the future holds for Chinese Communism and the impact it will ultimately have not only on the Chinese people but on the world. Those maps of China on the parade floats today show the island of Taiwan as part of China, something the people of that free island reject out of hand and should China attempt to impose communist rule on Taiwan by force the free world would be obliged to stop any communist aggression. At that point western technology transfers will seem even less well considered than they do today. Yet perhaps the biggest challenge to the rule of the Chinese Communist Party comes from the aspirations of the Chinese people themselves. Once a nation tastes the fruits of economic freedom, the aspirations for political freedom are hard to contain. What the Communists do not understand is that free markets go hand in hand with individual and political freedoms and are over time inseparable. History has shown us that once a people taste freedom, no totalitarian regime can deny them for long.

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Filed under China, Communism, Democracy, Foreign Policy, National Security, Obama Administration, Politics