Monday, January 31, 2005

Birth of an Iraqi Democracy: The Elections in Iraq

I've been following the upcoming Iraqi elections with great anticipation. Finally, the Iraqis got to vote yesterday. Friends of Democracy has complete coverage of the Iraqi elections. I also suggest reading some of the personal Iraqi blogs such as Iraq the Model and Healing Iraq (my two favorites). I wish my Iraqi brothers and sisters the best for their country. I’m pleased that they got out and voted despite the dangers posed by Zarqawi and his gang of Islamofascist thugs. The Iraqis have suffered so much as a people, and now they finally have a chance for self-determination.

The pessimists of the left and of the international community seem not to want democracy to succeed in Iraq. I don’t understand that mentality. The Iraqis may not have a perfect government free of corruption and cronyism, but what country does? Does Canada, France, or Russia? Don’t make me laugh. The U.S. government has many problems too that I could write pages and pages on. But I’d much rather focus on the possibilities of a democratic Iraq.

One of the reasons why I support the War in Iraq is because of the horrible abuses that took place under Saddam's regime. All segments of the Iraqi people were brutalized--Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Christian, Jew--in one way or another. I was pretty young when Saddam persecuted and gassed the Kurds so I didn't know about it until I was in college, and I was shocked that the U.N. didn't even try to haul him into the Hague after the first Gulf War. Some anti-war people that I've talked to say that Halabja was a long time ago (1988), and that doesn't justify Saddam's removal by the Coalition forces without the U.N.'s ok today. Well, in most countries, there is no statute of limitations on murder, and it should certainly apply to genocide as well. There are no higher crimes than the ones Saddam committed against his own people and his neighbors in Iran and Kuwait.

According to several human rights groups, Saddam murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people. If the international community doesn't feel Saddam's crimes warrant his forced removal, then what is the standard? If not hundreds of thousands of dead, then must we wait until millions are murdered? Of course, the typical anti-war person always comes back with, "Well, there are many evil regimes in the world. Why don't we do something about them too?"

What they fail to see is that in Iraq, we had the perfect opportunity to liberate that country for several reasons. First, the U.S. and her allies were technically still at war with Saddam. The cease-fire depended on Saddam's compliance and he violated the U.N. Security Council resolutions repeatedly by firing on our aircraft and playing games with the U.N. inspectors (Clouseaus). Whether or not he had stockpiles of WMDs at the time of the Coalition invasion is not the point. He never lost the ambition to possess WMDs, and with the help of corrupt nations like Russia and China that helped him violate the U.N. sanctions he would have obtained them eventually and used them on his enemies (including the U.S).

Second, Saddam was constantly "rattling his saber" against Israel, the U.S., Kuwait, and the West in general. He may have been full of hot air, but he had attacked Israel and Kuwait before. Plus, he tried to assassinate a former U.S. president in an act of revenge which could be construed as an act of war. I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat, other governments cannot be allowed to assassinate our citizens, private or public.

Third, he also gave material support to various terrorist groups including Hamas and al-Qaeda. After 9-11 President Bush believed, based on intelligence that seems to have been faulty, that Saddam was a threat to the U.S. and his neighbors because of his terrorist connections and his development of WMD. Some think that groups like Hamas only want to “free Palestine” (hah!) and harm only Israel, but many of the Islamic terrorist groups are interconnected. I just finished reading Steve Emerson’s “American Jihad,” in which he elucidates the links between all of the Middle-Eastern terrorist groups and their operations within the U.S. that have been going on since the late 80’s. Scary stuff. I wouldn’t trust that these groups won’t attack the U.S. when they get the chance, if they haven’t already. The U.S. is the “Great Satan” while Israel is only the “Little Satan” after all.

Fourth, Saddam was using the oil wealth of his country to enrich himself (and bribe U.N. members) rather than aid his people in violation of U.N. resolutions. So removing Saddam and liberating the Iraqi people is a win-win situation. Saddam is no longer in control of Iraq's oil wealth, the Iraqi people are. He and his monstrous sons can no longer torture and kill his people. In fact, they can choose their own leaders now. Saddam can't support terrorist organizations that threaten us and our allies. And Saddam won’t ever have the opportunity to re-expand his WMD weapons programs and possibly use them against the U.S. or its allies. So why aren’t Democrats like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry happier about the Iraqi elections?

Friday, January 28, 2005

Friday Catblogging

Ok, any politispeak is strictly banned on Fridays. I usually drive my husband and myself crazy with my politics obsession. Now, cats have the right attitude about everything. You might say they're comparable to Jamaicans (at least the ones in those rum commercials) as far as animals go. The only things they're uptight about is their food. Don't mess with it! Here my 4-year-old tortie Asia shows the best attitude to take when deadlines are looming, the weather is awful, and you just can't get out of bed. She says, "Take it easy, mon. Life is too good to waste by getting up." Note: The photo is courtesy of my hubby using my Canon S1 IS Powershot. He's a much better photographer than I am.  Posted by Hello


Sorry for the light blogging, folks. Being a Mom is more time-consuming than I thought. Some days I'm lucky to squeeze in a shower or a walk. So I guess I'll be blogging when I can. But here's this weeks BabyBlogging.

Here Preston (6 weeks old) discovers (for the umpteenth time) that one's hand is quite tasty and delicious. Yummy! Posted by Hello

Carnival of the Cats

Here's a link to this week's Carnival of the Cats hosted by Kimberly at Music and Cats. She has three beautiful kitties of her own. Laurence Simon of the hilarious blog this blog is full of crap came up with the Carnival of Cats which is the best carnival yet IMHO. Cats rule.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Friday Catblogging

I like instapundit's tradition of Friday catblogging, so I'm going to start doing it too. Thursdays will be babyblogging. I love this picture of my cat Omni because he looks so P.O.'d, like he's gonna rip my face off if I don't give him his Whisker Lickin'treats NOW! Posted by Hello

Hail to the Chief: The Second Inauguration of President George W. Bush

(Note: I actually wrote this yesterday, but didn't get a chance to post it until today due to mommy duties.)

Blogging has been light since I’ve been sick with a cold and there’s been nothing to spark my fancy until today. Today is the historic second inauguration ceremony of President George W. Bush (I wonder if the heads of my Bush-hating colleagues are exploding yet?). This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to watch a Presidential inauguration live and I thought President Bush’s inaugural address was fantastic. One thing I kept thinking was that with each and every mention of God, Michael Newdow must be filing a brand-new lawsuit. If he wants to live in a country that is guaranteed God-free, he should move to China. Sheesh! He can’t change the Judeo-Christian heritage of this country, and he sure can’t suppress the expression of beliefs by the religious majority of the present and future. I think this past election showed that religious people are sick and tired of people like Newdow and the ACLU forcing their fundy atheist agenda on the public sphere. We will fight for our rights of free speech and exercise of our religion.

Anyway, back to the speech. Since I became a resident of Texas, I carefully watched then Governor George W. Bush, and I was impressed by his ability to work with both political parties and by his strong moral convictions. I thought that he would make an excellent president, and for the most part he has fulfilled my expectations. His speech today was reminiscent of the great speeches of Washington and Lincoln, with many references to liberty and freedom. But they weren’t hollow references because he has been the force for freeing tens of millions of peoples in Iraq and Afganistan from tyranny. While the corrupt bureaucrats in the U.N. debate society are content to make pretty speeches about human rights, President Bush has actually carried out actions to ensure human rights. His administration has implemented a major shift in U.S. foreign policy. No longer are dictators to be tolerated, but our dealings with them are based on their willingness to reform. No longer will we say “pretty please, don’t hurt us” to tyrants that threaten our way of life e.g. Saddam and Mullah Mohammed Omar (try to say his name 10 times fast).

Here’s some of my favorite phrases from his speech:

“The best hope for freedom in our land depends on expansion of freedom in other lands.”

I agree that elimination and/or reformation of tyrannical governments that support terrorism against the U.S. will prevent future 9-11 type attacks. Are you listening Iran and Syria?

“No one is fit to be a master and no one deserves to be a slave.”

Our Founding Fathers and the Great Emancipator would be proud, I think. I do believe that all people are equal in God’s eyes.

“Success in our relations [with other countries] will require decent treatment of their people.”

I hope that we’ll be leaning harder on Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, Egypt, and other countries in this regard when it comes to human rights abuses.

“There is no justice without freedom, and no human rights without human liberty.”

Put that in your hat and smoke it, you Amnesty International freaks, and remember it the next time you whine about alleged U.S. human rights abuses while ignoring those occurring in places like Sudan and North Korea.

“Liberty will come to those that love it.”
“The United States will not ignore your oppression, or make excuses for your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.”

I think this was a message to the Iranian people that the U.S. will support their fight for freedom if they rise up against those nuke-crazy mullahs.

“To serve your people, you must learn to trust them.”

I think this line could be aimed at communist dictatorships like China, but also at socialistic Democrats with all of their nanny-state policies (e.g. San Fran Nan). Why not trust us to invest our social security dollars in 401k-type accounts or wisely spend our tax refunds? We’re not all imbeciles, you know.

“The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: ‘Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.’”

Quoting Lincoln is always a good choice. I bet Saddam is wishing it weren’t so.

“Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth.”

I think this line clearly applies to unborn babies. Really the only difference between my son, Preston, and a baby that has been aborted is that Preston was wanted. Their lives are both of value. I’m so sick of the pro-abortion (pro-choice) advocates always putting the value of woman’s life (and often her lifestyle) above that of the unborn baby.

And I especially loved the closing hymn, “God of Our Fathers, Whose Almighty Hand.” It must have sent the heads of Newdow and the ACLU spinning. Saying the word God to a fundy atheist like Newdow is like the Knights Who Say Nee saying “nee” over and over. I love it!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

PrestonWatch Part 3

Here's Preston (4 weeks old) chillin' with Daddy. He's already developed a taste for Sci-Fi, specifically Battlestar Galatica. Posted by Hello

PrestonWatch Part 2

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the cutest baby of all? I think we all know the answer to that question. Posted by Hello

PrestonWatch Part 1

Darling, you look mah-velous! Here's a close-up of Preston at 4 weeks of age. I don't know what we'd do without that binky. He loves to chomp on everything, Mom especially. Ouch!  Posted by Hello

Friday, January 07, 2005

Thoughts on the Aftermath of the Tsunami: Wrath of God or Act of Nature?

I wasn’t able to blog immediately after the tsunami destruction. But the plight of those that died during the tsunami, and those left suffering in the aftermath has often been on my mind. Many people may look at his as a random act of nature, others may say that it was an act of God for one reason or another, while others may question “If there is a God, how could God allow so many people to suffer?” The question of how a benevolent God could allow or cause human suffering is an age-old question, and one that I’d like to address from the LDS perspective.

In LDS theology, we believe that before man came to earth there was a grand council in Heaven (see Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 3:22-28). We were all spirit children of God the Father. Jesus Christ and Lucifer (or Satan) were likewise spirit children of God, and therefore our brothers, but they were the most advanced or intelligent of them all. Jesus is termed the Beloved and Chosen of the Father, which I take to mean that he was the wisest, most intelligent, and most perfect of all His children. In the council, God told us that we would be sent to Earth to receive bodies of flesh and blood, and that it would be a testing period to see if we could learn how to become like God, and then return to His presence. Two plans were proposed. The first plan was God’s: we’d receive a body of flesh and blood on Earth, be tested, and then die.

Through acceptance of the sacrifice (or atonement) of Jesus Christ, the greatest of us all, we’d be able to return to the presence of God the Father. The atonement would be necessary because we are all imperfect beings, and would inevitably fall short of perfection through sin. The Fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden caused our bodies to be subject to both spiritual death (separation from God) and physical death (separation from our bodies). And because “no unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God (see Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 15:34),” we would need a method of atoning for or becoming clean from our sins. Through repentance and faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ, we become purified and are able to return to God’s presence. Some of us would be unable to return to God’s presence because of our own choices and failure to repent of our sins, but that would be up to us.

Christ’s atonement and subsequent resurrection also allows us to be resurrected as well, where our physical bodies are reunited with our spirits in an immortal state. The resurrection is supposed to take place when Christ returns to the Earth, with the righteous being resurrected first and the wicked (this means you Osama et al.!) being resurrected last. Immortality is a gift for everyone, but then we all will be judged according to our thoughts, words, and deeds, and then given a reward according to our judgment. This is pretty daunting stuff. I figure I’m a pretty average person, neither very good, nor very bad. Anyway, I’m getting off track.

Now Lucifer also had a plan and it was that everyone would return to God’s presence because none of us would sin. Lucifer would be the enforcer, and see to it that none of us ever made a mistake. We would have no agency to make decisions so we wouldn’t learn from our own mistakes, but we’d all be “happy” because we’d all return home having never sinned. Lucifer also wanted all of God’s glory for himself in return for his leadership (see Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:1). Jesus on the other hand said to his Father, “…thy will be done and the glory be thine forever (see Moses4:2).” Lucifer’s plan was rejected, and as a result he rebelled and became the devil, the “father of all lies,” who is dedicated to frustrating the plan of God (see Moses 4:3-4) i.e. tempting us to screw up so we can’t return to God. So anyway, a scripture sums all of this up as “…this life became a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God… (see Book of Mormon, Alma 12:24)”

So getting back to the tsunami and other natural disasters, what is the purpose of such an event if there is any? Well, I don’t believe that God causes such disasters, but I think he does know when they will happen and permits them to occur. Why? I believe such events are part of living on a planet like Earth. I mean if you live on the coast, there’s a good chance that there may be a hurricane or a tsunami in your lifetime. You assume the risk by living there. In Texas (a.k.a. tornado alley), for example, it’s possible that our house may be obliterated by a tornado, but that’s the risk we take by living in Texas. We can’t stop tornados from occurring, but we can prepare by building a storm shelter and use technology to warn each other of impending tornados. In the case of the tsunami, many lives could have been saved if there had been a well-organized tsunami/earthquake warning system. Sadly, we humans do not have the gift of foresight and we often don’t implement such changes until after a major disaster has already occurred.

But the real question is how do we react to events such as the tsunami? Do we “curse God and die (see Job 2:9),” do we focus on saving ourselves or perhaps profiting from others’ distress, or do we exhibit Godly characteristics such as self-sacrifice (Greater love has no man, than he layeth down his life for his friends, John 15:13), charity, faith, and courage? Such trials bring out the noblest and the basest instincts in people, and I believe that God judges us on how we react to them. I think about all the wonderful people that are over there aiding the survivors of the tsunami, or those that have sent money and supplies to help out. Then I think about the looters, the child traffickers and the con artists posing as representative of charities.

Also, I do believe miracles occur in these modern times and during such catastrophes. The lives of many people were miraculously preserved, e.g. a man and a woman were each plucked from the ocean over a week after the tsunami struck and a child was found alone on a raft alive. Why were their lives preserved when others’ lives were not? It may be that the person’s faith in God helped them survive, or perhaps they were not religious people but God saw fit to extend their lives on earth for some unknown reason. I don’t think that the people who died were necessarily wicked while the ones that were saved were necessarily righteous. I believe God loves all of his children, even Osama Bin Laden. But he’s probably a big disappointment. He had the potential to do so much good with his wealth and position in life.

What would you do with your life if you had survived such a catastrophe when so many others had died? I’d like to think that I would try to live the rest of my life in a more charitable and spiritual manner.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Democrat Congressional Whiners Can't MoveOn

Unbelievable! I was so disappointed that I missed blogging the 2004 election, and then I see that the Democrats are continuing their suicidal shenanigans. Earth to Senator Boxer et al., you lost! Get over it! I think most Americans will see this move by the Dems for what it is: sour grapes. They can protest all they want about how it's about protecting democracy and the electoral process. Right. Sure. Nobody likes a sore loser.

I was so relieved when I learned that President Bush had won his second term in office. To me, the vote confirmed that the majority of Americans decided to reject the baby-boomer/hippie mentality of "blame America first." We said "no" to the debasement of our soldiers by "peace" protestors, "no" to moral relativity, and "no" to scraping and bowing to the corrupt and inept U.N. The sooner the Democrats get the message, the sooner they can reform their party into a worthy opponent for the Republicans. I don't want the Republicans running everything. A one-party system would be detrimental to our country's progress. But the Dems seem intent on running their party into the ground. How else to explain Howard Dean's probable selection as the DNC chairman, and now this?

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

101 Uses For Science Magazine

#82 Diaper-changing pad
#43 Sleep-inducing device (when read to small child in soothing tones with low lighting)

Now that my schedule has somewhat stabilized, I'm attempting to blog regularly now. I'm bringing back this feature, as well as the Friday Science Round-up. I removed my email address from this page because I was getting a ton of spam. Feel free to leave suggestions or notes in the comments and I'll do my best to respond.

Cute Picture Alert!

Here's a picture of our son Preston at 8 days of age. Aw, isn't he cute? We can't decide who he looks like more, but he definitely has my highly intelligent-looking forehead. I'm still trying to get the hang of using our new-fangled digital camera, but I'll definitely be posting more pics of Preston as he grows for your cute baby-viewing pleasure. Posted by Hello