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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

  It's an idea that should make Internet inventor Al Gore shake in his Ugg boots. U.S. officials recently announced that there is talk of giving up control over administration of the Internet. It is a move that brings up plenty of speculation as to why. The story being floated about is that jumpiness abroad over last year's NSA security scandal is the major reason for the push to give up any final pieces of U.S. authority of the World Wide Web.
  This major change would end a long held contract between the Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. So is this latest step taken by the Obama administration an attempt to strive to be better global citizens than American? Is it a decision that, like so many others, is entirely politically driven?
  No one will deny that there is an infinite amount of money to be had and to be made in and off of the Internet. But far more sinister activities than just plain old capitalism could be at the heart of this. Many, including former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga), question just exactly what sort of global village the web could be turned over to. Exactly who would be put in charge? Cuba? China? North Korea? There are plenty of these sorts of candidates that are no doubt at the top of the Obama Internet Turnover list. Maybe Syrian president Bashir al Assad will like us just a little bit more if we let him control ITunes. It will give him and Diane Sawyer so much more to talk about.
  The biggest and most frightening aspect of this is the global threat of censorship. No other nation on Earth was founded on the concept of free speech in quite the way that America was and still is. Oh, there are western European countries where free speech is alive and well, but that was not always the case. And how will the Saudis react to female bloggers who are not afraid to say what they think? In places like Iran, the Internet is already heavily censored. How much more will be enough? And then there are the fees and regulations that are sure to follow such a move. Small businesses rely heavily on the web for advertising. It is a free and easy way to get their products and services out there in front of the public. How much more can American small business take?
  The reactions are mixed. Critics say this decision is "hasty and politically tinged". They also doubt whether ICANN can operate within the bounds of U.S. law. Fadi Chehade, president of ICANN, promises an open and inclusive transition. Gene Kimmelman, president of Public Knowledge, a group that promotes open Internet access, says "it is a step in the right direction".
  Then, there is of course, the Obama administration's track record on the issue of free speech. One need only utter three words, or to be more specific, letters, to make that argument stick, I. R. S. Barack Obama and his supporters, be it in the media or otherwise, have been trying for years to find ways to shut tight the mouths of Conservatives. First it was the Fairness Doctrine, and then there was all the talk of Net Neutrality. Could Liberals have finally found the path to Conservative censorship that they think they can slip under the radar?
  An international meeting to discuss the possible transition of Internet control is to take place in Singapore on March 23. Let's hope that Kim Jong Un and Raoul Castro will not be unveiling their Facebook pages at this extravaganza.       

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Boss Lady

  It might not be the best example, but back in the 70's, when cigarettes were still advertised, the tag line for Virginia Slims, billed as a "woman's" cigarette was, "You've come a long way Baby!" We have indeed, come a long way Baby. When your humble Blogger came along in 1965, I wonder if my Mom in her wildest dreams, ever imagined the opportunities that would be available to me as a young woman twenty years later. In those days, even with a college degree, teaching, nursing, or something out of the secretary pool was a girl's dream job. More than likely, she only kept that job until she got married.
  Look at us now. We still are teachers, nurses and secretaries, still promising career paths. But we are also doctors, lawyers, stay at home moms, CEO's, and even astronauts. We have to thank all of the women who made those trailblazing moves back in the days when a male boss could call his female employees "honey", and all anyone would do about it was laugh. As women, we have met and surpassed the dreams of those early Suffragettes. We have gained basic dignity and human rights, and yes, we have become the Boss. So now why, all of a sudden is the word "bossy" bad?
  Recently, a group of the usual suspects of Liberal women have started a move to have the word "bossy" banned. They claim that this is a word of negative connotations, and double standards. Is it just another word for bitchy or controlling?
  One of the definitions of bossy is "inclined to domineer". Being domineering is not a great quality to have, but the definition of the root of the word, boss, means " a person who exercises control and authority". Those can be very desirable qualities.
  Girls and women since the beginning of time have been taught to be demure, quiet and gentle. Being assertive, strong, and in control were not things that were going to score a girl a husband. As women entered the workforce, and in fact did become the Boss, they discovered that they they could be strong and in control without the negative implications. Just maybe, a word like bossy was coined to make women be forced to make a choice. A choice between being liked or being the Boss.
  So is there a way to take back the word bossy without the word police breaking down the door to the library and just arbitrarily banning words that are offensive to them? There is. We must teach our daughters that being strong, confident, in control, and asserting themselves is a good thing, one that will empower them and take them far in life. Granted, it is close to impossible to convince teen age girls that there are more important things than being liked, but strong confident women tend to find each other and usually, those are the friendships that last a lifetime.
 Banning words is a dangerous thing, and just because we ban a word does not make the attitude and the idea behind the word just go away. If we ban a rather small word like bossy, what next? And what about this roving band of Liberal P.C. police women? Do they think they are advancing the cause of feminism?
  If we have done our job, the word feminism has many meanings for strong confident women in 2014. We have worked very hard to become "The Boss". Being called bossy is not negative, it is a reward for a job well done.   

Monday, March 3, 2014

American Might and other Fairy Tales

  When newly elected President Barack Obama traveled the world in 2009 on what is now known to most Conservatives as "the apology tour", we knew there was trouble brewing. Feverishly bowing to Saudi Kings, and bemoaning America's arrogance, what could possibly go wrong there? In the wake of escalating violence in Ukraine, we are seeing just exactly, what could go wrong there.
  Roughly 2000 Russian troops entered Ukraine on Saturday in what amounts to an invasion of a sovereign nation. Despite pleas from the United States and other western nations, Russia's Parliament voted unanimously for the deployment of troops to Ukraine. Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly spoke by phone for approximately ninety minutes. President Obama says he voiced deep concerns over Russia's clear violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and urged Putin to de-escalate tensions by withdrawing Russian troops back to bases in Crimea, and not to interfere elsewhere in Ukraine. Putin and the rest of the Russian leadership all had a good chuckle over that one.
  Ukraine is not the only place in the world where political tensions are on the rise. On Sunday, thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched through the streets of Caracas Venezuela. The protests stem from the arrest of a government opposition leader on February 18, and frustration over the lack of four things, justice, shortages, freedom and censorship. North Korea continues to sabre rattle, and today fired two short range missiles off its eastern coast. Iran continues to build up its nuclear arsenal. And what about those consequences and that red line drawn in the sand just for Syrian President Bashir al Assad?
  So why now, is all of this going on simultaneously? Maybe we have to go back to that long ago meeting between President Obama and Saudi King Abdullah. We could give President Obama the benefit of the doubt for a millisecond, and say perhaps he was just trying to show respect to another head of state. What he really showed was weakness. That bow, and subsequent bowing to other heads of state, and retreating to the golf course when it came time to do something about the crossing of that line in the sand, spoke volumes to the rest of the world. The message sent was, American might and muscle, at least for the time being is non-existent. All of you third world tin-pot dictators have nothing to fear from the United States until at least 2017. Oh we will speak loudly enough, but forget about that big stick.
  There have always been people on the right who have suspected that part of the "transformation" Obama spoke of five days before the election in 2008, was to bring America's position in the world down a peg or two, a possible dream of his father, embittered and angry about British imperialism in his native Kenya, and may have felt that America should get the same treatment.
  Is it fair to ask the question, if a Republican President were in the White House today, would this many rogue nations have the nerve to poke fingers in the eye of the United States all at the same time? That depends, is the President Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush? One would venture a guess that the answer to that question is, we want the response we got in 1981. Thirty minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President, American hostages were released by Iranian "students", a.k.a., terrorists, who had been held for 444 days under a similar president to Barack Obama. Bad actors the world over knew at that moment, there was a new sheriff in town, and that new sheriff was not going to toy with them.
  Unfortunately, it seems to be a pretty sure bet that America will suffer many more unanswered pokes in the eye before the next new sheriff comes a-ridin' into town. And with each new snicker by another guy like Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong Un makes it that much harder to win back the muscle and the respect you lost.
  Might be a long ride until 2016 Buckaroos.