Monday, February 19, 2007

The Philosophy of War

Dale Netherton
February 18, 2007

With all the striving for peace by those who want to avoid war there is a fundamental oversight that needs to be identified. War is the result of the choices people make and choices cannot be hamstrung by wishes of peace. No matter how fervent the wish, no matter how desperate the wish and no matter what sacrifice required. There is still the choice for some to defend their values from those who would choose to violate them. The surrender of values at the price of peace is simply death in the form of slavery. Living without any chance to obtain and defend values (i.e. by productive effort) is to deny the nature of one’s self. It is the subjugation of that which makes choices i.e. one’s mind .for the wishes of those who hold the sword of intimidation. This was the result of the Taliban, all dictators and all who aspire to enforce beliefs. These are the initiators of that state where fellow humans are placed in a state below their potential. These barbarians exercise their choice to deny choices to others. They cannot be won over by diplomacy. They have rejected reason as venues of agreement and by doing so have started the engine of war. Peace lovers at all cost will perish under this scenario for by rejecting the response to force with force they in effect surrender to the rule of force. They are the sheep that look to the conquerors for mercy and eventually experience a “holocaust” where the peace they sought is a chamber of torture and death. And all because they did not want to prioritize their life and their rational choices above a dream of nebulous “peace” that ignores the bad choices power seekers inflict on the apathetic.
Retaliation is not a word that can be dismissed when dealing with a perpetrator of forceful repression. If a criminal is not retaliated against for performing a criminal act he continues his ways unobstructed. If an invading (or threatening) army is not retaliated against. the victory of their values is assured whether it be repression, conquest , pillage or total submission. Those who cry for diplomacy in the face of treachery, enemy assistance and threats of annihilation can only appeal to those who ignore human nature and fantasize it can be changed. Remember this was the hope of the Soviet Union and observe the results of that hope.
War is not pleasant but neither is fixing a clogged drain under a small sink, but it is a necessary chore. When faced with war or surrender and submission to dictates by fanatics, the choice is clear and must not be compromised by the mobs chanting, demonstrating and opposing. What the mobs are saying is we want to be able to demonstrate but we don’t want to go to war to defend that desire. After seeing what happened to demonstrators in Soviet Russia and a multitude of other repressive regimes just what are they counting on to insure the ability to demonstrate? Demonstrations show desires en masse but they do not necessarily demonstrate a proper policy. They do often reflect opposition which is exactly what war is all about. But war is designed to accomplish a final solution of a conflict between the oppressor and the invaded. This design is often forgotten in today’s age of fighting stalemates without victory or resolution. Man needs war to retaliate against aggressors who attack without provocation to enforce their brand of ideology, conquer and pillage. But retaliation via war serves no purpose without total victory and unconditional surrender of the invading enemy. A half-war as the one with Israel and Hezbollah only left the initiators of that war ( Hezbollah ) with the will to try again. A war that does not have a victor and surrender is merely an ongoing conflict, unresolved, fermenting and waiting for rekindling. The Middle East conflict is a perfect example of this half war policy. Diplomacy has not worked but it is still the hope of the impractical and the foolish. The Six Day War established Israel as a formidable opponent but it did not instill in the enemies of Israel the respect required to leave them in peace. The Six Day War was a sound defeat for Israel’s enemies but subsequent skirmishes have emboldened her enemies to reconsider instituting attacks. The enemy must admit they do not want to consider conquest for a war to be successful. Of course as new generations arise and new invaders are born the lessons of the past may be forgotten but this can have long term effects as the victory of America over Japan and Germany demonstrates.
To summarize the philosophy of war we need to consider the branches of philosophy and how they apply to war. In the metaphysics of war is the reality of war. It is necessary due to the choices of man which may drift into the irrational desire to rule by force which requires retaliation and defense of rational values. In the field of epistemology there are the alternatives of faith and reason. Here faith must yield to reason if war is to be avoided and by the nature of faith this is often not recognized. It follows that retaliation must utilize reason to overcome the dictates of the adherents to faith intent on conquering in the name of the “true’ faith”. The beliefs in superiority have launched a thousand wars. Reason to survive must reject all such notions and be prepared militarily to defend her stature.
In the ethics department war is not about civilized conduct that requires the sacrifice of ones military to “look good in the eyes of the world”. It is not ethical to send soldiers into door to door searches only to face disguised killers posing as innocents. A building of suspects in war is expendable. An American soldier’s life is not. It is not ethical to fight a half way war. Ethical war behavior requires demolishing the enemy and obtaining nothing less than total and unconditional surrender of the enemy. This does not mean favoring one pack of killers over another. If a country is invaded because it is a threat that threat must be removed whether it is a leader or a complete population of zealots fighting to the last person. War by its nature requires ruthlessness. The cruelty of placing our armed forces in harm’s way to be picked off by snipers and suicide bombers is inexcusable and ethically reprehensible.
Finally the politics of war boils down to restricting civilian oversight to setting the objective of victory. The conduct of war is a military activity and must be delegated to the military to accomplish the goal of victory. This is a function of the commander in chief in our form of government where the executive branch oversees the military with approval by Congress under a declaration of war. Once declared it is a military operation and second guesses by political candidates about the conduct of the war is only appropriate if the war is not progressing toward outright victory. War must not be politicized if the cause is just i.e. the defense of the nation is required.
War cannot be dismissed as something that can ever be abolished. There will always be the irrational who seek conquest just as there will always be criminals who will attempt to live off the efforts of those who produce and trade. Those who would say we need to disarm to avoid wars also ascribe to disarming citizens for criminals to loot and kill as they please without fear of retaliation. The saying goes that “War is Hell’ but a far worse Hell would be the inability to wage war against a vicious invading foe. Just as crime can be diminished by proper enforcement policies so too war can be minimized by a philosophy of war that results in victory and a reputation of competence in the conduct of war. It is in the interest of a nation and its citizens to insist on a proper war policy if that nation and the citizens are to survive and prosper. An eclectic pragmatic policy of appeasement and stalemates as we are witnessing is leading us into a perpetual morass of conflict without resolution. This I submit is Un-American.

Why Do Some Affirmations *Work* - and Others Don't?

-Sebastian Foss
February 17, 2007
By definition, an affirmation is a statement repeated time and again either verbally or mentally -- or written down. The words of the affirmation statement - in themselves -when spoken, thought of, or written *without* a pictorial (visualized) or emotional connection -- make a very weak affirmation.
Affirmations, when worded correctly -- and when emotionally charged - are able to tap into the unlimited creative power of your subconscious mind, and manifest your desires.
Affirmations are not all created equal. Some are, of course, better than others. There are *power affirmations* that have been proven again and again to work - and I'll reveal some of them in a moment.
When you examine the structure of these power affirmations, you, too, can learn how to create your own powerful affirmations for your specific purposes.
Consider the following:
"I am what I choose to be."
"All my needs are met instantaneously."
"I love and accept myself exactly as I am."
"_____________ comes to me easily and effortlessly."
(Fill in the blank with what you desire.)
"I am now perfectly healthy in body, mind and spirit."
"I now create my wonderful, ideal life."
What do the above power affirmations have in common?
1) They're stated in the present tense.
An affirmation is more effective when stated in the present tense. For example; "I now have a wonderful job." Avoid affirming something in the future tense, e.g. "I am going to have a wonderful job" or the results will always be waiting to happen.
2) They express a positive statement.
Affirmations need to be stated in the most positive terms possible. Avoid negative statements. Affirm what you do want, rather than what you don't want. For example: "I am no longer sick." This is a negative statement. Instead, affirm: "I am now perfectly healthy in body, mind and spirit." This statement is much more powerful as it is positive and reinforces your desired goal and doesn't confuse your subconscious mind with the mention of the undesirable condition.
3) They're short and specific.
Short affirmations are easy to say, and have a far greater impact at the subconscious level than those which are long and wordy. Keeping them specific and to the point adds power as the idea is uncluttered by extraneous elements.
The mechanics that make affirmations powerful are:
* Repetition
The importance of repetition cannot be overemphasized. It imprints the affirmation into your subconscious mind.
* Emotions
Get involved, be passionate, and use your emotions. Think carefully about the meaning of the words as you repeat them rather than just writing, typing or saying them.
* Persistence
Practicing affirmations with persistence achieves results much sooner than practicing them periodically. Successive sessions will have a compounding effect.
* Belief
You don't necessarily have to believe your affirmation initially, in order for it to work. Belief will grow with your forthcoming successes. What you do need is the ability to *feel* what it would be like when the desire you're affirming is fulfilled, or your need met. Every time that you have a need -- and that need is met -- a certain "feeling" is produced in you. You need to evoke that same feeling when you state your affirmation. In other words, you need to feel with every fiber of your being that what you desire has already happened. Without this feeling, your affirmation is powerless.
* Impress Yourself
Personalize your affirmations. They must *resonate* with you -- feel right for you. The stronger your connection with the affirmation, the deeper the impression it makes on your mind, and the sooner you will experience positive results.
So there you have it - the simple formula for creating affirmations that work. Based on the above, you can easily create your own affirmations to manifest any desire or need you have in life.

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Lessions from The Madhesi Movement In Nepal

-Nished Gautam
On February 7 the Madhesi Movement that was launched on January 19 attained victory in Nepal. The victory has been good enough to get the movement off the streets. The April Revolution last year lasted 19 days and produced 21 martyrs. The Madhesi Movement, the Maghe Kranti, after the Nepali month Magh, this year lasted 21 days and produced 38 martyrs. That goes on to show royal dictatorship is easier to fight than Pahadi prejudice, Bahun prejudice. The April Revolution got rid of an entire regime. Today the Home Minister has to resign as a basic show of respect to the 38 martyred, and the more than 1,000 injured.
Less than 0.1% of the Nepalis in New York City are Madhesi. In America, there is the n-word. In Nepal, there is the m-word. We Madhesi get called madisey, marsya.
I want to briefly touch upon the April Revolution that happened last year in Nepal. I am the only Nepali outside of Nepal who worked full time towards it for about a year before it finally happened. It is my claim that nothing like that has happened in world history. In a country of 27 million people, close to eight million came out into the streets over a period of 19 days to completely shut the country down until the dictator king bowed out. They came out in every single town, every single village, in every hamlet. The movement was total. My favorite story from that revolution is that in this remote village in the middle of nowhere, the women spontaneously came out into the streets banging their pots and pans, chanting "No more cooking! No more cooking!"
If that many people were to come into the streets in China, that would be big. And China is one billion people. And do note that Nepal is one of the 10 poorest countries in the world. It is not like people were coordinating with each other using cellphones or MySpace or Facebook, the prime choice of the Obama crowd, or any of these other online tools. The point being, if Nepal can do it, so can any other country, and every other country without democracy should. I think every Arab country should. Countries all over Africa should. Zimbabwe should. Kick Mugabe out. We can envision a total spread of democracy globally, thanks to Nepal.
And also look at it this way. Nepal has 27 million people, Iraq has 27 million people. Nepal proves it does not cost 500 billon dollars, and 3,000 American and over 150,000 Iraqi lives to launch democracy in a country. There is a better way, there is a progressive way. That is Nepal's message to the world. Heck, that is Nepal's message to America.
New York City is a very special place. There is nothing like it on earth. Nepalis in this city played a key role in Nepal's April Revolution. People in this city from all over the world are sufficient unto themselves to engineer a total spread of democracy, all over the world. That is Nepal's message.
The reason I wanted to briefly touch upon the April Revolution is because I intend to argue what happened recently in Nepal for three weeks has been the second chapter of that same April Revolution. That was for democracy and human rights. This has been for social justice.
There are four marginalized groups in Nepal, Dalit, Madhesi, Janajati, Mahila. The Dalit are the low caste people, the so called untouchables. And I think they should all just go ahead and convert to Buddhism. Screw Hinduism and its caste system. The Janajati are the indigenous people, people with last names like Sherpa, Tamang, Magar, Gurung, Rai, Limbu. Madhesi are the people of the southern plains. Mahila is the Nepali word for women. DaMaJaMa. Dalit, Madhesi, Janajati, Mahila.
We Madhesi are taking the lead right now on behalf of the DaMaJaMa. I am a Madhesi. I have been waiting for this movement all my life. Leaders of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, the organization that has been leading this movement, have been on my mailing list, the largest Nepali mailing list in the world, for a long time now. Just the other day, I was on the phone with Jay Prakash Gupta, for example, who until recently was second in command.
Howard Dean organized his entire presidential campaign in 2004 around one blog. My primary tool both for the April Revolution and the Madhesi Movement has been my blog. It has not been jouralism, it has been activism. Welcome to globalization and the internet. There is not a town in Nepal that does not have at least a few internet cafes.
What is happening in Nepal has to be compared to the civil rights movement in America in the 1950s and the 1960s, only we have intended to achieve in one month what the civil rights movement in America achieved in a decade. This is history fast forwarded, this is social revolution 21st century style. I call it nonviolent militancy. You have a few clear basic goals and you shut the country down until those basic goals are met. You get people to come out into the streets in huge numbers. You completely paralyze the state. The movement has to be intense and overwhelming and the victory has to be total.
So who are the Madhesi? What do we want? What are our grievances? How do we hope to achieve them? As to who are the Madhesi? I am one. Just so you know what a Madhesi looks like. We are 40% of Nepal's population. But we are less than 5% in the state bureaucracy, we practically do not exist in the army. In 1991 a Prime Minister said that is because we are "cowards." We are vastly underpresented in the parliament. Less than 0.1% of the Nepalis in New York City are Madhesi. 40% of Madhesis in Nepal have been denied citizenship papers. That statelessness is a fundamental human rights violation. Madhesis without citizenship papers can't vote, they can't buy or sell land, they can't attend college, they can't apply for government jobs, they can't even legally die. It is living hell for them. The cards are stacked against the Madhesi in Nepal. We have been at the receiving end of structural violence for hundreds of years. We have a rich history going back thousands of years, but we are, at the bottom of it all, not even considered Nepali. We are thought to be Indian. We don't belong. That is the suggestion.
So what solution is there? In a few months Nepal is slated to have elections to a constituent assembly. A constituent assembly is the best way to write a new constitution for a new democracy. I have always bought into that. That is not a problem. But if 40% of all Madhesis who have been denied citizenship papers can't vote, and if although half of Nepal lives in the Terai, but it was to get only 80 of the 205 constituencies before February 7, do you think all that is a huge conspiracy to make sure the Madhesi continue to be second class citizens or rather second class non citizens in Nepal? I think so.
Now it has been promised half of all constituencies for the elections to the constituent assembly will be in the Terai. And that is positive. But the Home Minister has still not resigned. 40% of the Madhesis still do not have citizenship papers, and hence no voting rights.
10 years ago a Nepali Congress government, the party that holds the prime ministerial seat also today, put out a report claiming 4.2 million Nepalis have been denied citizenship papers. In a country where 40% of the people are less than 14 years old, people who were six years old back then must be 16 now. So I am guessing today the number of Nepalis who have unfairly been denied citizenship papers is closer to six million. This interim government has said it will issue citizenship papers to three million people before the elections to the constituent assembly so as to solve the citizenship problem "once and for all." That is a conspiracy to keep disenfranchised a huge chunk of Madhesis. And that is not going to fly.
I feel like Nepal is about to be born for the first time ever. You start with 40% of the Madhesis being disenfranchised. You bring that down to 20%, or at least you promise to. And you were to give only 80 of the 205 constituencies to the Terai, as was planned until 38 Madhesis sacrificed their lives protesting it, and of those 80, 40 were likely to have been Pahadi, going by the past pattern of the biggest parties in Nepal. So you were looking at a scenario in the constituent assembly where one Madhesi is not a full person but rather one third of a person. That was the status of the African Americans in the US Constitution in 1776. We Madhesis can not allow that. We are not going to allow that. That is what this Madhesi Movement has been about.
So what should happen next? The very first thing is that the Home Minister has to resign. And we have to end up with a constituent assembly that looks like Nepal in terms of its ethnic and gender composition. I think there should be reserved constituencies for the four groups, the Dalit, Madhesi, Janajati, Mahila. So if there is a constituency that is reserved for Dalits, there still will be elections, but all candidates in that particular constituency have to be Dalit. And all eight parties have to put forth a concrete map for federalism now. Something very similar happened in India after India became independent. And India seems to be doing just fine. Federalism is a sound concept. It is not possible to imagine a sound, vibrant democracy in Nepal without federalism. All eight parties have now agreed to federalism in principle. They did that on February 7. But they have still not produced any maps. We Madhesis want our own state.
And finally I would like to suggest that the Pahadis in New York City should be able to relate to the plight of the Madhesi in Nepal. Nepalis in New York City can't vote. That has to change. We Madhesis are less than 0.1% of the Nepali population in the city. No Nepali is active in the progressive circles in this city like I am, not even close. I think we should work to attain voting rights in this city for the Nepalis here. You are going to stand by me and my people in Nepal, my fellow Madhesis, in their just struggle for equality in the Nepal context. You are going to do that because that is the right thing to do, because the Madhesis will not settle for anything less, and also because it is in your self interest because you need my help here in New York City to earn your right to vote in the city elections. I hope all of us - Pahadi, Madhesi, White, Non-White - can get behind this Madhesi Movement in Nepal to help it reach a successful conclusion, and that is total equality for the Madhesi in Nepal.
To come back to the Iraq parallel. The political class in power in Nepal right now is less than 20% of Nepal, kind of like Saddam Hussein's Sunnis. But unlike in Iraq, in Nepal the 80% are going to attain their rightful place at the table not through a civil war, but through nonviolent protests. I urge all of you to extend your support to the Madhesi Movement in Nepal. We do want a Nepal where everyone is equal, regardless of ethnicity or gender. Let's work towards that.
But now it looks like the Madhesi Movement will have to go back to the streets since the Home Minister has not resigned. If that happens, the movement has to achieve total victory. Nepal has to be declared a federal republic now, the Madhesh state has to be declared now. And the movement will ask for its share in the interim parliament and the interim government.

( cited from Paramendra Bhagat, a Convenor, Coordination Committee, Nepali Organizations In New York City. He blogs at

Loktantrik Aandolan of Nepal

The 2006 Jana Andolan-II or Democracy Movement ( in Nepali : loktantra āndolan) is a name given to the ongoing political agitations against the rule of King Gyanendra of Nepal . The movement is also sometimes referred to as Jana Andolan-II ("People's Movement-II"), implying it being a continuation of the 1990 Jana Aandolan I .

On February 1, 2005 the royal takeover was further advanced as the King appointed a government led by himself and at the same time enforced martial law. The King argued that civil politicians were unfit to handle the Maoist insurgency. Telephone lines were cut and several high-profile political leaders were detained. Other opposition leaders fled to India and regrouped there. A broad alliance against the royal takeover called the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) was organized, encompassing about 90% of the seats in the old, dissolved parliament.
In December SPA signed a 12-point understanding with the Maoists. Within the framework of that understanding, Maoists committed themselves to multiparty democracy and freedom of speech. SPA, for their part, accepted the Maoist demand for elections to a Constituent Assembly.
At the beginning of 2006, the situation became yet more tense as SPA launched agitation programmes around the country. A series of waves of arrests of opposition leaders were conducted. The agitations reached a peak around the February 8 municipal elections, which were boycotted by the SPA and the Maoists. In total, official figures claimed a participation of about 21%. Opposition sources questioned those claims
(The National Symbol of Nepal :Then ( Jungi Nisan) and Now.)

April general strike:

SPA called for a four-day nationwide general strike between April 5-9. The Maoists called for a cease-fire in the Kathmandu valley. The general strike saw numerous protests. A curfew was announced by the government on April 8, with reported orders to shoot protestors on sight. Despite this, small, disorganized protests continued.
On April 9, SPA announced that it intended to continue its protests indefinitely and called for a tax boycott. The government announced plans to step up its enforcement of the curfew and claimed that the Maoists had infiltrated the protests. Prachanda, the leader of the CPN(M), had said that "this is no longer a protest by opposition parties ... it has become a people's movement," and warned that he himself could lead a revolt in the capital.
Protests continued in the following days, with crowds increasing to sizes estimated at 100,000 to 200,000 in Kathmandu in various estimates, more than 10% of the city population. On April 21, opposition sources claim that about half a million took part in the protests in Kathmandu. More conservative estimates talk about 300,000.
Later the same evening, King Gyanendra announced that he would return political power to the people and called for elections to be held as soon as possible. He called on SPA to nominate a new Prime Minister of Nepal in a speech on a state-owned television station, saying, "We return the executive power of the country to the people. We request the seven-party alliance to recommend a name for the post of prime minister who will have the responsibility to run the government." The position of Prime Minister has been vacant since 1 February 2005 when King Gyanendra removed Sher Bahadur Deuba from office and dissolved the Nepalese Parliament indefinitely. However, the royal proclamation was rebuffed by the opposition. At 3 p.m. the next day, the leaders of SPA met in the capital, and staked out three demands, namely: reinstitution of the old parliament; formation of an all-party government; and elections to a Constituent Assembly that will draft a new constitution.
Reinstitution of Parliament
In a nationally televised address, King Gyanendra reinstated the old Nepal House of Representatives on April 24, 2006.The King called upon the Seven Party Alliance to bear the responsibility of taking the nation on the path to national unity and prosperity, while ensuring permanent peace and safeguarding multiparty democracy.
The reinstitution of Parliament was accepted by the SPA. It declared that Girija Prasad Koirala would lead the new government. The SPA stated that the new parliament will hold elections for a body that would write a new constitution.
The move was rejected by the Maoists. Baburam Bhattarai stated that merely restoring the parliament was not going to resolve the problems and that the rebels planned to continue fighting against government forces. They still demand the formation of a Constituent Assembly and abolition of the monarchy.
On 27 April 2006, however, the Maoist insurgents responded to demands by Girija Prasad Koirala and announced a unilateral three-month truce in the Nepal Civil War. In addition to this, on 1 May, Bhattarai announced that if "the elections [to a Constituent Assembly] are free and fair, one has to respect the result of the elections. Then of course we will abide by the verdict of the people." This was seen as a large step forward as it shows the first signs of Maoist acceptance of the democratic process.
On May 2, Koirala announced the new government cabinet including himself and three other ministers from the Nepali Congress: K.P. Sharma Oli from CPN(UML), Gopal Man Shrestha from Nepali Congress (Democratic) and Prabhu Narayan Chaudhari from the United Left Front. This was followed on May 12 by the arrest of four ministers from the ousted royalist government and an investigation into alleged human rights violations by the army during the General Strike.

18 May Act:

The most dramatic move of the post Loktantra Andolan government came on 18 May 2006 when the Parliament unanimously voted to strip the King of many of his powers. The bill included:
Putting 90,000 troops in the hands of the parliament,
Placing a tax on the royal family and its assets,
Ending the Raj Parishad, a royal advisory council,
Eliminating royal references from army and government titles,
Declaring Nepal a secular country, not a Hindu Kingdom.
The act overrides the 1990 Constitution, written up following the Jana Andolan and has been described as a Nepalese Magna Carta. According to Prime Minister Koirala, "This proclamation represents the feelings of all the people."
However, although they will immediately come into force, the plans are seen as provisional until a new constitution can be drawn up.
May 18 has already been named Loktantrik Day (Democracy Day) by some.

( This article has been published on the occssion of 57th National Democracy Day)