|CIOC | Home | About | Our Work | Media Room | Client Login | Contact|
|SERVICES Public Relations| Copywriting | Interactive | Political | Grantwriting|
May 17th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “War’s Pressure is Causing Syria to Break Apart,” describes a society riven with divisions that are rapidly hardening into permanent facts on the ground. These divisions may never coalesce again into one integrated state unless something is done soon.
It’s not just the conflict that causing Syria to split apart; it’s the brutality of the battle and its increasingly sectarian nature. As a result, the country is becoming divided into three separate sections: the center with Damascus and Homs with an Alawite sect along the coast; the north with the Sunni, Islamic and Al Qaeda elements and the northeast with the ever-hopeful-of-a-state Kurdish population.
The only hope of reuniting the country may be a top down effort at a peace conference, the current effort being spearheaded by the United States and Russia. Whether this method can lead to reconciliation remains to be seen, but, as the proverb goes, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since the country was operating in a unified manner. Revenge killings aren’t pretty, and they can tear a nation into pieces.
Whether any other outcome was ever possible is a moot point, but maybe if the United States had become involved at an earlier stage, this denouement could have been avoided. Or maybe if Mr. Assad had heeded the voices of the peaceful protesters and acted to head off the violence.
May 16th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “An Onset of Woes Raises Questions on Obama Vision,” describes the big three scandals confronting the President right now and their impact on his second term. Despite the feeling of siege from the White House, it is important to remember that the President is engaged in many essential endeavors such as the implementation of his healthcare plan, the final withdrawal from Afghanistan and executive orders to decrease greenhouse gases. None of these efforts would be occurring with a Republican President.
In addition, the President is also appointing a slew of justices to the federal courts who will have an impact long after he leaves. And preventing another conservative pick on the Supreme Court is just as critical.
So despite the feelings of woe generated at present, many Presidents have had rocky second terms while still maintaining their productivity. The President is the President and while he may be helpless to take certain actions in a democracy, there is no single man with more influence.
The scandals will run their course as scandals do; there will be no action taken directly against the President because he wasn’t involved; and the Republicans will grow tired of the acrimony after a while. The Congress’ duty is to legislate, and eventually, they will return to doing so.
May 15th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Mismanagement by I.R.S. Cited in Tea Party Scrutiny,” examines the growing controversy about the use of keywords such as patriot and Tea Party to single out conservative groups for audits by the I.R.S. and, in confluence with the wiretapping of AP reporters and the Benghazi operation, provides seriously bad news for the Obama administration.
While Attorney General Eric Holder demanded an immediate criminal inquiry, other investigative committees are just beginning to gather steam: there will be a bipartisan review by the Senate Finance Committee, and a similar structure with the House Ways & Means Committee. Already Washington officials have been caught in misleading statements, especially Stephen Miller, the acting commissioner of the I.R.S.
While this news may seem in accordance with the general story line of conservative media about the arrogant assumption of power in the Obama administration, the situation is probably less dire than that. Still, given the extraordinary power of the I.R.S., it demands thorough and complete investigation. Here, unlike Benghazi, the Republicans finally have an issue that makes sense and doesn’t require a false sense of outrage.
Whatever is discovered, the time spent on this matter takes away from any eventual passage of gun control or a solution to our illegal immigration problem. And that is even more of a tragedy.
May 14th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Global Retailers Join Safety Plan for Bangladesh,” represents a major breakthrough in worker safety, building and fire codes for factories and even the establishment of trade unions. It is unfortunate that it had to come on the heels of a major tragedy, the collapse of a factory building in Rana Plaza that killed more than 1,000 people.
The wages of a starting worker in Bangladesh are the lowest in the world at $37 per month, and the agreement by H&M, a leading apparel manufacturer ahead of even Walmart, showed a company taking responsibility for the vendors that are its lifeline. It is said to be influential in the industry in general though the Gap, the target of a petition signed by 900,000 people has yet to agree to participate. (time for some online pressure on the Gap — get going you bloggers and tweeters)
There are yet other improvements in factory conditions on the horizon as well. The Bangladesh government has agreed to make it easier for unions to organize, protecting the organizers with confidentiality to prevent their firing by incensed factory owners. With 5,000 factories in Bangladesh employing 4.5 million people, mostly women and the poor, these are some wise steps to keep the industry healthy. China is next as they are using many of the same systems. They are one Rana Plaza tragedy away from being forced to take the same steps.
May 13th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Chinese Create New Auto Niche within Detroit,” seems to represent the first tangible incursion of the Chinese into the workings of our economy. Oh sure, the Chinese have been gobbling up our securities, but in the tangible world of automobiles, their economic influence will be felt much more strongly.
Perhaps for that reason, the Chinese have tried to operate under the radar, first concentrating upon manufacturing batteries and parts rather than full-fledged automobiles. But meanwhile, they have been learning the craft in full view in Detroit and have created about 50 Chinese businesses in the mundane world of auto parts first.
For those who say we are giving away our country to the Chinese, it is possible that the competition will be good for the U.S. auto industry. But when the Chinese start to subsidize their parts companies, that represents an unfair labor advantage, and the U.S. has already complained to the U.N. about the matter.
But one could also argue that the increased competition is part of the reality of globalization, free markets and capitalism, and as long as the Chinese fight fairly, they are free to enter our system as is the rest of the world. U.S. innovation is unsurpassed, and the Chinese do not know how to develop automobiles the way the United States does. And until they allow more freedom and creativity into their society, they never will.
May 11th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Heat-Trapping Gas Passes Milestone, Raising Fears,” shows our faltering efforts to affect carbon dioxide missions despite a clear picture of the dangers involved. The CO2 level is higher than it has been for millions of years and is a clear result of the burning of fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution.
The air sample was taken from the top of the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii where clean crisp air blows in after traveling thousands of miles over the Pacific. The new level is clearly unrelated to the regular cycles from one season to another.
Some scientists have said that it is too late for us to change the carbon dioxide level at this point and have begun working on ways to clean the atmosphere. Yet the economic cost of doing this is far greater than eliminating the problem at the source, the impact of every car and airplane ride. The displacement that would be caused from a raise in sea levels boggles the mind, and it would create a refugee situation far beyond anything we have experienced.
For those climate change contrarians, who are claiming that carbon dioxide only represents a small part of the atmosphere, about .04 percent, it should be noted that it only takes a little bit of arsenic to kill a person. One wonders why we have not developed a greater sense of urgency about this problem.
May 10th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “In Hours, Thieves Took $45 Million in A.T.M. Scheme,” seems, at first glance, to be like the perfect crime. There’s something of an outlaw in the collective American heart, and we have always admired criminals with ingenuity who can beat the system.
This crime, because it did not involve individual bank accounts but prepaid cards issued by the financial institution, was even more victimless — unless you count banks as a victim, a stretch for most people.
The criminals, a worldwide gang who acted in concert, were able to remove the withdrawal limits from ATMs, a clever way to achieve the volume of money stolen. The hackers carefully monitored the street thieves to ensure they go their cut.
The thefts took place in two rounds, in December and February. The first time, about $5 million was stolen. The second time, they got bolder. And because individuals were not affected, there was no one to complain about the drain from their bank accounts.
On a more serious side, the crime does suggest that hackers are still ahead of security firms in knowledge and coding for the Internet. And if our financial institutions are so vulnerable, what about government networks?
This story comes shortly after the United States accused China of Internet hacking for industrial and military secrets. Maybe the C.I.A. can hire some of the hacker-thieves.
May 9th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Envoy Testifies Libya Questions Led to Demotion,” shows how, with the right framing, an international incident can be conjured up with the testimony of one or two individuals. Gregory Hicks, a U.S. envoy in Tripoli on the night of the Benghazi attack, said he was treated “cooly” after he questioned the remarks of U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, who claimed that a YouTube video could have been responsible for the ensuing events.
Then, his imaginary demotion, to another position at the same salary, assumed ulterior motives rather than simply being a result of his stated desire to spend more time with his family. And it was his dissatisfaction with that situation that led to a call from Cheryl Mills, Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff, rather than some vast conspiracy.
Of course, the Republicans are trying to put the most sinister implications possible on this non-story, pushed primarily by Fox News and Republican senators such as Lindsey Graham who are worried about their reelection. And their special hearings on the topic are gathering mainstream news coverage just as any repeated propaganda does.
It’s time for the administration to speak boldly against these political hearings, whose main goal is to smear Hillary Clinton for her 2016 Presidential run. Or persuade her to drop out altogether.
May 8th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Sexual Assaults in Military Raise Alarm in Capital,” describes a situation that has become fully out of control. You know you have a problem when the officer in charge of preventing sexual assaults is arrested for it.
Part of the difficulty involves the need for women to respond to their commanding officer, who is also responsible for evaluating their future as a soldier. And generally the perpetrator is part of the same chain of command. This situation makes it difficult for the woman to report a crime, yet there seems to be little enthusiasm on behalf of the military for changing it.
The new statistics also come at a time when women are being admitted to elite combat units that formerly consisted solely of men. If they are not comfortable with this arrangement, then their future careers may be jeopardized.
President Obama is correct when he espoused zero tolerance in light of the alarming new statistics. While the chance of a woman in the military experiencing a sexual assault is 6.2 percent, in the general population, it is only 0.2 percent. That is a negative reflection upon the military, a societal group that our nation typically holds on a pedestal.
That’s why Senator Gillibrand became so upset yesterday in a hearing on the matter. It was enough to change my opinion of her into one of unqualified support.
May 7th, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “China’s Military is Accused by U.S. in Cyberattacks,” details a Pentagon report with an explicit accusation of Chinese infiltration into our most classified defense networks, with an eye to blinding our satellite capabilities during a crisis.
Of course, unstated is our own cyberattack with Israel that crippled Iran’s nuclear centrifuges. So it seems this new brand of warfare is “up and running,” so to speak, and will only grow in the future.
It should be noted, however, that China spends less than a third of what we do in national defense, and any major infiltration by China into our computer networks would be mitigated by the fact that the Chinese are heavily invested in our country.
Saved by economics? Perhaps. But when push comes to shove in the Pacific, where China is projecting its power in territorial disputes with Japan and other nations, how much stomach will the United States have in provoking a conflict?
China is also busily developing an aircraft carrier group and its own stealth aircraft, and the technology needed to do so may have come directly from the U.S. There is no doubt that our country and free enterprise are the spark for our technological advances, and that’s something the Chinese will never be able to match.
| About | Our
Work | Media Room |
Client Login | Contact
| Site Map
SERVICES: Public Relations| Copywriting | Interactive | Political | Grantwriting
Copyright ©2008 Cut-It-Out Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
Cut-It-Out Communications, Inc. | P.O. Box 495 | Hartsdale, Westchester
County, NY 10530