United States


US Law: It Is Illegal To Boycott Israel?

If you are a resident of the United States of America, you should be aware that it is literally illegal to boycott Israel. I have never been in favour of or against a boycott against said country but it is definitely interesting to note that it is not even legal to do it. I had no idea that such a law even existed and has been here for several decades. I wonder when was the last time this was actually used and/or how often it is enforced.

According to the Bureau of Industry and Security and the Antiboycott Compliance law:

The Bureau is charged with administering and enforcing the Antiboycott Laws under the Export Administration Act. Those laws discourage, and in some circumstances, prohibit U.S. companies from furthering or supporting the boycott of Israel sponsored by the Arab League, and certain Moslem countries, including complying with certain requests for information designed to verify compliance with the boycott.

The objective of the law may seem reasonable enough that:

The antiboycott laws were adopted to encourage, and in specified cases, require U.S. firms to refuse to participate in foreign boycotts that the United States does not sanction. They have the effect of preventing U.S. firms from being used to implement foreign policies of other nations which run counter to U.S. policy.

So who is required to follow this law?

The antiboycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) apply to the activities of U.S. persons in the interstate or foreign commerce of the United States. The term “U.S. person” includes all individuals, corporations and unincorporated associations resident in the United States, including the permanent domestic affiliates of foreign concerns.

So what happens to you if actually do decide to boycott?

The penalties imposed for each “knowing” violation can be a fine of up to $50,000 or five times the value of the exports involved, whichever is greater, and imprisonment of up to five years.

 


Man Who Lived Hiroshima And Nagasaki Dies

The only man recognized in history to have been at the epicenter of both of the nuclear bombs that the United States dropped on Japan passed away this past Monday at the age of 93. Tsutomu Yamaguchi had been hospitalized since November due to stomach cancer.

Yamaguchi had been away on business in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 when the first bomb “Little Boy” was dropped. He reportedly suffered burns on his upper body, eye damage and radiation in the ear which would later on lead to a loss of hearing in his left ear. Over the years, he was also diagnosed with acute leukemia, cataracts and other bomb-related illnesses.

As his injuries were not as severe as those around him, he was moved to a local hospital in his hometown which just happened to be in Nagasaki where just 3 days later, “Fat Man” was dropped.

Until early last year, there was no official record of what Yamaguchi had been through. In March 2009, well over 60 years after the terrorist attacks by the United States, the Japanese government certified that Yamaguchi was indeed at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “My double radiation exposure is now an official government record,” Yamaguchi said last year as quoted by The Mainichi Daily News. “It can tell the younger generation the horrifying history of the atomic bombings even after I die.”

Over the last few years, even before being officially recognized, Yamaguchi had finally began to share his personal story with the public. He was invited to speak at the United Nations, went on to write a couple of books and was featured in the documentary “Twice Bombed, Twice Survived: The Doubly Atomic Bombed of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”.

As the Nagasaki mayor said earlier this week, “I’m very sorry that we have lost one of the very valuable witnesses of the atomic bomb experience. His harsh experience to be bombed twice has been made known to the world and his activities have made people aware of the foolishness of war and he also appealed for the elimination of nuclear weapons.”

It was just remarkable to hear this story earlier today and is yet another sad reminder of what war, unchecked ego and reckless use of force can ultimately do. The ethical justifications of dropping the bomb will continue to be debated until the end of time along with what role Japan’s potential surrender could have played but what has happened is in the past. It is only to serve as a reminder for our generation and those that follow of the responsibility one takes by serving in public office and that it is not some partisan game to score points.


For The People, By The People?

A disputed national presidential election is verified by a supreme authority electing a leader who clearly did not have support of the majority of the people who cast the ballot.

Sounds familiar?

It should remind you less of the election in Iran right now but more of the bitter end to the 2000 Presidential Election right here in the United States of America between Al Gore and the eventual selected winner George W. Bush.

I just don’t understand what moral grounds the United States really has to stand on when peaceful protesters outside the convention of their own National Party Conventions are thrown in jail and where dirty political tricks are played into fooling uninformed voters, that they can not only foreign elections but get to determine who should be the winner?

Don’t confuse my argument into saying I support the results of Iran because there certainly seems like there might have been wrongdoings committed but until you know for sure, it’s the same thing to say the previous administration willing let a ‘terrorist’ attack happen on their watch. You can certainly say both things but you just don’t have any solid ground to stand on when you do.

You have mayoral elections in cities like Hoboken, NJ where you have law enforcement parking their cars in front of a candidate’s rally that they don’t support. You probably have elections in Illinois where if only six out of every five eligible voter votes, it is considered a success.

We, as a nation, are very proud of a very proud of a very flawed democratic system where has elected on more than one occasion a President who did not win the popular count. We also hold into high regard a foreign policy where we don’t support one communist government because they are of no use to us (except for holding onto a land of theirs known as Guantanamo Bay) but completely willing to support another in the far East and turn a blind eye towards the civil and humanitarian pleas of their people.

Maybe it is in the best long-term interest of our nation to worry more about domestic issues like our continuously failing economy or the lack of healthcare coverage to millions of Americans rather than trying to forcefully determine the fate of an election being conducted on foreign soil. We often try to get too wrap into trying and installing a leader that is more aligned with the ‘Western’ ideals as a quick fix solution rather than trying to see why a problem in the region exists in the first place. That type of mentality did wonders for the people in Afghanistan; it did wonders for those still dying in Iraq. Why not go for the trifecta and do it for the people in Iran as well?

You might not like what you read up there but at least I’m willing to say it. Sound off and let me know what you think.


Olympics: 4×100 Freestyle Relay [Video Included]

EDIT: Here is the video… not the greatest quality, but here it is nonetheless. If someone has a better quality, let me know. NBC has the official video up but I can’t currently access it because the computer at work is only a Windows 2000… yes you read that correctly but here is the link for that. (Click the picture on the right for NBC link)

(Watch the video before reading any further). As far as this race goes, I personally thought that Michael Phelps’ quest for the record was over after the 3rd leg and especially after 350m… but boy was I ever wrong. I have no idea where that last 50m came from by Jason Lezak but everyone watching that race in the arena or at home just went crazy. The French were left stunned, I know I was yelling and some of the people I talked to after the final said they were yelling too… just crazy stuff going on at the Olympics and this is why people should watch it!

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