Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Solution to the North Korean Crisis

What the US should do about North Korea?

Jack Lee
Yorktown Hts. NY

October 11, 2006

In light of recent development in North Korea, especially the claim that they have detonated a nuclear bomb underground test, what should be our response?
I have study this situation and read up on past policies which has been a failure to say the least.
Let me make it clear, the villian here is North Korea's Kim Jong Il and not anybody else.

I do have a solution and it is a simple one.

I must refer back to my hero President Ronald Reagan for his foresight in dealing with a rogue nation such as North Korea. He provided the resource and the leadership in pursuing SDI as the ultimate defense against MAD (mutual assured destruction).

First, we must complete the SDI(BMDO) goal of being able to shoot a missile out of the sky. We have completed several tests that seem promising. We need to implement the system as quickly as possible.

Second, we should stop all talks with North Korea, bilaterally or within the six party frameworks as proposed by the Bush Administration. It is a waste of time to talk with them.

Third, we will notify their government through back channel that we have no intention of invading them or attack them at this time. We are a peaceful nation but will not be blackmailed. If they continue to pursue nuclear weapons, be forewarned. If any of their technology is sold outside of N. Korea, we will stop them.

Forth, we will assist all our allies in the area, (South Korea, Japan, Taiwan…) with anti-missile defenses. This is strictly a defensive posture.

Fifth, if North Korea tries to launch a missile against any of their neighbors, we will be forced to defend against such aggression and will respond by launching attack on Pyongyang and targeting Kim Jong Il, its current leader.

Sixth, the US and the UN would stop all threats of sanctions against North Korea because as we have seen in the past with Iraq and others, sanctions only hurt the people and not their government. I would work with their economic/business community to help build up their economy and feed their people in a humanitarian way. We should let the people of North Korea know that we are not their enemy. They have been brainwashed by their government.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Everyday Activist for the Common Good

An Everyday Activist for the Common Good

By: Jack C. Lee
Yorktown Hts. NY

October 10, 2006

Recently, I’ve been thinking about what we as common citizens can do to help improve the world around us. I am a Conservative and I do not believe that big government is the answer to all our problems. Government has its role as defined by the Constitution. Providing a strong national defense and a system of law and order are some primary functions for our government. We, as citizens can do a lot to make things better. Some are necessary and some are trivial but never the less when done in large numbers can have a positive effect.

The term “activist” has certain connotations. It is usually ascribed to people who are extreme in their beliefs such as political, environmental and humanitarian and uses their power to drive an agenda. There is nothing wrong with having passion regarding an issue and feeling strongly about it to want to do something to bring about change.

My use of the term activist is more mundane. I think all of us can be an “everyday activist” by doing simple things in our daily activities. What it requires is first an awareness and then a conscious act to follow through.

Let me offer a few examples.

Jury duty – Everyone who is a registered voter or a driver is called upon to serve on a jury every few years. It is our civic duty to participate and it is the foundation of our legal and justice system. Yet, many people are either too busy or too selfish to participate. They will use every excuse to get out of serving. That is a shame and a lack of responsibility. In this case, we need to be aware that jury duty is the backbone of our criminal justice system. Without it, our system will not function correctly. The responsible act will be for everyone who is called and who is qualified to serve.

Security watch – Since post 9/11, we are asked to be aware of our surroundings when traveling in our public transportation system. We are asked to be the eyes and ears on the ground. Any suspicious packages left alone, or any suspicious individuals are to be reported to the nearest police. This is a simple act but when practiced by all will help prevent a terrorist act such as the ones perpetrated in London and Madrid.

Vote – Every two years, we are given the opportunity to vote for our government. That is the basic tenet of a Democracy. However, lately, only about 50% of the people who qualify to vote do vote. That is a shame. If we don’t take the time to study the issues and the candidates and vote for the best, then we only have ourselves to blame when the government let us down. An informed electorate is our best chance for a responsive government. But don’t vote just for the sake of voting. Be an informed voter.

Discuss issues – The old adage that one should never talk about Religion or Politics is wrong. We need to discuss issues so that we have a clearer understanding of the problem, get the facts and then make an intelligent decision. That is not to say we should attack those that we disagree with personal insults. We should engage in a discussion of ideas and solutions with our peers. It could also be a teaching moment for our kids.

Teach the children – In today’s environment, it is not enough for kids to learn from school and text books. They need to learn about life’s challenges and that include finance, morality, social interactions in addition to reading, writing and arithmetic. We as adults have a duty to teach our children to be responsible citizens. We can use either current events or TV show or a movie or sporting event to discuss issues that may be of interest to all of us.

Pay it forward - Reuben St. Clair, the teacher and protagonist in the book “Pay It Forward,” starts a movement with this voluntary, extra-credit assignment: THINK OF AN IDEA FOR WORLD CHANGE, AND PUT IT INTO ACTION. Trevor, the 12-year-old hero of “Pay It Forward,” thinks of quite an idea. He describes it to his mother and teacher this way: "You see, I do something real good for three people. And then when they ask how they can pay it back, I say they have to Pay It Forward. To three more people. Each. so nine people get helped. Then those people have to do twenty-seven." He turned on the calculator, punched in a few numbers. "Then it sort of spreads out, see. To eighty-one. Then two hundred forty-three. Then seven hundred twenty-nine. Then two thousand, one hundred eighty-seven. See how big it gets?"

Common sense – Utilize your common sense and don’t take everything from “experts” as the gospel. Challenge people of power when they are wrong. Take a few minutes and send in a feedback or letter in response to something you read that are incorrect or biased.
Hold politicians and media personnel to account for what they say and do.

Use your money wisely – Support groups that try to make a difference. Shop in companies or stores that are responsible in their activities – both with regard to their customers and their employees. Use the power of economics to hold Corporations responsible. There is power in numbers. If all of us will use our purchase power wisely, there will be less Corporate abuses.

Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Volunteer work – We are all busy. There is not enough time in a day. We are all asked to prioritize our workload. Make some time to help others. It is worth while and also therapeutic and rewarding. Give it a try.

I truly believe that small things can make a big difference. In the book “The Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell described many incidences. By recognizing the power each of us has, we can effect change that will bring good to all of us.
I’ve only given a few examples above but I’m sure you can come up with a list of items that are equally compelling. Be an everyday activist!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Letter to Secretary Chertoff - post service on Grand Jury

To: Secretary Michael Chertoff, Department of Homeland Security
Alberto Gonzeles, US Attorney General
Charles Schumer, US Senator NY
Hillary Clinton, US Senator NY
Sue Kelly, US Congressman NY

cc: Grand Jury Coordinator, US Court Southern District of New York
Foreperson of Grand Jury (September 2006)

October 4, 2006

Dear All:

My name is Jack Lee, a private citizen and a resident of Westchester county NY. Recently, I was selected to serve on a grand jury in the Southern District of NY. It was an eye opening experience for me and educational as well. I learned quite a bit about our current legal system and some of its problems. After discussion with the Grand Jury Coordinator, she suggested I make my views known in the form of this letter. My hope is that by bring attention to this problem, you folks, who are in a position of power, can find a solution either with new legislation or revised policy or both.

The problem I am referring to relates to illegal immigrants and more specific to criminal activities committed by illegal immigrants. In the course of a month, my first hand knowledge obtained in the grand jury room exposes a serious flaw in our current legal system. Let me first acknowledge the excellent and hard work of all involved in trying to bring justice and punishment to those involved. However, they are merely part of a larger system that has been broken for quite a while.

As you are well aware, our country is currently debating the larger question of illegal immigration and how to reform a system that is out of control. This is a complex issue and it involves many factors including economic and social. However, the specific area I’m addressing in this letter pertains to the criminal and legal implications.

The problem in a nutshell is that a disproportionate number of illegal aliens are committing crimes and are clogging our criminal justice system. Let me describe a typical case. An alien from the Dominican Republic is arrested in the US for a felony selling illegal drugs. He is arrested, convicted and went to jail for a few years. He is then deported to the DR. After a few years, he is re-arrested for another crime usually under an alias. This time, he is convicted and sent to prison for a longer term. Years later, under a special fugitive task force by the ICE, he is rounded up and charged with violation of code 1326A with illegal reentry to the US. This, we are told, includes almost 300 cases in just the NY District. Each case can span a period of 20 or more years. Do you see what I mean?

Permit me to offer a simple analogy. Suppose there is a large ship with a leaking hull. The captain of the ship decided to organize a bucket brigade to bail out the water. At first, this seems to work. However, instead of putting ashore to repair the leak, he decided it was easier to keep the brigade going. To a newcomer, this seems a strange sight. He decided to inquire what is going on. Each person on the brigade is just doing his assigned task. When asked about what is going on, they can only respond, just following orders, or it’s not my job or it’s too hard to change the system. But the common sense solution is to just patch the leak and all other problems will go away.

The resources that we are burdened to carry this out are enormous. Just from where I’m sitting, there are 23 jurors, 1 prosecuting attorney, 1 stenographer, 1 special agent to testify, 1 expert to analyze finger prints, 1 ICE staff to search database, arresting officers, judges, legal counsel, prison guards, deportation officer, other support staff and incarceration fees…
In addition, they usually have accumulated a long rap sheet with numerous victims of felonies. All this so we can treat one illegal alien with due process and humane treatment. Once deported, he has no problem finding his way back in the USA.

A wise man once told me the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

All studies have shown that a large disproportionate number of crimes are committed by a small minority. By focusing our energy and resources to reducing illegal criminals from entering our country, we can do a lot to reduce both crimes and the burden on our justice system. My proposed solutions are the following:

1. We need to plug the holes both at our borders and at the airports. Use the national guards to secure our borders.
2. We need to address the legal rights of illegal aliens vs. American Citizens. We cannot continue to treat them as equals. There must be some differential between an illegal alien and a US citizen or legal resident.
3. We need to work with other countries such as the Dominican Republic to arrange that they incarcerate their own citizens even if they are caught committing crimes in the US. We can help with some financial subsidies to these countries.
4. We need to stop the current practice of “sanctuary cities” where the local police cannot inquire about the immigration status of criminals they arrest.
5. We need to enforce current and existing laws or else rescind obsolete laws.

The problem I’ve described would not be a problem if the number of violators is small. I would not write this letter if we are dealing with only a handful of cases. However, once the number is large, this becomes a serious problem that requires action.

I have tried to highlight a problem in our current justice system. My duty as a grand juror is to provide some common sense and oversight to our legal system in addition to protect the rights of the accused. My training as an engineer teaches me how to identify problems and to come up with viable solutions. I can’t help it, but my instinct is to tackle this problem the same way. I am just a private citizen, retired and enjoying my golden years. Some people are good at listening, some are good at talking and others are good at doing. Once in a while, you can find one person with all 3 qualities and hopefully that individual will be elected to high office where he or she can make a difference.
I hope all of you can follow through and bring the necessary changes to our system so that future grand jurors will not have to labor through these cases anymore.

Thank you for your attention.


Jack C. Lee
A concerned citizen and member of Grand Jury (September 2006)

Yorktown Hts. NY

PS – You are welcome to contact me by email with questions or details about my ideas.

END of letter

Oct. 20, 2006 (update)

Since I sent the letters, I've received one response from Rep. Sue Kelly.
I am posting here response letter here. Unfortunately, it does not address my specific concerns but only talk of general policies.

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Nov. 2, 2006 (update)

I received the following letter from the DHS.
Again, it did not address my specific concerns.

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