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Posted by on Apr 19, 2015 in Blog, Politics, What's Left | 6 comments

Political Delay of Game

 

Chicago Bears v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

The objective of conservatives is no longer to win the political debate.

They aren’t willing to engage in honest discourse anymore because it’s become abundantly clear — especially to them — they can’t win.  Most of the conservative talking points we hear are destined for the ash heap of history, soon to be buried alongside the forgotten memoirs of their most outspoken demagogues from the previous generation, from Strom Thurmond to Jerry Falwell.  Even Ronald Reagan doesn’t resonate much anymore within the political mainstream.

No matter what today’s hot-button topic is — whether it’s man-made climate change, a dangerously widening income gap, student and middle class debt, corporate greed, national health care, out of control defense spending, or selective law enforcement and the gross misappropriation of justice in America  — the debate is pretty much over.  On every front, conservatives find themselves on the losing side of popular opinion.

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Posted by on Apr 14, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 7 comments

Was There Really Such as Thing as the 1915 Armenian “Genocide?”

 

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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the so-called “Armenian Genocide,” a bitter ethnic conflict which spiraled into a tragic course of events circa 1915, now widely recognized as “the first mass genocide in history.” [1]

Today, many activists, historians, and scholars go so far to compare what happened to the Armenians who were living in Eastern Turkey (sometimes referred to as Eastern Anatolia — then part of the Ottoman Empire which was dissolved after World War 1 and re-flagged as modern Turkey) as the first holocaust of the 20th Century.  Purportedly, these crimes later became a model for the systematic slaughter committed some 25 years by Nazi Germany in what was plainly a state-sponsored endorsement and coordination of mass genocide.

There’s no debate that an astronomical number of Armenians died during this period of intense global conflict, perhaps as many as a million innocents, maybe even more.  If many Armenian-based sources are to be believed, the actual number could be as high as 1.5 million.  Moreover, there’s no dispute — even among contemporary Turkish authorities who state there was no such genocide and those of us sometimes labeled as “deniers” — that many terrible things happened during that time of war — including mass murder, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other unfathomable forms of human cruelty.  Turkey does indeed bear the responsibility for those deaths, and has largely acknowledged its disreputable role and collective national guilt in what happened.

Alas, the inherent horrors of war and all ethnic conflict is not in dispute, and cannot be.  What is worth disputing, however, is the classification of what happened to Armenians during this period as a “genocide.”  So, did the Turks commit mass genocide against the Armenians in 1915?

My assertion is — no.

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Posted by on Apr 12, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

Why I Have Mixed Emotions About Hillary Clinton Running for President

 

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Few politicians in the modern age ignite as much passion — pro and con — as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Everyone in America seems to have already formed an opinion about her.  Most negative perceptions are jaded by bogus allegations and wild exaggerations, groundless witch hunts dating back to the days when the Clintons were in Arkansas (which have repeatedly produced no tangible evidence of any wrongdoing), and misogynist double-standards for women candidates and office holders that simply don’t apply to men.

Given the intensity of the vitriol directed at her, Hillary Clinton isn’t just running with excess baggage.  She’s carrying a suitcase factory loaded with boulders on her shoulders.  If the hate factory that churned out lies and ran non-stop, 24/7 for the past seven years which waged so effectively against President Obama seemed ugly at times (proof:  poll the number of idiot Americans who still think he’s a Muslim), just wait for a the 2016 campaign to begin.  It’s going to get really ugly this time around.

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Posted by on Apr 12, 2015 in Blog, Personal, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

Ten Things About Ireland that Surprised Me

 

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Ireland is a country full of surprises.

What follows are ten things I learned about Ireland during my visit that surprised me most.  Brace yourself.  This isn’t a cheerful travelogue nor a tourist postcard:

 

1.  Abortion is illegal.

Abortion is illegal in Ireland.  The only exception to this national law is in cases which save the life of the mother.  No exceptions.  Severe birth defects, rape, incest — all of these deplorable circumstances require the mother to bear the child.  I don’t know why I was shocked by this.  After all, this is an overwhelmingly Catholic nation (although the church’s influence is clearly in decline — more on that to come).  My presumption was that virtually all of Europe was intransigent when it comes down to a woman’s right to control their own bodies and make choices for themselves.  It’s hard to believe this is one issue where the United States is actually ahead of places like Ireland, which continue to impose severely restrictive abortion laws.

Now, a few consequences of these restrictions.  One does tend to see comparatively more public facilities around the country to care for those with the most deformities.  Since many more children are born with defects, it becomes incumbent upon the state to care for them.  Another consequence of the Republic of Ireland’s abortion restrictions is the booming medical market across the Irish Sea over in England, which is accessible via a few hours ferry ride.  Thousands of Irish women travel to England each year to terminate pregnancies (England’s abortion laws are similar to the U.S.).  Finally, Northern Ireland allows for abortion, provided certain medical criteria are met.

The bottom line is — Ireland is very much a 1950s nation on the controversial topic of a woman’s right to chose.

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Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 3 comments

American Hypocrisy at Its Worst in the Middle East

 

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The United States has a peculiar way of defending and promoting freedom and democracy abroad, particularly in the increasingly turbulent Middle East.

To illustrate American foreign policy’s glaring double standard, let us compare two predominantly Muslim, oil-rich nations.  These two nations are treated markedly different by the United States and most of its closest allies.

First, we’re told “Nation A” is a friend and shares our common interests.  What interests are those, exactly?  We’ll get to that later.   Nation A has been treated with fawning respect by administrations of both parties for more than a half century.  The regime is afforded all the privileges of America’s full economic and military support.  We’ve even gone to war to defend one of its neighboring monarchs from invasion.  Nation A enjoys close diplomatic relations and has modernized its domestic infrastructure, in part because of generous trade agreements which benefit many U.S. companies.  Nation A’s top leaders are frequently invited to the White House as welcome guests. Our leaders openly embrace them.

“Nation B” gets the opposite treatment.  It’s looked upon as an outlaw regime by the United States.  Nation B even classified as part of an “Axis of Evil” in the world.  Its citizens suffer significant hardships because of harsh economic sanctions aimed against the country’s elected leadership.  Yet, these policies have produced little or no tangible progress since implemented during the late 1970s.  Nation B has no foreign mission nor diplomatic relations with the U.S.  When its leaders have made overtures towards American officials, those initiatives were either ignored, or flat out rejected.

One would presume that Nation A and Nation B are quite different in politically and culturally.  Well, indeed — they are different!  But not in the ways you might expect:

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