Over the last two weeks, Western nations have announced a layered sanctions plan to deal with Putin's aggression in the Ukraine. The layering, Western leaders advised, will be commensurate with Putin's future moves. The truth of the matter is that are few tools to deal with the Ukraine crisis. So, sanctions it is! But, sanctions take a very long time to work.
At their heart, sanctions, by increasing general misery such as scarcity of imports, falling currency, and limited exports, aim at generating a negative reaction from the people of the country against their government. With the Russians, this is not likely to work. The Russians have demonstrated they can tolerate decades of political and economic isolation. The tactic, i.e. sanctions, may work, if the majority of the population is already against Putin and his government, or if Western standards of life are already pervasive in the country that the majority would find their lives difficult. But this is not the case! Read more
I have given a lot of thought of late about what is ailing our dysfunctional political system, and have come to the conclusion that it boils down to one significant thing: Ideology. Read more
Two weeks into my sophomore year in university I decided to meet up with an old friend from freshman year. She was a Muslim from Kuwait and a very interesting person to talk to considering her background. We were discussing various topics and came across the theory of evolution since she was now taking the same biology class as the one I had taken during my freshman year. She is very much into science so I decided to ask her opinion on the theory of evolution. Her response wasn’t very positive. I first I was surprised, but then I remembered I had learned the previous year that the Muslim world frowns upon the idea of evolution. I also learned that teaching evolution in the Middle East varies by state and is usually combined with creationist beliefs for the explanation of the origin of the universe. I am fan of evolution, but the conversation reminded me just how the Arab world is similar to the USA since there is a problem here with teaching evolution and God in public schools. Questions arise asking whether God should be taught alongside evolution, should we even teach evolution to our children, or does God even belong inside the classroom? Read more
The shutdown ended, but the showdown continues as the mad hatters of The Tea Party extreme play dress up as grown-ups interested in governing while aiming to gut Social Security and Food Stamps.
As the Obamacare website works through its issues, the empty suits of the right-wing can't get over their own, costumed as a concerned, compassionate Congress while really seeking to undo all healthcare reforms.
And as world leaders react to more NSA revelations, the spooks and kooks of our intelligence complex deny their actions, disavow their intentions and disguise criminal behavior as patriotism.
We'd love to believe all these frightening truths are simply Halloween costumes gone awry. But the truth is much, much scarier.
It's not Halloween. It's Hollow Weenies. And they are playing tricks & stealing treats that should really terrify all Americans.
It takes no special trick to join us for a treat as we outfit ourselves in liberal living & libations at your local progressive social club.
DRINKING LIBERALLY Find - or start - a chapter near you.
Is our media that naive to think that Germany, England, Israel and other "friendly nations" aren't spying on there great ally the United States? Of course they are and they should be. Spying isn't always about hurting your enemy. It's also about understanding what other governments know so your government can make better policy decisions. And by the way Republicans, this program was started in 2002. So if you want to have a congressional investigation. Go ahead!!
But like I was saying. When governments talk to each-other about a specific issue it's vital to have an understanding of where that other government stands on that issue. And i'm not just talking about there public stance. You need to understand there private stance. The only way you will find out the difference between a governments public and private stance is by, you guessed it. Spying! Read more
Want to know where the recent flurry of House Republican bat shit is coming from?
Look no further than right wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Recall that immediately after firing the opening salvo with a 21 hour speech on White Castle burgers and Duck Dynasty, Ted Cruz couldn't wait to join Limbaugh for some mutual back slapping.
Now new audio captured by a Flush Rush activist shows that, although Limbaugh has been marginalized over the past few years, his skill at pulling the puppet strings on large numbers of vocal if misled voters is still alive and well.
Using the overwhelming aversion of Tea Party conservatives to feminists and environmentalists, Limbaugh inserts audio of himself railing against these depraved leftists into news breaks, then follows it up with a deft bait-and-switch call to action, encouraging listeners to use an antiquated device called a telephone to contact their Congressperson and urge they stand firm on the government shutdown. Read more
Last year, I wrote a column extolling the virtues of being a member of a minority political viewpoint on campus. Today, I write a companion column delineating the detriments that arise when campus discussion is dominated by the liberal viewpoint. And it is my claim that, paradoxically, those harmed above all by this status quo are liberal students.
The negative effects are bountiful. Often discussed is the fact that disenfranchised perspectives on specific issues go unheard. This is true. Duke University's Chronicle published a story last semester reporting on how students opposing same-sex marriage remain, almost without exception, silent. The same in my experience could be said for pro-life, anti-affirmative action and pro-Second Amendment arguments. This political climate robs students of vital preparation for rebutting arguments with which they disagree. From a sheer standpoint of teaching argumentation, you cannot learn to effectively debate what you almost never hear. As evidence, look no further than the proclivity of many anonymous commenters to resort to ad hominem attacks when confronted with a conservative Chronicle column. Read more
I recently had a conversation with an Australian student in which neither of us knew what the other was saying. We were both speaking English, but it was probably the most unproductive conversation you can imagine.
We were ostensibly discussing the merits of the liberal commitment to supporting the welfare state. It was one of those moments I was looking forward to while signing up for the Duke in Oxford program; here was my chance, I thought, to attain enlightenment in an oak paneled room while discussing a subject whose pretension matched that of my environment. And with a foreigner!
But it was not to be. I became increasingly confused because he said there was no commitment at all – liberals are only concerned with supporting the free market. I tried explaining that liberals generally favor expanding the welfare state and otherwise checking the unregulated market. After several minutes of fruitless efforts we decided to change the subject. Read more
The subject of Father Scott's homily on Sunday was "tunnel vision," something our local parish priest knows a lot about since it was not until he was in his twenties and well out of high school that Father Scott finally got his driver's license. "Tunnel vision," said the state trooper who flunked him. "Stop focusing on the straight lines in front of you and see everything around you."
But it wasn't to whine about being the only kid in his senior class who still rode a bike to school that Father Scott brought up the subject of "tunnel vision." Instead, it was as a prod to urge the rest of us to stop fixating on the bright lines defining our own narrow prejudices, or tribes, or self-imposed prisons so that we might see the larger world around us.
That is because, as Father Scott explained, "God colors outside the lines."
Mine is a parish, as I have mentioned before, that lies on the outskirts (and mostly under the radar screen) of the larger Boston Archdiocese. It's a town that is predominantly Jewish but which has a protestant church on three of the town square's four corners and also a mosque all our own. Read more
Mickey Edwards steals a page from those early Progressives who believed the cure for democracy was more democracy. Joining a long list of Republican "reformers" who are trying mightily to help the GOP avoid a rendevous with hostile demographics, the one-time Oklahoma Congressman wants to scrap the two-party system altogether in favor of a more participatory "nonpartisan" democracy able to govern itself without party labels.
It's an appealing vision of a restored "civic republicanism" that Edwards offers in his latest book, The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats into Americans. Appealing to me, at any rate, because it reflects my own belief that it is far more important how a party or a country thinks than what it thinks - since, as Edwards says, "democracy is not about policy but about process" and "how we select our leaders, how we deliberate, how we decide" are what really determine whether Americans are fit for self-government. Read more
In May 2009, former International Monetary Fund chief economist Simon Johnson wrote an important essay in The Atlantic on the origins and implications of the 2008 financial collapse, called "The Quiet Coup."
The financial gloom that swept over the US economy at the twilight of the George W. Bush administration was "shockingly reminiscent" of other Third World, emerging economy crises Johnson had witnessed during his days at the IMF.
In each case, he said, concerns that the financial sector could not pay off the debts it had accumulated caused capital markets to seize up, forcing firms like Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy as fear of insolvency became a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Weaknesses in the banking system "quickly rippled out into the rest of the economy," said Johnson, "causing a severe economic contraction and hardship for millions of people." Read more
Ok. Snowden is on the run.
“It’s espionage!” “He’s a traitor!!”.
Yeegads. All for telling us that our government is listening to us and wants to listen to the globe.
“We have warrants!” shouts Obama,
And then in a whisper “from that secret FISA Court” that nobody knows anything about because it’s a secret. National security you know.
Google moved today for a declaratory judgement in Federal Court (the REAL court!) to be allowed to disclose the warrants it received from the NSA through the FISA Court (not to be taken as an admission that there are any warrants of course - they are secret), arguing that it’s business has been irreparably damaged.
Now suppose the security state can’t catch Snowden? Suppose he gets asylum? How would you feel if Obama put him on the drone list over a Tuesday afternoon coffee at the White House?
Nah. Of course he wouldn’t. Would he? He can. Maybe after getting a secret warrant from FISA Court so it’s all nice and legal. Read more
It seem like the media is too busy building a narrative that these terrorist are Muslim than searching for the truth. Currently there's no evidence that either man is Muslim but for some reason the media keep trying to tie this terrorist attack to Islam. Why? There are other explanations for their horrifying actions. Maybe they fell the U.S. hasn't been tough enough against Russian aggression. Chechen (where they was born) has been fighting against Russia for over 300 years.
Now, it may be true that these terrorist were radicalize by Muslim extremist, but a good reporter should look at all angles and not just the one they think is obvious. For example, one reporter mentioned on air; incorrectly mind you that the bombers sister's husband who lives in NJ is Muslim. Why would he even mentioned that. Does he think her husband radicalize them from NJ. Should we go visit that man and integrate him? Read more
It’s Monday April 8th! Do you know where your podcast is? On this day in history back in 1935, Congress established the Works Progress Administration program, and FDR signed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. Not too shabby considering they were in the depths of The Great Depression, eh? It makes you wonder. We were able to find money to help people during the time in America’s history when we were as broke as broke can be. We were able to create jobs, invest in the country, and work together towards what would become America’s golden age. We were able to pass The Social Security Act and form unemployment insurance delivering a New Deal for Americans. This only happened because enough people decided that helping people was the right thing to do. They realized we were stronger together. They were right. Read more