Monday, March 20, 2017

India: the World's "Largest Democracy" is a Sham

If India is truly the world's largest Democracy, get me a ticket
to a gulag in Siberia, I'd probably do better there. It takes more
than merely being able to vote to achieve such a vaunted
politically ethical status. In terms of failures, let me count the
ways:

(1) India still employs the caste system; how is THAT
democratic?

(2) Indians' second daughter is often aborted or killed
shortly after birth--again, is total misogynistic disrespect
for life democratic?

(3) Their society is severely patriarchal, controlling and confining
with respect to women's rights and opportunities. Once more
with feeling: how is this anything to admire?

Finally, therefore, India's social and human rights' fabric is
as full of holes as cheesecloth. No self-respecting Western
woman should visit this place, simply because the sights, the
food and indigenous clothing are praiseworthy.

Thanks PBS' POV, for elucidating the daily horrors female
Indians must endure. This "democracy" is a sham.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Celebrity Apprentice in the White House

Yes, that is what we have there, a celebrity who is merely an
apprentice when it comes to possessing a supple expertise in
matters of governance. Trump clearly can't or won't up his
learning curve; indeed, he has a pronounced resistance to doing
so, if his behavior to date is any guide, which will plunge the U.S.
into many unnecessary crises, difficult or intractable.

Celebrity is clearly what the Don was aiming for; he has
succeeded in becoming  the world's most famous man. But
without substance, Trumps' inexperienced celebrity careers
us with celerity toward  a mere undoing of all things Obama,
silly snipes at one and all via Twitter, Trump-tweeted fake news,
yet the problems of the nation and the world remain ignored and
unsolved.

Will the Republican Party allow this sorry state of affairs to
continue? Will the U.S. House come to its senses and act
accordingly, keeping in mind that they have to look at 2018 in
their futures? Party unity is one thing, but getting re-elected is
quite another, full of a requisite, redolent  exigency. The average
Joe and Joanna eventually get wise to what goes, will vote with
that knowledge; do these House Reps remember that?

Celebrity just can't cut it; it's past time for the "Apprentice" to
evolve into a full-fledged statesman.

                                           ******
 P.S.: Please bear with all my paraphrased repetitions, but until
we enjoy a more cogent and sane governmental effort, this
blog will relentlessly repeat my deep concerns.

The Danger in Accusations Versus Firm, Intelligent Policy

...are too numerous to fully explore here, but we now are enjoying
the horrifying spectacle of President Trump wasting valuable time
and resources accusing our former president of "wiretapping" his
abode, Trump Towers, during campaign season, no evidence
forthcoming. Meanwhile, the enfant terrible of North Korea is
making with the nuclear threats again, at the very time the USA
and South Korea are engaging in joint maneuvers off South Korea.
It is important to realize that the two Koreas are still in a state
of war, merely existing uneasily in a truce-armistice state.

If there was ever a time to proceed with intelligence and
caution, this is it, but the Donald can't or won't be bothered
to get serious, deal with our domestic and international
problems, some of which, need I remind anyone, are very
dire. I guess finesse is not in the Don's repertoire, but he'd
best acquire it, or we will end up like many a failed state.

The media is not doing its job here, but IS quick to quote
his latest Twitter gaffe as well as all the others, without
pointing out we need a steady hand at the national ship
of state's tiller. Facts and reason really are demanded
now; will our government step up, or will it continue in
the partisan warfare politicians have become so comfortable
with? Our very survival is scarcely guaranteed --stop
believing in U.S. invincibility and "exceptionalism". These
philosophies are as worthless as they are dated--say, 70
years out of date. If we are such a superpower, so winning
at every turn, how is it we haven't won any major military
engagement since 1945?

These are inconvenient truths which we all had better quickly
internalize and begin to effectively deal with. To keep on being
the silly state, helplessly mystique-mired in social media's
salvos of back and forth, is to slip ever further into desuetude
and a lesser international status we can ill afford.

Let's stop hurling foolish accusations around and get
down to business--the times urgently require it.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Border Concerns Do Not Trump the Fourth Amendment

Security and other concerns give no United States government
the legal right to ignore the Constitution's Fourth Amendment,
the prohibition forbidding unreasonable search and seizure. Yet
tonight on NBC's evening newscast, Lester Holt revealed that at
the Canadian border, police can demand one's cell phone and
its password, etc., even if the person being searched is not on
any watch list. This, purportedly, is "perfectly legal". Whatever
happened to probable cause?

...AHEM. Just how is any abrogation of our constitutional
rights legal? The U.S. Constitution is the highest law in the land,
therefore, no local, state or federal "law", policy or practice can
overturn  or ignore any of its original seven articles or the 27
amendments, PERIOD. Exactly who is asleep at the switch
here?  The report justifies this practice in part by quoting
Trump's heated campaign anti-terror rhetoric...huh?

Legalities, logic  and sense have evaporated out of
our country, apparently. Whim, paranoia and stupidity
are in. We must get a grip before serious domestic
and international difficulties get the better of us.

Meanwhile, it must be stressed: border security and
other concerns do not trump the Fourth Amendment.
Memo to the authorities: find another, but legal way
to protect us.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2017: Even Reluctant Reliance on History Sounds an Alarm

Since Trump, et al., are poorly prepared to engage internationally,
any adventures in foreign  lands probably won't end well. Foggy
mirror or no, it is sobering to recall the USA has not won wars
of any stripe since WWII--unless you wish to cite Grenada,
a tiny kerfuffle if there ever was one. Poor preparation produces
unfortunate results; Trump's business expertise and his
sycophantic inner circle can't cope with the fiendishly complex
planet we now inhabit--to say little regarding Trump's approach
to problem-solving.

True, Trump has had power for only a brief moment, but he
already demonstrates what he intends to attend to, namely,
nothing...nothing of import, that is.

Ignoring serious difficulties around the world while criticising
friend and foe alike, he harps on the U.S. press, tweets madly,
embarrasses greatly, all while distracting himself here at home
with minor matters and impossible plans to create greatness
and security, scant details forthcoming.

I've just finished reading The Assassin's Gate (2005), all
about the incompetent, ignorant prosecuting of the
Iraq War which still holds thousands of our occupying
troops. It is a cautionary tale, one reminding readers of
the usual lack of  prior research politicians engage in
before sending our boys overseas; just another dismal
failure and a black eye disgracing this "superpower".

Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq: the foggy rear
view mirror may be imperfect but it clearly shows
a pattern nonetheless: The U.S. Bull in a China Shop
charges into situations it knows little about, destined
to lose blood, treasure and reputation...

When will we ever learn? Even reluctant reliance on
history ought to sound the alarm.

Friday, February 24, 2017

History Is a Fogged Up Rear View Mirror--We Need New Approaches

We're not much as super powers go: look at the wars in the
Middle East of recent and current vintage in Iraq and Afghanistan.
World War Two, with greater import and consequences, lasted
fewer years with better resolutions than our efforts in the Middle
East. The U.S., unafraid of its ignorance in all Arab matters,
launched the never-ending war in Iraq, still occupying there
with thousands of "supporters and advisers"; more than
8,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. Two wars
lasting well over ten years, not eliminating the murderous
factions they set out to curtail--some super power.

I thought I had better do a bit of research into our foreign
policies and actions back to the century's change, in the
interest of relying on history as my guide into possible plans
by Trump, et al. What I've read lately has considerably
reduced my reliance on history as "past is prologue", a very
fogged up rear view mirror at best.  The most basic themes
still obtain, verified by thousands of years of conquest,
occupation and assimilation around the world in worrying,
wearing and wearying repetition, without the new approaches
we need to craft a better, more stable world.

So, what, pray tell, is next? --War with Mexico (-again)?
Ill-advised, ill-considered, ill-prepared re-deployments of
our military along with fresh troops to distant shores we have
precious little knowledge of? Previous administrations, far better
prepared than the current incarnation, grappled with long-
standing issues abroad--and failed to resolve them.

Hubris and denial, fueled by ignorance, propel our
foreign policy of late. I shudder to think what is on
the road ahead; even the foggy mirror has warnings
enough to alert us to the urgent need for innovation.


Friday, February 17, 2017

To Russia With Love: Mind Your Own Business

Really, Russia, don't you have plenty of problems there at home
to attend to? Why not solve THEM before embarking on
interfering in another nation's affairs?

You have dangerously miscalculated by meddling in the USA's
recent election; perhaps you were surprised to learn many
Republicans strenuously object to your efforts. Over here
we take matters of our sovereignty quite seriously, irrespective
of political party. Investigations and repercussions will no
doubt continue--despite the Putin/Trump bromance.

So Russia, mind your own business, tend to your own
knitting, etc. You DO risk the United States inquiring
intensively into Russian activities--scarcely a pleasant
prospect, no? You probably are attempting to capitalize
on any perceived weakness of ours--but you are definitely
overreaching and over-estimating, at your peril.