Browsing All Posts filed under »Politics«

Please, No More Tourism to Cultlike, Repressive Dictatorships Like North Korea

June 26, 2017


We originally published this article on 2 January 2015.  At that moment, there were no Americans in North Korean custody, thanks to an embarrassing and expensive mission by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to retrieve the last two American prisoners in late 2014.  Thus, we implored the American traveling public to adopt a New […]

Stupid Tuesday and the Voter’s Quandary

March 7, 2016


Hubby and Lila went to the polls on Super Tuesday.   It felt more like Stupid Tuesday. You know, during general elections, there is a scrum of activity that assaults your eyes and ears all the way up to the “no campaigning beyond this point” sign:   posters, campaign workers, pamphlets and last-second slogans urging you on […]

Revisiting and Re-Living: the Beginning of the End of European Tolerance?

November 16, 2015


Extremism threatens everyone, but ordinary citizens who happen to be Muslim have the most to lose. After the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, we wrote the following piece.  Now, following the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday, it seems more relevant than ever.  Extremist violence in Europe is escalating, and nowhere is this more […]

Papal Paradox: Curb Global Warming, But Don’t Curb Population Growth?

June 29, 2015


Yea, verily, I say unto thee, the Apocalypse is upon us, and it ain’t the Apocalypse of John. It’s more like Genesis in high-speed reverse.   In his recent encyclical, the Pope says global warming is real, is a threat, and is partly caused by humans. I love him for that.  What I don’t love […]

Getting Pretty Tired of Extremist Violence in Europe

February 16, 2015


Don’t like the local culture? Peacefully use democratic mechanisms in place, or LEAVE. Your hurt feelings don’t justify murder and mayhem.   Decades ago, when I was in college, we had a European student in our class.   He didn’t seem to have much good to say about America; there was always some pointed observation criticizing […]

Classic Car Buffs, Beware Cuba’s Time-Capsule Vehicles

January 26, 2015


When diplomatic relations were restored between Havana and Washington, one of my first thoughts was that Havana would soon be a shopper’s paradise for fans of classic cars. Many of the same cars that were on the roads in 1959, when relations were severed, are still being driven today — an estimated 60,000 classic cars. […]

Clash of Civilizations: Will Long-Term Peace Require Segregation?

January 19, 2015


Are conservative Islam and Western liberalism fundamentally incompatible? To understand what is really happening in Europe now, and where it is likely headed, I urge everyone to read two articles: Samuel Huntington’s 1993 article in Foreign Policy, “Clash of Civilizations?“, and Damon Linker’s current piece in The Week, “Can Islam Ever Make Peace With Liberalism?” […]

“I Am Charlie” May Signal the Beginning of the End of European Tolerance

January 12, 2015


Extremism threatens everyone, but ordinary citizens who happen to be Muslim have the most to lose.   The extremist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo staff and a Kosher grocery in Paris mark a tipping point in Europe. It has been building for years: ethnic Europeans have become increasingly frustrated and angry with escalating intrusions of […]

New Year’s Resolution: Please, No More Tourism to Cultlike, Repressive Dictatorships Like North Korea

January 2, 2015


Now that “The Interview” has been released, woe unto any American snared by North Korea. North Korea has a well-known history of imprisoning Americans (see the summary of recent cases at the end of this article), sentencing them to hard labor, and then – after weeks, months or years – granting the American’s release only […]

The Torture Report: Why Are We Acting So Surprised?

December 15, 2014


On Veterans Day, we wrote about how un-engaged and unaware many Americans are concerning the use of our military. This extends to the larger picture of US actions in the world. So now the so-called “Torture Report” is out, and we’re acting all surprised and horrified, as if there was never any awareness of this […]

Hostage Rescue Operations: Not So Simple

September 19, 2014


Obama’s detractors would have us all think that one need only snap one’s fingers and tell the military to just go rescue the hostages, and it’ll be done. In reality, hostage rescues are notoriously difficult and dangerous, and often get the hostages killed.   I haven’t seen this complaint from any credible news organization, but […]

In Defense of Dictators… and Stability

September 8, 2014


The US has a history of embracing a lot of not-so-benevolent dictators.  We also are swiftly establishing a history of promoting “regime change” with visions of democracy dancing in our heads, but what emerges instead is all too often a dangerous brand of Islamic extremism.   Back in the 1970s and at the height of […]

Feeding the World: Veggies Alone are NOT the Answer

May 23, 2014


Instead of figuring out how to feed nine billion people in 2050, we should be figuring out how to not have nine billion in the first place. L.V.Anderson, writing for Slate magazine, conducts a sort of thought experiment: what if the whole world became vegetarian or vegan? What would this mean for the environment, for […]

Dennis Rodman and North Korea: Playing With Fire

January 10, 2014


He was naive.  He should never have gone to North Korea in the first place.  But human-rights activists expecting him to free an imprisoned American are expecting far too much. Dennis Rodman first traveled to North Korea under the auspices of Vice Media, which was filming a documentary there and used Rodman and several members […]

Lila’s New Year’s Celebration With “the Enemy,” 1988-1989

December 30, 2013


A little respect and genuine interest goes a long way toward setting tensions aside, at least for one night. In February of 1988, two US grand juries indicted Panama’s de facto military dictator, Manuel Noriega, on drug trafficking charges.  It was a messy situation.  Noriega had been on the CIA payroll in the 1970s, until […]

Syria: For Once, Congress is Asking the Right Questions

September 2, 2013


Maybe the 10-year Iraq War, too eagerly launched based on faulty intelligence, no clear national security threat, and no vision of an end state, is too fresh in American minds. On Saturday, President Obama asked Congress for approval to launch military operations against Syria.  He claims the authority to act on his own (and recent […]

Manning’s and Snowden’s Classified Leaks: Why They Are Different

June 10, 2013


Last week, we opined that PFC Bradley Manning had committed a crime in leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks. This week, Edward Snowden has outed himself as the NSA leaker who leaked a Top Secret court order authorizing the NSA to collect data on all Verizon customers’ phone calls for the next […]

Steven Seagal Invited to Represent the Russian Weapons Industry: Don’t Do It!

June 7, 2013


So apparently Russia would like Steven Seagal to advertise for them.  More specifically, they want the action-movie star to “be the face of its weapons industry as it guns for first place on the world arms market,” reports the Associated Press.  Mr. Seagal has been squired around by the Russian Deputy Defense Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, […]

“War on Terror” Humor: An Untapped Niche

May 20, 2013


Why is there no sitcom about bumbling terrorists and counterterrorism agents? Last Thursday, I wrote about the rather cartoonish arrest of Ryan Fogle in Moscow.  To illustrate that cartoonishness, I settled on Maxwell Smart from the 1960s sitcom Get Smart, but I also ran across this image of Boris and Natasha with a big bomb […]

Spy vs. Spy?

May 16, 2013


I am honestly not sure what to make of the Moscow arrest and PNG (persona non grata) removal of US Embassy employee Ryan Fogle.  Fogle was arrested by the Russian FSB (successor organization to the old KGB), accused of espionage, and filmed with his supposed spy kit, which consisted of two really cheesy wigs, some […]

Margaret Thatcher Didn’t Promote Other Women in Politics. So What?

April 18, 2013


Do powerful women owe other women a a seat at their table?  I don’t think so. Lesley Abdela, a senior partner in Shevolution Consultancy, recently wrote an article for CNN lamenting the fact that Margaret Thatcher did little to change the male-dominated political landscape in Britain.  “Thatcher had such command over her Conservative Party that […]

It’s Official: “Terrorist” is the Most Inappropriately Over-Used Word in American English

January 25, 2013


Time to retire this useless and harmful word ter-ror-ism, noun \ˈter-ər-ˌi-zəm\  :   the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. —ter·ror·ist   adjective or noun —ter·ror·is·tic   adjective The word “terrorist” has a definition, but how we apply it has always been a little fuzzy.  Scholars and professionals might argue the finer distinctions among […]

Russia Bans Adoptions by US Parents; Let’s Re-Look US Adoptions

December 27, 2012


On 26 December, as expected, Russia’s Parliament voted in favor of banning all US adoptions of Russian children.  All the measure needs now is President Putin’s signature, and it will be law, going into force as early as 1 January. But this is typical Russian politics, and really has very little to do with Russian […]

Why Should the Rest of the World Have to Accommodate Muslim “Sensitivity”?

October 1, 2012


We’ve all seen the violence erupting across the Middle East thanks to some loser’s stupid YouTube video insulting the Prophet Mohammed.  Screaming mobs, embassies attacked, dozens of deaths, hundreds of injuries, fatwas calling for murder, English-language signs reading “behead all those who insult the Prophet.”  Here we go again:  We’re pissed off.  Our feelings are […]

Dominican Republic: Right-to-Life Law Kills Pregnant Teen

August 21, 2012


Article 37 of the Constitution of the Dominican Republic (2009):  “The right to life is inviolable from conception until death.  In no instance can the death penalty be established, pronounced, or applied.” The 16-year-old daughter of Rosa Hernandez has died. The teen was diagnosed with leukemia, in need of an aggressive course of chemotherapy, and […]

Mitt Romney, Stay Home. Please.

August 1, 2012


No, no, not in your house.  I mean stay in the US.  Please. Mitt Romney’s three-country tour – to Great Britain, Israel, and Poland – produced embarrassment and consternation at every turn.  What the hell was this supposed to be about?  Was it meant to play up some kind of diplomatic acumen?  If that was […]