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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Hate Crime Punished

"There are some who argue that obscene, hateful and threatening language should not be punished, since to do so would be a violation of free speech. (This, in fact, was the initial defense raised by the individual in this case, before he ultimately pled guilty to the charges against him.) They are wrong. Such behavior is a crime, and individuals who commit these crimes do so precisely because they seek to violate the free speech of others. And though their targets are individuals, the intended victims are entire communities who the hate criminals seek to intimidate into silence."


Give Iran Positive Incentives to Halt Its Nuclear Program

"Israeli saber rattling and the blundering U.S. invasion of Iraq, which scared the Iranians into thinking that they might be next on the U.S. hit list, would logically lead Iran to seek nuclear weapons as rapidly as possible to restrain those powers’ actions. But Iran also may have an incentive not to weaponize its nuclear program. Iran is the 800-pound gorilla in the Persian Gulf region. If it got nuclear weapons, this might spur Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other neighboring states to go down that route. Such developments would essentially nullify Iran’s advantage."


The Moral Debate in the Israeli Military

"Many Israeli schools and homes, of course, will continue to churn out soldiers who look at Palestinians as sub-human -- as they have for decades."

From Historic Jamestown, VA to the Endgame

Virginia is steeped in history. Recently, I decided to take in Jamestown. It sits on the James River, not far from the Chesapeake Bay. Founded in 1607, by the Brits, it almost went the way of the lost colony of Roanoke. However, Captain John Smith, a so-called “commoner,” saved the day. By the time, the Native Americans leaders figured out what a mortal threat the British interlopers posed to them, it was too late for them to do anything about it.

America May Still Re-elect Bush

"Its in the Bible Belt that the nexus between the need for greater security mixes with identifying the ‘enemy’ in the ‘other’, strong patriotism and religion all mix. The Bible Belt has always been the Republican stronghold and much more after what ghastly 9/11 experiences. Bush is a son of the Bible Belt."

Is Barack Obama’s Realism better than George W. Bush’s Idealism?

"Obama’s pragmatism in foreign policy is more reassuring than the messianic meddling overseas of George W. Bush. But if Obama is to avoid a common pitfall of realism--a dearth of values--he needs to value liberty at home above all and promulgate a restrained foreign policy that will preserve it."

Indonesian general acquitted of Tanjung Priok massacre

"Although justified, the outrage in western government circles over the East Timor acquittals is just another example of the West's double standards. None of the massacres perpetrated against tens of thousands of Muslims during the Suharto era (which were far worse in range and scale) generated any outrage."

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Off to the Land of the Percopotomus – (Short Story)

"As dusk fell, the orange moon rose in the maroon sky. An eagle spread its wings and flew off into the horizon. Stars twinkled and one seemed to wink at me. Hardy and I kept moving until we grew weary of our long trek. I heard the trickle of water and steered my ride towards the direction of the sound. Sure enough, a small spring bubbled up out of the ground. I tethered Hardy and we made camp for the night. Over an open fire, I brewed a cup of coffee in my old tin pot. Hardy munched on clumps of brush and I chewed on some jerky Mentor had packed for me.  Visions of what a percopotomus looked like danced in my head and soon, to the tune of wild birds and stars blinking of wonders to come, I fell asleep."

Cluster Bombs and Condi’s Fatal Birth Pangs

"It’s worth noting that Israel continues to withhold information from the UN that would assist in clearing cluster bombs and minefields. Part of the reason is that Tel Aviv is satisfied that the unexploded munitions continue to kill and maim innocent Lebanese civilians."

America’s Moral Failings under Obama

"There is little doubt that the USA is failing miserably in moral leadership. Four years ago Obama campaigned on closing the facility in Cuba and now, four years later, as he seeks his second term, the end of Guantánamo is nowhere in sight. He could have done more to persuade Congress and fellow Americans that this is the right thing to do. And what is simply incredible is that this former Chicago University law lecturer had no moral problem in having his administration contest the granting of habeas corpus. Obama’s strategy has been to assassinate "suspected militants" or people present in "suspicious areas" with drones, obviating the necessity of incarcerating them and dealing with their detention in court."

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