Today is when America celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's birthday, so I thought it would be an appropriate day to discuss a cultural change in America over the polite terminology used to identify what might be called characteristics of (take your pick) race, ethnicity, or cultural identity. I'll warn you from the start, however, that this is not the usual discussion most people would associate with today's holiday, but rather something which has left me scratching my head trying to figure out the reasoning behind. I will begin with one of the usual discussions people have today, and then branch off from there, in an attempt to relate it all in a loose fashion to Dr. King's holiday.
Archive of Articles in the "Pakistan" Category
With only about four months left to go in his second term in office, President Barack Obama just had his first veto overturned by Congress. Considering Obama's rather aloof attitude towards Congress (including even members of his own party), what is extraordinary isn't so much that Obama just got overturned -- it's that it hasn't happened before now. The contentiousness between the White House and the Capitol has been pretty fierce during Obama's term, but up until this week none of his vetoes has been overturned.
Before we begin, we should mention that this week's talking points section consists of a few extended excerpts from President Obama's recent speech on fighting the Islamic State. What he had to say was important, and it counters several insidious talking points that have been used against him in the past, so we felt it was worth taking over this week's talking points. Just to warn everyone up front.
Being in the midst of history sometimes mean events are not seen in the "big picture" view that historians often later take, when looking back at the period. Case in point: what will America's ongoing war eventually be known as? To date, we've been at war since October 2001, or a mind-boggling period of 15 years. This war was initially called "The Global War On Terror" by the Bush administration, which lumped in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq with all the skirmishes in various other North African and Middle East countries. The Obama administration has dropped the term, but they've never really replaced it with anything else. But what I wonder this Memorial Day is what it will be called in the future. Right now, it'd be the "Fifteen Years' War" -- but few expect all conflicts will end by the time the next president is sworn in, so eventually that number will likely be higher.
Jeb Bush certainly had a bad week last week, as he struggled to come up with a clear answer to a question he really should have been expecting in the first place. Other Republicans also struggled to admit that the Iraq War was indeed a mistake (which is somewhat understandable, because by doing so they are criticizing a former Republican president). But while the spectacle of Republicans having to admit a big Republican mistake certainly is amusing, there's an even bigger question which so far has remained unasked: "Knowing all the things we've learned in the past decade and a half, what would it take for you to send American troops to fight an overseas war?" This is the real question the voters deserve an answer to. To put it more bluntly: "How many more wars can we expect if you are elected?"
Today, we're going to have a special edition of the talking points, where we get to know a Montana politician who seems to be seriously considering taking on Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. But before we do so, it was a busy week otherwise, so let's just dive right into it. First, a look at what's going with Republicans.
This week was notable in many respects in the political world, but one subject overwhelmed almost everything else. We're going to address the prisoner swap and Bowe Bergdahl in an unusual way this week, in lieu of our regular talking points at the end of the column. But first, we're going to take a very quick look at what else happened this week, and then hand out the weekly awards.
Even though it took a long time to get to this point, it was an effort worth making. Which is why the nations of the world should now start a new conversation in some internationally-neutral city, with the expressed purpose of defining what is and what is not allowable for the future of warfare (and spying). Three major topics of such an agreement should be: passive cyberwar (spying on communications), active cyberwar (virus and other attacks), and robot warfare (drones and other automated weaponry).
Our column's subtitle this week is a silent homage to guitarist Alvin Lee of the band Ten Years After, who sadly died this past week. Anyone who has seen the movie Woodstock knows of Lee's incredible talent on the electric guitar, and we just wanted to begin by noting that Alvin Lee is "Goin' Home" for the last time. Requiescat In Pace.
To paraphrase an oldie but a goodie: "What if they had a debate and nobody read the agenda?" Tonight's debate was, ostensibly, supposed to be on foreign policy. However, both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama decided fairly early on that the differences between the two policy-wise were pretty small, so they both decided to hijack the foreign policy debate and instead just continue the debates on the economy, instead.