Saturday, August 06, 2011

Global warming

I am not a scientist, but I respect those in the profession and would defer to the general consensus among scientists who specialize on a particular topic if I have any questions on the matter. In this case, the question is whether or not global warming, or climate change, is taking place. The consensus among climatalogists and meteorologists is yes it is happening. Not everyone in these fields agree, but that is the general consensus. Yet among the conservatives here in America, it has become almost a point of religious doctrine that not only is global warming not happening, but that it is a hoax. If a Republican politician veers from this attitude to recognize scientific findings he is not likely to go far in the party. The most recent case in this respect would seem to be Jon Huntsman.

Do Muslims have rights in America

On a major conservative website,, there are often commentaries on Muslims, usually in the form of demanding that their rights be restricted in America. This is more prevalent among the individuals who join in the comments section (and to be fair, anyone can comment, even me), who take the view that Islam is not a genuine religion and therefore should not enjoy the same rights as other religions in America.

Having studied for many years communist Vietnam and its religious policy, where there is no inalienable right to worship, only the privilege to worship granted by the government to certain recognized religions, I can see the danger of this approach. If out of fear of Muslim terrorists we treat all Muslims as enemies, then to some degree we have already lost the wars, that is the wars we are conducting in Muslim countries, but also the continuing war here in America to preserve our constitutional rights.

We need lawyers in Congress

On Real Time with Bill Maher last night, one of the guests opined that the problem with Congress is that there are too many lawyers. He said that in law school people are taught to argue, and that is all they do in Congress. Truth is, though, that law school is about much more than learning to argue, it teaches students in detail about our laws, and such an understanding is fundamental to those who serve in Congress, since one of the chief functions of Congress is to legislate, i.e. make laws. The problem with our current Congress does not come from lawyers but from ideologues just elected who have little understanding of the law or how our government works, and who, in this case, were willing to bring our country to the brink of defaulting on our national debt in order to make a point. Experience and knowledge are important qualities for those who serve, alongside a strong dose of public service attitude and focusing on what works best for our country and the world.

Will America wake up?

With the stock market plummeting after the debt deal and Standard & Poor downgrading our credit rating, I wonder if Americans will come to realize that the Tea Party fanatics who control the House of Representatives do not represent our best interests, including those of the business community. When our economy goes down, everyone is hurt. And cutting government spending along the drastic lines demanded by the right not only throws tens of thousands of people out of work, and therefore cuts back on domestic consumption, but also cuts back on crucial services that are fundamental to our economy functioning well, including our transportation infrastructure. Only by increasing tax revenue can we get out of this mess, and it should not just be applied to the very rich. Let the Bush tax cuts end for all, so our economy can get back on track. I personally don't mind paying an extra few hundred dollars a year for fiscal solvency of our government.

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