Opposition to Monarchies

by KnoFear

Greetings all!

This post concludes the second portion of my closer to September, and focuses on an international issue in lieu of a domestic one, which was covered yesterday. I’ve been saving this topic for a while, because I wanted to build up a reader base before I made a move on this. And now, I have enough people reading that I can feel safe posting this without receiving overwhelming amounts of hate. I oppose monarchies wholeheartedly, and a good portion of my readers live in countries which practice such systems; this is why I’ve been holding off. Now that a good majority of my readers are not monarchial subjects, I can release my tirade.

There are two general forms of monarchy in the modern world. The first kind is the one most of us are familiar with, and that is the powerless monarchy. These monarchies are characterized by kings/queens who possess very few actual powers over their countries and exhibit little role beyond simply being public figures. Examples of such monarchies are most common in Europe, for example the United Kingdom or Spain. The other kind of monarchy is the strong monarchy, monarchies characterized by complete rule by the royal family with no intermediaries as to who runs the nation. This monarchial type is more common in Africa and Asia, for example Morocco or Jordan. I oppose both types, although for different reasons.

It is much easier to make a case in opposition of the former type of monarchy, and in order to make my case I’ll be using the United Kingdom as my subject ([link]). For those not entirely familiar with the British governance system, it works as such. The legislature is made up of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, a parliament with a higher and lower house respectively. The executive is held chiefly by the Prime Minister and the ruling monarch, at this moment David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth II respectively. And lastly, as of 2009 the Supreme Court of the U.K. works as the judicial. The parliament creates laws, which are passed and enforced through the executive branch. Here is the only place where the British monarch appears to take part: all laws must be given royal assent. However, because any monarch must appear impartial to politics, most all laws are given assent whether the monarch opposes them at heart or not. The monarch and cabinet are formally appointed by the monarch to form the executive branch, however the prime minister often chooses the cabinet members and the monarch typically respects these choices.

By now, you can see how small the role of the British monarch truly is. Queen Elizabeth II certainly is not creating laws, and she is not enforcing them; she is not chief executive, as Cameron is the one with the power to do that. She does not exhibit overwhelming influence over the cabinet, at least not anymore; at this point, the cabinet choice has become far more centered on the prime minister. But then, why abolish the monarch? If it’s not hurting anyone, there is no reason to remove it, correct? Alas, if only this were true. The monarchy directly hurts every single one of its subjects by simple value of its existence: it has been estimated to cost taxpayers 202 million pounds per year ([link]). Think about how much wealth that is. Hundreds of millions of dollars, which could be used to better an economy being bitten in the ass by austerity. That money could be used to ensure damaging cuts don’t have to be made, which could keep the unemployed and other vulnerable members of society from being put at serious risk. Alternatively, that wealth could be used as a stimulus to bolster a nation which hasn’t been doing all that great for the past couple of years. Oh, and that wealth isn’t all going to the queen; some of it goes to the rest of the royal family, who do literally nothing in the governmental processes at all except wait to usurp the throne. These people are getting paid more per year than Mitt Romney, and are doing even less. If any person fits the bill of being a “leech” in American conservative terms, it is the members of any royal family which exudes little power but takes in huge amounts of money. Since these people effectively do nothing, nothing should be spent on them. Better yet, end the monarchy entirely, thereby removing a dead weight.

The second form of monarchy is one I oppose on different grounds, but equally as strong. These kinds of monarchies allow no room for democracy in their governments, and I’ll be taking Saudi Arabia as an example. In the country which uses the Qur’an as its constitution, there is little semblance of freedom in the government. The king and his family exert complete control over the legislative and executive processes within the country, only giving any power to the religious authority of the ulema, a force for ultra-conservatism in a nation where women already have trouble showing their faces or driving. Such is the cornerstone of my opposition; I believe that people should have an influence over their nation, and the easiest way for this to occur is through the allowance of, at the very least, a republic. Any nation with that many people deserves to elect those that rule it, especially when such an opportunity could be a drastic opportunity for improvement of life. The royal family here also takes in exorbitant amounts of wealth as well, giving another good reason to expunge the monarchy ([link]). Obviously, you can see why my explanation here is shorter; it is much easier to see why absolute monarchies must be scrapped out of necessity. This form of governance should have died with Napoleon Bonaparte years ago; the fact it still exists is sickening.

That is all for September, and I hope I’ve given good reasoning towards my point of view. I also hope I haven’t offended any friends living under constitutional monarchies too much, but they’ll likely understand. If you’d like to comment about this, feel free to do so using anonymity if you must. Other than that, I can be primarily contacted through my emailzerospintop@live.com. And of course, my accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Steam are always good places to find me. And so, this is KnoFear, signing off.

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Posted in History, Philosophy, Politics, Rightism | Leave a comment

An End to Affirmative Action

by KnoFear

Greetings all!

This post comes as a closer to the month of September, a two-part work which will be completed tomorrow. This first part deals with a domestic issue, and the second portion will deal with a more international issue. In this post, I intend to state my stance on affirmative action clearly and provide my reasoning for said stance.

Moving on from that the reason I bring up affirmative action is because, as some of you may have heard, the Supreme Court plans on hearing a case attacking affirmative action by the University of Texas at Austin in October ([link]). This topic is especially important to me, because I am applying to colleges myself these days. Whether affirmative action is upheld, mildly changed, or struck down entirely could affect my admissions, and the admissions of hopeful students everywhere in this nation. As such, I felt the issue prominent enough to bring up. I also plan to further take a look at education next week, when I’ll be looking at why we do poorly, funding for colleges, etc.

To qualify my point of view, I must define affirmative action first. It is the policy by which universities are allowed to consider, but not prioritize race in the applications process in order to promote diversity in higher education. This policy has been intended to combat racism in the applications and admissions processes of the past, and to foster the education of minority groups in our country. I’m glad that we implemented affirmative action in the past to defeat our old habits; without it, we might be looking at an even more disproportionately educated population than we do today.

However, it has been 44 years since the last Civil Rights Act was passed, and things have changed since then. We find ourselves in a much more tolerant society, one where equal opportunity of education is much harder to find between social classes than between races. While we are not perfectly harmonious by the standards of race, we have made many improvements. As compared to the past, lynch mobs are fairly rare these days (read: nearly non-existent). We must confront the fact that we have changed as a country, and that our educational institutions have changed as a result. I think you can see where I’m going with this; I want affirmative action removed.

Let me explain why. We are not the best in terms of education; we haven’t been in a long time, and both No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have done little to change that. Both programs have made standardized tests the basis upon which we learn and are judged, and have shifted our learning towards a very rigid set of what types of learning are considered “valuable.” While the latter program seeks to correct some of the issues the former created, progress has been quite slow and ineffective in most cases. This is why our SAT scores have recently been the lowest in decades ([link]). We are faced with a crisis in primary education where, should too many kids get bad standardized test scores, counties will simply lower their standards rather than take the time to teach the kids better. As such, we are rewarding stupidity in a nation that can’t afford it. Affirmative action is another way we are rewarding stupidity, but in a different form.

By keeping race a factor in admissions, we are doing more to hinder minorities looking for educational opportunities than we are doing to help them. Let me provide an example. Say we have two teenagers applying to the University of Chicago, a notoriously rigorous school that is extremely difficult to get accepted to. These two teenagers have identical qualities for getting in; extremely similar grades for classes of equal difficulty, the same SAT/ACT scores, equal amounts of leadership in clubs and sports, equally good application essays, etc. The only stark difference between these two kids is that one is of Asian heritage, while the other is of Hispanic origins. If both kids are qualified to be accepted and push comes to shove, the Hispanic kid will be accepted over the Asian one. This is accepted fact among teenagers; minorities that are interpreted as being less intelligent as a whole race will be accepted more easily by colleges than minorities interpreted as being “smart.” The problem can be extended further in the previous example; even if the Hispanic student has lesser qualifications to a certain degree, they are more likely to be accepted and given financial aid than the Asian student.

This is not promotion of diversity. This is promotion of inequality of diversity. While not direct, this process essentially forces universities to hoist extra value onto certain races over others, resulting in an unfair admissions process. And while not immediate, this encourages the races which universities prefer over others to be less intelligent as a whole. We are providing a disservice to these people; if we cannot provide a fair process, there is no point in promoting diversity in colleges at all. If students in this age know they can get an equal reward for less work, we will take it. One needs only to walk through the halls of a high school and listen to the conversations to discover just how lazy and whiny the majority of us are. I’m not one to generalize, but I speak the truth when I say my generation is way too lazy for its own good. In classes that are even slightly less rigorous than the norm at my school, whenever a teacher announces an assignment or a test coming up, the entire class groans and begs for extensions. And I sit there, being constantly reminded of how pathetic we can be. And I assure you, should any seniors see an easier way to ensure their acceptance to colleges, they will go for it with their grubby little hands without even a thought. If students in my generation know they can be abuse their race to jimmy their chances of being accepted, they will take that freedom. This is why affirmative action must stop.

I am white, and a religious minority: Jewish. That is how I appear to colleges, and that is how I’ve always appeared, although I no longer follow the Jewish faith. I am part of a minority that colleges consider “smart,” where it is not considered unique for one of my kind to be intelligent and well-involved. The same goes for my Jewish and Asian friends; all of them ride the same boat I do. We have always ridden in this boat, and have accepted that we must work harder to appear unique to colleges in order to be accepted. Meanwhile, other minorities which colleges consider unintelligent have had to do less work to be considered equally good candidates for acceptance. We are propping up a broken system, by which we hurt all races. Races which are considered “intelligent” or “average” must work more and make themselves look better to have hopes, while idiocy among other races which are considered “less intelligent” is promoted, and inequality results.

But why stop this? We’re getting the diversity of ethnicities that we want in schools, so why change the system? Because if we don’t, we are faced with a society polarized further and further among educational lines. Martin Luther King Jr. said that he had a dream, one where all races could look upon each other in harmony. I have a similar dream; one where colleges don’t look upon men and women of King’s race as tools to make themselves look better to potential applicants. If we keep doing what we do now, I see a situation where minorities go to colleges using their race to buoy themselves, but cannot handle the rigors of the institutions they are in. So they drop out. Things become progressively worse for each of them, because without proper training and education they will not receive the jobs they need to prosper. This begins cycles of poverty, cycles that are harder to break than many of you can even comprehend. Those that don’t drop out will transfer to lesser schools, making them appear as though they weren’t good enough for something they thought they were. Once again, due to the poorer education they receive they won’t get good enough jobs, forcing these cycles of poverty. Some will plain flunk out of schools, making it even worse for them. This promotes an inequality based on race.

But this can be solved. However, the process will not be immediate. Let’s say we end all affirmative action starting today, cold turkey. Colleges all across the country have to ignore race when accepting and denying applicants. At first, there will be an immediate decrease in those races which colleges consider unintelligent; namely, African-Americans and Hispanics. This is inevitable due to the fact that colleges are always looking for money, and if diversity won’t bring in money then colleges will turn to test scores, grades, and essays instead. Because of this, we will likely look at a few years where colleges will turn their campuses into swarms of Whites and Asians, unfortunately calling racism into the area. However, as students of all groups learn to accept that they will only get into college based on grades rather than race, we will gradually see a return of all races to universities of higher expectations. And instead of having certain races coast by while others stay up until midnight studying, all races will be doing the latter. All races will truly be equal in this way; we shall do equal work, and receive an equal payoff, regardless of where we come from. This results in further payoffs for our society as a whole. Minority groups will become more educated as a whole, thereby increasing their gross wealth and opportunities for the future. Because colleges will use grades solely as standards for acceptance, the nation’s aggregate educational strengths will increase over the years, to the point where we are competing among the top nations with much more gusto. While we still will have quite a bit to work on in primary, secondary, and tertiary education, we’ll have made the first necessary step.

That is all for this post, and I hope I’ve provided sound reasoning for my proposition of ending affirmative action. If you would like to contact me, I can be reached easily at my email zerospintop@live.com. My accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Steam are also always open. And so I bid you adieu, and this is KnoFear, signing off.

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The Innocence of Muslims Film

By KnoFear

Greetings all!

This week I’m focusing on something that surprises me, something that I had expected would not evolve into the political stumble block that it has become. I’m talking about the short trailer film for “Innocence of Muslims”, which was given an Arabic translation and spread to predominantly Islamic nations just a few days ago. Quite soon there was a public outcry in Libya and Egypt, but I expected something as such to happen. Egypt has a government headed by an Islamist, and Libya has become a grounds for a resurgence of Islamism in the wake of the revolution. Libya has also become increasingly lawless in a similar pattern to Egypt, only quieting down a tad since elections took place. As the protests continued, my suspicions about the seriousness of the problem grew. And then a few days later, I’m reading in the post about Australian Muslims protesting against the film ([link]). It’s around that point I realized just how bad this had become. So I’ve decided to post about the film and the international reaction to it.

Let’s start with what the film is about, shall we? It’s essentially a festival of hatred against Muslims. That’s pretty much as deep as it gets. There is something in there about persecution of Coptic Christians by Egyptian Muslims, but that is kind of forgotten once Muhammad has a one-sided homoerotic conversation with a donkey. Yes, I’m serious, that actually happens. The film also shows the Qur’an being made by Muhammad’s wife Khadija by stringing together verses from the Old and New Testament, and declares Muslims to be greedy savages bent on killing women and children. Not only is the logic behind the film’s argument incredibly scatological and inflammatory, but the film itself is of poorer quality than a 1997 episode of South Park (my apologies to Trey Parker and Matt Stone, they are hilarious in my eyes).

Now let’s review some things. Typically, when you blatantly insult someone’s beliefs just by calling them names and shaming their idols, they resist your behavior. Depending on the person, this can result in a verbal argument or physical violence. Now, when you spread your bigoted rant to millions of people who share the viewpoint you’re mocking, that’s when the problem snowballs. The problem becomes especially hot to the touch when you inflict your hatred on the world’s second largest religion, a religion known to be quite intolerant towards depictions of its prophet. I’d like to know just how ignorant one person would have to be to not predict that something of this magnitude would happen when “Innocence of Muslims” was translated and spread worldwide. I mean really, how stupid could this guy get? Let’s jump back to South Park. South Park had made an episode in which they intended to show Muhammad dressed in a bear suit (he could not be seen at all). Parker and Stone were promptly threatened by an extremist ([link]), so the bear suit was entirely censored. If South Park can’t get away with Muhammad in a bear suit, then nobody can get anyway with Muhammad saying gay things to a donkey. This should be an absolutely accepted fact of modern society, and a fact that should be followed without serious issues cropping up. You don’t show major disrespect for large religions, and people don’t die. End of discussion.

But it appears the time to tell Nakoula Basseley not to produce the film has passed, and the damage has been done. So once again, it is time for the United States to play damage control. Poorly, as always. But then again, I can’t really blame Obama for not being able to control the protests that have occurred in response to the film. Once religious, nationalistic and hateful anger has been awakened in millions of people, fanning the flames becomes increasingly difficult.

And to qualify my beliefs on the issue, I do not condone any forms of violence committed by protesters. Senseless violence and destruction are just that; senseless. I especially condemn any protesters whom feel it necessary to kill innocent Americans in “righteous fury.” To those protesting, I simply ask you not to charge American embassies. Feel free to protest outside all you like. But in pretty much all cases, those embassies have done naught to defame Islam or hurt you in any way. I realize they act as a proxy for America; but we cannot be destroyed. We are an enormous nation, both in population and geographic size. We also have the single largest economy, a massive military and unquestionable influence in international politics. We won’t be falling out completely for a while, and torching a few buildings won’t get us any closer to that end.

However, there are definitely many forms of protest I welcome. Feel free to create posters as you please, and stand before American embassies in anger. Show what you believe in legal, non-violent means. Show us your message; ingrain it upon us. Perhaps we’ll finally learn something. There is one more form of protest that, just this once, I’ll accept easily. Normally, I don’t like seeing the American flag burned. I don’t like our history very much at all, but that’s no reason to light our image in flames indiscriminately. I get the whole anger against what we’ve done and what we still do; my posts in the past show that in abundance. But to burn a national symbol for millions is something I just don’t like seeing; it shows no respect for our positive sides, few though they may be. However, I would fight to the death for your freedom to do so. And in this one case, I’m giving any true Muslim who believes in the Shahada Creed a pass to burn the flag if they truly must.

Let me explain why I would allow this. I can guarantee you anyone would say that our society, our country is not to blame for this film. They would say it is the action of a lone bigot, and should be treated as such. This is wrong. In a broad sense, it is correct; each individual is not entirely to blame for this abomination. But we as a society have made this kind of thing more and more acceptable in recent years. Sure, I’m betting no decent American would condone this film. But I’d also wager that a nation with more Nazis than modern Germany is not completely innocent in this matter. Ever since the tragic events of September 11th years ago, there has been much accepted racism in America. It became much easier to say that you hated foreigners. It became much easier to say that you hated Hispanic immigrants. And of course, it became much easier to say that you hated Muslims. We are at fault because we did little to stop this; we started wars with predominantly Muslim countries, and made American nationalism increasingly tolerated to a boiling point. Things only got worse during the 2008 campaign, when many accused Obama of being a secret Muslim. Seriously, even if he was a Muslim that shouldn’t have mattered. Boo-hoo, someone who thinks differently than you got elected. That’s what happens in a democracy; get over it. Obama isn’t even a Muslim anyway; he’s a Christian, and that’s why the White House had a Christmas tree this year as it always has.

My point is this: we might not support this kind of thing as a nation, but we haven’t exactly done all we ever could to stop it. We have fostered a culture of fear and consumption, and it is this culture which breeds the hatred we see in this film. And then it just spreads, inciting riots. Can we really expect anything different of such an event? And can we really expect true followers of Islam to not blame us for allowing something such as this? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spews all sorts of lies about Jews and America, and despite not holding any real power in Iran, we jump all over his remarks like bees to flowers. We are no better; while we rarely display real violence towards our objects of distaste, when we do the situations are devastating ([link]).

That is all, and I hope I have made my ideas and points cogent and clear. If you have feedback of any kind, I urge you to comment here; it is my easiest form of reliable and speedy contact. I also check my email at zerospintop@live.com several times daily, so feel free to email me. Once again, I can be contacted through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Steam if necessary. Good night, and this is KnoFear, signing off.

Posted in Current Events, Politics, Religion, Society | Leave a comment

The Right to An Abortion

by KnoFear

Greetings all!

This week’s title is inspired as part of a quote from a friend of mine. We were discussing how both political parties in America very much like to focus on certain population demographics during the election season, and why we believe this is damaging to our constitutional republic as a whole. What she said struck me as unabashedly true: “Democracy is not a tetris game. People should be treated as people, not as voting blocs which can be used for political gain.” I decided to take a note from her idea, and begin a mini-event on my blog. Both this week’s post and next’s week’s will focus on women’s issues, while simultaneously making sure to treat the topics as subjects that affect all of us rather than just some. This is especially true since women make up more than half of all American people today. This may even spill over into a third week, if you all demand it.

Moving on, this week I approach a subject which lights fires in everyone’s eyes the moment I say it, regardless of political affiliation: abortion. It’s a contentious issue ever since the 1972 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade essentially made abortions legal up until around 28 weeks into the pregnancy. Since then, some states have chosen to embrace such a ruling and live with the limits, while others have rejected it and tried to limit such abilities on the part of women to get abortions. This is mostly based upon how each of us defines a normal, human life. It also depends upon what time we consider such a life to have started in earnest. The trouble is, there is no absolute and definitive scientific legal standard applied to the federal level which could shut out all the lesser opinions. As such, the debate still rages on today. Roe may have set the limit at 28 weeks, but the Court’s ruling also admitted that such a limit could extend backwards to even 24 weeks, or rather whenever a life was “viable”, meaning the child could survive absent of the mother, albeit with machines attached. All of these standards are still questioned, even by me, although not likely in the same direction as many of my readers.

I’ll take a look first at the scientific side of this debate. Because a “viable” life is a fairly broad term under the ruling, especially due to increases in technology and knowledge that we have gained since then, we must learn to define at what time we should consider that life to have started. A normal human life is termed as being a person that can live independently and can perform all normal human bodily processes. I would like to qualify this definition is a generalized scientific one, and not a legal definition, as no such definition exists within the context of federal law. However, it is the only legitimate definition we can use for now that is not tinged with political opinion. The first point of the definition specifies that a normal human must be able to live independent of another being, and that its bodily processes must be accounted for solely by its own systems. The second point specifies that all capabilities of human function must be accounted for, including things such as thought, instinct, sensory responses, digestion, etc. If you can’t tell by now, this definition which I use points towards normal human life beginning at birth. At that point, the human becomes independent of its food source (the mother) and begins to live its own life. It is also capable of all normal human functions (although complex thoughts are mostly restricted until later, of course). By this definition, that fetus is not truly alive until it is born, and therefore an abortion should be legal at all points of the pregnancy. Couldn’t this possibly lead to abortions the day before children are born? It certainly could, although I would think that any woman pregnant for that long would’ve likely already chosen to keep the child. Do I agree with this definition? For the most part, the answer is yes. A fetus certainly cannot think at all, and does not experience extinct or nerve responses in quite the same ways as we do. The fetus’s food and blood interchange with the mother, and normal humans do neither of these things (I would hope). Would I allow an abortion a day before the birth? Yes, as it is not my personal decision to make, although I would certainly question such a woman as to whether she is acting rashly in the face of sudden life changes. However, I still would not stop her from making that choice.

This leads me into the second portion of my debate: the civil rights and religious issues tied up within abortion. Roe ruled that abortion is part of a legal right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment and is therefore protected by the Constitution. However, a significant portion of the population believes that abortion should be further restricted or abolished entirely. The first and foremost reason cited for such proposals is due to a differing definition of when life starts; a surprising amount of Americans believe life starts at conception. Now this definition is one I strongly oppose. Take a look here, to see what conception looks like: [link]. It is a simple picture of what a zygote would look like the instant that sperm combines with that egg. Once that happens, under the “life starts at conception” definition, that zygote could feel highly threatened and kill its mother with a gun as self-defense in Florida. Oh wait, that can’t actually happen because a fetus can’t hold a gun, or feel threatened, or claim self-defense in a court of law. Why guarantee the right to bear arms to a cluster of cells which does not even possess a brain yet? This functions under the same reasoning we do not allow minors the right to vote; we are not yet considered mature enough for the responsibility of such rights. A zygote is not mature enough for such rights as freedom of assembly or freedom from double jeopardy, and therefore should not be accorded those rights. A reason many claim that life begins at conception is due to religion; however, this point is moot because as soon as religious standards are brought into the debate, they can be shut out in the same instant. Because the 1st Amendment guarantees separation of church and state, the federal government cannot appropriate laws which respect one religion over another or which promote any religion. As such, the government cannot create a standard of when life begins based upon religious doctrine of any kind; neither Christian nor any other religious definition may be used without violating the 1stAmendment.

And now, my final point. I should not have any say over whether a woman has an abortion or not. It is the personal decision of each and every pregnant woman whether to have an abortion or not, and if so when they plan to do so. A woman is a mature being with all the rights given to her by the Constitution and the government, and as such she has domain over her personal affairs. Unless that woman is a minor (which I would sincerely hope they are not), they have full control over whether they have a child or not. No person or group should be able to restrict that choice legally, unless they are the parents/legal guardians of a pregnant minor. Even in such a case, the young woman should have more than enough say over what happens to her. It is not our right and nor is it legal for us to take away such a choice, contentious as it may be, as it is not our choice to make. We don’t know what these women are going through, and why they may or may not choose to have an abortion. But whether we like it or not, we must respect that choice and cast off any illusion of control we may have.

That is all for this week, and I hope I’ve made my points cogent and easy to understand. If you have questions or comments of any kind, I encourage you to post them right here for me to see and respond to. If you would prefer other means of communication, I would suggest my email at zerospintop@live.com. I can also be contacted through Facebook, Twitter (@KnoFearMLP), Google+, and Steam (once again, KnoFearMLP instead of KnoFear). Good night, and this is KnoFear, signing off.

Posted in Current Events, Society, United States | Leave a comment

The 2012 Election

By KnoFear

reetings all!

I’d like to wish a happy Labor Day to all my readers from the United States. I hope we’ve all enjoyed a day of rest in celebration of the many achievements organized labor has made over the years for our society. This week, I’ll be passing my first and final judgment on whom I think should win the 2012 presidential election. I have postponed making this post because I wanted to wait until the general election season had officially begun and both conventions had passed. I’ve decided to not wait for the DNC to end, as Barack Obama will be the only nominee there. It would be pointless for me to wait, as we already know with absolute certainty that he is running and how he is doing so. I specifically wanted to wait for the RNC to formally nominate someone, and that has now occurred; Mitt Romney is officially the Republican nominee for president. As such, it is time I tell you what a communist hopes for in this election.

Many people in the news media hail this election as the most important of them all. I would disagree wholeheartedly. The election of Abraham Lincoln was far more important; so was the first election of FDR. However, I won’t say this one is as unimportant as, say, the re-election of FDR for the fourth time (it was essentially inevitable at that point). This election certainly will determine some of the rules and traditions campaigns of the future will follow. This election will also determine how America has reacted to our recovery from recession, and whether we move away from our questionable past or embrace it. Either way, it’s obvious by now that the current political climate has left America bitterly divided, and this division will likely continue for years to come. When people get angry about Oreo’s supporting gay marriage, you know things have gotten out of hand ([link]).

I’ll be completely honest; if given the choice who I would vote for at this moment, it would be neither of the main candidates. Personally, I’d be casting a ballot for the Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Should you wish to learn more about her and the Green Party platform, check out their website here: [link]. However, at the same time I realize that the probability of a third party candidate winning one of our elections is smaller than the probability of a butterfly causing you serious bodily harm. And so, I’ll be speaking solely on the two main party candidates.

Deciding who I’d rather see the election won by is easy. I’d much rather see a weak Democrat in office than a strong and active Republican. Specifically, I fear a Mitt Romney presidency. I can’t say that such a presidency would destroy America, or anything close to such an extreme. However, I can say a Republican victory would definitely confirm and change many things in the eyes of the electorate. Let me preface this by reminding us all of what led to the Obama presidency; two terms of a Bush presidency. This is where I view America as having declined significantly. We started two costly and illegal wars, all while driving up budget deficits and letting the classes become more and more divided. And in the meantime, we did little to nothing to advance our society; if anything, we backtracked. The reason why Obama was able to win in 2008 was because Americans had realized the consequences of running a nation like a business, and we were sick and tired of a government that neglected some of our very own in favor of others. It seems we’ve forgotten all this, because just four years later many of us are ready to revert to those exact same policies which got us into this mess. I’d very much like to look at every Romney supporter and waggle my finger at them, but I can’t do that. I can, however, explain why I would be justified in doing so.

Romney has not revealed much of his intended policies; this makes it somewhat harder for me to predict what exactly would occur under his presidency. I cannot say how extreme his policies would be if elected. However, I can predict with some certainty at least what direction his policies would take. One thing Mitt Romney has promised is absolutely no defense cuts, so I’ll start with that. I realize that many Americans have jobs in the military, and we would hurt somewhat to lose many of those jobs. At the same time, let me show why cuts in defense are in our interests. We already outspend many nations on defense, so what have we got to show for it? Not much, really. We have not had significantly more or less terrorist attacks than other developed nations with less military spending have had in recent years. Much of our military spending has been on offense rather than defense in the past decade of war, and the results so far are grim; those tracking the total Afghan war deaths in the Washington Post know by now that number exceeds 2,000 American deaths. This number doesn’t factor in Afghan military or civilian deaths, either. So let me ask; is spending so much on defense necessary if we’re just going to be letting our own people die and suffer in the process? I know terrorism is a threat, but not big enough a threat that we need to direct huge amounts of our GDP towards fighting it. We can’t destroy an idea, and the best way to protect ourselves from it is not to shoot it in the face. We must concentrate on educating ourselves about why such an idea exists, and use diplomacy to tear away its principles. If we set a better example and develop a better foreign policy, terrorism will have no legs to stand upon. And imagine the money that could be saved should cuts be made; that money could be used to pay for our debts, or could be reinvested in order to boost our economy. It’s not an easy choice to make, but it’s a necessary one. We can’t let our economy become entrenched in war economics; eventually, all wars must end.

I’ll be covering just two more points, as they are the ones I can best predict and make a point on. First is the healthcare debate. Romney has promised that he would begin the process to repeal Obamacare the day he takes office. Let me start this by noting just how humiliating this is. Really, we’re going to start a presidency by simply trying to undo what the last guy did? If we let that kind of thing happen, we’re just going to have cycles of presidents undoing their predecessors, resulting in a stagnation of policy that will ruin us. And secondly, Obamacare really is a good thing when you take a long look at it. There are flaws, of course; it leaves far too much wiggle room, and depends too much on private companies for my tastes. However, we also must take into account how many people are uninsured in the United States right now: about 50 million ([link]). This is horrifying. We can’t sit here and wait for these people to get injured or sick; it will inevitably happen with a number that large. By keeping ours a system of non-universal healthcare, we can guarantee that some of these people will likely suffer or even die because they cannot afford the care they need. It sickens me to know that many of us like Mitt Romney would happily let this occur; we can’t allow our own to suffer when we have the chance to end it. Obamacare may not extend coverage perfectly, but it begins the process. And that first step is what it takes to make progress.

Lastly, I’ll be looking at education, because it matters very much to me at this moment. I’m a high school senior, and I will be applying to colleges soon. I will no doubt be applying for scholarships and loans no matter what, and I’d very much like to be able to pay off my education costs before I’m, say, forty years old. I’d also like to avoid defaulting on my loans, which many students have had to do. I say all of this because I can very much see what Romney would do to education as president; he would likely cut funding for public institutions and for public loans in cost-cutting measures. This is the absolute worst thing we could do to ourselves. Republicans complain about the debt we may be saddling our younger generation with; how can they say this and then wish to defund said generation’s education? Education is a powerful tool that allows us to rise up through the classes and make better lives for us. If only those with money at the outset can become educated, we create a plutocracy where only the rich have the education to get high-paying jobs and therefore have enough money to influence politics. We can’t allow this to happen; plutocracies don’t work, and we will fall if this path is set forth upon. We must more properly fund education; every child who is smart deserves to make something of those smarts. Every actor deserves a chance to shine, and every person deserves to become educated at least through college. If you can provide a reason why education is not a right to me, I’d be happy to hear it.

That is all for this post, and I hope I’ve provided enough for you all to go on. I can be contacted at my emailzerospintop@live.com, my Facebook, Google+, Steam, or Twitter accounts. Good night, and this is KnoFear signing off.

Posted in Current Events, Politics, United States | Leave a comment

Limiting U.S. Military Power

by KnoFear

Greetings all!

This post comes on the last night prior to my school year starting, so I’ve decided to uptake a little something which I had originally created for academic purposes. I’m part of the Junior Statesmen of America, or JSA for short, a political debate organization across the nation’s high schools. The group has several conventions during the year, and for one such convention I prepared an amendment for debate. Ultimately, the amendment was denied in favor of a bill which had been prepared by one of my fellows, but that matters not within this context.

The amendment I prepared for debate last year was one concerning U.S. military power and influence in the modern world. I have prepared the text of the amendment, so that you all know exactly what I’m talking about. So here it is:

An Amendment to Limit the Military Power of the United States

The United States government has authorized military interventions in countless nations in support of capitalism, freedom, and other similar monikers. However, these interventions have led to millions of deaths and have helped to put repressive dictatorships in power around the world, which not only worsen the condition for those directly affected, but also allow anti-American sentiments to burgeon. In order to prevent global suffering as well as to improve the United States’ image, the power and discretion of the U.S. government in deploying the military must be limited.

Be it amended by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, and upon approval of ¾ of the states, that:

Section 1. The ability of the president and Congress to deploy military forces anywhere not on U.S. soil be limited to usage only under these conditions:

Subsection a. The foreign nation in question has directly attacked the United States in some way, shape or form. Offensive attempts will be treated as attacks, but threats will not be.

Subsection b. The foreign nation in question has directly attacked an ally of the United States in some way, shape or form. Offensive attempts will be treated as attacks, but threats will not be.

Subsection c. The United Nations has called upon the United States to engage in military action with the foreign nation in question. Calls made by NATO and other multinational bodies will be denied pending further review by the executive branch and the Congress.

Subsection d. A majority of the populace of the foreign nation in question has asked specifically for intervention by the United States. Calls for foreign aid in general by the population in question will not be met unless other conditions here are met in kind.

Subsection e. A humanitarian crisis is occurring in the foreign nation in question. A humanitarian crisis may be brought forth by genocide, direct and careless repression of citizens, widespread torture of civilians, or other qualifications met under United Nations classifications for humanitarian crises.

Section 2. The United States military forces may not be deployed outside the U.S. unless one or more of these conditions are met. Under no circumstances will the executive or legislative branches be allowed to use military force otherwise; including under previous justifications such as the protection of capitalism, democracy, freedom, or the disposal of leaders unfavorable to the United States’ interests, and those of its allies.

And so concludes my amendment, in all of its formality. Now, I’ll explain each part in order to make my case.

The introduction is obviously concerning U.S. military interventions during the Cold War. There are many that I could lay out, each with a deadly cost, although I’m sure many of us are familiar with at least a few of them. The most striking examples can be shown through the Korean and Vietnam Wars, both of which caused huge death tolls for little benefit. Let me stress this: we lost the Vietnam War. Our intention upon going in was to prevent the nation from unifying under communism, and in 1975 that was exactly what happened. We killed others, and we allowed others to kill us, in a fruitless endeavor. As for the Korean War, we were not at a complete loss of our intentions, although we did not fully succeed in our goals. North Korea still exists as a communist state today, and one that’s particularly angry at America at that. Due to the cost these wars and other interventions caused, it is only logical to at least put forth and effort to prevent these costs in the future.

I specify in section 1 both the Congress and the executive because both branches have the ability to use military force and have done so in the past, so an amendment limiting such powers must be extended to both branches. As for the first two subsections, I assume my reasoning is obvious and agreeable to most any party. The United States must be prepared to willingly fight back should it or its allies be attacked by other nations; this is a common tenet of sovereignty and alliances. When I say “offensive attempts”, this means any attempted attack on a nation, whether successful or not. For example, say a government sent a missile towards Washington, D.C., but missed and the missile simply went into the ocean. That would be treated as an attack, and the military could respond as such. However, I specify that threats cannot be acted upon because they give far too much leverage for military intervention. Because many things can be interpreted as threats, the leverage given to the government for military force would be too great. Attacks and attempted attacks, on the other hand, are clear to see and are not vague in definition.

As for the third subsection, I specify that only calls by the U.N. to action shall be met immediately due to certain ideas around the world concerning NATO and other organizations. Many people consider NATO to be an ideological organization that acts on the whim of Western interests rather than in a non-partisan way, and so I exclude it from an immediate list of groups to listen to. However, I also provide a system for such requests to be met; I allow both Congress and the executive branch a chance to debate and decide whether or not to listen to such calls to action. This way, such requests can be determined as either ideological or not, and responded to as such. The U.N. on the other hand is viewed in generally a good light and is enshrined as a place for all nations to come together and solve issues, and as such is considered to be a good source for calls to action. The U.N. does not have a huge record of being an ideological organization or as being one that is reactionary, and so it is given special privileges when seeking U.S. military force. However, the U.S. government still reserves the right to deny such requests if the circumstances call for such inaction; you’ll notice I never specify that the U.S. must comply with U.N. calls to action.

As for the fourth subsection, it is the vaguest, and for that I am sorry. It was originally struck from the amendment, but I decided to include it here so I could at least give my opinion. This subsection was written with the crisis in Syria in mind, which at the time had not been as severe or old as it is now. I noted that much of the Syrian rebel movement was calling for outside help. However, I also thought that unless the majority (at least over 50%) of the nation all wanted the same thing, it would be unfair to the remainder of the country to take action on minority request. The vague part I accidentally left out was how such a statistic would be determined. Countries in crisis generally are hard places to gather stats from, and such is the biggest issue with this subsection, and it’s one I don’t have an answer for. Should anyone be able to think of a way to wrangle out this issue, please let me know. I specify “calls for foreign aid in general” due to both the Syrian crisis and the Libyan revolution, both of which had the opposition crying out for general help from any willing nation. Since these groups were not asking specifically for our help, I felt it could be risky to intervene without knowing the particulars of the situation. Rebel movements may resent our presence and help, and as such I believe we cannot move in without knowing what we’re getting into if at all possible. As such, I try to give these movements the best possible chance by introducing a portion which allows intervention should any other subsection requirement be met.

The last subsection was created as I pondered the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. The people of the region cried out for long, and many suffered, yet few did anything to help. This last subsection is intended to counter such situations, by allowing unilateral intervention on the basis of a humanitarian crisis as defined by the U.N., whose definition is generally viewed as fair and universal. It would appear to give us significant leeway in making interventions, however this is why I specify the use of a U.N. definition. Without that, we could invade on many more grounds which would be at fault. Because there are guidelines, the military is still restricted on a reasonable level.

The final section is intended to erase former excuses for interventions as possible future excuses. That way, we no longer make the mistakes of our past. It also keeps a tight grip on the military capabilities of Congress and the president, ensuring that neither can act without meeting correct conditions.

That is my reasoning for the amendment, and should it or something like it make it to Congress or the states, I would be more than happy. If you find any holes other than the one I already pointed out in subsection d, please let me know so that I may change the amendment to suit its needs. If you have any other responses to the amendment, I’d be more than happy to hear them.

That’s all for this week, and I hope I’ve provided a good sample of reasoning as to why I believe this amendment should be applied to our Constitution. If you have feedback of any kind, please feel encouraged to comment here or send me an email at zerospintop@live.com. You can also contact me through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, DeviantArt, and Steam. Goodnight, and this is KnoFear, signing off.

Posted in Current Events, United States | 1 Comment

The Pink Tide: Moving Forward in South America

by KnoFear

Greetings all!

This week’s post comes a little late, mostly due to laziness and anxiety over the end of my summer vacation. With the start of my school schedule, I am certain that my blog posts will become more regularly on Sundays into the future. Anyway, this post concerns South America, a continent comprising of twelve countries and rich with history and culture. I always pay close attention to the politics of the continent, mostly because I see many of its countries as rising powers on the world stage. I intend to suggest what these countries need to and should do to increase their influence without neglecting their populace in the process. Namely, I intend to declare my support of the pink tide, which I’ll discuss shortly.

Anyway, the pink tide is a phrase used to describe trends in modern Latin American politics. Namely, the phrase symbolizes the increasing acceptance and implementation of leftist politics in Latin American governments. Because red is typically seen as the color of communism, pink can be used as the “color of socialism” and other far left movements which are not quite as extreme as communism. It’s quite an important change in current regional politics, and has swept several nations in Latin America. For this post, I will only be covering South America, but I assure you the pink tide has also affected several Central American nations. The current pink tide leaders include: Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Argentina, Jose Mujica in Uruguay, Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, Ollanta Humala in Peru, and Fernando Lugo in Paraguay up until recently.

The reason I choose to examine the pink tide is due to the fact that it is a relatively new and promising movement. In the past, South American politics were largely dominated by military dictatorships and centrist leaders. If you’ve read my blog in the past, you likely already know why I despise what occurred. If you haven’t, let me summarize briefly: death, torture, repression, and suffering. Some of the world’s most brutal regimes existed in 20th century South America, but things have changed since then. No longer do dictatorships mar the governments down south, and no longer do people die or suffer without governments trying to solve the problems. As such, I view the pink tide as a natural effect. South America is a highly diverse continent with a grievous past, which will seek to prevent its mistakes and promote change into the present. In order to expand the benefits of democracy and economic success to the poor and disenfranchised, it is undeniable that South American governments will turn towards the left in their efforts. We can be certain the right will not perform in that aspect.

There are many criticisms of the pink tide, mostly stemming from global conservatives. Some issues are of legitimate concern, however. I speak namely of the less-than-democratic means some leftist leaders have taken to promote socialism and the left in their native countries. The two most obvious examples of this are Venezuela and Bolivia. In Venezuela, Chavez led a Bolivarian Revolution from 1999 onwards which expanded his powers and abilities as president greatly, along with altering the constitution to fit a more leftist perspective. My biggest issue with the latter portion is that Chavez did not allow proper debate over the inclusion of leftist principles into the constitution; should he have allowed it, I’m certain Venezuelans may have agreed with him anyway. As for the former issue, I’m not a huge fan of Chavez; while I view him as important as a global influence against conservative strides, he does not rule in a way which benefits the people most. I would very much like to see fresh socialist and communist leaders take his place, initiating a more democratic move towards the left. However, I do realize that his position cannot fall to other opponents from the right and center. Venezuela controls significant amounts of oil; if they wish to preserve their sovereignty and prevent exploitation by oil companies and oil-obsessed governments, they must remain stable and unwilling to budge on certain oil policies they currently have.

Bolivia is a separate case. Bolivia’s past is dominated by several military regimes, along with CIA involvement against leftist insurgency (most notably the assassination of Che Guevara in 1986). In 2005, Morales and his party were elected with a full majority. Morales is also the first president of the nation to not be a descendant of Europeans. I’m more partial towards Morales than I am towards Chavez. Morales was elected democratically (both times), and has provided mostly successful policies. His presidency has been marked by good economic growth and a modest decrease in inequality. Bolivia is also now considered one of few South American countries to be “illiteracy-free”. My one major quip with Morales is over his process of constitutional approval. When the new constitution was being drafted, he changed the requirement for a two-thirds approval vote towards a simple majority vote, decreasing the democratic needs of a nation plagued by inequality and troubles. I would have preferred that he left the rule as it was originally and let the chips fall where they may; perhaps the protests in eastern Bolivia would not have occurred.

Other than these two leaders, I whole-heartedly support pink tide presidents/prime ministers. The indigenous population of South America has been neglected and pushed aside, and the left is responsible for ensuring their equality. It is our duty to preserve diverse and equal societies as simple and basic tenets of democracy. Seeing countries like Chile having income inequality that is worse than our own is disheartening, to say the least. However, socialist leaders have the opportunity to change the direction of countries. As the political importance and influence of South America grows into the remainder of the 21st century, these countries cannot allow themselves to become nations which allow capitalism to run rampant on the masses as we did. We suffer now for it; let’s hope it doesn’t occur anywhere else.

That is all for this post, and I hope I’ve provided a strong and clear opinion on the issue at hand. Once again, your feedback is encouraged. If you have questions or comments, please leave them here. You can also contact me through my email atzerospintop@live.com, my Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ accounts. I also now have a Steam account by the name of KnoFearMLP (because someone had the gall to take KnoFear before I did), so feel free to contact me there as well. That’s all for this week, and this is KnoFear signing off.

Posted in Chavez, Communism, Cuba, Fifth International, Latin America, United States | Leave a comment