Tags: Chekhov, fiction, Misery, poetry, Politics, Short Story
Chekhov’s “Misery” in modern day New York City
“جن سے مجھے بتائیں میرا غم ہے?”
It was almost midnight. Yellow lights shown on empty streets, dimly reflecting off of big flakes of wet snow that whirl lazily about the streets, blanketing the desolate road and the lone taxicab in a soft layer of powder. Aamir Haseeb, the cab-driver, is white as a ghost. He sits hunched over the steering wheel at what appeared an almost impossible angle for his spine. The cab’s windshield wipers remained still despite the accumulation of snow; if a regular snowdrift fell on the cab it seems as though he wouldn’t even think to brush it off. The taxicab grumbles quietly beneath Aamir, quite unlike her usual clangings and clatterings of complaint — too lost in her own thoughts to disturb his silence.
It’s been a long time since the taxicab has moved. Aamir was held up with a flat tire, and wasn’t able to get out into the streets until the stream of travelers had almost completely died out, leaving him without a single fare yet.
A sharp rap on the window snaps Aamir out of his reflections.
“To 7th and Washington,” repeats the officer. “Are you asleep? To 7th and Washington!”
Aamir unlocks the doors and flicks the windshield wipers on, sending snow flying into the air, as the officer — Air Force, he guesses — climbs into the back seat. Aamir puts his foot on the peddle and the taxicab grumbles in complaint as its worn tires begin trudging down the icy road.
“Keep to the right — you’re driving off the road! How did they even let you get a license?” says the officer in disgust.
A car driving the opposite direction honks at him; a homeless man dressed in worn out fatigues stumbles into the road, looking up angrily as the taxicab’s tires squeal to a stop to avoid hitting him. Aamir fidgets in the driver’s seat like he was sitting on hot coals, staring about wildly, as if he didn’t know where he was or why he was even there.
“Crazy drunk!” says the officer, bursting into laughter. “It looks as though he was trying to throw himself under your tires; must have a death wish — I don’t blame him!”
Aamir looks up into his rearview mirror and moves his lips . . . Apparently meaning to say something, but nothing comes out but a sniff.
“What was that?” asks the officer.
Aamir gives a weak smile, and clearing his throat, says huskily: “My son . . . uh . . . my son died this week, sir.”
“Huh? What did he die of?”
For a brief moment Aamir considers spilling the entire ironic truth, that his son’s demise came at the hands of what will change his passenger’s occupation forever.
Instead, he quietly replied: “Who can tell? It must have been from fever . . . God’s will.”
It was a word that never felt quite right coming out of his mouth. The shame his father would have felt to hear him speak in such a way.
“Turn around you fool! Drive on! Drive on! And for Christ’s sake could you look at where you’re going? I’m trying to make it home in one piece,” the officer says.
The taxicab clanked in agreement, and the three traveled on in silence. The cab driver glancing into his mirror every few minutes to look at the officer, who had shut his eyes and appeared completely disinclined to continue listening.
Aamir dropped off his passenger and pulled up outside of a diner; listening to the radio . . . Again the snow blankets him and his taxicab. An hour passes . . .
. . . this afternoon the senator from Kentucky launched into a classic speak until you can speak no more-type filibuster over the confirmation vote for . . .
Three young men, two tall and skinny, one short and round, swagger up to the taxicab, shouting at each other in revelry and stamping the snow from their shoes.
“Cabby, to Brooklyn!” the short one says. “We’ve only got forty bucks between us, though.”
Forty dollars to Brooklyn was hardly a fair price, but whether it was five dollars more or even ten does not matter to him so long as he has a fare . . . The three men shoved each other, quarreling over who would be forced to ride “bitch.” The shortest lost out.
. . . for nearly thirteen hours he held the senate floor, trying to raise awareness about the constitutional questionability and lack of transparency surrounding . . .
“Hey cabby, turn on Sports Center — 104.7 I think,” demanded the short man. “And nice hat,” came a sneer from the backseat.
“My head is killing me,” says one of the tall ones. “Me and Franky drank four bottles of whiskey between us.”
“I doubt you even believe your own lies sometimes!” the short one laughs. “God help me I’m going to miss it when I get shipped out, though. I can’t wait to get over there.”
“Lucky for you they’ve lowered the standards to get in, you can hardly read!” a tall one laughs and receives a jab in the rib from the short one, which did little but to encourage his chuckles.
“You can laugh now, but just wait ’til I’m part of the most elite killing force in the world.”
Aamir looks back at them. Waiting until there is a brief pause, he turns round once more and says:
“This week . . . uhh . . . my . . . uh . . . son died!”
“You’re son cried? Can you guys understand what this guy is saying? He’s got to get the sand out of his mouth,” the short man said, laughing at his own joke.
“My only love is in the damp earth, the grave that is, here my son’s dead and I am alive, it’s a strange thing death has come in at the wrong door, instead of coming for me it went for my son . . .” his misery came tumbling out of his mouth quickly, obstructed only by his thick accent.
Aamir turns around to tell them how his son died, but at that point the short man gives a faint sigh and exclaims, thank God! They have arrived at last.
The short man ruffles through a wad of bills carelessly stuffed in his pocket and picks out two bills to drop into the cab window. Aamir accepts the forty dollars and stares a long time after the revelers, who disappear down a dark side street.
He’s alone, and again there is silence for him . . . his heart wells with the misery, which had eased for a brief time, but now tore at his heart more cruelly than ever. Staring with eyes etched with suffering, Aamir desperately looked all around him at the crowds on either side of the street; can he not find one among these thousands somebody to share in the sorrow of his very being? His misery and loneliness knows no bounds. If Aamir’s heart were to burst, it would swallow the entire world in its hopelessness. Yet it is not seen. It’s been hidden in such an insignificant shell, that none ask, and few who do would even believe or understand.
Aamir sees a woman standing on a street corner, and makes up his mind to talk to her, longing for some sort of human connection.
“Excuse me, what time is it?” he asks.
“Does it look like I’m trying to chat? Keep driving!”
Aamir heads back to the cab station. A young cab driver in the corner of the break room wakes up sleepily and makes for the water fountain.
“Thirsty?” Aamir asks him.
“May it quench your thirst . . . My son is dead . . . Do you hear?”
Aamir looks to see the effect of his words on the man, but he’s already pulled a hood over his head and has fallen asleep. The old cab driver sighs and taps his feet . . . He thirsts to talk as much as the man thirsted for water . . . His son will have been dead almost a week and he still has yet to talk to anybody . . . He wants to talk of it properly, with deliberation . . . He wants to tell how his son’s entire vocabulary changed . . . How the boy’s ideals were bent . . . He has yet to describe how he wept for days, unable to afford a flight home for the funeral . . . His daughter Anisya is still in the country and he wants to talk about her too . . . He has plenty to talk about . . . His listener ought to sigh and exclaim and lament . . .
“I think I’ll go out and check on the old soldier in the garage,” Aamir says, putting on his coat and heading out the garage door, stopping to grab a length of garden hose before climbing into his cab and cranking the ignition, listening to the familiar grumble under the steering wheel.
Stroking the cracked leather of the wheel absentmindedly, Aamir murmurs:
“I miss him . . . and the worst part is he never . . . Never even had a chance to explain . . . Never even got to say goodbye . . . My son should be alive . . . Not me . . .”
Aamir is silent for a while, and then he goes on:
“My son is gone . . . So young he still didn’t even know or understand what he really believed yet . . . It’s like having a brand new design model of a car out there . . . Untested, inexperienced — potentially dangerous . . . We never got a chance to tell them otherwise . . . I never had a chance to say goodbye . . .”
Aamir spoke quietly to his old taxicab, the exhaust pipe puffing out assent and condolences into the night, as the old cab driver’s eyes slowly drift shut.
Tags: 13 hours, answered more requests, AP, Democrat, Due Process, filibuster, FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, Google+ Hangout, in history, John Brennan, Judicial Review, Kentucky, more secrecy, most transparent administration ever, Obama, open government is good government, Politics, Rand Paul, Senate, Senator, Sunshine Week, The Associated Press, transparency
This column originally appeared in The Rocky Mountain Collegian.
Over a week ago, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul took to the Senate floor for almost 13 hours in a classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-type talking filibuster, holding up the confirmation of the new CIA head, John Brennan, over the Obama administration’s inability to answer a few simple questions about the targeted killings of American citizens with drones.
As a result of Paul’s epic filibuster, Eric Holder sent the Senator a letter confirming that no, the president does not have the authority to kill an American citizen on American soil without trial if they are not engaged in combat. Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?
What the Obama administration still hasn’t done, however, is release the full legal justification for its targeted killing program to even all of our congressmen — let alone the public — doing little to validate Obama’s claims that his administration is the most transparent ever.
But with political pressure mounting at home and even European parliamentarians issuing a statement expressing concern over the “legal basis, as well as the moral, ethical and human rights implications of the United States’ targeted killing programme,” maybe it’s time our government just released their full legal justifications — it’s not as if they have anything to hide, right?
And since this happens to be Sunshine Week, I couldn’t think of a better time for the Obama administration to release its full legal justification for its targeted killing program and to make good on its avowed historic transparency.
The premise of Sunshine Week is that open government is good government. It’s a national initiative to promote a dialogue stressing the importance of a transparent government and freedom of information to a well-functioning democratic republic.
The week gets its name from Sunshine Laws — the nicknames given to transparency laws such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Anybody can use FOIA requests to get all sorts of information from the government, from government contract bids to military and historical records.
FOIA requests aren’t just reserved for professional journalists, either, any person has a right — enforceable in court — to access any federal agency records unless they’re restricted from public disclosure by either one of nine exemptions or one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.
According to an analysis by The Associated Press released on Monday, the Obama administration has actually answered more FOIA requests from the public to see government records than the year before, seeming to carry through on the statements Obama made in a memo on his first day in office: “The Freedom of Information Act should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails.”
Unfortunately, the same AP analysis revealed that the Obama administration has also cited more legal exceptions to censor or withhold material requested under FOIA than ever before.
With about a 22 percent increase over the previous year, the government invoked the national security exemption to withhold information at least 5,223 times — a substantial increase from the 3,805 cases during Obama’s first year serving as president.
While Obama has made some marginal improvements in accessibility — which can only be expected given our technological advances — the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have accused the Department of Homeland Security of imposing exorbitant processing fees to dissuade the disclosure of information, and complain about massive processing delays.
Reps. Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings, two of the top lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter pointing out the federal government’s failure to update their regulations involving FOIA despite a 2009 directive ordering them all to adopt a “presumption of openness,” citing a backlog of information requests, an excessive use of exemptions and potentially illegal fee assessments.
Ask Obama, though, as somebody recently did on a Google+ Hangout, and he’ll be more than happy to reiterate that “this is the most transparent administration in history,” even while he’s still in the midst of a FOIA court battle with the ACLU over the release of the Office of Legal Counsel memo’s providing the legal justification for Obama’s targeted killing program.
Ultimately, our government is supposed to represent “we the people.” Government employees all work for us and get paid by our tax dollars, every government document belongs to us — barring obvious exceptions.
Open government is good government. This is something Obama used to believe in — used to champion, even. His rhetoric remains, but it’s getting harder and harder to believe him. Happy Sunshine Week everybody!
Tags: 176 children, 176 deaths, Bureau of Investigative Journalism, cia drone, civilians, current-events, drone strike, drone war, government, innocent, innocent civilians, Living Under Drones, middle east, New York University law, news, Obama, Pakistan, Pakistani, Pakistani children, Politics, President Obama, school, Stanford law, Yemen
A mother holds her child close in the morning, squeezing him tight and whispering “I love you” before watching anxiously as his grubby little face disappears down the street on his way to school.
She’s uneasy. She still replays that horrible day in her life over and over in her head, when her eldest son left for school, never to return home again.
Is this ever-looming fear the new reality? Every morning met with the terror of possibly never seeing her child again? She feels frightened and utterly helpless.
Protesters demonstrate in the street, seeking to end the violence — to end the slaughter of innocent civilians.
She’s well aware the protests won’t change anything; Washington D.C. isn’t listening, so hundreds more innocents will be killed.
Obama’s drone war continues on, with no end in sight.
According to data by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Obama has overseen more than six times the amount of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan than under Bush, with over 300 strikes in that region alone.
While the Obama administration has often claimed minimal civilians are killed during targeted UAV strikes, areport conducted by experts at the Stanford and New York University law schools concluded, “even the most conservative nongovernmental civilian casualty estimates … contradict the administration’s claims.”
Part of the discrepancy between accounts of the number of civilians killed may be due to Obama’s classification of “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants,” as The New York Times revealed, but where is the Obama administration’s explanation for the murders of women and non-military aged civilians?
TBIJ reveals there have been 176 children reported killed by American drones in Pakistan since we began anti-terror operations there in 2004. Most of the Pakistani children’s blood on the hands of the Obama administration are a result of changes in how our drone attacks are executed and the frequency with which they’re used.
The Stanford/NYU study, “Living Under Drones,” highlights the switch from Bush’s practice of targeting high-profile al-Qaeda leaders to the Obama administration’s targeting of “groups or men who bear certain signatures, or defining characteristics associated with terrorist activity, but whose identities aren’t known.”
The report reveals that drone “strikes in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt are terrorizing civilians 24 hours a day and breeding bitter anti-American sentiment. (They) have killed thousands of people … even stopping their children going to school for fear of being targeted.”
In that region, families are afraid to even attend funerals to mourn the deaths of their loved ones for fear of being targeted by US ground operators who misinterpret them as gatherings of al-Qaeda or Taliban militants.
These attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas have been justified under the pretext of Haqqani militants who have been blamed for numerous assaults on US and NATO bases in Afghanistan.
But how effective has Obama’s drone war been?
The Stanford and NYU law schools study cites publicly available evidence that reveals that claims that drone strikes “have made the US safer overall is ambiguous at best. The number of ‘high-level’ militants killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — estimated at just 2% (of deaths).”
In America we’re happy to believe that the drone war we are waging in Pakistan, in violation of their national sovereignty, is done with surgical precision. We don’t experience the destruction every day in our own streets. We’re completely disconnected from the wars our government wages.
We pretend like our policies aren’t really hurting anybody but the terrorists that deserve it, deceiving ourselves into believing the collateral damage occurring from striking unidentified targets isn’t happening.
America may be able to pretend like our policies don’t have consequences, but in Pakistan — and increasingly in Yemen — the terror of another US drone strike never ceases, breeding anti-U.S. sentiments among the people and giving greater incentive to extremist factions in the region.
With the deaths of 176 Pakistani children (and counting) at the hands of the American people, funded by our taxes and decisions made by the people we elect into office, can we blame the civilian population for increasingly seeing the US as an enemy?
Those who slaughter the innocent are rarely hailed as the good guys.
Tags: 2012 elections, booby traps, Colorado, current-events, drones, election, electoral college, electoral votes, FISA, foreign policy, Gary Johnson, global interventionism, government, government surveillance, Iran, Iraq, Libertarian, Liberty, NDAA, news, Obama, opinion, Patriot Act, Politics, presidential debates, presidential elections, Romney, substantive difference, swing state, UAV, vote, War Powers Resolution, winner
Our political system is broken. America is increasingly a heightened police state in perpetual war, we’ll continue to borrow and spend money in a way that is completely unsustainable whether Republicans or Democrats are elected.
I’m voting for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president. I’m voting for Johnson to fix our political system and end the tyranny of the two party binopoly.
Anybody who says voting for Johnson is wasting his or her vote couldn’t be more wrong. No, Johnson is not going to win the presidency; voting for Johnson will accomplish something much bigger than that.
If Gary Johnson receives 5 percent of the popular vote, then in the next presidential campaign the Libertarian party will receive equal access to federal funding and easier access onto all 50 states’ ballots. Each state enacts unique requirements to appear on the ballot, requiring them to gather tons of signatures, follow many convoluted procedures and pay steep filing fees.
(Read full column here)
Luckily Republicans and Democrats are automatically included on all of the ballots, so they don’t have to deal with the nuisance of hurtling these bureaucratic booby traps.
With federal funding, the Libertarian party will have millions to campaign with next election cycle, enough to spread his message far enough to poll at the 15 percent needed to enter the national presidential debates.
Once on that stage, the American people will have a fundamental alternative to Republicans and Democrats — which this election has made glaringly apparent that there’s very little substantive difference between Romney and Obama.
Obama has virtually ignored the War Powers Resolution during his intervention in Libya and other conflicts around the globe — Romney has indicated he’ll lead along the same lines.
Gary Johnson offers a stark alternative: always abiding by the War Powers Resolution, decreasing our military presence and global interventionism and not bombing Iran — how radical.
While both Obama and Romney plan to increase defense spending, Gary Johnson is advocating getting out of Afghanistan tomorrow, cutting defense spending by 43 percent and, more importantly, decreasing our military presence abroad with commonsense measures such as bringing home our thousands of troops stationed in places like Europe.
In regards to our global, neverending War on Terror, Romney and Obama are identical in supporting infractions against American citizens’ civil liberties in the name of security, supporting the Patriot Act, unmanned domestic drones, the FISA Amendments and more government surveillance and control of the Internet.
Gary Johnson will repeal the Patriot Act and correct the overreach of federal power in response to 9/11, end the use of domestic drones at home, actively promotes the cause of Internet freedom and opposes these bills and others like it that seek to enable more government surveillance and control.
Gary Johnson is an avowed enemy of the signing of the 2012 NDAA, which both Obama and Romney support, in which Obama sought to legalize the indefinite detention of American citizens without charge or trial.
While Obama and Romney both plan to continue to raid, prosecute, and imprison millions with a continuation of America’s drug war, Gary Johnson is proposing to end the War on Drugs now, to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana now — he’s the only presidential candidate advocating for Colorado’s Amendment 64.
Instead of just offering lip service to equality and gay rights, Johnson believes that marriage equality is a constitutionally guaranteed right and should legislatively and judicially be established as such at the federal level. This is more than pandering for the vote of a specific demographic — it’s substantively fighting for equality.
Johnson’s leadership ability is unquestionable, taking his one-man handyman business and turned it into the largest construction company in New Mexico. As a two-term governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson has served more years in executive office than Obama, Biden, Romney, and Ryan combined.
Gary Johnson vetoed hundreds of bills while governor, leaving the state with a billion-dollar surplus when he left office from cutting so much spending, yet was still able to leave New Mexico with improved infrastructure, better schools and more cost efficient healthcare.
He sounds like the perfect candidate. Gary Johnson is providing solutions to problems the two main parties are desperately trying to ignore.
The Republicans’ and Democrats’ binopoly is 5 percent away from being revealed for the corrupt, tyrannical, false dichotomy that it truly is.
Those of you seeking to change the system will never accomplish it by voting for a Republican or Democrat.
They already own the system. They’re the ones who’ve ruined it. They’re not going to fix it.
When then do we stop voting for them? Will we ever? Are we just going to lay down and accept this broken, corrupt, partisan system that we’ve inherited?
We are the next generation. It is about time we started acting like it.The time to break the two party stranglehold is now.
I will not vote for continued spending and borrowing, bailouts and subsidies of the two main parties subservient to corporate interests. I do not consent to unending global intervention and continuing the drug war and living in a heightened police state.
I don’t want to vote for Obama or Romney because in three years I don’t want to be protesting against the man I helped elect into office.
Our political system is broken. We can fix it with five percent of the vote; let’s get these issues in the national dialogue. They want to keep us out of the conversation, but the cause of liberty is not going away.
I’m voting for Gary Johnson this election. I’m voting to fix the system.
(Read full column here)
Tags: Bush, elections, FISA, NSA, Obama, presidential, Supreme Court
Read full column here.
Is it unconstitutional for the government to spy on Americans without a warrant? Right now the government can intercept American citizens’ emails, cell phone conversations, text messages, Google searches and bank records.
Is this constitutional? On Monday, the Supreme Court didn’t seek to answer this question. Instead, it heard arguments about whether or not this question even gets to be asked.
The National Security Agency (NSA) under President W. Bush after 9/11 completely disregarded the constitution and conducted warrantless domestic surveillance until the media revealed its obviously illegal breaches in 2006. This was a clear violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was enacted in the 1970s to keep Americans safe from unlawful eavesdropping.
Initially, our representatives in congress claimed to be outraged by the federal overreach. Two years later, however, a statute was passed — with the approval of then Senator Obama, no less — that retroactively approved Mr. Bush’s constitutionally questionable warrantless wiretapping and granted immunity to telephone companies that had cooperated with the government in the program.
With the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the government now had broad and unprecedented power to monitor American communications without individualized warrants. The statute weakened judicial oversight of surveillance activities, lowered the government’s burden of proof for wiretapping suspects and completely eliminated traditional constitutional protections of the privacy of innocent citizens.
“Since 2001, the NSA has been willing time and again to throw the Constitution overboard and snoop on innocent Americans who are not suspected of any wrongdoing,” wrote Bill Binney, a whistleblower that worked at the NSA from 1965 to 2001, in a Politico editorial. “Using shockingly fast machines called NARUS devices, the NSA can monitor virtually every single phone call, email and text that passes through the United States.”
Then whenever it wants to, the NSA can go and make a dossier on every one of us, without any warrant whatsoever. “That would be well and good if the agency followed the law and tracked only suspected terrorists,” writes Bill Binney. Under “the FISA Amendments Act, the NSA conducts blanket, dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications, even when there is not even a hint that we’ve done something wrong.”
On Monday a lawsuit was brought against the 2008 FISA Amendments Act by the ACLU on behalf of human rights attorneys, journalists and human rights and media organizations. Donald Verrilli Jr., President Obama’s Solicitor General, asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the case on the basis that the plaintiffs couldn’t prove they had standing.
Obama’s Justice Department insists that Americans cannot bring suit against the NSA because no civilians can say with absolute certainty that their communications have been intercepted by secret surveillance.
Why can’t anybody actually find out if they’ve been a victim? The government won’t tell anybody — it’s classified. The Obama administration refuses to release any information about who has been spied upon or how many times — though Sen. Rand Paul says Americans have been the victim of warrantless surveillance “gazillions” of times.
Basically, Obama’s Justice Department is arguing that unless the plaintiffs can prove they will be monitored — which is impossible, since the list of who’s monitored is classified — they cannot sue.
This is the government’s argument that the Supreme Court considered on Monday. The court is split (like always) with four liberal judges in favor of letting the suit against the FISA Amendments Act reach the Supreme Court and four conservatives opposed with Kennedy expected to act as the deciding vote — who appears to be leaning toward siding with the liberal voting bloc.
You have most likely already been the victim of warrantless surveillance, your information is currently being accumulated in some database — that’s not the point at issue here. The issue is that Obama’s Justice Department is asserting that the American people don’t even have the right to bring this challenge to court.
The Obama administration isn’t saying it’s going to do anything with all of the information they’re gathering on you. All they’re saying is that they have the power to conduct warrantless surveillance against American citizens, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Tags: deception, defiance, Discursive Regimes, elitism, esoteric, nomenclature, poem, poetry, truth
Spare me your nomenclature
Your esoteric claim to fame
I find your elitist presumptions
insensible and mundane
You can’t speak over me
I know your game
Tags: Bush, CIA Director, Collegian, current-events, debate, foreign policy, global interventionism, government, Hayden, Military Industrial Complex, non-intervention, Obama, Obama and Romney the same, Obama same as Bush, Pakistan, Politics, presidential debates, Romney, Romney same as Bush, War on Terror
To read the full column published in the Rocky Mountain Collegian, click here.
There was a clear winner in Monday’s debate. It wasn’t Romney. It wasn’t Obama. The winner of the debate is the unobstructed continuation of America’s global interventionism. The presidential debate revealed that regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican is elected president, the U.S. war machine will grind on.
While speaking at the University of Michigan, Michael Hayden, the director of the CIA under Bush, said that despite his initial skepticism of Obama, he was relieved to find that Obama’s tactics used in the War on Terror have simply been a continuation of the policies of his predecessor, President George W. Bush.
The only difference between Bush and Obama? Obama kills more — usually with unmanned aerial vehicles. Drone strikes are President Obama’s favorite national security enforcer. CNN reports he’s already authorized 283 UAV strikes in Pakistan, six times more than during Bush’s eight years in office.
Why such an increase in drone strikes?
“We have made it so politically dangerous and so legally difficult that we don’t capture anyone anymore,” former CIA Director Hayden said. “We take another option: We kill them.”
To read the full column published in the Rocky Mountain Collegian, click here.
Tags: Amendment 64, candidate, city of fort collins, Colorado, debates, drug war, Fort Collins, Gary Johnson, Initiative 301, legalize, Libertarian, libertarian presidential candidate, marijuana, medical marijuana, medical marijuana dispensary, Obama, Politics, presidential debates, rational drug policy, Romney, War on Drugs
My latest column, written in response to Gary Johnson’s visit to my city of Fort Collins this past Friday. To read the full column click here.
The War on Drugs has failed. You know it. I know it. Most people want to end it — yet America’s drug war has not been brought up a single time so far in the presidential debates.
“Can you ever think of a series of debates where drug policy has not had one word of mention in the debates?” Gary Johnson, Libertarian presidential candidate said Friday in Fort Collins. “And the reason is because of me.”
Speaking at a former medical marijuana dispensary in support of Amendment 64 and Initiative 301, Gary Johnson gave an impassioned speech for rational drug policy.
“90 percent of the drug problems are prohibition related — not use related,” Johnson said. “I think it’s really important that people understand the distinction between regulating, taxing, controlling a substance, that if it isn’t controlled — that’s the prohibition aspect.”
Our country has gone through this exact problem with alcohol, though marijuana is objectively a far less harmful substance. The true harm to society usually does not come from the drug itself, though, Johnson insisted: “Prohibition is always the killer: Quality, quantity unknown.”
Every year millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens are arrested for marijuana use, ruining lives and disproportionately affecting minorities — yet neither Obama nor Romney have addressed this issue during the debates.
The reason is because they have the exact same policy on the drug war: Continue to raid, prosecute, and imprison millions.
“I’m the only candidate running for president of the United States that wants to end the drug war now. Legalize marijuana now,” Johnson said to a cheering crowd. “50 percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, and why is the number so high? Because we’re talking about it.”
To read the full column, click here.
To watch the video of Gary Johnson speaking in Fort Collins, click here.
Tags: 14th Amendment, Affirmative Action, Collegian, current-events, discrimination, Equal Protection Clause, government, Liberty, news, Obama, Politics, race, reverse discrimination, Supreme Court
My latest column about Affirmative Action provoked quite the keyboard vigilante response:
Wednesday, the constitutionality of the use of affirmative action will be debated in the U.S. Supreme Court. Due to the composition of the Supreme Court, the potential racial discrimination currently allowed by affirmative action in higher education admissions may very well cease to exist.
This court case has special importance to me because I am in the midst of applying to law school, trying to fulfill my lifelong dream of earning my Juris Doctorate and serving the American public.
The fact of the matter is that if the allowance of race as a determining factor in admissions is abolished before my application is processed, I have a better chance of getting into law school.
If the color of my skin is no longer taken into consideration, I have a better shot at achieving my dream.
I believe — as previous Supreme Court rulings have established — that diversity is an integral part of creating a stimulating learning environment.
But the idea that the color of my skin is a detriment to my application to law school is abhorrent, and is supported neither by the Constitution nor subsequent Supreme Court rulings.
Read more at the Collegian.