Should the West Be Involved in Syria?

Syria, Douma, alleged gas attack, the West, interventions, regime change
The images of civilians being treated after a suspect chlorine gas attack on April 7, 2018, became grounds for an allied strike in Syria days later. Once again, I weigh in on the prospect of the West escalating its presence there. Images taken via screenshot. (Video)

In April, I published a post about Syria and the combined strike of Syrian targets by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom in response to a reported chemical attack by Bashar al-Assad’s government. This came a year after the United States launched 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase in response to a suspected chemical attack by Assad’s government. Both times I questioned why Assad would do such a thing, if he did it, and it was justified for the United States to get involved.

I also meant to publish two more posts concerning the threat of more U.S. intervention in Syria, but never got around to it. This post and another are meant to tie in those events with current ones and a few other posts I made about the whole argument. Ultimately, I want to clarify my views on U.S. interventions and present more information.

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Famous Sayings #115 — ‘When Opportunity Knocks…’

July 29, 2018

When opportunity knocks, open the door.

when opportunity knocks, opportunity knocks once, famous sayings

This post is a two-for-one, because as I was looking up the phrase I quoted, I found a phrase close to it: “Opportunity knocks once.” You can probably guess the meaning of either phrase, but the origins might not be as clear.

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Neoliberals and Neoconservatives Are Horrible People

neoliberals and neoconservatives, arguing over the Internet, U.S. defense budget, socialism, capitalism, mixed economy, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
Just about every person represented in this picture is either a neoliberal or neoconservative. They are part of the problem. Trump has no real ideology, but he has enabled craven neocons who want to loot the United States. Image made by DonkeyHotey via Flickr.

Neoliberals and neoconservatives suck. Not only have they controlled American policy for the past 50+ years, but they threaten the very survival of the human race and this planet. Whenever people try to talk about solutions to solve the biggest crises facing the world, they are rebuffed by the same forces that have created those crises. I got a taste of it this week.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m really pissed right now, much like I was 3 ½ months ago because once again, I was arguing over the Internet. Yet instead of arguing about Syria (I have two more posts about it coming up), I was arguing about the type of future Americans want. In the process, I went against at least at least one neoconservative puke and two neoliberals, one worse than the other.

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Here’s a Reminder That George W. Bush Was Terrible

George W. Bush, Donald Trump, foreign policy, domestic policy, rehabilitating his image, never forget
On July 12, 2018, George W. Bush lamented the level of discussion about the United State’s immigration policies, but he left out the fact that he was part of the problem. Image taken via screenshot. (Source)

How do you feel about George W. Bush? I never liked him, even if he seemed approachable. I just never agreed with his policies, nor did I appreciate how he got into the White House.

Many Americans are “reevaluating” his eight years in the White House, especially in the face of a Donald Trump presidency. Their opinions of him might also have conditioned by the ongoing campaign Bush has been waging to present himself in a better light, aided by the press. However, letting Bush off the hook is a huge mistake.

George W. Bush has been feeling himself ever since Donald Trump ran for president in 2016, and the latter has the numbers to boost his ego. George W. Bush left the White House with an overall approval rating of 34%, but he became just as popular as Bill Clinton just 7 years later. Of course, that jump was attributed in part to Trump.

Bush has received more since he actively distanced himself from Trump. Last year, the former made a veiled comment about the latter (then denied that he was talking about the guy). At one point, Bush also said that Trump made him look good by comparison.

The truth is Bush was worse than Trump is currently — although Trump is very, very bad right now. But when you take both of their legacies at length and look at all the things both these guys have done, Bush did a lot more damage. That’s because Bush had eight years to do damage.

Of course, there is a lot of time for Trump to catch up — and Trump will likely do more damage in just four years. In the meantime, we need to remember why Bush became such a hated figure around the world from 2001 to 2009.

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Famous Sayings #114 — ‘Living the Life of Riley’

July 23, 2018

Just look at him lounging around. He’s really living the life of Riley, isn’t he?

living the life of Riley, Willy Reilly, Caillin ban, Sligo, Irish ballad, Penal Laws, famous sayings
The phrase “living the life of Riley” is based on an Irish ballad, which inspired a novel and a 1920 silent film. Caption in the image: “She raised herself from his arms, and assumer her full height, looked for a moment with her dark, deep, and terrible eyes upon Reilly.” Via Project Gutenberg.

This is a saying I have heard for years, and it’s one of those sayings with a meaning that is instinctively understood. If I was to guess when this saying originated, I probably would have guessed the 1940s, but the phrase is much older than that. It also has an interesting history.

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Famous Sayings #113 — ‘Roger [That]’

July 16, 2018

Dispatcher: Sergeant, be on the lookout. There is a suspect who just robbed a bank in the area. Witnesses saw him get away in a red Camaro. The suspect is armed and dangerous.

Sergeant: Roger that.

roger, roger that, famous sayings, radio communications, walkie talkie

This week let’s look at a term that has obvious origins in the military. “Roger that” is only one of many procedure terms, but it has its own interesting history.

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The Population Shift: More Reason to Abolish the Electoral College

Electoral College, abolish the Electoral College, presidential elections, undemocratic, minority rule, tyranny

I have long opposed the Electoral College and I now have 1 million more reasons to do so. One of them is the population shift in all 50 states.

Ever since I first heard of the Electoral College, I have always thought that it was undemocratic. It’s true. I first learned of the EC in the eighth grade (when my class was learning about the Constitution) and I was taken aback when I learned that people didn’t directly vote for the president. Sure, our votes generally decide who the electors vote for, but in 27 states, the electors can go against the popular vote.

Even though we have never really had to deal with faithless electors, a problem that we have seen twice this millennium is having an EC result that is different than the popular vote.

Because of the EC (and the Supreme Court and the shenanigans in Florida), we were stuck with George W. Bush in 2000 and now we got Trump, who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes in 2016. This isn’t right; voters should be able to elect the president directly.

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Net Neutrality in California: There’s Still a Fight Going on to Preserve SB 822

net neutrality, Miguel Santigao, California SB 822, corporate ISP shill
This is California State Assemblyman Miguel Santiago. He’s big on immigration rights and other progressive causes, like climate change. However, he might not be so progressive when it comes to net neutrality.

Right now, there’s a net neutrality bill being considered in California. I talked about this in an earlier post, but SB 822 still faces hurdles in the California Assembly. One of the hurdles it has faced recently was in the Communications and Conveyance Committee last month. Now, it appears that the bill may be back on track, but I do not trust a few of the actors involved.

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Famous Sayings #112 — ‘By Any Means Necessary’

July 8, 2018

We are going to fight for our rights and get them by any means necessary.

by any means necessary, Malcolm X, Civil Rights Movement, famous sayings
In one of Malcom X’s most famous speeches, he told his followers that they would fight for their human rights “by any means necessary.” Image via Flickr by Sabatu. Public domain image.

This is a phrase that can be applied today, but one that is at least 64 years old.

I first heard the phrase “by any means necessary” in the 1990s, during an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. In that episode, an activist friend of Phillip and Vivian Banks came to town and began influence Will and Carlton. The activist was still stuck in a 1960s mindset and she told Will that change needed to be fought for “by any means necessary.” Afterward, Will and Carlton tried to engage in their own activism while fighting to save the job of an unconventional teacher at their school.

At the time, I didn’t give much thought to what the phrase meant, especially since it was portrayed in such a negative light. The character who uttered the phrase in the Fresh Prince episode was stuck in time and labeled a radical, which is itself a loaded term. And while Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv were themselves activists in the 1960s, the writers made sure to make it clear that much of that was in the past.

With the past in mind …

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2017 Rewind: A Prelude to the Midterms

2017 rewind, midterms, Jon Ossoff
Jon Ossoff’s run in a Georgia special election was one of the most-watched races of 2017. It was certainly memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. The Democrats had a chance to gain a head of steam before the 2018 midterms but Ossoff’s loss was truly deflating. The image was taken via a screenshot. (Video)

For this timeline, I would like to first look at the fallout from the 2016 general election. Then I will look at the 2017 elections, in order to provide a greater context for the midterms and for Democratic successes and failures in the age of Trump.

As I discussed in my Rift on the Left series, the Democrats had lost 1,042 seats across the country from 2009 to 2017, so the party had lots of ground to cover. The Democrats were provided a few openings in the first half of 2017, as Donald Trump plucked four congressional Republicans to join his cabinet. However, Democrats went 0 for 4 in the special elections where they tried to flip those seats.

The latter half of 2017 offered much more promise. As Democrats picked up in fundraising, individual candidates began to outraise Republicans. Also, November 2017 saw a host of Democratic and progressive victories across the country, even in places where Democrats were not expected to win. These victories gave Democrats a lot of momentum, which was met by a series of Republican retirements in Congress.

With that understood, let’s look at the events of late 2016 and the elections that occurred in 2017.

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