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Cicero, Iran, and the American Interest ... Marcus Tullius Cicero was a fascinating man: orator, lawyer, philosopher, politician, Consul, Senator. Famous for, among other things, his eloquent defense of the Roman Republic against the rise of the dictators, in particular Mark Anthony, he was also a man who not only talked a good game, he, as they say, "walked the walk." In the end, his efforts to defend the Roman Republic cost him his head. (See Page 10, Apr 16, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Pope Commemorates Armenian Genocide ... On Sunday, April 12, 2015, Pope Francis made a statement of enormous political importance. He celebrated a Mass commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Within this Mass were several elements, each with independent importance. (See Page 10, Apr 16, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
John Adams, Indiana and Western Civilization ... There's been some churn in the past several weeks: Indiana passed a law on religious freedom, one that parallels a law signed by President Clinton (and which is already law in 21 other states). It's fair to say that much of the hullabaloo was more about trying to make political points then it was about the content of the law. Nevertheless, there are several important issues. (See Page 10, Apr 9, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Easter, LGBT, Christians and Discrimination ... Christians around the world celebrate Holy week, Good Friday and Easter. This is the Christian holiday. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Intimidated, scared, crazy followers of Jesus were filled with courage and new hope as they saw and touched Jesus after his resurrection. Those young frightened men suddenly became world changers and were willing to die for what they had experienced. The hope they promoted and wrote about is still impacting billions of people on the planet today who follow Christ and the Bible. (See Page 10, Apr 9, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Whither Yemen, Whither the Mid East? ... As we first supposed more than a year ago, Yemen has unraveled. US forces have left the country, the US embassy is closed, the Yemeni President has fled (he is currently in Riyadh). Houthi tribesmen have taken control of the capital and some smaller cities and towns, and, with significant support from Iran, are pushing on towards Aden - the second largest city after the capital (Sanaa). (See Page 8, Apr 2, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Are the Free Trade Pacts about Free Trade? ... The Free Trade Agreements are not about freedom. A better name would be "Loss of America Sovereignty Partnerships". Being worked out secretly we don't know what is in them. The TPP (Transpacific Partnership) includes the United States, some South American countries, Australia, Japan and Vietnam and TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) includes the United States and the European Union. (See Page 8, Apr 2, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Gaza and the Danzig Corridor ... In January 1920, per the Versailles Treaty, Eastern Prussia was separated from the rest of Germany with the creation of the Danzig (or Polish) Corridor, a piece of land that gave re-established Poland access to the sea. It didn't last long; the separation of East Prussia from the rest of Germany, and the German population in Danzig and Pomerania, were both issues used by Hitler to start WWII. (See Page 8, Mar 26, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
The Real March Madness ... The NCAA college basketball tournament is appropriately named March Madness. The craziest people associated with the sport are the University of Kentucky basketball fans. UK Coach John Calipari said so after the SEC tournament final game in Nashville, Tennessee. He stated to the 17,000 to 18,000 University of Kentucky fans, "You people are crazy." (See Page 8, Mar 26, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Mahan, Obama and Strategic Vision ... In 1904, English geographer H.J. MacKinder published "the Geographical Pivot of History," (the "Heartland Theory") labeling the central plateau of Asia the "pivot of Asia." His thesis was that control over the "heartland" would mean control over the world; it wasn't necessary to occupy the heartland, just to control it. This was why so many countries had fought for control of central Asia, from the Russian steppes down through Persia (Iran) and Afghanistan. (See Page 8, Mar 19, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Marijuana, Scenarios Change, Try Commonsense ... I've never smoked pot. Not once, I guess I must be missing out on something but I'm not sure what. My wife and I were in Seattle a year or so ago. We were there to visit my son. The city was having their first hemp festival. We saw a number of people walking the streets of Seattle who seemed like they were in a coma. They were in a happy coma but nevertheless they were in some kind of daze. (See Page 8, Mar 19, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Muscat Love ... Prime Minister Netanyahu stated his case to Congress and the world for further containment of Iran, and for the west taking an unconditional position of no nuclear weapons - ever - for Iran. Netanyahu raised the image of Esther, Queen of Persia, saving the Jewish people from the plot of Prince Haman, favorite of King Xerxes (Ahasuerus). Esther outmaneuvered Haman, and saved the Jewish people. The Prime Minister suggested that once again an Iranian (Persian) viceroy wants to destroy the Jewish people. And once again steps must be taken to stop him. (See Page 8, Mar 12, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
America Needs Help and It's Time To Start Some Place ... Enact a flat tax immediately. Make Americans' lives simpler. Throw out the tax code. Let poor families pay zero. Middle class families could pay 10% to 15% and highincome people could pay about 20%. Obviously the dollar amounts and percentages can be changed in either direction, the concept is what is important. Why have we made filing and paying our taxes such a nightmare? If we simplified the tax structure in this nation we could easily eliminate more than half of the Internal Revenue Service. (See Page 8, Mar 12, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Muscat Love ... I recently came upon some of my notes from late 2009; they had to do with growing unrest in Yemen. A brief recap: Yemen (occupying the south-west corner of the Arabian Peninsula) is country of 23 million, and 203,000 square miles (about 4/5th the size of Texas). People have lived there for at least 3,200 years (the Sabaens - Sheba - flourished there), and in local mythology Aden is the site of Eden. (See Page 8, Mar 5, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Finally The Smoking Gun ... I was astounded last week when I heard President Obama say on national television that global warming was just as dangerous to each of us as terrorism. For him to say such a thing in the face of overwhelming evidence that there has been no atmospheric warming in over eighteen years is unconscionable. Could it be that he shares the opinion of his architect of Obamacare, MIT Professor Johnathan Gauber, that Americans are too stupid to understand. Let me advise him that we are not stupid on either of these objectives and we will not stand by in passive indifference and let him and the United Nation. (See Page 8, Mar 5, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)
Mr. President I Want That Job ... In the movie "A Man For All Seasons" Sir Thomas More, on trial for high treason, comments to his accuser, Sir Richard Rich, solicitor for Wales: "What profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul? But Wales?" It's a question that many in Washington would have difficulty answering. In fact, there's a similar spiritual and intellectual gap in the leadership of the West that arguably leaves them incapable of dealing substantively with ISIS; that leaves them unable to understand what motivates many people. (See Page 8, Feb 26, 2015 Edition) (Have a Comment?)


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