Nuclear Tech for the Arabs, not the Persians

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

Reuters reports on “six secret authorizations” from the United States Energy Secretary Rick Perry regarding the sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

Screenshot_2019-04-06 U S approved secret nuclear power work for Saudi Arabia
SOURCE: Timothy Gardner, 3/27/2019, <https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-saudi-nuclear/us-approved-secret-nuclear-power-work-for-saudi-arabia-idUSKCN1R82MG>.

I’m not going to go into any details about how Saudi Arabia is an excessively authoritarian, theocratic monarchy that oppresses its people on a daily basis because anyone who pays attention to the news already understands that unfortunate situation (unless you’re also a power-hungry authoritarian who salivates over the kind of oppression that the House of Saud delivers daily). What frustrates me is the hypocrisy in American foreign policy. Why are so many power brokers so against the idea of our government making some peace with the government of Iran citing justifications like, “it’s a sponsor of terrorism,” or “it doesn’t align with American values,” but then those same psuedo-moralists will not make a sound when we deal with a government that does just that (state-sponsored terrorism). Can we at least have some consistency in our government policies? If we can’t deal with Iran because they are too authoritarian and they sponsor terrorism around the globe, then why the fuck are we dealing with the Saudis?

ArabianOil
IMAGE SOURCE: <https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-08-05/saudi-arabia-is-starting-to-stockpile-oil-again>.

I suppose it’s all about those Arabian oil fields and, since the Arabs don’t like the Persians, the U.S. will continue to suck that big Arabian penis until the oil runs out.

US AG’s Full Letter to Congressional Leaders on Mueller Report

Drug usage, individualism, and the spirit of a libertarian.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Since I’ve been old enough to question the meaning behind the words, “land of the free and home of the brave,” I have pondered over classic American ideas of freedom , specifically the apparent contradictions between the idea that Americans enjoy more freedom from tyranny than any other rationalized peoples and the punitive practices of American law enforcement agencies against non-violent criminals.  If America really is the “land of the free,” why is it a crime to light up a pipe filled with cannabis in the privacy of one’s own home?  What exatly is the American ideal of freedom?

In the interest of fairness, I do acknowledge that (in general) the United States of America is a decent place to live compared to many other countries across the globe.  While it is not logical to act prideful in the facts of your birth (no human chooses the circumstances of their birth), I am a little prideful about the relative prosperity of Western Civilization.  No society is perfect but there is prosperity relative to other countries.  The West’s top rankings on global freedom indexes are no accident – they are partly due to a a general culture that respects individualism and democratic-republicanism.

However; the United States has also been catalogued with the highest prison in the planet’s western hemisphere.  (See the International Centre for Prison Studies: World Prison Population List – ICPS).  Amongst Western nations, that is a poor ranking and Americans can do better.  I think a major factor in this high population of prisoners is the so-called “war on drugs,” which was initiated under President Richard Nixon.

The argument in favor of drug prohibition is an emotional one consisting of exclamations like, “we need to prosecute these drug addicts,” “get these lazy pot heads off the street,” people shouldn’t be using drugs,” and more.  All of these exclamations are irrelevant to individual freedom.  A legal case may be argued for limiting drug use in on public property reserved for the general population but, on private property, it is a simple case of individual property rights and personal freedom.  Regardless how one feels about drug use, it affects no one but the individuals involved and, if tobacco and alcohol use are not criminalized actions (two drugs much more dangerous than other drugs like cannabis) there is no consistent reasoning to criminalize less dangerous drugs.

Fortunately, there seems to be a growing shift in American cultures regarding durg use (at least regarding cannabis use).  More than half of the states in the union have legalized medical-based cannabis; eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized it recreationally.  Opinion polls show that more than half of the general public is now in favor of full legalization at the federal level.  Trends are moving in a more libertarian direction.

Content creator and YouTube pundit Wizard of Cause expresses his satisfaction towards this trend in the following video:

I think any person harboring some preconceived ideas about drugs and drug users should at least make an attempt to flip the argument around onto themselves and then ask themselves if they would want anyone else busting down their doors in a police raid for a minimal amount of cannabis.  Is that kind of environment really in line with an American ideal of freedom?  Are citizens really free if we have to fear law enforcement because of a personal decision on private property?

America celebrates 239 years of progress.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

239 years ago, a fledgling nation on the eastern coast of what was called the “new world” declared its independence from Great Britain as a gesture of empowerment against arguably the most powerful naval force on the world at the time.  The leaders of the secessionist movement had solidified their treacherous actions in history knowing that, if their efforts were to fail, they would be executed for crimes against the British Crown.  However; the vision that was shared by these revolutionaries had given them a common cause of liberty, which drove them beyond a fear of death.  Individuals who have the courage to collectively stand against a superior militaristic force for a cause greater than any one person are truly exceptional.

It is important to remember the courage and convictions of our ancestors whom were able to come together – beyond faith, beyond politics, beyond any one culture – and create a better society for their posterity.  However; it is also important to recognize where our courageous ancestors missed the mark.  Remembering their short-comings as well as their strengths does not dishonor them, but builds upon their vision.

In 1776, the United States of America was a young, optimistic, and ambitious nation with immense political and economic potential.  We were also largely dominated by an aristocratic society with the upper classes bearing an ever-so-slight superiority complex towards their so-called social inferiors and a somewhat prejudiced mentality against non-Western cultures.  The United States government was also practicing institutionalized slavery long after Thomas Jefferson wrote a declaration of war to King George III declaring the self-evident truth “that all men are created equal.”  It’s true that the ideals of those courageous revolutionaries were radically humanistic for their time, but it would take the rise of various social movements over the course of the next two centuries to progress the nation further (just compare American society in the revolutionary period to today and contrast the differences).  Despite several of America’s founders being anti-slavery, the issue of slavery would not be settled for another 85 years from our declaration as an independent nation, and American societies today are still feeling effects of issues that surround our past as a slave nation.  The point I’m trying to make here is that the United States was progressive for its time back in 1776, but could still make improvements as time passed.

Americans have progressed from the revolutionary period and we should feel pride in how far we’ve come, but there is still progress to be made.  There is always progress to be made because there is no such thing as a perfect society.  It is important to understand our history and humble ourselves as we stand on the shoulders of our forefathers, the courageous men and women who risked everything so that their children and grandchildren could have a better life.

One of the shortfalls of America’s founders lies in their failure to address the issue of institutionalized slavery, as I previously mentioned.  Frederick Douglass references the apparent hypocrisy of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence in an 1852 speech.

“I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary!  Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us.  The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.  The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me.  The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me.  This Fourth of July is yours, not mine.  You may rejoice, I must mourn.  To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony (Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan, truthdig, 2015).”

Slavery is America’s original sin and Frederick Douglass orated that superbly in pre-Civil War America.  Today, 150 years after the end of the Civil War, American societies across our landscape remain torn apart by old tensions.

As a scholar of American history and politics, I understand the resentment that African-American communities (and other historically minority communities) feel toward the United States government.  Any honest scholar understands that history seldom paints pretty pictures, but rather reveals a continuous struggle between the “have’s” and the “have-not’s.”  However; I also believe in the potential of America and the promise of progress through the collective strengths of exceptionally courageous individuals like the British colonial revolutionaries of 1776.  People like George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry, and others believed in improving their world and, while they may have been men of privilege, they used there privileged foundations to build what they believed to be a better world.  That should be a goal of every generation: to stand on the the shoulders of giants and raise the standard of living for every person in the society.

On this Independence Day, and every subsequent Independence Day, Americans can reflect on the progress they’ve made as well as look to the future at prospects of creating a better society not just for Americans, but for all of humanity.

Happy Independence Day!