Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Hypocrite's Dilemma

Starting today, officially 4% of the states in the Union allow a gay couple to legally marry. Bay-bee steps. California's leap onto the official homo-scene of course coincided with a very important Observer Dispatch article which highlights, quite well, why we are going to be pushing for legalized gay marriage far beyond the time when I move into a nursing home. The article was a comparison of the policies of the men running for the 24th district congress seat, the incumbent Democrat Michael Arcuri and his opponent Republican Richard Hanna.

The question was framed as follows: "Should there be a federal law mandating that all marriages should be between a man and a woman? Why?" Of course it couldn't have been stated better, such as "what do you think about a gay couple's right to marry?" but who is splitting hairs? Anyway both men took the fairly safe position that it is not up to the feds to make a decision, that the issue must be taken up by the individual states. Arcuri went on to say that although he does agree that 'civil unions' should be allowed he felt that there are more pressing issues to be dealt with on the national scale such as health care, energy costs, and trade policies.

So to better highlight the plight of a group of people, who's request is only to be considered normal citizens: There are a ton of people who completely disagree with their request and most of the rest think is just not important enough to address.

To argue with those that outright disagree is, of course, laborious and a fruitless task which certainly leads to insanity, or at least stupidity. You may as well go yell at the bible itself because that is apparently where much of the justification for intolerance comes from. I am repeatedly dumbfounded every time I am confronted with a biblical argument when debating U.S policy since I swear I read somewhere that the U.S was founded as a secular nation. Couldn't these people just try to develop their own moral code based on the bible and argue with that, rather than telling us about the rules set forth in the bible?

If only they could let the rest of live in sin around them without interfering with their rules, we could live in harmony and just all get our eternal damnation in the afterlife. After all we're not asking to sacrifice your babies, we're asking for gay couples to be allowed to legally marry, like they do. But hell, that's silly, even if they did allow that then there would be a bunch of fags running around with their fair share of the taxes they pay, and that's cutting into God's people's change purses. We can't have that.

For those that do not completely disagree with gay marriage, but feel that there are much more important tasks to attend to, you're wrong too. Granted, health care and keeping the poor fed are very important issues among many that can not be discounted. However, how many senators and congressmen are single? It seems funny for a group so disinterested in marriage rights to all stop and get married before they got on with their important policy making. How many congressmen and senators kiss their husbands or wives on way out the door in the morning to go save the sick and the poor? Are they completely blind to the irony?

Now obviously this issue is going to have to be started by the individual states as it has, unless of course the South decides to secede again (we really should have just let them go). But those that think that this is not an issue best addressed on the national scale are crazy! The very reason for the development of our government over independent states was to aid in the relationships between those states. Like shipments over state lines, married couples are constantly moving from state to state. This leads to the inevitable cluster-fuck that we are seeing today, gay couples who are married in one state are not in the next, within the borders of their own country! Nothing travels over state lines more than people, so to say that this is not a national decision is to stamp yourself an idiot.

Congratulations California.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Nuclear Non-Proliferation

By Timothy Rice

The U.S has repeatedly expressed that it doesn't like the idea of Iran gaining nuclear weapons. Iran says it is simply trying to get nuclear-electric power, while the U.S and other U.N. countries think otherwise. To be honest in 2008, with a growing number of countries gaining nuclear technology, Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Unfortunately for the U.S it is caught in tough situation it has seen many times since 1968 when the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was first signed, how can the U.S expect other countries not to develop nuclear weapons when it's own stockpile is of ridiculous proportions?

The NPT was in itself a tool of proliferation. A collection of the most powerful states, all nuclear armed, signing an agreement that they would not aid in the proliferation of nuclear weapon technology. If this doesn't send a message to the rest of the world that the keys to world dominance lay in nuclear technology, then what does? In India, Israel, and North Korea, three new comers to the nuclear scene, regional dominance is thought to be a major pushing factor into nuclear technology. Iran is now poised to be the next nuclear regional power, and little is going to stand in its way of making that happen.

Unfortunately for the U.S as it leads in the quest to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons, it has very little in it's arsenal to do so. In the examples of North Korea and Pakistan the U.S has done little more than subject the states to unilateral economic sanctions. The U.S has found it difficult to convince other states who are part of the NPT to impose their own sanctions on these states. In Iran there is an even greater quagmire, the U.S has had Iran under economic sanctions ever since they took over the U.S embassy there in 1979, long before they began developing nuclear technology. In an attempt to force Iran to halt their nuclear development the U.S has attempted to hold Russia and China accountable through economic controls so that they too will sanction Iran. Unfortunately neither state is very interested in doing so, as they are both major weapons traders with Iran, including much of the materials needed for their nuclear program. By trying to force these two world powers around, the U.S is actually further eroding its power of persuasion over them.

Lack of a bargaining chip isn't the only problem the U.S faces as it tries to force the world into adherence to the NPT. Two other factors greatly diminish its influence, it's own interest in breaking nuclear treaties and it's very real threat of willingness to use nuclear weapons against other states. First for it's treaty breaking, the U.S has in 2006 proposed a program which will replace its current nuclear stockpile with more updated warheads and delivery devices. This replacement can only be considered ethically wrong, not lawfully as no more nuclear weapons are being created than are already owned. However, the situation becomes problematic when dealing with the treaties signed by the U.S and other nuclear states against the further testing of nuclear weapons because of the known negative effects on nature and humans. The U.S would never create an entirely new stockpile without testing. So what will it do?

Beyond redevelopment the U.S, the only country in history which has used nuclear weapons against an enemy, still considers nuclear weapons an option in times of war. Furthermore, this option has been considered for Iraq a non-nuclear armed country. After decades of the Cold War, where at least Mutually Assured Destruction somewhat protected both the U.S and the Soviet Union, the U.S has now plunged the world back into 1945 with threats of nuclear strikes against countries who do not have comparable devices.

Although the U.S has made some substantial movement to decrease its number of nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War it still harbors the best equipped nuclear arsenal in the world by far. Those who attest that the U.S must have a far superior arsenal in order to retain its police power over the world are out of touch with human emotion. Nuclear weapons may be able to deter countries from using other forms of conventional warfare, but they in no way can stop their own proliferation. With every day that passes that smaller states feel threatened by the U.S' ability to completely decimate them, they will want more to create a comparable weapon.

If the U.S really wants to control the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world it needs to stop meddling with pointless sanctions and needs to take the first step to changing what defines power in the world. Cutting it's arsenal in half after the cold war ended had little effect around the world, when what was left still greatly dwarfed what every other state had (with the exception of Russia).

The U.S needs to drop is arsenal to near zero in order to get other countries up to the table, and to get them to consider their own dismantlement. No one is going to put down their gun until the biggest gun gets put down. America, it's our move.