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Insight

The fundamental rift within Islam

Part 1 of 3

 

It seems absolutely incomprehensible to most of us that would-be jihadist religious extremist recruits should volunteer to blow themselves up and otherwise commit suicide in order to murder masses of innocent persons, many of them Muslim believers, all under the utterly false notion that their martyrdom serves a higher purpose pursuant to the word and will of God.

A tale of two platforms

Post-convention comparative thoughts on the environment

Now that the exuberant Republican and Democratic national conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia are over, with their flag-waving appeals to patriotic fervor and their affirmations of the virtues of favored candidates for high office, the time has come for more sober reflection on the policies the two parties represent, which the candidates up and down the ballot, once elected, will be called upon to realize.

Universal and American human rights

When in a recent Mid-Western door-to-door poll, self-styled “conservative” voters were shown text from the U.S. Constitution, including the Preamble purpose to “promote the general Welfare,” a substantial number of respondents said they believed that the text must come from some sort of “Communist tract.”

Glyphosate is killing us all — let’s act

In 2015 a research project carried out by the University of California found high levels of the herbicide Glyphosate in the urine of 93 percent of the Americans tested nationwide.

Americans are waking up to the fact that the popular but over-used and misused herbicides, Monsanto’s Roundup and Dow Chemical’s  2,4D, containing Glyphosate, are toxic carcinogens. They are found in our environment and drinking water virtually everywhere, with severe, possibly life-threatening, impact on human health and the environment.

Improving affordable health care of all

It’s nice to be out in the fresh air again after two total knee replacements. Still, the time spent in hospital and rehabilitation was not a complete loss. It gave me time to think about our national health care system, and listen to the comments and experiences of fellow “inmates” on what’s right and wrong about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare.”

Afghan pink poppy defeats the world’s superpower

Readers of this column may be interested to read the in-depth study by University of Wisconsin Professor Alfred McCoy, entitled “Washington’s Twenty-first Century Opium Wars : How a Pink Flower Defeated the World’s Sole Superpower,”  which you can find online on Reader Supported News (Feb. 23, 2016).

TransCanada suit sheds light on free trade controversy

TransCanada has announced that, under the agreed NAFTA free trade process, the tar sands corporation will sue the United States for $15 billion in “damages” for its “arbitrary” failure to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. This should shine a bright light on the practical and legal implications of the so-called “investor-state dispute settlement” process common to NAFTA, CAFTA and the proposed TPP.

The GOP: yesterday and today

As a young admirer of FDR and the New Deal,”and born to a mainly Republican family in Sharon and Salisbury, I was nevertheless persuaded by the Presiding Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Republican organizer, and resident of Sharon, David W. Peck, to help do door-to-door campaign work in Manhattan for General Dwight D. Eisenhower in both 1952 and 1956. As you know, “I like Ike” won by a landslide in both years.

Minimum wage and the TPP

Due process rights may be weakened in U.S. courts of law

Although much progress has been made in affirming basic human rights and freedoms in the United States, there are too many recent cases of U.S. courts backsliding on procedural rights of due process, sometimes undermining longstanding constitutional interpretation, legal precedent, legislative intent and common sense. Here are some examples expressed, for simplicity, in the form of a few rhetorical questions: