Last night I began a four-part Middle East series for Davenport and Bettendorf Public Libraries sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities. Some people who weren’t able to make it to the presentation asked for the recording. Here it is. Hope you enjoy it. I would really like to have your comments. If you questions about this topic or others, feel free to ask. While you’re here, please sign up on the right so I can keep in touch with you via email.
You’re probably tired of the presidential primaries, but brokered conventions are interesting, and we haven’t had one for a long time. 1952 was the last time. Since then, we’ve had only a few instances where the nomination wasn’t clear going into the convention. Here’s my review of the situation. We’re in new territory here.
A naval contingent from Iran was recently off the coast of South America. What does this mean in terms of the “Iran deal?” The news worth watching is commercial news. Big things are happening that will have long-term effects. Please watch this 4-minute overview, and give me your opinion.
We’ve been through a long history of “Cuba Si, Yankee No.” President Obama along with our Congressional Representative, Cheri Bustos, are in Cuba building on restored relationships, but our history with Cuba dates back to the Ostend Manifesto before the Civil War. After the Civil War, Cuba became a U.S. protectorate and we permanently acquired Guantanamo Bay. FDR’s “Good Neighbor Policy” changed that, but relations deteriorated when Castro came to power. The economic embargo is still in place, but dilomatic relations have resumed and changes initiated by Pope Francis are taking place. For more background on Cuba, watch my Guantanamo series. I think it was time for change. What do you think?
Is there anything in our history comparable to our current refugee situation? Yes, the year was 1798.
A bit of necessary background first–The French Revolution which began in 1789 reached its most radical and horrid stage with its Reign of Terror from 1792-5 which unleashed an exodus, many to the U.S. and others to Canada. As a two party system began to develop in this era, most of these refugees gravitated to the party of Jefferson and Madison which will impact our story. Continue reading How Did We React to Refugees in the Past?→
Iranians are proud of their democratic elections, though we would hardly call them “democratic.” They’re rigged as much as possible against regime opponents. Still, moderates won a fairly decisive victory. It looks from early idications like Obama’s gamble is working. Don’t get me wrong, the levers of power are still in the hands of the hard-liners, but I’m not sure how long they can hang on. A good part of the youth of Iran is disaffected. Women are gaining ground. If you look closely, you can see a parallel in our policies toward Cuba and Iran. That’s my opinion. What do you think? Please comment.
Despite the attempts in last night’s GOP debate in Detroit to politicize Detroit’s problems, the history is quite diferent. Detroit’s decline was the result of business decisions going back to the 1950’s. A utomakers ignored threats on the horizon and continued business as usual. Japan climbed from the ashes partly by applying Edward Deming’s quality concepts. By the 1980’s, Detroit woke up, but its market share had already plummeted. During part of that time, Michigan had a solid conservative Governor, George Romney. Add to that the fact that Detroit never fully recovered from race riots following the assasination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the impact of Ralph Nader, who pointed out that some of the cars being produced were “not safe at any speed,” and it becomes clear that much more is at work than political ideology. This ideological obsession really keeps us in the dark as far as solving the problems American cities face. That’s my opinion. What do you think?
What should we do with the ninety-one prisoners still at Guantanamo? Bring them to the United States? Thirty-four are probably not a significant risk. But what about the others? I gave my opinion based on a Washington Post article, but what do you think?
Why and how do we have prisoners at Guantanamo? As part of the war on terrorism, President Bush issued an order that suspect terrorists are not entitled to the rights of the Geneva Convention. To try to get useful intelligence suspected terrorists were subject to renditions at black sites off the radar in places like Egypt. How much useful intelligence was gained is a matter of debate. The Gitmo prisoners end up in a “no man’s land” because of the lack of choices. What now? I’ll take that up next. What do you think?
The deadline for a decision on what to do with the Guantanamo prisoners has come. But why are we in Guantanamo in the first place? We have had a protectorate over Cuba since the Spanish American War. Our Guantanamo Bay base has unmistakable strategic importance. Even Castro’s Cuban Revolution didn’t change this. It is a secure military base, actually an ideal place for detaining potential terrorists.