Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Children should not be allowed to vote

James Doorley of the National Youth Council says that 16 & 17 year-olds should be allowed to vote. That's utter nonsense. They're children.

Still, I presume Doorley believes otherwise. He must consider 16 & 17 year-olds capable of reasoning as adults, which should be the minimum presumption for anyone allowed to vote. I wonder if he also believes that that criminals of that age should be tried as adults. If they can reason as adults they can tried as adults.

Also, if they're old enough to vote that should mean that that they don't need the support of the National Youth Council, in which case that organization's budget can be cut accordingly.

Friday, August 05, 2016

No gain for Hillary digging into the Trumps of the 90s

In the past few days I've seen articles about pictures Melania Trump posed for back in the 1990s - before she was married - and stories about her visa situation from the same time. Now, I'm sure the motivation for these stories is to somehow damage Donald Trump, but I can't help thinking that anything that harkens back to the 90s will not be good for Hillary Clinton either.

Let's see: Mrs Trump was in her mid 20s and posed for what could be considered titillating photographs. I doubt the existence of such pictures will actually damage Donald Trump's campaign at all, but if we're re-examining the candidates' spouses' sexual behaviour in the 1990s I don't think Melania will come off worse than Hillary Clinton's spouse.

All the Trump campaign has to do is keep pounding away with pictures of Bill & Monica Lewinsky and talk about that blue dress. That one escapade alone assures Bill of the title of "Sleaziest behaviour by a candidate's spouse."

And the visa issue?

Again, maybe Mrs Trump's on dodgy ground and maybe she's not, but whatever about the legal murkiness of her having walked a runway while on a visitor's visa, let's face it - Bill's legal troubles from the same time are far more politically damaging.

Even if you take his word for it that he wasn't sexually harassing anyone or taking advantage of a young intern, that everything was consensual and above board, that still means that at best he comes across as a dirty old man and Hillary was his enabler.

I know for people my age and for the seriously involved political junkies what the Clintons did in the 90s is old history, but there are quite a few younger people who actually only have the slightest understanding of what he (they) got up to at the time. I can't see what benefit Hillary gets from people opening up the 90s can of worms or spouses' behavior. Her best bet is to keep the focus on her vs Trump and not on Bill vs Melania and on the here and now and not the past.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cameron bows out a failure, but with honor

© Daily Express
I don't get the logic that says the Brexit referendum has left the UK divided. Well, maybe it has, but wasn't it already divided? I mean, minus the Brexit referendum you'd have had a disaffected MAJORITY, powerless, unable to express its wish that the country leave the EU. How is that preferable to a divided nation where you have a disaffected MINORITY?

I know I'm just about the only person out there who feels this way, but I have great respect for David Cameron as he bows out. During the election campaign he promised to hold a referendum on EU membership, something that seems to have been an unfulfilled pledge for nearly 20 years now. So then he does the unthinkable and FOLLOWS THROUGH on his promise! I mean, how dare he do what he said he'd do during the campaign?

He called for the referendum then did his best to secure a REMAIN vote, but it wasn't enough. He didn't find the right formula, which I actually believe he might have, and the UK voted itself out of the EU. And now Cameron, having failed, has fallen on his sword. He's gone not because of negligence of duty or corruption or abuse of power, but simply because he followed through on his promise and failed to secure the REMAIN vote he believed in.

So he's gone, a failure. I guess. But to my mind, Cameron is leaving the political stage with more honor than any national political leader I can think of (especially from a parliamentary system like they have in the UK & Ireland).

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Hillary's "home state" is not New York

I was listening to "Morning Edition" on NPR this morning and during their discussion of the Democrats' battle they referred to NY as Hillary's home state, and that Sanders would have his work cut out for him as an outsider. I don't get any of that.

When I hear Sanders talk I hear NYC. He's so clearly from NY that I'm sure the people of Vermont never forget that he's not really one of them, although they clearly don't hold that against him. And Hillary? She was born and raised in Illinois and spent most of her adult years in Arkansas and Washington. Her attachment to NY is like that of a European knight to an estate granted to him by a grateful monarch. She is NOT from NY.

{None of that means that Sanders will win the NY primary, but the media should stop pretending that Hillary is a New Yorker.}

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Polish people should be thankful for the "miracle of Solidarity" & Lech Walesa

Lech Walesa is one of the great heroes of the 20th century. That some in Poland - including the current government, it seems - see fit to label him a Communist collaborator is shattering.

I don't equate Gobachev with Walesa because Gorbachev ended up ushering in the revolutions that brought down Communism in the eastern bloc by accident. He only intended to loosen Communism's tight grip; he never meant for what happened. His plan wasn't much different than what has happened in China.

But Walesa? He believed in freedom and risked everything for it. He wasn't the only one in Eastern Europe or even in Poland, but he was the most prominent. He was the head of the defiant labor union Solidarity, the man whom the Polish people chose to make president in their first post-war free election. As Ivan Krastev put it in the NY Times "the miracle of Solidarity would have been impossible without leaders like Mr. Walesa."

Walesa is a hero to all freedom-loving people and should be remembered that way.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

UK would be wrong to test immigrants' progress in English

Demanding that immigrants learn English, testing them on their progress, is too much. No, you can't do that. Not everyone can learn a new language. The older you get the more difficult it is. Should a middle aged Englishman be barred from marrying a middle aged Russian woman who might well struggle to learn English? No, it's unnecessarily harsh.

Assist immigrants. Help them to learn English. That should be enough. And absolutely insist on English-only in school.

However, ensuring they are keen to assimilate is a different matter. Women who move to Britain - or any western country - must be full citizens, fully able to talk to, show their faces to anyone they meet, interact with.

Again, I don't think the veil should be outlawed, but if businesses don't want to serve women who cover their faces that should be their prerogative. We in the west need to see the face. It's part of how we communicate. If someone doesn't want to show me their face then I should be able to say, "You don't want to communicate with me then I don't trust you sufficiently to do business with you."

Banks and other businesses insist that motorcyclists remove their helmets. I see no problem in any business doing the same with the veil.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

"Keep an eye on Chris Christie"

George Will argues that Chris Christie is not finished by a long shot. His path to the nomination isn't as difficult as the Trump vs Cruz scenario that we're currently being fed would have us believe.

As chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2014, Christie campaigned frenetically, dispersing more than $100 million as 17 Republican governors were reelected and seven new ones were elected. So far, only four governors have endorsed candidates: Alabama’s Robert Bentley supports Kasich, Arkansas’s Asa Hutchinson supports Huckabee, Maryland’s Larry Hogan and Maine’s Paul LePage support Christie. So 24 Republican governors, many of them indebted to Christie and all of them disposed to admire executives, have political muscles to flex.