America and capitalism: a complicated relationship

Money. We all want it. We want the comfort that it brings. The things that it can buy hardly matter more than when there isn’t enough of it to cover their cost. And while money might not buy happiness, but it can certainly buy peace of mind. And even if that peace of mind is as paper thin as the currency traded in for it (and often it is), every now and then, it’s all that stands between the “us” that we know, and the “us” that would do anything to get more of it. We, as Americans, have...

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Puritancical progress – today’s liberal issue

What does it mean to be someone’s equal? For the brave men and women of the Civil Rights era, the answer was simple: the right to one’s own body, freedom from the tyranny of corrupt law officials and racist systems of governance and the right to live free of mistreatment based on something as superficial as race. For the LGBT rights movement that began in and helped characterize 1960s America, and continues today, the goal was the same — the right to be free, to be an American as all other Americans are, unburdened by the institutionalization of hatred. We live in a time and place today in which societal change is happening more rapidly than possibly any other in human history. As we examine our own behavior as well as our role in the larger human collective, the lines become blurred as to what constitutes mistreatment, inequality and injustice. To put in context the complex and contradictory nature of our current predicament as a human race, consider the plight of women around the world. What would constitute gross mistreatment of women in much of the West would be considered the rightful order of gender relations in places like Saudi Arabia or Malaysia. Chief among our American values is the belief that all human beings, regardless of their gender identities, deserve to live free of discrimination based upon said...

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Heroin production: The hidden side of the War on Terror

Where it all starts: Afghanistan, 1978. The U.S. was 30 years deep into the Cold War, and after a brief cooling period, diplomatic relations had once again deteriorated. Still reeling from a crushing defeat in Vietnam only three years prior, the citizens of the United States were conflict weary. President Jimmy Carter, with his back against the wall after Iran and Nicaragua saw their pro-U.S. governments toppled in bloody civil wars, was forced to make a decision. Meanwhile in Afghanistan, the situation was just as grim. Prime Minister Mohammad Daoud, along with every single one of his family members was murdered brutally in a violent coup. A group of Marxists quickly assumed power, implementing their own form of Leninist-Marxism government defined by the expulsion of Islamic law and customs. The PDPA rushed to align themselves with the Soviet Union, a move which pushed President Jimmy Carter over the edge. You see, Jimmy Carter only had one goal: stopping the Soviets. His friends on the other hand (the list of which includes: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Britain, Egypt, France, China, the UAE and Israel) had other motivations. In the case of the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the fate of Afghanistan and neighboring Iran were of key religious importance, and it is this ideological split that doomed the endeavor from the beginning. Jimmy Carter lured the Soviets into Afghanistan in December...

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Americans must better understand poverty in the third world

Did you get that new iPhone? Did you save enough for that trip abroad? Did you get a good breakfast in you before that exam? Do you have a coat for the winter? Did you drink your two liters of water today? Did you boil it first? Did you go to sleep hungry last night? What about the night before? Americans know little of true poverty. For half of the human population, a day’s work is worth less than a latte from Starbucks. Poverty in the developing countries of the world means a constant struggle just to survive. Westerners, with our first world problems and petty squabbles, fail to realize our extraordinary quality of life in comparison to the rest of the world. That’s not to say that we are in any way without our own economic dysfunctions. In fact, the United States is one of the least egalitarian countries in the world. As of 2014, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans owned around 35 percent of the country’s total net worth, whereas the bottom 40 percent owned less than 1 percent, with the vast-majority of them holding a negative balance of assets. Wealth inequality is among the great shames in our country’s history, and one day Americans will look back on the systematic rigging of economic freedom that has taken place in our country since the 1950s in...

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‘Mindhunter’ goes inside the minds of the damned

What is evil? Like any philosophical argument, the question of what evil is, how it manifests itself and how it is best dealt with can descend quickly into abstraction. That said, no matter your views on good and evil, it can be objectively agreed upon that within the darkest corners of our society there exist men and women who personify the concept. Men like Adolf Hitler confound us with their propensity for committing evil. ISIS, the North Korean government and white nationalist terrorists are boogeymen haunting the newsrooms of CNN and MSNBC. But there is something relieving to the...

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