Friday, July 25, 2014

Reconsidering the Death Penalty

See previous blog posts on the Death Penalty:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Persecution of Christians

  • NYT -- Christians Forced to Flee Mosul

    "By 1 p.m. on Friday almost every Christian in Mosul had heard the Sunni militants’ message — they had until noon Saturday to leave the city.

  • FoxNews -- Mass Exodus of Christians from the Muslim World

    The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently said: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.” In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Pattern of the Obama Administration

Fumes from Obama’s Chemical Safety Board -- WSJ

"In the smallest stories we sometimes find the biggest themes. The small story of the past month has been dysfunction at a backwater federal agency known as the Chemical Safety Board. Yet in this tale of obstruction, bullying and lawlessness we find what is now the clear pattern of the Obama administration. The president says openly that neither Congress nor laws will keep him from implementing his agenda. That attitude now seems to reign at every body in Washington, down to the teeny CSB. Blame Mr. Moure-Eraso for dysfunction, but remember that he's just emulating the boss."

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Putin and Russian Interests in Eastern Europe

  • Moldavia may be an Urgent Matter

    "NATO's Article 5 offers little protection against Vladimir Putin's Russia," Iulian Fota, Romania's presidential national security adviser, told me on a recent visit to Bucharest. "Article 5 protects Romania and other Eastern European countries against a military invasion. But it does not protect them against subversion," that is, intelligence activities, the running of criminal networks, the buying-up of banks and other strategic assets, and indirect control of media organs to undermine public opinion.

  • Some Divions in Easter Uklraine Rebels

    "Deep strains emerged Thursday in the ranks of Ukraine's pro-Russia insurgents, as dozens of militiamen turned in their weapons in disgust at Russian inaction and bickering broke out between rebel factions."

  • Putin Angling to Restore Ties with the West

    "When he speaks about Ukraine at all these days, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia focuses on worthy subjects like humanitarian aid, distinctly turning down the flame underneath the political speech that erupted with the annexation of Crimea in March."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

China Rethinks the Death Penalty

New York Times - China Rethinks the Death Penalty

"Interviews conducted by criminologists suggest that international criticism has had an impact as well. In 1977, a mere 16 countries had abolished the death penalty; today 140 countries — over two-thirds of the world’s nations — have done so in law or practice. Chinese legal scholars and judges are fully aware of their country’s role as the outlier."

"China’s penal practices are far from enlightened. Even if Mr. Liu’s assertion of halving executions is true, China still executes about 3,000 people a year, according to the Dui Hua Foundation, compared with 39 in the United States in 2013."

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Sectarian Middle East

  • Islam's Ancient Sectarian Rift

    "Once aroused, however, sectarian wrath can be unpredictable and hard to control, even boomeranging against those who might have sought to exploit it."

  • Quarantine the Middle East

    "Amid the chaos, then, we should partner with Muslim communities that are holding together, despite sectarian differences, and where local leaders are open to change. We should seek ways to enlarge their strength and appeal."

  • Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire

    "Almost 70 years ago, a new world order was born from the rubble of World War II, built by and around the power of the United States. Today that world order shows signs of cracking, and perhaps even collapsing.

    To understand where America, and the world, may be heading, it is useful to remind ourselves where we have been—of the choices that Americans made decades ago and of the profound, world-changing consequences of those choices."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sobering Statistics

  • Youth Fail to Qualify for Military Service

    "Approximately 71% of the 34 million 17-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. would not qualify for military service because of reasons related to health, physical appearance and educational background, according to the Pentagon..."

  • "Maybe We Don’t Have the Worlds Best Colleges

    America’s schools and colleges are actually far more alike than people believe — and not in a good way. The nation’s deep education problems, the data suggest, don’t magically disappear once students disappear behind ivy-covered walls..."