An introduction to How the US and Israel Became Allies

The history of the world is fraught with conflicts and resolutions, some of which are still under debate to this day. History books only cover a certain amount of the story, and it can be difficult to understand how certain allegiances were made. For instance, a lot of folks don’t realize how the United States and Israel became allies.

It has been more than a century since Zionism began and the Jewish people in Europe began relocating toward what is now Israel. However, it was the involvement of the European and American politics which had the most dramatic and lasting impact in establishing Israel as a country to be respected.

At the end of WWII, the formation of Israel established an ally in the Middle East. The relationship has benefited both parties, though it has not always been a steady and stable one. As Israelis infringed on the rights of the Palestinians, there were many countries in the Middle Eat interested in helping them to fight back. However, with certain American and European leaders promising to back Israel during a conflict, it has created difficulty for their allies in helping the Palestinians.

One of the reasons that some cite for American support of the tiny nation is a shared value system. Because the US was founded and established using many of the Christian values of the European culture at the time, they have a basis in the Old Testament writings of the Bible. These are the same texts that Jewish adherents use for their faith. Although their historical beliefs diverge at the point of Jesus Christ being the savior born and many people in the US today no longer even believe in Christianity, the common history provides a strong foundation for an ongoing friendship that benefits both sides.

With an established ally in the Middle East, the US can keep a close eye on what is happening in the region. Meanwhile, Israel gets to enjoy the support and backup of their larger and more powerful buddy on the other side of the world. This win-win situation is likely to continue as both sides receive benefits from the other. Should a political upheaval occur in the US, it is possible that the new value system would no longer be congruous and that the relationship could suffer as a result of the change. Only time will tell what the future holds.

Some Of The Pros And Cons Of Marijuana Legalization

In the United States, marijuana has been illegal for most the past 100 years or so. However, some states, such as Colorado and Washington, have now legalized owning personal quantities of marijuana with encouragement from attorneys and other legal advisors. However, this has opened up a lot of debate in other states about the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana. There are plenty of opinions on both sides and the different sides aren’t split along the usual political line either.

Legalized Marijuana Frees Up Policeman

One of the huge reasons to legalize weed is to free up the jails, courtrooms, and policemen to focus on other, more important crimes. There is always a shortage of money in the justice system so crimes have to be prioritized by importance with the most serious getting the resources and the lesser crimes not so much. In states that have now legalized smoking weed the police no longer need to pay any attention to those that are only smoking and can focus on dangerous felons.

It also relieves the huge burden that many young people pay when they enter the justice system after being arrested. The lawyers, fines, and jail time take their toll and leave many people in debt for years. Now they can be left in peace and not worry about being arrested.

There Are Benefits To Medical Marijuana As Well

The most common two drugs in weed have two different effects on the human body. One, the THC is what causes people to feel euphoric, or high, the other CBD has a full range of benefits that have nothing to do with feeling high at all. The CBD has been shown to be highly effective in reducing joint pain caused by arthritis. Many sufferers of arthritis have been taking opiates for so long that they’ve lost their effects and they have to keep increasing the dosage. By smoking medical marijuana that has a high CBD content they can reduce or completely replace all of the prescription pain medication they’re taking.

Although the evidence is still being collected and research being done to prove its effectiveness, many veterans swear by marijuana as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some US states have allowed prescriptions to be written so that those seeking help can smoke marijuana for relief. The US Department of Vets Affairs publicly states that there is no evidence of it working on PTSD yet millions of Vets go on PTSD forums and state their claims that it’s the best treatment available.

There Are Some Cons To Legalizing Marijuana

Obviously, people getting high is not the best use of their time, and driving a vehicle after smoking can be dangerous as well. But many people do the same after consuming alcohol and there are systems in place to reduce this particular type of abuse.

If nothing else, freeing up the justice system from the huge backlog of pot smokers will save a lot of money. At the same time, many of the states that legalize the drug are also collecting taxes on it and making money. The debate will rage on and eventually more states will legalize smoking marijuana and more studies will be done on it’s use in pain relief, PTSD, depression and other diseases as well.

Some Of The Most Corrupt U.S. Government Officials In History

With the U.S. political environment in upheaval, it’s led to a number of different claims. One of the common ones is that the Trump administration is the “most corrupt administration of all time“. However, many people who say that don’t have a very good grasp on history. It’s hard to properly judge if you have nothing to judge by.

Spiro Agnew

Given that Agnew was Vice President under Richard Nixon, one would think that’s all the scandal needed. However, Agnew decided he wanted to be remembered for his own corruption.

It was found that he’d accepted a total of $147,000 in bribes while he was the governor of Maryland. He also took a total of $17,500 in cash while serving as the Vice President.

Of course, unlike much of the corruption in recent years, Agnew was forced to resign and pay reparations to the state. He wound up being fined $268,000.

James Traficant

Traficant was convicted of 10 felony counts of crimes such as accepting bribes, racketeering, and tax evasion. Following a parallel to current political events, Traficant outright refused to admit he’d done anything wrong. As such, he refused to resign.

He was kicked out of Congress by a House vote that went 420 – 1. Not only was he kicked out of Congress, but he was then sentenced to 8 years in prison. So as blatantly corrupt as he may have been, he did see consequences to his actions.

Randy Cunningham

Cunningham, the House Representative from San Diego, was so corrupt that a book about his crimes had “the most corrupt congressman ever caught” as part of the title.

During the years 1991 and 2005, Cunningham sat on a committee that decided which defense contractors to hire for government business. This put him in a great position to accept large bribes, and the defense contractors were willing to do so. He accepted bribes in excess of $2.4 million dollars in exchange for his vote.

He was forced to resign, and in 2006 was sentenced to 8 years in the federal penitentiary. He was also forced to pay $1.8 million in restitution for his crimes.

These are some of the most corrupt U.S. officials throughout recent history. That said, these officials all suffered consequences for their crimes. The fact that some current politicians have seen no consequences for known crimes immediately more corrupt. After all, what can be more corrupt than committing these crimes other than getting away with it?

The Pros and Cons Of Building A Border Wall Between Mexico And The United States

The new president of the United States, Donald Trump, has decided to erect a wall in between Mexico and the United States. The reason for doing so is to theoretically help diminish the possibility of having illegal immigrants cross over from Mexico into America. Although there is a substantial fence line that is constantly monitored which has been successful at diminishing illegal immigration, it is thought that this wall will actually be a much better deterrent. Let’s look at the pros and cons of building a border wall between Mexico and the United States to determine whether spending billions of dollars on this new barrier will be worth the money.

Do We Currently Have An Existing Wall Or Fence?

There is actually a fence line between the United States and Mexico that has existed for many years. It does not, however, block the entire border. The continental border itself is nearly 2000 miles in length, but there is currently only 580 miles that is fenced off. Although it is not a continuous structure, it does protect a sizable area, specifically where the border is easy to access. There are also digital cameras, drones, and individuals that patrol this area, helping to make it as effective as possible. The areas where no fence exists are in regions that would require people from Mexico to travel into very mountainous areas or across desert terrain for a minimum of 50 miles before reaching the US-Mexico border.

Will A New 2000 Mile Wall Completely Eliminate Illegal Immigration?

It is unlikely that a wall that blocks the entire border would be 100% effective that preventing illegal immigration. People will still find a way to climb the wall, go under the wall, or they may simply focus on ramping up the creation of fake identifications. Although having a wall that extends the full distance would prevent people and vehicles from simply walking across the border, the remaining 1400 miles of the border that is currently not protected by a physical structure are areas where human beings would simply not attempt to cross.

The Pros And Cons Of Building This Wall

From a negative perspective, this wall is estimated to cost upwards of $20 billion, something that President Trump initially stated the Mexican government would pay for, will likely be paid for through American taxes. There is also no guarantee that it will prevent future illegal immigrants from crossing the border as pointed out by legal professionals. On the other hand, from a positive perspective, it may provide extra protection. Until the wall is up, and its value can be assessed, we may never know. What we do know is that illegal immigration is something that will continue to happen, and when people are desperate enough, they tend to find a way to get from Mexico into the United States.

About the Defense of Marriage Act

Byname of U.S. Public Law 104-199., the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) law in force from 1996 up to 2013 which specifically denied all same-sex couples all federal recognition and benefits bestowed upon opposite-sex couples. What those benefits included owe over 1,000 federal privileges and protections, for example access to employment benefits of a partner, recognition of relationship, joint tax returns, tax exemptions, residency or immigration or partners which were not citizens, rights of inheritance, protection from domestic violence, next-of-kin status. As well as the right to live together in college or military housing.

What the DOMA mandated was that states that banned same-sex marriage were not under the obligation to recognize same-sex marriages which had been performed in other states, this went as far as stating that for purposes of federal law, marriage could only take place between a man and a woman. When introduced, the act received overwhelming support from Congress even thought was speculated that same-sex marriage would soon be legalized in Hawaii, meaning the other states will be forced to recognize same-sex marriages which had occurred in Hawaii. The DOMA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. After that occurred, around forty states enacted unequivocal bans in either state laws or state constitutions on same-sex marriage.

A nonbiological parent in a same-sex couple under DOMA was not able to have a legal relationship established with the biological parent´s child or children; same-sex partners were also not allowed to take a family medical leave to care for their partners or nonbiological children, to adopt the children, or id the relationship ended, to petition the court for child support, custody, or visitations.

The way that DOMA advocates viewed opposite-sex marriage was as being the only appropriate context for procreation and for forming a family According to supporters of DOMA, alternative family formations was validated by same-sex marriage, it undermined monogamy and opposite-sex marriage, it encouraged relationships that were incestuous as well as polygamous marriage. Opponents argued that definition of marriage and family that were narrow like this devalued every other kind of relationship and family, discriminated based off of sex, and related homosexuality with polygamy and incest.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the definition the DOMA placed on marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman in 2013 (United States v. Windsor). The provision of law which had allowed these states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that had taken place in another jurisdiction was in 2015 invalidated by the court (Obergefell v. Hodges), which granted same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry.

Just What Is NATO Exactly?

If you have been paying attention to the news lately, you might have heard the term ‘NATO’ getting thrown around some. The organization was a campaign issue during the 2016 presidential campaign, as the Republican candidate Donald Trump threatened to weaken or even leave the alliance, charging that some nations were not paying their share. After his win and assuming power in the White House, his commitment to the alliance was a foreign affairs matter in his first trip overseas. The constant mention of NATO in the news left a lot of folks wondering what NATO is and how does it influence politics in the US.

NATO is an acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Its roots trace back to the conclusion of World War II in the European theater. It took the combined Allied forces from North America, Western European nations, and the Soviet Union to defeat Nazi Germany. As a result, the USSR (now Russia) occupied much of Eastern Europe at the end of the war, including half of Germany. Those nations had communist rule and were politically and militarily subservient to Moscow’s wishes. They collectively formed a multinational alliance known as the Warsaw Pact.

NATO was a vehicle for the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and other nations to join together to stand with one another in the threat of global war with the Soviet Union and its vassal states. The actual line-up of NATO states has grown and changed over time, now reaching to places like Turkey and the Baltic States. Many other former Soviet republics or Warsaw Pact nations are either now members of the Alliance or petitioning to join.

Article V of the NATO charter is what states that allies must come to the aid of a member state when attacked. Despite all the tension of the Cold War, this clause was only triggered once during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

While the Cold War is long over and the Warsaw Pact is gone, a resurgent Russia is challenging the strength and unity of the remaining NATO alliance. The possibility of a Russian invasion of places like the Baltic states concerns the alliance possibly being triggered and used, and while President Trump did not initially voice support for Article V commitment, he has done so since. The alliance will stay in the news for some time to come.

A Closer Look At The United Nations

The United Nations is an organization that was formed to maintain international peace, cooperation, and order among the countries and states that are members. It currently has 196 member states and was founded in 1945 in order to act on issues affecting humanity in the 21st century. This organization is financed by the member states and is the most powerful inter-governmental organization on Earth. This organization mainly focuses on promoting human rights, fostering social and economic development, providing aid to countries affected by conflict or natural disasters and is committed to world peace on the whole. At the end of the Cold War, the United Nations took on the role of being peacekeepers throughout the world and has had some good success in doing so.

This organization is all about maintaining international peace and security and was founded after the second world war to do just that. The UN has peacekeepers that actively work to prevent conflict and help conflicting countries or nations to make peace. They also work hard to create the right conditions for peace to hold and allow the nation to flourish.

Protecting human rights is another major task that the United Nations sets out to achieve. It is one of their key purposes and is a guiding principle of the organization. They created the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 that makes human rights an important component of international law.

Delivering humanitarian aid is another key purpose of the UN. They first started after the devastation caused by World War II by helping Europe to completely rebuild. They are usually relied upon to organize relief operations for both natural disasters and man-made conflicts around the world.

Promoting sustainable development has become a main priority of the United Nations. They seek to improve the well-being of people in disadvantaged countries and situations without any attention being paid to gender, sex, race, religion or language. Sustainable development with protection of the environment is actively promoted since the well-being of both humans and the earth is seen as critical.

Lastly, upholding the international law is a key part of the role of this organization. All of the member states of the UN are bound by these laws and the UN charter is seen as an international treaty which all member states have to abide by.

In closing, we have just looked at what is the United Nations. We have covered the main roles of this organization and how they work to improve the world not just for one nation, but all.

Understanding The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs is primarily associated with the United States desire to end the illegal drug trade and influx of drugs into the nation. The initiative was begun under the presidency of Richard Nixon and set forth a number of policies that were designed to end the production, consumption, and distribution of illegal psychoactive drugs. It was at this time in 1971 that President Nixon announced that drug abuse was considered “public enemy number one”. This war that began over 45 years ago costs American taxpayers over 51 billion dollars a year.

The war on drugs would pick up considerable steam under the Reagan administration. In fact, it was Nancy Reagan who would create the Just Say No campaign to introduce this war to children across the world. The campaign would use cartoon and sitcom stars to showcase this new aspect of the war. While it was a highly successful campaign and got children talking about drugs in the open, it did very little to slow down drug use in the nation (especially in Missouri) or world.

The war on drugs would continue through the next several presidential administrations with very little change. It would not be until President Obama took office that the war would take on a new course. While the war would continue, the administration decided it would no longer be known as a war on drugs. It was decided that the term was counter-productive and that drugs needed to be treated as a disease and not the enemy. In fact, it was the drug policy of Sweden that changed the policy of the United States. Within Sweden, there has been great care to provide health care for drug addiction as well as drug legalization. It has been shown to work as the Swedens use of cocaine is barely one-fifth of what Spain uses. It is assumed if we follow a similar policy the drug rate will lower. Which is one of the reasons there has been a considerable turn on the legalization of marijuana in this country?

However, with all of the policies and money that has been spent the war on drugs was declared a failure in 2011. In addition, it was stated that the world is a worse position due to the war on drugs. It is now known that new initiatives need to be put in place and the world needs to rethink drug policies.

The Threat Of Cyberterrorism

Cyberterrorism is on the rise, with more and more attacks being reported on a daily basis. Large computer hacks on corporations, government databases, and computer networks are becoming more common and more people are having their private information stolen by cyber terrorists. Cyber terrorists could potentially disable power grids or even bring down the Internet, which could result in disaster.

Cyberterror attacks could bring down the banking system and even start a nuclear war if the terrorists were able to successfully hack the military. One of the worst things about cyberterrorism is that it operates in the shadows and it is extremely difficult to actually apprehend anyone.

You can find hackers who are actively trying to do harm anywhere from ISIS to neo-Nazi groups. Their intent is to create chaos and steal personal information from multiple people to both track people and cause financial harm. On an individual level, being hacked causes extreme stress and you feel that your privacy has been invaded.

Cyber terrorists have a larger goal of carrying out attacks that are actually going to kill people, like tampering with the computers that run nuclear energy plants for example. These attackers will try to create chaos in any way possible and will look for loopholes that allow them to get access to the most sensitive information they can find.

Power stations could be potentially vulnerable as there are so many of them and it is impossible to fully protect them. If hackers managed to shut down a power station in the heat of the summer, it could be disastrous because thousands of people would temporarily lose their air conditioning and their refrigerators would go out.

Cyberterrorists look for vulnerability and when they find it, they exploit it. Whether they are working on disrupting the financial system or taking down infrastructure, eventually an attack is going to succeed. Any computer system is going to be vulnerable to attack, no matter how much security is in place. A good cyber terrorist is going to find a way to get around those security measures and try to harm people in the worst way they can.

Oil refineries, water plants, pipelines and more could be vulnerable to an attack. It would be wrong to underestimate how much chaos an attack could cause. Hackers could even do something like attack retailers before Christmas and cause extreme financial harm to them. Cyber terrorism is a real threat.

An Introduction to the History of Political Debates in the United States

When you hear the word “election,” one of the first things that probably pops into your mind is the very public debate system that is now used for every seat from President to the city council. However, you might not know much about the history of political debates and how they became an important part of the election process.

For much of the history of the country, debates were a non-issue. The first actual debate involved Abraham Lincoln before he became president of the country. He had followed a competitor and questioned him from the audience. At one particular venue on the journey, both men took the stage and debated for more than three hours about the issues of the day.

However, the trend did not catch on at that point in time. Many years later, the radio helped a bit with attention to Thomas Dewey and fellow presidential contender Harold Stassen taking to the airwaves to debate their differences on communism and whether it should be outlawed in the country. A few more debates even took place on television with little fanfare.

That all changed when future presidents Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy engaged in a televised debate during late September 1960. Nixon was not feeling well and had been hospitalized recently. His color was poor and he had dropped some weight while ill, making him look even more gaunt.

On the other side of the stage sat JFK, just back from California and showing off the casually handsome tan and winning smile the young man became known for. While those who listened on the radio found Nixon held himself well during the debate, those who were watching future-President Kennedy were mesmerized, at least somewhat, by the healthy and energetic young candidate. It’s sad what happened to him in Texas.

It became clear that debates were a huge deal in election outcomes and that appearances played a big role, possibly even more than where candidates stood on issues. It has been more than 50 years since then, and debates take place at every level of the political field today.

While it seems earlier citizens had little interest in debates, the addition of television access to the political process seems to have changed all of that. Though few candidates resemble JFK, they have learned the lessons of charm and ease when speaking to the public. Every debate these days has something interesting to unveil!