The nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran have longed attracted negative US attention. The US has, in general, responded to these two budding, very distant threats by campaigning for international sanctions before attempting to utilize diplomatic options. The threats of both North Korea and Iran have largely been threats for US regional partners in the Middle East and Asia, so the American People have felt comfortable enough to allow US leaders to impose sanctions and negotiate settlements. North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile most likely capable of hitting the US mainland is, however, quickly making North Korea an imminent threat to the US and changing the threat assessment of the American People.
When it comes to the use of military force against North Korea and Iran, more traditional US Presidents have been unwilling to risk armed conflict with the powerful militaries of these two nations and their allies despite public backlash. Going to war with North Korea, or even Iran, would be very costly for the US military and likely cause far-reaching devastation. This is why the US and its allies have opted to engage in a delicately balanced “dance” with the likes of North Korea and Iran. Donald Trump is not, however, a traditional political leader. He is someone willing to defy what is expected, because he was never groomed by a career in politics to behave as a political leader while he has never been someone who carefully considers the consequences of his words and actions.
The healthcare insurance reform debate has rightfully consumed a great deal of attention from the American People. Amid Republican efforts to put their spin on Obamacare, however, a story about a dying baby in Britain and the decision of healthcare providers to deny him care caught the attention of the world, which prompted offers for medical aid from the likes of the Vatican and the Trump Administration. After a lengthy legal battle revolving around parental rights, patient advocacy, and healthcare rationing, 11-month-old Charlie Gard succumbed to the rare genetic disorder, known as MMDS, that affected his brain and muscles.
Healthcare providers at the Great Ormond Street hospital, as well as outside experts, determined no viable healthcare options existed for Charlie. His parents had hoped to explore experimental treatment in the US, but the British Courts decided to support the conclusions of healthcare providers. In Britain, healthcare is provided to citizens with little to no direct costs, so Charlie’s care was never an issue of the parent’s ability to pay for his care. His parents were even able to raise the millions required to pay for his treatment in the US. Although healthcare, especially for the elderly, is rationed in Britain based on the anticipated outcome of treatment, versus cost, the Charlie Gard decision was allegedly rooted in the moral issue of quality of life.
Drowning Victim Mocked By Witnesses: A Call to Overcome the Broader Tendency to Disassociate from the Suffering of Others
A man is drowning in a pond. For most onlookers, the emotional response would range from concern to terror. Certainly, it would involve some level of empathy. Whether due to the altruist instincts most humans share or social expectations, most onlookers would attempt to find help for the victim. Some would be driven to save the struggling victim. Others would be hesitant to help due to concern for their own safety, but they would call for help or, at least, express remorse. That is not what happened when five teenage boys witnessed the drowning of Jamel Dunn.
As Jamel Dunn struggled to stay afloat in a pond near his family home, five witnesses responded to the display by laughing at the victim, taunting the victim, and recording the victim’s death. They later posted the video on YouTube. It would be easy to blame the reactions of these kids on their use of drugs. It would be easy to blame their reactions on a lack of morals. It would be easy to blame their reactions on their age. It would be easy to blame their reactions on some psychological defect or a cultural deficit, but this incident highlights a far broader issue within society.
Poverty around the world has a surefire cure. It is income from employment and business ownership. More specifically, it is a source of income capable of supporting a modern lifestyle and the opportunity to grow one’s income based on merit and hard work. Absent disability and personal dysfunction, opportunity deficits are the causes of poverty. In order to address poverty, as well as issues like weak economic growth, opportunity deficits have to be confronted. There are, however, three types of opportunity deficits that poor people and communities struggle to overcome.
First, there is an absolute lack of opportunities. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, for example, many more communities faced an economic “death sprawl” than normal, yet few communities actually face an absolute opportunity deficit. There are certainly concentrations of extreme poverty, but even most of these poor communities in the US survive with some form of economic life support. Just as there are communities that thrive due to military and other government spending, there are poor communities that endure solely due to social welfare spending.
‘Representative of the Poor’ Elected As Indian President: The Poor Need Greater Representation in the US and Beyond
India’s electoral college has elected Ram Nath Kovind as the fourteenth President of India. What distinguishes Kovind's victory is his socioeconomic background. Unlike most public officials inside India and abroad, Mr. Kovind hails from the ranks of the poor while he belongs to the Dilat caste, whose members are traditionally called the “untouchables” and often suffer from unmatched institutionalize racism. In short, President Kovind is a representative of the world’s most disenfranchised. While Mr. Kovind’s victory may or may not translate into significant changes, the willingness of India’s political elites to embrace someone who represents the disenfranchised is a step toward social and economic justice.
The US is the world’s most powerful democracy. In comparison to most other governments and democratic societies, Americans enjoy a fairly professional government and a high degree of democratic representation. The US government has, however, grown increasingly dysfunctional in the face of extreme political polarization while the United States has always been ill-democratic to varying degrees. Although the Civil Rights Movement has helped address disenfranchisement based on race and gender, the broader disenfranchisement of the poor, due to a scarcity of opportunity and a general lack of meaningful representation in government, has gone unaddressed.
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