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Avik Jain

Not ready for Hillary

If marijuana is indeed a gateway drug, then political power is the narcotic consumed only inside gilded palaces and residences, a brutally addictive stimulant that keeps decrepit dictators alive for another year, greying prime ministers around for another day. Power, the ability to be heard, the luxury of having bodyguards in dark suits, has perhaps been the hardest monkey to shake in the course of human history. Hillary Clinton has been a Senator and a Secretary of State. She has been First Lady and a candidate. She has pioneered legislative agendas from the State House in Little Rock to corner offices in Manhattan. Despite having earned vast millions in boardrooms and through book deals, from pricey speeches and even pricier photo-ops, she has done a fair amount of good in her career. Hillary has fought and won quality foster care for orphans, paid leave for mourning employees, and medical rights for 9/11 responders. Her mediocre tenure on the world stage yielded few disasters, and perhaps even patched up the handiwork of a bumbling Texan. However, why repeat 2008 with excess baggage? The Democratic bench is shallow, at best. While the GOP has some spice with Marco Rubio and sizzle with Chris Christie, the Democrats are stuck with guitar-strumming Martin “boring” O’Malley, and a Massachusetts senior socialist with an aversion to economics. With a pair of firebrands like that, surely they would rather get ready for Hillary? Then again, perhaps accepting an anointment for the mere sake of it is not the ideal patriotic reasoning that one looks for in an aspirant to the highest office on earth. If the enemy was Ted Cruz, maybe such quibbling over gravitas could be set aside, but fortunately for America (and humanity), such is not the extreme case. Hillary Clinton should not be President… Read More

Malala Yousafzai for Prime Minister

The 16 December Peshawar school attack was the deadliest of its kind in Pakistan's history. Pakistan, a protector, incubator and financier of terrorism lost 145 of its citizens, 132 of them children, in a mere 15 minutes of carnage perpetrated by the Pakistani Taliban (TTP). Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Laureate who survived a TTP assassination attempt, condemned the attack as “atrocious and cowardly”. Amidst the many Pakistani public figures currently denouncing terrorism in their nation, she may be the only one wielding true moral authority and the hope required to lead an awakening of mass proportions. Pakistan faces serious institutional challenges. The contemporary Pakistani political landscape is not so distinct from the one decades past, with the current slate of governmental torchbearers meek, to say the least. Nawaz Sharif, the incumbent Prime Minister who has held the post on two previous occasions, is a caricature of the ugly industrialist; lethargic, crooked, he is the quintessential villain of the political arena. His party, the Pakistan Muslim League, has long been stubborn in aiding American antiterrorism operations, and makes one skeptical of Sharif’s vows to crack down on the Taliban following the Peshawar attack. The main opposition figure to the League, former international cricketer Imran Khan, is a dubious contender. There are fears that he would be weak on terrorism, a compromiser with personal ambitions at a time when strength and conviction are necessities. To say that the political class needs a renovation would be an understatement. There must be a complete cleansing of the halls of power, a rejection of populism, militarism and fundamentalism, a collective movement to push for multilateral cooperation on security matters, an unharassed entrepreneurial class, and the basic right to teach and study in peace. Who better to put this in motion than Malala Yousafzai, a worldly… Read More

The conscience of a leftist

Today, we see groups across the Cradle of Civilization raping, enslaving, torturing and murdering innocent men, women and children. They slander the name of Islam in their acts of depravity, rendering the world more intolerant and cold for those of a different color, creed or faith. Once again, the West appears to be the only force that will do battle with these madmen, with many nations overrun with refugees, others in no way close enough or powerful enough to offer assistance, and some simply indifferent. Unfortunately, the greatest opponents to the contemporary war with Islamofascism live in the West, and it so happens that they reside on the left of the political spectrum. Why? Why does a crisis like the one being perpetuated by the Islamic State, the al-Nusra Front, and various Al-Qaeda affiliated elements not bind them together with the right? One would think that even naïve college campus “communists” would see the necessity of a scalpel-like operation to help Middle Eastern forces deter such horrors. There is no answer. They all spew the same lines: Intervention in the Middle East is the cause of all our problems. Bombing does not solve anything (tell that to Bosnian Muslims). 9/11 was committed by Al-Qaeda, but it was brought about by American presence in the Middle East... Their solutions? Withdraw all American military bases from the Middle East, along with all Western soldiers. Subsidize green energy to get off of oil. Condemn Israel. The usual narrative, plucked right off the cover of a Michael Moore flick. Now, we won’t talk about the failure of green energy subsidies; that is a discussion for another day. All the other aforementioned points of argument, however, are irrelevant. Certainly American military presence causes antagonism amongst many locals, just as Israeli settlements do nothing to ease… Read More

The eve of Neves

Brazilians go to the polls on October 26 to vote in a second round between corporatism and free markets, corruption and ethics, socialism and prosperity. Dilma Rousseff, the puppet of Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party, will be asking the populace for a second mandate, while Aécio Neves is trying to get his center-right Social Democracy Party back in power after a 12-year hiatus. Neves has been the favored contender by a slim margin in most polls, with Brazilians disgusted by the massively corrupt Rousseff administration that stole hundreds of millions of dollars during the 2014 World Cup, and is setting the groundwork to rob more should power be maintained until 2018. The subsidy-packed economy has stagnated, with the business community being suffocated by augmenting taxes, regulations, and payoffs to government officials. While Neves’ victory would be the first step to putting Brazil back on track, it could also be a crucial step towards unleashing Latin America’s full potential. As Venezuela withers further under the oppressive hand of its pseudo-socialist dictatorship, Brazil’s flush leftist government has been a pillar of solidarity for the Maduro regime. Rousseff and her minions have blocked UNASUR resolutions to investigate and sanction Maduro’s government, prevented Brazilian businesspeople from recovering the $2.5 billion that Venezuela’s public sector owes them, and even sold cheap tear gas and riot gear to the Venezuelan security forces. The need for raw industrial materials and a secure market for food exports has turned Venezuela into a veritable colony of the Brazilian Workers’ Party, which long kept Hugo Chavez in power with loans and subsidized foodstuffs to halt his country’s drift into America’s sphere of influence. In reality, MERCOSUR has become the new master in town, its Brazilian leaders reenacting the same imperialist policies they verbally condemn. While Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia… Read More

The media’s martyrs

In a safe little town nestled in New England, the guise of safety that long existed was shattered by the massacring of 26 first graders and teachers in Newton, Connecticut. It is with magnitude that December 12, 2012 struck a chord in the Western world’s media markets. In the days following the shooting, the usual cycle of events unfolded. The gun debate was reignited in full flare, politicians made the obligatory trek to the scene of the crime, and most media outlets began to cheaply fetishize the depraved lunatic who destroyed the lives of countless human beings. The perpetrator, a disgruntled former student at Sandy Hook Elementary, was Adam Lanza, and the face of the mentally ill 20-year old adorned newspapers and TV screens from coast to coast. Every aspect of his life was on repeat 24/7, news anchors and columnists getting as much juice out of his disturbed appearance as possible. The 20 innocent children who had perished became mere faces on a collage, the family members of their teachers only given a few seconds of airtime or a ten-word quote. While this absurdity took its course, a CNN anchorman tried to change the story. Anderson Cooper expressed his disgust at all the attention being devoted to the killer rather than to the victims. Determined to blackout the publicity for Lanza that could have potentially influenced copycat murderers, Cooper began to dedicate every minute of his show, for weeks after the tragedy, to tell millions of viewers about the lives of each child, of each teacher, about their loves, their dreams, the people they touched. He changed the narrative, and rather than advertising the criminal, journalists slowly began to take a hint, and started celebrating the heroes and remembering the victims. As ISIS storms across Iraq and Syria, raping,… Read More
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