Nathan Martin What about student debt Reince? What's the GOP plan for securing affordable access to education to gain valuable skills for a changing econonmy, while also not going bankrupt in the process. (Newt Gingrich's suggestion was to have high school students work as janitors to appreciate the value of hard work) You've got 6 paragraphs in your piece on the ACA in a post that's supposed to be directed at young & healthy millenials and my suggestion is to and perhaps consider addressing a 2nd issue that hits closer to their interest.
Nathan Martin Thanks for the Obamacare essay Reince, as if that were the only issue facing millenials. Obamacare allows millenials to stay on their parents plan until the age of 26, which maybe accounts for some of the appeal among millenials in an environment where healthcare is unaffordable to people on entry-level positions where benefits and health plans are scarce. While healthcare costs are sure to rise in the future, no debate there, and there needs to be discussion about entitlement spending - it's not the biggest issue facing young & millenials.
Nathan Martin For all the AJ fans out there who thought she was larger than life, I think this experience is a double-whammy in both humanizing this character who undergoes struggles akin to everyday human beings and also bringing awareness to this terrible affliction facing women everywhere. Part of me really wants to play the angle that this is not national news-worthy, or that it's a product of fetishizing the lives of celebrities (good or bad), or that this is a celebrity getting the spotlight for making a difficult choice that non-celebrity women make all the time. But the more I look at it, I think it is deserving of our attention and I think AJ shows a great deal of courage speaking out about this *because* of who she is. Kudos to AJ.
Nathan Martin If your implication is "hey sometimes these things really DO go all the way to the top, and we shouldn't just take the evidence at face value. There should be an investigation." Then I agree. I would be shocked if Obama were complicit in these actions but right now I'm very skeptical about it. It seems to be the ineptitude of a few that are being projected onto him. Further, it fits perfectly with the narrative of big government Obama coming to take your guns away, and it's distressing. Seizing the AP docs is wrong and I can't support it, as I've said. I'm waiting to hear more as this story develops and I want to hear some answers from people before I make an informed decision about this. But as it stands now I'm pretty shocked.
Nathan Martin I think this AP scandal is harmful because it genuinely is overstepping the bounds, and it gives fuel to an opposition that paints democrats as 'big government' anti-business socialists. Everything the president does will now be seen in that light and from that perspective because of the actions of these few. More people were involved in the LIBOR scandal, and their actions are being projected onto Obama and his 'agenda'.
Nathan Martin I think the examples you have cited are instances where political institutions and actors under Obama have failed, definitely. Hillary Clinton has taken responsibility for failing to act on requests for extra security in Benghazi, and that inaction has been damaging to her and the administration. While the instance of the IRS is in its' early stages, it appears to only involve a couple people, and there's been wide condemnation of it from both sides of the aisle. LIBOR had mo But I don't believe in conspiracy theories; I think we can chalk them up as ineptitude - and those responsible should be taken to the woodshed.
Nathan Martin I have long been a defender of this administration's policies, but I cannot support the seizure of these AP documents. I'm a firm believer in free speech. Implicit in that belief is support for an ironclad wall of separation of the press and the state - akin to church and state. I think the seizure of these documents is wrong, I think it exemplifies a gross over-stepping by this administration, and I can't support it. Often the GOP and the right really embellish how the gov. oversteps, but there should be an investigation, and the administration better have a good reason for doing what it's doing.
Nathan Martin I wonder how this effects our standing with other countries? Insofar as, say, trying to get China, Saudi Arabia or Iran to be more proactive on human rights when we imprison more people per capita than they do and routinely torture. This is not to mention Abu Ghraib or Guntanamo which are not "comparable" to Gulags. They are Gulags.
Nathan Martin Gender inequality is inherently wrong, bad for society,bad for the economy, prevalent around the globe even today, and something should be done about it. It's also going to be difficult to solve; in many cases it involves radically adjusting people's cultural norms which I'm against anyone doing forcefully. It's a blemish on human progress surely. I don't think it deserves top spot, but not by much. Sectarianism and tribalism I think is more dangerous, harmful to society, and more shameful. That's my opinion anyway.
Nathan Martin Also, sure there's aspects of sharia law that are relatively harmless with regard to diet, economics, and hygiene. But I think it's right that the more barbaric aspects of it are publicized and held up for scrutiny. And to say it's unfair that these safer aspects don't get enough attention is, I guess valid, but those aspects just seem inconsequential when faced with these atrocities. Sharia, I feel, just gets most attention relative to others because of the scale that it's being *institutionalized* in state governments. This is unlike similar practices which are either widely ignored (Christianity) or practiced relatively on the outskirts of society (Hinduism in India) and in either case not endorsed by their respective governments.
Nathan Martin Hmm. I see your point. These abusive practices are indeed divided across religious sects and Sharia law is not only to blame for this practice. While atrocities are carried out with Sharia, every time people hear the phrase "honor killing" Sharia definitely comes to mind and that's unfair. I agree with you there, if I understand you correctly? I think the reason Sharia gets such a disproportionate share of the blame is precisely because it's becoming state practice in more places. Again, the number of Islamic theocracies far outnumber other sects of government (basically just Israel- India also has a Hindu national party). So rather than this just being a rural/ traditional practice, it's national law in places like Yemen, Nigeria, etc.
Nathan Martin Also agreed. There are plenty of Muslims who don't practice these aspects. I also recognize that there are conditions. You need witnesses, you can't be punished if you steal food because you're starving, if you repent you're okay, etc. So there's interpretation. I disagree with two points - I disagree that it's being used as a tool for fear by authoritarian regimes. Many of the instances we see are ordinary citizens killing women from adultery, honor killings,etc. These aren't (always) done by state officials on the helpless populous. And I disagree that when I see it happening-it's NOT sharia law. It may be an interpretation of it, and I don't think it's a real stretch to interpret it that way but it's still IT. Do you see my point?
Nathan Martin You're right maybe human error was a bad way to put it. I should rephrase - it's easier to question the bible when it was written by man and not Jesus personally and thus easier to disregard. In comparison when it's the absolute word of God it's much easier to do that, in my opinion anyway. It's much harder to take those elements and cast them off.
Nathan Martin Because, and sorry to ramble, if we say that these people who practice Islam "by the book" are indeed practioners of Sharia law and its not something separate, then I disagree with the title of your article, and Sharia Law is exactly what I think it is. Also alarmingly, and on a completely different tangent, if we want to address the issue of this becoming a system of law set up by states then no country abuses the distinction between church and state (something very near and dear to my heart) like Islam does. You could call Iran, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, Yemen, and Nigeria all theocracies, and I don't think you could say the same with any other major religion. Islam has a terrible habit of exerting itself as a system of government.
Nathan Martin Agreed. There's such statements in the Bible along very much similar to the Quran. The difference is that the bible was written by man so you can take it with a grain of salt in that it was human error. The Quran on the other hand literally means "the recitation". It is the absolute word of God and cannot be debated or altered (so say its most orthodox adherents). Those sections in the Bible are also largely ignored, and rarely cited even by Christianity's most ardent supporters. In Islam we're seing it widely practiced. Is it wrong of me to equate people who practice Islam "by the book" so to speak, as people who practice Sharia law? Is that something different? I just disagree that it can be written off as misinterpretation.
Nathan Martin Yet another problem. We could draw the distinction between practitioners of public executions and suicide bombers - true unfettered barbarism in my opinion- and we say "These aren't the real Muslims and this isn't the real Islam." Fair enough, I can believe that. But as there's no Pope or central figure within Islam, who's to really say what the real Islam is? Who's the authority?
Nathan Martin Does Quran 5:38 (as to your 4th ponit) As to the thief, Male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power. Quran 24:2--> The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment. - I'm not Islamaphobic, but I disagree with your notion that it's a problem of interpretation. It seems to me to be spelled out quite clearly. Or am I missing something? Is there a real distinction between the prescriptions laid out above and sharia law in practice?
Nathan Martin I think we need to clarify something here. *Assault weapons* are something that we have really yet to define here (and throughout the nation, many states have different definitions). *Fully Automatic Weapons* are legal to own by civillians in some states although their sale remains highly regulated (so they say). Regardless, I think we can look at our present situation and say that firearm legislation is outdated & instances like Sandy Hook are likely to continue, and that will just be the price of the 2nd amendment if we choose to do nothing. That much, I think is clear. Or we could say that we have room to still make coherent firearms policy, make 2nd amendment rights easier to lose while still granting it to every citizen at the outset
Nathan Martin I know for a fact that the mother of Lanza bought the gun legally. After a bit of research it seems that this weapon (AR-15) is NOT fully automatic, although it did used to be considered a type of assault weapon by whatever metric they were using back then. However, fully automatic (hold the trigger down and bullets just keep on coming) weapons are available to consumers in many states although there was a ban for several years, but that's now over. So Lanza or someone like him could potentially get ahold of assault weapons. More problematically, even if we were to ban fully automatic/assault rifles today, there are still millions of them out there, not being tracked. It would take years to find/collect/confiscate them.
Nathan Martin in the hundreds whereas gun violence is in the tens of thousands. A ban on assault weapons, I believe, will NOT result in bloods and crypts to begin off-ing each-other with gas cans and matches.
Nathan Martin I agree the guns should have been locked up, and perhaps we could have pursued some sort of punishment towards Mrs. Lanza for not locking up her guns if she weren't already an unfortunate casualty of her not doing so. Perhaps I do live in the wrong area (like by the Mexican border?) but from where I'm sitting I just don't see the utility in having fully automatic weapons available to willing consumers. Are shotguns and handguns held by trained and mentally-stable people not self-defense enough for the American public? As far as the analogy towards gasoline- yes, someone can use anything to hurt someone. But I disagree that he could have killed as many by setting the building on fire. The amount killed by arson in America annually is....
Nathan Martin Well Mr. Brossack, I disagree. Assault weapons surely *exist*; try to tell the families of the victims otherwise. If you were insinuating that it's difficult to reach a standard definition of what an assault weapon is, then we're more on the same page. Anything that can fire a stream of bullets by holding down the trigger (fully automatic) you would think would be a good definition, but many states differ on what constitutes an assault weapon and have differing loopholes around definitions for, and selling of these more dangerous weapons. The point here is that as Lanza was outfitted greater than a your average marine, its difficult to say that he wasn't carrying assault weapons- or weapons not typically used to kill deer.