Travel ban

President Obama has decided a travel ban to and from the EBOLA-striken areas of West Africa is not necessary.  I support  his decision because he has more information on the subject than I do. Many Republicans want a travel ban because they oppose any and all decisions the President makes. If he decided to impose a travel ban, they would criticize the terms or timing or both.

The Wild Shore by Kim Stanley Robinson is set in the near future when the rest of the world takes action to prevent further US aggression and arms sales. Secretly they smuggle 200 nuclear devices into the country and detonate them at the same time destroying America’s cities and manufacturing capabilities. This sets America back 1000 years and puts us in the Dark Ages while the rest of the world lives peacefully in the 21st century. A travel ban is imposed on the US, no one allowed in or out.

This is a good book to read to see what a travel ban means when the shoe is on the other foot. The Wild Shore is the first book in a trilogy in which the other books are more hopeful. Book two in the series is The Gold Coast and the series concludes with a vision of a golden future in Pacific Edge.

Kim Stanley Robinson is a writer of science fiction with a healthy dose of science. His Mars trilogy, Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars is set in a future where mankind is making a home for ourselves on a Mars gradually being terraformed (made earth like). His vision of America in the near future where climate change has produced stronger storms and a rising ocean level is contained in another trilogy, Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below and Sixty Days and Counting. One man’s vision of our near future that is challenging, but optimistic.

Jimmy Carter

When and if the US and Iran reach a nuclear agreement, I will be giving great weight to the opinion of Jimmy Carter on the subject. He knows Iran as well as any American since his presidency was derailed by the Iran hostage crisis in 1979-1980. In my opinion, he is also the most peace-loving president of my lifetime which stretches all the way back to FDR.

First amendment rights

The first amendment is the most important amendment to the Constitution and that is why it is the first amendment. Without freedom of speech and a free press, there will be no freedom at all. Today, freedom of speech is being restricted by government and militarized police forces. A corporate media is not a free press. Newspapers have always been subject to censorship by their advertisers. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you” meant that newspapers did not criticize the source of their revenue.

That still holds true today on TV. If you watch the ads for drugs, weapons makers, energy companies, insurers and banks, you know what companies and industries will never (hardly ever) face critical news coverage on that TV station. Without a neutral and honest press, politicians and corporations can lie with impunity. It is easy to lie and ascertaining the truth is often hard work. However, without that hard work and a source for the truth, freedom cannot exist in the US for much longer.

Universal suffrage

I support universal suffrage because it is fair to all citizens. Once you begin to limit the right to vote, the question becomes who can vote and who decides who can vote. It becomes a very divisive question that can only be avoided by universal suffrage.

A property qualification has been a sticking point since the Greeks invented democracy more than 2000 years ago. Property owners are supposedly the responsible members of society and they often resent paying taxes for government services to the poor. They argue that the poor will sell their votes to the highest bidders. That may be true to some extent, but owning property or other wealth does not make an individual an informed voter. Without the vote, segments of the population can be safely ignored by government. That in turn produces a weaker society.