Len Zwelling

Leaving Afghanistan

Is America the beacon of world order or not? If not, then leaving Afghanistan on September 11, 2021, twenty years to the day after the events that got us there in the first place, may be not particularly troubling. But if you believe that there is evil in the world and one of the goals and strengths of the United States is trying to make the world a less evil place, perhaps retreating from Afghanistan now is not a great idea.

Sheikh Jarrah

It’s a neighborhood in East Jerusalem in which Palestinian families live. It is land that was occupied by people who are now Israelis before 1948—before Israel was. Some of these Jews want the Arab occupied land back now and the government of Israel and its courts have deferred making a decision about who gets to live there. During the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, violence has broken out yet again at the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount and has spread to street fighting in mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhoods (e.g., Lod).

Ignorance Or Mistrust?

In his column in The New York Times on May 7, David Brooks makes the case that the failure of the United States to achieve herd immunity from the novel coronavirus despite having more than enough vaccine for everyone and many places to get inoculated, bodes poorly for America’s ability to triumph in the world.

The America that emerged from the Great Depression and won the Second World War was a nation of sacrificers—people willing to do what’s best for their country, even if that meant crossing an ocean and dying. Are we that people any more? As Brooks says, “we’re not asking you to storm the beaches of Iwo Jima: we’re asking you to walk into a damn CVS.”

The Big Lie

As Tom Friedman points out on May 5 in The New York Times, the key requisite position for any Republican right now is that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen and that Donald Trump really won. As ludicrous as such a stand is, it is the one that must be taken if one is to run on the GOP ticket in 2022 and beyond. It will certainly be required in any Republican primary for any office from senator to dogcatcher.

What’s Infrastructure?

Bryce Covert makes an impassioned plea to include federal support for child care and elder care in any infrastructure bill and President Biden seems to agree. Along with fixing roads, repairing bridges, laying high-speed cable and paving runways, a host of social safety net programs is being proposed for expansion and justified as required to get America back to work after the pandemic. I hear the cries for more, but they seem to be insatiable.

Health Care Video

One of the commonest fallacies perpetrated on the American people by the health care industrial complex (hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, device makers, insurers and the government) is that the American health care system is the best in the world. It’s not.

Biden Taxes

Well, you knew it was coming and coming it is. The Biden tax increases that are necessary to pay for all the programs the president is proposing are here. Philosophically, I am not really opposed to having the well-to-do pay more taxes. What I don’t like is the raises in certain taxes like that on capital gains and estate taxes. Why? Because in my mind, this money has been taxed already.

Feedback

The most enjoyable part of writing and posting this blog is the Comments I get back on the site or via email. My favorites are the ones that dramatically disagree with me. Today (April 16), I got an earful.