Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump's Chaotic First Month

Trump & Putin - best of pals?
Now that General Flynn has been fired (read resigned) of lying about his contacts with the Russians to the Vice, it looks like I am beginning to see what might undo the Trump presidency - LEAKS! There seems to be competing power structures or competing power dynamics within the administration, and they are all vying for the President's ear or his trust. So they are willing to sabotage each other to have a leg up with Trump himself. This comes in the forms of anonymous leaks. I see that these leaks and hacks are going to undo Trump's presidency. 

Think about it: how can you actually hope to govern or achieve anything if the details of your secret deliberations with your inner sanctum are somehow leaked, by members of that inner sanctum, to the press? How can you get anything achieved if your plans or policies are, before they are actually implemented or fine-tuned, picked apart -warts and all - on the media? You might remember that during the election campaign, Trump smiled at and had fun with the fact that Russian hacks and leaks brought down or at least massively undermined the Clinton Campaign and eventually allowed him to win. He will find out soon enough that the same odious leaks and hacks are going to be deployed to undermine his administration. He is already crying about it, but it is only going to get worse. We have seen people parting company with Trump since the night he officially won the election. We shall see even more resignations or firings in the months ahead as the gross incompetence of his administration starts filtering out in anonymous leaks.

In fact, it is beginning to look like there is something that the Russians have on Trump - some kind of bargaining chip or trump card (pardon the pun) - that they know they can use with devastating effect on Trump. They have succeeded in making Trump "Putin's lapdog". 

It now leaves you to wonder what Trump's feckless and compromising deference to Putin might mean for the balance of American relations with Russia. Trump can run his mouth and attack anyone but when it comes to Vladmir Putin, a known thug and dictator, Trump becomes a meek lamb or worse a muzzled pitbull. This is an assessment that should have already begun to crystallize for even Trump's most ardent supporters. If they are capable of any self-introspection, Donald's transparently servile deference to Moscow should be worrisome if not downright frightening.

No one should have easily forgotten that he eased up the tough sanctions put on Russia by Obama for Putin illegally annexing Crimea from the Ukraine; then appoints Putin's pal Tillerson as his Secretary of State - a move speculated to help yield some financial dividend for Trump himself in the form of oil and gas money. Nor should anyone forget that Flynn, his former National Security Adviser, with his knowledge and blessings went to placate the Russians behind the scenes when Obama, in his last acts as president, decided to punish Russia for their meddling in the elections by slapping on more sanctions and sending some diplomats in the US back to Russia. The Russians did not retaliate by repatriating American businessmen or diplomats back - a move that would have doubtlessly ratcheted up international tension between the two countries. For this, Trump comes out and praises Putin effusively for being a wise leader. 

But perhaps, the most chilling should be when Trump chooses to make a moral equivalence by negatively pointing a finger at the US when Bill O'Reilly confronted him with the fact that Putin is a killer who has massacred his opposition and killed journalists. For a man who was openly and eagerly willing to say negative things about his predecessors in office contrary to their tradition, and had not shied away from speaking forcefully against the Pope, you have to wonder what sort of leverage Putin has on Trump to compel such kowtowing deference. Not even when Russia broke a treaty and testfired a missile recently could anyone get Trump to utter the mildest form of censure.

What shall we discover down the line as more and more leaks come out? How badly compromised and given over to the Russians - our archenemy and global rival by the way - is Trump and his administration before Americans wake up and decide to do something about it? Flynn is gone, but this is just the beginning. One hopes against this but it is looking like leaks centered around Trump's incompetence (or worse his duplicity) are going to spell the end of this administration - more efficiently than any number of passionate protests ever could.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Why Is Abortion NOT Murder?

Okay, today's topic is ABORTION. 

First of all, I am male and so I know that for this topic, a lot of people, mostly women, are going to discount or disregard my view purely based on the fact of my gender. So I am going to approach this discussion differently. I do not aim to offend anyone so please, resist the urge to come to this topic with an emotional chip on your shoulder. Let us reason this out and submit to superior reason or logic.

"Human life begins at conception/fertilization." 

The question of when life begins is not even necessarily a philosophical or a theological one. Rather it can be easily answered with elementary biology (i.e science). There is really no dispute scientifically as to the fact that human biological life begins at the moment of conception - and if left undisturbed would develop into an adult. 

It seems the bitter debate therefore, is NOT really on whether human life begins at conception (because it does), but on when after conception can we assign person-hood. This is where it gets murky and begins to invite all sorts of philosophical debates. Some would say the living embryo only becomes a person as soon as a heartbeat is detected, some would say as soon as a brain has formed, others would say only when the fetus is developed enough to be able to survive outside the womb. But I hope you can see that so far, the question of when the life actually began remains pretty much universally agreed upon because it is not opinion but empirical fact.

Given this widely accepted fact, can someone respectfully and rationally explain to me why abortion is not murder (the taking of human life) even if the laws of a land permits it? I am open to be persuaded by reason or facts that I might not have given deeper or finer thought. Let's keep it civil and more importantly informative.

Any takers?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Adios Obama : A Changing Of The Guard

Outgoing 44th POTUS Barack Obama (right) & Incoming 45th POTUS Donald Trump (left).
Before Obama was sworn in as president in January of 2009, there were many African-Americans who were of the opinion that a black man (or a half-white man as the case may be) would never be elected to the highest office in the land. If you asked why this was the pervading sentiment then, you would have heard a range of reasons from the ugly history of slavery and the legacy of racial prejudice that still plagues this country, to the seemingly more practical issue of demographic trends and population sizes. 

Clearly, some were of the opinion that even if every black person in America voted for some as-yet-unknown black candidate, the white majority would be enough to balance out or perhaps swallow that massive bloc of black votes - enough, I would imagine, to guarantee that some as-yet-unknown white candidate would always emerge the winner. That was then. That was before an Obama arrived on the political scene.

He swept into power on the winds of Hope and Change. The rest they say, is history.

It has been 8 years of two terms for America's first black president. Today is his last day in office as he hands over power officially to the president-elect Donald Trump. Yes indeed - today Trump would be sworn in, and he'll officially become the 45th president of the United States.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year 2017


Wheww, we finally came to the end of 2016 and now I want to heartily welcome you to a brand new year 2017. May God keep and guide you in this new year and grant you success and victory, as he sees fit, in your endeavors.

Have a happy new year!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Proxima B: Another Earth?

An artist's illustration of Proxima B showing her sun, Proxima Centauri
As the search for life outside planet Earth continues relentlessly, the Huffington Post reports the discovery of yet another exoplanet that might be able to support life!

An Earth-like planet is orbiting the sun closest to ours, scientists announced Wednesday.

The planet, called “Proxima b,” orbits a star called “Proxima Centauri” and has a temperature that would allow liquid water to exist there, according to a statement released Wednesday by the European Southern Observatory. That means the world is possibly habitable, but scientists don’t know yet whether there’s anything living there.

“This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us ― and it may also be the closest possible abode for life outside the solar system,” ESO said. 

Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star, lies just 4.25 light-years away from Earth. While that’s pretty far away by astronomical distances, it’s just a drop in the cosmic bucket. Other Earth-like exoplanets that have been discovered are much farther away from Earth, which makes the revelation of Proxima b more exciting.

Earlier this year, researchers in Chile looked at Proxima Centauri using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher, or HARPS, a high-resolution instrument that specializes in the search for extrasolar planets. They were searching for a wobble in the star that would indicate the gravitational tug of a potential orbiting planet.

What they found amazed them.

“The first hints of a possible planet were spotted back in 2013, but the detection was not convincing,” Guillem Anglada-Escude of Queen Mary University in London, who led the Chile team, said in the ESO statement. This year, the team checked every day during the 60 nights of their scans of Proxima Centauri. “The first 10 were promising, the first 20 were consistent with expectations, and at 30 days, the result was pretty much definitive, so we started drafting the paper!” he said.

The researchers will publish their scientific paper detailing the astronomical finding on Aug. 25 in the journal Nature.