Archive | Politics on Hand RSS for this section

Short thoughts on Drumpf

If you voted for Trump, you should absolutely be ashamed of yourself. Forget the politics for two seconds. Let’s talk about the person. You voted for a man who is personally responsible for a 90% increase in hate crimes against muslims, increased attacks on SIKHS (people who haven’t done ANYTHING except be brown, wear a turban, and allowed ignorant people to confuse us with Muslims), who makes fun of the disabled, who doesn’t believe in women’s health rights OR gender rights, who COMPLEMENTS the worst leader the world has seen since WWII (Putin), who let’s forget if he actually did or didn’t rape women, he sure as hell thinks it’s acceptable and PERPETUATES rape culture and sexual assault, and who has the temperament of a small child but somehow has nuclear codes now. What you’re saying is that your own white privilege is more important to you than the safety and health of ALL of these communities, because he’s actually threatened all these communities. You’re saying that my health and my family’s wellbeing doesn’t matter to you, because along with myself, I’ve never seen so many people absolutely terrified to live in a country they love. And most importantly, you’ve never had your family members physically attacked and bombed because they’re different, so beyond not even understanding the fear your friends face, you clearly don’t have the empathy either. And any rebuttal or excuse you make for him, clearly shows HOW little your understanding is, or worse, you do understand and don’t care. You are absolutely and undeniably shameless.

For the Good of the Party

I’ll get straight to the point: this article is about the U.S. Presidential Primary process, especially in the context of the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic Primary Election that took place on February 9th, 2016. As much as I’m tempted to delve into the actual politics of the event, what I want to discuss here is the role of the electoral system in this context.

There does seem to be a general, if not common, perception that the mechanics of primary presidential elections necessarily reflect the premises of the democratic system of the U.S.; this is mostly true, but it also has a moderate mix of the premises of privatization. Horray for the privatization of the political process! And what’s more: this is all actually quite new! Superdelegates weren’t introduced into the electoral system until after 1968 (Source)

But they really haven’t been too relevant in the political process until the 1984 election in particular (Source), and then

Check out the Twelfth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (Source)

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;–The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice…. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President to the United States.

And also, Article II, Section 1:

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

Parsing the speech is a bit tricky for me, but in terms of relevance to this article, I gathered this:

  1. Number of Delegates for a Given State = Number of Senators (2) + Number of House Representatives (variable by state).
  2. The state legislatures are responsible for their own delegate selection.
  3. The votes of the electors are the ones that are directly counted to determine the president.
  4. The Vice-President is supposed to be elected separately from President (I actually didn’t know this tidbit until researching this article)

So those “Presidential Tickets” with the President and VP bundled up together? That’s purely a construct of the political parties. It would be quite inconvenient for a president to have a VP that might be from the opposing party.

Now, I’ve heard MANY different renditions of how “voting is completely useless because the Electoral College is what decides the president and votes have no control over that”, but a closer look at the way electors are decided on a state-by-state basis reveals that electors are almost entirely beholden to the voters they are supposed to be representing.

The purpose for the Electoral College is clear in historical context: in the late 18th Century, information traveled much more slowly. While the postal service did enable more efficient communication than ever before, it still couldn’t be carried across large distances any faster than a horse’s gallop. The electoral college was designed to consolidate voting results and send them over to wherever the president was to cast their vote on behalf of the people they represent. Electors are pledged to vote for a certain candidate, though ‘Unpledged Electors’ were allowed up until the 1964 election, after which NO state has filed a slate for any unpledged electors, though these delegates were allowed to vote for any candidate they chose on election day, much like superdelegates… but I’ll get to that later.

In the past, there HAVE been ‘Faithless Electors’ who pledged to vote for a certain candidate, only to actually cast a vote for a different candidate. The most recent instance of a faithless elector was in Minnesota in 2004 (Source), and have never had a decisive impact on any presidential election. since the late 19th century.

So that’s the electoral college in a nutshell, and also why some states (like Maine and Nebraska for the first time in 2008) split their electoral votes, while others are all-or-nothing as far as how delegates are allocated for each presidential candidate.

But how does this relate to superdelegates?

Well, one important point that is worth bolding in text: the presidential primary system as we know it in the United States has absolutely zero explicit ties to the Constitutional electoral system. They’re similar and closely related, and the former is specifically designed to feed directly into the latter, but the primaries are not a part of the government; they are purely constructed by political parties.

The Democrats and Republicans have both designed their primary systems very deliberately similar to the Constitutional electoral system. After all, the whole point is for their nominee to head right into the actual presidential election, so the best way to prepare them for that race is to emulate it within their own. The primaries not only enable the party to narrow down exactly who they want running, but also allows them to probe for strategies in the national election; public reactions to primary debate questions can give hints on how a candidate might handle that issue in the general election.

Aside: I think the terminology for “general election” and “primary election” subtly suggests that the two are somehow two phases of the same process. That’s how the pattern has been, and ‘the way things work’ of course, but I want to really emphasize how the “primary election” is not even on the same plane of necessity as the “general election” in terms of how a president is elected.

So the parties have, instead of electors, delegates, which are invariably elected officials (usually from Congress) that are not only members of, but are very closely tied to, the political party. The individual delegates and even their numbers are decided by the parties on a state-by-state basis. Mind you, pretty much everything about this whole process is simply decided by the party, though they tend to prefer methods that don’t stray too far from Constitutional design and also keep them somewhat grounded in their constituencies. According to the Associated Press, the Democrats have 4,763 delegates and the Republicans have 2,472. These numbers (and their relative proportions of superdelegates) changes between elections. Mind you: the primary election is won by winning a majority of the delegates, regardless of how those delegates are distributed.

These superdelegates are unpledged: they don’t have to explicitly pledge to a candidate up until decision day. In fact, the 2008 Democratic Primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama raised quite a  few concerns about superdelegates; the election started with Hillary having more endorsements from superdelegates, but that shifted later in the primary process, presumably to match popular opinion. Indeed, the race was close enough that the superdelegates could have swung it. Ultimately, enough of them voted for Obama to win him the nomination. (Source)(Source)


Why the superdelegates? Well, remember, the political parties do their best to resemble the Constitutional system, but they are not a governmental entity. While the courts can act on the legality of their actions in the context of the constitution, political parties are not bound to do exactly what the people say… and doing so has bitten them in the past. The Superdelegates were introduced into the Democratic Primary system after 1968, when (Vice President at the time) Hubert Humphrey was nominated by the Democratic Party… and not by the primary votes. While the primary system was based on the Constitutional election system, it was, in practice, largely ceremonial. The Democratic National Convention, when convening to decide who to officially nominate for the Presidential race, were not bound to select whomever won the primaries… in fact, they didn’t even need to select a nominee from those who ran in the primaries. In 1968, Hubert Humphrey was selected as the Democratic nominee despite not having run in a single primary. The party’s leadership completely disregarded the will of the voters that was expressed in the primaries and selected one their influential leaders. The Democratic voters did not vote for Humphrey in the primaries and frankly felt betrayed by their own party leadership. Consequently, Humphrey was smashed by Nixon in the election, 301 to 191 electoral votes. (Source)

After that, the Democratic Party members decided they needed a way to prevent something like that from happening. The party’s nominees would necessarily need to reflect the desires of their constituency… though not entirely. The party leadership was not about to cede ALL power of nomination to the voters. Enter the Superdelegate.


So how are they relevant now? Well, the New Hampshire Democratic Primary on February 9th of 2015 between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton (and also technically Martin O’Malley) yielded very interesting results from news sources.

Across the board, Bernie Sanders won the popular vote by a margin of over 20%.
Yet… many news agencies also reported a 15-15 split in delegates between Sanders and Clinton. Why? You guessed it: Superdelegates. They flocked to support Hillary.

This prompted quite a bit of backlash against the Democratic primary system, and in  my mind, understandably so.

Here are some graphics on the state of two candidates shortly after the N.H. primary:

Disclaimer: While I also believe that CNN has a clear bias towards the establishment manifested in very selective reporting, I have yet to see them flat-out lie. They may neglect to show numbers that don’t support their preferred narrative, but I don’t think they’d outright lie about them.



Source: as of 2/10/2016



Source: as of 2/10/2016


Remember: pledged delegates are committed to the candidate their constituencies vote for immediately once the results are settled. Superdelegates can change their vote all the way up until decision day, so those numbers ARE subject to change, but regardless, the disparity is glaring.

Again, this article isn’t about supporting one candidate over another, but to draw attention to the sharp disparity between democratic ideals and reality. It can be easy to conflate the primary elections with the actual Constitutional electoral process. The parties are in it for themselves, and cater to their constituents at least as much as they need to in order to retain their votes. While they have yet to take any drastic strategic measures with Superdelegates, their effect on the election is palpable.

Expert Advice: If You’re Being a Jerk, Calm Down

Howdy all! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a wonderful year’s beginning! So while we’re in the middle of writing our mini-series, I don’t want you guys to get bored! So the solution?: Our first “Expert Advice” article! Here’s the thing, this article isn’t so much a traditional “Ask Amy” or an “If I Were You” (my preference) type article. More just an excuse to allow me to rant about something I’ve noticed that’s prevalent in society (I haven’t done one of these in a while!).

And I’m going to warn my audience and make a Dan Carlin-esque disclosure: I’m 100% going to offend literally everyone with some part of what I’m about to say. If demand is high enough, I’ll delve deeper into my individual topic opinions, but this article, as opposed to my usual style, is more stream of consciousness and a culmination of my overall personality. It isn’t going to focus on one topic and in fact, is going to jump around quite a bit. But, I think it’s INCREDIBLY important that when you see a fault in society, you point it out, in a kind and gentle way. Because at the end of the day, terrible things are going to happen. We can’t put all instances on the same plane of good and bad. But what matters is the person’s intention. Sometimes in life, I try my absolute hardest to help someone, and in the end, I end up messing everything up so badly that I wish I hadn’t done anything at all. But at the end of the day, I wasn’t trying to mess everything up; I was trying to help. And that’s what matters. And I want to make clear that that is what I’m trying to accomplish with this post. My goal is ultimately to make a more comfortable social atmosphere where ideas and perspectives can be exchanged, rather than starting a fighting match and having a preschool reminiscent argument of “No. MY opinion is better. You suck.” And what’s the point of having a blog if I don’t make use of it? So. You’ve been fairly warned. Enjoy the rest!

It’s become obvious to me that our society is becoming more and more liberal as time has been going on. Disregarding the current political atmosphere (I’m not even going to bother talking about what a cancer Trump is), we see that even the older folks who have been traditionally conservative are being swayed, or just passing away, to make room for the more liberally minded youth. However, this new liberalism is creating an equally disturbing atmosphere of “extreme liberalism” where everyone has to been politically correct all the time, jokes are not acceptable, and anyone who disagrees with your sentiment is a bigoted-fool who deserves ridicule. I’m going to be very clear on my stance: Nothing good has ever come from being on any extreme. I don’t care if you’re Hitler or Gandhi (either Indra or Mohandas), you’re equally bad in my book. The same applies to present day issues, whether it be abortion, video games, sexuality, sex, and yes, even rape. The only category I would argue is excluded from this is genocide or mass-murder. If you’re ok killing multiple people, whether it be ten or a thousand, you deserve to burn in hell. That’s a personality trait that is going to bleed into everything you do.

So, let’s roll back for a second. Did I just say rape? Am I saying rape is ok? Am I some sort of weird rape-apologist or even worse, a rapist? The answer: Hell no. No where close. Here’s what I am saying: Let’s say you have a pediatric neurosurgeon. This guy (or gal) has saved thousands of children’s lives. He’s part of Doctors Without Borders. He was in Zimbabwe saving children (on that note, Mugabe can rot in hell too). Started a non-profit that does pro-bono surgery for children in impoverished nations. Great guy, right? Maybe even deserves a Nobel prize? Here’s the thing: this guy is a serial rapist. Does that mean all the good he’s done in this world is discounted? No. He’s saved thousands of lives and no matter what you say, those children and their families are thankful. But does that mean he’s excused for his actions? Absolutely not. He gets to go to jail. He’s committed an atrocious, inexcusable crime and can rot in jail. Those aren’t contradicting statements. What I’m saying is the person is separate from their work. You can do AMAZING work, and still be the scum of the Earth. Whether you want to admit it or not, Hitler’s programs moved medical science forward by at LEAST a hundred years. Was it ethical or even right? No. But you can’t ignore facts because “You don’t like someone”. Statistically, almost everyone in the world has done something wrong, or something you might disagree with. But if you go with the theory that “If all my heroes are criminals, then I have no heroes”, well then you’re excluding yourself from some amazing life lessons. We don’t need to like every part of a person at all times. We just need to value certain aspects of them. You can love how great of a doctor the neurosurgeon was, love Gandhi’s dedication to his cause, and love Hitler’s charisma, and still hate all of them as people. But if you go against every aspect of everyone you dislike, you will never vicariously learn life lessons, and you won’t grow as a person.

So, at this point, some people might call me a terrible person or a rape apologist. Here’s what I have to say to them: Screw you. You have no idea what my life has been, what the hell I’ve been through, and my experience with domestic violence or sexual assault. And here’s the thing: I don’t owe you an explanation. My knowledge and opinion can not only be verified by me telling you my life story. I have been through my own personal hell, just like everyone else. And let’s say I didn’t have any personal experience – it doesn’t matter. My opinion is my own and I am entitled to it, just the same as everyone else. Can you imagine the trauma an individual has to face every time they have to recount their story, just to TRY and allow you to understand their opinion? Just think about it this way. You get into an argument with someone about the death penalty. You  are adamantly for the death penalty and your opponent is adamantly against it. You both bring up several valid points but at the end of the day, you say “You don’t understand. You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’ve never had to deal with someone who’s life got taken away and you would change your mind if someone you knew was murdered.” Immediately, the other person breaks down crying and runs away. You have no idea why. It turns out, this person’s father was murdered by his best friend back in the 90s, and they saw it happen in front of them. That’s traumatic. And you brought it up completely inconsiderate of their backstory; not intentionally, but how could you have known. And that’s a perfect example of why we have to be sensitive when judging someone else. You might also be having a tough time with the conversation because of your own personal reasons. But if you only attack the other person, you’ll never figure out that you guys have a common experience or ally that you can bond you together and help you fight against the aspect you both wish to fight against. There’s no movement forward without cooperation. Only stagnation. And you might think that’s an incredibly rare situation and when does that happen. Well, right off the bat, I’ve been put into a similar situation multiple times, so don’t discount something just because you think it doesn’t happen. It happens a lot more than you think.

So let’s back up again. How do we fix this? You can’t just pre-monese someone’s life story. The answer: Be kind. Be understanding. Know that just because someone doesn’t agree with you, that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own reasons and own perspective. And even if they don’t, so what? If someone disagrees with you, you don’t get to say “you HAVE to do this, or else” or “because you feel this way, I’m going to do this to you”. By all means, if it bothers you so much, stop talking to them, unfriend them, don’t talk to them – as close-minded as that is, you’re welcome to your own opinions and actions. People will judge you on your actions. But, there is no way you get to tell other people to not talk to them or unfriend them, without repercussions. That’s abusive and frankly manipulative. Honestly, you’re a shitty person. But guess what? Just cause you’re a shitty person, it doesn’t discount all the good stuff you’ve done. Isn’t it funny how things come full circle?

And on that note, we as a society need to learn how to take a joke. Not everything in life is terrible and needs a fight. Note the person’s intent. And then maybe, we can all have a good laugh together. Honestly, that sounds really nice. Not everything has to be so PC. I think Chris Hardwick and Wil Wheaton described this sentiment best on Hardwick’s podcast “The Nerdist”. In reference to the Bill Cosby scandal, “It’s not like we’re saying ‘Let’s make Cosby jokes a lot!’ It’s in the news a lot and it’s at the forefront of comedians minds…But it comes from ‘You’re trying to make rape funny’. No. It’s the guy. He needs to be taken down. And a comedian can’t go punch in the face, so the only thing a comedian can do is punch him with jokes…we have to keep him down and shamed where he belongs” [1]. And it’s not just comedians who handle things that way. There’s a lot of people out there who have dealt with traumatic issues and express their anxiety or anger through joking. Just the same way that some people handle it through outburst or sporadic crying or even depression in some cases. But everyone handles their issues differently and by trying to stifle that because it doesn’t appeal to you, is factually damaging to another person’s mental state. Because the comedian’s purpose is by no means to attack or hurt anyone’s feelings, except for the person they’re making the joke about (i.e. Cosby, Hitler, etc.). And if the intention is pure, attacking that person is going back to essentially mentally and emotionally abusing this individual for dealing with their demons in their own way.

This ability to separate people from their work is part of what we call “being an adult”. We’re not in high school anymore, people (and if you are, you’re getting an early life lesson). The world isn’t going to get any better by everyone being assholes to each other. Listen to people. Work together. If you’re a Trump supporter, you’re not going to accomplish anything by throwing poor Sikh, Jewish, Muslim, and other minorities out of the rally. If you’re a feminist, shoving your propaganda in someone’s face isn’t going to help your cause. In both cases, you just make people resent you, and not look out for your best interest. I’ll adamantly agree that we need to fight against the normalization of negative behavior like rape/murder/sexism/etc., but a socially violent backlash against every joke, comment or perspective only succeeds in making that entire discussion more hostile for both sides, and no one leaves any happier or the wiser. By belittling someone’s opinion, you have put yourself in a situation where people are actively making a decision to not help you and maybe even stay away from you. And bless you if you have friends, that even though they feel threatened by you, they still stand up to help you out. But frankly, most people aren’t that nice. Which means sooner or later, history will repeat itself and those who take an extreme stance on anything will be marred by history, torn down, and the entire cause, no matter how just, will be tarnished by how you were perceived, and nothing to do with how amazing of a cause you might have.

Hopefully, this article has given you a different perspective to think about. Hopefully, if you’ve attacked people in the past on their opinion, you’ll man up and take a moment to apologize. I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means. I have some apologizing to do too. But, if we don’t all take a step forward together, we stay stagnant or worse, move back. And if this article did the complete opposite, and you hate me for it, that’s fine too. Feel free to unfriend me, hate me, talk shit about me to whoever you want. That’s 100% your right as an individual. But if that spills over into attacking others based on their opinion, just know that you are a toxic person. You are not contributing to society or your cause in any way. Simply making others see your cause with an associated negative light. But again, that’s your right as an individual. And even if you don’t care about the individual because “The cause is more important than any one person,” well that’s fine too. But it benefits you to approach the situation the same way because if you don’t, that associated negative light will eventually spread through not just people who know you, but through the entire cause as a whole, and at the very least, you care about the cause. The best examples of this are the current perception of “3rd-wave feminists” or PETA members, or even churches and religious institutions like the Westboro Baptist Church, that are just overall all seen as “full of crazy people.” You can’t tell me that reputation has helped any one of those organizations.

In essence, as long as you are kind and open-minded to the other individual, we can make progress in a many number of issues. But we will only remain stagnant as a society if we refuse to work together. So to sum it all up: if you’re being a jerk, calm down.



  1.” ~48 minute mark.

Untangling Aung San Suu Kyi and the Burmese State

These days, Muslims everywhere seem to be labelled as terrorists, killing innocent people in the name Allah. Disregarding how false this statement is, Muslims are facing genocide in a very unexpected part of the world – Myanmar.

Myanmar has long been a hotbed of political instability. In the late 1940s, General Aung San led a revolution against British rule. However, right before his dream could be realized, he was assassinated [1]. Afterwards, the military took control of the government, followed by years of targeting the natives of the country and active genocide against many groups of ethnicities.

Enter Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter of Revolutionary General Aung San. Suu Kyi is seen as the leader of the democratic movement in Myanmar and leader of the NLD or National League for Democracy. However, she has faced incredible adversity in her fight. Suu Kyi married a Britisher and mothered two British-born sons. She then went back to Myanmar to fight for progress in the country. The country’s military led government did not approve her actions and forced her into house arrest for 15 years. During her house arrest, her husband became increasingly ill in England. The government claimed that it would allow her to break her house arrest to visit her dying husband after incredible protests in the country. Suu Kyi claims she knew better though; if she left, she would not ever be allowed back in the country. She chose to stay under house arrest, and never saw her husband again, solidifying her devotion to the cause in the eyes of the people.

In 2010, she was finally released from her house arrest, being praised internationally for her resilience. Her troubles would not stop there, however. Since her release, there have been speculations that she may be reconciling with the current government. However, in June of 2015, the military government made an amendment to the constitution that keeps any candidate who has immediate-foreign born relatives from becoming president – a move many speculate is targeted specifically against Suu Kyi. By July, Suu Kyi and the NLD had decided to stand up to the government and run in the elections, whether Suu Kyi was able to become President or not.

Not everyone is a fan of Suu Kyi’s return to power. Among them, the minority Muslim group, known as the Rohingya, who currently do not have the support of the NLD or the ruling government. The Rohingya are Muslims who have lived in Myanmar for several generations, but are not considered to be citizens of the country. However, the 2015 election is the first time that the 500,000 eligible Rohingya voters (out of 1.3 million) are NOT allowed to vote – a fact that they are understandably not taking well. The government has declared them to be foreigners, thus barring them from entering the polls.

Over countless years, the Rohingya have been persecuted and recklessly murdered by others in the nation, which the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has labelled as “ethnic cleansing” – particularly the 969. The 969, lead by (crazy) monk Ashin Wirathu, who is known as the “Burmese Bin Laden”, are known for their stance against the Rohingya, warning that they are taking over the country. The HRW has been cited saying, “Burmese officials, community leaders and Buddhist monks organized and encouraged ethnic Arakanese backed by state security forces to conduct coordinated attacks on Muslim neighborhoods and villages in October 2012 to terrorize and forcibly relocate the population…Included in the death toll were 28 children who were hacked to death, including 13 under age 5.” in a 2013 report [6]. Not all Buddhists agree with the 969, though (thankfully). In fact, the Dalai Lama has openly condemned the actions of the 969 and they are seen as a terrorist organization by many, but at the least, Buddhist extremists. That all being said and done, the government does not openly condemn the 969’s actions, which has caused a lot of strife on an international scale.

If you thought for a moment that the current discriminatory atmosphere was the only thing making this year’s elections difficult, I regret to inform you that’d you’d be completely wrong. There’s several things to take into account when looking at the elections this year. The first is that even if the NLD win’s a majority of the democratic elections held throughout the country, 25% of the parliament is reserved for military personnel. And though the NLD wants to change this law, they’ll have to win a majority of the seats to even have a chance, which could also take years. Furthermore, these elections aren’t for the president, but for the parliamentary seats, who THEN choose the president, something that doesn’t need to be done until March of 2016. Suu Kyi, who is also the favorite to become president, legally can not do so since the constitutional change earlier this year. When Suu Kyi was elected to a position last time in 1990, the government declared that she could not take office until constitutional amendments that were in progress were completed – a process that took 18 years (conveniently). This is not to mention the economic effect this will have on the country (which I’m not even gonna bother to go into… but it’s in a bad place right now) [4]. There’s also the actual population of the state to look at, 70% of which lives in rural areas and use firewood as their main source of energy for cooking. That should tell you a bit about their technological development and outreach as well.

That’s not to say some things haven’t gotten better. In the urban setting, the use of cars has increased by 42% and the number of cell-phone users has increased 15 times. The number of buildings being constructed has also drastically increased. There are 1,400 LESS political prisoners now than there were just 4 years ago. But there’s still incredible social issues taking place. In a country that had a staggering 1,700 political prisoners in 2011, and 140,000 displaced citizens due to violence, we must heed Suu Kyi’s warning [7]. She has consistently warned the U.S. and the world, that we must not only look at their progress, but have a “healthy skepticism” about the reforms taking place.

As confusing as all of this is, and however dim the light of hope seems at the end of the road for all the groups involved, I strongly believe that if we heed Suu Kyi’s words, and keep a level of skepticism whilst trying to move forward, we can truly begin to make a difference in the part of the world. At the very least, the election results, which should come out in a few days, will allow us to speculate about the future a little bit better.

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi in present day

Aung San Suu Kyi in present day

Ashin Wirathu on the cover of Time in 2013

Ashin Wirathu on the cover of Time in 2013

Rohingya massacre surrounded by the Buddhists who massacred them

Rohingya massacre surrounded by the Buddhists who massacred them



Terrorism Revisted

Hello all. Look at what a good job I’m doing already! Two posts in two days!

Anyways, with it being September 11th today, I thought it would be an excellent time to revisit the progress our nation should have made in the last 14 years. Despite over a decade having passed, ignorance and intolerance are at an all time high and it seems not all that much progress has been made.

A little bit of backstory, a couple of days ago, a Sikh man was attacked and brutally beaten in Chicago. You can find the article here [1].

Now there’s a lot of things I want to say about this topic, because I feel incredibly passionate about it. I’ve mentioned it before, but I am a member of the Sikh community, and since the September 11th attacks, our community has faced a number of assaults, bigotry and hate-crimes. Our temples or Gurdwaras have been vandalized, our people beaten, and discrimination has been abundant. Personally, I feel a large part of this is ignorance on the part of the American community. Many Americans felt angry after the attacks and wished to target Muslims and take out their anger on them. Though this act in itself is the exact opposite reaction the bigotted American community should have had, the end result was that most of the anger got taken out on Sikhs. Why? Because we wear turbans or paags, and many Americans seem to think this is somehow a Muslim trait (for the record, Muslims don’t wear turbans as a religious ornament, despite common misconception). I’ll save for another post why the Sikh community has these traditions and their purpose, but for now, what I want to say is that the discrimination ANY person faces because of their perceived faith or religion is absolutely unacceptable.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. And one of these podcasts has been “Waking Up” by Sam Harris. I would absolutely recommend this podcast and you can find it here [2]. Sam has a lot of strong opinions on meditation, politics, philosophy, but mainly, Islam. Now as much as I love him, I disagree with a lot of his attitudes about the Muslim community. And Sam (an incredibly educated man) is perpetuating this hatred towards Islam and Asian cultures. Now, in Sam’s defense, he actually has a very well-educated and thought out opinion on the matter, but the problem is that it takes an open-minded and intelligent person to really understand his combination of politics and philosophy, which leads to a lot of people saying “Sam Harris is great! He hates Muslims! Let’s kill them all!” which is not the point he is making at all. And when we really take the time to look at tolerance towards minorities, discrimination against Asian communities has gotten so much worse in the last 14 years. Granted a part of this may be due to the worsening conditions of the nation as a whole, but when you have what must be described as hate crimes and domestic terrorism taking place on a regular basis, to the point that President Obama has had to address more national tragedies than any other president, we really need to take a hard look at ourselves.

The United States is inspiring a culture of close-minded, racist bigots, despite mountainous efforts against these groups. In no other country would it be acceptable for a potential presidential candidate to say something akin to “send all the ______ back to where they came from,” with the most recent injuries coming from Presidential candidates Donald Trump in regards to Mexicans and Jeb Bush with Asians. If any other Presidential hopeful in another nation stated that, the US would immediately jump on the “That’s racist. Are we going down a genocide path?” and ardently be against said candidate the entire time. However, it’s fine in the US because “we’re the best nation on Earth”? These double standards are exactly what’s creating an increasingly unsafe environment, with more and more US citizens looking away from domestic terrorism because “terrorism isn’t an internal issue”.

I started off this article wanting to talk about Sikh rights and the issues we face as a community, but really, this issue extends to all non-male, non-white individuals. I’m not going to go through the countless examples of hate taking place in our nation. If you haven’t noticed, that’s a completely different issue. However, I would recommend you simply Google any minority group and articles will pop up with numerous accounts of beatings and discrimination. It’s 2015, and we JUST had the first Sikh policeman be allowed to display his faith openly in the US [3]; we JUST legalized gay marriages [4], though by NO means does that means we’ve legalized LGBT rights; we JUST had the first FEMALE coach in the NFL [5]. We’ve still never had a female president. Honestly, if we’re so proud of ourselves as a nation, shouldn’t we be “beating” countries like India and Pakistan and even Liberia in terms of social equality? We, as an AMERICAN community, need to come together as a nation, and make it unacceptable for hate-crimes and domestic terrorism to take place against ANY group of people. Otherwise, we really are living in a terrorist state.



Bigotry – Alive and Well

Hi guys! I know this is my first post in a while but something really pissed me off today, and I’m going to rant about it. If you know me at all, I’ve been told numerous times that my rants are very “interesting”, which is perfect because it matches my name so well (Ruchi means “interesting”). So strap your seat belts cause this is going to be a ride.

I’m all in favor of progression, much like most people. Furthermore, I’m not a big fan of harping on the negative because I feel it’s usually biased and only serves to bring people down. That being said – What the HELL is wrong with this country?? Today was a very progressive day in my book. Although not a happy one (49ers got owned by the Seahawks), a proud AMERICAN-Indian woman won Miss America. As a woman of Indian descent myself, this news put a smile on my face. I went to Facebook to have my joy supported (that was my first mistake), only to find rants from “Americans” about an “Arab” and a “terrorist” winning. Complaining that she wasn’t an American, and that the country is failing because we didn’t let Miss Kansas, an “All American-woman” win instead. Here are just a few examples:

To those people, I have some words for you. First of all, I’m not sure if you are in fact aware, but Miss America IS in fact just that – American. She was born in the States and represents New York. She wouldn’t BE in the competition if she wasn’t. This logic applies to all you people who think that Obama can’t be president because he isn’t American. He would not be able to legally run in the election in the FIRST place if he wasn’t. If someone’s running, you can guarantee that they’re American, so stop trying to push off your pettiness and anger that YOUR contestant pick didn’t win by using a faulty argument.

Second of all, if you’re going to have the gall to peg someone for not being American, at least get what they ARE correct. Miss Nina Davuluri’s descent is Indian and she is a Hindu. She’s not an “Arab” (the correct term is Arabian for the record, so at least get that right too), she’s not Indonesian, she’s not Muslim and she most CERTAINLY is not a terrorist. Its bigots like the wonderful aforementioned examples here that perpetuate the absolute WRONG ideal that 1. Muslims are terrorists and 2. All brown people are Muslims. I’m not even going to focus on #2 because of how OBVIOUSLY wrong that is (not that #1 isn’t just as dumb, but people don’t seem to catch that so much), but let’s keep in mind that most Muslims are AGAINST terrorism. In fact, every single Muslim I know, love or have even met is blatantly against any terrorism and condemns the actions of terrorist networks. What’s worse is that they are being grouped into a category with people they hate. It’s like saying the KKK and African-Americans are the same because they’re both from the South. That doesn’t even MAKE any sense, so why is it ok to say that terrorists and Muslims are the same? The British consider the IRA terrorists so they must also be Muslim! …oh wait…they’re Catholics and Protestants and Christians. Hm…what about all those Mafias that governments consider terrorists! …dang it, they’re Christians as well…. So if we look at this correctly, aren’t the MAJORITY of terrorists in the world actually Christian? Well hell! I better start discriminating against all the Christians I know because they MUST be terrorists! …I say to a MAJORITY to America! So I guess if Muslims are terrorists and Christians are terrorists….80% of the world is filled with terrorists? Well that’s just wonderful….

I’d also like to point out on a side note that people hating on Muslims doesn’t JUST affect Muslims. Unfortunately, this bigotry has affected the Sikh community heavily as well. Not only have we had several of our Gurudwaras (Sikh temples for those of you who don’t know) been attacked and blown up and disgraced with graffiti and the like, but members of our community are also facing harassment because we’re being mistaken for Muslims. First of all, Muslims don’t wear turbans. Sikhs do. That should actually be your first identifying factor. Secondly, what kind of world do we live in where my people should FEAR being associated with another group, who are supposed to be our brothers and sisters? Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Native Americans – it shouldn’t matter what you are, you should NOT have to fear being persecuted or harassed!

Which brings me to point number 3. A lot of these twitter idiots claimed that Miss Davuluri isn’t American so she shouldn’t be able to win. Are you telling me that because she is a minority, she is no longer an American? I’m not sure if these tweeters are aware, but America is FOUNDED on minorities and immigrants. The ONLY people who can technically claim that they aren’t descended from immigrants is Native Americans, and even they technically descend from tribes that migrated from Northern Russia. Furthermore, America is known as the melting pot of the world. We have the greatest number of ethnicities gathering in one place in the whole world. We should be the most TOLERANT of people, not the least. The fact that it’s even taken this long to crown an Indian should be a sad thing. But it’s a step forward. It’s progress. It’s not a step back to be crowing someone who isn’t a white, Southern belle. It’s not a step back to be unbiased. It’s not unfair to create opportunity to those who aren’t in the “majority”. It’s progress. And anyone who doesn’t see that is clearly delusional.

And this doesn’t apply just to Americans by the way. For all you Europeans or Canadians or Asians who say “look how uncultured and idiotic Americans are” or who are just grouping ANYONE into categories, not all people are created the same. I’m a proud American. I’m proud of my Indian heritage. And if I was uncultured or a terrorist, I wouldn’t be writing this article.

Death of a Lawyer

Firstly, yes, the title is a play off of the play “Death of a Salesman.”

Secondly, it’s been quite some time since i wrote a politically related story. To be honest, i don’t think i would have heard of this story, if my mother hadn’t heard it on NPR today. Basically, this story illustrates the simple corruption, not only in Guatemala, and South America in general, but just how twisted the human mind really is.

To start off here are some links:,8599,1898360,00.html

Ok, now that you’ve either read/watched the links, or decided to completely ignore them, i’ll first tell you guys the background. Guatemala is a notoriously corrupt country. A while back, a man name Musa and his daughter Marjorie were both shot dead at a stop light. A man had come up to their car as though he was going to ask for directions, but instead shot Musa 6 times in the chest. One of the bullets, however, missed and his daughter instead, killing her instantly. Musa’s lawyer, Rosenberg, was also deeply in love with Marjorie. After her death, he went on a quest to find out who it was that murdered him. Fearing for his own death, Rosenberg gave one of his close friends a tape, telling him that if he died, he was to immediately make copies and to distribute them. Only a few days later, Rosenberg was shot in the head in a drive-by shooting while riding his bike. At his funeral, when the tape was played, Rosenberg blamed the President, his wife, and other high level government officials of the country for assassinating him. He claimed that they had threatened him on several occasions for inquiring on the death of Musa. The president denied all allegations and claimed it was a ploy to kick him out of office by the opposing party. Within days, the country was on the verge of collapse (not that it hadn’t been before). An impartial UN official decided to investigate the situation. The results were startling. Rosenberg had been investigating his lover’s death, but unable to find out what had really happened, he decided to use his lover’s death to bring down the current Guatemalan regime! He told his driver to get 2 cellphones, but to make sure not to sign any papers and to pay only in cash. He then gave himself one of the phones, and used it to make the threatening calls to himself, and then gave the second to the hitman he was to hire. He then called his cousins, and told them that he was being blackmailed and needed a hitman. He then hired the hitman to kill himself [Rosenberg], and made a video telling everyone that he was being targeted by the President and other associates. He was then killed by the hitman, and the government was on the verge of toppling after the blame was placed on them. After a bit more investigating, the UN investigator discovered that Musa was actually involved in some very shady dealings, and that the Mafia had in fact killed him.

To me, this whole story is so messed up. Forget the shady dealings, or the lies and deceit. Simply the fact that a man is willing to HIRE someone to murder HIMSELF to blame a COMPLETELY innocent person is a disgusting and….perverted mind indeed. Hopefully, there aren’t too many other people in this world like this. The worst part though? The UN official said that NONE of this would have been discovered if 1. Rosenberg and Musa weren’t from oligarchical families 2. The driver didn’t sign any papers, but he did later sign a tax form, which was the ONLY mistake in the entire plan.

At any rate, i hope you guys enjoyed this twisted story! I’ll try to bring out some more interesting articles in the future! In the mean time, if you guys have any suggestions or genres, LET ME KNOW! THANKS~ 😀

Great Britain and Why It’s Not So Great…

Hi everyone! I’m on spring break now so expect lots of articles. We’ve got this one, one on the red panda, and another one that i don’t remember what i was going to write about. Haha, ya i’m kinda forgetful! So as promised, here’s the article on why i blame Great Britain for practically everything wrong in the world!

I’d like to point out first of all, that these are only relating to modern day topics. I’m not even going to REACH into the mess of their past and how the screwed everyone else over too. Here, I’m just going to talk about India/Pakistan/Bangladesh, Israel/Palestine, Australia, and of course Canada.

We’ll first start with the mess that is present-day India. Way back in the hay-day, England’s chartered East India Company, went into India and began bargaining for spices and such. Eventually they ended up colonizing the entire country. However, when their soldiers (who were Hindu and Muslim) found out that the bullets they were using were coated in cow and pig fat, there were huge riots all over the country. These riots eventually led to the dismemberment of the East India Company and Britain decided that they would instead set up what became known as the British Raj. After WWII, they decided they weren’t up to the task of keeping many of their territories, and wanted to “give India their independence.” The problem was, that the British had stifled the Indian people so long (they weren’t allowed to make their own cloth or salts and any food produced was handed to the British) that they had become overly dependent on the British. So not only were they not ready for independence at this point (i’m ignoring Gandhi cause i personally believe he was an idiot and a hypocrite but i’ll get into that some other time), but there was also the issue that the BRITISH hired a completely clueless idiot to divide the country into 3 parts, which are today Hindustan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. He, ignorantly, divided the country based on regions of religious concentration (i.e. Hindus and Muslims, completely ignoring other major religions like Sikhs). This, unfortunately, split some villages in pieces, and even worse, split major states into two different countries. You see, for people from Punjab, our identifier isn’t to our country, it’s to our state. So whether you live in Pakistan or India, if someone asks where you are from, you say Punjab, not India. This bond, though present in other states, does not run as deep. Therefore, when the map maker cut Punjab in half, there were huge riots in Punjab that are ignored by most present-day historians. To cut Punjab in half was like cutting a country within a country itself in half. Either ways, once the British deemed this entire affair settled they left. What they ALSO failed to take into account was that there was also a very important region in the north called Kashmir, which was important to BOTH countries not only for its resources, but for its culture. Though i have to say that today, both India and Pakistan need to stop acting like children and MOVE ON, it IS the fault of the British that wars break out every 10 years or so between India and Pakistan for Kashmir, and within Punjab for the creation of a land called Khalistan (land of the Sikhs), as the Sikhs were completely ignored in the partition movement, and are present in Pakistan AND India today. And let’s not forget that because Pakistan was split into East and West Pakistan (the East being present-day Bangladesh) being COMPLETELY separated from each other by a huge land mass called INDIA, there was no way for the central bureaucracy, which was based in west Pakistan to send support to Bangladesh when the faced their frequent flooding and tsunamis and other natural disasters. AGAIN, there was another independence movement, but this time, East Pakistan from West Pakistan. Until today, Bangladesh and Pakistan are not stable countries at all, with India being covered in poverty, pollution, and corruption – all because the British thought taking over a completely independent land in the first place in the name of profit was a good idea.

That takes care of the India section, so now we move onto the Israel-Palestine issue. Now my knowledge on this area is a bit rusty, but essentially, after WWII, the Jews of the world needed a place to go. So, Britain, in their infinite wisdom, decided that giving them a piece of holy land that they had ALSO promised to Palestinians when they were displaced from their own land as well, would be a good idea. Essentially, Britain promised the same piece of land to two different parties who had hated each other for centuries. When Britain finally realized its mistake, it was too late, and the two parties were already at the point of a full out war. With the US supporting Israel though, the Jews won and managed to keep a small section of land. By this point, Britain had dropped the issue in the US’s lap and had head for the hills with its tail between its legs. Israel, however, was a country completely surrounded by Islam-centered countries, and had to hold its own for quite some time, with only the US to rely on. When Egypt attacked them, the Israelis somehow managed to GAIN land, and took land away from the Palestinians. Once the US finally brokered a treaty with Israel and Egypt, other countries began to follow suit, albeit it after a VERY long and uneasy period. However, the Palestinians never consented to these “infidels” on their land, and until this day, war and extreme hate continue between the two half-nations.

With Australia, as i’ve pointed out before, England is responsible for the natural decimation of the land, and its because of them that very few indigenous species remain in Australia. However, what i HAVEN’T mentioned before is that the British rudely stampeded into Australia because they needed somewhere to send their convicts and wiped out the Aborigines of the area to accomplish this. Therefore, all the people who originally colonized Australia were convicts. Now this isn’t to say that all the people in Australia are bad people, as this took place hundreds of years ago. What this DOES say is because of the natural decimation caused by the British and their convicts, there are HUGE droughts in many parts of Australia, which would not have occurred if the natural fauna and flora were still present. Furthermore, though it has finally stabilized, the government of Australia was for the longest time in shambles.

On a side note, the British also send unwanted children to Australia on their own without any family. This part didn’t even happen that long ago, as many of these children are still alive in Australia today. If you’re interested, here’s an article on the apology that Britain made a little too late, after the Australians but up a fight.

Finally, we reach the Canadians. Surprisingly, or maybe not, the Canadians were one of the only Commonwealths that didn’t want independence. They had a healthy and very dependent relationship with Britain, even though they were mainly French speaking from the time they were conquered by the French in the early days of North American colonization. However, Britain forcibly broke them off when they could no longer support their colonies after WWII. To me, this is like taking a child away from his parents and say “Here, survive on your own.” As much as I hate Britain, this perhaps was not the right way to handle the situation. Ultimately, i feel this left the Canadians somewhat confused and in shock, and although they are better for it now, they still maintain a strong relationship with the British and continue to see the Queen as their monarch. Her birthday is even a national holiday. As much as i love the Canadians, i can’t help but feel a little sad for them, because they are such a great country and people, but somehow managed to get stuck with idiots like the British.

So it is for these reasons that i hate Britain. And to clarify, when i say Britain, i mean the government, not the people (i have too much family living there to properly hate the people, plus everyone in England is very pleasant and kind! It’s just the government that seems to be full of idiots). And i didn’t even touch upon the atrocities that occurred when there was a monarch on the throne or even after England became a constitutional monarchy. In essence, Great Britain really sucks.

The Effect of King Henry VIII of England on the French Revolution and WWI

Hi everyone! Sorry i haven’t written anything in a while! As a treat, (well probably more torture than treat) i’m going to post a 7-page essay i had to write for my IB extended essay. Not only will this hopefully help future IB students, but it will show the extent of my hate for Great Britain and why i blame them for everything wrong in the world (this is the background section). In my next post, i’ll expand on modern maladies and how England is at fault for that (ya…i really hate them)! Anyways, enjoy! 😀

King Henry VIII of England, who ruled from 1509-1547, led a very unstable, although politically active life. He is most known for having married six wives in a time when divorce was taboo, particularly if the marriage had been consummated. Furthermore, he established the Church of England, and further propelled what was to become the Protestant Reformation. However, was King Henry VIII also responsible for the French Revolution of 1789 and World War I as well? Whether he was the cause or not can be analyzed by his familial interactions, political and economic choices, and his military movements.
French Revolution – Familial Relations:
It can be stated that Henry VIII is the direct cause of the French revolution. He married Catherine of Aragon, the youngest daughter of King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella of Spain, and his first child, died two months later, which may have contributed to King Henry VIII to take his frustrations of losing a potential heir out by going to war with France, whose ruler was King Francois I. This happened several times in Henry’s life, where he lost a potential male heir, as only one of his many sons lived to his teenage years. Four of these sons were born by Catherine, although all of them died within days of being born. Unfortunately, Henry never forgave Catherine for the death of his child, which he blamed entirely on her. This is exhibited by the many affairs that he had at the time, particularly with Bessie Blount, Mary Boleyn, and Anne Boleyn, each affair resulting in illegitimate children. This became a trend with Henry – blaming his wives for not giving him a son, and then taking his frustrations out in a politically inadvisable way. There is also evidence supporting the notion that Mary Boleyn was Francois’ mistress while she was in France. King Henry VIII’s sister Mary Tudor was also married to King Louis XII, making Francois I of France his step-nephew ( King Henry VIII’s daughter with Catherine, Mary I, had an arranged political marriage with Philip II of Spain. The marriage was an unhappy one and she died without leaving an heir to the Spanish or English throne. The king of Spain became Philip III. Ultimately, King Henry VIII’s family was a very mixed one, furthering the point that Henry was related to almost every royal family in Europe at the time.
French Revolution – Financial Crisis:
King Henry VIII’s war with Francois I depleted France’s treasury funds, causing them to go into debt; something that even with 300 years to recuperate, they were never able to completely repay or restore their economy back to its original state from. With debt, and lack of influence, the Valois dynasty, the French monarchial family at the time, died only to be replaced by the Bourbon dynasty. The Bourbon, established by King Henry IV, was quite successful. He could produce no heir and was incapable of winning any wars or battles. Eventually, Louis XIV’s grandson won the Spanish throne in the war of Spanish succession as Philip V of Spain, and France became bankrupt again after the war (Goubert). After Louis XIV’s death, the empire began to crumble. Louis XVI became king in a time of civil unrest after France had just lost the Seven Years War and the War of Austrian Succession, both of which pitted England versus France ( Essentially, King Henry VIII initiated a long standing feud between England and France that existed up to the French Revolution.
During the French Revolution, George III was king of England. His father, King George II who was the first king to be administered a prime minister due to his poor ruling skills. George II’s great-great grandfather was King James I of England who was the nephew and successor of Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII. It was James’ daughter who married the King of Bavaria at that time, thus making all their descendents of German descent as part of the Hanover Dynasty. Unfortunately, George II of the Hanover dynasty, did not posses his ancestors’ ruling skills and quarreled frequently with both his father and his son. George III, on the other hand, is known for having caused unrest in the American colonies and furthermore, allowing them to successfully revolt against the British Empire. The American Revolution is known as one of the great reasons of the French Revolution. The political system of France, called the Estates-General, was one that had begun years ago and was incredibly outdated by the time the French Revolution came about, also contributing to the revolution ( Therefore, it becomes evident that the financial crisis, which fueled political crisis, Henry VIII and his family instigated in France, in part allowed for the French Revolution to take place.
French Revolution – Military Movement:
King Francis I was the French foil of King Henry VIII. Francis’ heir after 7 generations was Louis XIV, who helped his own grandson, Philip V, win his throne in the War of the Spanish succession. The war was eventually fought with France and Spain on one side and England and the Holy Roman Empire on the other side. Spain and France lost the war and many Spanish lands were conceded to Austria (
During King Henry VIII’s final years, he attempted to take military control of France and Spain for what appears to be no reason, other than greed for expansion. King Henry VIII attacked Louis XII (Goubert). It is hypothesized that King Henry VIII was losing his sanity in the final years of his life and therefore several events may have accounted for this. Firstly, King Henry VIII’s lack of a successful male heir for so many years lead to an unimaginable frustration for him, partly in fault of his chauvinism as well, as it has been shown that he did in fact consider men the greater of the species, and women only for bedding and producing heirs. Furthermore, many feel that it was King Henry VIII’s life ambition to surpass his ancestors militarily, economically, and in overall power, which may have caused several of his unwarranted attacks on sovereign nations. It can be argued, in addition, that a sane person, and particularly a ruler, would not take these actions unless they were mentally unstable. Thus, not only can Henry be considered mentally unstable, but his instability caused him to declare wars with several nations, mainly France, that should have been avoided. These wars with France ultimately led to a public distraught with their rulers.
French Revolution – Analysis:
Early in life, a restless King Henry VIII had decided that he would gain control of as many lands as were possible. Unfortunately for France, they were the target of King Henry VIII’s conquest. King Henry VIII fought with Francois I, launching a war that completely depleted French funds. Furthermore, not only were they depleted for years, but the French monarchy was never able to raise enough revenue to pay the debt back, and recover from their economic slump. Essentially, King Henry VIII’s attack pushed the French to retaliate, causing the English to retaliate, starting an endless cycle, which ended with a complete depletion of the French treasury, as well as tax problems throughout the years. Furthermore, the wars of King Louis XIV made the situation far worse, as his numerous conquests and wars, such as the War od Spanish Succession, increased the overall debt of the country. By the late 1780s, the French life was so encompassed by war, that it was no wonder the country was on the verge of revolt. And the worst of it was that they had failed to garner any land during these wars and had lost two key opportunities to gain possession of another crown – that of the Spanish in the War of Spanish Succession and the Austrian throne in the War of Austrian Succession – as the Scots had lost the opportunity to do so with the English some two hundred years earlier. Essentially, the citizens of the French kingdom were poor, hungry, and over-taxed. They had been at war with England for years, and the fighting had depleted their funds. Yet, rumors of food being constantly thrown away at the French palace were relentless and many, exciting the common folk into an unstoppable rage – a rage the balled itself into what eventually became the event of the century – the French Revolution.
Economic problems, however, were not the only cause of the French Revolution; political instability within Europe is also another cause. Interestingly enough, part of this instability can also be traced back to King Henry VIII. King Henry VIII pushed forward the inter-familial marriages taking place at the time and in the future. The first example of this is having his own daughter, Mary I, married Philip II of Spain, who was technically her nephew as her grandparents were his great-grandparents. He arranged many other marriages as well, most of them between cousins or some form of relation. Keeping this in mind, and not knowing the repercussions of it, his ancestors kept up this policy, which is also shown in the case of his sister Margaret Tudor, whose grandchildren married each other. These grandchildren, Mary Stuart or Mary Queen of Scots as she is better known, gave birth to James I/V of England/Scotland. There are many more examples of these types of marriages, originating from King Henry VIII’s plans, but over several hundred years, every single European family was related to each other. This being the case, no one wanted to help their French brethren at the risk of offending another relative. If one looks even deeper at the situation, it may have been that since every royal family had some sort of claim to another throne, that if they had foreseen Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s deaths, they would have simply ignored them, for they would have wanted the throne for themselves. Nonetheless, had all the families not been related, then the close Franco-Spanish may have benefitted France as a whole, and the Revolution would not have taken place if the Spanish had offered food, clothing, or even monetary compensation. But since this was not the case, France finally fell into a state of irreparable disrepair, and unable to fix their economy or their political situation. Thus, the seeds for the French Revolution were embedded in the minds of the population and it was destined to take place.
Other factors, such as the political system in France at the time, also contributed to the French Revolution. The French had a body known as the Estates-General that was had been in place since 1302, only about 500 years after the formation of France itself. But throughout the years, the Estates-General had not changed with the times. This being the case, it was seriously outdated, essentially causing a political backup with the peasantry and lower class citizens. These citizens wanted rights, clothes, and food, yet the Estates- General was unable to provide any of that. However, most historians will agree, that the number one instigator of the French Revolution was, in fact, another very famous revolution – The American Revolution. The American Revolution flared Enlightenment thoughts and ideals across Europe and in France particularly. Ironically enough, King Henry VIII can also be connected to the American Revolution, directly linking him to the French Revolution once again. King George III was ruler of Britain during the American and the French Revolutions. George III had actually picked up his ruling style from his father, who had learned his style from being pampered by his father. George I was actually the great-grandson of James I of England, showing that the ruling style had actually filtered down rather succinctly. However, since King Henry VIII was insistent on getting things exactly as he wanted (which he seems to have passed down to George III), and he was known to have megalomania (which also seems to have been passed down to George III), and those did pass down to his descendants, he would in fact be responsible for the American Revolution , much like in the case of the Estates-General, which is in turn responsible for the French Revolution, because the old style of rule did not fit the new age, along with being responsible for several causes of the French Revolution.
World War I – Familial Relations:
Henry can also be attributed for helping to start World War I. Henry is also directly linked to the Hanover Dynasty, making all of his decedents of Anglo-German decent. The Hanover dynasty was directly involved in the causes of WWI. King George V lost his territories to Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, after which many of the European nations began to scramble for alliances, which would inevitably lead to WWI at the slightest sign of political stress. Furthermore, Henry VIII ruled at the same time as Charles V of Spain, who at the time was also king of the Holy Roman Empire, Italy, as well as Duke of Burgundy and a Lord of the Netherlands, respectively. He created permanent, bitter relations with Spain when he insulted Charles’ aunt, Catherine of Aragon, with an annulment after a 24 year marriage through the Roman Catholic Church to a consummated marriage. Coincidentally, the reason he claimed for his divorce was that his first wife had consummated her marriage with his elder brother Arthur, before he died, though she claimed that was not the case. The fact that he did this after such a long period of time is most likely the reason the Pope denied the annulment. At the same time, this directly insulted his daughter, the future Queen Mary I, and made her an illegitimate child of Henry. Also, Elizabeth I took the British throne as opposed to her older half-sister, Mary, thus angering Mary. Mary eventually married her cousin Philip I, and lived the rest of her life in bitterness towards the English due to the many insults bestowed upon her by her father and half sister, but mainly from the heavy insults paid to her mother from her father, as her mother lived out the rest of her divorced life in an isolated manor, hating Henry for his actions and dying incredibly ill. Mary further blamed her father for her mother’s death, which she claimed could have been avoided if he had taken care of her, like a proper husband was supposed to, instead of gallivanting off and marrying two other women before her death. Charles V thus insulted with the English from their actions towards his aunt, Catherine of Aragon, and towards his cousin and future daughter-in-law, Mary I, the Spanish throne became tainted with hate towards the English. His descendent was Charles I of Spain, who was brother to Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I. Ferdinand was convinced to abdicate his throne in favor of his nephew Franz Joseph I of Austria. After the suicide of Franz’s son, due to Franz’s not accepting of Rudolph’s mistress, his nephew Franz Ferdinand became Archduke. It was his assassination that immediately led WWI. Consequently, one can see that Henry’s family was clearly confusing. With so many important relations in one family, the most insignificant problem could become an international crisis, as it did with World War I.
World War I – Military movement:
Henry set the precedent during his time to annex territories when he repeatedly tried to take over neighboring nations, most notably Scotland. His descendents continued this policy, and it can be said quite safely that every European Royal family has some relation to him in some way or another. Since all these families essentially engaged in a battle over territories, a power struggle eventually began; this set off many smaller wars such as the wars of Louis XIV. After Louis XVI was overthrown and executed, the state of France fell into disarray, as there was no solid leadership within the nation, except Napoleon I and Napoleon III, both of whom were exiled. One such war was the Franco-Prussian War which took place when the Hapsburgs, or the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire, became suspicious when the Prussians began to grow powerful in ways of land acquisition, politically and militarily. The leader of France at the time was Napoleon III. However, when he lost the war, he was exiled to England, ending his relatively short rule, and making him the last monarch of France. After the Franco-Prussian War, European nations scrambled to build alliances. When Franz Ferdinand visited Bosnia and Herzegovina, he was assassinated by a Serbian nationalist, who resented him occupying the area Serbia felt was rightly theirs. This Serbian nationalist was a part of a secret organization known as the Black Hand which had originated from a semi-secret organization known as Narodna Odbrana, which was created after the annexation.
World War I – Analysis:
Several causes of the First World War can be contributed to the precedents that Henry set forth himself. Up until his death, Henry was always attempting to conquer a neighboring nation, mostly Scotland or France. One of the reasons for WWI was the competition created between the European nations. Not only were many of these countries vying for international colonies, such as in the Americas and Africa, they were also competing to see who had the biggest and strongest armies. Henry too, had set this precedent by continuously increasing his naval and army’s powers, in his conquest to rule over France and Scotland. He passed on his armies to his daughter Elizabeth, and although they served her in fighting off the Spanish Armada, they are also what eventually caused tensions to spring up between England and the rest of the continent, as well as with a young, colonial, America. Nationalism was also a major aspect in increasing tensions. Henry had set up a common belief in England that prevails to this day, that Britain was meant to conquer over the rest of the world. This is most prominently shown by saying that “The Sun never sets on the British Empire.”He did this by separating himself from Rome, and creating the Church of England. To the rest of the world, he essentially announced he was above the Pope and to some extremists, that he thought he was above God. With this done, and the war between his daughters over religious control of the country, the newly established followers of the Church of England began what became known throughout the world as a type of superiority complex, one more reason for the American Revolution, as they tried to overly-impose themselves onto the American colonists, according to said colonists. However, there is suspicion that the French may have also been involved in the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, as it was his nation that had taken over the Lorraine area of France, for which the French had become resentful for quite some time, as they wanted the immediate recovery of the area. Ironically, Ferdinand was a member of the Hapsburg-Lorraine family, thus France effectively wiped out a member of their own “family”. Henry also created some alliances, which caused some nations to support one over another. This was mainly accomplished by the intermarriage system he set up, not only within the Tudors, but within the Hanovers and the Bourbons as well. Although most royal families were all related, some were more connected than others. For example, two different branches of the Hanover Dynasty ruled over Germany and England, causing them to be aligned with each other for a relatively short period of time. And although the French monarchy no longer existed at this time, the relations between the monarchial families of England and France had been long since established through numerous marriages, creating a long lasting national alliances with each other, when both were in the face of danger (as there hate for each other at this point had worn off to a point of friendship).
French Revolution – Conclusion:
King Henry VIII was in fact responsible for the French Revolution. Both his political and social life ultimately led to the destruction of thousands of families in France and even some in Austria. Not only did he set up the system which led to almost every European monarch being related to every other European monarch, but he also was the monarch who pushed France into a permanent state of debt, which was a direct and major cause of the French Revolution. Not only was King Henry responsible for his descendents actions, but he made life miserable for those around him, which thus influenced their decisions. One such case is Mary I where she tried to kill her sister, Elizabeth I, several times. In present day, this is similar to the Georgia/Russia situation. Georgia, in constant repression, is much like the French middle and lower class, while Russia is like the monarchy, making laws that only benefit him directly. This example, shows that not only was King Henry VIII responsible for the French Revolution in more than one way, but that his effect is still present, as his technique of ruling has even spread to a more general level, such as small political and social elitist groups, instead of just the royal elite.
World War I – Conclusion:
Furthermore, Henry was responsible for the First World War. His social life led to the precedent of “conquer first, ask questions later.” This ultimately threw Europe into a state of dismay as 400 years worth of political turmoil and spying imploded onto Europe after what was supposed to be a simple assassination, which should not have caused six major world powers to declare war on each other within a few weeks. Furthermore, Henry essentially pushed the incestual relations to another level, as he married his eldest daughter off to her first cousin. This proceeded throughout the ages, as is most pertinently shown with Carlos of Asturias, the first son of King Philip II of Spain, who only had four great-grandparents, and eight great-great grandparents, making his parents half-siblings. Also, Henry set up the pattern of attempting to conquer territories and establishing advanced armies even more so than his ancestors had. If relations were not already stressed enough, this show of military force was certainly enough to instigate nations to attack before being attacked, such as with the Spanish Armada’s attack on England. The Spanish loss to an underdog, due to the sheer number in forces, as well as several other factors, was not only humiliating, but kept nations even more alert than they had been before. With this example came not only the threat of being attacked by neighboring nations, but also the possibility of having one’s colonies rebel against rule, which is precisely what happened to Britain with its American colonies and in South Asia with India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In conclusion, it can be proved that King Henry VIII indirectly caused both the French Revolution and World War I.

“Bessie Blount”. Google Timeline. 28 February 2010
Brown, Lorri. “What Caused the French Revolution?”. 6-9-09
“Causes of the French Revolution”. 6-9-09.
“Causes of World War 1”. PageWise. 28 February 2010
Doyle, William. The Oxford History of the French Revolution. New York: Oxford University
Press, 1989.
“France”. History Channel. 6-9-09
Goubert, Pierre. The Course of French History. New York: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-
Publication-Data, 1988.
Joyce, Paul. “British Perception of Germany”. University of Portsmouth. 28 February 2010

Karpilovsky, Suzanne, Maria Fogel, and Olivia Kobelt. “The Great War Causes.” CUSD. CUSD,
n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2010.
Kelly, Martin. “Top 5 Causes of World War 1.” American History. The New York
Times Company, n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2010.
“King Henry VIII”. 6-9-09 .
Ridley, Jasper. King Henry VIII: The Politics of Tyranny. New York: Viking Penguin Inc., 1985.
“SUCCESSORS OF ROME: FRANCIA, 447-Present”. 6-12-09
“United Kingdom.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 12 Jun.
2009 .
“World War I.” The First World War (1914-18). The Corner, 2007. Web. 28 Feb. 2010.
Weir, Alison (2002). “Henry VIII: The King and His Court”, p. 216-217. New York: Ballantine

Prop 19 – Bringer of Good or Advocate of the Devil?

Hi everyone! So i realize that Prop 19 in California didn’t get passed. For all of you out-of-state readers, if i have any, Prop 19 would have legalized marijuana. However, I believe that Prop 19 should have passed. Now don’t get me wrong. I absolutely hate any sort of drug, and even avoid taking Advil when i have to. I am also of the strong opinion that any natural particle, including marijuana (i don’t care if it comes from nature, NOTHING was intended to be smoked, except ham! haha!) cause severe damage to the body. Just because they haven’t found any “conclusive evidence” doesn’t mean much if you ask me. Therefore, i actually think ALL drugs should be 100% banned. But, even after these strong opinions, i voted yes on legalization. Why you ask? Because there is a HUGE problem with the train of thought i had, not morally or physically, but feasibly. MORE people die in the world, not from overdosing on marijuana, but from the drug cartels that kill innocent people, or get in gang wars over, or territory disputes over who gets to sell what drug. In essence, the problem lies with drug cartels. They make HUGE profits off the drug, but end up killing hundreds of people every year. And frankly, it is a waste of time and money for the police to be going after druggies, who aren’t going to change their mind on smoking anything, even if you provide them with the most conclusive evidence in the world. When they start, for the most part, these druggies know what they are getting themselves into. So why do it? It is of my opinion that they simply have a “parent complex.” In other words, when your parents tell you VERY specifically NOT to do something, you want to do that thing EVEN more! Likewise, BECAUSE the drug is illegal, these smokers want the drug even more! Where’s my evidence you may be asking? A few years back, Switzerland lifted their ban on marijuana, and do you know what happened? The rate of users went down some 16%, practically making the usage of marijuana non-existent. So, we can conclude from this, that most druggies simply smoke to “prove a point” – that they can do whatever they want.

So, why NOT make marijuana legal, destroy and chance of survival the cartels have, and then when people have stopped caring about marijuana one way or another, you can make it illegal again, and it won’t make a difference. Of course, there’s always the positive of the state making some money off of a business that COST us huge funds before. But whatever floats your boat i suppose.

%d bloggers like this: