America is the greatest country on earth, and yet we are plagued by an enormous number of social ills. Most of our solutions to these problems seem to bring more trouble than they cure.
A large portion of our current woes are the result of a lack of basic education in our own History and Philosophy. We don't know how to be a great country, because we don't remember how we became a great country.
We became a great country by focusing on the rights of individuals. Civil Rights issues have been a constant stream in American politics, but have recently become a torrential flood. The rights most under attack are our rights defined in the First Amendment and Second Amendment to the United State Constitution.
These rights are supposed to be protected in our Laws, but two-hundred years of encroachment by the Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branches of our government have slowly rendered them weak. Some of the worst offenses by the Judicial branch could have been prevented if more Americans possessed a better understanding of Jury Nullification.
The Second Amendment is very clear in its intent and in its wording. Our government has deliberately subverted this amendment to restrict Americans access to National Firearms Act (NFA) / Class III Firearms and to require Americans to obtain Concealed Carry (CCW) Permits.
Many of the encroachments upon the rights of Americans have come under the guise of the War on Drugs.
Tax Reform would certainly help undo some of these mistakes. A government with less funding can do less harm.
Much of the harm which our government does is enabled by secrecy. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Sunshine Laws are attempts to expose the actions of government to public scrutiny.
At the same time, Americans have discovered an interest in their right to Privacy, which was never specifically addressed in the Bill of Rights.
Government has become so arrogant in it's dealing with Americans than even local town councils and schools have adopted Zero Tolerance policies for behavior of which they disapprove. It's ignorance taken to the Nth degree.
Some of the worst offenses of our government against our citizens were the assault at Ruby Ridge, The Siege at Waco, and The Donald Scott Case. In each of these situations, innocent people were murdered in the name of state power.
One critical factor in America's success has always been healthy immigration. We are the sons and daughters of the best and brightest that the world has to offer. In recent years, we as a nation seem to have forgotten that reality. Immigration Reform is an attempt to bring back the benefits of immigration to a nation that has forgotten them.
One unfortunate result of Americas success has been a dependence upon fossil fuels. These fuels come from both domestic and foreign sources. The mining and burning of coal from domestic sources is a cause of pollution. The importation of oil from foreign sources funded the terrorism which caused the collapse of the World Trade Centers. Safe clean Nuclear Power is one solution to both problems.
American interest in international politics can be understood with a statement Pericles made over two thousand years ago: "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you."
The inability of many of the nations of the world to govern themselves competently creates direct problems for America. Most Americans would prefer to ignore international politics; we simply do not possess that luxury.
America was brought into the First World War by the sinking of the Lusitania. America was brought into WWII with the attack on Pearl Harbor. The simultaneous attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon brought us full-bore into the War on Terror.
America is now faced with the threat of attacks utilizing weapons of mass destruction. A successful WMD attack could kill millions of Americans and damage our environment and our economy for decades to come. The traditional American reactionary stance no longer fits the new global reality. We as Americans cannot wait for our enemies to strike the first blow. We are forced, by this technological shift, to become proactive in our relationships with the rest of the world.
Many of the worst problems that exist in the world today would not exist if the world's citizens had the right to Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Speech is the first threat to the power of ruthless dictatorship.
Another source for pain and suffering across the globe is a lack of understanding of the principles of Economics. This lack of understanding causes poverty, and it also causes poor assessment of responsibility. Good basic economics teaches poor nations that they are poor because they lack a safe legal business climate and a healthy manufacturing capability. Marxist economics teach poor countries that they are poor because of the United States. Marxist economics effectively prevents poor countries from improving their situation, and also encourages hatred towards the United States.
All of this bad thinking leads to violence. Effective violence requires access to modern weapons. The cold war and the fall of the Soviet Union have littered the planet with Soviet weapons, from AK-47's to T-72 tanks. Both good guys and bad guys need weapons, and it is often nearly impossible to sort out who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. Arms Control and End User Certificates attempt to help sort out how the world tries to keep arms in the hands of the good guys and out of the hands of the bad guys.
By far, the vast majority of the violent deaths in this century have been at the hands of governments who were internationally recognized as having the right to own arms, large and small. People's Democracy maintains a directory of the Armed Forces of the World, friends and foes.
Another result of this global mismanagement is a huge refugee problem. People who are governed by ruthless dictators or economic mis-managers usually find it easier to flee from their homes than stand and fight. This creates huge problems with Refugee Relief.
Environmentalism is becoming a larger international issue, partially because of real threats to the environment and partially because it's a good tool for less-developed nations to use to beat up on well-developed nations in the U.N.
We are slowly building our library of Country Focuses which are looks at our individual neighbors across the globe.