Once again, Cuba has asked the United Nations to help end the U.S. economic, financial and trade embargo. Havana says this blockade cost it more than $242 million last year. The embargo also stymies Cuban access to foreign capital from other nations, because investors face possible U.S. sanctions for doing business with Cuba.
never much liked the idea of arms control. During the Cold War, we managed our nuclear arsenals rather than reduced them. We treated our nukes like huge, dangerous animals. We restricted their movements but gave them ample care and feeding. Until recently, getting rid of the animals altogether wasn’t part of the political agenda. After all, our leaders believed that these beasts were useful. They scared away the covetous neighbors.
Late last month, five U.S. troops died within 24 hours in southern Afghanistan. Taliban militants have killed more Americans and other troops deployed by NATO this year than in any of the previous years since President Bush ordered the invasion in 2001.
The U.S. economy has lost more than 2 million jobs this year, ratcheting the unemployment rate to 9.7 percent, the highest level since 1983.
But the politicians and pundits didn’t seem to notice. They’re fixating instead on the stock market’s rebound as a sign of recovery. While that might mean a boost for Wall Street, it hasn’t helped the rest of us very much.
President Barack Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, should be commended for initiating some basic reforms in U.S. drug policy. One of his first sensible acts was to drop the phrase “War on Drugs.” “Regardless of how you try to explain to people that it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them,” he explained. “We’re not at war with people in this country.”
It’s time for a constructive debate about health care that hinges on facts instead of fear.