Last night, I was watching documentaries on Netflix with my boyfriend Corey. One of them was called "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream," which features clips of Ayn Rand speaking about her vision of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This brought me into research mode, wanting to find out a little more about the Ayn Rand Institute. I have loved Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" for years, but I never knew that ARI was a political powerhouse. On my quest, I came across an article George Saunders had written for the New Yorker called "I Was Ayn Rand's Lover."
I had known about Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden from reading her many biographies, in particular "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It creeped me out quite a bit back then, but now to see that she prowled on more than one innocent young man left me with a sour taste. If you know Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you wouldn't be too surprised that Nathaniel Branden was a target on her radar. To hear Saunders recount his having essentially been "raped" by her was a little off-putting to say the least, but his developing jealousy over Ayn having set her eyes on a young Paul Ryan disturbed me. It wasn't his feelings of jealousy that disturbed me, rather her voracious appetite for bedding young men in late puberty is what was particularly disturbing.
So, we now know of three men in their late teens who were successfully pursued by Ayn Rand. There are probably plenty more, but my interest stops there. Seeing Paul Ryan run wild with Ayn's version of Laissez Faire Capitalism as it pertains to our present day economy was like being punched in the gut by Ayn Rand herself. All of her theories sound good as just that -- a theory, but when put into practice as Paul Ryan has done as a congressman, they are truly frightening. I don't know what plagues me more: the affairs with young boys, or being disillusioned by Paul Ryan's crazy plans for American prosperity.
To understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to do a little research. Most of it can be done by watching the "Park Avenue" documentary, reading "Atlas Shrugged," "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (also a film), and then reading George Saunder's New Yorker piece (which is very well-written, I might add). It amounts to a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, I'll bet, because that's what I'm feeling right now. It can all be summed up in one word: UGH!
Watch the entire "Park Avenue" documentary:
Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's wife) on The Passion of Ayn Rand:
I find this video shocking. I would honestly think Syrian citizens would be afraid of a strike, but here they are begging for one against Assad. If the US can pinpoint Assad's location so as not to harm innocent people, I'm for it. This video swayed my opinion. I just don't want the US to become embroiled in the civil war there. What do you think?
The above slideshow contains screen captures of the Syrian President's son Hafez Assad's Facebook post and some of the comments left mostly by Syrian residents. The post essentially invites the US to take action because we supposedly don't know what we're getting into. Here is the New York Times article that questions the true identity of the account holder of this particular Facebook page. It does seem pretty well written for an 11-year-old. What do you think?
> New York Times: Debating the Case for Force
>Huffington Post: Kerry fumbles over "Boots on the Ground"
Boy, John Kerry is looking old these days. Maybe it's due, in part, to all the work he's doing to get us into the Syrian civil war. Everywhere I turn, John Kerry is talking about reasons to strike. If that isn't enough, he's become the president's mouthpiece saying, "He believes we need to move. He’s made his decision. Now it’s up to the Congress of the United States to join him in affirming the international norm with respect to enforcement against the use of chemical weapons.”
Good for him, and good for you, John Kerry. This pisses me off. When I'm angry about something, I find it hard to write about, but in this case, I don't believe we need to use force against Syria. It's not going to stop Assad from gassing his own people yet again, and I believe it'll provoke the man into unleashing greater force upon his people and maybe the people who are attacking him--which would be us. America. I don't want bombs falling on Philadelphia, or any other city for that matter. 9/11 was bad enough.
Assad's ties with Russia worry me. If we do go ahead with a strike, that is if the houses approve it, are we risking Russian retaliation? Russia is much bigger than Syria, and far more powerful. Is anyone thinking of the consequences here? Or does Kerry just like to see himself on TV acting all important?
I am against a war. Are you?
Update: 09/07/13 - This New York Times article calls John Kerry "the Obama administration's chief salesman for a punitive strike", which is totally accurate. It describes what Kerry is doing to sway the opinions of European nations.
> Huffington Post Article from 9/1/13
> Video - Kerry's Speech and Commentary 8/30/13
> What is Sarin?
We learned today, in a speech from Secretary of State John Kerry, that Sarin, a nerve agent, was used on the Syrian people within the last 24 hours. Proof comes from hair and blood test results done on first responders. Kerry says that this is the case they are building to justify military action against Syrian President Assad.
There is proof that some citizens were told to don gas masks that are used in the event of a chemical attack. Kerry also says there is proof of when, where, and by whom this chemical attack was launched, it is clear that the intent was to seriously harm or kill innocent Syrians, and there is high confidence that it was launched by the Syrian government.
It was made very clear today that although Obama called for Congressional approval to launch an air attack, he has the ultimate approval with or without congress. It seems, if you read between the lines, that Kerry is basically saying that Obama plans to go forward with this even if Congress comes back with the decision not to strike, and this new attack is just fuel for the fire. It's almost certain that another chemical attack will occur, and if so, we may be fighting in the Syrian civil war before Congress even has a chance to decide when they return from recess.
> New York Times Multimedia Look at Syria
> New York Times: Experts Fear Strikes Overlook Risks
> Huffington Post Syrian News Feed
In 2011, locals took to the streets of the city of Deraa after 15 school-aged children were arrested and tortured for spray painting anti-government graffiti on a public wall. Non-violent protests in the beginning turned violent after the Syrian army opened fire on the protesters, killing four innocent people. The next day, the army opened fire again on the mourners at the four victim's funerals, killing another innocent citizen. As news of this spread throughout the country, unrest followed as people became outraged at their government's capacity for senseless violence.
The protesters who took to the streets in increasing numbers all throughout Syria simply wanted democracy and freedom of speech. They had had enough of the government's practice of ruling with an iron fist. Several reports of suspected intentional internet outages popped up all over the country after protests and during President Assad's public address. Control of this sort was made possible by the many people who still supported Assad and his party.
As the protesting grew to huge numbers, it is suspected that Assad and his cronies took 3 days or so to put together nerve agents for a chemical attack on the protesters in the city of Damascus. When they (supposedly) launched the attack on August 21, 2013, 1,429 men, women, and children were killed. Syrian citizens began fleeing the country to neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. The United Nations reported that upwards of two million citizens had become refugees, and nearly one million of them were children. Millions more have been displaced by the fighting within Syria, and have no means of securing help.
Regular citizens have formed a rogue army, and are too busy fighting to help their fellow citizens who are without food, water, and shelter. The United Nations can not come to an agreement on how to help the citizen army fight the government army. If they send weapons, the weapons shipment may be intercepted by the government. If they launch an air attack, they risk killing more innocent people. Another issue here is that Putin, the Russian president, has close ties to President Assad's government having supplied them with artillery, so Russia does not support the UN going through with air strikes.
Initially, France and the UK were in support of the US air strikes, but the UK has since pulled out of that agreement. It is feared that the disagreement between countries will precipitate a third world war. It is also feared that if the US launches said air strikes, that they will bring us one step closer to sending troops on foot into the Syrian civil war. Neither the Syrian government nor the Syrian citizens have been able to overtake the other, so there seems to be no end in sight, but it's very unlikely that the Syrian government will ever have full control again.
As of this afternoon, August 31, 2013, President Obama is letting Congress vote on whether or not we should launch air strikes against Syria. He said, "a lot of people think something should be done, but nobody wants to do it." He has the ability to make the final decision, but said it was important for the people to decide. I was of the belief that we should mind our own business, but as a member of the UN, the United States does have the responsibility to help the Syrian people in their fight for a democracy. It doesn't appear they can do it on their own. While I do think we should help, I don't think our help needs to involve air strikes. I'm in the camp with other people who believe this can ultimately be solved non-violently. At least I hope it can. I do not, I repeat DO NOT want to see world war three in my lifetime. Isaiah 17:1, a bible verse, has been trending because people believe that the fighting in Damascus brings the second coming of Christ and the end of days. A grim outlook if you ask me.
I didn't want to blog about Syria, but I wanted people to know what's going on. A lot of my peers had no idea why the fighting began in the first place, so I felt the responsibility to outline it for you simply. I hope this helps in some way, and I'd like to hear everyone's opinion on whether we should help or not, and whether we should launch an attack or do this without weapons. Let me hear your opinion one way or another.
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.