Day: October 15, 2008

Why The U.S. Is Failing In What It Is Doing

  Walking in a desert, concentrating on the mirage, the wanderer looses sight of what he had set out to do. He walks away from his destination lured by the mirage, embracing fiction than fact. Like the wanderer, the focus of United States foreign policies seemed to have drifted from the path to the mirage. Rather than eliminating the world from all evils, it has prolonged the terror of evilness. Instead of concentrating on making the world a safe place, it has declared regions as “war-zones” that were in peace before. Is the world a safer place today? The presidential candidates were asked this question in their foreign policy debate, and both of them generally thought that it was. I tend to disagree. Indeed, the U.S. has more enemies now than they have friends in that region. What is ironic is that most of it has been a result of pursuing a poorly constructed and insensitive foreign policy. The policies are so not because United States doesn’t have the expertise to construct them but because they have forgotten what the policy was to be made for. The case of Pakistan is a blatant example. North West Pakistan is home to a proud people — the Pathans. The tribes have been organized so even before the conquest of Alexander the Great and have always ruled according to their values, norms...

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10 Years and $700 Billion Later, A Step Toward Mental Health Parity

It appears that the media and politicians of both parties can agree on one thing these days: We are surrounded by crisis. One of the most important areas where the system in place is fundamentally broken is the health care system. Oddly enough, it took a different crisis in the economic markets and a financial bailout bill to finally get mental health parity signed into law. While mental health parity may not pose the largest crisis we face, the Mental Health Parity Act will have a positive impact on millions of Americans across the country. It addresses a gap in health care policy, but it is also an important symbolic accomplishment in the way we view health. We know that more than a quarter of Americans suffer from diagnosable, often treatable, mental illnesses and disorders annually. We also know that mental illnesses often go undiagnosed or untreated. In a 1999 report on mental health, the Surgeon General stated that those in need of treatment fail to seek it in the majority of cases. We have come a long way since the days when people who experienced “nervous fits” were hidden from society, but the subject remains misunderstood and taboo. The stigma associated with mental illness still keeps it from being diagnosed, discussed or insured. The Surgeon General also acknowledged that stigma gives insurers “tacit permission to restrict coverage for...

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With a Handshake and a Smile: The Human Aspect of Political Campaigns

Pundits, news anchors and John Centipede Citizen, to borrow a phrase, will all tell you that this is an historic election year for a variety of reasons. For the second time, a presidential nominee has selected a woman as his running mate. We, the voting public, came very close to nominating the first female candidate for president of the United States, and we did nominate the first African American to be the presidential candidate from a major political party. Meanwhile, our military continues to fight two wars abroad, and we are wading through some of the worst economic times since the early 80s and potentially since the Great Depression. This election will chart our course for the next century. If the challenges posed by current issues did not suffice as complications to the election process, consider the mechanics of conducting a campaign. On the one hand, you have people that are intensely motivated by particular issues or candidates, and they want to fight for those issues and support those candidates. Then, on the other hand, you have a somewhat complicated apparatus for capturing and weighing political sentiment. The public reacts to images of Barack Obama or John McCain at their political conventions by saying, “Well, they obviously have the support of their party.” But for these two candidates to reach their party conventions, they depend upon the tireless efforts...

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