trevor brookins

Trevor Brookins

*I recently went to a forum discussion on the Syrian refugee crisis.

One person on the panel spent 20 minutes talking about how the Syrian nation has been getting the bad end of the stick for years; one person on the panel spoke for 20 minutes about how certain countries need to do more to help displaced persons; the last person on the panel spent 20 minutes largely clarifying the difference between people who choose to immigrate and those who are refugees because of an unstable situation in their home country.

All of their points were valid. However none of them pointed out the simple fact this would be much less of an issue if Syria was located in Western Europe instead of Western Asia. Western Europeans and Americans saw Syrians as someone like themselves instead of someone potentially about to blow them up there wouldn’t be a refugee crisis because their country and people would be looked after.

Former Indian Wells tennis tournament director Raymond Moore opined that female tennis players had an easier time because they are able to make a great living without making any decisions or any responsibility. He basically said that women were riding the coattails of the professional male tennis players. While his comments were indicative of core misogynist beliefs, there was a factual basis for his misguided opinion. Because Serena Williams, the best and most popular female tennis player of the last dozen years, has not typically been at his tournament, in his experience people buy tickets to see Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and not any of the female players. Nevertheless if he had taken just a little initiative he could’ve found out that female tickets outdraw men in several tournaments here Serena plays. Furthermore he could have seen the decisions that female players make (where to play and train or which products to endorse) in order to maintain their incomes. Moore chose instead to continue in his ignorance and misogyny. And that is why he is the former Indian Wells tennis tournament director.

From 1898 until 1959 the United States operated Cuba as a colony and enjoyed all of the benefits of a tropical locale without having to deal with the pesky issue of governing Cuba according to the American Constitution (extending representation is a thorn in the side when you are in the seat of power). So the Cuban revolution has left a bad taste in the mouth of the United States for over 50 years at this point. But at the very core of this situation is the money that can be made in the tourism industry and probably the sugar and sugar derivative industries. And when there is enough money at stake and enough powerful people want a piece of that money, a way beyond political ideology is made; a way beyond historical bad blood is made. And the status quo (rich and powerful people consolidating their power and building upon their wealth) is resumed. That is the story of how Obama went to visit Cuba.

The United States government is pressuring Apple to unlock the iphone of a person who went on a shooting rampage and has been deemed a terrorist. Whether or not the individual is actually a terrorist is not the point, because anyone can be deemed a terrorist. The major question is whether a private country should be compelled to work for the government. If Apple were willing to unlock the phone I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all. Government attempting to force their cooperation is a different story. This is a tricky situation because it would set a precedent that the government would have the resources of every company based in the United States at their disposal. At that point either companies start leaving the country (not good) or the government becomes all powerful (even worse).

And why doesn’t the government have someone that can hack the phone anyway?

Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War.  His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.