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Should there be a House of Lords?
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Clearly, in such a populated country such as Great Britain, a Second Chamber of Parliament also known as the House of Lords is necessary. Although the House of Lords cannot execute much power, compared to the House of Commons, it is a vital part of British Government. The House of Lords plays an important part in revising, potentially delaying legislation and as well as keeping a check on Government by scrutinising its activities. It complements the work of the Commons, whose members are elected to represent their constituents. Members of the Lords are not elected and are unpaid. Most peers...
very well and it would not make sense to remove its presence from Government. The House of Lords works to revise legislation ensuring it is coherent. It also works by keeping a check on Government by scrutinising its activities. Many people do not realise that the House of Lords is influential in Government. For example, it can delay legislation for a maximum of one year. It is also made up of many committees that make sure that Government is working efficiently. Although there are some problems with the House of Lords including being undemocratic, overall it works very well.
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In 1962 an American biologist Rachel...In 1962 an American biologist Rachel Carson published a hugely influential novel called Silent Spring. The book highlighted the harmful effects of insecticides on all life on Earth and described a future without the songs of birds. It caused such great interest that Carson was widely acknowledged as the mother of environmentalism as a political ideology. Despite the fact that politics of global environmentalism is a fairly new aspect of International Relations, environmental problems are not new. People began to understand their role in environmental degradation and various policies and pressure groups have been emerging during the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, it was only in the late 1960s and early 1970s that worries about accelerating damage to the environment started to articulate. Concern was much greater than before and the first United Nations Conference on Environment was held in Stockholm in 1972. Numerous conferences were held since then and the idea of linking environment and both national and international security began to emerge. Environment was referred to as a security issue by several scholars but, as it was argued such literature could only be equated to environmental protection and not much more Levy, 1995. Almost everybody understood that the protection of environment is a major task of all states, but is it a matter of international security? Scholars are divided on this topic: `Arguments on whether environment should be seen as a security issue range from those who believe that the securitization of the environment is the most important step to securing the survival of humanity, to those who believe that its advocates are simply environmentalists cynically attempting to grab part of the governmental attention and spending that traditionally attaches to security issues.` Sheehan, 2005: 99 The purpose of this essay is to identify the existence of a link between environmental issues and security issues and to conclude whether it is useful to see environment as an international security threat instead of leaving it on the low politics shelf. To perform this task the essay will analyze both proponents and critics of environmental security. Supporters of environmental security. It has been generally recognized that, in International Relations, social and environmental issues are considered to be the matter of `low politics`, while security issues are generally regarded as `high politics`. Some scholars have argued that it is worth incorporating the environment into the `high politics` realm thus making it a security issue. It is the view of such scholars that environmental protection should be linked to international security. Matthews wrote in 1989 that such global phenomena as climate change, biodiversity loss, soil erosion and population growth all affect the interest of the international community. Also such issues are regional or even global in scale and cannot be restricted to the sovereign territorial boundaries of states. She acknowledges that `the value and absolute necessity for human life of functioning ecosystems is finally becoming apparent.`Mathews, 1989: 162 Mathews stresses that not only should environment be an international security issue but it should be the highest priority of all nations since not only does it threat the existence of states but the survival of all people on the planet. Myers is another scholar who emphasized early the importance of environmental security. For him, rapid environmental change and growing ecological interdependence are major international threats. Myers asserts that the environmental aspect should be included in every security strategy and he has designated environmental security as the `ultimate security`. Myers, 1989: 41 However his proposals to deal with the environmental issues, such as increasing foreign aid and reducing Third World debt are seen as highly utopian and too unrealistic.Levy, 1995: 42 In addition, Dyer argues that global changes in environment represent the greatest challenge to the security of the entire world `because it is seen as an externality to the international system, rather than an internal variable which can be addressed in terms of familiar political structures and their supporting social values.` Dyer in Hough, 2004: 145 Environmental threats such as the hole in the ozone layer and global warming potentially threat the whole life on earth and require the co-operation of all states in the international community and no one state can confront these threats in spite of its economic and military might. It has been argued that the environmental issues in the form of resource shortages constitute a major international security threat and will cause much more wars in the future as the `world population is pushing against the earth's resources, straining its ability to meet the needs of this generation and the next` Kegley and Wittkopf, 2004: 366 Such relatively minor environmental issues such as scarcities of water, forest, fish stocks and cropland have been the cause of some major intrastate and interstate conflicts. This kind of environmental security approach is associated with the `Toronto school` and especially Thomas Homer-Dixon who during the 1990s explored the possibility of a link between resource exhaustion and military conflict. For him environmental scarcities contribute significantly to wars between developing states: `Turkey has used its control over the headwaters of Euphrates to put pressure on the Syrian government to withdraw its support for Kurdish separatists in the East Turkey "¦ when Ethiopia proposed building dams on the upper Nile in 1978, Egyptian officials said that their country was so dependant on the Nile that they were prepared to go to war to prevent the dams from being built.` Sheehan, 2005: 109-111 He states, therefore, that the environmental issues form an integral part of international and regional conflicts, and because of that they can be considered as security issues. Environmental scarcity does not lead to conflict directly but it does cause social unrest that may later turn into a violent turmoil. However there have been several critics of this approach, Levy even called it `anecdotal`. He states that its not environment that caused the wars, but poverty. Developing states fight over the resources because `that's where the money is.` Levy, 1995: 45 Critics of the idea of securitizing the environment. The argument for securitizing the environment has not been universally accepted and remains controversial to many scholars. Critics remind that usually security policies consist of urgent and crisis issues that require an urgent solution and action. Clearly this is not the case with the environment issues. Not only are they relatively slow in development, furthermore, their continued protection requires a long-term commitment. Because the environmental issues are developing so slowly, it is argued that there is no immediate sense of threat: `The potential threats posed by issues like global warming and ozone depletion may be profound but they are still long-term creeping emergencies when set against imminent disasters and attacks.` Hough, 2004: 134 This is contrary to the usual security issues where there are immediate threats that require immediate actions. Also, responding to the environmental threats is very costly and calls for significant compromises in economic interests. Not only do environmentalists propose to limit the state's ability to produce goods and services because of factory emissions and implement costly anti-pollution measures, states also have to contribute substantial finances to solving the environmental problems in other countries. `In an era of declining growth rates and rising budget deficits, surely we want resources devoted to the most pressing problems.`Levy, 1995: 45 Even the Algerian President Boumediene said during the 1970s that he is against improving the environment if it means less bread for the Algerians. In Hough, 2004: 140 Another important factor that identifies the critics from supporters is that the critics tend to study the environmental security issues through the state level analysis lens. Despite the fact that the damage to the environment is, for the most part, described as a universal problem, often scholars tend to see it as state threat only. To most critics of environmental security, the issue is mostly of national character. The nature of threats is very different for every state. `Tunisia's concern with deforestation is being driven by direct environmental impact "¦ while U.S. interest may be more a result of the progress of a developing needs hierarchy.` Sheehan, 2005: 100 For the critics, the problems of deforestation in Tunisia or analogous problems in other parts of the world, are not that important to states like the U.S., and cannot be considered an environmental security concern. Critics do not look at the issue from the global perspective but tend to concentrate on state level only. That's why Levy sees two main concerns that have a chance of linking environment and security. Only the problems of stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change are considered a national security threat. This is important as the critics only briefly mention the global effects of the environmental issues and mostly give attention to national security. For such opponents of an environmental security concept as Deudney and Levy, security threats are defined as `situations in which some of the nation's most important values are drastically degraded by external action.` Levy, 1995: 40 It is clear that this definition only covers the actual states and not the whole mankind. In his essay on environment and US security Levy agrees that the arguments of the proponents of a link between environment and security are worth considering, however, he argues `that this position has no basis except as a rhetorical devise aimed at drumming up greater support for measures to protect the environment.` Levy, 1995: 36 He is well supported by Deudney who presents sound arguments against the inclusion of environment within the realm of security politics. Considered to be the foremost challenger to the idea of environmental securitization, Deudney sites four key differences between the environmental degradation and established security concerns. First, they are different kinds of threats. He points out that accidents, ageing and illness also kill human beings but they are not coming close to being identified as security threats. When environmental disasters strike, many people lose their lives but it is still considered a natural disaster. For Deudney the term `security` would lose its meaning if everything that causes death is to be identified as a security threat. `Both violence and environmental degradation may kill people and may reduce human well-being, but not all threats to life and property are threats to security.` Deudney, 1990: 463 Second, there is no intention in environmental threats. Security threats of violence are planned, organized and are clearly intentional, while, in contrast, natural threats are largely unintentional. They are only an unfortunate and unintended result of human development and progress. Third, the organizations that protect the societies against violence differ significantly from those that are responsible for environmental protection. Finally, and most importantly, environmental threats are not usually purely national. In conventional military security realm states are threatened by other actors of international arena, while here disasters don't recognize the boundaries between states and threaten any given area. Deudney in Sheehan, 2005: 105 And since `environmental degradation is not very likely to cause interstate wars`, it should not be incorporated into the security studies realm. Deudney, 1990: 461 Proponents of environmental security believe that a link to `high politics` would make threats to the environment seem more pressing and important, however Deudney believes that securitizing the environment will not increase the possibility of finding suitable political solutions to environmental problems. There are several weaknesses in Deudney's arguments. He sees security as something that requires a military response by the state rather than `seeing it as a condition that relates to people's lives and which can be achieved at various political levels. This means that to the critics security can only mean military defense against other states. Real security needs of people and of the whole planet are excluded by such blinkered logic.` Hough, 2004: 149 Supporters of the environmental security define this concept as concerning `the maintenance of the local and planetary biosphere as the essential support system all other human enterprises depend.` Buzan, 1991: 19 This definition is dramatically different from the one of the critics mentioned earlier and it clearly falls within the scope of a security issue as it brings attention to events that could trigger the collapse of the human civilization.. It seems that the issue of linking environment and security should be looked at from the point of different levels of analysis. For the supporters, the global level is the most appropriate one. They see it from the whole mankind's perspective. Buzan argues that the environmental debate is really about preserving the existence of human civilization: `The real concern is whether or not the ecosystems needed to preserve and further develop human civilization are sustainable.` in Sheehan, 2005: 101 Environmental security is about threats to humanity and as such should be considered an international security issue. The fact that the issue of environmental security had emerged in recent years is not surprising. Many people face such obvious environmental threats as desertification and deforestation. Such threats seem to be much more alarming than conventional military threats. There is, nevertheless, a case for not securitizing environment at all. Critics argue that environmental threats are too different from traditional security issues and should be addressed as public safety or health issues. Levy, 1995: 49 However their arguments are mostly based on the state level. Of course the scope of environmental threats is different for all states but the danger for the whole of mankind is the same. `The reality of the situation is that the debate over securitization was won by the proponents during the 1990s. The environment is now seen as a security issue by governments, international organizations, and general publics.` Sheehan, 2005: 114   

In 1962 an American biologist Rachel Carson published a hugely influential novel called Silent Spring. The book highlighted the harmful effects of insecticides on all life on Earth and described a future without the songs of birds. It caused such great interest that Carson was widely acknowledged as the mother...

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Prayer before a game, "under God"...Prayer before a game, "under God" as a part of the pledge, the Ten Commandments on school walls: are all of these really an endorsement of religion or are they merely a nation's heritage; traditions passed down year after year? This point could and probably will be argued forever. But there is one thing that must be settled once and for all. If rights are to be removed from moral, conservative students in the public school system, then the precedent set by the removal of these rights must extend all the way across the board, even into government offices. If any one person's rights are to be revoked, the revocation must be consistent, from public school student, all the way up to President of the United States. When one item is declared unconstitutional by the government, and the same item in another instance is not, our government is proving its lack of true leadership, not only to Americans but also the rest of the world. The Constitution of the United States has been compromised. It has been twisted and taken out of context many times to promote the liberal, social agenda. The dictionary definition for the word constitution says it all: the composition or make-up of anything, as of the human body or the state; the system of fundamental laws of a nation or society New Concise Webster's Dictionary, 1988. The constitution of a country cannot be altered any more than that of the human body. Twisting words; pulling them out of context, is like pulling out the stomach and inserting it into the brain cavity. It doesn't work. When a constitution is altered, the body loses its identity. It is no longer what it was. Although on the outside it may seem to be a beautiful creation, it no longer has the strength and fortitude it had before it was cut and pieced back together. American history is full of official references to "the value and invocation of Divine guidance in deliberations and pronouncements of [both] the Founding Fathers and contemporary leaders . . ." Lynch v. Donnelly, 1999. American heritage and modern life alike are wrought with often times unrecognized religious symbols, sayings and celebrations. National holidays: Easter - Christian feast commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus The American Heritage Dictionary, 2000. Thanksgiving "“ The fourth Thursday of November, observed as a legal holiday in the United States to commemorate the feast held at Plymouth in 1621 by the Pilgrim colonists and members of the Wampanoag people and marked by the giving of thanks to God for harvest and health The American Heritage Dictionary, 2000. Christmas "“ A Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus The American Heritage Dictionary, 2000. Each one of these holidays, has been proclaimed a national holiday and is most definitely an endorsement of religion. Yet, the same Americans who are fighting to remove students' religious rights on the grounds of its unconstitutionality revel in their time-and-a-half for holidays worked or paid holiday vacations. In a 1980 case Stone vs. Graham, 1999, the Supreme Court prohibited the posting of the Ten Commandments on public school walls. Reasoning for this judgment was that: since public schools are funded by government moneys, it would be unconstitutional to publicly display anything religious in nature. Unconstitutional: [against] the composition or make-up of anything, as of the human body or the state; [against] the system of fundamental laws of a nation or society New Concise Webster's Dictionary, 1988. The fundamental laws of our nation began with the Constitution of the United States. There is no reference to separation of church and state in the Constitution. The Establishment Clause, if read in context, is written for the purpose of preventing Congress from establishing a national religion. Not to remove God from public view. Our Constitution states that we are "endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights". Yet these rights are one-by-one being revoked, pushing America back in time into the same tyranny that our forefathers ran from, leaving their homes to come to America to establish a new, free country. In 2003, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, was mandated to remove his sculpture of the Ten Commandments from the courthouse by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson Cabell, Mattingly & King, 2003. But will government deface the Supreme Courthouse Building to remove Moses; the first lawgiver; a figure from the Christian faith? What about art galleries funded by public revenues; don't they display paintings that are predominantly inspired by one religious faith? The National Gallery in Washington, maintained with Government support, . . . has long exhibited masterpieces with religious messages, notably the Last Supper, and paintings depicting the Birth of Christ, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection, among many others with explicit Christian themes and messages Lynch v. Donnelly, 1999. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor stated her opinion about religious and government entanglement in Lynch v. Donnelly 1999. The Establishment Clause prohibits government from making adherence to a religion relevant in any way to a person's standing in the political community. Government can run afoul of that prohibition in two principal ways. One is excessive entanglement with religious institutions . . . The second and more direct infringement is government endorsement or disapproval of religion. Endorsement sends a message to nonadherents that they are outsiders, not full members of the political community. But after stating her stand on a definite separation of church and state, this same Justice allowed the local government to display a manger scene as part of the city's Christmas display on public property stating that, "Celebration of public holidays, which have cultural significance even if they also have religious aspects, is a legitimate secular purpose" Piereson, 2003. Engel vs. Vitale, 1962 "was the first in a series of cases in which the Court used the establishment clause to eliminate religious activities of all sorts, which had traditionally been a part of public ceremonies." Goldman, 1962. Before students' religious rights were removed when prayer was first outlawed in school by means of government compromise, we did not have the crime problem that we have today. Since laws went into effect removing God from the classroom, the crime rate has increased to a current double from 1960's crime Drews, 2002. The Gallup polls show that the majority of Americans do not agree with the court system's removal of religious rights Dobson, 2003. So how do they get away with it? What happened to democracy; majority rule? Dr. Dobson 2003 calls it oligarchy "“ government by a few. The few who are passing such liberal laws hold positions of power. Most of them are in "lifetime" positions and cannot be removed by a vote from the people. They take advantage of their status and rule using their power to make decisions as a pacifier to quiet the screaming of the liberal minority. Cases are won by a minority because the passive majority of Americans sit in silence, twiddling thumbs while the court system softens up the nation, stashing one case after another, quietly under the bed. This stash will ultimately become a massive arsenal, used to establish the grounds for complete removal of God from our nation. Darrell Scott 2000, father of the late Rachel Scott, read this poem in his speech before Congress after the atrocities occurred at Columbine High School. Your laws ignore our deepest needs, Your words are empty air, You've stripped away our heritage, You've outlawed simple prayer, Now gunshots fill our classrooms, And precious children die, You seek for answers everywhere, And ask the question, "Why?" You regulate restrictive laws, Through legislative creed, And yet you fail to understand, That God is what we need! In 1987 the Supreme Court ruled that schools teaching evolution were granted the right not to have to give equal time to Creationism The National Conference for Community and Justice, 2002. Evolution, as Creationism, is an unproven theory. Darwin's theory of evolution was created by a human being and is to this day unproven by science; yet the theory is given the status of "science" while the teaching of Creationism is called an endorsement of religion. Compromise - A committal to something derogatory or objectionable; a prejudicial concession; a surrender; as, a compromise of character or right Webster's, 1998. The slightest compromise from any government exposes a nation's Achilles' heel. In this day of war, our American government cannot afford compromise. Our government must make one of two choices. It can leave our schools alone allowing students the religious freedoms promised by the Constitution. Or it can completely remove God from any and all government funded institutions. In order for America to remain a truly free country, moral Americans must stand up and not passively take the judicial tyranny that is removing our rights one at a time. We must not allow ourselves as a nation to be softened to unconstitutional verdicts being handed out, catering to the minority with a liberal, social agenda. We must stand firm and not allow the judicial system to twist words, taking them out of context to suit their own ideas and lifestyles. We must not let them make a mockery of the Constitution. No compromise!   

Prayer before a game, "under God" as a part of the pledge, the Ten Commandments on school walls: are all of these really an endorsement of religion or are they merely a nation's heritage; traditions passed down year after year? This point could and probably will be argued forever. But...

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