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Opinion

Caught up in the televised drama of a military-style manhunt for the suspects in the Boston Marathon explosion, most Americans fail to realize that the world around them has been suddenly and jarringly shifted off its axis, that axis being the U.S. Constitution.

For those like myself who have studied emerging police states, the sight of a city placed under martial law—its citizens under house arrest (officials used the Orwellian phrase “shelter in place” to describe the mandatory lockdown), military- style helicopters equipped with thermal imaging devices buzzing the skies, tanks and armored vehicles on the streets, and snipers perched on rooftops, while thousands of blackgarbed police swarmed the streets and SWAT teams carried out house-to-house searches in search of two young and seemingly unlikely bombing suspects—leaves us in a growing state of unease.

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The media is abuzz with stories of outrageous markups at many hospitals. One of the most eye-popping numbers making the rounds? A supposedly "non-profit" hospital charges $1.50 per pill for a generic version of Tylenol. That's about 100 times the retail price.

Obviously, health care takes too much out of our paychecks, too much from our bank accounts, and too many of our tax dollars. Spending in this sector accounts for almost 18 percent of the economy. And the rising cost of government health programs is the biggest long-term driver of our national debt. Medicare alone cost $551 billion in 2012 and is projected to cost more than $1 trillion in a decade.

The question is what we should do about it. One approach is simply to squeeze down costs, and there are certainly savings to be reaped this way. A better approach, however, is to look at what is driving these high levels of health care spending and see if we can intervene there.

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America will never be a “no drone zone.”

That must be acknowledged from the outset. There is too much money to be made on drones, for one, and too many special interest groups—from the defense sector to law enforcement to the so-called “research” groups that are in it for purely “academic” reasons— who have a vested interest in ensuring that drones are here to stay.

At one time, there was a small glimmer of hope that these aerial threats to privacy would not come home to roost, but that all ended when Barack Obama took office and made drones the cornerstone of his war efforts. By the time President Obama signed the FAA Reauthorization Act into law in 2012, there was no turning back. The FAA opened the door for drones, once confined to the battlefields over Iraq and Afghanistan, to be used domestically for a wide range of functions, both public and private, governmental and corporate.

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The tensions in the Korean peninsula are like a jar of kimchi that has been fermenting way past its expiration date. It's been six decades since the signing of the Korean War “police action” cease fire. The divisions between the two Koreas have only intensified with time and are far wider than the demilitarized zone that separates the North and South near the 38th parallel. In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the Americans and Russians decided that Korea would be divided in half under the control of the two super powers. The Koreans didn't get the memo and weren't consulted on the deal, but have been living with the consequences ever since.

Both the U.S. and Soviet Union orchestrated the establishment of “cooperative” governments in their respective “spheres of influence.” The Russian army is long gone, but our military is still there with around 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea serving as a trip wire to bring us “back to the future” in the Korean War part two.

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