“Well written and an interesting perspective.” Clan Rossi --- “Your article is too good about Japanese business pushing nuclear power.” Consulting Group --- “Thank you for the article. It was quite useful for me to wrap up things quickly and effectively.” Taylor Johnson, Credit Union Lobby Management --- “Great information! I love your blog! You always post interesting things!” Jonathan N.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Could a Middle Eastern Union Cool the Isreali-Palestinian Conflict?

I contend that thinking outside the box can go a long way in getting past the stalemate on Israeli-Palestinian relations.  The key, I believe, lies in relativizing the conflict by shifting the paradigm by looking outward, at the region as a whole. If the autocracies in the Middle East are indeed on the way out--to be replaced by true republcs not in name only--then, at least according to federal theory, they could form a federal union somewhere on a spectrum with the AU, EU, and US. For example, one would not expect it to be as consolidated as the EU. Even so, Israel might just feel more comfortable with there bieng other democracies in the region, such that it might agree to join a union as long as there are strong minority rights (yet without too many areas subject to vetos, which tend to render a union impotent).  

The full essay is at "Could a Middle Eastern Union Cool the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?"

Free Speech in the EU: On the Judgement on John Galliano's Anti-Semitism

On March 1, 2011, Sidney Toledano, CEO of the French fashion house Christian Dior, wrote that he was dismissing its chief designer, John Galliano, after the surfacing of a video that showed "his anti-Semitic outbursts at a Paris bar." The word choice of outbursts by The New York Times is interesting, for the actual video shows him in a rather mellow, notably intoxicated, "well you know" mood. The article's writer admits that the designer had used "a slurred voice." Galliano was telling a Jewish couple that they should feel lucky that their ancestors were not killed by the Nazis because so many did not survive. He said ‘‘people like you would be dead,’’ and  ‘‘your mothers, your forefathers’’ could have all be ‘‘gassed.’’ Although applying a rational criterion to a drunk man, I wonder in what sense he meant ‘‘I love Hitler.’’ Considering that Galliano is gay and Hitler sent homosexuals to concentration camps, I suspect that Galliano was lying simply to hurt the couple in what was undoubtedly a back-and-forth in a verbal fight.  Indeed, it takes two to tangle, and the rest of us might do well to recognize the difficulty in interpreting a snipet without having observed the entire contest.

The full essay is at "Free Speech in the E.U."

Financial Sector Lobbyists Put the Republic at Risk: The Case of the U.S. Senate Bill on Financial Reform in 2010

Considering the gravity of the risk in Wall Street banks being too big to fail, the financial reform bill passed by the US Senate in 2010 may have been influenced too much by the financial interests. It can thus serve as a good case study for how a republic can be subject to too much influence from the moneyed interests. It could be asked, moreover, whether there is an inevitable trajectory that a polity undergoes from being a republic to becoming a plutocracy (ruled by the wealthy).


Sources:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/us/politics/23lobby.html?scp=2&sq=financial%20lobbying&st=cse ; http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/24/business/24reform.html?hp ; WSJ (May 26, 2010).

Betraying an Electorate: On President Obama's Deal with Drug Companies

While campaigning for the U.S. presidency in 2008, U.S. President Obama decried the greedy Republican lawmakers acting at the behest of the drug companies to keep drug prices artificially high. A year later, those same drug companies wanted Obama to oppose a Democratic proposal that was intended to bring down the prices of medicine. Beyond betraying those voters who voted for him based on his campaign rhetoric on drug prices, Obama belied the trust that is necessary for a viable republic to function democratically.

The full essay is at "Betraying an Electorate."


Religion and Politics: Russian Orthodox Patriarch Helped Syria’s Assad Regime


In the wake of yet another Syrian massacre of civilians, including families being shot at close-range in their own houses, the New York Times published a report in 2012 that claimed that Russian priests and theologians commiserated with diplomats from Damascus at the opening of an exhibition devoted to Syrian Christianity in a cathedral near the Kremlin. While it is understandable that the Kremlin would not want to lose its “longtime partner and last firm foothold in the Middle East,” it is perhaps less palatable for Christian prelates and doctors of the Russian Orthodox Church to essentially look the other way on atrocities so the Syrian Christians, many of whom are Orthodox, won’t be pushed under the bus in a wave of Islamic fundamentalism that could be unleashed should Assad fall from power. The Syrian Christians were reluctant to join the Sunni Muslim opposition to Assad for fear of being persecuted by the Sunnis should they gain power.


                                     Clergy of the Russian Orthodox Church                                  NYT

The full essay is at "Russian Patriarch Helped Assad."