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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Airing Ideas at Universities: Beyond the Book-Burning Hype

In May 1933, some Germans in Nazi Germany burnt books authored by Jews so as to sever Jewish influence. So when some students at Georgia Southern University gathered around a grill to burn copies of a novel by a Cuban, the obvious comparison was made by some. I submit that the comparison being made is not so obvious or straightforward. Moreover, the comparison sullies the ideal of universities being impartial to the ideas aired even as opinions.

The full essay is at "Book Burning at a Georgian University."

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The U.S. Enabled Turkey to Invade Syria: Absent the U.N.

Turkey invaded Syria on October 9, 2019 “to flush Kurds allied with the US out of northeastern Syria.”[1] Strategically, Turkey wanted to distance the Kurds from Turkey so they could not aid Kurdish separatists in Turkey should the latter rise up in attempting to establish Kurdistan. U.S. President Don Trump, who had just cleared American troops from northeastern Syria, had advanced knowledge from Turkish President Recep Erdogan that he planned to invade the area once the American troops were out. A rare bipartisan unity in Congress criticized the removal of American troops and the president’s acquiescence on Turkey’s plan to attach the Kurds, an American ally—a plan that could possibly give ISIS a toehold in the region. Both the Congress and the president had their respective rationales, yet neither side looked past the apparent dichotomy to arrive at a solution consistent with the points made by both sides.

1. Nicole Gaouette, “Republican Anger at Trump Grows as Turkey Launches ‘Sickening’ Attack on US Allies,” CNN.com, October 9, 2019 (accessed same day).

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Is the U.S. Congress Too Beholden to the Financial Industry?

That financial deregulation had any traction at all following the financial crisis of 2008 in the U.S. is stunning, for the implication is that Wall Street money has tremendous influence in the U.S. Governent even after Wall Street banks have screwed up (even in triggering a financial crisis!). 

CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler staring down the big banks  

The full essay is at "Is Congress Owned by the Banks?"

On the Role of Socialism in American Political Polarization

In a stunning upset in the 2012 Republican U.S. Senate primary in Indiana, Indiana's Treasurer, Richard Mourdock, beat incumbant veteran Richard Lugar by 22 percent (61-39%). Even though Lugar's 36 years of experience in the Senate had seasoned him into a statesman in foreign policy, the Tea-Party-backed Mourdock was able to portray the aged senator as out of touch and too willing to compromise with Democrats. Mourdock had no intention of extending any hand across the aisle. Is such polarization worth the loss of experience in international relations? Moreover, what role ave worries of socialism perpetuated the polarization?

See: "On the Role of Socialism on Polarization."