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Monday, December 9, 2019

Oligarchs in Ukraine Decide the E.U./Russia Question: Big Business on Top of Democracy?

One of the many lessons shimmering in the sunlight from stars such as Gandhi and Mandela is the possibility that popular political protest really can matter after all. Alternatively, managing (or manipulating) the crowd could be a mere front dwarfed in influence by that of a rich and power elite. Although the Ukraine will serve as our case study, democracy itself is under the microscope here.

The full essay is at "Oligarchs in Ukraine."

Two Sizes Fit All: America’s Two-Party-System Stranglehold

A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted in early August 2011 found that “just 17% of likely U.S. voters think that the federal government . . . has the consent of the governed,” while 69% “believe that the government does not have that consent.”[1] Yet an overwhelming number of Congressional incumbents is reelected. Is it that many Americans stay away from the polls on election day, or does the two-party system essentially force a choice? Voting for a third-party candidate risks the defeat of the candidate of the major party closest to one’s views. Such a vote is typically referred to as a protest or throw-away vote. Is it worth driving to the polls to do that?

The full essay is at "A Two Party Duopoly in American Politics."

1. Patrick H. Caddell and Douglas E. Schoen, “Expect a Third-Party Candidate in 2012,” Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2011.

President Obama and Goldman Sachs: A Quid Pro Quo?

U.S. President Obama nominated Timothy Geithner to be Secretary of the Treasury. While president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, he had played a key role in forcing AIG to pay Goldman Sachs’ claims dollar for dollar. Put another way, Geithner, as well as Henry Paulson, Goldman’s ex-CEO serving as Secretary of the Treasury as the financial crisis unfolded, stopped AIG from using the leverage in its bankrupt condition to pay claimants much less than full value. At Treasury, Mark Patterson was Geithner’s chief of staff. Patterson had been a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs. It would seem that the "real change" president put together a Wall-Street administration.

The full essay is at "President Obama and Goldman Sachs."

Congress: Hitched to the Status Quo

To lead is to be out in front, pointing the jet’s nose one way rather than another. Leadership is not that which causes drag at the back of the plane. Leadership is not that which holds a society in place or protects the vested interests. Whether envisioning something new or a return to a better time, a leader is not oriented to the status quo. It is significant, therefore, that the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, one of the two chambers in the American Congress, has stated publicly that the Congress is rigged to advantage the status quo. The stunning implication is that members of Congress are actually anti-leaders.

The full essay is at "Congress and the Status Quo."