Commentary & Opinion

Although it has received little public attention, recently the U.S. State Department granted the New Israel Fund and its social change and political lobbying organization – known as SHATIL – one million dollars under a program designed to promote political change and reform in the Middle East. This government program, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), gives $600 million in grants to “social activists and reformers” in 18 Middle East nations. The list of nations includes Algeria, Libya, Lebanon and Yemen among others. MEPI’s sphere of engagement curiously includes Israel, the only stable democracy in the region.

Stephen Gottlieb: Radicalization

Mar 17, 2015

Identification of Jihadi John as a British citizen and college graduate has given rise to discussion about what radicalizes young people. There is no single answer but one aspect is to provide alternatives to the choice between deep frustration and dangerous radicalization.

Paul Elisha: Defense?

Mar 17, 2015

The Congressional ‘War Hawks’ and their Profit-Monger patrons are at it again.  That most American of Poets, Carl Sandburgh called them the “Hoodlums!”  “This is the hate my father gave me, this was in my mother’s milk, this is you and me and all of us in a world of hoodlums—maybe so.”… he wrote, “…it has always been so, it will always be so, there is nothing more to it.”   “Let us do this now…for our mothers…for our sisters and wives…let us kill, kill, kill---for the torsos of the women are tireless and the loins of the men are strong;” he wrote in 1919, after the first World War.  But in 1936, on a note of hope, he wrote: “Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.”


Sunday marks the beginning of “Sunshine Week,” a week in which the nation focuses its attention on government openness.  The “Week” makes it clear that it is important to maintain an open government, in order to ensure the proper relationship between public officials and the citizens they are pledged to serve.

David Nightingale: Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

Mar 15, 2015

         

          Men seldom make passes
          At girls who wear glasses ...  [ref.1 p.79]

...wrote Dorothy Parker, and...

          Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
          A medley of extemporanea;
          And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
          And I am Marie of Roumania.     [(ref.1 p.62]

Sean Philpott-Jones: Caveat Scholasticus

Mar 12, 2015

Economists talk a lot about scarcity. Scarcity occurs when we have fewer resources than are necessary to fill our basic needs and wants. Price is usually a good indicator of scarcity. Despite the recent short-term glut of oil, for instance, increasing demand and decreasing supplies of fossil fuels means that gasoline prices will inevitably rise in the coming years.

Herbert London: The Alternative Foreign Policy Option

Mar 11, 2015

It is increasingly the case that foreign policy discussions often result in bipolar viewpoints characterized by those who contend why should we get involved in the affairs of others and those who believe the United States should deploy large forces with massive lethality to contend with enemies.

Stephen Gottlieb: Alzheimers Versus Iran

Mar 10, 2015

No it wasn’t treason. The Constitution defines treason as “levying War against [the United States], or in adhering to their enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

Probably nothing has roiled the hoped-for response to Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s unprecedented address to the joint houses of The U.S. Congress, like the arrival on-scene and subsequent pained demeanor, of Nobel Peace-Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel.  The coincidental arrival of an unanticipated Spring snow storm also provided excuses for the large number of members in both houses, who shunned the Prime Minister’s highly controversial speech, arranged by House Speaker Boehner, without any previous notice to President Obama; a glaring and intentional insult.


 The pace is picking up at the state Capitol.  The budget is scheduled to be approved by April 1st.  In order to meet that deadline, the state Senate and the state Assembly are likely to advance their own one-house budget plans this upcoming week.  A week after that, both houses should begin a joint conference committee process to work out their differences while they negotiate with the governor.

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