The Window is Closing

June 20, 2011 |  by  |  Politics and Society  |  No Comments  |  Share

Bringing an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be, at times, an insurmountable task. As time goes on, peace does not get easier, it only becomes more and more difficult. If the bloodshed does not come to a halt soon the situation will only deteriorate further. This puzzle has proven itself an extremely tough one to solve, and as time goes on, the solutions put forward seem to head in one direction. It’s no secret that with continued settlement expansion in the West Bank Israel has made it harder and harder to envision a viable, contiguous, Palestinian state coming into existence there. While it would be difficult, is it in fact too late? Is the only reasonable solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, as of right now, either a bi-national state or a single state encompassing all of Mandate Palestine?

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Arab Spring: A Not-so Twitvolution

June 13, 2011 |  by  |  Politics and Society  |  No Comments  |  Share

The revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia were quick, rapidly changing events that occurred during a a period of widespread access to modern technology. Organizers used contemporary communication techniques by leveraging social media through their own personal computers. Protests and demonstrations spread faster through digital means because of the capacity to be organized quicker and become more sporadic. Thousands of Egyptian youth successfully demonstrated in Tahrir Square by harnessing social media tools, using Facebook and Twitter for planting the seeds of revolution. Young Tunisians collaborated with young Egyptians through online forums; Tunisians would tell their fellow Egyptians, “Put vinegar or onion under your scarf for tear gas.”[i][1] Even though the digital age has fueled protests and mass mobilization as shown by the tech-savvy generation of restless young Egyptians, the idea that technological social media platforms are providing the foundations for revolution is an immense exaggeration of their true proportional significance on the revolutions.

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Socialism for the Few, Free Market Cannibalism for the Many

April 24, 2011 |  by  |  Politics and Society  |  No Comments  |  Share

The rule of law, and the so heralded “invisible hand” of the market seem to apply to everyone in America. That is unless one owns a large corporation, manages a hedge fund, or finds oneself sitting at the top of the food chain wealth wise. Then reality looks something like this: A company is in trouble because the CEO made bad business decisions? It’s too big to fail and is given billions of taxpayer dollars to avoid bankruptcy. The CEO doesn’t feel like paying taxes this year on the billions made? Hire a team of tax lawyers to find every loophole possible to avoid paying, and still get a return from the government.

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The Big One

March 20, 2011 |  by  |  Politics and Society  |  No Comments  |  Share

“The Big One” is a term used by those involved in emergency management to describe an inevitable cataclysmic event. A constant denial at a political level hampers efforts to protect lives and infrastructure against the worst imminent catastrophes. These events shape the national consciousness, but are often downplayed before on can truly learn its lessons. The USA's most recent “Big One” was Hurricane Katrina, which was the costliest natural disaster and among the most deadliest in the history of the United States. At least 1,836 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods and the total property damage was estimated at $81 billion.

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Democratic Double Standards: The Election of Hamas and the Aftermath

March 16, 2011 |  by  |  Politics and Society  |  No Comments  |  Share

In January of 2006, Palestinians took to the voting booths and made their displeasure with Fatah, the former majority party in the Palestinian Authority, known. It was not a mandate from the heavens, but due to the electoral system set up in the Palestinian Territories with around 46% of the popular vote, Hamas won over half of the seats in parliament [1, 2]. This wasn’t due to vote rigging, nor was it due to threats from radical Islamic militants at the polls. A wide array of international organizations determined that the elections had been free and fair.

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How the U.S. can Use the Arab Uprisings to its Advantage

February 28, 2011 |  by  |  Politics and Society  |  No Comments  |  Share

The entire world anxiously watched as Tunisian and Egyptian presidents, Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, were ousted from power by rebellions that were sparked by a combination of high food prices, unemployment, and corrupt governments. Their demise was a shame as both leaders were staunch American kinsmen, and had a history of promoting cooperation with the U.S. on the global war on terror. Due to the success of the rebellions in Tunisia and Egypt, violent uprisings have ignited throughout the rest of North Africa and into parts of the Middle East. It is important that the U.S. stay frosty as many of the countries that have been pulled into this mess are its strategic allies. Necessity calls for the Obama administration to do its very best to influence the outcomes of at least some of the uprisings that are plaguing allies, and crushing enemies.

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The Chimerican Threat

August 29, 2010 |  by  |  Economics and Finance, Politics and Society  |  1 Comment  |  Share

The People’s Republic of China and the United States have experienced sharp disagreements in economic policies for some time, straining Sino-American relations. Among all, it is the pertinaciously undervalued Renminbi(i) that has drawn much criticism from the developed world. Due to this condition, it is generally believed that China’s economic policy is the main cause of global imbalances in current account positions and that its policy poses a great threat to global economic stability. In response to the Great Crisis of 2008(ii), a “global saving glut”(iii) theory, postulated by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in 2005, emerged as the prominent narrative to explain the major causes of the crisis. The theory maintains that excessively high savings by some countries pushed their savings towards current account surpluses and away from

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False Consciousness: The Middle Class Illusion

August 13, 2010 |  by  |  Politics and Society  |  No Comments  |  Share

The American middle class is an ambiguously defined social class. The ambiguity stems from the discrepancy in popular opinion and vernacular language use. According to contemporary sociologists, the middle class may constitute anywhere from 25% to 66% of households [1]. Due to this broad categorization, the middle class is sometimes sub-divided into the upper- and lower-middle class. Dante Chinni, senior associate with the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, sarcastically wrote: “Everyone wants to believe they are middle class...But this eagerness...has led the definition to be stretched like a bungee cord — used to defend/attack/describe everything...The Drum Major Institute...places the range for middle class at individuals making between $25,000 and $100,000 a year. Ah yes, there's a group of people bound to run into each other while house-hunting.” [2]

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New Age Equilibrium Wage

July 28, 2010 |  by  |  Economics and Finance  |  No Comments  |  Share

The study of economics has a tendency to assume consumers, producers, workers, and/or any other agent, has a mechanical nature about them. With regard to the issue of minimum wage, such an ideological distortion is definitely problematic. Why is it problematic? The answer is simple. Firms always look for, or are at least open to, ways to lower costs. One of those ways is to lower variable costs, which means slashing the compensation of the workers. There is obviously a flip side to this. No worker actually wants to receive lower wages because most if not all workers see themselves as worth more than they really are per hour. However, economics assumes that people will adapt to these market-driven changes in wages or pursue other value producing opportunities. That is clearly unrealistic, and hence, the existence of labor unions.

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Israel or Bust!

July 20, 2010 |  by  |  Politics and Society  |  1 Comment  |  Share

On May 31, 2010, a Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla intersected Israeli naval ships. The account of this event differs depending upon which news source you read; either the spiteful Israeli navy savagely brutalized humanitarian relief workers looking to transport goods to Gaza or the demonstrators aboard the Mavi Marma (the Turkish ship) reacted in violence to said navy [1] upon denying a request to dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod, where the Israeli navy hoped to inspect the cargo carried on board. [Note: if there is any doubt as to the legitimacy of Israel’s actions towards the Turkish flotilla, be sure to take a look at The Naval Warfare Publication regarding The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations”i.] Instead of orating some concession of affirmation regarding the Israeli navy’s choice of engagement with said Turkish flotilla, the current U.S. administration chose to tote the line carried by the likes of the United Nations – namely neglecting to conduct an in-depth investigation into the matter before severely admonishing Israel’s alleged poor behavior in blindly attacking those aboard the Mavi Marma – and relinquishing the opportunity to demonstrate a proper response to this event.

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