Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Ultra-Orthodox Jews and their Audacity to Claim Sole Legitimacy

The true continuity of Jewish history and existence lies with the Assimilated - those in the diaspora and the Zionists (Cultural, Political, and Labor) wherever they maybe. The greatest fallacy to which certain Jewish communities acquiesce to today is to believe that the furtherance of this existence lies with the Ultra-Orthodox, and to a lesser extent the Orthodox method, with their cultural antipathies towards modernity.

If Jews had not been liberated from the numerous Jewish ghettos (Judengasse) of Europe (by Napoleon) and without the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment), surely, no one could have heard of a living and thriving Jewish community or can meet any individual who'll identify as Jewish today. It's people like Moses Mendelssohn who we should be grateful for and not to the various Jewish communities who cling to the poison of the Hasids, because without whom, we would not have had the capacity to survive as an individual or as a member of the synagogue. Their method triumphed and proved necessary to adapt to the modern world, then and now.

How dare do these bunch of primitive savages lay claim to the title of Jewishness all the while depriving a New York Jew who's surname is Rosen the ability to get married in Israel? A simple consequence of the monopoly granted to the Chief Rabbinate of Israel with the exclusive task of "supreme halakhic and spiritual authority for the Jewish people in Israel" in addition matters relating to marriage, divorce, and other personal status issues in Israel. It's abhorrent. Many Israelis mistakenly continue to perpetuate the privileged granted in 1947 -the so-called status quo- by the then first government of Ben-Gurion as tantamount to lifetime privilege. It's no secret that Israeli society then and today is secular,  at least the section of society disproportionately responsible -as the main contributor- for the survival of the Jewish and democratic state.

Why do they then allow these economic parasites to preach the "Jewish way to live" while they the hardworking average Israeli has to fulfill numerous obligations in her or his lifetime such as but not limited to serving the military (to be fair a form of nation-building which is welcomed as an opportunity to network but still nevertheless dangerous), and significantly subsidizing these cannibals who favor at all cost the destruction of the Jewish state evident in their willingness to burn their Israeli passports and to almost ally with Iran's and its other neighbors call "to push the Zionists out into the Mediterranean". The exhibition of such behavior even in the diaspora by protesting against the "Zionist regime" is repulsive.

In my opinion the Ultra-Orthodox are an anachronistic bunch who arrogantly declare their superiority towards and over the "blasphemous Zionists" whom without which they'll be devoid of their ability to sustain their large families -that they'll gladly indoctrinate as well- whom they desire to succeed them in becoming economic parasites as well.

It's a fact that Theodor Herzl never circumcised his only son, Hans. Why? What purpose does it serve? It's a fact that it's of no medical use whatsoever, so why condemn a child to an experience of medieval proportions? I strongly support, both as a Jew and civilized member of society, to replace brit milah with the growing trend in the Reform congregations of brit shalom, wherein instead of the barbaric circumcision being performed, a naming ceremony takes place.

I agree with what Golda Meir once said in an interview during the 70s that I had discovered recently in the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive (which is jointly administered by the Abraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Central Zionist Archives of the World Zionist Organization) via YouTube regarding "the continuity of the Jewish people and the safety and security of Israel is one, you can't divide it." To me the existence and history of the Jewish people is manifested in modern Israel, and this interview was done in the 70's, obviously she was pertaining to the Zionist cause which at that time was the undoubted dominant force in Israeli society.

Amos Oz, an Israeli international best-selling novelist, albeit a critically-acclaimed one, had a grand-uncle (a very famous one) whose name was Joseph Klausner, who was at one point the Herut party candidate for the presidency against Chaim Weizmann. Klauner was also the chair of the Hebrew literature department at the venerable Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Klausner authored the controversial books entitled Jesus of Nazareth and From Jesus to Paul. The significant amount of impression one can get from his work is the suggestion of the evils of Rabbinate "back then" and now. 

Zionism is a retrofitted form of Judaism in itself. If the Israelis continue to permit the non-sensical and purposeless Chief Rabbinate to determine "Who is a Jew" for the purpose of aliyah and other matters then this sanctions disrespect towards the proto-Zionists and the later Zionists. The heroic, audacious, visionary efforts they exhibited and the many other people credited to have helped established Israel will have been in vain. 


Just like fundamentalists of other religions, the Ultra-Orthodox serves to only divide the people and with no restraint to retard their own and others development, as much as they can, then what? The ironies revealed are staggering, most Jews today in Israel wouldn't qualify to immigrate to their own country had their parents been subjected to the same requirements imposed by the Law of Return as it's implemented today with a single source of definition, from a single group, explicitly determined to exclude-to discriminate-the majority, the group they depend upon the most.




-Paul-

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgivukkah Gifts

Taken from buzzfeed.com

I would like to thank my Chinese-born Filipino Canadian neighbors, my oldest friends (literally) and quasi-parents (pas grandparents ;-)) who helped me make this night special and truly an experience to remember. As an American (at heart, soon legally) and a Jewish Atheist, who's hostile to the Orthodox establishment at the only synagogue in the Philippines, it's not very easy to celebrate a part of my identity, that I consider significant, with my fellow congregants, as my ideal fellow congregants are statistically likely to be living in cities like New York, Paris, or Toronto, where conservative, reform, secular, and atheistic schisms predominate.

The amalgam of my identities were instrumental in my idea of celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime-event and my senior neighbor-friend's Canadian non-practicing Jewish friends who happen to be vacationing here at the moment.
The feast wouldn't be complete sans kosher take-out Hummus

For the benefit of my readers who have no idea what "Thanksgivukkah" is or Thanksgiving or Hanukkah, allow me to seek aid from one of my many cyber-friends, BuzzFeed, that managed to pull together a tasteful, and informative ensemble of factual-visual feast proportions. 

Anyway, to not betray the title and purpose of this post, I'll get to the point. I would like to express gratitude for the presents that were given to me tonight. The three books are all of interest to me, and after googling for a while, I've already fallen in-love with them and their author's stories. There are no better gift than books. 

Photo by John Gara, taken from buzzfeed.com


 
Screenshot taken from buzzfeed.com
Follow the link to enjoy more sumptuous food-porn. 
http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/thanksgivukkah

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Run Away from Runner Runner

Taken from Wikipedia.com
I usually rely on Rotten Tomatoes for answers when I can't choose which film to go see first on occasions wherein I want to watch films that are released at the same week. Obviously, I have to make a decision which one to watch first or never, but exemptions are made when I feel I should give a particular film a chance, before judging it, usually arising when the disapproval of the majority of the reviewers was due to creative differences, or simply when my opinion is totally different. Runner Runner will be released in the United States on October 4, so naturally there were only few available Rotten Tomatoes review of it yet, without consensus from the reviewers, I decided to watch it last Friday (Sep 27).


Runner Runner didn't make use of its fantastic set of cast wisely, which was its main selling point, plus its up-and-coming director-of The Lincoln Lawyer starring Matthew McConaughey-Brad Furman. Its story line just like its title is redundant, sometimes Ben Affleck's character is the nice boss aiding the financially frustrated student Justin Timberlake who's supposedly the victim of the Great Recession created by the industry he apparently wants to legally gamble in, but instead he retreats into a bourgeois's decadent attitude of myopia, typical incoherence is the norm of the film. It's unimaginative and lazily dependent on the more able members of the cast. 
Taken from imdb.com

I advice my American readers to not waste their valuable money on watching this piece of garbage. For you not to make the same mistake I made when I allowed myself to be part of the hype of this film, disappointment was my feeling half way through the film, it had so much potential but it became more of a what-a-movie-should-not-be-like creation complete with creative inertia. 

Timberlake's acting is another disappointment, Affleck' s acting felt like his character in The Town sedated in the climax of a barbiturate overdose. Gigli's Afflect is back! But to be fair, I went to see the film, expecting Affleck of Argo,The Town, and Good Will Hunting, not him in Gigli, but unfortunately that's what I got. And in Timberlake's case, I was slightly hoping that this will be the movie that will finally make him a "real" and "serious" actor, with all the critical acclaim, but he as well, fell back to his role in Friends With Benefits (the sadder parts of the film) Anthony Mackie (good cop/bad cop) and Gemma Arterton (Bond-girl, and very mysterious) were the only ones who acted, and succeeded, but not enough to save the rest of the film. In the end they managed to grasp the dynamism of their role, but sunk with it. 

It heavily made use of Costa Rica's ugly reputation in the field of honest governance, but inconsistently, it relied heavily on audiences pre-conceptions instead of challenging them. The spontaneous use of the lovely scenery of the country felt like a story set in a tourism ad, not a film that's grounded, and willing to show something more, something unknown perhaps. 

So, to my dear readers my advice to you is to not watch this mediocre film, but instead opt for a nice film like About Time and/or Prisoners if you don't want to ruin your weekend (a bit of an exaggeration, what can I say? the film leaves you speechless, and not in a good way). Believe me, I can write an entirely separate post for why those 2 films are way better, and are immediately one of my favorites, but that's for another time.


Taken from imdb.com
-Paul-

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Case for Peace by Alan Dershowitz: A Reflection


Couverture de l'ouvrage The case for peace : how the arab-israeli conflict can be resolved
Picture from lavoisier.fr

 "If you are for peace, you are both for Israelis and Palestinians, for the Two-State-Solution"
                                             - Dershowitz in The Case for Peace


I rarely finish a book in one sitting, but when I do, it usually denotes the greatness of a book, and great is this book. This mind-blowing account written by Dershowitz, thanks to his wonderful prose, fair, non-biased, and most importantly for peace, approach we have a resource of hope on a conflict that seems hopeless. He wrote in the book the problem of Non-Israelis being more Israeli than the Israelis, and Non-Palestinians, being more Palestinian than the Palestinians.

He outlined, the brief history and the origins of the conflict, why is there no difference between an Anti-Semite and an Anti-Zionist, albeit, he draws the line differentiating legitimate and fair criticisms of Israel's policies from just being downright Anti-Semitic. He dismissed radicals from both sides of the conflict, those who are in his words "against peace".

Next week, for the first time in 5 years, peace talks will convene again, Israel, Palestine, and the US hope to reach a deal after nine months. With all the media attention on Israel's plan to continue building settlements, I can't help but remember what I've read in the book,


 written by Isabel Kershner August 12, 2013 in the New York Times

But Israeli officials have been blunt in rejecting criticism about their latest announcement. Mark Regev, a government spokesman, said Sunday that the housing “is in areas that will remain part of Israel in any possible future peace agreement. This in no way changes the final map of peace. It changes nothing.”

“This has been the position of all Israeli prime ministers,” Mr. Regev said Monday. He said that every peace plan that had been put on the table included Israel’s retention of major settlement blocs, with varying details. He said the Palestinian negotiators accepted it, too, at least privately, something they deny.

“Does any serious person believe Maale Adumim is not going to remain part of Israel?” Mr. Regev asked, referring to a large settlement in the West Bank, east of Jerusalem, where the Israeli government is marketing plots for nearly 100 new apartments. 


In today's age of slacktivism, with some segments of the internet demography dominated by lazy-gullible-bourgeois-decadent-citizens-of-advance-industrialized-countries for some it is easy to be myopic about certain things, and be overly-generalizing about complex issues,without evaluating the facts first, and setting the context properly. 

Israel is frequently held to different standards, while it is indisputable, that it was/is the one attacked/being attacked, rejected by undemocratic, misogynist, homophobic, despotic, racist, non-modern, states who attacked/attack it. Another indisputable fact is that Arabs (Christian or Muslim) and other minorities in Israel enjoy a much higher standard of living-compared to their non-peaceful neighbors, are represented in the Knesset (parliament) and also in the Supreme Court of Israel, and that given a choice, they would much prefer to live in Israel, and have made that fact and intention clear, that they do not wish to join any possible neighboring Palestinian state in the near future.

It's easy to forget (for others) that there is a reason why there are two official languages in Israel, Hebrew and Arabic, that Ben-Gurion, almost just after becoming Prime Minister ordered the sinking of Altalena for it contained weapons for the far-right Zionist paramilitary group Irgun (known for bombing the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 22 July 1946 and committing the Deir Yassin massacre), that Israel in 1994 banned Kach party, a far-right party for inciting racism and terrorism against Arabs, and Palestinians, and the list goes on.

After reading such a wonderfully written book complete with accounts of great cooperation among Israelis and Palestinians in status quo, I highly recommend this book in the words of Dershowitz " to those readers who seek the truth and who want long-lasting peace."


-Paul-



I highly encourage everyone to leave their comments/suggestions. Love you all!!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Germany and Surveillance - Hypocrisy and European Outrage



 picture from tabletmag.com
Last week, Europe-and the world-found out about the widespread intelligence gathering efforts that the US has been orchestrating on Europe's own soil, not shockingly, in a continent where-thanks to Eurocrats- privacy laws are global standards, and where the "right to be forgotten" is highly being pushed for, outraged followed afterwards.

From what I've read in The Guardian in a report yesterday (July 8) as negotiations begin on the US-EU Free-Trade-Agreement one of the issues that will surely be brought up is the relaxation of tough data protection and privacy laws of the EU so that US firms like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft can operate more freely on EU soil, but with the revelation that these companies were willy participants on the grand scheme of the NSA (National Security Agency) and GCHQ (The Government Communications Headquarters), clarifications will surely be sought for first by the EU negotiators. Le Monde earlier this week reported and revealed that France as well (not surprising to me  I am thinking of the success of French intelligence during their pursuit of the suspect in the Toulouse shooting) runs a vast surveillance operation that, like the NSA, is also intercepting and storing citizens' phone data and internet activity.




Her Imperial Majesty of Europe Angela Merkel's official statement was:



                     "The monitoring of friends -- this is unacceptable, it can't be tolerated. We're no longer in the Cold War. Our cooperation must be based on trust. This trust must be reestablished now."


Something irritated me a lot about the concerted reactions last week by EU-member states leaders. Let's focus in the context of Germany, shall we ? (obviously that's what I am writing about) Merkel has a lot of nerves trying to criticize the NSA for its spying activities. Lets go back in time shall we? Why the hypocrisy? BND (German abbreviation for Germany's foreign intelligence agency) and BfV (German abbreviation for Germany's domestic intelligence agency) what again happened with Murat Kurnaz? Who lead that innocent man to Guantanamo Bay? And how much does Germany benefit from CIA and NSA anyway?A lot for sure, for better or for worse! So please stop the hypocrisy Merkel! A fact for the Germans to reconcile is  that Germany and Europe in general benefits a lot from this Tempora and Prism programs as Der Spiegel reported this week in their interview with Snowden. Yes surveillance had committed plenty of mistakes in the past, specially in context of Germany, East or West, Spiegel Affair, Stasi, Kurnaz-mistake, but post-all of that AKA contemporary Germany, but the unknown countless plots it had surely uncovered-would have been numerous by now- is a worthy trade-off.

picture from abcnews.go.com

As Obama greatly put it for us to understand, you can't expect being secured without the use of war, while at the same time expecting no trade-off like drones, surveillance, increased intelligence gathering. Will we ever know how many threats has the BND and BfV has successfully stopped, the plots that might have caused serious damage? Of course not, precisely because of the nature of these agencies- they're suppose to be and expected to be secretive in their workings.

As M-played by Judi Dench-perfectly put it in one of my favorite scenes in Skyfall during her address to a parliamentary committee:

                      "Chairman, ministers, I've repeatedly heard how irrelevant my department has become. Why do we need agents, the 00 section? Isn't it all rather quaint? Well, I suppose I see a different world than you do, and the truth is that what I see frightens me. I'm frightened because our enemies are no longer known to us. They do not exist on a map, they aren't nations. They are individuals. And look around you - who do you fear? Can you see a face, a uniform, a flag? No, our world is not more transparent now, it's more opaque! The shadows - that's where we must do battle. So before you declare us irrelevant, ask yourselves - how safe do you feel? Just one more thing to say. My late husband was a great lover of poetry, and um - I suppose some of it sunk in, despite my best intentions. And here today, I remember this, I believe, from Tennyson: We are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are. One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."


So my message to Germans is simple? Stop being hypocrites! you act like the EU is so squeaky clean when Germany itself with its numerous violations of privacy abroad (try applying for a residency permit in one of Germany's consular offices) At the end of the day this program being conducted not just to protect civilization, including me and you, is actually a worthy trade-off to wars, instead of complaining about it and fueling the fire of outrage even more, the EU should find a way in which this programs are regulated, so that no abuse of authority from the pool of unknown number of employees of the American intelligence complex (some estimates ran as high as 1.4 million) with security clearances can take place.

Der Spiegel this week have raised the issue of how much is Germany in bed with the intelligence agencies of the US and UK, anyway if so, then what? If tomorrow, the BND and the BfV in their effort to calm the public and reassure them their motives aren't sinister, releases documents of terror plots they have successful uncovered and distinguished, couldn't that be a humiliating moment for those who denounce this program completely, and dare call it quasi-Stasi?

Reaction has been one of excessive outrage, with top German politicians demanding that the spying cease immediately. And as revealved by a recent survey undertaken by pollsters, infratest-dimap, for the public television station ARD, would seem to indicate that many in the country share that indignation. Fully 78% agreed with the statement that German Chancellor Angela Merkel "must protest more unequivocally to the US."

What if Germany does spy on its citizens? The key question Germans should be asking how much does its highly sophisticated intelligence agencies cooperate with these agencies, and if any politician in Germany, before the revelation even occurred, was aware of it and tolerated it, not just purely demonizing the US because at the end of the day, Germany benefited and continues to benefit a lot just like EUdoes. Why are their answers more limited and reserved (no, its not typical German reserve working here its something else!) It's in line with the idea of the US telling Germany "wait a minute if you didn't explicitly gave us permission whether at the NATO, EU, or German level to do this, at least implicitly you still tolerated it". If they did, that means that for years the BND have had knowledge of this surely as the Grundgesetz (Basic Law, quasi-constitution) requires it, that these agencies report or at least inform some key politicians about his, then why did that politician stay quiet? Because common sense, it worked and works besides the occasional blip and collateral damage!

A great commentary by Jan Fleischhauer of Der Spiegel sums it up quite well, after reading it I realized this: in short its the Americans doing the dirty-work for the chattering classes of Europe while they continue going on safely with their lives and expect a safe world pro bono.

Okay I know what you're going to say, Germany has one of the best privacy laws in the world and with implementation vis-a-vis with the EU is very protective of its people's rights, I don't challenge that. I admire Europe for having such an advance privacy-law infrastructure from Brussels to national governments, with Facebook and the likes, with the world bowing to EU privacy laws from the last decade, with the infamous case of General Motors Corp. in 2002 attempted to update its employees address book to encourage contact among its employees but it was stalled by the EU because the information was going to be sent to the headquarters in the US- a state deemed by the EU as having "inadequate privacy laws". The result was the proliferation of “CPOs” in MNCs all over the world. Over 400 large US companies have sign privacy agreements with the EU to avoid heavy fines and to comply without the need for US legislative updates. According to Alan Westin of Columbia University Law School, an expert on privacy, “Brussels privacy standards are now global standards”. ( Reid, 2004, p. 233-35)





-Paul-




I highly encourage everyone to leave their comments/suggestions. Love you all!!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Barbara Walters Interviews Controversial and Outspoken Nobel Prize Winning German Economist, Max Polat-Cohen

picture from levoleague.com


Walters : Mr. Polat-Cohen, you've just received such a distinction cementing your position in your respective field, and in history! Probably even the most important validation in an intellectuals life, the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Sciences for your work on welfare economics, how do you feel?

Polat-Cohen : How do you think one would feel after receiving such an honor? obviously speechless.

Walters : I imagine! You grew up in Germany, your paternal grand-parents died in Auschwitz, your mother was from Turkey, a Gastarbeiter, your father decided after World-War II, not to leave this country, your lineage is so engrained vis-a-vis 20th century German history, do you love Germany?

Polat-Cohen : Absolutely! It has been the home of half of my ancestors longer than one could imagine. My mother loved the meritocracy, rule of law, and standard of living  here. This is where I was born. This is where I grew up. It is my home. I am from here. I am a German. 

Walters : What can you say about the current affairs in Germany ?

Polat-Cohen : You have to be more specific.

Walters : Okay, lets say the current government and its actions vis-a-vis the Euro crisis, from an economist point-of-view.

Polat-Cohen : And?


Walters : Merkel, in particular. Since, your side comment about her in an interview with Der Spiegel recently has received much controversy.

Polat-Cohen : She is stupid. Absolutely dumb. Intelligently clueless, a copycat. A champion of a variant of an economic system that has been proven in many occasions to only cause suffering on a global scale and yet these type of politicians continue to experiment with it and may I even add in most cases gambling as if nothing is at stake. Casino capitalists, they care only for themselves and for their well-connected super-rich friends, the latter embedded deeply in the backward theory itself. 

We Germans, more than any other people, because of our history, should know what utter destruction and inactivity of a large segment of the population combined with an impoverished society can create, Treaty of Versailles, gosh! Haven't we learned from what deep austerity and unfairness can do?

What's more depressing, and utterly shameful, I feel is the blind loyalty and some apathy, even, the majority of Germans are expressing via their continued support for this proven ineffective tool in responding to this type of crises. 

Walters : Don't you think that's a bit extreme. I mean she is democratically elected in a social democracy, they practice it, it's been a tradition in Germany and their economy proves it, mixed but at the same time competitive. Aren't you being a bit too harsh?

Polet-Cohen : A bit? Gosh, I hope not. But to answer your question, Why? You don't think she's a whore, whore of the backward neoliberal capitalists? I think she's one, so I have a right to say so, especially now. 

You know, there is nothing more I would just love to do but to, if I ever ran into her, spit in her face specially his war criminal foreign minister, wow that would just be lovely. 

Walters : What's with Westerwelle that makes you say this? 

Polat-Cohen : Gosh where do I even begin? 
Okay, this is just one of the plethora of things that irate me about him. He blindly supports a current government who institutes apartheid like policies and does not give care, even a little, for the Palestinians.

I, just like many other Jews I know and very close with, is deeply concerned by the continued abuse of power, by Israel and we are disappointed very much, their becoming to far-right and theocratical, if Ben-Gurion was alive today and saw all this being done in the name of Jewry, he would have asked all Jews to migrate to New York instead or if Herzl was alive today and saw the inhumanity inflicted by some Israelis, he would have advocated for them to stay in Europe. 

Walters : What do you think about the continued show of remorse of Germans regarding the Holocaust?

Polet-Cohen : Cheap and insincere, it's funny and troubling actually, they say "never again" and yet here we are, they reimpose via their continued support for the already debunked idea of the supposed benefits of austerity in the PIIGS countries the same prerequisites that create and sustain certain conditions wherein the far-right can prosper and actually become stronger. 

Also, the Germans have to stop obsessing about the Holocaust gosh! they say it, yet they allow this horrible Bundeskanzler of theirs to turn the EU into a bona fide German Empire, beautifully guised in an ingenious German fashion of course. 

She is creating disharmony in a union in the danger of collapse at the same time when Europeans, who are traditionally pessimistic in attitude already, become more insecure, and it just downright disappointing seeing the same conditions imposed by the country who should know better because of, as I stated before, our history. 

Walters : Can you share me this continued condition you are referring to?

Polat-Cohen : The harsh conditionality of the Versailles Treaty, the huge unemployment, leading to a society becoming more socio-economically incohesive therefore becoming more far-right. 

Walters : Can you be more specific on the unemployment effect?

Polat-Cohen 
: When a large portion of society becomes idle what happens is that those unemployed organized and try to find scapegoats for their problems and as usual they become xenophobic, etc.  

Walters : Final words?

Polat-Cohen : I hope Germans who continue to support the policies instituted by this horrible government currently in power in Berlin wakes up to the horror it's unconsciously and maybe unintentionally recommitting this time in the form of the ECB, the EU, and realize how ineffective and damaging it is to our reputation as Germans. 

Walters : Mr. Polat-Cohen, thank you very much for your time, as always very interesting insights, and this will surely be controversial .

Polat-Cohen : Ohhh, no, thank you, yeah! I guess my name will be on the headlines again, huh! lets see tomorrow, those writers please be gentle. Can you imagine what they'll write about me? 





Note:The short transcript above of a fictional short-interview is not in any way a reflection, fully or partial, of my view of any of the people, organization, institution, and citizenry, mentioned above. I see it as only my attempt to mirror certain emotions and insights inferred from accounts of people who I've interviewed and articles that has appeared in weeklies, magazines, and newspapers recently. With emphasis on the current anti-German sentiment, and its rise, in Europe, specially after the Cyprus debacle. This is simply a zeitgeist-piece in the form of a fictional story, with a partially fictional character.




Love you all!!!


As always, comments, and suggestions are highly sought from you my readers, both loyal and new. 


-Paul-




Friday, March 8, 2013

The Legacy Of A Socialist-Hero

Courtesy of The Telegraph

This week brought about a political storm in the world of socialism and the world, a great champion of socialism in a world suffering from post-Thatcherism, post-Reaganism, or to sum it all up post-Neoliberal-Revolution of the 70's and 90's and post-Great Recession (maybe or we're still in it), died.

A country with a seal-of-approval from the much respected Carter Center, branded as having the best electoral system in the world, and with a voter turnout of 81%, it's obvious that the accusations of Venezuela as being a barbaric-petrodollar-dependent-undemocratic country is far from reality, and can only be dismissed as English will put it, as rubbish.

The images of people crying reminiscent of Eva Peron's wake when she died in 1952, fails to shock me. Why should I be shocked? Because of Chavez, poverty in Venezuela has halved, economic inequality according to UN calculations has dropped 11 points, people in the rural areas now have access to health-care (thanks to Cuban doctors), upward mobility more possible than ever with turnout in college breaking old records, and social-economic cohesion preventing instability, in a region prone to poverty and social-economic upheavals.

His death a tragedy to those who believe in a socialist utopia, the power of social democracy, Keynesianism, empowerment of marginalized people, upward-mobility, and lastly those who oppose the evil forces of an absolute free-market economy. Although, Chavez in an interview with Stephen Sackur of BBC's Hardtalk last 2010 stated that he didn't believe in Rhine-Capitalism (mixed economy)-Keynesian model that is more alike with the present systems found in Scandinavian, Germany, and Japan- because he thought it was just impossible in the case of Venezuela, in his view hardcore socialism was the only answer for his country. 

Personally, I am more of a Keynesian, and in favor of Rhine-Capitalism. I believe that fair competition is good for an economy, add to that a balanced budget combined with the presence of a large welfare state, it just can't get better than that.

The Cambridge and Harvard alumni, journalist-extraordinaire Sackur, questioned Chavez in the interview of his stance on nuclear proliferation vis-a-vis his open support for Iran-which by the way has a strong trade relationship with Venezuela.

Chavez told the interviewer how he would want to see the US, the UK, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, and all the other countries in the world disarm themselves of their nuclear capabilities. He said that he only supports nuclear research for peaceful purposes, like energy, and even challenged Sackur how much nuclear warheads his country has, which made one of my favorite journalist from the BBC go quiet and smirk while nodding. When Sackur mentioned the large presence of uranium in Venezuela, Chavez responded, that he is an ardent supporter of Nuclear Disarmament, and that the state of Venezuela is not interested of selling its uranium for enrichment that'll be used for weapons.

Rory Carroll from The Guardian quipped the 14-year-rule of the deceased Venezuelan leader as "the power from which Chavez derived his legitimacy is more of a hybrid...more of a democratically elected autocrat". When I heard this earlier while watching Inside Story in Al Jazeera, I thought of blogging about Chavez immediately, to express my sympathy towards the Venezuelans right now, and as a way for me to honor the leader who helped Venezuela a lot, despite all of the international pressures put upon his shoulders. 

In case you don't know yet, some members of the Bush administration supported the 2002 failed coup d'etat attempt against Chavez. Initially, Chavez was optimistic about Obama's entry into the presidency last 2009, but he eventually got disappointed for many reasons. Chavez and Obama tried with much effort to strengthen ties between their two countries, but as Iran and Venezuela became much closer, the latter's relationship with the US soured even further, enough for both of them to withdraw their ambassadors from each other's country.

Today, I saw in the news that the Venezuelan government decided that his body will be embalmed and will be available for public viewing in Caracas, the country's capital. He will surely be missed, not just by the ordinary Venezuelan, or by an Ivy-league left-wing student, even by me who loves seeing success stories of the poor being empowered and social-economic cohesion succeeding, but even by those who loathe him, how could they not? how could those diplomats, and others who disliked Chavez not miss him, when he was a fantastic thing to have in the international arena, he spiced things up, his comments, especially the outrageous and probably realistically-impossible ones will surely leave an empty hole in the hearts and minds of those who both revered and loathed him, the former for his charisma, star quality, his accomplishments, and the latter for his populism and downright rebelliousness fashioned in a way never failing to insult, provoke, and even humor diplomats and heads of states. I may not approve of all the things he has done during his time, and certainly some of the means by which he accomplished it, but leaving those negative things aside, I still find his accomplishments impressive.



Love you all my readers!!!

-Paul-

I am sorry for my absence, in my succeeding posts I will do my best to share to you my loyal readers from all corners of the world, what has happened to me, what I've experienced recently. I am sorry. 

As always, feel free to leave your comments and/or suggestions below. It's highly encouraged.