The Return of the 1920s

The 1920s was a tumultuous decade.  A series of economic shocks following WWI gave rise to "ethnic nationalism" that took the form of a white protestant backlash against Asians, Jews, and other minority elements thought to be undermining all that was good and great in America.  The apotheosis of this was restrictive Immigration Act that put an end to immigration from southern Europe and Asia. The Klan rose in prominence concurrently, as did Continue Reading...

What terrorist threat?

Is terrorism a threat to Americans?  Yes.  How much of a threat?  Not much.  About as many Americans die every year from slipping on soap in the bathtub than from terrorism.  Roughly 45 Americans have been killed in the US from jihadists since 2001, or slightly less than half the number that are killed every day from guns.  Then why are we so spun up about it?  Why are our politicians, media outlets, and citizenry so bent out of shape about it? Continue Reading...

My Life as a Muslim in the West’s ‘Gray Zone’

What is the "Grey Zone?"  It's the space inhabited by any Muslim who has not joined the ranks of jihadists, at least according to the same extremists.  What's it like to live in this place when you're not really accepted by your fellow citizens in the West as one of "us?"  It's to occupy a netherworld, or, to use the jihadist parlance, it's to be in a grey zone. Continue Reading...

Israel’s Richard Nixon

Israeli PM recently made news for claiming that Jerusalem's Grand Mufti was a key progenitor of the Holocaust.  Before that, Netanyahu made international headlines for his turgid opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, a campaign of his that included addressing the US Congress without full coordination with the White House.  That's the tip of the iceberg.  Netanyahu has been catastrophic, for Israel and for the world.  Read and weep. Continue Reading...

What Could Raising Taxes on the 1% Do? Surprising Amounts

For much of the twentieth century, marginal tax rates were very high, reaching, for example, 92 percent during WWII.  During the post-war boom, those rates remained high.  All income groups prospered. It was a golden age. Then things changed. For nearly 40 years, we've had a trickle down philosophy, which has privileged the wealthy (and corporations) in the tax code.  The predictable result has been growing wealth inequality and relative Continue Reading...

The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

The US and China could never go to war.  Both countries' economies are too intertwined.  Both have too much to lose.  Not true.  Rising powers always spark great insecurity in established powers, a dynamic famously identified by the great Greek historian Thucydides.  In over a dozen instances studies covered in this article where a rising power begins to nudge aside an established power, wars generally result.  Be worried.  Be very worried. Continue Reading...

If you have a problem with Pope Francis’s message, you have a problem with Christ

Pope Francis is a Marxist.  Yup, he is.  He talks a lot about the poor.  He has criticized untempered capitalism.  He doesn't support trickle-down economics (A Fox News commentator actually made this claim!).  Truth be told, Francis merely is repeating the Gospel of Jesus, which overwhelmingly preaches against avarice and greed.  Don't like Francis?  Well then you don't like Jesus. Continue Reading...

The Next Genocide

The Holocaust was fueled by deep-seated antisemitism.  True.  But it was also fueled by a panic over resources, according to Timothy Snyder, a Yale academic.  Hitler sought to ensure living space and access to agricultural goods for the German people, which required territorial conquest and the elimination of lesser peoples like Slavs and Jews - the latter, in particular.  Climate change threatens additional resource panics, as arable land Continue Reading...

Why it pays to be a Jerk

Does it pay to be a jerk?  Apparently so.  A coterie of management theorists have posited that magnanimity actually off in the corporate suite.  Nice guys, so it goes, finish first.  Not true, according to others.  We're wired to defer to aggressive traits that we might make many of us cringe but otherwise pay off in business and other status-critical domains.  Alas, is all lost.  Maybe. Continue Reading...

Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace

The biggest retailer in the world is Darwinian monstrosity - at least for many of its employees.  Amazon.com is a juggernaut, but its managerial ethos is Dickensian, demanding that its employees toil in inhumane work conditions.  Some thrive in this cutthroat environment and are well-compensated as a result.  But many others are crushed by it.  Is this work in the 21st century? Continue Reading...

The Surge Fallacy

The Iraq War, ill-conceived of not, was won in the wake of the so-called Surge in 2007.  The insurgency wracking the country effectively was over.  Then the Obama administration, by not leaving behind a residual force, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.  So goes the GOP narrative.  It's bogus.  The Surge, as laid out by its architects, was supposed to provide some breathing room for political reconciliation in Iraq.  That never happened, Continue Reading...

The Really Big One

The ruinous quake is coming.  Seismologists say that the chances are one in three over the next 50 years, and one in 10 that it'll be truly enormous.  Where exactly is this Fault Line?  Running up the spine of California, i.e., the San Andreas?  Close.  The Cascadia Fault Line just off the the coast in the Pacific Northwest, precisely, and it's primed to shudder violently.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid. Continue Reading...