How Did Venezuela Become Such A Disaster?

You’ve probably read or heard a great deal about the incipient chaos in Venezuela.  There are serious food shortages, rampant crime, seething unrest, and the threat of a violent government crackdown.  And yet Venezuela has untold riches in oil.  Most people are unaware that it was one of the major driving forces behind the founding of OPEC many decades ago.  It used to be a stable, prosperous, and reasonably efficient state structure.  How could a country with so many natural resources be unable to feed its people?  What happened?  How did it all unravel?  And what lessons can we draw from the drama?

[To read the rest of the article, click here.]

Permanent Irritation: Why Nothing Will Change With North Korea

ذبابة ما هي شئ و تغلت الروح

(A fly is nothing; but it is still loathesome.  –Egyptian proverb)

There has been much talk in the news of possible military action of some sort on the Korean peninsula.  Western observers—the United States in particular—suspect that the North Korean government is planning shortly to test a nuclear device.  Before, US officials have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction to their Chinese counterparts regarding North Korea’s refusal to abide by its previous treaty obligations.  Compounding the confusion are recent statements by President Trump that he plans “solve” the North Korean problem one way or another.

[To read the rest of the article, click here.]

 

Business As Usual, And Missed Opportunities: The Trump Record So Far

Entering office amid a whirlwind of promises of real change, Donald Trump’s actions thus far have fallen far short of the lavish promises that were used to seduce parts of the electorate.  We’ve seen this movie many times before:  presidents Clinton and Obama both promised everything yet delivered very little when it came to improving the lives of the average citizen at the end of the day.  The wealthy elites and the special interests never had it so good, of course.  An so far, it looks like it will be the same story with the Trump administration.

Continue reading

Russia’s New Online Encyclopedia

We are living in an age in which everything electronic is praised as newer, better, and more advanced.  The internet, we are constantly told, is the new oracle, is able to dispense absolute truth at the push of a few keyboard keys.  This attitude has seeped into the arena of book publishing, where many observers have given electronic books unqualified praise as “better” and more “convenient” than print books.

[To read the rest of the article, click here.]

The Underreported Epidemic Of Firefighter Suicide

Every now and then you come across a story that cries out for more recognition.  I recently had that feeling when I began to read more about the epidemic of firefighter suicides, which is part of the larger problem of untreated firefighter PTSD and depression nationwide.  Like many traditionally masculine professions, firefighters and their health problems do not get the same level of attention from the media that is devoted to female, child, and reproductive health issues.

[To read the rest of the article, click here.]

 

Balancing Internet Privacy With Public Access To Information

inter

Readers may have heard of the strange, tragic story of a thirty-one year old Italian woman named Tiziana Cantone.  According to media reports, she made sex videos with a current boyfriend and then sent them to several other people, among them one of her ex-boyfriends.  At some point in the spring of 2015, the videos were uploaded to various porn sites.  From this point, Cantone became the target of ridicule and mockery.

[To read the rest of the article, click here.]

 

The Legacy Of Argentina’s Military Junta

image

The mainstream media narrative about Argentina in the 1970s goes something like this: (1) Argentina was governed by a brutal, merciless military junta from 1976 to 1983; (2) the dictatorship conducted an unprovoked campaign of extermination against leftists that left tens of thousands dead; (3) the leftists were innocent students.  This story—in one form or another—is what has become part of the accepted narrative of this period of Argentinian history.

[To read the rest of the article, click here.]