Jun 30, 2013

The most intellectual joke you know: An idiot's guide to the Reddit thread.

Some jokes make you feel dumb for laughing at them. (What do you call somebody else’s cheese? Nacho cheese. What do you call a deer with no eyes? I have no idear.) Not so with the ones on a recent Reddit thread sparked by the question, “What’s the most intellectual joke you know?” If anything, the risk with these kinds of jokes is that you’ll feel dumb for not laughing at them. With that in mind, we’ve taken the liberty of annotating a few of our favorites—with the caveat that some of the references are a little hard to explain if you don’t already Noam.  
From user guitartard: “Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?”
Why it’s funny: Because if it’s solipsistic in here, it really is just you. Or rather, just me.
From user phattmatt: “Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, "I'd like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream." The waitress replies, "I'm sorry, Monsieur, but we're out of cream. How about with no milk?”
Why it’s funny: Because Sartre believes that an absence of something is still something. Plus, coffee with no milk tastes a lot worse than coffee with no cream.
From user shannman: “Who does Polyphemus hate more than Odysseus? Nobody!”
Why it’s funny: Because Polyphemus doesn’t realize that Odysseus is Nobody.
From user doomwaxer: “Did you hear about the jurisprudence fetishist? He got off on technicality.”
Why it’s funny: It forms a wry commentary on the brokenness of the justice system.
From user android47: “A programmer's wife tells him: ‘Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.’ The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.”
Why it’s funny: Because the programmer accurately evaluated his wife’s Boolean condition.
From user Arcadian 5656: “A biologist, a chemist, and a statistician are out hunting. The biologist shoots at a deer and misses 5ft to the left, the chemist takes a shot and misses 5ft to the right, and the statistician yells, ‘We got ‘im!’ ”
Why it’s funny: Because it’s mean.
From user suid: “So this classics professor goes to a tailor to get his pants mended. The tailor asks, ‘Euripedes?’ The professor replies, ‘Yes. Eumenides?’ ”
Why it’s funny: Because the two men are not named Euripedes and Eumenides.
From user DrColdReality: “Two women walk into a bar and talk about the Bechdel test.”
Why it’s funny: Because “Bechdel test” is actually the name of a guy the first woman is dating.
From user Saboot: “Werner Heisenberg, Kurt Gödel, and Noam Chomsky walk into a bar. Heisenberg turns to the other two and says, ‘Clearly this is a joke, but how can we figure out if it's funny or not?’ Gödel replies, ‘We can't know that because we're inside the joke.’ Chomsky says, ‘Of course it's funny. You're just telling it wrong.’ ”
Why it’s funny: Because Heisenberg is uncertain, Godel sees that the joke is logicallyincomplete, and Chomsky is an asshole. I mean, because Chomsky distinguishes between the joke itself and the linguistic performance.
From user disposableaccountass: “Pavlov is sitting at a pub enjoying a pint, the phone rings and he jumps up shouting, ‘Oh shit, I forgot to feed the dog!’ ”
Why it's funny: It’s not. This joke makes light of animal cruelty. For shame. (Or: Because Pavlov’s dog has him well-trained.)
From user Watch_Closely: “It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally.”
Why it’s funny: Because kleptomaniacs always take things, literally. As another Reddit user put it: “I don’t get it, but I’m stealing this one.”
See the original Reddit thread for more, and the comments to Tyler Cowen’s post for still more. And feel free to add your own in the comments below.

Jun 28, 2013

Into the Fray: Brain dead on the Right?

The only thing more dangerous, delusional and disastrous than the Left's proposal for a two-state solution, is the proposal now bandied about by the Right - for a one-state solution

MK TZIPI HOTOVELY visits the Temple Mount, May 26, 2013
MK TZIPI HOTOVELY visits the Temple Mount, May 26, 2013 Photo: Ezra Gabay

The nation is a soul, a spiritual principle. Two things... constitute this soul or spiritual principle. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present-day consent, the desire to live together, the will to perpetuate the value of the heritage that one has received. –Ernest Renan, What is a Nation?

A portion of mankind... united among themselves by common sympathies which do not exist between them and any others – which make them cooperate with each other more willingly than with other people, desire to be under the same government, and desire that it should be government by themselves or a portion of themselves exclusively.
 – John Stuart Mill, On Representative Government

Yes, I know I have cited these excerpts before. Last March to be exact – see “The New York Times versus the Jews” and “Israel’s imperative: Jewish and democratic.” The difference is that then, I harnessed them to debunk far-left anti-Zionist calls for a one-state approach to the Israel- Palestinian conflict. Now it appears I have to invoke them to debunk rightwing proposals, which call for almost exactly the same thing.

End of times?

I realize this article will win me few new friends – and will in all likelihood lose me a fair number of old ones. However, the issues are so fateful and the ideas being bandied about to contend with them so lethally ludicrous, that the constraints of courtesy must be shed.

This is not a time for pussyfooting around the points of dispute. For some the proposals being raised by people I hold in high regard are so potentially disastrous, they must be removed forthwith from the agenda, before they have a chance to wreak the massive damage they are capable of.

One might be excused for believing we have arrived at the “End of times” when we see such far-reaching meeting of minds between rabid anti-Zionists on the radical Left and the fervent pro-Zionists on the hawkish Right.

When Omar Barghouti, who spearheads the anti-Israel boycotts, divestment and sanctions drive, and Tzipi Hotovely, one of the leading hardliners in the Likud, largely agree on the principle of one-state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, and differ only on the particulars of the characteristics that state should have, who can be blamed for believing the we have arrived at the era when “the wolf lives with the lamb, the leopard lies down with the goat.”

Accelerating absurdity

But this absurd situation is emerging before our very eyes – at an accelerated pace in recent weeks – when stalwart Zionists such as Hotovely, Yoram Ettinger, Caroline Glick and Uri Elitzur began to embrace a one-state future and the granting of citizenship to the Palestinian Arabs in Judea-Samaria.

So while I might have chosen a less abrasive title for the column, I really need to catch reader attention, even if this means incurring the ire of some of my (genuinely) esteemed colleagues.

Given the growing realization that the two-state approach has proved unfeasible in practice, and unacceptable in principle, the underlying rationale behind the growing acceptance of – or rather, resignation to – Palestinian inclusive “onestatism” appears to be rooted in three factors: (a) A dawning awareness that the status quo cannot be maintained indefinitely and some move toward a permanent resolution of the situation in Judea-Samaria is needed. Thus, Hotovely in an interview this week: “It makes no sense to leave this in the air for 45 years. [This] sends a message that we have no connection to these places.”

(b) A sense that the threat of international sanctions, particularly by the EU, is looming ever larger – first against the Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria and later against the rest of Israel. Thus, Hotovely warned that if there is no sign that the status quo will be changed, “we will pay the price through pressure and boycotts.”

(c) Adopting the optimistic demographic assessments spearheaded by the indefatigable Yoram Ettinger and based on studies by the American-Israel Demographic Research Group and Dr. Yakov Faitelson, which indicate that changes in prevailing trends ensure a Jewish majority between the Jordan and the Mediterranean for the foreseeable future.

Not merely demographic arithmetic

But even if one concedes the essential validity of these points, it does little to make the conclusions now being drawn by leading opponents of the two-state solution (TSS) to embrace a Palestinianinclusive one-state solution (PIOSS) any less catastrophic. For the problem is not merely one of “demographic arithmetic.”

One-staters – both on the Right and the Left – seem to miss the point when it comes to the essence of nationhood. A nation is more than a random amalgam of individuals, bound by no more than the accident of their current geographical location. As the opening excerpts from the works of leading liberal philosophers regarding the nature of nations, nationality and nationalism indicate, the most essential element of nationhood is a sense of fellow-feeling.

This is particularly true if one wishes to maintain democratic governance and free institutions. As John Stuart Mill cautions, without such fellow-feeling, “Free institutions are next to impossible... [and] the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist.”

Mill identifies the strongest components of this indispensable fellow-feeling as an “identity of political antecedents; the possession of a national history, and consequent community of recollections; collective pride and humiliation, pleasure and regret, connected with the same incidents in the past.”

Intolerable socioeconomic burden

Now take one given “incident in the past” – say the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

For Jewish Israelis this is a source of “pride” and “pleasure”; for the Arabs “humiliation” and “regret.”

Note this is not a marginal incident but a seminal event in the collective memory of the two groups. It is but one example of the dichotomous divide in antithetical attitudes that Jews and Arabs have in relation to a host of socio-cultural issues in the past and the present.

In light of such stark ethno-nationalist discordance, can anyone seriously propose a stable, functioning state, unless one group has overwhelming numerical dominance of the other? As the relative sizes of the discordant groups converge – even if the dominant one maintains its (dwindling) majority – the internal situation will become increasingly unmanageable, especially if there are large disparities in their socioeconomic conditions.

Once the Arab population of Judea- Samaria – or even a sizable portion thereof – is incorporated into Israel, massive resources will be required to address yawning gaps between the societies on either side of the 1967 Green Line in virtually every walk of life – in the status of women, law enforcement, welfare services, road safety, education and school curricula.

Economically, joining the two populations in common citizenship would catapult Israel backwards from the status of a developed nation to a “developing” one, jeopardizing its membership in the OECD, and, insensitive souls might claim, moving it from a post-modern society to a pre-modern one – with all the attendant repercussions for Jewish emigration (yerida).

So even if the most optimistic demographic prognoses are correct, providing the Arabs of Judea and Samaria with full citizenship would place an intolerable socioeconomic and cultural burden on the country which would make things untenable – even if a formal Jewish majority could be maintained.

Sobering statistics 

Let me be clear. I commend Ettinger, Faitelson and their colleagues for their work, in persuasively showing that the demographic problem is less daunting and immediate than mainstream pundits would have us believe. However, their efforts, admirable as they are, do not imply that the demographic threat no longer exists, merely that there is time to deal with it in a measured manner.

Their findings do not make a PIOSS a viable political configuration that can sustain Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people for more than a few decades, at the outside.

Indeed, there are other figures that paint a far more ominous picture.

According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s Muslim population has almost doubled, as the proportion of the population, since independence – from just over 9 percent in 1949 to over 17% in 2011. The ratio of Jews to Muslims plunged from over 9 Jews to every Muslim to less than 4.5.

It should be recalled that this dismal decline was recorded despite the massive influx of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, without which the country’s demographic position would be perilous indeed.

Now if we were, as per the PIOSS advocates, to enfranchise the Arab population of Judea-Samaria, the percentage of Muslims in the overall population would climb to 30%-40%, depending on whose figures one cares to adopt. The ratio of Jews to Muslims would plummet to just over 2 or less.

Clearly the creation of such a large enfranchised minority – particularly if it is inherently adversarial to the majority – creates a whole new ball game, both domestically and abroad.

No hope for ‘Hatikva’?

The implications of these trends – even at a greatly decelerated pace – are as clear as they are calamitous for the future of the Jewish nation-state.

As long as the Jews comprise an overwhelming majority there is valid rationale for the existence of an entire range of elements that characterize the conduct of national and public life in the country, such as the Star of David on the flag; the menorah as the state emblem; the words of the national anthem that refer to the “yearning of the Jewish soul”; and the status of Hebrew as the dominant vehicle of communication among the citizens.

The same is true for “Judeo-centric” legislation such as the Law of Return granting any Jew immediate citizenship on immigrating to Israel.

However, as the non-Jewish proportion of the population rises, the justification for this is undermined. Indeed, it would be naïve to believe that this situation could be sustained. When non-Jewish minorities approach 30% and more, the logic for replacing “Hatikva” as the national anthem, in favor of a more inclusive composition, more representative of sentiments of other segments of the population, becomes difficult to resist.

A recent study published by the University of Haifa leaves little room for optimism. It found that a majority of Israeli Arabs would feel justified in launching an intifada as a means to improve their situation. Fewer than half felt that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state, down from 65% in 2003. Almost half thought a Palestinian state would someday replace Israel, (up from 19% in 2003). Some 82% blame Jews for the “Nakba,” or national Palestinian catastrophe in the wake of the 1948 war.

Now imagine how these findings would be impacted by more than doubling the enfranchised Arab population in the land. Indeed, Hotovely might well want to reconsider her statement that offering citizenship to Palestinian Authority Arabs would be “a small price to pay for ending the status quo which brings international criticism of Israel.”

The hard, cold truth

Sadly, even if their estimates are 100% correct, PIOSS advocates are “whistling the dark.” I have merely scratched the surface in cataloging the drawbacks of their perilous prescription. Indeed, the only thing more dangerous, delusional and disastrous than the Left’s TSS proposals, are the ones now being now bandied about by the Right.

The hard, cold truth is: To survive as the nation-state of the Jews, Israel must adequately address two imperatives: geographic and demographic.

While old school two-staters are willing to imperil Israel geographically to address the demographic imperative, budding one-staters are prepared to jeopardize it demographically to address the geographic imperative.

The only paradigm that addresses these imperatives simultaneously is one that entails a reduction of Arab presence west of the Jordan. The most plausible – arguably, the only – noncoercive manner to achieve this is by inducing economically incentivized emigration – as I have argued in numerous columns.

If Israel cannot produce leadership that understands this, and has the capacity to implement it, the days of the Zionist enterprise are numbered, and there is no hope of sustaining Israel as the nationstate of Jewish people beyond a few decades.

Jun 26, 2013

The five words that can swing a meeting in your favour | TechRepublic

Takeaway: Frustrated your ideas go unheard in meetings? Academics have identified the five words successful managers use to win backing for their proposals.
Everybody’s sat in a meeting where they felt like they were talking but nobody was listening.
But what if there were a sure fire way to get your colleagues to take notice? Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management examined what language is most likely to win over peers when used in meetings.
After applying “machine learning algorithms” to a “very large amount of meeting data” they identified the words most commonly used to gain support for proposals or take the lead in discussions.
These were “yeah, give, start, meeting” and “discuss”.
The word may ‘yeah’ seems surprising as a persuasive word, but, said professor Cynthia Rudin, “when we looked at the way people were using it, we found they were using it to show agreement with something that someone else previously said. Perhaps if you frame a suggestion as if it were in agreement with others, it’s more likely to be accepted.”
While ‘yeah’ was most frequently used to garner approval, ‘meeting’ was most often successfully used to shut down discussion of a topic, she said.
“For instance, someone might say, ‘Maybe this is something for the next meeting,’ as a way of gently moving the topic onward without causing offence. That suggestion was almost always accepted,” she said.
Rudin and a PhD student Been Kim, said they were also able to identify when key decisions were being made in meetings based on the combination of information provided or requested, and the mix of suggestions, acceptances or rejections.
“This would be useful when listening to a previously recorded meeting and you want to fast forward to the key decision. Or, it might help managers be more efficient if they could be automatically alerted to join a meeting when a decision is about to be made,” said Rudin.
The research also found little evidence to support the idea that managers dish out “complement sandwiches”, where they soften the blow of bad news or a criticism by nestling it between positive statements.
“We’re just at the beginning of finding ways to use machine learning to produce tools for more efficient meetings. Since everyone wants their ideas accepted, it’s worth considering word choice in proposals. You don’t want to undermine your idea by not using the right language,” said Rudin.

Untitled Page

An eminent Islamic scholar stresses that the ideology of violence articulated by various self-styled radical Islamists and terrorist groups is a crass misinterpretation of the Koran.

Islamic Jihad militants launch rocket in Gaza
Photo by: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Like it or not, US President Barack H Obama has one thing in common with most of the politicians in the Oriental world: hoodwinking the  minorities into believing that he cares for them. As part of this game, Obama has of late invented several ways to hobnob with some influential Muslims at home on different occasions. The reality is absolutely shocking. Washington’s recent policies in the Middle East have resulted in the establishment of sectarian regimes that are not at all inclined to serve their minorities. The current popular protest against the new dispensation in Cairo will suffice to prove this point.

Washington has also continued damaging the interests of the minorities through some of its ‘best’ allies in the Middle East. All these ‘US-friendly’ regimes, old and new, are adhering to  the theology of  Wahabism, a doctrine that rejects any progress after the third Islamic century. It declares all non-Muslims kafirs (unbelievers) and non-Wahabism Muslims, such as Shias, Sufis and Ahmadiyas apostates. The Wahhabi Imams urge the faithful to utter prayers against the Kafirs: Jews, Christians, Hindus and other non-Muslims. One of its prayers goes “ Ante mawlana, fanSurna ‘ Alal Qawmil Kafiryun.” (O Allah you are our Protector, give us victory over the Kuffar.) Wahhabism  has no respect for women’s rights and liberties. 

It is well documented what the religio-socio-political agenda of all these Islamist regimes has been. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia exports Wahhabism, spending billions of dollars in patronizing mosques, madrassas, journals and cleric training programs for this purpose. Together with the fellow monarchical United Arab Emirates, the Saudi Kingdom pumps into Wahabi-oriented Ahle Hadith and Deobandi madrasas alone an estimated $100 million annually.

Currently, the rulers of Qatar, another American ally, are allowing influential Sunni Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi to spread hatred against other faiths. In his sermon in Doha the other day the cleric called upon "Muslims everywhere to kill” Syria’s Alawite sect branding them as "more infidel than Christians and Jews."  

If indeed the United States administration intends to reach out to the minorities, it should use its influence with its allies in  the region to discard their obscurantist version of Islam and embrace instead a path of multi-faceted development for all at home and abroad. The message of hatred the American allies are spreading against all non-Wahhabis is absolutely antithetical to Islam.

There is a near consensus among leading theologians and historians the world over that religion’s origin lies in humanity. True to this spirit and like Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism and several other religions, Islam too has propagated the values of liberalism, equality and justice. Islam — like Judaism and Christianity — is an Abrahamic religion. The Koran shares with the Hebrew scripture, the Torah and the Bible a lot of histories, prophets, stories and teachings. Islam shares a lot even with the Vedas. Ultimately, both prescribe worshipping the One Supreme Lord. Both systems recommend fighting for dharma or justice without any ulterior motives and violence to the non-combatants and civilians, especially women and children, and that too only when there is no alternative to war.

The consensus is that Islam is a message of compassion, brotherhood and social justice. A duty of Muslims is to convey this to co-religionists as well as non-Muslims around. Another is to respect others’ choice of religion or faith and continue to work with and for them in the field of human rights, known in Islamic terms as “insanon ke huquooq” or “huqooq-ul-ibad."  Sura Al-Kafirun (Chapter: 30) mentions: Lakum dinokum waley yadeen (You follow your religion; let them follow theirs).  Muslims should engage themselves in a constant inner-struggle (jehade akbar) against the vices within and finally submit themselves to God.

Pertinently, an eminent Islamic scholar stresses that the ideology of violence articulated by various self-styled radical Islamists and terrorist groups is a crass misinterpretation of the Koran. Islam does not prescribe killing Christians, Jews, Hindus, and others. There is a need for a contextual revision of certain rules contained in the medieval Muslim jurisprudence (fiqh). In the medieval times all states were identified with one or the other religion. It was simply inconceivable that any non-Muslim government would allow Muslims to invite its subjects to God’s path. As such it was never even discussed then how Muslims should relate to a non-Muslim state that explicitly allowed Islam to be practiced, preached and propagated in its territory.

The situation today, the scholar says, is far different. A non-Muslim state not only allows practicing Islam but also allows its subjects to accept Islam and follow it. It is no longer forbidden for Muslims to communicate their faith to non-Muslim rulers or non-Muslims in general. In the changed modern world any proxy war and communal conflict in the name of jihad is simply not permissible. Muslim citizens and residents of non-Muslim states have new duties and responsibilities. Jihad cannot be declared against a non-Muslim government that does not in any way oppress Muslims, nor can such a government be told either to accept Islam or else hand over power to Muslims.

Washington (and other liberal democratic capitals) could care for this real, enlightened version of Islam. Fortunately, all democracies in the world are blessed with many liberal, freedom-loving, peaceful Muslims opposed to violence in the name of Islam. These genuine souls are working constantly for peace, harmony and development. The governments in all democracies could contact and work together with such elements to further the cause of the minorities. Moreover, the democratic governments  must back all those Middle Eastern secular forces currently protesting against their governments’ Islamist agendas.Why are jihadists insulting Islam?

Man up, Labor and expel Rudd | The Australian

IF the next election is lost for Labor regardless of what happens with the leadership this week, those who care about the party must start planning now how they will rebuild. Julia Gillard should exit the political stage, perhaps taking up a career lecturing about gender politics, delivering speeches about misogyny to wild cheers from disgruntled women and mentoring Emily's List girls. That leaves what has been Labor's biggest problem for many years now: what on earth to do about Kevin Rudd?
Of course, if Rudd becomes leader before the election (remember Bob Hawke took the leadership less than a month before the 1983 election) and leads the party to a respectable loss, the party may unite around Rudd. If, however, Gillard remains leader, Rudd will do what he does best - wreck it for those he detests and ultimately treat with contempt a great party that existed before the first parliament sat in 1901.
Indeed, for a little more than three years now, Rudd has been a man driven by a burning desire to seek redemption, revenge and a return to what he believes is his rightful place - the leadership of Labor and the country. The Rudd Problem stems from the spectacular manner in which federal Labor deposed the man from Queensland who curiously claims he's only here to help.
Those who know Rudd should have known he would seek revenge after being removed as leader. In the days following June 24, 2010, Labor offered no real explanation. Driving a political truck through Gillard's feeble explanation that under Rudd Labor had lost its way, the Liberal Party told a confused and stunned electorate about faceless men and a Sussex Street death squad. It conjured up images of Pinochet's Chile, and secret assassins in the night. The damage was done in the electorate, and the seeds of retribution were sown in Rudd. Labor's failure to come clean about Rudd allowed him to become a martyr.
It was only after Gillard's stocks plummeted that we learned the truth about Rudd's removal. He was a psychopath, said Steve Gibbons; he had no Labor values, said Wayne Swan; he ran a chaotic, dysfunctional government, said other ministers who also complained about Rudd deciding big policies with no consultation. Off the record, a senior Labor figure told ABC journalist Chris Uhlmann that Rudd was a narcissist, a "crypto-fascist (who) made no effort to build a base in the party". His faction comprised poll numbers and when the polls dipped, Rudd was out.
But as the polls changed against Gillard, Rudd became even more expert in his martyrdom role. The church-going family man was more akin to a smiling assassin flying solo, trying to destroy Gillard on an almost daily basis and, in the process, necessarily, destroying the government's electoral prospects.
Yet Rudd soon morphed into the party's saviour, a most bizarre outcome given he was the architect of Labor's biggest policy disaster - the arrival of more than 40,000 illegal immigrants, many hundreds of tragic deaths at sea, and billions spent trying to stem a flourishing people-smuggling industry. Gillard's poor performance and Labor's mismanagement of Rudd has allowed him to skate above his policy disasters. In fact, the policy-free nature of Rudd's campaign reveals the shallowness of his claim. It is based solely on cheesy TV and radio chats and chummy hugs at shopping centres. And you have to hand it to Rudd. He rivals Peter Beattie and Tony Blair for grand master of political spin. Last week, there was Rudd stepping from his government car, political staffers carrying his work stuff, while he pretentiously clutched his sleeping bag en route to the chief executive Sleep Out for the Homeless in Sydney.
So what can Labor do about Rudd after the election?
It's possible that Rudd will come to his senses and move on from political life. And right after that he and Mark Latham will become besties, Tim Flannery will recant his views about global warming and the ABC will announce that a conservative will host a prime-time current affairs program.
Labor is left with two choices. Make Rudd leader to satiate his desires or expel him from the party. Forget the first. It will only prolong Labor's pain. That leaves expulsion - perhaps just as unlikely because it will require enormous courage and determination to deal with Rudd in one final, fell swoop. It's drastic. It's dramatic. But it is final and effective if Labor wants to rebuild its brand free from Rudd's crazy narcissism.
Under the ALP state constitutions, any ALP member can charge another with behaviour that warrants expulsion. The federal executive can also seek expulsion. The grounds include: action or conduct contrary to the principles and solidarity of the party; behaviour that is disloyal or unworthy conduct; engaging in disruptive tactics; making public statements about internal party matters that may harm the best interests of the party; not supporting the ALP platform and rules of the party to the best of the member's ability; or failing to vote and work for officially selected party candidates.
After the election dust has settled, a convincing case could be mounted against Rudd if the many criticisms of him are true. Take the allegations about Rudd's leaks. They are legion. Latham details some in his book, The Latham Diaries. In Confessions of a Faceless Man, Australian Workers Union boss Paul Howes wrote about more leaks just before the 2010 election: "It seems that the same person who leaked last night's story to Laurie Oakes has now given similar quotes to Peter Hartcher at The Sydney Morning Herald. It firms up my suspicions that Rudd is waging a dirty war against the Labor Party." Howes wrote that he became so incensed by Rudd's alleged behaviour that on July 30, 2010, he drafted charges against the former PM to warrant his expulsion but never filed them. Interestingly, Rudd has never taken legal action against any of these allegations of disloyalty.
Labor has expelled men greater and lesser than Rudd. Billy Hughes was expelled while PM in 1916 and Jack Lang was expelled in 1942. Each expulsion is different but in each case it's done for the good of the party. It will be up to Labor's future leaders - men such as Bill Shorten, Greg Combet and Howes - to find the courage to rid the party of this troublesome, capricious, vengeful, angry former PM, toothy smile and all.

Jun 25, 2013

Twist of irony as enthusiasts celebrate car that sank Leyland | The Australian

AFTER a half-century of pretence and billions of dollars of taxpayers' money, we are witnessing the last convulsions of the Australian car manufacturing industry. Tariffs, incentive plans and subsidies under various inventive names are all that have kept the illusion alive.
One by one, the foreign-owned parent companies that tried to produce their popular cars in Australia have pulled out. But the most spectacular failure was Leyland Australia. Its Sydney plant was the biggest in the southern hemisphere, employing 5000 people. Leyland's final-year loss was $52.3 million, ($360m today) then the biggest in Australia's history. The published losses across its last five years were $65m ($450m), but probably amounted to more than $81m ($560m).
It is ironic that on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the launch of the P76 -- the car that was to have saved Leyland -- the debate about government support for the car industry is fiercer than ever.
There were many reasons for the collapse of Leyland but most have echoes today. The parent company in Britain was in financial difficulties. It had reluctantly given the Australians $20m to build their own car but was in no position to help further.
The P76 was the first Australian car designed from a blank sheet of paper, to compete in the then dominant medium segment of the market. Despite being more advanced than its competitors, it failed on poor product quality. Leyland was caught between mounting monthly losses and pressures to bring the car to market before it was properly developed. But because of inept government local-content plans that fragmented the market, the ground had shifted under its feet. When the P76 was planned in 1969, Holdens, Falcons and Valiants had 68 per cent of the market and Japanese makes just 14 per cent. By 1974, the medium sector was down to 56 per cent and the Japanese had 27 per cent.
In the past, high tariffs protected the local industry but did nothing to encourage innovation. So-called Australian cars fell behind the rest of the world in safety, road-holding and engineering. The Leyland collapse, with the loss of 3000 jobs, rocked the Whitlam government and the trade union movement as the country headed into recession. The Clerks Union imposed a waterfront ban on car imports and the ACTU convened an emergency meeting. Cabinet papers show that Bob Hawke, then ACTU president, called on the government to impose immediate quotas on imports, which had reached 34 per cent. Hawke wrote to Kep Enderby, minister for manufacturing industry: "A significant and viable manufacturing industry is essential to the continuance of a healthy full employment (and) Australian economy."
The Hawke document went on to propose that the government acquire the complete Leyland enterprise to produce small cars for the enlarged market it said would be created by the import restrictions. Nothing came of it; instead, the government acquired the Waterloo site for $20m and bought 760 cars for $1.62m -- funds that enabled Leyland to restructure as an assembler and importer.
The 1974 report of the Industries Assistance Commission found there was space for only three local producers. It estimated that protection to the motor industry between 1963 and 1974 had cost $1.5 billion ($10bn at today's value). The IAC recommended abolishing local-content plans and moving to a tariff on imported cars of 25 per cent in the long term.
The Metal Trades Industry Association was outraged. It retorted that the IAC was out to destroy Australian industry.
Frequent change of government policy has been the bugbear of the industry, but the trend in protection has been steadily downwards. Since 1964 there have been six major car industry plans with at least 22 complicated changes in protection or assistance, from tariffs to quotas to grants. The IAC and its successors have undertaken six comprehensive reports, consistently underlining the high cost of protection to motorists, and arguing that "competition is the only effective discipline on economic efficiency". Effective assistance to the car industry reached a peak of 140 per cent in the mid-1980s but was down to 15 per cent in 2000. Tariffs on imported cars, 57.5 per cent in 1978, are now 5 per cent.
How has the industry responded? The boom in sports utility vehicles has found it wanting, still trying to sell Commodores and Falcons. Those medium cars now comprise only 7.5 per cent of vehicle sales, as against 24 per cent for SUVs. Yet halving the tariff on SUV imports as long ago as 1988, with further reductions in 1996, invited a change in consumer demand that has been taken up by motorists but seems to have been ignored by the industry.
William Morris (Viscount Nuffield) bought the Victoria Park racecourse in Sydney in the late 40s for a factory to make Morris cars. The minutes of the last meeting of Nuffield Australia Pty Ltd he attended in 1952 record a message too many have ignored: "M'lord Chairman expressed himself on the dangers of expanding far in excess of market potentialities, and warned against the possibility of being involved in too heavy a capital investment."
Yet 40 years on, the P76 has prospered as an enthusiasts' car, with clubs in every state. Next Sunday, more than 50 of the cars will be drawn up in front of Old Parliament House, Canberra, to celebrate their survival.
Geoffrey Luck was an ABC journalist and wrote his MBA thesis on the P76.

Jun 24, 2013

Story didn't finish in 1975 | The Australian

THE well-deserved success of Nick Cater's The Lucky Culture raises an important question about historical writing about Australia.
Recently we have also had George Megalogenis's The Australian Moment and Paul Kelly's The March of Patriots. It appears that our contemporary history is being written by journalists from The Australian!
It is good that journalists write contemporary history as they have first-hand knowledge of many of the events. But the absence of academic historians is striking. Why is this?
There were few papers at recent Australian Historical Association conferences on contemporary Australia. Historians seem happiest studying the period from about 1870 to 1970, before Australia was transformed into what it is today.
Of course, it is much easier to use the categories of race, class and gender, which our historians love so much, during that period. They become far less useful the closer one approaches to the present. Historians seem happiest dealing with the isolated and relatively monocultural Australia of those years.
I'll put it this way. Australia in 1963 had about half the population that it has today, it was still relatively far away from the rest of the world, too often it sought to insulate itself from that world, and the full effects of post World War II migration were still to be felt. Surely the great story in Australian history is that of the massive transformation in Australia since that time.
And yet no academic historian has emerged to tell that story; there has been no great debate about that transformation.
Part of the issue could be that academic historians are an ageing group; many remember 1963 and do not always see the past 50 years as constituting "history".
But for young people 1963 is history.
A more general reason for this failure has to do with the Whitlam government. Much of the traditional explanation of Australian history focused on the idea of the "Party of Progress" (the ALP) versus the Party of Resistance (non-Labor). The Whitlam government was meant to be the consummation of progress. The Messiah had come. But it did not work out that way.
Then there was the Dismissal. Even worse, when Hawke and Keating came to power in 1983 they tore up the old script and wrote a new one. History was moving in a direction the old model couldn't explain.
Many academic historians are incapable of dealing with the actual path history has taken since 1975. It can't be explained in terms of their narrative.
So it is much easier to ignore the past 40 years and to concentrate on the period during which their narrative was at least plausible. These historians only take an interest in contemporary issues insofar as they can denounce other Australians as racist or sexist. Their mindset is locked into the first half of the 20th century.
The problem with this version of Australian history is that it is premised on the idea that history stopped in 1975. Progress came to a grinding halt. It is impossible to tell a coherent story about the years after 1975. Hence they do not tell it.
Unfortunately, history did not come to an end in 1975.
Rather, a new Australia came into being, quite different from the old one. If it has a symbolic birth date, it is 1983 and the Hawke and Keating reforms.
If this is true, two things follow. First, history in Australia needs to be restarted so that it is possible to explain to young Australians the changes of the past 50 years. Second, historians need to be encouraged to study contemporary Australian history so that they can develop a story, and there will necessarily be competing stories, about these years.
Cater, Megalogenis and Kelly have done a sterling job in keeping the study of contemporary Australian history alive. But surely the time has come for academic historians to cast away their old prejudices and enter the 21st century.

Jun 23, 2013

Puppy House Training | House Train Your Dog The Right Way | Potty Training Puppy

Puppy House Training | House Train Your Dog The Right Way | Potty Training Puppy

Rabbi: Young boys may have consented to sex

A senior Australian rabbi who failed to stop an alleged paedophile from sexually abusing boys at a Sydney Jewish school said some of the man's victims may have consented to sexual relations and warned that involving police now would ''open a can of worms''.
Former senior Sydney rabbi Boruch Dov Lesches, who is now one of New York's leading ultra-Orthodox figures, made his remarks in a recent conversation with a person familiar with a series of alleged child rapes and molestation carried out by one man associated with Sydney's Yeshiva community in the 1980s. Rabbi Lesches' comments are likely to increase scrutiny of Australia's senior rabbinical leaders' handling of child sex abuse cases, amid allegations of cover-ups, victim intimidation and the hiding of perpetrators overseas.
In a legally recorded telephone conversation heard by Fairfax Media and provided to NSW detectives investigating the Sydney Yeshiva cases, Rabbi Lesches admitted to counselling the alleged abuser upon learning that he had sexually abused a boy a decade his junior. Rabbi Lesches said he told the man that both he and the boy would be forced to leave the Yeshiva community if he could not control his urges.
''If not, both of them would have to leave,'' he said.
Rabbi Lesches, who never informed police of the abuse, said he did not know that the man had ignored his warning and gone on to sexually interfere with at least three other boys during the late '80s. He said other Yeshiva leaders were responsible for supervising the man.
In the conversation, Rabbi Lesches suggested one of the man's victims, who was aged about 11 at the time of the abuse, may have been a consensual partner. ''Everyone was telling different stories and trying to put the blame on someone else,'' he said.
''We are speaking about very young boys … everybody says about the other one that 'he agreed to this'.''
When challenged on his position that young boys could give consent, Rabbi Lesches replied, ''You would be surprised,'' and added that some non-Jewish boys, who he termed ''goyim'', began acting or thinking sexually ''from the age of five''. He also said teenagers from poor backgrounds had ''nothing else to do in life, only thinking 24 hours about sex'' with each other, members of their own families and even ''dogs''.
Rabbi Lesches also said reporting the alleged abusers to police so many years after incidents occurred would ''destroy them and their children'' and cause pain for victims.
''Do not talk this way … when it is such a long time ago, everybody suffers,'' he said. ''If you start to do something about it will not be productive.''
A traditional rule known as Mesirah, which prohibits a Jew from reporting another's wrongdoing to non-Jewish authorities, remains a big influence in some ultra-Orthodox communities.
Rabbi Lesches, who did not respond to questions from Fairfax Media, is the third senior rabbinical leader to be identified as having known something about the abuse of boys at the Sydney Yeshiva in the '80s.
In February, Fairfax Media reported how the alleged perpetrator, who was sent overseas, had recently admitted guilt to some of his victims and told of how the centre's spiritual leader, Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, once warned him to stop what he was doing.
In response to that story, Rabbi Feldman released a statement saying he had no recollection of anyone confessing to him their involvement in child sexual abuse 25 years ago.
In early March, another senior rabbinical leader, Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, admitted he did not contact police after a young boy contacted him more than 20 years ago to report sexual abuse at Bondi's Yeshiva.
Rabbi Gutnick, who heads the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, said he received an anonymous phone call and alerted senior members of the Yeshiva to the boy's claims. He said that with the benefit of hindsight ''I would have probably called the police''.
Rabbi Gutnick is understood to have told Bondi detectives recently all that he could recall about the phone call. In a statement published in the Australian Jewish News earlier this year, he said he ''felt deeply saddened that I had not recognised what I only now know was a legitimate cry for help''.
''I appeal to the entire community - to victims and their parents to community members and leaders. If you have information please come forward to the police. Don't be afraid.''
Fairfax Media can also reveal the family of the man being investigated by NSW police over the sexual incidents at the Bondi Yeshiva are big financial supporters of the New York Monsey ultra-Orthodox community led by Rabbi Lesches. There are also allegations the alleged abuser has also lent a large sum of money to at least one senior ultra-Orthodox figure in Australia.
The alleged abuser was also appointed to the board of an Australian company involved in providing educational materials for Jewish students. He has in recent years been sheltered by a leading Los Angeles Jewish welfare group, with 2011 emails between the man and one of the organisation's senior members showing he was in danger of having his past in Sydney exposed.
''I have no idea how anyone found out - but calls are coming daily from many sources. So far, we've been protecting you,'' wrote an executive director from the LA organisation in an email to the man.
NSW police were alerted to alleged sexual abuse at the Sydney Yeshiva by their Victorian counterparts who were investigating two men over sexual assaults at the Melbourne Yeshiva school in St Kilda. Former St Kilda teacher David Kramer this year pleaded guilty to sex offences on students of the school and is awaiting sentencing. He was in a US jail over child sex offences committed in St Louis when he was extradited last year.
Another former worker at the Yeshiva St Kilda school, security guard David Cyprus, will stand trial next month over alleged sexual abuse offences against a dozen Yeshiva boys.
The school's former principal, Rabbi Abraham Glick, is now under police investigation over his handling of complaints about abuse over several decades, including the decision to send Kramer overseas. Rabbi Glick's nephew is the Victoria Police chaplain, Rabbi Meir Shlomo Kluwgant.
Outspoken Melbourne Jewish sexual abuse campaigner and founder of victim support group Tzedek, Manny Waks, said Rabbi Lesches' comments ''unfortunately seem to be consistent with the approach of many senior Orthodox Jewish figures in the community who for decades have been more concerned with silencing victims and protecting perpetrators as well as their institutions, rather than with protecting innocent children''.
Mr Waks said his organisation would provide the royal commission into religious groups' handling of child sex abuse cases with full details of what has been happening for decades in Australian Jewish communities.

Timothy Snyder -- René Girard Lecture -- March 13th, 2013 - YouTube

Timothy Snyder -- René Girard Lecture -- March 13th, 2013 - YouTube

Meyer Rafael - Why not move the Greatest Self Induced Humiliation...

Meyer Rafael - Why not move the Greatest Self Induced Humiliation...

Jun 21, 2013

The limousine theory (cont): Irrefutable illustrations; egregious examples | JPost | Israel News

Into the fray: Through their unelected positions of influence and authority, civil society elites shape the political discourse and hence the perceived constraints on decision-makers.

Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif
Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif Photo: Yakov Ben-Avraham

Nissim Mishal: To what extent... did the police investigations, the fear of the investigations, [state attorney] Edna Arbel in the background, and his [Ariel Sharon’s] fear of being indicted, influence this historic decision regarding the disengagement? 
Ofer Shelah: Decisive influence! The people closest to Sharon told us absolutely that if not for the police interrogations, the decision [to quit Gaza] would not have been made.

– an exchange on a prime time TV talk-show, Channel 2, June 15, 2005.

In my column last week, I suggested that in deciphering the many seemingly inexplicable conundrums that abound in Israeli politics, it might be helpful to conceive of the country’s political system as a chauffeured limousine.

Resonating with readers

This allegorical portrayal, in which the people ostensibly in charge (the elected politicians) are likened to the driver, whose destination is in fact determined, not by him/herself but by the occupants of the plush backseats, out of sight behind the shaded panes (civil society elites), generated a deluge of responses.

I spent much of my weekend coping with the traffic on my Facebook page and email; and the almost 850 “likes” registered on The Jerusalem Post website, JPost.com, seems to indicate that it resonated well with many readers.

Despite the positive overall reception the explanatory analogy was given, one particular query recurred with some frequency.

While few contested the analogy’s validity/ value as a conceptual postulate, many felt it needed greater empirical corroboration and illustrative examples to back it up.

I confess that I found this a little surprising, since corroborating evidence abounds everywhere: In the bile ofHaaretz editorials, and even its news coverage; in the barbs that pepper the commentaries on Friday night TV news programs; in the bias of university syllabi, events and composition of conference line-ups; in the documented and measurable jaundice of the judiciary.

To recap briefly 

Before I turn to providing substantiating illustrations of the theory, allow me to recap briefly. Last week I demonstrated that no matter what the composition – or the electoral platform – of the government of the day (the limousine chauffeur), the “destination” is still the same: Adoption of a policy of political appeasement and territorial retreat.

Changing governments seems to have little effect on this – just as changing chauffeurs would have little effect on the destination of the limousine. Of course, some governments might embrace the policy with greater enthusiasm, others with greater reluctance, some may counsel caution in dealing with negotiating partners, others, trust and largesse, just as some drivers may have different styles of driving or prefer slightly different routes.

But these disparities, once again, will have little impact on the journey’s end-point.

This is determined by the backseat occupants – a trinity of interacting civil society elites, comprising groups and individuals who dominate the legal establishment, the mainstream media and much of the nation’s academia – particularly, but not exclusively, in the social sciences and humanities, including law.

These elites, through their unelected positions of influence and authority that their professions confer on them, can to a large measure shape the content and the conduct of the political discourse in the country, and hence the constraints that decision makers perceive themselves to be subject to.

This clearly provides them the capacity to have a dominant impact on the formulation of national policy and to impose their overarching worldview on the elected incumbents, no matter what the latter’s political manifesto or electoral pledges to the voters may be.

A culture, not a conspiracy

As mentioned last week, I have been at pains to explain the motivation of these individuals (Comprehending the incomprehensible – Parts I & II; June 13 and 19, 2012).

However, it is important to underscore that what is set out here is not a theory of a conscious conspiracy, contrived by some malevolent elitist cabal, purposely plotting the downfall of the Zionist enterprise, although in certain cases, such sentiments might not be totally absent.

Rather, it is a reflection of the socio-cultural milieu of these elites in which their personal and professional interests are served far more effectively by endorsing a PC (Palestinian compliant) policy of pliancy and concessions, rather than of robust Israeli assertiveness. It is a consequence of the accumulated effects of individual decisions and actions driven by the short-term pursuit of prestige and profit of a group of empowered individuals, which trump the long-term interest of the collective.

It is essential to understand this mechanism, and the strict code of conformity by which it is driven. Otherwise, it will be impossible to “comprehend the incomprehensible,” to understand why this pernicious circumstance, which basically strips the democratic process of all significance, and to devise methods to contend with it.

For with varying degrees of intensity and coherence this was the mechanism that precipitated the Oslo Accords, the ignoble flight from Lebanon, the unilateral evacuation of Gaza, the Gilad Schalit exchange. It is behind the current campaigns for unilateral withdrawal from Judea-Samaria and/or the acceptance of the patently suicidal “Arab Peace Initiative.”

Deeply disturbing discussion 

One of the most startling and disturbing testimonies to the massive influence the perceived power of these elites was aired on prime-time TV shortly before the disengagement, on the popular talk show Mishal Ham (“Hot Mishal” – phonetically could also mean “Hot Survey”), hosted by the left-of center Nissim Mishal.

In the program aired just prior to the 2005 disengagement from Gaza, Mishal discussed a then-newly published book Boomerang with its authors, two very prominent mainstream journalists, the left-leaning Raviv Drucker and the decidedly left Ofer Shelah (now an MK in Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party).

The TV discussion of the book, billed as being based on “hundreds of interviews, secret documents and personal diaries,” focused on the determinants of the process that led to Sharon’s decision to evacuate Gaza.

The picture that emerges is chilling: Mishal introduces the program with the following stunning declaration: “The evacuation plan was born because Sharon was convinced that then-state attorney Edna Arbel would indict him.”

The following are excerpts from the ensuing discussion (the full version is available online), starkly highlighting how the specter of elite power (in this case the legal elites) and their presumed political proclivities dictate national policy – even when this entails total repudiation of electoral pledges. Judge for yourselves.

Egregious excerpts 

Mishal: Was Sharon just a puppet? 

: Sharon wanted only to survive politically. And I’ll give you a real-life example...

In October 2003, before the disengagement plan started... Sharon was still opposed to it then – but he came around later.

Mishal: To what extent, Ofer, did the police investigations, the fear of the investigations, [state attorney] Edna Arbel in the background, and his fear of being indicted, influence this historic decision regarding the disengagement? 

: Decisive influence! The people closest to Sharon told us absolutely that if not for the police interrogations, the decision [to quit Gaza] would not have been made. Edna Arbel [was] still in the picture, and Sharon [was] convinced that she won’t end her term before indicting him, and then something very interesting happens...

Sharon receives a summons to be interrogated, there are leaks from the prosecution that an indictment is on the way.

Mishal: That Edna Arbel wants to indict Sharon?

Drucker: There is an atmosphere in the background that there has to be a dramatic diplomatic move that will overshadow everything else, that will change the national agenda. So they decide to come out with a major diplomatic step – and this is the major diplomatic step.

Attempt to placate prosecutory zeal 

There you have it. Sharon’s fear of indictment had a “decisive influence” on the decision to evacuate Gaza and raze all remnants of Jewish existence and endeavor there – despite the fact that he had urged voters to reject precisely such a policy in the election he had previously won.

This is a point that Drucker and Shelah were at pains to defend.

When their colleague, journalist Ben Caspit, attempted to dismiss it in an opinion piece in Ma’ariv, as a “new urban legend,” Drucker responded in a counter oped stating: “What we wrote, and continue to claim, is that the legal threat that hovered over Sharon significantly influenced the decision-making process that led to the disengagement. Caspit knows this and we prove it in Boomerang.”

Drucker’s contention is eminently plausible.

Clearly the “major diplomatic step” would not be taken in a direction considered likely to rile Sharon’s potential indictors but rather to placate their prosecutory zeal, by offering a dramatic policy change, concomitant with their political perspectives as a (political) peace-offering, thereby forestalling any legal action against him.

This was not hope without foundation, for corroborating sentiments were indeed articulated in the socio-professional milieu of our “backseater” elites.

"Equally egregious ‘etrogism’"

One of the most brazen of these was given by unequivocally left-wing Amnon Abramovich, the Channel 2 Friday night news analyst, a few months prior to the Mishal Ham program, at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. He declared: “We must preserve Sharon like an etrog [ceremonial citron fruit], in a sealed can, padded with sponge, cotton wool and cellophane paper. He is the only one who can pull this thing [the disengagement] off.”

Abramovich concluded: “We must protect him not only against political [troubles] but legal ones as well. ‘Etrogism’ [i.e. protection] until September 2005 [the date for the completion of the disengagement]. After that we will reconsider.”

Abramovich was not alone in holding such prejudicial positions.

David Landau, then editor of Haaretz, when challenged as to why his paper, purportedly “the bastion of liberalism, the crusader against corruption in this country for decades” had given Sharon “almost carte blanche” on his legal and ethical problems, responded: “I consciously have subjugated those values to the overriding advantage I see for Israel’s democracy.”

Clearly, then, according to “Landauwian” logic, democracy is best advanced by keeping the demos in the dark.

Pervasive perversion in the press

While Abramovich and Landau might have furnished the most blatant examples of abuse of journalistic privilege to advance political agendas, contrary to those the electorate voted for, they were by no means the only ones.

For example, Amnon Danker, the former editor of Ma’ariv, admitted, “I wasn’t right in what I did by misleading the public on the Oslo process.”

Yet, apparently unchastened, he confessed that his paper’s coverage of the conflict helped pave the way for the unilateral disengagement. “We were for it from day one. I think we helped in preparing the public opinion for it.”

But the phenomenon was even broader in scope. Thus in the Sept/Oct 2005 edition of Columbia Journalism Review, Gal Beckerman, opinion editor of the liberal Forward magazine, wrote: “Israel’s three major [Hebrew] dailies, HaaretzYediot Aharonot and Ma’ariv provided almost unequivocal support for Sharon’s plan, both in their editorials and through their coverage.

“They prepared the public for it and helped to insure the steady 60 percent of support it garnered... Ultimately, the press made sure that Sharon’s move could unfold in one way and one way only.”

See what I mean by shaping the public discourse and policy formulation?

Tip of the iceberg 

The examples cited are merely the tip of the iceberg. I could go on citing, ad nauseam, additional ones, both pre- and post-disengagement.

They too would illustrate how the political process has been corrupted by the PC (Palestinian-compliant) worldview of unelected civil society elites, with both the ability and the motivation to compel – directly or indirectly – elected incumbents to adopt policies consistent with their worldview and eschew those that aren’t, irrespective of preferences expressed at the ballot box.

But I am beginning to depress myself – and my deadline is approaching. I am compelled, therefore, to leave further elaboration and elucidation to future columns, with the assurance that I will return to this topic to address the many questions still left unanswered.