Category Archives: Books, Movies and Analyses

Is the Independence Referendum in Catalonia Unconstitutional

The autonomous community of Catalonia – one of the 17 autonomous communities that form the country of Spain – voted on October 1, 2017 in a referendum for independence from Spain. Voting day was marred by violent clashes between Catalan voters on one side, and Spanish police and the Guardia Civil on the other side. It was also marred by the seizure of some ballot boxes by the Spanish authorities. One of the main reasons for these clashes was that the Constitutional Court of Spain had already suspended the referendum (on September 8) on constitutional grounds. Was the Catalan referendum – whose results state that 92.01% of participating voters backed independence in a 43.03% voting turnout (not accounting for the missing ballot boxes) – unconstitutional? This article will look at just this question without discussing any political, economic or social implications. Continue reading

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Kurdish Referendum: Legitimacy and Policy Implications

Introduction

On Monday, September 25, 2017 Iraqi Kurds voted on a referendum for independence, and on Wednesday results came in with an overwhelming approval (92.73% as Wikipedia cited a KHEC URL which cannot be accessed from the United States) of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan. While Kurds in Iraq were cheering, the central government in the Iraqi capital Baghdad had already expressed its disapproval of the referendum, mainly on constitutional grounds, while Iraq’s neighbors – Iran and Turkey – who also have Kurdish minorities – over fear that their Kurdish minority populations will demand independence as well, did not approve of the referendum either. Syria, the other country with Kurdish minority in the Middle East, was also opposed to the referendum on the grounds that it is a unilateral action – and understandably so, since Kurdish leaders in Syria were quoted by Reuters as saying that the referendum could “bolster their cause for autonomy in negotiations with the Damascus government”. Continue reading

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2016 Trends for the Net Lease Industry

The following is a writing sample which I prepared two months ago as part of a small project. The author, myself, has had no experience with the net lease industry. Continue reading

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Mastery

This is an insightful book about what it really takes to become Master (Robert Greene always used this word with a capital M) in your field of study – hours and years of commitment, lack of distractions along the way, enrichment of your knowledge in as many fields as possible (thinking of the world as a whole where aspects that you would never otherwise believe to be relevant to your field of study, due to bias or conformism, turn out to be quite applicable). Continue reading

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Book review: Why Obamacare is Wrong for America

I love reading books. If I had all the time in the world, I would probably devote at least 30 percent of it on reading books.

I recently read a book that I had to read much earlier anyway but due to being busy with other more important tasks, including reading other books for a book club that I was part of, I had to postpone reading “Why Obamacare is Wrong for America” for later. Below is my review on Goodreads. Feel free to connect with me on Goodreads by clicking here. Continue reading

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Is al-Qaeda falling apart?

On February 3, 2014, the al-Qaeda leadership officially announced online that it disavowed its longtime ally in Iraq and Syria – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – over its recent confrontations with other rebel groups operating in Syria. Experts may see this move as an effort by al-Qaeda to consolidate its influence on militant groups in Syria aimed at toppling the Syrian government led by President Bashar al-Assad, particularly and especially al-Qaeda’s influence on the jihadist group al-Nusra Front. Recent clashes between rebel groups – both moderate and extremist – have apparently disunited and destabilized the Syrian opposition, particularly the Islamist opposition, in its efforts to oust President Assad and the government. Meanwhile, the Syrian government forces started regaining control of areas in the north of the country that have long been under opposition control in what is now a conflict that has lasted for almost three years. Continue reading

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Kim Jong Un aspiring to be like Hitler – I knew it

The Washington Post’s Max Fisher quoted New Focus International as reporting that North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un, the third in the Kim Dynasty to grasp his people with an iron fist, will hand out 100 copies of Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf to high-ranking officials for the purpose of learning from the German experience of rebuilding its economy and military after its defeat in World War I, according to the cited source. Continue reading

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