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Nationality is no object, money talks

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — whether Russian or Chinese, European or American, the wealthiest are, d’oh, world citizens ]
.

Arrangements have been made..

What’s fairly interesting here is the role the purchase of real estate plays in moving indivudals to where their money would like to go.

Sources:

  • Bloomberg, EU Passports for Sale in Sunny Cyprus Lure Rich Russians’ Cash
  • WaPo, PoliticsChina pitch by Kushner sister renews controversy over visa program
  • Guest Post: Hays on the French Election

    Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

    [Mark Safranski / “zen“]

    Image result for french election

    I’d like to welcome a new, occasional, guest-poster at zenpundit.com,  “Jack Hays“.  Mr. Hays has considerable experience in a number of political and policy positions inside government and out and shares with the ZP readership our appreciation for history, strategy and other things further afield.

    FRANCE AT THE CROSSROADS

    by Jack Hays

    The party system of the Fifth Republic is at last overturned and reconfigured almost exactly half a century after its creation, and the second round of the French presidential election now becomes the third big Western contest for the old and new dispensations: first Brexit, next HRC-Trump, and now Macron-Le Pen.
    .
    Each was and is a fight between the postwar managerial state on the one hand, and populist nationalism on the other. The shock has been the latter’s victory in the first two, but the conventional wisdom is that the streak ends here. Surely this new campaign will end for the younger Le Pen as it did for the elder, with the mass of the French electorate banding together to give a supermajority to the establishment. That’s a rational bet any other year, but not this one. There are the macro trends, and then there are the particular details. Marine Le Pen brings together powerful strands of French political history and identity, from the ridiculous to the pathetic to the glorious, from Pierre Poujade to Philippe Pétain to Charles De Gaulle. Emmanuel Macron does as well, although his are the rocks of the known and the institutional, France as governed in our lifetimes, the rule of les énarques. France as a whole has preferred the latter for so long, but their age of prosperity and competence has turned into an age of fear, of murder in the cities and disquiet in the homes. Now we learn what they fear more, because that fear — not hope, not aspiration — will drive the outcome. What is more intolerable: the status quo of En Marche, or the specter of the Front National?
    .
    We do not know. Neither does France. It is both an uncertainty we must endure, and a suspense we cannot afford.

    Where did Britain go, RAND? Was it Brexit?

    Monday, October 17th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — genuinely puzzled ]
    ,

    RAND has a terrific puzzle map for the cover of its Election 2016: The International Issues essay, but..

    tablet-dq-rand-map

    .. where did Britain go?

    I don’t see Sweden either, so it can’t just be Brexit, can it? Not to mention chunks of Canada..

    Recommended Reading—Summer 2016

    Monday, July 11th, 2016

    [by J. Scott Shipman]

    Storm of Creativity2017

    wright-brothers-biographyserendipities

    Paradisejssundertow

    white horsewashington

     

    The Storm of Creativity, by Kyna Leski

    2017 War With Russia, by General Sir Richard Shirreff

    The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough

    Serendipities, Language and Lunacy, by Umberto Eco

    Paradise, Dante Alighieri, translated by Mark Musa

    Undertow, by Stanton S. Coerr

    The White Horse Cometh, by Rich Parks

    Washington The Indispensable Man, by John Thomas Flexner

    This list starts the first week of May, so perhaps the title should be Spring/Summer. Most of these books are quick reads and all are recommended.

    I picked up Ms. Leski’s book at an MIT bookshop on a business trip in early May and read on the train ride home. Books on creativity are ubiquitous, but Ms. Leski takes an interesting approach by describing the creative process using the metaphor of a storm. Several ZP readers will find of interest.

    2017 was recommended by a friend. The author was the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the book focuses on a Europe/NATO response to a Russian invasion of the Baltics. Written in a Tom Clancy-like style, the plot is fast-paced even though the good general provides sometimes provides detailed insights into the inner workings of NATA and the North Atlantic Council (this is one of the values of the book—bureaucracy writ-large).

    David McCullough’s Wright Brothers delivers an approachable and human accounting of the first men of powered flight. Some reviews on Amazon complain McCullough lifts and uses too many quotes to tell the story. At times the quotes were distracting, but not enough to prevent the enjoyment of the story of two brothers who changed the world. This book was a gift otherwise I probably would not have read.

    Serendipities is a short book, but was a long read for me. Eco explains how language and the pursuit of the perfect language has confounded thinkers since time immemorial. He refers to Marco Polo’s unicorn (also used in his Kant and the Platypus which is excellent) explaining how language is often twisted to meet a preconceived notion or idea. The first couple of chapters were quite good, chapters three and four did not hold my interest or were over my head. The closing chapter was good enough to convince me I’ll need to read this little book again. (My Eco anti-library has been growing of late.)

    Eco’s book led me to reread Musa’s excellent translation of Paradise. My son gave me the deluxe edition with parallel Italian and English, plus commentary. Eco referenced Canto 26 and 27, and I enjoyed the break so much I read the whole thing!

    Undertow is my good friend Stan Coerr’s second book of poetry.  His first book Rubicon was a moving collection of poetry of men at war. Undertow deals more with the heart and is quite good, too. You won’t be disappointed.

    White Horse is also a book by an old friend, Rich Parks (we’ve known each other since the mid-80’s). White Horse is self-published and in places it shows, but the overall story is quite good for a first book (I’ve already told him his book would make an excellent screenplay.). The plot is quick and entertaining even if a bit unbelievable, but the story is fiction. Rich is following up with a sequel in August in 2016 and I’ll be reading it, too.

    Mr. Flexner’s Washington was a gift, too. In this quick biography Washington is made approachable and human. And when I say “quick,” I mean quick…Trenton and Princeton took one chapter compared to David Hackett Fischer’s Washington’s Crossing which took up a standalone book. If someone were looking for a first Washington biography, this would be a good place to start.

    This isn’t the conclusion of my summer reading, but a pretty good start.What are  you reading this summer?

    Christianity, ready for the stars

    Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — the Russians were first with Sputnik, can Orthodoxy in space be far behind? ]
    .

    lift off

    Unfinished TV tower in Yekaterinburg may be turned into St. Catherine Church:

    Yekaterinburg architects created a concept of the highest church in the world: they suggested combining in one project a cult building and the notorious unfinished construction, Yekaterinburg TV reports.

    “According to the concept, they are going to combine the unfinished construction and the cult building in one cosmic-shaped construction, though it is far from architecture of Orthodox churches,” the TV channel reports.

    According to the authors of the idea, they wanted to suggest an alternative to “the church on water,” which was voiced among others projects of Yekaterinburg church.

    Church or TV? What’s your preference?

    **

    Then there’s that enchanted phrase, “the church on water”..

    Well, there’s the church of Our Lady of the Rocks in the Bay of Kotor, off Perast, Montenegro:

    Our Lady of the Rocks, Perast, Montenegro
    photo: Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

    It’s supported on water, to be sure, though it doesn’t appear to walk on it —

    More explicitly, there’s the church that seems to be actually named Church on the Water in Hokkaido, designed by architect Tadao Ando

    Church on the water, Tadao Ando ,Hokkaido (1)

    **

    In what might be seen as an interfaith move, Pritzker Prize winner Tadao Ando also designed the Water Temple in Hompukuji, on the island of Awaji, Japan:

    Water Temple

    Wikiarquitectura tells us:

    The Water Temple is the residence of Ninnaji Shingon, the oldest sect of Tantric Buddhism in Japan, founded in 815.

    **

    Revelation 22.17:

    And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


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