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my new op-ed in Haaretz

ניצחון הטכנוקרטים לי-און הדר , וושינגטון 09.04.2012 05:03 מיט רומני הוא כל כך משעמם, שכדור השינה נוטל אותו כשהוא מתקשה להירדם. זוהי אחת הבדיחות שרצות כאן על המועמד הרפובליקאי לנשיאות, שהפרסונה הכמו-רובוטית שלו היתה גורמת אפילו לספוק מ"מסע בין כוכבים" להרגיש אנושי. למבקריו רומני מזכיר בובה מכנית שתוכנתה להיראות ולהתנהג כמו נשיא אמריקאי מהסרטים - פוטוגני, נעים הליכות, איש משפחה ומצליחן - שפולט את כל הקלישאות הפטריוטיות ותמיד מבטיח פתרון לבעיה זו או אחרת. ייתכן שאחת הבעיות של רומני נעוצה במה שמומחים לרובוטיקה מכנים "תיאוריית עמק המוזרות": אנשים מרגישים לא נוח כשהם מסתכלים ברפליקה כמעט מושלמת של בן אדם. הרובוט הכמעט-אנושי מזמין אמפתיה, אך התחושה שמשהו עדיין חסר, מטרידה. רומני, המושל לשעבר של מסצ'וסטס, מצטייר כפוליטיקאי לכל עת, אחד שיודע לשחק את התפקיד אך חסרה לו אותנטיות. בעבר הוא תמך בזכות לביצוע הפלות (כאשר רצה לזכות בתמיכתם של הבוחרים הליברלים בניו-אינגלנד), אך כעת, כשהוא מנסה לקנות את לבם של השמרנים הרפובליקאים, הוא סבור שיש להוציאן אל מחוץ לחוק. כמושל, רומני יז

Beware of instant narratives

Business Times - 10 Apr 2012 Beware of instant narratives They're fickle, dictated by vested interests - and hold far from the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT NOT so long ago in the pre-Internet era and at a time when print media reigned supreme, members of the chattering class in the West were looking forward to reading the cover story of the new issue of Time magazine to find out how the political and cultural zeitgeist was shaping up. Today's young readers and the media in general continue to pay some attention to whom Time chooses as its 'Man' - oops! - ' Person of the Year'. But in mid-20th century America, the magazine had an enormous power to shape the nation's agenda - and, by extension, that of the rest of the world - by constructing the Current Narrative. Not only did Time's cover stories inform Americans and the entire global village about who was 'in' and who was 'out

Election fever grips America

Business Times - 06 Apr 2012 PERSPECTIVE Election fever grips America Romney's latest primaries victories and Obama's admonition for Republicans make it clear general election campaign is underway, if not in full swing By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT IT'S War! Just a few hours before Mitt Romney captured the Republican presidential primaries in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Wisconsin - and was clearly on his way to clenching his party's nomination as its presidential candidate - Democratic President Barack Obama unleashed an overwhelming election-year assault on the Republicans and their presumptive presidential nominee. He accused the Republicans and the man who would challenge him for control of the White House in November of promoting a 'radical agenda' for America's future. Mr Romney's primaries victories on Tuesday and Mr Obama's harsh admonition for the Republicans - and for Mr Romney's vision of the nation - made it

Latest example of a success story

Business Times - 03 Apr 2012 Latest example of a success story Korea-born doctor's nomination as World Bank chief highlights Asian-Americans' contributions in various fields in the US By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT THE unexpected nomination of Jim Yong Kim as the next president of the World Bank has been hailed as a welcome departure by the White House from the tradition of appointing professional economists or American political figures to the prestigious position. Dr Kim is neither an economist nor a politician, but a medical doctor and an anthropologist who is clearly qualified for the job of managing the world's leading development organisation. A former head of the World Health Organization's HIV/Aids department, Dr Kim will be able to utilise his experience in providing healthcare to developing countries as he tries to promote new thinking on development work in poor countries. And Dr Kim, who was born in Seoul in 1959 and moved with his family to

Two wonks and a right to become US President

Business Times - 30 Mar 2012 THE BOTTOM LINE Two wonks and a right to become US President By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT AMERICAN comedian Bill Maher describes the presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as 'the most boring man in the world'. Romney is so boring, he quips, that 'the paint on the wall looks at him when it dries' and 'Ambien (a drug for the treatment of insomnia) takes him when it cannot fall asleep'. Well, the comedian may be exaggerating a bit. Mr Romney is probably not the most boring man in the world but he certainly could compete for the title. Indeed, there is something about his robotic persona that makes human beings feel uncomfortable about him. He does look and sound like an automaton that has been programmed to look and talk like an American president who reiterates his love for family, country and God, and promotes this or that plan to solve this or that problem. In fact, during his long career in public

Bernanke out to prevent repeat of Great Depression

Business Times - 28 Mar 2012 Bernanke out to prevent repeat of Great Depression By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT IT is one of the decisions made by the US Federal Reserve in the past that has intrigued contemporary economic historians. The tightening of credit by Marriner Eccles, the head of the Fed in 1936-37 has been blamed for the collapse of the US stock market in 1937 and the ensuing return of the Great Depression - after several years during which the New Deal policies pursued by President Franklin D Roosevelt had been leading the economy towards recovery. One of the economists who have studied the ramification of that Eccles decision has been former Princeton professor Ben Bernanke who, in his current job as the Fed chairman, seemed to be trying to apply the lessons of his academic research. Mr Bernanke has stated in the past that he considered Mr Eccles' decision to tighten monetary policy - at the time when the US economy was showing signs of getting out of th

Disseminating American ideals

http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/storyprintfriendly/0,4582,483334,00.html? Business Times - 24 Mar 2012 Disseminating American ideals The US should know that the best way to spread its ideals is not by forcing them on other nations, but by perfecting its own political and economic model By LEON HADAR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT AMERICANS are once again surprised to learn that the rest of humanity doesn't always share their hopes and dreams - or even their basic set of values. Hence, in the aftermath of the massacre in Afghanistan of 16 people in the hands of an American soldier, some pundits have been trying to resolve what they consider to be a paradox of sorts. While the accidental burning of Qurans by US government employees in Afghanistan last month triggered violent protests outside Nato (North Atlantic Treating Organisation) that took at least 29 lives, the intentional mass murder of Afghan civilians, including nine children in Kandahar on March 11 have led to a few a