Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues



Does Putin have an exit strategy?

Assuming at least part of the conversation on Monday, 14 March will be about Russia and Ukraine, a column by Tom Friedman in the 8 March issue of The New York Times might be of interest. In that column, Friedman asks what Putin’s exit strategy from Ukraine is and concludes that he doesn’t really have one, given Ukraine’s so far apparently successful resistance and the Russian military’s apparent failures. Here’s a link to that column:

Feb. 7: Ethics

At tomorrow’s session, we’ll circle back to a subject we’ve touched on before: ethics.

Three unrelated (?) lines of discussion in recent weeks led to this topic:

  • Supreme Court ethics (or code of conduct). Should it formally adopt one or, as the highest court in the land, should it continue to retain the flexibility of an “honor code” in which each Justice makes the decision as to whether to recuse from a case?
  • Journalistic ethics. (Another trigger for the Supreme Court angle, centered around the public leaks from the court about Neil Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, and masks). And the Sarah Palin/NYT defamation trial just getting under way.
  • Corporate “ethics.” Should corporations be ethical? What does that mean in the context of a corporation?

For that matter, if (as Peter S. likes to quote) ethics is “obedience to the unenforceable,” who gets to decide what is ethical and what is not? (I have my answer, but I’ll save it for tomorrow.)

Jan 24: Demise of Local Newspapers

After taking a week off (the Library is closed for the MLK Federal holiday), we’ll discuss the implications of the declining number of local news outlets (newspapers, etc.) on our society.

Here’s an Atlantic article that brought the topic to the top of our “to do” list: A Secretive Hedge Fund is Gutting Newspapers. (It’s long! Don’t hit “print” unless you really mean to.)

We have almost two weeks to flesh out the topic.

Also: Here’s a link to the transcript/podcast that Marion promised us earlier this week. (She had encouraged us to listen to Ian Bremmer’s “Top Risks” report for 2020.)

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