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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Commercial Breaks on TV: Antiquated or Here to Stay?

By the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, the impact of computer technology on television was already promising to be nothing short of revolutionary. Yet people seemed only able to grasp the contours of an upcoming basic shift both in how television would come to be delivered and how programming would be financed and presented. Young adults were on the leading crest of the wave. Even by 2012, they typically watched television programming from laptops and even ipads rather than television sets. Meanwhile, an older demographic was learning how to integrate television screens with the internet such that movies could be downloaded on a laptop and shown on a larger screen, completely bypassing commercial television even stored on “tibo” from interlarding the home.

The full essay is at "Commercial Breaks as Antiquated?"

Executives and Directors Planning to Unload Shares: A Front for Insider-Trading?

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated preset-trading arrangements known as 10b5-1 plans in 2000 so corporate executives and nonexecutive directors would have a way to announce their plans to sell shares. According to John Nester, a spokesman for the SEC, the 10b5-1 plan was devised “to give executives a way to sell some shares of their own companies despite being exposed to nonpublic information.” Therefore, the plans would have to be set up when the executive or director does not possess inside information, so as to obviate any potential charges of insider trading. The question I address here is whether the plans were subject to abuse by non-executive directors. By abuse, I mean the exploitation of a conflict of interest.

The full essay is in Institutional Conflicts of Interest, a book that is available at Amazon.

Friday, November 16, 2018

When Partisanship Takes on Science on Global Warming: The Part before the Whole

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams concurred on the following preference—namely, a natural aristocracy of virtue and talent over the artificial sort of birth and wealth. Talent here is not merely skill, but also knowledge. Hence the two former U.S. presidents agreed that citizens ought to be given a broad basic education in free schools. The corollary is that as a citizenry lapses in virtue and knowledge, decadence will show up in public discourse and consequently public policy. If kept unchecked, the tendency is for the republic to fall.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Gettysburg Address: Shaped by Small Pox?

By the time Lincoln was back on the train returning to Washington, he was down with a high fever from Small Pox. I’m thinking the illness did not grip the president the second he stepped on the train. Already distraught over Mary falling off a horse-carriage, his son Tad taken grievously ill, and the old, tired war, the president was almost certainly already stricken when he delivered the address and perhaps even when he wrote it the day and evening before. I suspect that the Gettysburg Address would not have been only 272 words long had Lincoln been well.

The full essay is at "The Gettysburg Address."

Thanksgiving Elipsed by Christmas: Will the Offending Businesses Go Extinct?

Even as the business-sourced encroachment of Christmas had all but eclipsed the American holiday of Thanksgiving in 2013 on account of the day falling so late in November (as if four weeks were somehow not a long enough time for gift-buying), the on-going trend (or stampede) of stores opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving puts the holiday itself in the cross-hairs of the retail rifles. Thanksgiving may one day be essentially extinct, and, ironically, so too might be the usual suspects--the enterprises themselves.

The full essay is at "Thanksgiving Eclipsed."

On the History of Thanksgiving: Challenging Assumptions

We humans are so used to living in our subjectivity that we hardly notice it or the effect it has on us. In particular, we are hardly able to detect or observe the delimiting consequences of the assumptions we hold on an ongoing basis. That is to say, we have no idea (keine Anung) of the extent to which we take as unalterable matters that are actually quite subject to our whims individually or as a society (i.e., shared assumptions). In this essay, I use the American holiday of Thanksgiving, specifically its set date on the last Thursday of November, to illustrate the following points.

The full essay is at "On the History of Thanksgiving."

Target’s Senior Managers in Damage Control Mode: A Forensic Appraisal

The number of transactions at Target, a major American retailer, during the weekend before Christmas in 2013 came in at between 3 to 4 percent lower than for the same weekend in 2012.[1] That the number of shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2013 are five less than in the previous year and number of transactions at other retailers during the weekend in 2013 is slightly higher than for the previous year suggests that Target did indeed take a financial hit due to the massive breach in electronic security. The debit and credit-card numbers of up to 40 million customers (between November 27th and December 15th) could have been compromised by hackers who immediately began selling the “secured” information from abroad.[2] Lest this lesson in the downsides of electronic commerce and globalization be enough bitter medicine to swallow, Target’s damage control gives us a rare opportunity to glimpse the mentality of the company’s corporate-level managers by inference.

The full essay is in Cases of Unethical Business: A Malignant Mentality of Mendacity, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.

The Arrest of a Senator in Georgia’s Capitol: A Sign of a Growing Authoritarian Police-State in America?

Sen. Nikema Williams (D-Atlanta) of the Georgia Senate “was arrested along with more than a dozen other protesters” at the Georgia Capitol on November 14, 2018.[1] The demonstration asked Georgia’s government to count every vote in the gubernatorial election. As a civil rights advocate, Williams had organized domestic workers for Stacy Abrams when she was running for Governor. Protesters shouted, “Let her go!” as the Capitol police handcuffed Sen. Williams and led her from the rotunda. No sitting legislatures in Wisconsin had been arrested (as far as I know) when huge constituent protests erupted in the Wisconsin rotunda against Gov. Scott Walker’s successful effort to remove collective-bargaining from powers of public sector unions there. As odd it may be for the police of a Capitol building to arrest a sitting senator, the observations of another senator, who witnessed the arrest, are even more chilling concerning an ominous trend then well underway in American cities.

The full essay is at "Arrest of a Senator Protesting."

Friday, November 9, 2018

The American Media Went “Nuclear” on the U.S. Senate's Filibuster: A Case of Hyperactive Marketing?

Is ending the filibuster on appointments to executive-branch offices as well as judicial appointments below the U.S. Supreme Court really “the nuclear option”? Is this expression simply rhetoric gone horribly over the top? Journalists would undoubtedly demur, at least publically, yet without feeling an ounce of shame.

The full essay is at "Going Nuclear on the Filibuster: Journalistic Over-Kill?

On the Nature of Principled Leadership

What is principled leadership? Simply whatever a leader decides? Or even worse, believes? If so, does the content shift with the sands from one leader to the next? This would seem to invalidate any means of comparing one leader's rendition from another. That it to say, leaving the "filling in the blank" to any leader who wants to be principled opens the door to leadership by convenience under the cover, or subterfuge, of ethics as a means of self-restraint. Ironically, do-it-yourself principled leadership may actually be unethical. So it is vital that we ask ourselves, is a durable definition even possible?

Kant claims that principles that can be universalized without contradiction should be universalized. (Image Source: builddiscipline.com)

The full essay is at "Principled Leadership."

Unnecessary Systemic Risk: Banks' Price-Fixing and Racketeering in Side Businesses

A lawsuit filed in a Florida district-court in 2013 alleged that JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and the London Metal Exchange (LME) artificially inflated aluminum prices.  The plaintiffs accused the companies of anti-trust practices and racketeering, including the “manipulation of the aluminum market through supply price fixing.”[1] This sounds like what had led to the forced break-up of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company, though in that case exactly a century before, the restraint of trade had to do with the company’s main line of business (i.e., oil). In the case of the banks, however, owning commodity assets such as storage facilities and trading in raw materials do not constitute banking. This point triggers a larger question involving the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act.

Should we allow banks to expand even beyond these functions to owning commodities and related real-estate? What does this do to the banks' systemic risk?    Image Source: salisburyareafoundation.org

The full essay is at "Unnecessary Systemic Risk in Banking."

[1] Melanie Burton, “Glencore, JPMorgan Sued Over Warehouse Aluminium Prices,” Reuters, August 7, 2013.

Non-Positional Leadership: A Matter of Charisma?

The concept of non-positional leadership is typically associated with charismatic leadership.[1] The Hebrew prophets are a case in point, as none had any formal civic position.  To be sure, a non-positioned leader need not be charismatic; such a leader can be effective in utilizing persuasion to get his or her position (i.e., "vision") sufficiently adopted by followers to become the default.  Obviously, a positioned official, whether in the upper echelons of a large corporation, government, or religious institution, need not “stoop” to persuasion; power from authority can be sufficient for an official's will to be done. However, does that evince leadership or simply raw power?

Gandhi epitomized non-positional leadership. He never held a formal office in religion or government. Is the strength of non-positional leadership necessarily moral?  Image Source: Idleindia.com

The entire essay can be found at "Non-Positional Leadership."

1. On “non-positional” leadership, see David Burkus, http://theleaderlab.org/

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Does Refusing Rolling Stone Magazine's Use of a Criminal's Picture For Marketing Purposes Violate Corporate Social Responsibility?

In 2013, the editors at Rolling Stone must have been kicking themselves after several retail chains announced that they would not be selling the issue that displays Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a young hottie. Criminal charges had been made against him for the Boston marathon bombing that took place in April of that year. Selling a magazine by playing off the good looks of a terrorist was more than several—but not all—retailers could stand. Were the offended retailers being socially responsible, or is the matter of CSR not as clear-cut as has typically been assumed.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Transcending Limited Notions of the Divine

When religion meets human nature, does the gravitational pull of me, me, me tend to encompass the journey downward in an all too comfortable direction? In his Natural History of Religion, David Hume proposes his theory that any religion begins with a focus on something akin to divine simplicity, but then becomes increasingly robed with anthropomorphic artifacts until the sheer weight of which brings down the tree whose inherently upward-looking striving succumbs to the increasing weight of the human.
In other words, is religion too weak to withstand the human, all too human ornaments that we conveniently adorn of our religions? The ornaments ultimate reflect ourselves, and thus are so convenient. So too is surrounding ourselves with others of like beliefs a matter of convenience. That is, religion can unwittingly become all about the self. Such religions or sects thereof can get sucked into a regular orbit of convenience without any of the congregants noticing the gradual and subtle slide.

Handouts in Averting the Fiscal Cliff: The Price of Politics?

What is that nebulous thing called politics? Might it be that the practice is essentially exploiting or creating what are known as principal-agent costs? That is, might politics boil down to a skill in the agent (elected representative) in putting his political or economic interests ahead of doing the bidding of his principal(s) (i.e., his constituent body).  
In the U.S. Senate bill in early 2013 to obviate the “fiscal cliff,” for example, the Democrats may have agreed to benefits for the Republican lawmakers’ campaign backers in exchange for going along with a more progressive federal income tax system. Among the added provisions were special expensing rules for certain film and television productions—no doubt those made by particular campaign contributors. The provision for tax-exempt financing for the New York Liberty Zone around the former World Trade Center may also have been a favor to a particular someone. Lest it is wondered what an extension of the American Samoa economic development credit was doing in an expedited measure to obviate the “fiscal cliff,” the answer may have had to do with a particular Republican lawmaker’s relationship with someone having an interest in American Samoa. I can only speculate here, as I was not privy to the actual relationships and negotiations. However, the sheer strangeness of such provisions in such a bill suggests that the particular political or economic interests of particular Republican lawmakers may have been the culprit.
 Is money the language of politics?    citizen.org
The full essay is at "Handouts in Averting the Fiscal Cliff."

Keeping the Palestinian Authority Down at the United Nations

In “defiance of retaliation threatened” by the United States and the state of Israel, the Palestinian Authority announced in November 2012 that it planned to hold a vote in the U.N. General Assembly on the Authority’s request to become an observer state. According to The Wall Street Journal, “(s)uch a designation would give the Palestinian Authority the right over its airspace and territorial waters.” The Authority could participate in General Assembly debates, sponsor resolutions, and nominate candidates for Assembly committees. The Authority would be able to accede to treaties and join specialized U.N. agencies, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Law of the Sea Treaty, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and the International Criminal Court. The Authority could thus press charges against Israelis before the Court.

The full essay is at "Keeping the Palestine Authority Down."

The “Fiscal Cliff” in U.S.: Real or Hyped?

As the U.S. economy slogged through a recession following the credit crisis in 2008 and the E.U. was weighed down by the ballast of austerity in the most indebted states, developing economies, including those of China and India, kept the world economy afloat. As a group, those economies grew 7.4% in 2010, 6.2% in 2011, and 5.5% in 2012. In keeping with this trend, the Global Economic Outlook of the Conference Board predicted 4.7% for 2013. Fortunately, the Board also predicted a pick-up in consumer demand in the U.S. to pick up the slack. “The only really short-term positive impact that we can have is that we can see a faster return of demand, particularly in the U.S.,” the Board’s chief economist said. As of 2012, such a return was not necessarily “in the cards.” The pessimism can be seen in the projected world economic growth of 3 percent, which is lower than the 3.2% expected in 2012 and the 3.8% achieved in 2011. That the projected growth rate of only 1.8% for the U.S. in 2013 is less than the projected 2.1% for 2012 indicates that increased demand in the U.S. was not expected to fully pick up the slack for the slowing-down of the developing economies. Here I want to point to a major factor in the U.S.: the possibly impending “fiscal cliff” of cuts in the federal budget and the end of the Bush tax breaks  that were scheduled to begin on January 1, 2013 unless Congress and the White House could come to a legislative agreement beforehand on an alternative way of holding down the deficits. Presumably that way would have a less recessionary effect.

The full essay is at "The Fiscal Cliff in the U.S."

Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Debt-Ceiling vs. the Fiscal Cliff as Negotiating Leverage

It is likely a drawback of democracy that hard decisions—that is, those in which fixing the problem goes against instant gratification or financial advantage—get pushed back, or “kicked down the road,” rather than addressed in a definitive way such that difficult problems are fixed. This structural problem can be seen in how Congressional leaders and the U.S. President delayed the “fiscal cliff” for two months at the beginning of 2013. More generally, the political tactic of holding the federal budget and the debt-ceiling as ransom evinces a fundamental flaw in democracy itself.

The full essay is at "Structural Flaws of Democracy."

The Underbelly of Corporate Charity as Corporate Social Responsibility

Why do corporate managements spend corporate money on charities? The obvious reason is to reduce the amount of corporate income tax due. Yet another motive, not as transparent, has to do with reputational capital, and that motive may also explain corporate social responsibility.

  Bernie Madoff, surrounded by police, after having been arrested. Wikimedia Commons

A Weak Economy as a Competitive Advantage to the Largest Corporations

Size matters, at least in the business world. Richard Fuld, the last CEO and Chairman of Lehman Brothers, overextended "his" bank with risky real-estate and financial derivatives in part so Lehman Brothers would be as big as Goldman Sachs. 

Empire-building (and ego) aside, the largest corporations can indeed perform differently than smaller firms in an economy. In April 2013, it was clear that the biggest companies were outpacing smaller ones. Analysts estimated profits for the 100 largest companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-index to rise 6.6% in the second quarter, while earnings for the bottom 100 were expected to fall by 1.6 percent. Of all the profits earned by the companies in the S&P 500, 22% would be coming from the 10 largest companies, enabling them relatively more wherewithal with which to gain still more market share. Put another way, beyond a certain point, organizational size can protect or buffer a company in the midst of a languid economy. It is not only the market mechanism that accounts for this phenomenon.

The full essay is at "A Weak Economy as a Bonus for Large Companies."

Is Corporate Governance Anti-Democratic?

Assuming all the votes cast in an election are accurately tallied, the pronouncement of the winner would seem to be straight-forward. What it means to have won, however, is considerably more complex. Specifically, is winning getting over 50% of the vote, or should a mere plurality of, say, 38% suffice? It could be argued that a super-majority of 60% or two-thirds is necessary for there to be a discernible will of the people behind the winner. To claim that 51% represents the will of the people seems a bit of a stretch, since almost half of the voters cannot be considered to be of that will. Typically, much is read (or projected) into the 1% over the 50% in terms of a mandate. All of a sudden, 51% of the voters become “the people.”  Certainly a winning plurality of 38% cannot be said to stand for or represent the will of the people, for 38% is a minority in the total votes cast. Yet in Delaware’s corporate law, which is binding for most American corporations, a mere plurality is sufficient for a candidate to be elected to a board of directors. While this arrangement is not ideal, it is a legitimate basis even if some stockholder activists beg to differ.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Canada Takes On the United States: A Case of Two Empires?

Two centuries after the War of 1812, the Canadian government sought to commemorate the “fact” that Canada had thwarted the invasion of troops of the American republics to the south.  “Two hundred years ago, the United States invaded our territory,” a narrator says over dark images and ominous music in the government’s ad. “But we defended our land; we stood side by side and won the fight for Canada.” However, the New York Times points out that “because Canada did not become a nation until 1867, the War of 1812 was actually a battle between the young United States and Britain.” The fight was not for Canada because the British troops were fighting for the British empire rather than for colonies in what is now Canada.

                                         The British are coming! A British hero in "Upper Canada."         rpsc.org

The real question is why the young American empire sought to take on the British empire--an empire within taking on the seat of the larger empire (as if an empire, the United Colonies,being in an empire makes sense and is durable).

The full essay is at "Empires vs. Kingdoms"

See also, British Colonies Forge an American Empire, by Skip Worden. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Jamal Khashoggi: A Double-Agent Killed in Istanbul by Saudi Operatives

The New York Times labeled Jamal Khashoggi “a journalist critical of the Saudi government.”[1] His day job was being a contributing columnist to The Washington Post. Articles he wrote “included criticism of Saudi Arabia’s government. On [October 2, 2018], he entered the [Saudi] consulate in Istanbul and never emerged.”[2] Khashoggi was also a double agent, and it is for this rather than merely critical articles that he was really killed and cut into pieces in the consulate. The U.S. Government had a self-interest in letting Saudi Arabia get away with the crime.

The full essay is at "Khashoggi: A Double Agent."

[1] Carlotta Gall and Ben Hubbard, “Turkey’s President Vows to Detail Khashoggi Death ‘in Full Nakedness,” The New York Times, October 21, 2018.
[2] Emily Rauhala and Anton Troianovski, “The World Has a Question for the White House: When Do Murders Matter?The Washington Post, October 19, 2018.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Steve Jobs at Apple: A Visionary

Typically as a company transitions from an enterprising, creative new venture to a large organization to be managed, a staid CEO replaces a visionary founder. In the case of Steve Jobs at Apple, the very nature of the man’s vision was not only inherently at odds with the status-quo underpinning of a large organization with a budget, but also essential to the company’s business model. Hence, the company, including its shareholders, paid a price for years for jettisoning Jobs. The film, Jobs (2013), is centered on the distinctiveness of Jobs’ vision. Although the film also hints at why this distinctiveness is such that the company would (and did) lose as a large organization after making the typical founder-to-CEO transition.

The full essay is at "Jobs."

Friday, October 12, 2018

On a Blatant Conflict of Interest in Georgia

A coalition of advocacy groups launched a lawsuit on October 11, 2018 to “block Georgia from enforcing a practice critics say endangers the votes of more than 50,000 people in [the upcoming election] and potentially larger numbers heading into the 2020 presidential election cycle.”[i] Kemp was at the time Georgia’s Secretary of State, which means he had considerable discretion concerning how the election would be run. The conflict of interest lies in the fact that he was running for governor—interestingly against Stacey Abrams, a candidate who had been a voter-rights lawyer! I submit that such a conflict of interest should never have been permitted.

The full essay is at "Georgia's Conflict of Interest."

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Congressional Cuts to Food Stamps: Violating a Human Right?

During the debate in the U.S. House of Representatives in June 2013 on a proposed $20.5 billion in cuts over 10 years to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), otherwise known as food stamps, proponents of the cuts denied that they would make it more difficult for the poor to feed themselves. Rep. Rick Crawford claimed that the cuts would be “eliminating abuse.”[1] For example, some drug addicts sell their “food stamps” for something like half value and use the cash to buy drugs. The addicts manage to get their food at pantries and soup kitchens. While such fraud exists, the proposed cuts would have hit bone. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, nearly 2 million people would lose SNAP eligibility were the cuts to become law.[2] After the debate, “Tea Party” Republicans wanting even more cut combined with Democrats against any cuts defeated the proposal.

The full essay is at "Congressional Cuts to Food Stamps."

1. Ned Resnikoff, “House Debates $20.5 Billion Cuts to Food Stamps,” MSNBC, June 18, 2013.
2. Dottie Rosenbaum and Stacy Dean, “House Agricultural Committee Farm Bill Would Cut Nearly 2 Million People Off SNAP,” The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 16, 2013. “By eliminating the categorical eligibility state option, which over 40 states have adopted, the bill would cut nearly 2 million low-income people off SNAP.”

Food as a Human Right: A Basis in Rousseau

The natural right to food unconditionally in society is based, I contend, on the assumption that it is because a person without food is in society that he or she is going without. In other words, were he or she in the state of nature, acquiring enough food would not be a problem. Rousseau makes this point in his Discourse on Inequality.[1]
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)  Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The full essay is at "Food as a Human Right: Rousseau."

1. Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, Harvard Classics, Charles W. Eliot, ed., Vol. 34 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,1910).

Income Inequality: Natural or Artificial?

In the United States, the disposable income of families in the middle of the income distribution shrank by 4 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the OECD.[1] Over roughly the same period, the income of the top 1 percent increased by 11 percent. In 2012, the average CEO of one of the 350 largest U.S. companies made about $14.07 million, while the average pay for a non-supervisory worker was $51,200.[2] In other words, the average CEO made 273 times more than the average worker. In 1965, CEOs were paid just 20 times more; by 2000, the figure peaked at 383 times. The ratio fell in the wake of the dot-com bubble and then in the financial crisis and its recession, but in 2010 the ratio began to rebound. According to an OECD report, rising incomes of the top 1 percent in the E.U. accounted for the rising income inequality in Europe in 2012, though that level of inequality was “notably less” than the one in the U.S.”[3]  Nevertheless, in both cases the increasing economic gap between the very rich and everyone else was not limited to the E.U. and U.S.; a rather pronounced global phenomenon of increasing economic inequality was clearly in the works by 2013.

1.Eduardo Porter, “Inequality in America: The Data is Sobering,” The New York Times, July 30, 2013.
2. Mark Gongloff, “CEOs Paid 273 Times More Than Workers in 2012: Study,” The Huffington Post, June 26, 2013.
3. Kaja B. Fredricksen, “Income Inequality in the European Union,” OECD, Economics Department Working Paper No. 952, 2012.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Bank of America Exploited State Tax-Rate Differentials in the E.U.: Systemic Risk and Federalism Blindsided

In 2012, the corporate income tax rate was reduced from 26% to 24 percent. With the comparable rate in Germany at 29% and France at 33 percent, Britain stood to reap the revenue-benefits of a significantly lower tax rate within the European Union. That the 24% rate would be pared down to 21% in 2014 suggests that everything else equal, the state of Britain was set to reap a sustainable competitive advantage over other E.U. states with respect to attracting business, and thus jobs. The move was not without risks, however, which included those that were (and are) less than obvious, such as systemic risk and that to the E.U.'s federal system. 

The full essay is at "Bank of America in the E.U."

Were Raises at Bailed-Out U.S. Companies Approved by Treasury?

In early 2013, the Special Inspector General for Troubled Asset Relief Program reported that the U.S. Treasury Department disregarded its own guidelines in order to allow large pay increases for executives at three major companies that had received bailouts during the financial crisis. In particular, eighteen raises for executives at American International Group (AIG), General Motors, and Ally Financial were approved. Fourteen were for $100,000 or more. A raise for the CEO of a division of AIG was $1 million. Treasury approved these raises even though they exceeded the pay limits set in Treasury’s own guidelines.

Was Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner smirking because his friends were happy?     NYT

Egypt: A Missed Opportunity to Interiorize Protests

How a democratic system is designed can be as important as whether the government officials have been elected or appointed. In constructing a democracy, it is not sufficient to simply hold elections. While the victors may have democratic legitimacy, the government itself may still not. Egypt amid the violent protests in early 2013 may be a case in point. Even though unlike in 2012 the sitting president had been democratically elected, it is too simplistic to say that the Egyptian government and constitution had democratic legitimacy.

Can such intense violence be "interiorized" as debate and politics in a legislature?  Government itself can be viewed as civic violence "redacted" and "refined."   Source: thestar.com
The full essay is at "Egypt Failed to Interiorize Protests."

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Post

In Spielberg’s The Post (2017), the fateful decision to publish portions of the Pentagon Papers centers on Katharine Graham’s being willing to rebuff her newspaper’s lawyers, who represent the company’s financial interests, in favor of Ben Bradlee’s argument that free speech of the press as a check on government in a viable democracy—the company’s mission—is of overriding importance. As important as this critical decision was historically, I submit that the film allots too much attention to the decision and even the relationship between Graham and Bradlee at the expense of other deserving matters.

The full essay is at "The Post."