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Saturday, December 29, 2018

American Businesses as Police-States: The Case of Hilton Hotels

Days before Christmas in 2018, Jermaine Massey was on a phone call with his mother. It being personal, he was in a remote area and was thus not disturbing anyone—that except for Earl, Doubletree’s security guard. Massey subsequently accused Earl of harassment. While the video that Massey took of the guard during the altercation shows Earl to be quite calm, the passive aggression was doubtless off the charts. The incident points to a growing problem at the time as American businesses were increasing their security presence, at the very least in terms of exposure, and last but not least, with considerable discretion and thus power. The incident shows that guards were well aware of how to mask personal power with the air of staid professionalism.  This only makes the latent authoritarian mindset more dangerous to the public.

The full essay is at "Businesses as Police-States."

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Weening the American Voters off Reliance on the Media in Selecting Candidates

How well do voters (i.e., an electorate) know and thus are able to assess people running for public office? As the proportion of people who know a candidate firsthand decreases, the importance of the campaign ads and debates increases. In other words, the candidate's marketing plays a greater role in who wins. At an empire-level, such as the U.S. Government, an overwhelming percentage of people in an electorate (e.g., voting in a U.S. Senate race, or that of the federal president) are significantly influenced by the candidates' respective media campaigns for lack of real knowledge. In a U.S. presidential campaign, financial contributions are vital in being able to orchestrate an empire-wide media campaign. Also, how a campaign manipulates the media coverage of the candidate is very important. The case of Sarah Palin, who ran as John McCain's running mate in 2008, illustrates the extent of distance that can separate what the public "knows" of the real person from the media-made candidate. When people learned of her shocking ignorance of government, the distance was suddenly transparent, and yet no electioneering reforms were subsequently put into effect. Americans still had to rely on presidential debates to get a glimpse of the "man behind the curtain." 

The full essay is at "Weening the American Voters."

Business and Religion: Financial Ethics Found Lacking in the Vatican's Institute of Religious Works

In probing corruption leads in the Vatican Bank, Italian financial police stumbled onto a plot in July 2012 to smuggle €20 million into Italy. The alleged culprits included a monsignor, a financial broker, and a former member of Italy’s secret service. For his part, the cleric was said to have had people pretend to give him donations of €560,000 so he could furtively pay the financial broker for his role. Crime, Italian politics, and the Vatican Bank: hardly a novel discordant tune even then. That not just any bank, but that of a church, could stray so far from what would reasonably be expected from a bank whose formal name is the Institute of Religious Works still boggles the mind. Even so, the intersection of ethics, religion and business is fraught with complexity.  A religious verdict from ethical premises is possible nevertheless.

The full essay is at "Business Ethics in the Vatican."

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas: A U.S. National Holiday Privatized by Logical Fallacy and Passive Aggression

On December 18, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order, the first section of which states, “All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall be closed and their employees excused from duty on Monday, December 24, 2018, the day before Christmas Day.” Christmas itself had not been an official federal holiday until an Act of Congress was signed by President Ulysses S. Grant in June, 1870. That Act also declared New Year’s Day and the 4th of July would be national holidays too, yet by the 21st century a significant number of Americans, and especially business managers, were committing a gaping category mistake by treating Christmas as not commensurate with the other two holidays as public holidays. By Christmas in 2018, the self-ingratiating “mistake” was still not transparent. Hence, this essay.