Politeía Digest

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Stratfor: From Gadhafi to Benghazi

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“From Gadhafi to Benghazi is republished with permission of  Stratfor.””

By George Friedman

Last week, four American diplomats were killed when armed men attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The attackers’ apparent motivation was that someone, apparently American but with an uncertain identity, posted a video on YouTube several months ago that deliberately defamed the Prophet Mohammed. The attack in Benghazi was portrayed as retribution for the defamation, with the attackers holding all Americans equally guilty for the video, though it was likely a pretext for deeper grievances. The riots spread to other countries, including Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, although no American casualties were reported in the other riots. The unrest appears to have subsided over the weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

September 18, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Three Reasons to Salute Ben Bernanke

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by John Cassidy

It’s time to give Ben Bernanke some credit. Under attack from the left and right for much of the past year, the mild-mannered former Princeton prof has shown some leadership and pushed through a major policy shift. In committing the Fed to buying tens of billions of dollars worth of mortgage bonds every month until the jobless rate, currently 8.1 per cent, falls markedly, Bernanke and his colleagues on the Fed’s policy-making committee have finally demonstrated that they won’t stand aside as tens of millions of Americans suffer the harsh consequences of a recession that was largely made on Wall Street.

I’ve had my ups and downs with Bernanke, whom I profiled at length back in 2008. At the start of the year, I thought critics were giving him a raw deal. With short-term interest rates close to zero (where they’ve been since December, 2008), and with job growth seemingly picking up, the calls for more Fed action seemed overstated. But over the past six months, as the recovery sputtered and Bernanke dithered, I too, ran out of patience with him. In a column in Fortune last month, I even suggested that Barack Obama should have replaced him when he had the chance, back in 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

September 16, 2012 at 9:15 am

Vanity Fair: The Next Establishment

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At the apex of this year’s New Establishment list is a Digital Age grudge match–the warring heads of Apple, Google, and Amazon–while Mark Zuckerberg wonders when the gloom of Facebook’s I.P.O. is going to lift. But this crowd has entertainment powerhouses too (Joss Whedon, Adele, Ryan Seacrest), not to mention some real outlaws. READ MORE

While many of last year’s members have graduated to the New Establishment, 2012’s Next Establishment crop introduces a new wave of bi-coastal trailblazers who are upping the ante in their fields. A sports blogger, an actress turned online mompreneur, and a statistician who moonlights as a poker player are among the host of featured personalities in the worlds of tech, philanthropy, and beyond. READ MORE

Written by Theophyle

September 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Character, Policy and the Selection of Leaders

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“Character, Policy and the Selection of Leaders is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By George Friedman

The end of Labor Day weekend in the United States traditionally has represented the beginning of U.S. presidential campaigns, though these days the campaign appears to be perpetual. In any case, Americans will be called on to vote for president in about two months, and the question is on what basis they ought to choose.

Many observers want to see intense debate over the issues, with matters of personality pushed to the background. But personality can also be viewed as character, and in some ways character is more important than policy in choosing a country’s leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

September 4, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Will Japan Regain Its Greatness?

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By Michael Shari

Business is trying to resurrect Asia’s economic miracle a year and a half after the Tohoku tragedy. Tokyo is enjoying a long-deserved renaissance. Young professionals are converging from all across the Japanese archipelago, driving the population of the Japan’s capital up by about 1 million people, to about 12.5 million, since 1995, while the nation’s population has leveled off at about 128 million since 2004. Cranes are swinging over gaping construction sites citywide thanks to relaxed building height restrictions, defying occasional tremors and transforming the city into a showcase for displays of cutting-edge 21st century architecture. Opened in May was the 634-meter (2,080-foot) Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world.

“This economy is pretty similar to that of Florence, Italy, in the Renaissance era,” says Hitoshi Itagaki, president of Principal Global Investors, recounting how Italian peasants and artisans who survived bubonic plague flocked to Florence where public services still functioned. “They created a really beautiful Renaissance culture, and the same phenomenon is happening in Japan.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

September 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

WP: Small business a common theme at Republican Convention

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By J.D. Harrison, Updated: Thursday, August 30, 12:30 PM

Republicans have made the growing national debt and sluggish economic recovery the central themes of their gathering this week in Tampa. But small businesses have spent their fair share of time in the convention’s spotlight, too, as party leaders try to sell their ticket to voters on Main Street.

On Wednesday, Paul Ryan capped off an evening littered with small business references by sharing an emotional story about his mother, Betty Douglas. He explained that, following his father’s death, his mother returned to school and eventually launched her own interior decorating company in Wisconsin. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

August 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Neil Armstrong’s Voice

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Neil Armstrong, who died on Saturday, at the age of eighty-two, was by all accounts a reticent man, yet he said many things on July 20, 1969, that have entered into the public consciousness—lingering in the minds of those who heard them on the radio and television, and living, for those born long after he first stepped out onto the surface of the moon that day, in a place of envy and awe. When the lunar module, named the Eagle, touched down, following moments of radio silence that terrified the folks back in mission control, he relayed: “Houston: Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.” Later, as he made his way out of the lunar module (or LM), he described his progress in banal terms that, because of where they were coming from and what they conveyed, rose to the level of magic: “I’m going to step off the LM now.” And then he issued what is among the most famous proclamations of the last century—a jubilant counterbalance to F.D.R.’s “Day of Infamy” speech and a capstone to J.F.K.’s declaration that “we choose to go to the moon”—a statement that Armstrong had composed and prepared just hours earlier, in between the more pressing business of operating space equipment, according to Armstrong’s biographer, James Hansen: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Theophyle

August 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm