2019

Say Goodbye to the Guardrails of Governance

During a lifetime of make-believe, Donald Trump has never pretended to be a conventional politician. When he finally decided to make a serious bid for office, he built his presidential aspirations on the flimsiest of foundations: a wild conspiracy theory about Barack Obama’s birthplace. His leadership bona fides were equally laughable, having presided over bankrupt casinos and failed real-estate projects,… Continue reading Say Goodbye to the Guardrails of Governance

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2016

2015

The Three Mistakes of Transition

Start with a failing economy. Throw in a team of inexperienced politicians, people in fact who had spent their careers deliberately avoiding official politics. Add a population with the highest possible expectations. And, as a wild card, introduce an international community that was not offering very much in the way of financial assistance. This was… Continue reading The Three Mistakes of Transition

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2014

Challenging the Surveillance Society

The United States has been the focus of concerns about government surveillance, particularly in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA). But that surveillance has not just been of American citizens. Europeans, for instance, expressed considerable outrage that the NSA was conducting surveillance of non-Americans under a… Continue reading Challenging the Surveillance Society

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Making It in Lowicz

One of the economic advantages that Poland has over its East-Central European neighbors is its relative decentralization. Hungary is completely dependent on Budapest just as Bulgaria leans heavily on Sofia and the Czech Republic on Prague. Poland has a number of major cities, including Krakow and Gdansk. Moreover, decentralization was a chief aim during the… Continue reading Making It in Lowicz

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Protesting Media Control in Hungary

On the surface, Hungary enjoys freedom of the press. There is a wide variety of newspapers that reflect different points of view from Nepszabadszag on the Left to Magyar Hirlap on the Right. There are some independent voices on the radio, including KlubRadio. The Internet is a veritable free-for-all displaying a full range of opinions.… Continue reading Protesting Media Control in Hungary

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Becoming a Bestseller

When the book market opened up in East-Central Europe after the changes of 1989, readers naturally gravitated toward the books they’d been previously denied. Banned books became bestsellers. In Hungary, for instance, “everything that could not be published since 1948 was printed and sold in huge editions. Neither the ‘official’ publishing houses nor the ‘official’… Continue reading Becoming a Bestseller

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