May 13, 2014
Let’s return to Ukraine once more.
Americans cheered at former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster. Here’s why that was a mistake.
When Yanukovych decided not to sign the pact with the EU, Ukrainians had several options. Two constitutional processes were available. They could have tried to impeach him. Or they could have defeated him at the polls. Yanukovych was elected for a five year term in 2010. Elections were scheduled for March 2015. They could have waited the extra year. Those were democratic ways to deal with disappointment with him.
Instead, Ukrainians who wanted to join the EU took to the streets. They had every right to demonstrate. Demonstrations are the democratic form of protest. But the crowds wanted more – not just to make their views known and felt, they wanted to settle the matter before and outside of elections. In an election they would have had to allow people they disagreed with to vote. That of course would have given legitimacy to the result. It might also have meant some compromise. Sharing the ballot and compromise are essential in democracy, though there are plenty who don’t get that point even here. Read the rest of this entry »
July 9, 2013
Obviously I’ve been following the news from Egypt like everyone else. You don’t need commentators to tell you that ousting a democratically elected government is undemocratic and unacceptable. But I want to talk about Morsi’s mistakes because they illustrate a major misunderstanding of democracy. Read the rest of this entry »
January 15, 2013
Some congressmen believe the government should not spend any money, shouldn’t borrow, shouldn’t raise the debt ceiling, and shouldn’t raise taxes. They are from “red” states or districts. And they don’t want to vote for hurricane relief for the northeastern states.
Others believe government should do what is necessary for the welfare of the people. When people are in trouble, good people help. They are from “blue” states or districts. And they voted for hurricane relief for the South and Midwest.
It’s not just Tea Party ideology. Whose ox is gored matters to them. If the hurricane hits my district, well, they’re good people, so we gotta help. But if it’s somebody else’s district, especially a “blue” district, we certainly do not want to help “those” people. So we have a combination of politics and ideology.
OK then, here’s a proposal. Read the rest of this entry »
July 26, 2011
I’m going to be away for a few weeks and it looks like all heck will be breaking loose in Washington while I’m away. Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to figure out President Obama’s options. Read the rest of this entry »
May 24, 2011
No one should make the mistake that many conservatives do of claiming that liberals have no morals, and no moral backbone. We have a different system of morals than those conservatives, but it is a very principled set of morals and we’re just as passionate about them. The battle for the soul of America is very much a moral battle. Read the rest of this entry »
November 2, 2010
I’ve been thinking about my retirement account. From the time George Bush entered the White my account has been flat – even though my employer and I add to it every pay period. Read the rest of this entry »
October 12, 2010
For most of the past two years, we have had a President who has been trying to make changes and an opposition party that has been blocking everything, leveraging 40 votes with arcane senate rules to block the majority in both houses of Congress. Read the rest of this entry »
September 13, 2010
Yesterday Obama announced a new jobs and infrastructure proposal. The Republicans have already said no. Read the rest of this entry »
August 3, 2010
More than two centuries ago, Jeremy Bentham explained the virtues of moderation. If you cut off people’s heads for the most minor infraction, you encourage the petty thief to kill. Read the rest of this entry »
June 1, 2010
We have discussed on several occasions nominations of Supreme Court justices. Chief Justice Roberts famously compared the job of a justice to the job of an umpire calling balls and strikes. You stand behind the plate and if the ball travels inside that territory called the strike zone, it’s a strike; if not, it’s a ball. The strike zone is real and measurable, although baseball has chosen not to use high tech equipment to second guess the umps. Read the rest of this entry »