Brazilian democracy in danger

April 14, 2019

Another dangerous step in the rise of the wrong wing led by Trashmouth in the White House described at http://www.iconnectblog.com/2019/04/bolsonaros-unconstitutional-support-for-the-brazilian-civil-military-dictatorship-of-1964-1985/.

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Others on the plight of America

January 28, 2019

Others on the Plight of America

Permit me to recommend three articles. Each goes well beyond Trump but Trump sharpens and becomes an engine of each. I thought I already posted this but it showed up on my system only as a draft. I think these are important.

 

Timothy Snyder, a professor of history at Yale who wrote The Road to Unfreedom, reviewed Benjamin Carter Hett, The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic. Comparison with contemporary America are uncanny. Snyder ends his review saying “The conclusions for conservatives of today emerge clearly” from this history of the fall of German democracy: “Do not break the rules that hold a republic together, because one day you will need order. And do not destroy the opponents who respect those rules, because one day you will miss them.” But recent events suggest little respect for those lessons.

 

Kori Schake, deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, wrote The Trump Doctrine is Winning and the World is Losing. Summarizing a magnificent article is difficult but for me the kernel was that “if the United States doesn’t sustain” cooperation among the world’s democracies, “a rising power will eventually force it to defend its interests or succumb.” That’s been the pattern of power transitions except the transition from Britain to the United States, “an exception born of their democratic similarities, and one unlikely to be repeated between the United States and China.” At this point the U.S. handed over leadership in Asian trade to the Chinese with our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and weakening alliances among democratic nations allows China to intimidate weaker countries and reshape Asian geography and maritime rules without cost. Moreover, the costs of the American led world order were small and declining, especially by comparison to the benefits.

 

And David Sanger, national security correspondent  for the Times and author of the forthcoming The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age, after exploring the extent of cyber-sabotage and American vulnerability, shows the cost of not dealing with growing Russian capability because of its political implications.

 

Will America choose another Roosevelt to pull us out of this deepening vortex of destruction or will it choose a Hindenburg to hand the reigns to a beast preparing to roast, gas and kill us all?

 

 


America Can Do Better Than Continuing Isolation of Iran

December 4, 2018

In “America Can Do Better Than Continuing Isolation of Iran,” The Hill, December 4, 2018:  https://thehill.com/opinion/international/419665-america-can-do-better-than-continuing-isolation-of-iran, I show that enmity between the U.S. and Iran was never inevitable and the unfortunate consequences of this country’s lengthy effort to isolate Iran.


Pelosi

November 19, 2018

Republicans have been wagging their tongues and shaking their heads about Nancy Pelosi. Why? The obvious reason is that she has been so successful. She got significant legislation through, including the Affordable Care Act, which we’re all calling Obamacare – Republicans called it Obamacare when they thought it would fail and Democrats are happy to call it Obamacare now that it’s clear that it’s been very effective.

Now there are a group of Democrats shaking their heads and wagging their tongues about Pelosi. Why? Because the Republicans have managed to make so many disparaging remarks so often that it seemed like Pelosi must be bad – so bad the Democrats had to start inventing reasons to get rid of her. Boy are those Democrats smart – they can’t tell their friends from their enemies. Look guys, the Republicans are not your friends. The more they complain about Pelosi the clearer it is that she is a Democratic jewel.

This isn’t about age. It isn’t about familiarity. It’s about an excellent political mind and the will and willpower to make things work. Some Democrats were upset because she insisted that people zero in on the most effective campaign issues, particularly Obamacare, Medicare and jobs. And the House Democrats won and won big. In fact, their victory is still growing. But then there are the Democrats who complain that she wasn’t radical enough. So, I don’t get it: wasn’t she too radical or too conservative? She took the Republicans bug-a-boo and shoved it up their whatevers while rolling over the used to be Grand Old Party – they sure aren’t grand any more, thanks in part to Nancy Pelosi. Apparently, some Democrats don’t like to win, especially to win big. Embarrassing. We should be more modest and maybe just hold the House by a seat or two so the Republicans can demand nonpartisanship, like they kept demanding Obama be above partisanship while refusing to work with him no matter what. Oh God, we’ve enemies enough; save us from our friends.

Oh, did I mention that Pelosi is a woman? A powerful woman? That is a pretty obvious Republican problem – they’ve made it pretty clear by their language and their actions that their women are supposed to smile meekly and do what the guys want. It would ruin a guy’s ego to be told by a mere woman what to do. But that’s not what the Democrats are about – unless they’re hypocrites! We should be shouting with pride about Pelosi. No need to talk about her gender – everybody knows anyway. But she’s smart. She gets results. That is a credit to her; not a problem.

Oh, she’s not a young woman and the pretty smile she once had is now cross-crossed by lines. As our friend Peggy Lynn sings in a wonderful song, “I’ve earned these lines.” At her age so has Nancy Pelosi. And it’s pretty obvious that she hasn’t lost any of her so-called “marbles.” That’s what really bothers the Republicans. And that’s the same reason we shouldn’t listen to their objections, not for a minute.

— A version of this commentary was broadcast on WAMC Northeast Report, November 20, 2018.

 

 


On the Middle East

October 16, 2018

Things are happening very quickly in the Middle East. For information on the significance of developments there, I would recommend following:

Informed Comment at http://www.juancole.com

Trita Parsi at https://www.tritaparsi.com/ and most recently

Is Trump’s Iran Policy Meant to Start a War?

 

 


REGISTER NOW if you haven’t already

October 11, 2018

New York registration is still open:

  • The deadline to register online is Friday, October 12.
  • The deadline for registering to vote by mail is Friday, October 12.
  • The deadline to register to vote in person is Friday, October 12.

And see that your friends do too, especially if they are in any states where registration is still open.

For more info about registering, there is a How to Register box with multiple links when one searches for “[name of state] voter registration deadline” but there doesn’t seem to be a link to the box itself other than by using than those search terms.

And mark your calendars to vote on Nov. 6.

 


Trump wants it both ways

September 26, 2018

It’s a wonder Trump hasn’t tweeted out his pride in Kavanagh’s abusive misbehavior, or is he ashamed that his nominee for the Supreme Court hasn’t been as abusive as Trump is? Clearly he wants it both ways, which is to say he has no principles about how to treat women or anyone else.


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