democracy

The Revolution with No Name

March 11, 2014

When it seemed to some at the end of the Cold War that we had also reached the end of history, more than ever, every act of rebellion and revolution seemed cause to celebrate an elevated human spirit. After a long winter of merely staving off an enemy’s further success, now freedom was rising with [...]


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A Second Look: Abraham Lincoln on the “Mud-Sill” Theory of Labor

December 2, 2013

The movement to increase the minimum wage, and to tie it legislatively to the cost of living, is growing. The obscenity of low-wage employment among adults – full-time employment that does not offer a living wage – is increasingly apparent. As Arindrajit Dube pointed out in The New York Times: the evidence suggests that around half of [...]


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A Second Look: James Madison & the Tea Party

October 2, 2013

The current government shut down over the Affordable Healthcare Act speaks directly to issues found in the nation’s beginnings. Among the many ironies of Tea Party foolishness is that while its adherents are enemies of federalism and shape minor deities of the nation’s founders, the nation’s founders very purposefully opted for federalism. This post from [...]


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The State of Surveillance

June 17, 2013

God knows your calling patterns. God knows your friends on Facebook, your pages liked, your rants and your dissenting comments. More – and better than the NSA or FBI – God knows what you think. Or, if there is no personal God,  if that term is just a word made of letters – G-O-D – [...]


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A Second Look: What About Chas Freeman?

May 28, 2013

. Whenever they become topically relevant, I am going to offer a scond look at some older pieces still worth reading. Yesterday, the anti-semitic Mondoweiss blog reposted a recent speech by Chas Freeman at A National Interest discussion about “Israel’s fraying image.” I do not link to Mondoweiss, but you can find Freeman’s comments at his [...]


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The Hagelian Dialectic

January 7, 2013

. This commentary first appeared in the Algemeiner on January 4. Today, President Obama announced his nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense. The Chuck Hagel trial balloon has been aloft for weeks now, not to burst or land – since its lofting was never officially acknowledged – until either he [...]


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The End of American Democracy

October 31, 2012

. A dissenter will call it hyperbole, an opponent hysterical, some of its targets sensational. We will all or we will not find out – any of us today, I mean, for confirmation may take far longer to receive than the length of our short lives. Rome, you know, word is, was not built in [...]


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Blasphemy Is not Bigotry

September 25, 2012

. The President has spoken (at the United Nations). People are praising what they think he got right and what he got not so right. (We ignore here today the people who think he gets most everything wrong. They get too much attention anyway.) On the issue of free speech stemming from the “Innocence of [...]


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The Palestinian Failure

August 16, 2012

. Some nations are lucky in their leaders. For decades now, academic historians have downplayed the significance of the leader – the “great man” – in the understanding of historical epochs and focused their attention elsewhere. Still, you cannot study the early American republic without renewed appreciation for the role of George Washington. How lucky was the U.S. again [...]


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Anti-Labor, Anti-Free Press, Anti-Gay, Anti-Israel

August 8, 2012

. Some people never get the point. Some people once got the point, or claimed to, claimed to see it – there it is, over there – and then they got their hands on the point and stretched the point, to make a point, turned it inside out, inverted and perverted the point, developed a [...]


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Mourning In America

June 15, 2012

. A nation doesn’t lose its freedoms in foreign lands. It loses them at home. Atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not diminish American democracy. Neither will drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan. The GOP is doing that under our noses every day, right now, in cities and the states, in the congress of [...]


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Glenn Greenwald’s Mitt Romney Surrogacy

June 7, 2012

. I might just as well have titled this Glenn Greenwald’s Collateral Damage, The Politics of Animus, or the Politics of National Destruction or the Puritopian’s Dilemma – the list goes on. Here’s a list that goes on longer, among Glenn Greenwald’s last eighteen blog posts: Probing Obama’s secrecy games; U.S. again bombs mourners; Tough [...]


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Threats to Democracy

June 1, 2012

. The New York Times editorialized the other day, in “Too Much Power for a President,” It has been clear for years that the Obama administration believes the shadow war on terrorism gives it the power to choose targets for assassination, including Americans, without any oversight. The Times argued, No one in that position should be able [...]


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Is Chris Hayes Too Thoughtful for the Mediated Public Square?

May 30, 2012

. You don’t have to think of Chris Hayes as the anti-Limbaugh. (That’s most of us.) Consider him the anti Chris Matthews, his stable mate at MSNBC. Matthews drew a lot of attention the other day for his interview of Newt Gingrich, during which he did play, yes, a form of hardball, asking tough questions [...]


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Said the Sad Red Earth

May 21, 2012

. I’ve been lying low, collecting evidence… Brought to mind by recent events for David W. Blight And Allison Scharfstein in their Op-Ed at the New York Times, the little known proposal by Martin Luther King, Jr. to President Kennedy in May 1962 to issue another Emancipation Proclamation, to end segregation. Kennedy took it under advisement and [...]


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Diction and Democracy

December 27, 2011

. The Huffington Post/Chronicle of Higher Education offered a well-written and observed overview late last week of the Vendler-Dove conflict regarding Dove’s Penguin anthology of twentieth century poetry. Author Peter Monaghan kindly cited my own “The Politics in Poetry” a couple of times, but he unfortunately covered only the more easily reviewed cultural politics – [...]


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Perspective (Oh, Yeah) on Israel and the U.S.

December 15, 2011

. Two days ago, in a column causing some commotion – “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby” – Tom Friedman wrote this: It confuses [many Jewish American students] to read a Financial Times article from Israel on Monday, that said: “In recent weeks, the country has been consumed by an anguished debate over [...]


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9/11/11: The Stylus Avenger

September 17, 2011

. (Twelfth in a series) It had been possible in the countryside of so many nations, on another continent, always in transit, to leave the palpable sense of 9/11, if not our emotions, behind. The last day, at Charles de Gaulle Airport amid intense security, and three weeks after the attack, Julia and I rejoined [...]


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“Free Labor,” from Abraham Lincoln – in Wisconsin

March 7, 2011

Abraham Lincoln, in his so far unending prescience and wisdom, actually offered some thoughts on the nature of labor and capital in of all places Wisconsin – at the annual meting of the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, in Milwaukee, on September 30, 1859. A brief passage from it, bolded below, is quoted often and can [...]


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What Gingrich Meant When He Called Obama an Anti-colonialist

January 6, 2011

Certainly you recall it. We had some discussion of it here, and here, and here, and here. The curious question at the root of the whole discussion was what it means at this p0int in history and the evolution of world culture to call someone an “anti-colonialist” and mean it as a pejorative? What does [...]


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Citizen Bloomberg

November 17, 2010

Reports The New York Times: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has been frank about why he took pains to keep his search for a new schools chancellor secret, saying he wanted to avoid a public spectacle. But a spectacle is exactly what Mr. Bloomberg has unleashed, and one week after announcing his choice of Cathleen P. [...]


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