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Here’s what I think progressives and moderates should do …

November 9, 2016

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  • Get more involved in politics, not less. The country needs you now more than ever.
  • Support the new president, so long as he governs like the leader of a democracy, not as an authoritarian. None of us benefits from the president’s failure.
  • Reach out to threatened minority communities, particularly Muslims and Hispanics. Visit mosques, community centers, etc., and tell them you stand with them, value them, and won’t stand by quietly if they’re victimized.
  • Do not tolerate the basket of horribles. Don’t let the fact that Trump won (in the Electoral College, probably not the popular vote) legitimize the bigotry and hate of vast numbers of his supporters.
  • Try to understand the majority of Trump voters, who are not in the basket of horribles. Life in the 21st Century is threatening for millions of Americans, particularly working class white people, or they’d never have voted for Trump. Neither party has addressed their needs, and that must change.
  • Support the Democratic Party, donating time and money. The Democrats apparently gained in both the House and Senate in 2016. Prepare to retake both in 2018, and as many state governments as possible.
  • Monitor and defend civil rights and democratic institutions. Resist any attempt to discriminate on the basis of religion, including in immigration. Resist any attempt to prosecute Hillary Clinton, because in a democracy, the losing candidate doesn’t go to jail. Resist voter suppression, disguised as voter ID laws or in any other guise. March, protest, donate, and vote.
  • If the new president tries to rule as an authoritarian, work for his removal. Defend liberty and freedom. March, protest, donate, and vote.
  • But, again, give President Trump a chance. Hope that we can work with him as the loyal opposition, rather than as bitter enemies.

Trump, ISIS, and the Tactics of the Weak

November 6, 2016

A prominent Trump supporter recently offered a view that seems to represent much of the nation. “When I’m looking for somebody who’s going to deal with ISIS,” said Pastor Robert Jeffress, an influential TV host, “I want the meanest, toughest, son of a you-know-what I can find.” Few would doubt that Donald Trump is mean, but what makes Pastor Jeffress thinks he’s tough? What makes millions of Americans think Trump is tough when, in fact, his behavior suggests he’s unusually sensitive? What, for that matter, makes us think ISIS is tough — so much so that “looking for somebody who’s going to deal with ISIS” becomes the top priority? The answer is that Americans have been fooled by bluster and the tactics of the weak.

President Theodore Roosevelt: "speak softly and carry a big stick"

President Theodore Roosevelt: “speak softly and carry a big stick”

Bluster means loud, boastful, and threatening talk. It’s meant to give an impression of power. Terrorism plays a similar role, and in fact you might call it geopolitical bluster. It is devastating for its individual victims, but it has no military impact. So on a geopolitical scale, between nations, a terrorist attack is a loud, threatening statement. Read more…

This is How Democracy Begins to Die

November 3, 2016

You might think it’s aristocrats and the rich who most threaten democracy. But actually democracy tends to die the hands of angry working people, who turn against elites and their own constitution and follow an authoritarian leader. That leader destroys democracy, or injures it so much that it begins to die.

The Acropolis - Athens: mother of democracy and of tyrants

The Acropolis – Athens: mother of democracy and of tyrants

Read more…

Trump Threatens to Jail Clinton: An Authoritarian in America

October 10, 2016
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George Washington’s legacy is restraint, particularly on presidential power. That legacy is threatened like never before.

Last night, Donald Trump told Hillary Clinton he plans to put her in jail if he’s elected President of the United States.

Dictators threaten to arrest political rivals. American presidential candidates never have. One of the central features of our democracy, since the Founding Fathers, is that we do not use the criminal justice system against political opponents. We separate the two realms as much as possible, to protect political freedom. Read more…

The Founding Fathers and the Election of 2016

July 19, 2016

The Republican Party has nominated a truly unusual candidate for President. More than any major party nominee in history, Donald Trump has spoken against the principles and policies of America’s Founding Fathers. He has opposed legal restraints on government power — laws that tie the government’s hands — which for the Founding Fathers provided the bedrock of freedom. And he has advocated open, overt religious discrimination, rejecting another of the Founding Fathers’ core values. Mr. Trump and his supporters aren’t necessarily unpatriotic. Most probably don’t realize they stand against the legacy of George Washington, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and the other founders. But as voters, we need to understand the Founding Fathers and the cornerstones they laid for our democracy.

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Read more…

Governments can’t stop terrorism any more than lions can stop flea-bites.

July 16, 2016

When a single man can kill eighty-four with a truck, it’s time to let go of the illusion that governments can keep us safe from political violence. Lone-wolf terrorist attacks have become part of modern life, and no one can change that. We should accept it and at the same time recognize that we Westerners still live far safer lives than any people in the history of the world. Instead of sacrificing civil rights in favor of persecuting suspected minorities — in a doomed attempt to stop lone wolf terrorists — we should focus on preventing the most devastating attacks, by denying terrorists access to nuclear power plants, airports, and weapons of mass destruction. Read more…

King Tut’s Dagger Was Made from “Iron of the Sky”: a Metorite

June 4, 2016

This is cool: CNN article and video about King Tut’s dagger.