human rights

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REPRISE: “A time to break silence”: Dr. King on the Vietnam war, and President Carter on America’s human rights violations

Fifty years ago, on April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King gave the first of two speeches that month setting forth why he was opposed to the war in Vietnam. These are discussed below, together…

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Two of top three candidates in French presidential primary are friendly to Russia

Developing Russia is reportedly intervening in the French presidential elections, right now. Two of the top three candidates in the April primary are friendly to Russia. The third is the object of a Russian subversion…


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Public morality in the 21st century: From Republican bad faith on health care to Brazilian soccer club signing a goalie who killed his wife and watched his dogs eat her

As we sink into the moral abyss of the 21st century, we need to look not only at Donald Trump’s lies, nepotism, dismantlement of the administrative state, and crony capitalism, but also at other events in other places, in order to see how public morality is faring not only in the United States but also in the rest of the world.
In an age of lies, where the American president lies about everything all of the time, where there is no accountability for presidential or other governmental actions, where in short nihilism reigns supreme, we should not be too surprised at the following story. It is the story of a Brazilian soccer star who kidnapped his wife and child, killed his wife and then watched his dogs eat her, how he was later set free on a technicality after serving 7 of the 22 years to which he was sentenced, and how when released he was immediately signed by a soccoer club, one of nine vying for his services.

Now, closer to home, we might consider the public morality of the Republican House members’ health care plan. It would lead to 24 million more people having no insurance coverage in 10 years than would otherwise be the case, and 14 million next year. It would allow insurance companies to charge older subscribers up to five times more in premiums than younger subscribers, effectively doing away with the underlying concept of health insurance in which everyone and all risks are pooled together. Under this plan, if you’re 55-64, and sick, you pay more. A great deal more. So much more that you won’t be able to afford it, and your “choice” will be to not buy health insurance.

The cruelty in this proposal is self-evident. The larger fact is that it is being presented in bad faith, with no one believing that the actual end product will look anything like what is being proposed.

But at the end of the day, the basic immorality of giving rich taxpayers over $500 billion in tax savings, while pushing the poor and elderly out of the health care system, cannot be disguised.


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The level-of-analysis problem in assessing and reacting to Trump’s assault on American democracy

The outlines and methods of President Donald Trump’s asault on the institutions of American democracy and their underling traditions and values are now clear.

First, he has conducted an all-out assault on the very concept of the truth.
Third, Trump not only lies about everything all of the time, but also engages in defamation of the leading news media in the United States on a daily basis, having labeled them “the opposition party” and “the enemy of the people.”
We face a dramatic situation.

We have a president who lies about everything all of the time.

We have a presdient and administration which reject the concept of accountability, dismissing criticism will lies and charges of “fake news”. The president openly defies the requirements of the Enmoluments Clause of the constitution…
We have a president who is under strong suspicion of colluding with the Russians in their intervention into the November 2016 elections in the United States, who has not criticized Putin or Russia directly in any significant way…
Given Trump’s ongoing assaults on the pillars of American democracy, and the values which underlie them, Democrats, Independents and Republicans need to start thinking, with great urgency, about how Trump and Bannon can be removed from office–at an early date.


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REPRISE: Syria: Russia’s military assault on Western civilization

First published on September 26, 2016 *** See Anne Barnard and Somni Senguptasept, “Syria and Russia Appear Ready to Scorch Aleppo,” New York Times, September 25, 2016. The world has become far removed from the…



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Trump, Russia and the betrayal of American heroes

Developing The worst case scenario, we wrote after the election on November 8, 2016, would be if Trump acted during the transition and his presidency like the Donald Trump we saw in the campaign, and…


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Russia as the great white power: Behind Trump’s affinity to Vladimir Putin

See Alan Feuer and Andrew Higgins, “Extremists Turn to a Leader to Protect Western Values: Vladimir Putin,” New York Times, December 3, 2016. Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman and Michael Birnbaum, “Inside Trump’s financial ties…


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From Putin to Trump: Wall Street Journal will not report untrue statements as lies

The Editor of the Wall Street Journal made the scandalous statement on Meet the Press on January 1 that the Journal would not report Donald Trump’s lies as “lies”, backed up by specious arguments that…