Archive for the 'Democracy?' Category


Sunday, April 8th, 2018

Timothy Snyder

Yale historian Timothy Snyder, who studies fascist and communist regime change and totalitaria rule, published a book titled “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,” that warns about the threats the US faces and offers lessons for resistance and survival. In an interview with Steven Rosenfeld of Alternet, Snyder considered how close Donald Trump is to following the path of tyrants from the last century. He answered a question about how long the US has to defend its democracy and how rapidly it is evolving toward fascism. Snyder is reported to have said about how long some European countries took to become Nazi states:

“Nazi Germany took about a year. Hungary took about two and a half years. Poland got rid of the top-level judiciary within a year. It’s a rough historical guess, but the point is because there is an outside limit, you therefore have to act now. … It’s hard for people to act when they feel like they have to break the law to do so. So it is important to get out in front before people face those psychological and legal barriers.

“Am I more worried now? I realize that was your question. No, I’m exactly as worried as I was before, in November. I think that the people who inhabit the White House inhabit a different ideological world in which they would like for the United States not to be the constitutional system that it now is. I was concerned about that in November. I’m concerned about it now. Nothing that has happened since has changed the way I see things.”


Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

NYC 'March For Our Lives' Takes To Manhattan's Streets March 24

New York City school children are protesting gun violence in schools.

I was just out walking up Central Park West and saw several groups of children with teachers on the street.  Many held signs and some groups were chanting.  Others were completely quiet.  All of the groups I saw were inspiring.

I join those children in demanding that there be no guns in New York City schools and that our children be protected from any and all kinds of violence.


Friday, March 2nd, 2018

As I was walking down 10th Avenue a few minutes ago, it was raining and snowing at the same time.  I can’t remember seeing that before, though I may have and just don’t remember.

It is now snowing hard.  I tried to take a photograph with my cell phone, but was not, alas, able to capture the snow falling.

As I write this, it has now stopped snowing and is raining!  What crazy weather.

About an hour later, it is snowing hard!



Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

It is snowing heavily at 9:19 this morning in New York City.  I don’t think we have had a flake before this.  I well remember winters forty years ago when there was snow on the ground for months and all precipitation would be snow in the winter.

The city workers managed to get masses of it into trucks and then it was dumped out onto the frozen river.  There would be piles of snow higher than my head on the sidewalks with a cleared walkway for pedestrians.  Global warming has changed all that radically.

The forecast calls for high temperature today to be near 42 degrees. What snow we have will be gone shortly.  I am still glad to have a little snow; I miss those winters decades ago.

“US Not Like The Developed World”

Friday, February 2nd, 2018


I just read a strikingly accurate assessment of ways in which the US is not like the developed world in an article that quotes Korean leader Pyongyang. He correctly notes that the US is behind other wealthy nations in many areas as well as being “the gross violator of human rights”. The link is below:



Saturday, January 20th, 2018













This was at Revolution Books up in Harlem.  You can’t see her, but Deborah is beside me with another of these signs.  We were there to hear Andy Worthington, British activist and authority on the US prisoners held at Guantanamo, give a talk about them.


Sunday, January 14th, 2018

   Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using the tactics of nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.

He led the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president.

He helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech.

He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

King helped organize the Selma to Montgomery marches and took the movement north to Chicago where he worked on segregated housing.

In his last years Martin Luther King worked to oppose poverty and the Vietnam War, and, unfortunately, alienated many of his liberal allies with his “Beyond Vietnam” speech in 1967.

On April 4, 1967, accompanied by Amherst College professor Henry Commager, Union Theological Seminary President John Bennett, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel at an event sponsored by Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam, King spoke to over 3,000 at New York’s Riverside Church. King’s address emphasized his responsibility to the American people and explained that conversations with young black men in the ghettos reinforced his own commitment to nonviolence.

He was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C. when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray on the 4th of April 1968 in Memphis. There were riots in many US cities as a result.

James Earl Ray, his assassin, fled the country, only to be arrested two months later at London’s Heathrow Airport. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison and died in prison of hepatitis.

King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. MLK, Jr. Day was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states and made a US federal holiday in 1986.


Monday, January 1st, 2018








In January of 2017 the New York Times ran an article about Trump’s ban on entry of Muslims into the United States and said it was “Cowardly and Dangerous.” Several of his actions were called cowardly as well.

This school bus was one of the casualties of a driver who ran off the street onto the sidewalk and careened into other vehicles. Children were hurt. The cowardly driver could not face the challenges of his life and chose to victimize many, including school children.

In Mexico, a news reporter Gumaro Perez, who had reported on local crime and drug trafficking, was shot dead at his son’s school Christmas celebration just before the holiday vacation.

What could we do to have fewer of these disasters in 2018?


Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Below are remarks by Philip Alston, U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, reported by Common Dreams on 19 December 2017

Among the things he noted are:
U.S. inequality levels are far higher than those in most European countries;
U.S. infant mortality rates in 2013 were the highest in the developed world;
America has the highest incarceration rate in the world;
In terms of access to water and sanitation the US ranks 36th in the world.

Alston said the US is out of line with the developed world and insists its human rights “do not include rights that guard against dying of hunger, dying for a lack of access to affordable healthcare, or growing up in a context of total deprivation.”

Alston spoke with politicians and political appointees. Some of them, he said, clung to “caricatured narratives” of who the wealthy and poor are—narratives that falsely portray the rich as industrious, and the poor as lazy people who merely need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps in order to make it.

“I wonder how many of these politicians have ever visited poor areas, let alone spoken to those who dwell there,” he stated.

Census Bureau data he cited say more than one in eight Americans –40 million people–live in poverty; Alston said that figure appears to be by design; “…at the end of the day, particularly in a rich country like the USA, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power. With political will, it could be eliminated.”

What can we do to change this?  I am contacting my senators, who may or more likely may not do anything about it.  What else can we do?


Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

There is considerable expert opinion that the United States is sliding into fascism. Dr. Brian Klaas, an American scholar who is currently a fellow in comparative politics at the London School of Economics, says that Trump’s willingness to flout the law and attack democratic institutions puts the US on line with the early stages of authoritarian regimes.

He says “This is a threat to our democracy and to the core values we stand for.” Klaas says that Trump hasn’t become a despot “but he clearly wants to be one.”

Klaas also wrote: “Trump demonizes the press, He issues calls to ‘lock up’ his political rival and brazenly deploys divide-and-rule tactics, whipping up nationalist anger against Muslims and migrants. He surrounds himself with family members and cronies, riding roughshod over long-accepted ethical standards. And he belittles our democratic allies while bizarrely cheerleading for brutal despots across the globe.”

All Dr. Klaas writes is true and frightening to me. What will become of the United States if we the people do not rise up against Trump who is clearly doing damage to our country?

Dr. Klass asks “What if a smarter, savvier and more disciplined Donald Trump 2.0 comes along. Trump has paved the way for such a figure. Imagine an authoritarian populist who borrows from the Trump playbook while avoiding its more obvious divisive and self-defeating qualities. Imaging someone with Ronald Reagan’s charism and Barack Obama’s polished rhetoric peddling ideological Trumpism. The Trump presidency could serve as the rehearsal for someone far more dangerous.”

Frightening! What can we do to avoid such a successor to Trump? How can we begin to repair the damage to our country Trump is doing?