My first blog for Union of Concerned Scientists
David Daley and I writing for Salon.com
Michael Halpern (UCS) and I writing for The Guardian.
“Then you will have to fight in your country as we fight here.”
“Yes, we will have to fight.”
“But are there not many fascists in your country?”
“There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes.”
“But you cannot destroy them until they rebel?”
“No,” Robert Jordan said. “We cannot destroy them. But we can educate the people so that they will fear fascism and recognize it as it appears and combat it.” (SLO New Times Commentary)
In the face of today’s polarized, partisan environment, with the country’s political leadership caught between spasms of incompetence and arrogance, many are nostalgic for the days of yore when, the story goes, moderate centrists worked together and governed through bipartisan cooperation.
The problem is, this vision of centrist leadership is mostly bullshit (New Times Op-Ed)
The U.S. political system faces a monumental challenge in its capacity to fight off parasitic disease in the form of the Republican Party’s attempt to dismantle Obamacare and use the proceeds to enrich its biggest donors. Historically, it is rare for democracies to establish a widely beneficial entitlement, then to have a major political party attempt to simultaneously roll back those services and redistribute resources to the most affluent members of society, intentionally exacerbating inequalities that have been growing for decades (SLO New Times).
Our electoral process has been much improved since the days of Tammany Hall, when the 19th century Democratic machine in New York controlled election outcomes by physically dragging poll watchers out of the polls, and sending in rounds of supporters multiple times, after having shaved their beards. Over the centuries, the implementation of the secret ballot, the expansion of the suffrage and the elimination of property requirements, poll taxes, and literacy tests, and the professionalization of election administration have greatly reduced election irregularities of all types (SLO New Times Column).