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Belling the cat: Russian cyber warfare

You may or may not know about “Bellingcat.” An independent investigative association based in Leicester, England,  Bellingcat (name derived from the fabled question: “But who will bell the cat?”) has been for several years pursuing and reporting on clandestine Russian operations to undermine Western democracy, by carrying out weaponized cyber-hacking, spying, assassinations and other criminal acts around the world.

Will the USA violate the Rights of the Child ?

On June 5, the Trump administration announced that it would restrict or cancel education, legal aid and playground recreation (such as the playing of soccer) for children held in “shelter” camps on our southern border.

Executive privilege versus the power of Congress

President Donald J. Trump claims unlimited executive privilege: (a) to refuse any request to appear before Congress; (b) to refuse to turn over any requested documents, including his own tax returns; and (c) to forbid others to do so. 

The enigmatic story of the historically disputed Golan Heights

Part 2 of 2

Our informal World Health Organization (WHO) humanitarian plan for the Golan Heights, introduced in Part 1 of this series of columns, mapped out areas for local enterprise including wine-growing, fresh water supplies, ski trails, protected wilderness, hotels and eco-friendly tourism, especially activities such as bird-watching and ornithological research, all under demilitarized international control. These ideas were worth pursuing no matter who ultimately owned or ruled the Golan Heights.

The enigmatic story of the historically disputed Golan Heights

Part 1 of 2

President Donald Trump woke up one morning recently and declared that he had in effect “decided to give the Golan Heights to Israel.” In doing so, he reversed long-standing U.S. foreign policy and violated United Nations resolutions on the subject. Of course, the Golan has gas and oil reserves, as well as a near endless supply of fresh water, but there’s more to it than that, namely the matter of national security for all nations concerned.

The war on democracy in America: The radical right seeks victory by deception

Part 3 of 4

Given the obvious contradiction between right-wing ideology and the real needs of most Americans, the radical right devised ways of deceiving ordinary citizens, using populist language to assure them that conservative reformers were selflessly saving these social programs for the peoples’ future benefit, while in reality they were whittling them away, slice by slice,  toward complete  extinction. 

The war on democracy in America: What the radical right extremists really believe

How do we know what the Kochs and the radical right really think and believe? Rather than try to summarize or paraphrase their thoughts and beliefs, I prefer to let them speak for themselves in their own words. For the following quotations, I am indebted to Nancy MacLean  and her excellent new book, “Democracy in Chains,” published by Viking/Penguin Random House in 2017.

The war on democracy in America

Part 1 of 4

When President Woodrow Wilson famously said we must “Make the World Safe for Democracy,” most Americans assumed that he meant the threat to democracy would come from outside the USA, from foreign sources, not from within our own country. Today, however, the danger comes from a home-grown, well-heeled, and surprisingly well-organized network of radical-right ideologues and self-interested “oligarchs.” 

The irresponsibility of the tabloid press: Free speech, falsehood and defamation

Part 2 of 2

Recently, going through the Stop & Shop grocery check-out line, I picked up two issues of the Globe weekly magazine, published by American Media Inc., formerly owned by Rupert Murdoch.  The tabloid seemed to have two deliberate intentions:  (1) to defame the Royal family of Britain, and (2) to defame liberal Democrats in the USA.