elections

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My latest Huffington Post piece examines democracy in the modern world:

Democracy is dead, long live democracy. Modi has won by a landslide in India. Touted everywhere as the world’s largest “democracy,” India will be ruled by a man who has never repudiated or apologized for the slaughter of Muslims in his state’s riots while he was in charge, a man who is the force behind the most ultranationalist and bigoted Indian political party in modern history. Right here in the USA, Princeton University demonstrates that most every policy and every piece of ‘democratic’ legislation is supporting the rise of an oligarchy and the disappearance of the middle class. From Russia to India to Israel, we have a problem with elected ultra-right leaders who basically embody what John Stuart Mill, one of the greatest modern architects of democracy, referred to as ‘the tyranny of the majority.’

In every case majority …

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By Hind Aboud Kabawat (Senior Research Analyst and Expert in Conflict Resolution, CRDC, George Mason University).

Damascus, Syria

May 20, 2011

Can our beloved Syria be saved from the brink of destruction? This is clearly the question on the minds of millions of our fellow countrymen (and countrywomen). And it is truly astonishing how quickly events have transformed the so-called “facts on the ground” in this country. One of the most locked-down societies in the Middle East quite suddenly erupted in rage, anger and frustration after forty years of political repression and economic stagnation. Just think of it: the first demonstration was on March 15, just a mere two months ago. But so much has changed in the minds, hearts and aspirations of the Syrian people that it is impossible to think that we can ever return to the status quo ante—the Syria of March 14th.

What the …

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President Obama has signaled in recent days that he will be confronting China much more on its global policies. But China is on the rise as the premier economic global power, even as America is on the decline, and it remains to be seen what kind of confrontation could be effective. Will China’s rise actually be good news for the world? This will depend on how China rises, and it will be wise to challenge China on its humanitarian impact every bit as much as on its economic impact globally. Let’s look at one example.

Burma has one of the worst governments in the world, a place where citizens live in terror. The military junta seized power when Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won 392 of the 492 seats in Parliament. It does not fully control the Hill Country on the west and east sides of the country, inhabited by …

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Please take a second and vote:

[poll id=”4″]…

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A New Age

A New Age

I was impressed by Bill Ayers’ recent public disclosure. His anguished re-reading of the Vietnam Era, his desperate attempt to stop a war that killed millions of Vietnamese people and 60,000 Americans, his remorse over some of the more extreme efforts he made, and his explanation of the principled violent and illegal stands that he took, all suggest a person of conscience and subtlety. I would not have done what he did in those buildings, and I would not demonize a military or country that way his group did, but only because of what I now know about the poison of demonization. In fact the radical right demonized and scapegoated Ayers in order to destroy the candidacy of Barack Obama. Demonization is a problematic domestic political form of terrorism that must resisted. I am both relieved by who is and horrified by what was done to him …

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“You can be anybody you want to be!”

by mgopin on November 10, 2008 · 0 comments

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Election Night

I stood next to this family in the final moments when Obama was elected, right as they were announcing California and the West Coast. My Ruthie was capturing everything on film. We were in a room of over a thousand people all of whom had worked on the Washington regional campaign.

Look at the eyes, look at the faces. I think I have waited forty years to see these eyes, these looks of wonder, pain and joy, all mixed, as if it were a hundred generations of ancestors in their eyes.

I came of age and into political consciousness with the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The tragedy has weighed on me ever since, pretty heavily, for family reasons. It is they who were on my mind at that moment standing next to this lovely family all of us screaming at the top of our lungs!! I …

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Rabbi Menahem Frohman of Tekoa

Rabbi Menahem Frohman of Tekoa

Orthodox Jewish leader Rabbi Menahem Frohman made an impassioned appeal today for American Jews to embrace Senator Obama as a harbinger of peace in the Middle East. Amidst controversial reports coming out of Israel that most Americans there voted for McCain Rabbi Frohman’s religious prayers stand out as exceptional. Most of those polled are Orthdox, and this dovetails American trends in which Orthodox Jews are mostly voting for McCain. Here is the video from the Kotel, the Western Wall of the ancient Jewish Temple in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Prayers in the Old City of Jerusalem for Obama

We live in an age in which religion as an ideology has been weaponized by at least some people in every culture and civilization. But sometimes one sees exceptions, passionate expressions of piety that are for peace, not war, for love, not hatred. …

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Iraq has rejected the United States’ use of its territory as a base from which to attack Syria. That is interesting because I thought that the justification for the attack was to defend Iraq from foreign fighters. No one has a greater stake in repelling foreign fighters than the Iraqis themselves. Though, wisely, they realize that building a peaceful relationship with their neighbors is far more effective than killing a few people and weakening the sovereignty of neighboring states.

Coverage of the incident is receiving increasing attention and analysis. I have done some of my own digging as to the source of the attack. It seems that most people assume that this attack across an international border could not have been done without the express approval of the White House and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But it is possible that the Vice President authorized it and presented it …

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The timing is amazing from a neoconservative point of view, a few days before the American elections. Right now, after years of scrupulously avoiding crossing into Syrian territory, the American military receives instructions to invade a town in Syria and kill 8 people.

A U.S. military official confirmed late Sunday an American helicopter attack in an area along Syria’s border with Iraq, which left 8 people dead and three people wounded.

Syria condemned the attack, which it called “serious aggression.”

We are closer than ever before to serious conversations between Israel and Syria, Syria has recognized an international border with Lebanon for the first time in modern history, and this is horrifying to neoconservatives who ran Washington for the last decade. They need to use force and force only to conquer Iraq, Iran and Syria. And they need to promote a conception of the American presidency that is focused …

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This editorial from the New York Times should be read in conjunction with Gary Wills’ trenchant analysis of Cheney’s aspiration for what conservatives have called ‘the unitary executive’, a doctrine that was responsible for nothing less than the catastrophe in Iraq, the torture, Guantanamo Bay, and scores of violations of the intent of the framers of the United States Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Wills writes:

All these policies were driven by the unitary executive theory of the Constitution, which emanated from David Addington in Vice President Cheney’s office. Charlie Savage has documented that four Supreme Court justices are already enthusiastic supporters of the unitary theory—Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas. It takes only a fifth justice to solder that theory into place for the foreseeable future. This would be the most thorough reworking and distortion of the Constitution in all our history.

The stakes are staggering. That is why

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