Category Archives: Current Affairs

2016: Politics “When The Sky Darkens”

2016: Politics “When The Sky Darkens”

Most years, I just  put up with politics: it’s as necessary as taking out the trash, but only about as interesting.
Sure I have my preferences, and occasionally a candidate is exciting, for awhile. But usually I’m eager to get it over with, and go back to what feels like real life.
This year is different. I’m following the campaigns as closely as I can, with a morbid, horrified fascination.
 The NY Times‘s Roger Cohen gets at the reason why: Democracies can die.
2016: Politics "When The Sky Darkens"
Many parts of our former republic, including civil liberties, are already close to catatonic; and profoundly anti-democratic forces (the secret security state, the war machine, vote suppression) are already loose, some beyond our control (which is why we mostly prefer not to think about them). 
But all this could get much, much worse, depending on how this political year turns out.

Cohen comes at the 2016 campaign from the BTDT (“Been There, Done That”) perspective, of those who have seen — and lived– this movie before.

It’s also a movie which is being remade today in more and more corners of their continent.

And What about Ours?

Let Roger Cohen say it: Continue reading 2016: Politics “When The Sky Darkens”

Clinton’s Big Donors: No Wonder They’re Complaining

Clinton’s Big Donors: No Wonder They’re Complaining

Some Inside Scoop On A Clinton Campaign Huddle; and an exclusive photo: Bernie’s billionaires!

The NY Times‘s “First Draft” report on a Feb. 17 meeting of top Clinton campaign donors.
First, campaign manager Robby Mook “told the donors that the outcome in Nevada” was too close to call: “depending on turnout, Mrs. Clinton could win by a lot or win or lose by a tiny margin . . . .”

Robby-Mook-and-boss
Robby Mook, left. At right, the Boss.

And second: “Donors also voiced some frustration with the lack of media scrutiny of Mr. Sanders, who they said was essentially getting a pass. They pressed Mr. Mook to demonstrate that the Vermont senator’s policy proposals were entirely implausible promises and that his responses to essentially all substantive questions drew on excerpts of his stump speech and rants about the ‘millionaires and billionaires.'”

Continue reading Clinton’s Big Donors: No Wonder They’re Complaining

Lewis and Sanders-On Almost Going Viral

Lewis and Sanders-On Almost Going Viral

Thanks to everyone who read & passed along my Feb. 12 post about John Lewis, Bernie Sanders, and the 1960s civil rights movement.

To my great amazement, the post went, if not quite viral, then at least contagious: as of Monday afternoon, it has garnered almost 12,000 hits; the highest total for any earlier post is a bit over 2300. And it may have had an impact.

Lews-Clarify-on-Bernie

Continue reading Lewis and Sanders-On Almost Going Viral

Quakers Stand With Muslims in Carolina

Signs of the Times: Quakers Stand With Muslims in Carolina

Fayetteville NC — Fayetteville Friends Meeting is small; and Quaker House, the peace project that’s been here, near sprawling Fort Bragg,  since 1969, is also small. But they count. And they counted on December 18 when a rally was called to show support for the Masjid  Omar Ibn Said, a Muslim mosque there.

Muslims-WE-Are-Friends-Sign-12-18-2015-SM Continue reading Quakers Stand With Muslims in Carolina

A Call to Quakers: Change That Name– Now!

A Call to Quakers: Change That Name– Now!

Nicholas Kristof writes in today’s Times about the impact of “hostile environments”:
 “Consider an office where bosses shrug as some men hang nude centerfolds and leeringly speculate about the sexual proclivities of female colleagues. Free speech issue? No! That’s a hostile work environment. And imagine if you’re an 18-year-old for whom this is your 24/7 home — named, say, for a 19th-century pro-slavery white supremacist.” 

Calhoun2
John C. Calhoun, Southern statesman, Yale man, staunch defender of slavery.
Calhoun-College-2
Calhoun College, Yale.

The “white supremacist” Kristof is referring to is John C. Calhoun, the South Carolina politician and chief intellectual defender of American slavery. No resume-padding here– he served as a U. S. Congressman, Senator, Secretary of both War and State & Vice President, and left his mark on all of them. He would have been a southern Civil War hero too, except he died in 1850, a decade before it started; but he got the ball rolling. Continue reading A Call to Quakers: Change That Name– Now!

Exclusive Interview: CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou — Part 3

Exclusive Interview With CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou — Part 3 of 3

[John Kiriakou will visit North Carolina October 27-29. As background for the visit, we conducted this email conversation. The Prelude is here.  Part One is here.  Part Two is here.]

AFL: Besides telling of some pretty hair-raising “derring do” and anti-terrorist actions, you wrote very favorably overall in your book, The Reluctant Spy,  about the CIA (calling it “THE CIA” marks me as an outsider, yes?), and most of the people you worked with and for. I wonder if, in the years since, given what you’ve been through since, that estimate has evolved any?

john_kiriakou_shetterly-painting
A portrait of John Kiriakou that is part of a series, “Americans Who Tell The Truth,” by Robert Shetteerly. For more about the series, go here: http://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org

John Kiriakou: I still believe that the CIA is full of many brave and dedicated patriots who want nothing more than to protect the country.  Continue reading Exclusive Interview: CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou — Part 3