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"Tradition?? The only good traditions are food traditions. The rest are repressive."

"There are two ways to think. The first is to trust to your ancestors, your religious leaders, or your charismatic professors. The second is to question, to challenge, to explore history for meanings, and to analyze issues. This latter is called Critical Thinking, and it is this that is the mission of my web site. "

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman  

July 2019

The Element of Trust

One of the most important elements in having participatory democracy, as well as flourishing capitalism, is trust. Trust is so embedded in our lives that we scarcely ever think about it.

We use trust every day. We trust that other drivers are obeying the same laws and rules of the road that we are. Of course, driving requires both trust and caution. Some people do not obey the rules, and we must look out for them, although they are comparatively rare.

When we shop f more...

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Putin?s Game Plan


Russia is no longer the Soviet Union, an enemy with nukes they were ready to use. They held captive a huge empire, part of which was a continuation of their 19th century occupation of the Muslim Silk Road states in Central Asia and across Siberia to the Pacific. The other part was taken at the end of World War II: most of eastern Europe, because their troops had "liberated" them.

In the almost half century of the Cold War, the United States and western Europe were able to more...

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Our Security Clearance Gap


We recently learned that President Trump insisted that his son- in-law and daughter, both of them senior advisors in the White House, be given security clearances despite denial by the Intelligence Services. This raised a red flag with Trump?s former chief of Staff and chief White House lawyer, both of whom kept memos of this decision.

Our presidents do have the right to award security clearances to any members of their staffs and cabinet, but this president lied that he i more...

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The Rebirth of Fascism

Two political systems were born early in the 20th century: Fascism and Communism. They behaved as enemies throughout the century, although they shared a common goal: defeat of liberal democracies. In retrospect, however, they shared more qualities than differences.

To discuss these movements, definitions are needed. Liberal democracies (United States, Britain, France) had political systems that provided for regular changes of leadership through elections; equal power among head of more...

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The Function of Impeachments


One of our country?s most distinguished magazines, The Atlantic Monthly, founded in 1857, was non-partisan, dedicated to impartial liberty, and to wage war against despotism in every form. They so rarely weighed in on presidents that they counted only three times: Abraham Lincoln, Lyndon Johnson, and Hillary Clinton.

Their endorsement of Clinton was not support of her as much as it was alarm over Donald Trump, whom they saw as "spectacularly unfit for office." "His affect more...

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The Russian Bear is Now a Snake

A friend of mine once commented that Russia never changes. The USSR was still an empire; the "great leader" Stalin was the Czar; the Politburo (parliament) were still the nobility; and Marxist/Leninism replaced the Orthodox Church as the state religion. Does that apply today?

Post-Communist Russia is a shrunken empire, but still extends 11 time zones across Asia; Putin?s ambition has given him what looks like lifetime tenure---a Czar; the good old Orthodox Church has been given ba more...

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Coincidence or Collusion?

My head reels to learn the FBI is exploring if our president is a willing agent of a foreign country? Surely this can?t be true, can it? Are we seeing a coincidence: that President Trump just happens to believe the same things that Vladimir Putin does? Or do the Russians have something secret and embarrassing over him?

Until the Mueller report is released, we cannot know for certain which of these scenarios is credible. Many in Trump?s base are prepared to believe anything he says more...

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