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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 2020

Refusing Oversight

Our Founding Fathers knew that leaders would not always be honorable, honest, or uncorrupt. Our system is designed with divided power centers: administration (President), congress, and judiciary. It has worked over our two and a half centuries, sometimes better than other times. We have had corrupt governments every so often, usually outed by the press or good civil servants, but for the most part, by presidents following the norms of transparency.

We have learned that the best di more...

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Filling the Leadership Gap


Without his political rallies to pump up his ego, President Trump has resorted to lengthy daily "Press Briefings" in which he endlessly congratulates himself, while elbowing out the scientists on the podium and butting in when they do speak. The dog-and-pony show on April 13 was a jaw-dropping two-hour rant, angry and spiteful about how unappreciated he was after the New York Times reported his failure of leadership, despite briefings and alerts to the danger of the pandemic. His intelli more...

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If Right Doesn?t Matter?

In an impassioned conclusion to the Senate Impeachment Trial, Representative Adam Schiff, the lead prosecutor against President Trump, got the Senate?s attention. "If right doesn?t matter, we?re lost." You know you can?t trust the president will do what?s right for this country," he said, "You can trust he will do what?s right for Donald Trump. He?ll do it now. He?s done it before. He?ll do it for the next several months., he?ll do it in the election if he?s allowed to. This is why if you find h more...

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Trust and Truth in Democracy

We take for granted how lucky we are to live in a society in which there is so much trust. It is automatic to believe that our system is predominantly based on truth and sense of duty. When we turn on our water taps, we expect the water to be safe to drink because the people responsible for assuring it are doing their job. When we find that officials have deliberately lied about water quality, we expect to see them prosecuted for criminal action.

When we go to the market, we do no more...

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September 2019

Men Who Deserve Praise


The "Me-Too" movement has focused our attention on the plight of women, a heritage as old as human culture. But as a woman, I find reasons to praise good American men, most of whom do the right thing but get little recognition for it.

In rereading John F. Kennedy?s Portraits in Courage, written more than a half century ago, we see that even in the worst of times, good men (and women, not in this book) do the right thing despite paying terribly for doing so.

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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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