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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  

June 2022

Saving America?s Democracy (1 of 2)

Last week, we reviewed America?s dismal performance on the world list of democracies. We do not have a national process for elections, leaving that to the states. Pluralism is certainly missing in our elections now, with one political party in meltdown (Republicans).

Civil liberties are under attack in a number of states. When Florida can punish a private company (Disney) for not supporting Florida?s attack on women, gays, and transgender children, civil liberties are in more...


World Survey of Democracies

Two valuable non-partisan surveys track the standing of 166 sovereign states, 164 of them UN member states. One is the Democracy Index, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a UK-based private company which publishes The Economist.

The other is Freedom House, a non-profit, majority U.S. government- funded organization in Washington, D.C., that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights. Freedom House was founded in October 1941, more...


Russia and China: Frenemies?

We are so fixed on what Russia is doing to Ukraine that we are not watching China. American policy has often been wrong about the relationship between Russia and China. During the Vietnam War, we thought that all Communists were the same, and missed an opportunity to divide Russia from China.
Now we obsess on China?s seeming backing of Russia?s genocidal behavior. China has publicly objected to Russia?s violation of an independent neighboring country, hypocritically not mentioning more...


The Russian Way of War

Russia carries its history on its back. From the beginnings of the country identifiable as Russia, it has endured trauma. The jockeying for power among powerful barons was the norm. It is understood that civil conflict continues until one baron prevails and becomes chief leader: king, king of kings (Persia), and emperor in China, after a century of wars among chiefs, eliminating all but one.

Russia also had that experience, barons jockeying for power. But one other problem particu more...