Russiagate and US-Russian Relations

Russia scholar Stephen Cohen has an article up at The Nation in which he throws cold water on the entire story about Russia’s involvement in the US elections. For a view summarizing the substantial evidence of collusion and other Russian transgressions, see this article by Joshua Holland, also at The Nation. Instead of getting into the details of the argument, I want to focus on Cohen’s larger concern about the deteriorating state of US-Russian relations, but also the precarious way he is making that argument.

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American Democracy in Crisis

The degradation of the norms of democracy has been underway for many years, but its pace has accelerated since Donald Trump took office. The number of lies that issue from the White House and Congress on a daily basis dwarfs any truths they may happen to utter. This dishonesty undermines one of the very premises of representative government: that citizens, either as individuals or through elected representatives, can work together to address society’s problems and mediate conflicts of interest. For such an arrangement to have any chance of success, there have to be ground rules about acceptable behavior as well as a common understanding of the truth. Both are in short supply in our stressed republic.

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The Meaning of the Doug Jones Win in Alabama

In a July, 2017 article (How the Left Can Win in the South) that popped up in my Facebook feed, Paul Blest offers some basic principles to help progressives build power in the South. He starts off by describing the struggles of the Bernie Sanders campaign during the 2016 democratic primary in which Hillary Clinton received twice as many votes as Sanders in the southern states.

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Can Mueller Refuse to Be Fired?

What would happen if President Trump decided to dismiss Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, much as Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox during the latter’s Watergate investigations? Were that to happen, there is a fairly solid consensus that the US political system would have entered a severe Constitutional crisis. If a president can dismiss a special prosecutor investigating him and his campaign and get away with it, he would have succeeded in putting himself above the law.  

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Lessons from Sea-Tac: Rebuilding the Labor Movement in the 21st Century

First published at Occupy.com

Sea-Tac Workers on Strike
Yasmin Aden, a former airport worker now with SEIU Local 6, center, claps as she and other supporters celebrate a $15 minimum wage at Sea-Tac Airport in the Gina Marie Lindsey Arrivals Hall on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015.

“For unions in deep trouble, straining to find a way forward in today’s reality of runaway corporate profits and mounting human impoverishment, the Sea-Tac experience points the way toward the great possibilities that exist in a reimagined labor movement.” – Jonathan Rosenblum

Over the past several decades with the decline of manufacturing and the worsening of labor law, organized labor in the United States has experienced a critical decrease in numbers and clout, begging the question: Can labor rebuild its strength in a period characterized by continuing de-industrialization and an increasingly hostile environment for organizing workers?

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