One autocrat got the message. There is a new foreign policy sheriff in town. Erdogan's Turkey is a member of NATO that bought missiles from another autocratic regime. Russia, an adversary and cyber attacker of the US. Biden was not pleased and still is not completely pleased as Turkey returns the experts Russia sent with their missiles, but not the missiles. More to come. Putin massed his military at the Ukraine border, implying a threatened invasion and testing Biden's intent to resist. Biden and NATO reaffirmed their commitment to defend Ukraine's embryonic democracy on the border with other NATO members. Quietly, Putin withdrew his troops after a telephone conversation with Biden. . Next, there were threats by Russia to move their influence into the Balkans through Serbia. Slovenia proposed eliminating the autonomy of Bosnia and dividing it up. That was a concept the US slapped down. That has been met as well by calls to fast-track membership of countries there not already members of NATO, including Bosnia. Most in the Balkans already are NATO members, including Montenegro with its best submarine port in the Mediterranean. The Balkans are still a work in progress. Biden is no fool, nor is he ignorant, having served both as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for years and as vice-president. He will be meeting with both Turkey and Putin this summer. That should be interesting and maybe tense. This is a significant change from the Trump era, whose foreign policy was bootlicking and praising nuclear powers governed by autocrats, mostly adversaries of the US. The technique resembled appeasement, and the autocrats were emboldened to expand and rearm further from Russia to Iran to North Korea. His ending treaties designed to restrain China's expansion into the southeastern Pacific, and Iran's military nuclear ambitions backfired. Both China and Iran took advantage of the opportunity Trump's foreign policy gave them to expand economic and military interests into sensitive areas..of the South China Sea and Hamas and nuclear re-armament in the mid-east. Since Trump backed out of the Iran nuclear deal, it has increased its enriched uranium stockpiles. It has, however, agreed to international inspections fearing more international backlash and economic sanctions. Trump was a fool who thought flattery got him somewhere because he craved flattery himself. In foreign policy, that tomfoolery may have kept the guns from firing. Yet, it gave our adversaries a chance and breathing space to creep into our national interests and fill the void left by Trump's isolationist policies. In foreign policy, brute power and economic self-interest count above anything else.
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
In case you missed it, Biden's stirring remarks on Memorial Day in defense of democracy, read it or pick it up on You Tube.
Thursday, May 27, 2021
Dana, a close friend of my daughter dating to their high school years and their parents became friends of our family, a friendship lasting over 30 years. They had a horrific experience last year. Dana's mother Sally passed away, and last July they held a zoom memorial service because their synagogue was closed due to COVID-19. This year, another daughter of mine, age 53, passed away and we also opted for a zoom celebration of life hosted by my church pastor. Ours worked beautifully and the recording of the service is a treasure. Sally's zoom service was hacked by Nazis and swastikas appeared on their screen. That was just one of the horrors committed by those who felt the time was right to tout their hatred more openly. The numbers of reported antisemitic crimes have tripled since 2018 in Colorado. Dana's recounting of the incident was featured on television and is available on You Tube. https://youtu.be/59jErmUmI4w What makes such hate groups feel they have gotten permission to increase their public activities?
Whatever happened to political correctness? The sad state of our nation is that civility, any veneer of supporting a common good, has "gone with the wind". Too often it has been replaced by tongues of hatred and followed by some committing crimes. Even those who do not fancy themselves as hate group fellow travelers are contributing to the atmosphere that encourages them to be more public. Any attempt to castigate some for the lightest tinge of comments defending racial or religious bias is met with counter-accusations from the right of "cancel culture" and anger that "libtards" are trying to do it to them. The definition of culture they feel is under attack has been left to the imagination of others. Some on the left reacted in kind in countering what they see as racial suppression. The country has been divided as speech gloves have been taken off and anger is raw and little hindered. It is clear there is a revolt against "political correctness", once a general agreement among most Americans not to be overtly racist and anti-semitic, to keep noncorrect jokes and slurs hushed, or not to appear publicly antagonistic toward "others" that did not mirror their own ethnic, racial, or religious group. In right-wing demonstrations from Charlottesville to the US Capitol nazi and nazi derived symbols and antisemitic hate slogans are chanted or on display in banners and shirt patches among the other marchers. They and their hate-mongering ilk have always been around, but not so brazenly and publicly in many years as they are now. In the past four years, more have crawled out from under the shadows of rocks to openly flaunt their hate in the light of day. Why?
While verbal and social media barbs are thrown by both sides, the end of more recent societal ethics of political correctness can be traced to the beginning of the Trump era. Donald Trump's words had consequences. The lid of political politeness and respectful speech became something of the past as Trump ripped off the scab of a festering white resentment to the rise of the political power of minorities. Early in the Donald Trump presidential campaign, the slogan that caught fire was Make America Great Again. Reporters had no luck in getting Trump supporters to put into words on camera to which era did they want the US to return that they considered good "again". Trump's oratorical and media skill set was his ability to tap into their gut feelings and to channel them into support of public policy issues which also contributed to his own political power. No longer carried in his favored media were inconvenient facts or embarrassing videos. The media on the left responded by giving focus to what they saw as the truth and reality. Those who tuned in solely to Trump's preferred media still get a view of the world filtered to create a reality that is not shared by viewers and readers of non-Trump media. Recent polls revealed that over half of Republicans believe the election was stolen and Joe Biden was not elected legitimately. At rallies, Trump's devoted audiences cheered racist dog whistle oratory as they jeered at those they disdained. The 1/6 rioters were just tourists viewers were told and they were shown carefully edited videos that neglected to show the violence, vandalism, and combat with police that ended with some dead and 140 injured, and nearly 500 arrested and charged for their alleged criminal behavior. Even with his tweet and facebook wings clipped, Trump's threats to take revenge on non-loyalists get conveyed through other means. Trumpism is now more than just a cult of one person. It is a movement that controls the GOP and uses the fear of being primaried to keep discipline among officeholders and candidates.
Now, in any case, political correctness appears to be no longer part of the culture many assert is being canceled. What this end of political correctness means could also be deduced from which public policy initiatives those decrying political politeness supported that resembled the era before civil rights legislation and the increase in immigration from south of our border. Recent examples are cries of protest against banning Dr. Suess or the renewal of barriers to voting by demographic groups who are viewed as their political opposition. These issues have occupied the Trump media for some time. No government banned any of his books, but the publisher ceased printing several of them at the request of the Suess heirs who did not want Dr. Suess' reputation to reflect racism in a few of his illustrations and words he used in less sensitive times. The other is the wave of voter suppression legislation aimed at making it harder for students, and minorities with lower income and education levels and/or access to transportation to vote. A further objection to the exposure of the participation of neo-Nazis and white nationalist groups in the January 6 riots is also part of the same syndrome. Most of the GOP Senate closed ranks to scuttle further exposure of GOP culpability by voting against an independent commission just before Memorial Day designed by bi-partisan legislators to discover and expose to the public what happened on January 6. Sweeping that embarrassment under the rug will not work and Democrats via hearings and campaign advertisements will make sure voters understand the January 6 rioters were no tourists. Democrats branding Trumpist GOP candidates as anti-democracy will be front and center in the 2022 election campaigns. Exhibits one and two will be videos of January 6 violent rioters carrying Trump banners and airing tactics by GOP Trumpists in state legislatures to suppress certain demographics' ability to vote conveniently and to get their votes counted fairly.
Donald Trump's unique contribution to the end of political correctness was to light a fire under the smoldering sores of divisiveness, resentment of an Obama presidency, and disrespect and hatred of others not like them. . This resulted in more openly expressing intolerance of "others, couched in social media memes and postings, and advocacy of certain public policy positions.. His contribution to racial and religious divide was flagrant, from Charlottesville's new-Nazi parades to Michigan statehouse to the US Capitol, calling white nationalist militias patriots or containing "some good people", his thinly disguised racism tagging one racial group as he kicked off his 2016 campaign with the broad brush of "rapists" and "murderers" or banning another group from entering the US solely because of their religion. Others took the end of political correctness to mean it was a permission slip to be rude and inconsiderate to others or to ignore Covid masking rules and vaccinations as some liberal scam cooked up to control them, to battering innocent Asians on the streets, and to rising antisemitism. That is the sad state of our nation today.
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
GOP voter suppression...coming to your Colorado ballot soon.
Update: June 2, 2021, Title board denied the petition to put #38 on the ballot on the basis that it was not a single issue...a requirement in Colorado that an initiative could only address one single issue. This means the issue will not be on the Colorado ballot in the fall.