697 Comments

I believe this is your most compelling and powerful Letter from an American to date. And I’m frightened about the future.

Expand full comment

I have been frightened about the future ever since Trump madness took hold in 2016, when neither impeachment led to conviction and removal from office, when he wouldn't admit he lost, when they stormed the Capitol and STILL the Republicans would not denounce him, as I read news articles about ways states are trying to make it so the voice of the voter can be ignored, as they plan to overturn Roe and if I understand the consequences of that, they could outlaw birth control, interracial marriage and who knows what else.

It feels feeble to think that 'standing strong' consists of getting out and voting, but unless those opposed to these people and ideas sink to their level, that is the best we can do. I am looking forward to my ballot arriving in my mailbox, making my mark and dropping it in the box. I live in California but have a R representative. He won by a very small margin last election so I am hoping to get his opponent over the top this cycle.

Expand full comment

I’m in California too and we have repub congressman McClintock firmly in place, in what could be forever. He’s anti every form of equality that isn’t straight, white, male, Christian, American born. We watch the dismantling of rights and equality, in full view on our screens and read about it,but it moves on. Howard Zinn wrote “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.” So we vote and canvas and advocate and protest. For our children. https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/you-cant-be-neutral-book

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

“𝘐 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰𝘱𝘴𝘺-𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘷𝘺. 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘸𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨. 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘫𝘢𝘪𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘫𝘢𝘪𝘭. 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳. 𝘐 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘰 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘵𝘰𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘻𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘶𝘱𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘯."

"𝘏𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵. 𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘩𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺, 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘳𝘯 𝘺𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘥𝘢𝘺. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘳𝘯 𝘺𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘥𝘢𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘣𝘰𝘥𝘺 𝘶𝘱 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘯𝘰 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘤𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘶𝘱 𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘵.” --Howard Zinn from the film, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.”

Expand full comment

Excerpt from the foreword (to the book) by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor:

"For Zinn, this fluidity of political consciousness—people who may be completely passive in one moment but can be moved to act in a different moment—was the key to the emergence of a mass movement. To write off the possibility of change was to essentially write off the possibility of building the kind of movement necessary to change what was wrong in the world. "

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

Thank you, Ron Boyd, for Howard Zinn’s voice. And “The People’s History of the United States” actually all his books should be required reading for high school and college students. History books are never out of date. Sometimes they are that proverbial crystal ball. Just as HCR shows us every day. Howard Zinn’s voice lives on in the website, Zinn Education Project, as a support for the progressive voice for educators, parents, students. And we are all students. The Truth/facts. https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/you-cant-be-neutral-book. Maybe banned books by the Right?

Expand full comment

Yesterday, in the mail, Irenie, I received a sticker and a bookmark from Move On. It said “I Read Banned Books”! Pretty dang good, I’d say!

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

Yes, Marlene, I have that bumper message, too. Where I live, though, I don’t attach stickers on my car. Sometimes inside the car windows. I’m tagging a new name: I live in the “Great Divide”. But in Sacramento, (not rural!) yesterday I saw a cool sticker on a back car window. Here’s the message; “#%*^ PUTIN: If you still support trump stay 500 feet behind- I don’t trust your judgment.” And then a dog paw sticker: Warning: Dog bites republicans.” On the street. In some communities those messages invite car keying and vandalism. I left a thank you note for the car owner.

Expand full comment

Thank you. Dr. Richardson's readers always enlighten me. I often feel like a neophyte when I read these well-informed almost scholarly replies. I have downloaded this book to listen to on audible. Suzanne

Expand full comment

Ditto here!

Expand full comment

Ah, McClintock. I sent money to his opponent, Jessica Morse. I am in DeMalfa’s district. What a worthless politician. I mean totally useless, he produces zero legislation, which is just as well, thank goodness he’s complacent, the alternative would be horrible. My wife and I hosted Audrey Denney to do a Zoom fundraiser. GO AUDREY‼️🎉🎉

Expand full comment

I also sent money and love and moral support to the team of Andrew Janz, a local from the Tulare area running against Devin Nunes. Janz lost, but when Nunes decided to quit Congress, that explosion you heard and those fireworks you saw was me celebrating and partying 🥳💫💕🎉❤️🥰🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

Expand full comment

Roland, the CA22 special election is low impact event because of redistricting (winner only serves to Nov). The big event is the election of the Rep for the new CA22 in Nov. Rethug Valadao (cousin of Nunes, both of Portuguese dairy farming families) will run against Dem Rudy Salas for the new CA22 seat in Nov. It’s a tossup. Salas will win if we get out the vote. The premier voter registration, education, and GOTV org in the area is Valley Forward (https://vvoices.org). A donation to them is an effective way to swing the seat Democratic.

Expand full comment

Valkey Voices, I mean. Link is correct.

Expand full comment

I’m in CA, too. I share your hopes and have been contributing small amounts wherever, whenever I can. 🤛🏽

Expand full comment

🤜🏼

YES‼️ Go democracy‼️ Go Blue California🎉👍🏆

Expand full comment

Same with me, Judy. I live in California with one of the few remaining R members of the House. Every election I vote for the Democrat to unseat him, in my district it’s an awesome woman.

Expand full comment

You took the words out of my mouth! I’m terrified for my almost 18-year-old son and his cohorts -- for so many reasons. 😢

Expand full comment

It is all the world's children, it is all posterity we must defend. That must be our prime motivation.

When I grew up in postwar Europe, ordinary people were concerned that their children should enjoy a better life. Our generation and those that have followed are passing the bill for our present "comfort" to our children and the unborn, while despoiling the third world.

Expand full comment

Can’t ❤️ this, Peter but I experienced that same thing here when I was growing up with my immigrant parents. They wanted a free life for us kids. They loved the United States of America because they had freedom of speech, freedom to vote, freedom from Nazis, or so they thought. Glad they are not alive to experience what is happening.

Expand full comment

I can confirm all you're saying, Marlene. My American cousins felt the same way. In fact they felt it so strongly that they were a pain in the neck when they came visiting us in the early 50s... living in a town where two thirds of buildings (even our own house) had suffered some form of bomb damage, in a land exhausted by the war effort, still subject to food rationing, and having to hear all day and every day how lousy everything was in Britain, how marvelous life was in New York City...

Well, now I too love New York (despite phenomena like that cheap conman with the orange-peel skin) but I am deeply aware of America's global responsibilities, above all those of citizens exercising their right to vote.

I wish that awareness was more widely shared at all levels of society. But for too many, the world barely exists beyond the county line...

There's a huge task of building and rebuilding ahead of America. And that means education, education and more education. Cradle to grave.

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

I think Peter that we have only a contained vision of the world. Most Americans have not been abroad, at least not long enough to look at our shores from a world view. We simply do not understand that the world does not revolve around us.

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

Another comment I'm bound to appreciate on a truth that is unfortunate, to say the least.

The problem isn't necessarily with not having been abroad, some spend years abroad but never learn a thing from the experience, some show no interest in anything beyond their small community -- a friend living less than 50 miles out of New York City tells of neighbors who've never been there and aren't interested in trying -- some even move across America yet view states where the majority votes differently as foreign, even enemy territory... It would help if people understood a thing or two about US geography -- what it means for the country in geopolitical terms to be bounded east and west by two great oceans, looking towards the Old World and the Far East... rather than claiming that on a clear day they can see across the Bering Strait...

You can live in a vast country with the mind of a troglodyte.

The problem is one of mentality: American "exceptionalism" and the dangerous policies and actions to which it gives rise, racism at home, abroad, the inhumanity of those who see themselves as supermen, the Herrenvolk. The worst of this being how it humiliates all others and brings out imitators everywhere. Rivals and would-be rivals that imitate all that's stupidest and most brutal about the doings of the Master Race.

On my phone this morning I saw a very long comment that drew attention to just this, yet seemed to be justifying current Russian actions in Ukraine on the absurd grounds that America had done worse. What I maybe have in common with that person is concern that peace be restored in Ukraine and the damage repaired as far and as soon as possible; and the even more deadly disease spread throughout Russia by an imperial regime that behaves like an occupying power be likewise healed. This will call for something deeper and more far-reaching even than the Marshall Plan.

As for your final phrase about how Americans don't understand that the world does not revolve around America, I've long been struck by how would-be Christian fundamentalists foam at the mouth at the mention of Darwinian evolution yet fail to see they're pre-Copernican... and they're shrinking Genesis to fit in with the town-hall clock and the Creator of the Universe to fit into the dark, narrow confines of their own minds...

Expand full comment

I agree. We do live abroad. Many Americans who come here demand that the countries they visit or move to be like America without ever actually knowing what America is. It is their backyard. When I was in high school for two years in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, many never even went to neighboring areas let alone cross the river to Harrisburg. I have friends here where we live who have never been to the U.S. but know more about American history and government than most of my fellow countrymen.

Expand full comment

We have to go about reprogramming (or deprogramming) the minds of those who have been misled and so yes, education+ is of the utmost.

Expand full comment

You can see why some of our would-be Lords of the Jungle come down so hard on education. It reminds me of South Africa when I was a kid -- it was so important that the "nie blankes" know their place and never dream of rising above it. Only here, it's not even non-whites that must be kept down, it's non-members of the happy 0.01%... who like to see themselves as God's Chosen...

Expand full comment

As long as few Americans wish to pay for quality teachers, smaller classrooms, few will be well educated. ´Those who can do and those who can't teach´ is what too many believe. Hence, athletes are paid fortunes and teachers must hold more than one job to make ends meet. Or go to South Korea or Japan where they are appreciated.

Expand full comment

💕💕💕

Expand full comment

Marlene, I view the heart emoji not only as expressing love for something but for saying I too feel it in my heart and agree, even when it gives me a heartache. Perhaps we should develop a broken heart emoji. Take care.

Expand full comment

Thee is a broken heart emoji, keep looking.

Expand full comment

💔💔💔💔

Expand full comment

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Expand full comment

Yes. Of course! As a single and only parent of a sweet, sensitive teen, however, my first concern is as a mom. But it goes without saying my concern is for ALL of them! And for future generations.

I have hesitatingly told my son to consider not having kids. Then felt horribly guilty about that advice. Under “ordinary” circumstances, I see that he would be an amazing dad! And it’s heartbreaking for me to feel I made a mistake bringing such a beautiful soul into this world as it is. This is a tough emotional position for me. 😢

Expand full comment

I’m the dumb@$$ optimist in the family who hopes for grandchildren in the face of climate extinction and the coming wars, but my children are more pragmatic and I eye onesies furtively in stores and cry at baptisms I stumble upon but despair of having any. There are lots of children already here in need though.

Expand full comment

Laura We have five grandchildren, ages 13-24, and we fear about the world we are leaving them.

I am also appalled by the many millions of Americans who either don’t care or who are in some foo foo world in which values, integrity, and taking responsibility for one’s self as well as working one’s country are considered ‘false facts.’

This is a scary time, both at home and globally. Love thy neighbor indeed!

Expand full comment

We are both older and in fact, old. We have no children and are glad for that in terms of the way the world is going. I have great and great great nieces and nephews. Two of them have a wealthy grandmother in Norway, so they will probably be OK for a while even as things continue to go south. The rest of them and there are many, are part of poorly educated, scut work (if they in fact work), easily conned lower social classes. Easter pictures yesterday showed the two finding eggs in the backyard and then there were pictures of huge Easter baskets full of toys, candy, and large stuffed animals for the younger two...twins from one of my many greats. All of those in the midwest are headed for a lifetime of not enough money, lots of children, and bad health. Here in the neighborhood where we live, which is pretty diverse, we have a large percentage of kids on free or reduced lunch. Despite that a lot of the houses in our neighborhood are in the 300,000 to 400,000 plus range. Where we enjoyed Easter dinner in a neighboring town in an area where there are mostly new and often quite large houses, the range is even more than that. And of course, all the regressive types here are busy picketing the school administrative buildings and complaining to the superintendent about some book. The lead on that is a school board member who is also a county commissioner. I looked at the list of signers and found a relative of our neighbors who I doubt reads at all, but she, who has government help, loves Rs and of course, has refused to get the vaccine. We are planning on getting our second booster and are careful where we go and wear a mask unless we go to a restaurant and we are careful which ones we go to. Finally, on the recent Flynn/Trump hatred revival in Keizer, we had Proud Boys harassing people who were on a public street.

Expand full comment

Can’t get ❤️ moving this morning but I have 2 daughters. One made her mind up years ago to not have children. The other would’ve liked to have children but after caring for 2 very needy and affectionate dogs, she decided she doesn’t want children. Both of them expressed to me that this is not the world they would want for their child. They even have said that they think it’s a selfish act if you cannot provide for them, monetarily. The problem here in CA. especially, is that housing is scarce or overpriced. Renting…astronomical!

Expand full comment

I share the same sentiment towards my 20 something adult children. It is unimaginable that we are even on this path.

Expand full comment

You and 1000s more

Expand full comment

💕 Love button doesn't work. But yes.

Expand full comment

Really irritating sometimes, isn’t it?

Expand full comment

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

That’s at least as many times as I hit the ❤️ button

Expand full comment

It is clear to me that the "like" or heart button/feature has some limitations. If I start reading from the first comments, and click the heart on some of the great ones, pretty soon it stops working. But I think if you keep reading, sooner or later the heart recharges. The lesson is to use it sparingly for the really good posts!

Expand full comment
Apr 20, 2022·edited Apr 20, 2022

It does 'recharge'. I believe that each person who is here and wishes to protect democracy deserves a heart.

Expand full comment

What we're passing to the next generations -- unless we get our act together and fight *hard* against it -- is a system where when democracy and capitalism clash, capitalism always wins. Almost two centuries (well described and documented by HCR) of trashing as a socialist/communist/whatever anyone who believes otherwise have done their work. Too many USians don't know how to reckon the value of anything that doesn't come with a price tag, and, as Joni Mitchell sang so many decades ago, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone."

Expand full comment

We have that quote posted on a wall at our place!

Expand full comment

We're despoiling the first and second world too.

Expand full comment

Solidarity from mom of 20/23/26 year olds.

Expand full comment

Same, mom of 23/27/29 here.

Expand full comment

Same again, dear old dad 30/40/40/50

Expand full comment

Same, grandmother of 25, 25, 23, 21, 21, 18.

Expand full comment

Same from grandmother of 32, 34 (2), 35, 16 (2), 14. And no greats for which I am happy.

Expand full comment

Actually this is to all parents here with children over 18. Bring out the history books and look to the history of the 60's and 70's. What changed history then was a call to action of all citizens, across this nation the young flocked to the streets, to DC and the White House, university campuses to the southern states, and outside churches making their voices heard for liberty, justice and freedom. The voices turned into a roar and effective change happened. I keep wondering when we will see this kind of activism today, I hope and pray for it.

Expand full comment

Michael, Though I, too, found today’s letter “compelling” and “powerful,” I sensed it didn’t go far enough to explain why large swaths of people “are questioning the moral foundation of Western civilisation.”

In my view, contributing factors include a lethal linkage of relative economic decline (e.g., working-class wage stagnation), cultural decay (created largely by the failure of those who own and control to fulfill collective needs), and political lethargy. I believe it further is of note that no democracy can survive with a working and middle class so insecure that it is willing to accept any authoritarian option in order to provide some sense of normalcy and security in their lives.

Lastly, I should note that I find acknowledging these factors to be particularly critical because everyday people can participate in reversing each of these trends, thus making the kind of differences that, sooner or later, could matter immensely.

Expand full comment

What frustrates me is that working-class voters still seem to think that the political right has their interests at heart.

Expand full comment

The working class has so many grievances. They have not been seen.

Expand full comment

Terry, A few observations: Republicans invariably want to fight the culture wars believing, perhaps rightly, that that’s how they win elections. At the same time, Dems seem to want to run away from culture issues rather than fighting the culture wars and winning them, on abortion, on book banning, on teaching history… a mistake, in my view, considering the public largely is on the side of Dems.

In the alternative, Dems frequently are quoted as saying, “We’re not going to deal with that stuff; we’re going to focus on kitchen table issues.” Though that sounds good, in the past 15 months, Dems haven’t been able to extend the child tax credit or lower prescription drug costs or improve childcare or raise the minimum wage to $15…, legislation that actually would make people’s lives easier and would be counter-inflationary.

Fair or not, politics largely is perception, and though Republicans virtually have no ideas, their strategy of running on divisiveness, far too often, wins them elections.

Expand full comment

Great assessment. I absolutely agree that running away from the culture wars is counter-productive. For example, I'm puzzled that women haven't taken to the streets in Texas and other states that have put anti-choice laws into place. Choice IS a kitchen table issue. If a woman knows she can't afford to take care of child, it's an economic choice. As for Republican "ideas," they have them all right; they're just so reprehensible that they can only talk about them in dog whistles. It's a kind of "nudge, nudge, wink wink....you know what I mean." And what they mean is, let's go back to when white, straight men controlled everything.

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

Seems to me people passively have shrugged off this world almost hopeful to get into the next one. What matters when you are eternal? Perhaps God will wipe the shit off the babies butt and you won’t have to.

Expand full comment
Apr 19, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

Pat, I’m not sure how to respond except to state, considering the stakes, that I feel responsible for encouraging all of us to resist complacency, given my belief that our engagement, our energy, our caring and our work can have a meaningful impact.

Expand full comment

Agreed, Michael, but all the more reason to fight back, to reject such autocratic/monarchical ideologies, to uphold the moralities of democracy, to stand up to evil for the sake of our children. If theirs is a so-called "holy" war, ours is a moral, pluralistic war of the people, for the people, and by the people -- one which must not and cannot fail.

Expand full comment

And how are you doing that, other than informing yourself and voting? I’m trying to get a foothold on my nest steps. Surely we can stop this. I believe we’re in the majority and that most people are moral but complacent because we’ve been so darned comfortable. I thought middle age was hard work with career and kids and endless demands. But now that I’m in a relatively cushy retirement, I realize I need to get up and fight for freedom so we don’t fritter and lose it for the next good generation.

Expand full comment

And that is why I was very pleased with what the British politicians were saying when the war began in February. They were saying that Russia and Putin must fail. I AGREE.

Expand full comment

I completely agree. Democracy is the solution, not the problem!

Expand full comment

I agree completely. The moral and political precepts of the Taliban seem be casting a dark shadow on much of our world, and it's difficult to imagine a positive result in a short to medium time frame. "Religious" wars are always the worst kind.

Expand full comment

Yes, calling what the Russias are doing a "holy war" makes my blood run cold.

Expand full comment

Keep this in mind:

Russia is *targeting* civilians. They are targeting hospitals, schools, government buildings, evacuation points like the train station, and just regular people standing in line for bread. The Russian military is killing Ukrainians deliberately and intentionally because Putin is attacking the democracy movement. The deliberate and premeditated attack on Ukrainian civilians is an attack on the democracy that they embody and espouse.

Why is nobody shooting the kleptocrats, the Soviet relics behind this war?

Expand full comment

I understand this. And they are saying they represent good and the Ukrainians, evil. They remind of the Nazis actually.

Expand full comment

Why is a “religious” war always taking us backward, back to one race having privilege over another? It is the hierarchy of racial privilege that produces genocide. In this case, atypically, it’s not about race. It’s about the Republican and Putinesque Old Society of the 1950s. Maybe that’s why Republicans have warmed up to the Soviets: the cultural paradigm of whites, men, straights and “traditional family” is what the Cold War opponents share. Suppress non-whites, suppress women, suppress non-straights. Now, this war is suppressing non-Soviets. A breakaway democracy, from Putah’s POV.

Expand full comment

All that’s missing from this picture:

A window sticker in Putin’s limousine which says “Let’s Go Brandon” or “F—k your Democracy”

Expand full comment

It's decision time for Americans. HCR puts it all on the table. Do we stand with Abraham Lincoln or do we stand with the Founding Fathers who, while saying the words, failed to walk the walk, preserving the racial, gender, and wealth inequality that enabled them to limit their fine ideas to white men of property exclusively. We make that decision on November 8.

Expand full comment

I'm inclined to agree with Abraham Lincoln that the Founders set up the Declaration of Independence as a beacon for future generations.

Expand full comment

If that be so, Lincoln believed that the generation four score and seven years after the Founders wrote the D of I, was that future generation. But looking at the prayers included in the second and third stanzas of "America the Beautiful," written thirty years later, where the poet sang "God mend thine every flaw" and "May God thy gold refine," it would appear America was then still trying to reach that goal. And we still are.

Expand full comment

Agree with both your statements, Michael Bernard. I awoke yesterday with this sad thought: I was born right before WWII, the fight for freedom from such tyranny, and might die just as WWIII begins the same fight, but not certain with which side our nation would stand. The turnouts and voter choices in 2022 and 2024 could be telling, given the division within our nation, of the morality, the moral choice to be taken as HCR presents it. I must think about this today.

Expand full comment

Every day I feel more strongly that victory in Ukraine is directly tied to the possibility of ongoing democracy in the US...it has now become visceral.

Expand full comment

Meredith, this is exactly how I feel.

Expand full comment

“Every day I feel more strongly that victory in Ukraine is directly tied to the possibility of ongoing democracy in the US...it has now become visceral.”

I am intrigued, Michelle. Would you be kind enough to elaborate?

Expand full comment

This letter has piled on confirmation to my belief that I am very happy that I am older.

I cannot even imagine what this country, say nothing of the world, will come to in the next 25, 50 or 100 years. It is so sad.

Expand full comment

Joyce, I'm at the "older" spectrum as well and glad for it. 25 years is a lifetime. In 5 or even 10 years, I shudder at what it will be like.

Expand full comment

I have the same feelings as you. But then my father felt the same way in the latter '90s, before he checked out.

Expand full comment

I’m with you Michael. For me, this is HCR’s most poignant letter yet. I used to think that, as citizens, our greatest responsibility was to be informed and to vote. Now I better understand what happened to many Germans who were sucked into the fear and hatefulness of the Nazi party in the 1930s. The Christianity of my youth was moving toward greater love and understanding. And now the very word “Christian” is used to hate and divide. While there’s no room for complacency, I’m struggling with what more I need to do next?

Expand full comment

A followup conversation I need to have is with a friend who for 25 years has been trying to save my soul. A evangelical pastor. I have a soft spot for good people of faith. As we edged toward the issue of Covid denial and politics, he bemoaned the politicizing of christian churches and stated that they were now referring to themselves as followers of Jesus, rather than Christiians.

Expand full comment

Yes! Compelling, powerful, a brilliant defense of democracy.

Expand full comment

I agree. I feel sorry for young people if our democracy is lost. It is so scary,

Expand full comment

I finally feel a compelling reason to open the FB account and post this crystalline inspirational letter daily. Thank you for your stellar efforts.

Expand full comment

Agree!

Expand full comment

Thank you, Michael. I am inclined to agree. 🥰

Expand full comment

If CPAC in Budapest, hosted by Victor Orbán isn’t the perfect opportunity to illustrate how the current Republican party is now Putin’s party, I don’t know what is.

Pictures and videos of “American Conservatives” cuddling up to the enemies of Democracy should be spread far and wide in every available forum – solid, indisputable stuff for the 2022 election season.

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

Said pictures and videos will get democracy and America's democratic institutions nowhere as long as they are unaccompanied by pictures and videos of the man who was 45th president and fellow conspirators in handcuffs.

Either that or a period of extreme physical danger and uncertainty in which these subversives gain control over the country's institutions in order to complete their self-appointed task of destroying them and establishing their lies-based "new normal".

Michael Bernard says, understandably, that he's frightened about the future. This fear is shared by so-called conservatives... who go further, fearing the present and any future they cannot "control" by effectively reversing the outcome of America's Civil War.

Expand full comment

Thanks for that, Peter. You raise two critical points, I’m just not certain about their timetable – what follows what, or if they grow together like opportunistic weeds.

The stark reality of the American right wing political class assembled in Hungary might wake people who are currently on the fence about whether whatever personal value the Trump faction might bring them, is ultimately worth the price of freedom.

It could be a slow, morning-after waking, one that takes an election cycle or two, but if Trump’s support erodes enough, whether he ends up in prison or domestic political exile, might not make much practical difference. I’d prefer the former, but would settle for the latter. In this scenario, his followers go down the drain with him.

You write:

‘’Either that or a period of extreme physical danger and uncertainty in which these subversives gain control over the country's institutions in order to complete their self-appointed task of destroying them and establishing their lies-based "new normal"’’.

That’s a powerful statement and I believe we have already entered a period of extreme danger. I agree with you that we are not yet fully there, but it is no longer just a plan either; it is being implemented by legislatures in the states, and our highest judicial body appears to have their backs.

Again, thoughtful comment. A long conversation over coffee might be in order. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on the upcoming election in France. Our regional elections are coming up and we will see how the electorate responds to the Zeitenwende.

Expand full comment

"The stark reality of the American right wing political class assembled in Hungary might wake people who are currently on the fence about whether whatever personal value the Trump faction might bring them, is ultimately worth the price of freedom."

One can only hope you are right, R.

Expand full comment

Thanks, R Dooley.

Here in France, there's a resemblance between the reactions of some disappointed Melenchon supporters and some of Bernie Sanders' fans.

I'm not a Melenchon fan -- he's about the most eloquent French politician, but his undisciplined outsize ego has all too often driven him off the road into a ditch... or into the central guard rail... Having said which, I greatly regret the way in which the Left's totally unnecessary, but typical, divisions have robbed France of the opportunity for a real in-depth debate on issues of substance. Melenchon came painfully close to the second round in the election. A debate between him and President Macron would have put both of them on the spot.

As it is, Macron finds himself compelled to court both Melenchon's supporters, especially the green ones, and the scattered supporters of the traditional Right, which, like the Socialists, has suffered ignominious sidelining.

Many on the left are sorely tempted by abstention and need to get it into their thick heads that abstention is a vote for Le Pen.

The choice is between voting for someone you don't like and voting in effect for policies to which you are deeply opposed. If one can honor Marine Le Pen's project with the word "policies".

I said to my good friend who voted for Melenchon that the choice is between a President who may be freed at last to act in citizens' genuine interests instead of being hemmed in by powerful lobbies and Big Finance... or may serve them, as his critics and enemies have accused all along. But abstention is inconceivable, it is a vote for Putin and neo-Fascism.

She agrees with me and will vote accordingly. I wonder what a Communist friend of hers will make of all this... But the old PCF always used the classic term "objective ally" for those whose actions aided "class enemies"... Here they're faced with rather more than class enemies.

Expand full comment

Well, he pulled it off and I was relieved.

But the core 25-59 demographic of lower-middle income workers went right in large numbers and he faces another test in the June Parliamentary elections. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, I suppose, although I have no idea if his popularity is determinative of the outcome.

Listening to some of his post election remarks, it appears he is aware that those who put him over the line, voted against Le Pen rather than for him. His ability to address the grievances of a significant number of those who feel marginalized will, as I understand it, depend on his command of a Parliamentary majority.

Of course we have no idea sitting here today, what the world will look like – what is vital to us – five years from now, but if he leaves office with the current levels of dissatisfaction, the right may get the opening they’ve been waiting for.

Although I had a thought: Is it not likely that the far Left will have a very good chance if things go south in Macron’s new term? Or, even if they don’t?

Hope all is well next door.

Expand full comment

Thanks, Peter.

A few months back, I thought Michel Barnier had a shot, but he must have read the wind and determined a candidacy wasn’t viable. French politics is a mystery to me. I’m not familiar enough with the parties to understand the possible alliances – I had to look up the PCF.

Low voter turnout on the Left is a concern in the US as well. It has been frustrating watching Biden’s numbers tank week after week. He seems to have leveled out at a disappointing 41% popularity, and if the Liberals who are lukewarm to him don’t turn out in big numbers in November, the next two to six years are going to be tough, and that is putting it mildly.

Reading between lines I can barely discern, it seems Macron has a slightly better chance of prevailing in the next round than Le Pen. But as you indicated, if Melenchon's supporters sit on their hands and simply don’t vote for Le Pen, it could be very tight.

I’ll be watching the returns on the 24th.

Expand full comment

I am mindful that your “opportunistic weeds” are often allopathic poisoning the soil so only they can grow.

Note please those inverted “inverted commas”.

Expand full comment

PS: You might enjoy this article by Vladimir Sorokin:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/27/vladimir-putin-russia-ukraine-power

Expand full comment

Readers here would do well to read Sorokin's article. It provides a sound frame for understanding issues both in Russia and Ukraine and elsewhere, especially in that other very large country, the USA.

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

R. Dooley's suggested reading Sorokin's article in the Guardian, which he linked. He and Peter Burnett referred to Sorokin as an important source for understanding issues concerning Russia, Ukraine, the USA and other countries. Below is another article in the NY Times along the same lines.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/16/books/vladimir-sorokin-russia-ukraine.html

Expand full comment

Thanks, but it's R Dooley who posted this...

Never any harm, however, in repeating what needs repeating. This should be required reading for Americans today, and for all the citizens of very large countries...

Expand full comment

Yes, Peter, this is another article covering Sorkin's thoughts about Russia and Ukraine that appeared in the NY Times.

Expand full comment

Peter, If you haven't read 'He Envisioned a Nightmarish, Dystopian Russia. Now He Fears Living in One' about Vladimir Sorokin’s work I strongly recommend it. Below are excerpts, and it has been gifted, to provide your access.

'His canvases can be as surreal and gleefully obscene as his fiction. One living room wall had a portrait of his hero, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, floating in outer space, ejaculating.'

'With every attack, Sorokin has only grown bolder, and more popular.'

“A Russian writer has two options: Either you are afraid, or you write,” he said in an interview last month. “I write.”

'Sorokin is widely regarded as one of Russia’s most inventive writers, an iconoclast who has chronicled the country’s slide toward authoritarianism, with subversive fables that satirize bleak chapters of Soviet history, and futuristic tales that capture the creeping repression of 21st-century Russia. But despite his reputation as both a gifted postmodern stylist and an unrepentant troublemaker, he remains relatively unknown in the West. Until recently, just a handful of his works had been published in English, in part because his writing can be so challenging to translate, and so hard to stomach.'

'Watching the crushing use of force in Ukraine, Sorokin, who compared the Russian invasion to “killing your own mother,” has been reminded of his preoccupation with humanity’s bottomless capacity for violence, a constant theme in his work.'

“Why can’t mankind get by without violence?” he said. “I grew up in a country where violence was the main air that everyone breathed. So when people ask me why there’s so much violence in my books, I tell them that I was absolutely soaked and marinated in it from kindergarten onward.”

'Sorokin says he’s drawn to futuristic, fantastical settings because they feel like the most accurate lens to examine the chaos and instability of the present.'

“The world is changing so unpredictably that classical realistic prose isn’t able to catch up to it,” he said. “It’s like shooting at a bird that’s already flown away.”

“This is why I prefer complicated optics,” he continued. “In order to see what is real, you need two telescopes.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/16/books/vladimir-sorokin-russia-ukraine.html

Expand full comment

Fern, fascinating also to see some of his paintings included in the article...wonder what it is like to live in his mind!!?? Thanks.

Expand full comment

Great discussion between you and R Dooley. Thank you.

Expand full comment

Vladimir Sorokin's article in the Guardian is a very important read on Putin, the West's mistake of not supporting nascent Russian democracy, and now. Putin wants to destroy Western democracy and NATO; Ukraine is a stepping stone. His Pyramid of Power continues as the structure throughout Russian history and will crumble. But in the meantime???

Expand full comment
Apr 19, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

I read Day of the Oprichnik over a decade ago...

That was clear enough -- the only thing wrong with it, the utter efficiency of the Oprichniki, compared to the botched baroque murder attempts on Skripal and Navalny... Yet today's real dog's-head men do seem to have performed plenty of spectacular murders that remain unsolved... And, botched or seamless, their method has worked well... inspiring terror... especially among oligarchs who must be kept in line...

I suppose I'm an anomaly among HCR's faithful in regarding our societies, the late Soviet and post-Soviet and the American jungle as two sides of the same forged coin, aspects of a crass, degenerate materialism.

America still has some chance of escaping the still spreading nightmare that has grown out of a cult of greed and violence, but the window of opportunity is closing fast.

Expand full comment

The difference between democracies and autocracies is whether or not there are guardrails to protect the will of the citizens, however much those guardrails are banged, dented, and shifted by moneyed interests.

Expand full comment

Thanks for that defense of spiritual and constitutional guardrails -- which still exist in the United States, maybe even in the United Kingdom, despite the current Prime Minister's total indifference to any limit on his antics.

We are fast approaching a stark choice between protection of the will of US citizens (gravely eroded as matters stand) and the exclusive so-called interests of oligarchy -- which in reality represent no one's interests.

The judiciary will have an important role to play in this defense -- despite its independence already having been compromised at the highest level.

Expand full comment

Thank You R. I think.

Expand full comment

The problem is, those who have been seduced by the rhetoric of the radical right will see CPAC in Budapest as an affirmation of their righteousness. And because Tucker Carlson tells them that Putin, Orban, Trump, et al., are the standard bearers of what is good and "Godly" they will blindly follow.

Expand full comment

Sadly, Daria, you are right. The meeting of CPAC in Budapest will just solidify the already deadly swamp of the far right.

Expand full comment

Agreed! I believe that Trump works directly for Putin, and Putin has bought or blackmailed a significant number of high level people in the Republican party. I believe that Putin's aim is to control the US as well as Russia. And his efforts are proving that he can control more and more of the US. The KGB from which he came studied the weaknesses of the US in great detail and realized that "divide and conquer" would be easy since we have an underlying weakness of racism. So ramp up racist speech and cause the entire population to argue with each other while, behind the scenes, you slowly take over the control of the whole country. Putin has some powerful supporters here including the Koch family who go way back to their support of Stalin which was very profitable for them.

Expand full comment

You can bet the Tucker Carlsen and his FOX boys and girls will fully comer that meeting direct from Budapest.

Expand full comment
Apr 19, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

Yes, but is that before or after Carlson invites men to shine red light lasers on their genitals to increase testosterone levels? As Carlson's fitness expert says, it's just another tool in the BROmeotherapy toolbox. Thank you Dana Milbank for the best laugh of the day

https://wapo.st/3MeEmDL

Column gifted, no firewall

PS - I swear to you, this is not a joke. The promo trailers are hysterical! You can't make this sh¡t up.

Expand full comment

"Enemies of democracy"?? Hypocrites in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Heather Cox Richardson writes horribly about "the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in which Russian troops have leveled cities, killed thousands, kidnapped children, and raped and tortured Ukrainian citizens." How much of this is propaganda? How much is the distorted inflation of acts of individuals or small groups of soldiers? "Leveled cities" appears to be a blatant lie. The Russians under Putin leveled Grozny during the Chechen rebellion; they certainly know how to level cities. They specifically avoided doing this during the Ukraine invasion. Justified criticism of the Russian invasion loses its force when it is poisoned by propaganda lies.

Remember Abu Ghraib? Was that U.S. government policy? Remember the false story of the Kuwaiti baby incubators that was used to demonize Saddam Hussein? Remember the mythical "weapons of mass destruction" in all directions that were used to sell an aggressive war to the American people?

Beyond that is the most far-reaching genocide in history, perpetrated by the International Monetary Fund, based in Washington, D.C. and from its inception subject to the control of the U.S. Government:

Hypocrites in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Quoting from the resignation letter ("our own peculiar Holocaust") of senior IMF official Davison Budhoo:

"To me resignation is a priceless liberation, for with it I have taken the first big step to that place where I may hope to wash my hands of what in my mind’s eye is the blood of millions of poor and starving peoples. Mr. Camdessus, the blood is so much, you know, it runs in rivers."

"The charges that I make are not light charges - they are charges that touch at the very heart of western society and western morality and post-war inter-governmental institutionalism that have degenerated into fake and sham under the pretext of establishing and maintaining international economic order and global efficiency."

"Will the world be content merely to brand our institution as among the most insidious enemies of humankind? Will our fellowmen condemn us thus and let the matter rest? Or will the heirs of those whom we have dismembered in our own peculiar Holocaust clamor for another Nuremberg?

"I don’t mind telling you that this matter has haunted me; it has haunted me particularly over the past five years. It has haunted me because I know that if I am tried I will be found guilty, very guilty, without extenuating circumstance."

"In guilt and self-realization of my own worthlessness as a human being, what I would like to do most of all is to so propel myself that I can get the man-in-the-street of North and South and East and West and First and Second and Third and Fourth and All Other Worlds to take an interest in what is happening to his single planet, his single habitat, because our institution was allowed to evolve in a particular way in late twentieth century international society, and allowed to become the supra-national authority that controls the day-to-day lives of hundreds of millions of people everywhere."

"We get away with our works of Dracula hiding behind the mask of Superior Technocracy and a Greater Wisdom striving for “financial balance” and “structural adjustment” in the Third World."

"And so it goes on and on and on. And nothing changes in the developing world except more death and destitution for the people in the slums, and more power for the Fund. And with the passing of every meeting our staff becomes even more reinvigorated; they wield a sharper and more bloodied tool; an even more terrifying Executor’s Axe stand poised for service everywhere in the South. And the children scream, Sir; my God, how they scream!"

(Budhoo is referring here to the incessant screaming of starving infants. When they stop screaming, you know that death is near.)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oJzvpfFzIKu76oE1CkzZlarRiVpYIggFMFzSt6OgHx0/mobilebasic"

See also "Millions die every year in IMF's new Holocaust": https://www.scribd.com/document/136821354/Davison-l-Budhoo-Interview

--

And then is the book "The Fire This Time: U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf," by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. "Relying on evidence gathered firsthand as well as eyewitness reports, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark accuses the U.S. government and its allies of committing war crimes during their attack on Iraq. Clark also presents evidence that the U.S. provoked the war to gain permanent domination over the Gulf."

https://www.amazon.com/Fire-This-Time-U-S-Crimes/dp/1560250712

Once again, hypocrites in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

One could also mention the book "Genocide," by Sergei Glazyev, written about the effects of the IMF-style "shock therapy" that was forced onto the post-Soviet Russians by western bankers: "The rate of annual population loss has been more than double the rate of loss during the period of Stalinist repression and mass famine in the first half of the 1930s.... There has been nothing like this in the thousand-year history of Russia."

https://www.amazon.com/Genocide-Russia-New-World-Order/dp/0943235162

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

^^^^^^^^^^^^

Proof positive that cut and paste does not = intellectualism……even when you do it more than once😂

Expand full comment

As I asked you before, do you think it's inaccurate to characterize Zelensky as an oligarchic puppet and a slave to the genocidal International Monetary Fund?

"How One Ukrainian Billionaire Funded Hunter Biden, President Volodymyr Zelensky, and Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion":

https://greatgameindia.com/hunter-biden-zelensky-neo-nazi/

How Zelensky made peace with the neo-Nazis:

https://thegrayzone.com/2022/03/04/nazis-ukrainian-war-russia/

Zelensky suspends ALL opposition parties:

https://theweek.com/russo-ukrainian-war/1011528/zelensky-nationalizes-tv-news-and-restricts-opposition-parties

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

No matter how many times you repeat the same stuff, doesn't make it so. Peddle your propaganda elsewhere. No one here is buying it.

Expand full comment

Kara Like you, I didn’t expect to read Fox News or Russian propaganda on Heather’s blog.

Expand full comment

Actually, I asked a question, backed up by sources whose content is worth discussing (or refuting, if you can), but you want to ignore it, as if you were a head-in-the-sand apologist for the most far-reaching genocide in history.

Expand full comment

Your posts are disingenuous and repetitive ad nausaem.

Done.

Expand full comment

No John Shmeesht you are a yo-yo virus endlessly tumbling along the same path. From your orbit it is quite clear someone else is in charge of your string.

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

Thank you for articulating the morality of democracy in such a profound way. Unfortunately, the extremists in their self-righteous zeal see themselves as aggrieved heroes fighting the forces of immortality. In fact, Yale professor Timothy Snyder's latest installment of his "Thinking About" commentary explores how Russian fascists have used Christianity as a kind of shield of innocence to justify or rationalize unspeakable acts of violence in the past and now in Ukraine.

All of it is shocking, especially given so many past unfathomable brutalities, both here at home and abroad. But there's some comfort in knowing how the enemy thinks, even if the thinking is horribly demented.

https://snyder.substack.com/p/russias-easter-offensive?r=57fmo&s=r&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

Dr. Snyder's essay of 4/17/2022 mentions Putin's ideological hero, Ivan Ilyan.

Wikipedia: "Ilyin thought that any state must be established as a corporation in which a citizen is a member with certain rights and certain duties. Therefore, Ilyin recognized inequality of people as a necessary state of affairs in any country. But that meant that educated upper classes had a special duty of spiritual guidance towards uneducated lower classes."

"Ilyin was a monarchist. He believed that monarchical consciousness of law corresponds to such values as religious piety and family. His ideal was the monarch who would serve for the good of the country..." Ilyan believed monarchy was superior to a republic, with its individual freedoms and rapid change.

European monarchs derived their authority from God as anointed by the Catholic Church. The quest for greater power, wealth, and privilege led to dehumanization of groups to be subjugated, as through the Crusades, the Inquisition, pogroms against Jews, genocide of Indigenous peoples in colonies, and enslavement of Africans in the colonies.

Before we even jump to recognizing themes that echo Putin and Trump, we have the seductiveness of paternalism: "_____ is taking care of that for me," often as a trade-off for loss of autonomy. (And we've all had our moments of being there to greater or lesser degrees with wishfulness and/or appreciation.) American democracy is rooted in paternalism and its inherent presumption of superiority over lesser, weaker others. However much it remains rampantly expressed in sexism and other forms of discrimination and oppression of others, paternalism is kept in check by the Constitution's democratic principle of consent of the governed--the antithesis of the monarchism against which our Founding Fathers revolted.

We now learn that Putin's version of moral imperative to eradicate Ukrainianism includes "the end justifies the means," so there is no objection to murder, torture, and rape of Ukrainians. With the religious mandate tied to the Russian Orthodox Church, the historical Russian identity of selective cultural superiority, and the brainwashing through state-controlled propaganda machine media, it's not just Putin. It's the beliefs of the Ukrainians' relatives in Russia who angrily deny the Ukrainians' reports of civilian deaths and suffering. The mothers of 20,000 dead soldiers, recruited from impoverished regions far from Moscow, are more likely to believe their sons' deaths to be glorious, than to revolt against Putin. Genocide is not morally wrong to Russians--it is policy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Ilyin

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

Horrors.Thank you Ellie. I think.

Expand full comment

Thanks Ellie.

Expand full comment

Yes, Dr. Snyder's most recent post is excellent.

Expand full comment

Agree TC.❤

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

Michael, in different ways you and others of us have expressed what's been going on in the USA: shutting down facts and the truth with alternative reality; passage of bills to suppress the vote and nullify election results; taking away a woman's right to choose; ban books and politically control the curriculum; curtail immigration and more...What is happening is Purification for absolute control of power. Total Domination = Complete Slavery. We've come a long way in that regard and here come the mid-terms!

Expand full comment
Apr 18, 2022·edited Apr 18, 2022

Thanks for posting this. It also explains how evangelicals use religion the same way.

Here is the link to the Karaganov interview

It won't paste. Don't know why

Expand full comment

Allen, so glad to read the update on you and Tanya....and that all are safe, including the roses!! I think of you and Tanya and your odyssey so often. You two are a real and present Ukrainian connection for me and I suspect for this group. Stay well.

Expand full comment

Thank you 😊

Expand full comment

Glad to see you here and to hear through Pam and Fern that you and your family are safe.

Expand full comment

I have that same “no paste” problem. Anybody know why?

Expand full comment

I have found that you need to write something first. I’m sure it’s an attempt to keep the spamming to a minimum.

Expand full comment

“…Russian fascists have used Christianity as a kind of shield of innocence…”. The ultimate perversion of logic and truth.

Expand full comment

As do Republicans Jesus Christians

Expand full comment

“A Tale of Two Easters” or “Why Russia believes that the deaths of “others” is a moral Russian Christian Imperative”

Expand full comment

Superb "revelations" from Dr. Snyder. Thank You for sharing, Michael:

"One way of thinking about the life and death of Jesus is to connect them. Jesus of Nazareth took risks in life. He had things he needed to say about love and truth, but he did not deliberately provoke the state. That he died for his convictions adds an unforgettable dimension to them.

On such an interpretation of Easter, Jesus would be exemplary as an ethicist and truthteller who understood that commitments involve risks. His example would not be one of seeking death, or seeking meaning in death. The instruction would be to accept that some risk of death follows, in certain circumstances, from commitments to values such as love and truth... "

"Russians can behave like fascists while calling others “fascists.” Putin can express perplexity as to why he should feel guilty. He has said, after all, that it is God’s will that Russia and Ukraine be “united.” Dead Russians prove the sanctity of his goal, and dead Ukrainians are its realization.

And so Russia’s Easter Offensive will come. Russian Orthodox clerics, tied to the Russian state, will find ways to justify the bloodshed. Official Russia will protect itself from moral tension with extravagant claims of victimhood.

And all Christians will have something to ponder: how to think about the life and death of Jesus in our own times of war."

Expand full comment

Thank you! Will read.

Expand full comment

I read this yesterday. It’s horrifying.

Expand full comment

Holiness Kirill, The Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus' has blessed the special military operation. Of course pious Russians must believe that “This is truly a holy war…”.

I’m surprised that it hasn’t been officially declared to be a crusade.

Evangelical TV celebrity Pat Robertson says that Putin "is being compelled by God" to invade Ukraine in preparation for a massive End Times invasion of Israel. I haven’t noticed any prominent Republicans disagreeing.

Such is the power of faith.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” -Voltaire

Expand full comment

It's a great quote, but it didn't actually come from Voltaire. It's 20th century.

Expand full comment

Maybe an overly loose translation of something that he did write.

Il y a eu des gens qui ont dit autrefois, vous croyez des choses incompréhensibles, contradictoires, impossibles, parce que nous vous l’avons ordonné; faites donc des choses injustes parce que nous vous l’ordonnons. Ces gens-là raisonnoient à merveille. <<Certainement qui est en droit de vous rendre absurde, est en droit de vous rendre injuste.>>

Expand full comment

Agreed. Here's the lengthier context in both French and English from Wikiquotes:

Mais, monsieur, en étant persuadés par la foi, des choses qui paraissent absurdes à notre intelligence, c'est-à-dire, en croyant ce que nous ne croyons pas, gardons-nous de faire ce sacrifice de notre raison dans la conduite de la vie. Il y a eu des gens qui ont dit autrefois: Vous croyez des choses incompréhensibles, contradictoires, impossibles, parce que nous vous l'avons ordonné; faites donc des choses injustes parce que nous vous l'ordonnons. Ces gens-là raisonnaient à merveille. Certainement qui est en droit de vous rendre absurde est en droit de vous rendre injuste. Si vous n'opposez point aux ordres de croire l'impossible l'intelligence que Dieu a mise dans votre esprit, vous ne devez point opposer aux ordres de malfaire la justice que Dieu a mise dans votre coeur. Une faculté de votre âme étant une fois tyrannisée, toutes les autres facultés doivent l'être également. Et c'est là ce qui a produit tous les crimes religieux dont la terre a été inondée.

Once your faith, sir, persuades you to believe what your intelligence declares to be absurd, beware lest you likewise sacrifice your reason in the conduct of your life. In days gone by, there were people who said to us: "You believe in incomprehensible, contradictory and impossible things because we have commanded you to; now then, commit unjust acts because we likewise order you to do so." Nothing could be more convincing. Certainly anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices. If you do not use the intelligence with which God endowed your mind to resist believing impossibilities, you will not be able to use the sense of injustice which God planted in your heart to resist a command to do evil. Once a single faculty of your soul has been tyrannized, all the other faculties will submit to the same fate. This has been the cause of all the religious crimes that have flooded the earth. (Translation from Norman Lewis Torrey: Les Philosophes. The Philosophers of the Enlightenment and Modern Democracy. Capricorn Books, 1961, pp. 277-8)

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Voltaire

Expand full comment

Who’s is it?

Expand full comment

Somebody who attributed it to Voltaire because they doubted that anyone would consider it of value coming from them, so they ascribed it to him. Sort of like the (not so) "ancient Chines curse" about being forced to live in interesting times.

Expand full comment

Voltaire gets the online attribution

I’ll ck out more tmoro. Sleep time now.

Expand full comment

Yes, indeed he (Voltaire) does:

“Once your faith, sir, persuades you to believe what your intelligence declares to be absurd, beware lest you likewise sacrifice your reason in the conduct of your life. In days gone by, there were people who said to us: "You believe in incomprehensible, contradictory and impossible things because we have commanded you to; now then, commit unjust acts because we likewise order you to do so." Nothing could be more convincing. Certainly anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices. If you do not use the intelligence with which God endowed your mind to resist believing impossibilities, you will not be able to use the sense of injustice which God planted in your heart to resist a command to do evil. Once a single faculty of your soul has been tyrannized, all the other faculties will submit to the same fate. This has been the cause of all the religious crimes that have flooded the earth. (Translation from Norman Lewis Torrey: Les Philosophes. The Philosophers of the Enlightenment and Modern Democracy. Capricorn Books, 1961, pp. 277-8)“ — Voltaire Questions sur les miracles (1765) Widely used paraphrase: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities".

Source: https://quotepark.com/quotes/1780502-voltaire-once-your-faith-sir-persuades-you-to-believe-wha/

Expand full comment

Wikiquotes cites the same source for translation.

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Voltaire

When I ask Google to translate the following,

>Certainement qui est en droit de vous rendre absurde est en droit de vous rendre injuste<

Google Translate returns this result

>Certainly who has the right to make you absurd has the right to make you unjust<

Expand full comment

Depends on your translation.

Expand full comment

Not quiteTC. See above

Expand full comment

Letter N° 11 in Collection des Lettres sur les Miracles” of Voltaire published in 1765: "Certainement qui est en droit de vous rendre absurde, est en droit de vous rendre injuste" (Certainly, whoever has the right to make you absurd has the right to make you unjust)

Expand full comment

Which isn't quite the same - which is my point that the popular version was done by someone else.

Expand full comment

But building on the original statement of principle by Voltaire, transposing it into the current age and the field of war. As usual, there's nothing entirely new under the sun.

Expand full comment

Absurdities and atrocities abound

Expand full comment

Excellent final quote. Thank you Jonathan from WV, CA, NE

Expand full comment

The U.S. government had a controlling hand in the perpetration of the most far-reaching genocide in history, but we the American people continue to be silent, as we hypocritically condemn others.

Heather Cox Richardson writes horribly about "the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in which Russian troops have leveled cities, killed thousands, kidnapped children, and raped and tortured Ukrainian citizens." How much of this is propaganda? How much is the distorted inflation of acts of individuals or small groups of soldiers? "Leveled cities" appears to be a blatant lie. The Russians under Putin leveled Grozny during the Chechen rebellion; they certainly know how to level cities. They specifically avoided doing this during the Ukraine invasion. Justified criticism of the Russian invasion loses its force when it is poisoned by propaganda lies.

Remember Abu Ghraib? Was that U.S. government policy? Remember the false story of the Kuwaiti baby incubators that was used to demonize Saddam Hussein? Remember the mythical "weapons of mass destruction" in all directions that were used to sell an aggressive war to the American people?

Beyond that is the most far-reaching genocide in history, perpetrated by the International Monetary Fund, based in Washington, D.C. and from its inception subject to the control of the U.S. Government:

Hypocrites in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Quoting from the resignation letter ("our own peculiar Holocaust") of senior IMF official Davison Budhoo:

"To me resignation is a priceless liberation, for with it I have taken the first big step to that place where I may hope to wash my hands of what in my mind’s eye is the blood of millions of poor and starving peoples. Mr. Camdessus, the blood is so much, you know, it runs in rivers."

"The charges that I make are not light charges - they are charges that touch at the very heart of western society and western morality and post-war inter-governmental institutionalism that have degenerated into fake and sham under the pretext of establishing and maintaining international economic order and global efficiency."

"Will the world be content merely to brand our institution as among the most insidious enemies of humankind? Will our fellowmen condemn us thus and let the matter rest? Or will the heirs of those whom we have dismembered in our own peculiar Holocaust clamor for another Nuremberg?

"I don’t mind telling you that this matter has haunted me; it has haunted me particularly over the past five years. It has haunted me because I know that if I am tried I will be found guilty, very guilty, without extenuating circumstance."

"In guilt and self-realization of my own worthlessness as a human being, what I would like to do most of all is to so propel myself that I can get the man-in-the-street of North and South and East and West and First and Second and Third and Fourth and All Other Worlds to take an interest in what is happening to his single planet, his single habitat, because our institution was allowed to evolve in a particular way in late twentieth century international society, and allowed to become the supra-national authority that controls the day-to-day lives of hundreds of millions of people everywhere."

"We get away with our works of Dracula hiding behind the mask of Superior Technocracy and a Greater Wisdom striving for “financial balance” and “structural adjustment” in the Third World."

"And so it goes on and on and on. And nothing changes in the developing world except more death and destitution for the people in the slums, and more power for the Fund. And with the passing of every meeting our staff becomes even more reinvigorated; they wield a sharper and more bloodied tool; an even more terrifying Executor’s Axe stand poised for service everywhere in the South. And the children scream, Sir; my God, how they scream!"

(Budhoo is referring here to the incessant screaming of starving infants. When they stop screaming, you know that death is near.)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oJzvpfFzIKu76oE1CkzZlarRiVpYIggFMFzSt6OgHx0/mobilebasic"

See also "Millions die every year in IMF's new Holocaust": https://www.scribd.com/document/136821354/Davison-l-Budhoo-Interview

--

And then is the book "The Fire This Time: U.S. War Crimes in the Gulf," by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. "Relying on evidence gathered firsthand as well as eyewitness reports, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark accuses the U.S. government and its allies of committing war crimes during their attack on Iraq. Clark also presents evidence that the U.S. provoked the war to gain permanent domination over the Gulf."

https://www.amazon.com/Fire-This-Time-U-S-Crimes/dp/1560250712

Once again, hypocrites in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

One could also mention the book "Genocide," by Sergei Glazyev, written about the effects of the IMF-style "shock therapy" that was forced onto the post-Soviet Russians by western bankers: "The rate of annual population loss has been more than double the rate of loss during the period of Stalinist repression and mass famine in the first half of the 1930s.... There has been nothing like this in the thousand-year history of Russia."

https://www.amazon.com/Genocide-Russia-New-World-Order/dp/0943235162

Expand full comment

God, will you never take a break

Expand full comment

It seems to be either a passion of perspective or a paid shill. Either way, huh?

Expand full comment

Is Dave Dalton also a head-in-the-sand apologist for the most far-reaching genocide in history?

Expand full comment

IT seems to be a bot

Expand full comment

The Nope was directed at John’s accusation, not you. Timing is everything 😁

Expand full comment

Drop dead, you Russian traitor.

Expand full comment

Do you think it's inaccurate to characterize Zelensky as an oligarchic puppet and a slave to the genocidal International Monetary Fund?

"How One Ukrainian Billionaire Funded Hunter Biden, President Volodymyr Zelensky, and Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion":

https://greatgameindia.com/hunter-biden-zelensky-neo-nazi/

How Zelensky made peace with the neo-Nazis:

https://thegrayzone.com/2022/03/04/nazis-ukrainian-war-russia/

Zelensky suspends ALL opposition parties:

https://theweek.com/russo-ukrainian-war/1011528/zelensky-nationalizes-tv-news-and-restricts-opposition-parties

Expand full comment

Why you believe someone would click on your links is interesting

Expand full comment

Is Jeri Chilcutt a head-in-the-sand apologist for the most far-reaching genocide in history?

Expand full comment

John, if you find fault with every written comment or every street level photograph & video, please take a look at a wide array of satellite photos of the Russian ordinance used on Ukraine & their naval activity in the Black Sea. Maxar is doing good work but, there is a substantial amount of sourced documentation if you don't like Maxar's work. The evidentiary requirements for crimes against humanity are quite high but easily met in this particular Putin case.

Expand full comment

Ignore this guy. Just another of Putin's keyboard mercenaries, though more annoyingly repetitive than most.

Expand full comment

Bryan McKown, saying so does not make it true, but I will be pleased to look at any evidence that the Russians have "leveled" any Ukrainian cities, as they did to Grozny years ago.

Expand full comment

You're a persistent piece of shit, aren't you?

Expand full comment

Go fuck off, little Schmeekle. and when you're done, go fuck off over there. And when you're done, go fuck off over there. And then give mommy back her computer, you little Putin-sucking traitor.

Expand full comment
Apr 19, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

This kind of language is beneath you, or should be, no matter what you think of Mr. Schmeekle.

Expand full comment

My pain threshold for idiots is subterranean.

Expand full comment

I feel your pain.

Expand full comment

Schmeekle isn't a real person - it's a composite troll.

Expand full comment

Real or not, some of the articles to which "he" sent links were real, in reliable (I think) publications, and disturbing.

Expand full comment

No, they weren't. One was a letter of resignation, another a letter with no attribution, and two books - one that claims Russia has been a victim of genocide since 1993 and the other a tome written by Ramsay Clark while he was in his dotage. Neither has anything to do with Prof. Cox's letter of today.

Expand full comment

Give it up, already!

Expand full comment

Pam Peterson, do you think it's inaccurate to characterize Zelensky as an oligarchic puppet and a slave to the genocidal International Monetary Fund?

"How One Ukrainian Billionaire Funded Hunter Biden, President Volodymyr Zelensky, and Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion":

https://greatgameindia.com/hunter-biden-zelensky-neo-nazi/

How Zelensky made peace with the neo-Nazis:

https://thegrayzone.com/2022/03/04/nazis-ukrainian-war-russia/

Zelensky suspends ALL opposition parties:

https://theweek.com/russo-ukrainian-war/1011528/zelensky-nationalizes-tv-news-and-restricts-opposition-parties

Expand full comment

I really appreciate today's letter. Thank you Heather. Classical civilization on the North side of the Mediterranean was critically dependent on slavery. Much of it was quite cruel. Working in a marble quarry, feeding the fires of a hypocaust, or working to support a Roman villa was an awful existence. Thus, when the empire started to collapse, it happened with amazing speed because of the very deep seated hatred most people had for the privileged classes. Those folks had to literally run for their lives as the legions shrank and pulled back toward Italy and the Bosporus. That anyone would think that resurrecting that form of structural underpinnings for global civilization could lead to a good end is to ignore history. But while I fear the challenges that we face, I'm actually quite optimistic about them. Any system, whether it's in business, the military, or in government, that is too dependent on a vertical command structure for all that must be done, cannot adapt to the challenge of a determined and highly adaptive competitor with a more dispersed decision making model. Let's just hope that it doesn't take an exchange of nukes to make that point stick.

Expand full comment

I just shudder to think just how bad it might have to get first to rouse people with that determination to reinstate US democracy if it essentially falls in the future. Do humans HAVE to lose something first to realize what they have lost?

Expand full comment

When a majority of white men are suffering, things will change.

Expand full comment

Precisely.

Expand full comment

Can only hope for that time.

Expand full comment

Actually, the Roman system from the late empire, tying people to their family's occupation, lasted for quite awhile. It was called feudalism and lasted into the 16th century in the West and was still around in Russia in the 19th century.

Expand full comment

Untill consolidation of the peasant land strips and theft of their commons by and for the benefit of the local Aristos "creating surplus labour" necessary for the great European diaspora and empire building from the 16th C onwards.

Expand full comment

Yes - popular saying in 18th Century England, from the "Enclosure movement": "The man who stole a goose from the commons was transported to the colonies, while the man who stole the commons from the goose was transported to Parliament."

Expand full comment

And indeed no doubt owned a goodly chunk of the colonies to which they were transported benefiting doubly thereby from the peasant's unrewarded and unrewarding efforts.

Expand full comment