Wednesday September 03, 2014
March 12th, 2014
Let's be real. It's one thing to say that Russia's takeover of the Crimean Peninsula "cannot be allowed to stand," as many foreign policy sages have proclaimed. It's quite another to do something about it.
Religious conservatives have had a good run. Since the 1970s, when Paul Weyrich and other conservative thinkers recognized that conservative evangelical Christians had untapped potential to change U.S. elections, the "religious right" has been a powerful, if always secondary, force in the Republican Party. Conservatives did such a thorough job of rallying evangelicals around causes such as abortion that the word "evangelical" in a political context is now almost synonymous with "conservative."
Just as we've turned the coverage of politics into sports, we're doing the same with geopolitics. There is much nonsense being written about how Vladimir Putin showed how he is "tougher" than Barack Obama and how Obama now needs to demonstrate his manhood. This is how great powers get drawn into the politics of small tribes and end up in great wars that end badly for everyone. We vastly exaggerate Putin's strength - so does he - and we vastly underestimate our own strength and ability to weaken him through nonmilitary means.
Kerry Kennedy was just acquitted, and rightly so, of "drugged driving" -- she mistook a sleeping pill for her thyroid medication and conked out at the wheel.
It's an outrage that she was prosecuted in the first place, but even more of an outrage that steps aren't being taken to prevent this disturbingly common problem.
The Food and Drug Administration recently came out with a sweet surprise. Its proposed new nutrition label will finally give us a bit of key information we need to understand our food: the amount of added sugars.
The Koch brothers are in the news more than Justin Bieber.
It's not hard to persuade hardcore conservatives to turn against their own ideas, as soon as President Barack Obama agrees with them.
You can see and hear that in the chilly shrug that some folks on the political right are giving to the president's new "My Brother's Keeper" initiative -- a five-year, $200 million public-private partnership aimed at helping at-risk minority youths.
A dystopian nightmare is unfolding in North Carolina. It is what the whole country would look like if you were to marry David Koch to Ted Cruz, with a prenup by ALEC, the outside agitator also known as the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is the group that writes regressive laws, saving right-wingers the trouble of having to do it themselves.
To hear some American hawks talk about President Obama's reaction to the Russian move into Crimea, you'd think he's grabbed Neville Chamberlain's umbrella of appeasement and rushed off to Munich.
But Obama's response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's power move in Crimea can hardly be compared to the British prime minister's fateful surrender to Adolf Hitler's blatant theft of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia in 1938.
It didn't take very long for the smiling sports fan cheering in the Olympic stands to revert to his true nature. I'm referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the former KGB leader whose idea of diplomacy is sending in the troops.
The Olympics ended, and the war began. It resembles nothing so much as the old Russia: might over right, threats over diplomacy. Ronald Reagan used to call it "the evil empire." Has it changed?