More and more, I’m feeling the same way.

I recently wrote about the incredible irony of Americans spurning Covid vaccines that billions abroad would figuratively die for and that millions are literally dying without.

The fury-filled eloquence of Indian journalist Barkha Dutt, addressing her country’s Covid-fueled agony, illuminates the matter far better.

As she observes, “When I hear about the Biden administration’s call for states to pay $100 to anyone getting a coronavirus vaccine, I feel a surge of rage, disgust and bewilderment that it has come to this…The cash-rich Western countries that have not set vaccine mandates are displaying…

From a National Holiday to 1984

Memorial Day honors Americans who died while performing their military duties in our armed forces. This year, it is accompanied by attempts to make Americans sleepwalk through history.

The holiday arrives but three days after Senate Republicans blocked the formation of a bipartisan commission that would have investigated the January 6th Capitol insurrection. And it comes just one day after the Texas Legislature tried but temporarily failed to adopt one of the most stringent voter suppression laws in the country.

What we have, then, is a national holiday commemorating our history, following on the heels of a major political party…

The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices…to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill…and suspicion can destroy…and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own-for the children and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone.

- Epilogue to “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” 1959

A Typical Day

“The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,”* one of The…

A Chat with Babes

Early in my 1987–93 stint in the Philippines, I met with an attorney who conducted paralegal training — that is, sessions aiming to help selected farmers, shanty town residents, women and other disadvantaged groups acquire basic legal knowledge and skills, so as to in turn help their fellow community members with land, housing, domestic violence and other problems. Babes, as he was called (a typical Filipino nickname), explained that “it took me a while to realize that when I thought I was doing paralegal training, I was just giving law lectures” that his audiences didn’t understand.

Experts’ problems teaching laypersons…

Eighty-three years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt reminded America, “Let us not be afraid to help each other-let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us.”

In contrast, thirty-five years ago Ronald Reagan declared, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”

Twenty-five years ago, a retreating Bill Clinton acknowledged, “The era of big government is over.”

On Thursday, a somber but confident Joe Biden reminded America, “Put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the…

A Cabal

If you work overseas a lot, particularly among poorly educated populations, you sometimes learn of questionable and even dangerously uninformed beliefs in some countries. One memorable one, at the height of the AIDS crisis, involved the notion that men shouldn’t wear condemns because shamans could then retrieve their sperm and do all sorts of nefarious things with it.

Not that we’re immune to such stuff. Take QAnon, the metastasizing, hydra-headed, born-in-the-USA conspiracy theory initiated in October 2017 by “Q Clearance Patriot,” an anonymous and subsequently prolific internet message board poster. …

Along with lots of caveats.

This won’t hurt a bit. (Photo by Dick Knapp)

In a week when America’s Covid fatalities topped 500,000 — an official figure that might actually understate the real toll and that in any event represents more than all of our overseas wars’ combat deaths combined — it seems incongruous but useful to summarize some good vaccination news.

So here goes.

Arguably the most important data right now (and in weeks to come) comes from Israel, which is way ahead of all other countries in its vaccination rates by virtue of a deal it cut with Pfizer. That arrangement features use of the country’s sophisticated…

Hitler, the Confederacy and today’s authoritarians show the price we could pay for not pushing back in a big way.

One Month Later

It’s been almost a month since Twitterless Donald Trump flounced down to Florida. Some hoped that, having lost his presidential and social media platforms, his Big Lie about the 2020 election being stolen would flame out.

No such luck. In voting to acquit him at his impeachment trial, 43 out of 50 Republican senators yet again caved to his control. …

The impeachment trial stumbles to an end, but plants the seeds of success for Democrats and a potential debacle for Republicans.

A jury of our peers.
A jury of our peers.
A jury of our peers.

A Kerfuffle

That was fast. Five days after Donald Trump’s impeachment trial started, it ended on Saturday, as planned.

On Friday night, however, evidence from Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler and other sources kicked off a last-minute kerfuffle over extending the trial. In the wake of Beutler’s earlier statements at a town hall, they confirmed to news outlets that, amidst the Capitol riot, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had an expletive-laced shouting match over the phone with Trump. …

Stephen Golub

International development expert. Blog, A Promised Land, analyzes politics, policy matters and America as a developing country.

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