Fareed Zakaria made a scary prediction about democracy in 1997 — and it's coming true

"I thought this was interesting, especially with regards to the decline of political parties as a moderating force." Nora Hazi

Twenty years ago, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria wrote an essay in Foreign Affairs titled “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy.” His thesis was that democracies around the world were surrendering to illiberal reforms, and that the strands holding the traditions of democracy and liberalism together were rapidly eroding.

“From Peru to the Palestinian Authority, from Sierra Leone to Slovakia, from Pakistan to the Philippines,” he wrote, “we see the rise of a disturbing phenomenon in international life — illiberal democracy.”

Zakaria’s piece made an important distinction between democracy and liberalism, constructs that are often conflated. Democracy is a process for choosing leaders; it’s about popular participation. To say that a state is democratic is to say little about how it is actually governed.  read more


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Open Letter to Gov. Jerry Brown on Healthcare -- PaliDems

Mark A. Hirshfeld, LCSW
Ventura County Activists for Bernie Sanders

Dear Governor Brown,

I have campaigned for you in every election.  I did so because I believed that you would work on behalf of the people of California. Californians need your help now.  My wife has a  terminal illness. She requires frequent doctor visits and expensive medication in order to stay out of the hospital.  As she is not yet 65, she stands to lose all health coverage, if our Republican Congress wins their war against the nation's health.  So the political is now personal. 

I, too have been diagnosed with a precursor for a very bad cancer.  My elderly mother is likely to be soon placed in a nursing facility.  So many other Californians are in similar, or even worse positions.  Our lives hang in the balance, and Congress does not care.

Governor Brown, we need your help to bring SB562 Healthy California to the Assembly floor.  The bill may not yet be perfect, but it cannot be improved if it remains shelved as you asked Speaker Rendon to do.  This bill, according to the already completed financial study, will save the state billions of dollars.  The economic impact, though, does not stop there.  Without access to healthcare, more people will be forced to rely on emergency rooms for treatment. Read more