Decline of American democracy: Chavez, si; Hitler, nein

“Sharif’s daughter – who also has political ambitions – gave investigators an ’06 document she says proves she doesn’t own these properties.”

When I saw the Vox piece, The decline of American democracy won’t be televised, it made a lot of sense to me. Arthur has conveniently explained the premise further.

What I was really happy about in this piece, though, is what it does NOT contain: a reference to Adolf Hitler. It’s not that one cannot make parallels between what’s going on now in the United States and that prewar period “in which the Nazi party rose from obscurity to stand on the brink of complete power over Germany.” It’s that it has been used so often, in references to both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, among others, that it has lost almost all meaning.

The example used by Vox in the “democratic backsliding” is Hugo Chavez, the late leader of Venezuela, in his attacks on the courts, free press and other institutions designed to create checks and balances.

Not incidentally, his successor, Nicolas Maduro has thrown opponents in jail and now he’s pushing to rewrite the constitution, which will further consolidate his power. This week, his opponents organized an unofficial protest vote against the constitution change. Millions of Venezuelans showed up. Gunmen fired on crowd of protesters in Caracas, killing a woman and injuring others.

Another international story that’s caught my attention: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could lose his job. From, of all things, the Daily Skimm:

“Last year, the Panama Papers were leaked. They’re the millions of docs that outed some high-profile people for being shady with their finances to avoid the Tax Man. On the list: Sharif’s three adult kids. They allegedly used offshore companies to buy expensive London real estate. Pakistanis want to know where the money came from. So, the country’s Supreme Court asked a group of investigators to look into it.

“Last week, the investigators accused the Sharifs of forgery and hiding their financials, but the Sharifs say ‘not true.’ Sharif’s daughter – who also has political ambitions – gave investigators an ’06 document she says proves she doesn’t own these properties. But turns out, the doc was typed out in Calibri font…which didn’t come out until ’07. Oops.”

Of course, there are no parallels between these three children of a politician and any other three adult children of a public official. I just thought it was… interesting.

December #2: Famous Monsters Chronicles, & EOY

The Great Songs :”Overlooked tracks from artists you know, obscure tracks from artists you may not know…

toon refugee.santaWeekly Sift explains the US polarized body politic: Small-government Freedom vs. Big-government Rights. Plus the Yearly Sift.

New York Times: For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions.

Deadliest U.S. mass shootings | 1984-2015.

Short video: A Conversation With Police on Race. Also, the Ferguson cop says life is ‘ruined’ after pointing AR-15 at journalists.

No Charges in the Murder of Tamir Rice and Why white people see black boys like him as older, bigger, and guiltier than they really are.

A girl narrates a letter to her dad as she grows up, and it makes rape culture obvious.

Shooting Parrots is blogging again! Why we’re hard-wired to believe conspiracy theories?

Latest Sunrise and Sunset Forecast in the US.

The city of Albany’s budget crisis.

Everyone on Earth is actually your cousin.

George Clayton Johnson, R.I.P. He was known for writing on the original Twilight Zone TV series, for co-writing the novel Logan’s Run and for writing the first-aired episode of the original Star Trek, among many things.

TEDx Grand Rapids talk: ‪”Valuable Bodies” by artist Riva Lehrer.

Second impressions By Tara Whittle.

Now I Know: The Jumping Frenchmen of Maine and How Panama United Great Britain and the derivation of the word “dude”.

The grilled cheese sandwich; you’re probably making it wrong.

Explain to me how it is that people who’ve been dead, usually exactly three years, seem to cycle up again in FB as recently deceased? Ravi Shankar and Dave Brubeck, just this month. Before that Andy Griffith. With Bob Denver, it was 7 years, so the feedback loop is shrinking.

Wide receiver Edgar Allan Poe.

Instagram Journalism, Internet Fame, & How to Think About Exercise, the former with Jeff Sharlet.

I wrote “Heaven forfend” to someone. My spellcheck does not like forfend?!

Kickstarter: The Official Famous Monsters of Filmland Chronicles Book from FantaCo.

Arthur celebrates the end of the year in search and words and phrases.

I LOVED to watch Meadowlark Lemon play with the Harlem Globetrotters.

The passing of Berowne of Savage Reflections at the age of 94, one of our regular ABC Wednesday contributors. He had a very rich life, but I’ll miss his weekly reflections.

A legendary Jerry Lewis film is reportedly about to join the National Film Registry.

Why West Coast Drivers Add ‘The’ to Their Freeway Numbers. “It’s not an affectation of the car-obsessed—it’s history.”

velveteen rabbit

Satire

Make America Great Again.

How to Misrepresent Global Warming in One Graph, for Dummies.

Lawyer for Martin Shkreli Hikes Fees Five Thousand Per Cent.

Parents Outraged Schools “Indoctrinating” Students Into Islam With Arabic Numerals.

Single Woman With 3 Young Children Unaware She Subject Of 984 Judgments Today.

Chuck Miller

Seven Star Wars movies in one day. And the British weather forecast.

What’s Japanese for “You’re so stupid”?

A TV show I barely heard of called Galavant returns; clips of the musical numbers makes me want to check it out.

Music!

The niece! Rebecca Jade & the Cold Fact – Gonna Be Alright.

From imgur: Hosanna in Excel Sheets
hosanna in excel sheets
The Carole King tribute at the Kennedy Center Honors.

End of year musical mashups.

The Coverville Countdown: Best Covers of 2015, Part 1 and Part 2.

Pantheon Songs is dead. In its ashes: The Great Songs – “Overlooked tracks from artists you know, obscure tracks from artists you may not know, masterpieces, and other curios I’d play if I were an overnight DJ.”

The Sound of Silence- Disturbed.

The Artist Formerly Known As Terence Trent D’Arby.

At 90, Dick Van Dyke sings “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” with Conan O’Brien and The Vantastix.

NPR: In memoriam, 2015.

Frank Sinatra’s Drummer Tells the Story of His Final Concert.

New Yorker: The Discovery of Roscoe Holcomb and the “High Lonesome Sound”.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. No YES? NO!

Animated

New group I joined on Facebook: Stephen R. Bissette, writer-artist. NOT started by Steve, BTW.

Evanier on Mel Blanc. Mark has been blogging for 15 years.

Extinct Attractions: Thurl Ravenscroft Documentary (2004) – Grinch, Haunted Mansion, Tony the Tiger.

Trouble with Comics: Favorite Holiday Comics.

I supported the Kickstarter for the documentary I Am Big Bird, but I did NOT know the BINGHAMTON connection of the early career of Caroll Spinney.

Today’s Video Link

Google alerts (me)

Like any rational person, Dustbury LOVES Pet Sounds. I’d love to see Brian Wilson at Tanglewood in June 2016.

How Arthur@AmeriNZ blogs.

Google alert (not me)

Roger Alin Green, 74, died Sunday, December 13, 2015, at his home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.