For me a authoritarian regime (dictatorship) is a place where the leader can order opponents murdered, without consequences. Russia and Saudi Arabia in 2020, for example.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) scores countries on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.
Nations are then classified under four types of governments: full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime.
Communicable disease has haunted humanity for all of history. As such, the responses to coronavirus in our midst have a grimly timeless quality. In fact, to one scholar, epidemics are a great lens for peering into the values, temperament, infrastructures and moral structures of the societies they attack. Frank M. Snowden is a professor emeritus of the history of medicine at Yale and author of Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present. An epidemic, he writes, “holds a mirror” to the civilization in which it occurs. In this podcast extra, he speaks to Bob about what we can learn about ourselves from the infectious diseases we've faced, from the bubonic plague in the 14th century to the Ebola outbreak in 2014 to COVID-19 today.
This interview originally aired as a segment in our March 6, 2020 program, Our Bodies, Ourselves.
A recent article of his in Rolling Stone sums up how COVID-19 signals the end of the American era.
In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism. …
No empire long endures, even if few anticipate their demise …
In 1940, with Europe already ablaze, the United States had a smaller army than either Portugal or Bulgaria. Within four years, 18 million men and women would serve in uniform, with millions more working double shifts in mines and factories that made America, as President Roosevelt promised, the arsenal of democracy.
When the Japanese within six weeks of Pearl Harbor took control of 90 percent of the world’s rubber supply, the U.S. dropped the speed limit to 35 mph to protect tires, and then, in three years, invented from scratch a synthetic-rubber industry that allowed Allied armies to roll over the Nazis. At its peak, Henry Ford’s Willow Run Plant produced a B-24 Liberator every two hours, around the clock. Shipyards in Long Beach and Sausalito spat out Liberty ships at a rate of two a day for four years; the record was a ship built in four days, 15 hours and 29 minutes. A single American factory, Chrysler’s Detroit Arsenal, built more tanks than the whole of the Third Reich.
In the wake of the war, with Europe and Japan in ashes, the United States with but 6 percent of the world’s population accounted for half of the global economy, including the production of 93 percent of all automobiles. …
COVID-19 didn’t lay America low; it simply revealed what had long been forsaken.
As the crisis unfolded, with another American dying every minute of every day, a country that once turned out fighter planes by the hour could not manage to produce the paper masks or cotton swabs essential for tracking the disease. The nation that defeated smallpox and polio, and led the world for generations in medical innovation and discovery, was reduced to a laughing stock as a buffoon of a president advocated the use of household disinfectants as a treatment for a disease that intellectually he could not begin to understand.
… With less than four percent of the global population, the U.S. soon accounted for more than a fifth of COVID deaths. …
Odious as he may be, Trump is less the cause of America’s decline than a product of its descent. As they stare into the mirror and perceive only the myth of their exceptionalism, Americans remain almost bizarrely incapable of seeing what has actually become of their country. …
The film polarized critics; while Phoenix’s performance, the musical score, cinematography and production values were praised, the dark tone, portrayal of mental illness, and handling of violence divided responses. … (68% on Rotten Tomatoes)
Joker has grossed over $1 billion, making it the first R-rated film to do so …
… the most profitable film based on a comic book …
Stop worrying about Russia. It’s the richest of the rich deciding American politics.
Charles and David Koch started as Libertarians. In fact, David ran in 1980 as candidate for Vice President for the Libertarian Party. In recent decades everything the Kochs do is to enrich themselves. #FollowTheMoney
The Kochs will cheat, lie, steal, intimidate to enrich themselves. The GOP are merely a means to an end.
The Kochs are good businessmen, employing many. For all the hundreds of millions they’ve spent, mostly on Republicans, they’ve made more back on legislation enriching the richest of the rich.
The 2010 Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision made the situation much worse.
Because their business is mostly Petrotoxins, the Kochs are keenest on preventing action on climate change.
Currently Americans for Prosperity is the main Koch lobbyist.
The E.P.A. identified Koch Industries in 2012 as the single biggest producer of toxic waste in the United States.
The U.S. political system is a fail, I’d say.
40% think Trump is doing a good job. A majority of those, I’m guessing, believe what they hear on FOX News and right wing radio.
Americans so easily misled deserve worse education, worse health care, medical bankruptcy, etc. … There’s no helping people like that.
I keep thinking American voters will figure out the richest of the rich are taking too much money. They don’t
In 2016, Doubleday published Mayer’s fourth book, Dark Money, which became an instant national best-seller, and the New York Times named it one of the ten best books of the year. …
Mayer revealed that approximately six investigators, led by former New York Police Chief Howard Safir, had been hired by the industrialist Koch brothers in an effort to try to dig up dirt in order to smear her reputation, and that accusations of plagiarism had been leveled at her. She responded by publicly airing those tactics of intimidation, effectively debunking the smear campaign.