Archive for the ‘American current affairs’ Category


Who is the most powerful man in the United States?

April 17th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

This is not a trick question, but a serious one. Let’s start with the answer: Joe Manchin, Democratic senator for West Virginia. You could have been forgiven for thinking that the answer to the question is President Joe Biden. But Biden can achieve nothing substantial without getting legislation through Congress. That requires a majority in […]

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Joe Biden could well become a truly transformational president

March 27th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Supporters of Joe Biden’s primary challenger Bernie Sanders were convinced that he was too moderate; Biden was branded as ‘Sleepy Joe’ by his presidential opponent Donald Trump; and even many of his supporters thought that he would would Obama Mark 2, that is decent but cautious even conservative. But, after only a couple of months […]

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When is a majority not enough – or will the Democrats abolish (or at least amend) the filibuster?

March 19th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

So the Democrats in the United States now hold the White House with Joe Biden and have a majority in the House of Representatives and a majority in the Senate (once Vice-President Kamala Harris uses her casting vote). So they should be able to progress their large and radical agenda, right? If only American politics […]

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Some (brief) personal views on THAT interview

March 9th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

In my 72 years, I’ve never met a member of the British Royal Family and have never had any wish to do so. I don’t read the tabloid press so I’ve missed most of the gossip around the various royal personages. I’ve not seen one episode of “The Crown”. But I did watch the interview […]

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A review of the new book “Joe Biden” by Evan Osnos

February 12th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

This is not so much a biography as an extended profile written by a staff writer on the “New Yorker” and adapted from an occasional series of articles written by the author for the magazine. It was rushed out for publication the week before the presidential election of November 2020 on the assumption that Biden […]

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“A Promised Land” by Barack Obama (6)

February 6th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

Large sections of the last 250 pages of the book are devoted to different areas and aspects of foreign policy. In so far as it is fair to summarise Obama’s approach in a single sentence, that would be his assertion that: “I was determined to shift a certain mindset that had gripped not just the […]

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In the United States, voter suppression is even higher on the Republican agenda

January 29th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

What most non-Americans do not appreciate is that, in the United States, entitlement to vote and the mechanisms for voting are matters for each of the 50 individual states with therefore substantial variation across the country and a constant tussle to change the rules to favour the political party in state control. After an election […]

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“A Promised Land” by Barack Obama (4)

January 22nd, 2021 by Roger Darlington

There is a famous quote, usually – but wrongly – attributed to the German politician Otto von Bismarck, which was in fact written by the American poet John Godfrey Saxe: “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made”. This observation was in my mind as I read […]

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What are the 17 executive orders signed by newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden?

January 21st, 2021 by Roger Darlington

A couple of months ago, I did a posting explaining the role of executive orders in the American political system and suggesting that, once in the Oval Office, Joe Biden would enact a slew of such orders to undo some of the worst features of the Trump presidency. So it has proved to be. But […]

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A review of the 2019 documentary “Knock Down The House”

January 20th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

This documentary looks at a little-covered feature of American politics – primaries for the House of Representatives – from an unusual viewpoint – that of four progressive female candidates challenging the establishment incumbents. Directed by Rachel Lears, it follows the 2018 insurgency campaigns of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) of New York, Amy Vilela of Nevada, Cori […]

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