Blake Fleetwood was formerly on the staff of The New York Times and has written for The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, The New York Daily News, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Village Voice, Atlantic and the Washington Monthly on a number of issues.
He was born in Santiago, Chile and moved to New York City at the age of three. He graduated from Bard College and did graduate work in political science and comparative politics at Columbia University. He has also taught politics at New York University.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
Donald Trump’s recent outrageous comments about excluding Muslims certainly cross the boundary of traditional political discourse in America. Trump fits the classic definition of a demagogue: a rabble-rouser who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudices and ignorance of the lower socioeconomic classes in order to gain power. Demagogues oppose deliberation and advocate immediate, action to address a national crisis; they attack moderate and thoughtful opponents as being weak. . No wonder his populist rhetoric has been attacked by Republicans and Democrats alike. This, and his other comments, are reminiscent of hate speech by radical fringe groups. The conventional wisdom is that he can’t be elected president, that the Republican convention will repudiate him, that Hillary Clinton will destroy him in … Continue reading →
One-hundred-seventy-six civilians were killed by police in January and February, according to news clippings collected by killedbypolice.net. Of course, the greatest outrage of all is that no one really knows how many people are killed by police annually. FBI Director James B. Comey said last month, “You could tell me how many people, the absolute number, bought a book on Amazon. It’s ridiculous I can’t tell you how many people were shot by police in this country last week, last year, the last decade.” Most people killed by police are not armed with a gun. Only a small fraction of perpetrators are killed during or after a gunfight. The people killed by police are generally not nice guys. They are … Continue reading →
An extensive analysis of police homicides found wide discrepancies in the rate of police killings among major metropolitan police departments, when measured against population figures. Contrary to popular belief, New York City—-with a police homicide rate of 1 in 123,529 citizens—-ranks near the top (best, least people killed) of large cities in the U.S. The NYPD killed 68 people from 2007 – 2012 out of a population of 8.4 million. In Miami-Dade County, in a population of 2.5 million, (less than a third of the people living in NYC) police killed 68 citizens during that same five-year period. This means that citizens of Miami are 3.5 times more likely to killed by their local policeman than their counterparts in New … Continue reading →
Time was when the U.S. was really truly exceptional in many areas — in the 1950’s and 1960’s —- after the rest of the world’s manufacturing was destroyed in World War II. But in those years, there wasn’t much talk of American Exceptionalism. It was so obvious, especially in the economic sphere, when the U.S. accounted for 50 percent of the World’s GDP. But, America was also clearly superior to the rest of the world in terms of education, civil liberties, social mobility, science, health care, and a host of other areas. And most importantly, the ideas — our ideas, that were at the formation of the American Revolution: liberty, equality, free trade, the rights of the governed, etc — … Continue reading →
NPR’s Miami affiliate back-tracked yesterday after canceling an interview with author Stephen Kimber because the subject was “too incendiary and fears of a negative reaction from certain segments of the community.” (See original emails below) Yesterday, after repeated calls to the station from this author, Joseph Labonia, general manager of the station, overruled his program director host, Joseph Cooper. Labonia said, in a public spanking — that noted that Cooper was not part of the news team: “We want to do more than express a mea culpa, however. We want to make this right. As a result, WLRN’s news division (to which Mr. Cooper does not belong) will be interviewing Stephen Kimber, the author of What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of … Continue reading →
“I was going to do it, really I was.” This is the essence of President Obama’s remarks last week when he announced an overhaul of NSA procedures and the secret courts and secret opinions. “I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks… ” In other words, “He stole my thunder.” President Obama respectfully mentioned “Mr. Snowden” seven times in his remarks and almost seemed jealous of the whistleblower’s influence. He didn’t call Putin “Mr. Putin” The president said last week: “As I said at the National Defense University back in May…we have to strike the right balance between protecting our security and preserving our freedoms. And as part of this rebalancing, I … Continue reading →
In a well-orchestrated effort to get ahead of the story, this week the Obama administration released a trove of secret information about domestic spying and the rules of how the domestic phone records may be accessed and used by intelligence analysts. And yesterday, the president met with congressional leaders to assure them that the secret NSA programs would be adjusted. But, the administration efforts failed miserably in heading off the growing outcry and only raised more questions than they answered. Too little, too late. Even as senators debated the program, The Guardian published a 32-page presentation, downloaded by Edward J. Snowden, that describes a separate surveillance activity by the agency. It gives NSA analysts access to virtually any Internet browsing … Continue reading →
This week an unusual bipartisan effort from 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats almost succeeded in an attempt to cut off funding for the NSA’s collection of phone data by 205 “yes” to 217 “no” votes. But the movement to curb the NSA’s secret power over American citizens has now spread from the fringes, the wing nuts, of the Republican and Democratic parties to considerable mainstream support which the New York Times now calls “unstoppable.” Even backers of the NSA’s sweeping surveillance policies now admit that changes and more transparency are likely, as the politics of the issue are changing rapidly. Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said there are serious meetings to find accommodations to widespread public misgivings … Continue reading →