Behold the Biden Cabinet: competent, honorable, diverse. 

Competence and integrity come first.  But having a Cabinet not primarily limited to straight white men adds to its strength: (1) By widening the available talent pool.  (2) By making more people see themselves in their government and thus more likely to root for its success.   

(As gratifying as it is to see the nation’s first openly gay Cabinet Secretary, it may be even more moving to see a native American Secretary of the Interior.  The justness of it fairly screams.)

There’s strength in competence, integrity, and diversity.  

And then there’s that other kind of strength, as detailed in Ruth Ben-Ghiat’s Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present.

Corrupt thugs and bullies — like mobbed-up Trump who for years kept a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside and who, as President, felt most comfortable with strongmen around the world who murdered journalists and poisoned their political opponents.

With that in mind, two just-released documentaries for your consideration:

Putin’s Palace: History of the World’s Largest Bribe.  Since last week, it’s been seen 80 million times in Russia.  It’s free.  You’ll see why Trump so admires Putin.    

The Dissident, about the Washington Post journalist the Saudis dismembered with a bone saw.  Wait til you see how the Saudis used Israeli spyware to control Jeff Bezos’s phone.  The film costs $25 but when it wins the Oscar, you’ll be able to tell folks you saw it way back in January.  Trump’s condemnation of Mohammad Bin Salman, who ordered the murder, never came.


The Order of the Day, a very short book about Germany’s most powerful businessmen and politicians, and how they came to be cowed by Hitler.  If he had wanted them to overturn the results of a free and fair election, you can bet they’d have voted to do it.