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[21 Mar 2017 | One Comment | ]

WARNING: This column contains Freudian language.
The ascension and behavior of Donald Trump have given rise to a cottage industry of amateur and professional psychoanalysts who explain Trump along with the amateur and professional political analysts. None have examined him personally, but we hear terms such as “narcissist,” “pathological liar” and “sociopath” tossed around like dice on a craps table.
All this calls to mind “What Makes Sammy Run?” a popular 1940 roman a clef  by Budd Schulberg about the rise of a ruthless Hollywood mogul.  Sammy Glick clawed his way up …

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[14 Mar 2017 | No Comment | ]

Trumpcare–the proposed, so-called replacement for the Affordable Care Act–is being exposed daily as a catastrophe, knocking another 15 million  or so people off the insurance rolls, increasing costs for folks 50 and older while giving millions in tax breaks to millionaires and their fellow one-percenters. Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman calls it “a sick joke of a health plan.”

But while Trumpcare assaults us on the one hand, Trump’s policies his appointees are conspiring to make us less healthy as a nation by rolling back previous presidential directives, regulations and legislation …

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[7 Mar 2017 | 3 Comments | ]

Pop psychologists sometimes identify specialized guilty consciences, such as Jewish guilt, Catholic guilt, Freudian guilt and so on. Add to this impressive list a wave of Trumpian guilt, the main symptom of which is amnesia. (Trump’s delusional wiretap to one side.)

We have now seen a string of Trumpians, ranging from the deplorable Michael Flynn to Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to son-in-law-in-chief Jared Kushner, plus a few lesser lights, none of whom admitted they had met with Russian officials until they got caught–and once caught could not “recall“ …

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[24 Feb 2017 | 2 Comments | ]

Earlier this month Donald Trump took moments off his blizzard of presidential orders–constitutional and otherwise– to pay cursory tribute to Black History Month. Ironically, he praised an historic figure whose words still  inspire and justify the protest demonstrations going on against him and today– as they have inspired marchers for peace, civil rights, women’s rights and social justice for generations.

Trump noted the new African American Museum of History and Culture is where people could learn about Martin Luther King and Frederick Douglass, whom he called, with his limited vocabulary of …

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[20 Feb 2017 | One Comment | ]

Yes, he frequently rambles incoherently. You may wonder why he gives clearly dangerous executive orders, such as restoring the coal mining industry‘s right to dump its wastes into unpolluted rivers and streams. Will that bring back jobs for miners or just lower expenses for owners?

But look again at some of Trump’s biggest lies and worst orders, typically catering to racism and xenophobia, but bearing no relationship to making America “great again,“ and you can get a whiff of the grand plan.
–Reiterating again and again with no …

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[14 Feb 2017 | One Comment | ]

 
Franklin Roosevelt reassured a nation facing economic chaos and a war brewing across the ocean that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Trump, on the other hand, using the authoritarian’s tools of fear and lies, is doing all he can to instill fear from within and from abroad. Only he can save us from crime in the cities and staunch the inflow of Islamic terrorist immigrants and refugees.

Not to say there is no domestic problem–we in Chicagoans and others cities face it  daily. We have also suffered terrorist …

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[7 Feb 2017 | No Comment | ]

Almost lost in the brouhaha over Trump’s ban on travel from 7 predominantly Muslim countries–essentially the ban he promised in his campaign–is his pledge made largely to Evangelicals to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment in order to allow the clergy to “speak freely and without fear of retribution.”
Evangelicals–and other religious groups–have long fought the law in the name of “free speech” and denounce it as a breach of religious freedom. They claim it censors the content of a pastor’s sermon.

 
Civil libertarians support the legislation while cynics like me think opposition …

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[31 Jan 2017 | 3 Comments | ]

As we entered the era of “alternative facts,” “extreme vetting,” “taking names,” incipient trade wars and trying to shut up the press, The Resistance got off to a flying start. First off, 3.5 million or more Americans in Washington DC , around the country and around the world put their bodies on the line in women-led protest marches. The largest such mobilization in American history.

Demonstrations continued against Trump’s cabinet choices and executive orders on abortion, immigration, the environment and others–many of which are flawed, possibly unconstitutional or require congressional action. …

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[17 Jan 2017 | No Comment | ]

While we’re waiting to learn what part(s) of Donald Trump’s Russian “dossier” scandal–if any–turns out to be true, I’ve reached the conclusion that his raucously cheered attacks on “political correctness” is fundamentally an assault on liberalism.
Time was, calling someone “liberal” in certain circles could kill off a candidacy or demean a speaker’s ideas. But over time, just as calling someone a “commie” is outdated,  so “liberal” lost its power to damage.

“Politically correct,” however, a term that originated in the ’30s when it defined the Moscow party line, is still able …

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[10 Jan 2017 | No Comment | ]

Still trying to figure out why the president-elect is so allergic to the idea that Russia hacked aspects of our recent election–especially the idea that it was done to help him or hurt Hillary Clinton? A bizarre allergy that puts him at odds with every US intelligence agency?

    There are two possible answers and both may apply.
     The obvious one is that any suggestion he did not win his electoral-college victory all by himself–let alone with help from a foreign power–is a huge blow to his gargantuan self-esteem. As we …