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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 But over time, just as calling someone a “commie” is outdated,  so “liberal” lost its power to damage.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 …

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[4 Jan 2017 | No Comment | ]

Trying to make political (i.e.,Trumpian) predictions at this point is a fool’s errand. But, fool that I am, I succumb to (a) the tradition of would-be pundits doing so for the New Year and (b) the blandishments of those who bait me for not coming up with answers to the unanswerable.
Among the numerous problems lie the internal contradictions of Trump’s own campaign promises, the conflict between many of those promises and the avowed policies of the Republican Congress and, finally, conflicts among factions of both the GOP House and Senate …

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[27 Dec 2016 | One Comment | ]

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not have his own private email server for city business the way a certain secretary of state did. Nevertheless he conducted quite a bit of city business from his own personal email address, evading laws requiring all city business to be conducted on the city’s system. Emanuel presumed those messages were protected from public scrutiny under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). (This from a mayor who boasts of his administration’s “transparency.”)

Both the Better Government Association–a private watchdog group–and earlier the Chicago Tribune disagreed and …

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[20 Dec 2016 | One Comment | ]

Progressives can’t be happy about any of President Elect Donald trump’s cabinet picks who could eventually undo public education, environmental protections, civil and voting rights down the line. But two of them potentially pose existential threats to what remains of world peace. They are Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson and the proposed ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.
Tillerson, the head of ExxonMobil, has done business all over with world with heads of friendly countries and brutal dictators alike. That’s what heads of ExxonMobil do. The most dangerous person he has …

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[15 Dec 2016 | 3 Comments | ]

Let us briefly leave the deepening swamp of the transition to government by Exxon Mobil, Goldman Sachs and an army of generals, all overseen by the maestro of a continuing unreality show. It has the making of a bad satirical novel, but, sadly, we will return soon to keep tabs on how that gang will make America grate. (That was not a mis-spelling.)
BTW–Back in the Eisenhower days we used to say the country was run by three generals: Ike, General Motors and General Electric.
It’s been weeks since this …

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[6 Dec 2016 | One Comment | ]

                 April is the cruellest month, breeding
 lilacs out of the dead land…
               T.S. Eliot–“The Waste Land”
For most Americans April is the cruelest month not because of those sprouting lilacs, but  that’s  when we file our income tax returns–usually by the 15th, but next year the 17th.

One American required to file is the President of the United States, who next year will be one Donald J. Trump. For decades American presidents have released their tax returns to the public within days, if not hours, of filing–even though presidents are subject to …

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[29 Nov 2016 | One Comment | ]

Donald Trump continues to agonize over how much pain he can cause with his cabinet appointments and whom he plans to hurt the most.  It’s clear from his nominee for Secretary of Education, billionaire  Betsy DeVos, that he is for privatizing public education–and dismembering or  eliminating teachers unions.
One weird call was picking neurosurgeon Ben Carson for Housing and Urban Development, who recently admitted he has no earthly idea how to run a government bureaucracy. Carson’s only credential is that he was raised in a house in a city. I was …

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[28 Nov 2016 | No Comment | ]

Donald Trump told us he was going to “drain the swamp.” What he didn’t say was that he was going to set loose all its muck-laden alligators on the country–and the world.
At this writing he has appointed three top White House aides who don’t require confirmation by the Senate and two cabinet-level positions that require confirmation but are certain to be OK’d, although the Democratic minority may give them a hard time.

With the exception of Reince Priebus, his choice for chief of staff, all are disasters. Priebus is a vanilla, …

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[14 Nov 2016 | 2 Comments | ]

Even a fine béarnaise sauce cannot disguise the sickening taste of the crow I’ve been eating. I add my own culpa to those on the long list of pundits, pollsters and political mavens who got the important half wrong: the electoral vote. It’s small solace to win the popular vote.

This election will be studied for generations–especially FBI Director James Comey’s unprecedented actions– but likely no single answer will be found as to why so many got it so wrong, although Donald Trump’s data-analytics team spotted the trend late in the …