Home » Archive

Featured, Headline »

[25 May 2017 | No Comment | ]

Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art is opening a retrospective exhibit of Takashi Murakami’s works titled “The Octopus Eats its Own Leg”–a creepy variation on “the snake swallows its own tail”–but both images strike me as perfect metaphors for what Donald Trump is doing to himself .
    Almost every Trump utterance since the firing of FBI Director James Comey seems to be contributing to a case against himself for obstruction of justice in the various investigations of Russia’s meddling in the recent presidential election and potential collusion of his team members. …

Featured, Headline »

[16 May 2017 | One Comment | ]

Donald Trump is threatening to stop the traditional White House briefings by his official spokespersons, none of whom has developed any credibility with the press. Some, however, are better liars than others and may survive longer..
Trump, of course, is the Liar in Chief. All presidents have lied, but he is a Niagara of untruths spewing so fast and furiously it’s impossible to keep up. Some call him a pathological liar;  others believe he either can’t tell the difference between truth and lies or perhaps is so deluded  that he believes …

Featured, Headline »

[9 May 2017 | One Comment | ]

I want to depart briefly from the unreal world of Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, etc. to talk about a new, virtually indispensible book that tells the full story of the federal role in creating and perpetuating America’s greatest shame: racial segregation. It’s called “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America,” by Richard Rothstein (Liveright, 336 pp, $$27.95 hardcover).
No less a liberal than John F. Kennedy, in an acclaimed speech, spoke of ending “both the de jure segregation of the South and the de …

Featured, Headline »

[3 May 2017 | No Comment | ]

With the presidential runoff coming up Sunday, despite all polls and political logic, just about every French person I speak to is concerned that somehow Marine Le Pen, the far-right “populist” may upset centrist Emmanuel Macron, who finished more than two points ahead of her in the first round. But they wouldn’t be French if they weren’t worried.

The big concern is that Jean-Luc Melenchon, the far-left populist  who tied for third in the first round, is the only figure of consequence, left or right, who refuses to endorse Macron. Though …

Featured, Headline »

[25 Apr 2017 | No Comment | ]

PARIS–As I write this, the first-time, center-left candidate Emmanuel Macron has about 24 percent of the vote vs. Marine Le Pen’s 22 percent in the first round of the French presidential elections, remarkably close to the past month’s polling. Several of the remaining nine candidates, left and center-right, rushed to endorse him against the ultra-right-wing Le Pen, giving him a distinct advantage in the runoff two weeks hence.

There was a huge 80 percent turnout Sunday, with as many as 20 percent of those voting declining to vote for president. …

Featured, Headline »

[18 Apr 2017 | No Comment | ]

No–I’m not worried about getting dragged off my flight to Paris in a few days–where, among other things I’ll cover the first round of the French elections–but the past week has left me with a few serious concerns.
The good news, such as it is, is that Steve Bannon has been pushed aside, perhaps demoted and may soon depart. I suspect, however, Trump will keep him on because, as LBJ used to put it about guys like Bannon, “it’s better to have him inside the tent pissing out rather than outside …

Featured, Headline »

[11 Apr 2017 | No Comment | ]

Forgive me (or don’t) for sounding like a cynical old man when I ask, “Would Donald Trump have launched a missile attack on a Syrian air base if his ‘favorables’ at home were 65 percent instead of 35 percent?”
Rule Number One in every head-of-state’s handbook is, when you’re in big trouble at home, launch a foreign military engagement to divert attention and show you are one tough leader. (Remember Grenada?) Sometimes known as “wagging the dog,”(after a satirical movie), it’s almost always worth a 5- or 10-point  rise in favorability. …

Featured, Headline »

[5 Apr 2017 | No Comment | ]

Director of National Intelligence H. R. McMaster, who succeeded the disgraced, immunity-seeker  Michael Flynn, has been strangely silent during the tragic comic-opera about the allegedly exculpatory intelligence brought to the president by Rep. Devin Nunes via what appears to be a three-cushion billiard shot from the White House itself.
Just as a reminder, McMaster, a three-star general, was clearly the most universally lauded and respected cabinet choice, honored for his leadership in Kuwait and Iraq and especially his willingness to speak truth to power. He wrote a book harshly critical of …

Featured, Headline »

[28 Mar 2017 | 2 Comments | ]

FBI Director James Comey and Admiral Michael Rogers, Director of the National Security Agency provided a lot of useful information last Monday, first giving the lie to Donald Trump’s tweeted accusations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him at Trump Tower.
The “wiretap” charge was later changed to some vague sort of surveillance, but both officials said there was no evidence of such, meaning Trump clearly lied–the deepest pile of doo-doo he stepped in since claiming Obama was born in Kenya.
The pair also confirmed that an 8-months investigation …

Featured, Headline »

[21 Mar 2017 | 2 Comments | ]

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 …