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[23 Aug 2016 | No Comment | ]

I’ve been ranting about the need for genuine community policing  here and elsewhere as a major stride toward restoring trust between police and minority communities–which is one of the important steps we can take toward solving and even preventing crime in those neighborhoods. How can police expect the cooperation of local communities when they are feared as much or almost as much as the gangs?

An article in the August 18 New York Review of Books by UN Ambassador Samantha Power titled “US Diplomacy: Realism and Reality,” critiques our diplomacy and …

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[18 Aug 2016 | No Comment | ]

As we await Donald Trump’s latest “sarcastic” grotesquerie and Hillary Clinton’s next “short circuit” (whatever that means) let us contemplate the ridiculous perversion of democracy that brought them to us: the scattershot process of nominating the major parties’ presidential candidates. States’ rights run amuck.

   The variations from state to state include primary elections, caucuses, state conventions and sometimes a mix of caucus  and convention, any of which send delegates to the party’s national convention .
  Caucuses, despite the suggestion of old-fashioned town-hall democracy, are inherently undemocratic. They are held during …

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[10 Aug 2016 | One Comment | ]

The past couple of weeks have been so bad for Donald Trump that he was forced to try a drastic new gimmick: tell the truth and admit error–the first time he has resorted to such a radical campaign  tactic.
For days he was spouting in great detail about seeing a “secret” video of a cargo plane landing in Iran carrying $400 million cash and Iranians unloading the precious loot,  allegedly ransom for releasing  American hostages.
His own campaign aides denied its existence, but he said again and again the Iranians made the …

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[3 Aug 2016 | 2 Comments | ]

The cable babblers, ever on the verbal prowl for a controversy to fill the 24-hour news cycle, fill hour after hour questioning whether enough disgruntled Sanders supporters will vote for Donald Trump, the Green Party’s Jill Stein or Libertarian Gary Johnson to defeat Hillary Clinton. They cite an early poll indicating perhaps 40 percent would not vote for her–or more recent ones suggesting about 20 percent will vote against her or stay home.

If the last number is correct, some 2.8 million votes across the country would be lost to Clinton–as …

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[26 Jul 2016 | No Comment | ]

People, I am greatly relieved.
Ever since he got into the presidential race, (to plagiarize myself)  I wrote “this clown is dangerous.” I feared a Donald Trump victory, however unlikely, would lead us into a more xenophobic, racist, authoritarian society whose main beneficiaries would be the 1 percent, maybe even the .01 percent of which he claims to be a part.
Little did I know that he–and he alone–can solve all our problems, domestic and international, right after taking the oath of office.
How did I learn this?  His 75-minute speech last Thursday. …

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[19 Jul 2016 | No Comment | ]

The only words you are likely to hear more often than “Hillary’s e-mails” during this week’s Republican Convention are “Islamic extremism“ and “Islamic terrorism.” Undoubtedly they will be linked causally to Barack Obama and many remedies will be offered, all applause-getting but none useful.
The tragedy in Nice has accelerated all the fears and frustrations of Americans as well as the French because there has been no clear, workable strategy to deal either with planned attacks by cells loyal to the Islamic State or Al Qaeda–bitter enemies of each …

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[12 Jul 2016 | No Comment | ]

It began last Monday when we mourned the death at 90 of a giant of political and public service, Abner Mikva, appropriately on July 4th, the same day Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died. We could easily devote this column or more to his remarkable career as an independent, progressive state legislator and congressman, highly respected jurist who became chief justice of the Washington, DC appellate court, then adviser to President Bill Clinton. Mikva could have rested on his laurels at the end of any recent decade, but went on …

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[6 Jul 2016 | No Comment | ]

Chicago just missed taking a major step toward reforming the police culture–which in turn could restore some trust in the police and help stem our horrendous murder epidemic.
The single most pernicious aspect of the police culture is its code of silence.  It  protects the small minority of  criminal and brutal police officers, giving them license to repeat their offenses. Worst of all, it turns most of  the 95 percent majority of otherwise honest and honorable cops into silent collaborators–sometimes liars and perjurers.

At the same time, police complain that lack of …

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[28 Jun 2016 | No Comment | ]

Taking a breather from Brexit’s horrors, Trump’s atrocities and Rahm Emanuel’s inability to remember why four cops who worked in his campaign were given plum assignments on his security detail, let me introduce you to two brief, locally published books–one on the macro issue of income inequality, the other on Chicago’s economic travesties.
From the Occupy Wall Street movement to Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign–with Frenchman Thomas Piketty’ surprise best-seller “Capital in the 21st Century” and Joseph Stiglitz’s “The Price of Inequality” between–it’s clear income inequality is not only America’s central problem, …

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[22 Jun 2016 | One Comment | ]

You may recall that in my last column I expected the forthcoming week’s polling to show Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by 5-8 points, outside the margins of error. As it developed, even the Republican-leaning Rasmussen poll, which until recently showed Trump leading by 3 points, put Clinton up by 5. Better yet, CBS put her up by 6, NBC by 7, Reuters-Ipsos by 9 and Bloomberg  Politics by a remarkable 12.
Add to this a Washington Post poll showing Trump now has a 70 percent disapproval rating–though Clinton’s 55 percent …