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[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. …

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[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 …

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[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. …

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[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 …

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[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 …

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[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 …

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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 …