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Pardon Me: Why All Hell Would Break Loose If Trump Tries To Exonerate Himself

There is no more pressing question in the storm of legal issues swirling around the Russia scandal than whether Donald Trump can pardon himself.  The answer is that he probably cannot, but if he tries it would plunge America into a full-blown constitutional crisis that his presidency probably could not survive. Trump showed his hand over the weekend in tweeting (what else?): "While all agree the U.S. President has complete power to pardon, why Continue Reading...

Bonfire of the Inanities: Observations on Trump’s Interview With the New York Times

At this point, any new batshit thing that President Donald Trump says comes across less as a shock and more like another punch to the face in a boxing match.  If you're an experienced fighter, you know exactly how it's gonna feel when that glove pounds your chin, but, goddamnit, it still hurts and, goddamnit, you want it to stop.  So this latest New York Times "interview" (if by "interview," you mean, "a lunatic scrawling in shit on his rubber Continue Reading...

Did UAE Plant Fake News about Qatar to Fool Trump?

The intrepid Karen DeYoung and Ellen Nakashima report at the Washington Post that anonymous US intelligence officials have decided to go public with what they know about the attempt of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to frame Qatar. The hacking attack on May 23 that planted fake news, such as doctored video showing the emir of Qatar praising Hamas, the fundamentalist Palestinian party-militia, and praising Iran, was planned out by high Continue Reading...

Thoughts On Russia Election Systems Hacking Report

Here are some thoughts on the report that Russia was trying to — or did — hack into our election systems before the election. 1) Why was this a secret?  Who from?  Obviously it wasn’t a secret to Russia.  Maybe they’re keeping the idea that they detected it a secret?  (And this tips Russia or whoever off to what we did not detect, by the way.) 2) We only know about hacking that we detect, not that which we do not detect.  It’s like the Continue Reading...

The Comey “Tapes” Lie: Chaos Is Trump’s Greatest Weapon

The first time Trump tweeted about it, it was fucked up enough: "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!"  The fuck did that mean, "tapes," with the suspicious quotation marks around it?  Is that supposed to provide him with an out, like when he first put the quotes around "wires tapped" when he accused President Obama of spying on him? Continue Reading...

Film Review: Afterimage

Lust for Art: Artists Versus Apparatchiks Filmmaker Andrzej Wajda was to Poland what Sergei Eisenstein was to the USSR - and, arguably, what Carl Yastrzemski was to the Boston Red Sox.  Along with Roman Polanski’s early work, Wajda’s famed 1950s World War II-era trilogy about Polish partisans battling the Nazis - A Generation, Kanal, Ashes and Diamonds - put Poland on the world cinema map.  He won an Honorary Oscar in 2000 and died last Continue Reading...

The Laws To Get Trump Are Working, For The Most Part. But Will They Be Enough?

It is not that the trickle of news leaks staining Donald Trump's shiny black Guccis from the outset of his presidency have become a flood.  Nor that this flood has been a counterbalance to Trump's outrages, deceits and extraconstitutional forays since congressional Republicans have taken to the fainting couch en masse as evidence of his collusion with Russia in its effort to influence the 2016 presidential election has piled up.  It is that the Continue Reading...

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Trump, McConnell, Putin, and the Triumph of the Will to Power

At a critical moment in the 2016 presidential campaign, President Obama met with Republican congressional leaders and, after presenting them with evidence of Russian tampering, asked that they uniformly condemn it.  GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others refused.  The evidence just wasn’t there.  But it was.  And many of the same lawmakers eagerly condemned Hillary Clinton’s perceived misdeed, as reported by the FBI.  So much for love of country.

Russia and the Threat to Liberal Democracy

Liberal democracy faces grave dangers, most significantly, perhaps, from rapacious capitalism that unremittingly concentrates wealth.  Putin is another threat.  After consolidating his own power in Russia, he has stepped up a campaign against liberalism abroad, first in Russia’s “near abroad” in Eastern Europe, and now the US.  Is Trump his latest trophy?

The Victory of ‘No’

For eight years, the GOP employed strategic obstructionism to stymie Obama’s mildly progressive agenda, even when his proposals, such as the Affordable Care Act or the stimulus, closely aligned with their own.  Putting country first?  Nope.  This was pure partisanship in the service of partisanship.  And it worked!

Dangerous idiots: how the liberal media elite failed working-class Americans

Is the so-called “liberal,” “elite” media really as cosseted and cloistered as its critics suggest?  Actually, yes.  Like the Democracy Party, the media – defined here as the mainstream variety – largely comprises well-educated, coastal types who have little in common (and often disdain) middle-America, working class whites.  Little wonder it has earned the latter’s ire.

Hillary Clinton and the Populist Revolt

What happens when the purported party of the working class abandons its proletarian roots, while the other major party pushes crazed conspiracy theories, paranoia, and racism as an obfuscatory tactic to conceal its plutocratic agenda?  A virulent populism that threatens the republic.  Whose to blame for Trump?  We all are.

In ‘Hitler,’ an Ascent From ‘Dunderhead’ to Demagogue

How did a clownish buffoon rise from obscurity to lead one of the world’s great civilizations that produced soaring art and culture?  Historians have been asking the question since the demise of the Third Reich.  Hitler confounds.  Here are some clues: cunning exploitation of nativist fears, exploitation of irresistible propaganda, and “bottomless mendacity.”  Found familiar.  It should.