Category Archives: Current Affairs

Why I Can’t Hate On Bill Clinton — Even Now

Why I Can’t Hate On Bill Clinton — Even Now

Considering my somewhat maverick bent, maybe it’s not surprising that I didn’t share all the horror and outrage about Bill Clinton’s face-off with some protesters about the 1994 crime bill a week or so ago.

I mean, yeah– that law was packed with many awful provisions that have hurt hundreds of thousands of people, especially folks of color. I get that part, and agree. There are dues to pay for all that — plus welfare “reform” and bank deregulation and more –and plenty of legislative and programmatic rollback that’s overdue.
But as I watched the video and listened to him, those facts didn’t leave me wanting to throw rotten fruit at him or add him to the long, long list of public figures now deemed “hopeless racists.”

Bill-Clinton-ticked-off
Why not? Continue reading Why I Can’t Hate On Bill Clinton — Even Now

OMG! It Hit The Fan This Week!

OMG! It Hit The Fan This Week!

Sheesh! I  go out of town for a couple of weeks, and good grief — it hits the fan. Several fans, actually. Let’s consider just a few: 

The Hill  reported that “President Obama on Thursday warned Democrats against adopting a “Tea Party mentality” that could lead to deep divisions within the party and harm its chances of winning national elections. 

S---Hits-FanFollowing the rise of the Tea Party and Donald Trump, Obama said infighting within the Republican Party is much worse than it is on the Democratic side. 

Continue reading OMG! It Hit The Fan This Week!

Big Bernie Rally In Raleigh; Big Trump Rumble In Chicago

Big Bernie Rally In Raleigh; Big Trump Rumble In Chicago**

[**This title has been revised in light of later information; the outbreak was not really a “riot”; but it came close, and the events were very revealing.]

Trump-Riot-7

Where did Friday’s Trump chaos & violence in Chicago come from?

[NOTE: This is the third in an unplanned series of three posts on campaign rallies in North Carolina this week, plus one. The first, on Donald Trump’s rally in Fayetteville NC is here. The second, about Hillary Clinton’s rally in Durham, is here.]

Continue reading Big Bernie Rally In Raleigh; Big Trump Rumble In Chicago

Hillary In Durham: The Return To Reason

Hillary In Durham: The Return To Reason

Dem-Debate-Univision-03-10-2016

On the way home from the Trump rally last night, I listened to most of the Democratic debate on the radio; much of it was translated from Spanish. 

I couldn’t pick a “winner”; they both seemed to give as good as they got.  That was both a relief and a bit of a letdown:

Continue reading Hillary In Durham: The Return To Reason

Trump Is Crowned In Fayetteville NC — March 9

Trump Is Crowned In Fayetteville NC — March 9

Trump-Hell-Toupee-SM

First surprise: at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville NC, which was nearly full, I didn’t see a single Confederate flag the whole time.

And this in a town that General Sherman marched & burned his way through in early 1865. (A state park marks the spot where he blew up an armory; nobody goes there much.) Continue reading Trump Is Crowned In Fayetteville NC — March 9

I’m Off To See The (Trump) Wizard – (March 9)

I’m Off To See The (Trump) Wizard – (March 9)

Trump-CEF-Fayetteville

Yes, I’m getting ready. I’ll be going quietly, disguised as an over-the-hill, chunky-plus, 47-percenter, straight white male, ball cap and all. With luck I’ll get some pix and do some tweets, and maybe even blog.

But don’t worry: the whole time I’ll be recalling what Paul Krugman wrote today,  about the GOP Con Artist Quartet (& Their Establishment BS Backup Band)–

“Just to be clear, I find the prospect of a Trump administration terrifying, and so should you. But you should also be terrified by the prospect of a President Rubio, sitting in the White House with his circle of warmongers, or a President Cruz, whom one suspects would love to bring back the Spanish Inquisition.

As I see it, then, we should actually welcome Mr. Trump’s ascent. Yes, he’s a con man, but he is also effectively acting as a whistle-blower on other people’s cons. That is, believe it or not, a step forward in these weird, troubled times.”

Trump-Ticket-Mine

For that matter, I can hardly remember the few other times I’ve been on the same page with that Tory of Tories George Will. But today is one of them, even tho George, with trademark twittish superciliousness disdained 

“Donald Trump’s distinctive rhetorical style — think of a drunk with a bullhorn reading aloud James Joyce’s “Finnegans Wake” under water — poses an almost insuperable challenge to people whose painful duty is to try to extract clarity from his effusions. . . .”

(Actually, I think what Will is really aiming at here is the Pulitzer Prize for the Year’s Most Pretentiously Opaque Pundit Metaphor — a category in which he’s a perennial front-runner.) But whatever; George does then have the redeeming good sense to quote a poem I first heard from the lips of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:

“Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,/In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side.” So begins James Russell Lowell’s 1845 poem protesting America’s war with Mexico. The Republicans’ moment is here.
We are about to learn much about Republican officeholders who are now deciding whether to come to terms with Trump, and with the shattering of their party as a vessel of conservatism.” 
Lowell-once-to-every-man
Well, you ask me, such a shattering can’t come too soon to that particular vessel. And perhaps Lowell was mistaken in the claim that such crossroads-choices come but once in a lifetime. Still, we can do no better than hear some more of his verse, 

Through the walls of hut and palace shoots the instantaneous throe,  
When the travail of the Ages wrings earth’s systems to and fro;  

At the birth of each new Era, with a recognizing start,  
Nation wildly looks at nation, standing with mute lips apart,  
And glad Truth’s yet mightier man-child leaps beneath the Future’s heart.  

So the Evil’s triumph sendeth, with a terror and a chill,  
Under continent to continent, the sense of coming ill . . . .
They have rights who dare maintain them; we are traitors to our sires,  
Smothering in their holy ashes Freedom’s new-lit altar-fires;  
Shall we make their creed our jailer? Shall we, in our haste to slay,  
From the tombs of the old prophets steal the funeral lamps away  
To light up the martyr-fagots round the prophets of to-day?  

New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;  
They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth . . . .

See you in Fayetteville?

IMG_2992 copyOh, and one more thing: these are my hands. Just for the record;  (This photo may not be safe for work.) But I’m not running for anything.

 

Bernie Sanders, Jack Shafer & The Day After

Bernie Sanders, Jack Shafer & The Day After

 [Post “Super-Tuesday” Edition: This piece was originally uploaded in October of 2015. It still seems timely, even after four months, a dozen primaries and as many debates, with clearly emerging trends. The Sanders campaign has won several primaries, but lags in delegates behind Hillary Clinton. Yet at this point he still has many millions of dollars  in his campaign treasury, raised from millions of supporters who are not yet ready to give up. The Washington media may prefer at this point to ignore him; but that’s only one more of their many mistakes this year. My guess remains that his impact on the election and public life is far from over.]

On this day [October 13, 2015] leading up to the first Democratic Presidential debate, I’m imagining Bernie Sanders and The Day After.
 
Which day?

Continue reading Bernie Sanders, Jack Shafer & The Day After

2016: Politics “When The Sky Darkens”

2016: Politics “When The Sky Darkens”

Most years, I just  put up with politics: it’s as necessary as taking out the trash, but only about as interesting.
Sure I have my preferences, and occasionally a candidate is exciting, for awhile. But usually I’m eager to get it over with, and go back to what feels like real life.
This year is different. I’m following the campaigns as closely as I can, with a morbid, horrified fascination.
 The NY Times‘s Roger Cohen gets at the reason why: Democracies can die.
2016: Politics "When The Sky Darkens"
Many parts of our former republic, including civil liberties, are already close to catatonic; and profoundly anti-democratic forces (the secret security state, the war machine, vote suppression) are already loose, some beyond our control (which is why we mostly prefer not to think about them). 
But all this could get much, much worse, depending on how this political year turns out.

Cohen comes at the 2016 campaign from the BTDT (“Been There, Done That”) perspective, of those who have seen — and lived– this movie before.

It’s also a movie which is being remade today in more and more corners of their continent.

And What about Ours?

Let Roger Cohen say it: Continue reading 2016: Politics “When The Sky Darkens”