Category 5. Politics

A Third Rate Drama

The banner headline in this morning’s New York Times was Trump’s Trial Opens as New Evidence Emerges. That paper’s editors desperately want us to take this show seriously. Apparently, nobody told them that it’s a third rate drama and that everybody already knows how it ends.

In contrast, a Supreme Court seat was at stake in the Kavanaugh hearings. Were Blasey-Ford’s accusations credible? Were the Democrats and the media giving too much airtime to unsubstantiated allegations from the media-celebrated porn-star lawyer Michael Avenatti? Would Kavanaugh be confirmed? If confirmed, would he be terribly wounded by the accusations? Everything depended on a few conspicuously undecided Senators. Both sides were genuinely angry. The outcome hung in the balance. America was riveted...

Read More

Truth-Teller Trump

I recently had a somewhat testy email exchange with a friend. I was asserting that a well-known progressive columnist for The New York Times had demonstrated an unmistakable affinity for authoritarian governance – when my friend, unhappy with my quotations of the columnist’s own words, switched topics suddenly to the hated (by him) Trump, writing:

“Once the Prevaricator-in-Chief leaves office, either by hook or by crook (pun intended), I will be much more open to differing political viewpoints.”

In order to preserve our friendship without conceding the point, I de-escalated as best I could by noting simply in response that on that, too, we differ.

I couldn’t help but wonder, though, about the substance of my friend’s Trump outburst...

Read More

Freedom, Constrained

Laws and culture constrain our freedoms; at the heart of most political issues is the question of just how constraining they should be. Those on the left generally argue for more constraints – higher taxes, tighter laws and punitive social disapproval for violations of “PC” norms and expectations – all in the name of the common good. Those on the right favor fewer such constraints, seeing a freer society as both more creative and more individually just than ones that are less so.


George W. Bush famously said that “The desire for freedom resides in every human heart.” Well, … sorta.

Bush’s statement was undoubtedly true in the narrow sense that everybody wants freedom of action for him or her –self; but not everybody is happy for others to be similarly free...

Read More

UK/US Political Parallels?

Last night while the Beloved Spouse was off at a holiday-themed meeting of her book club, I was glued to the Sky News coverage of the British election. As you are no doubt aware, the Conservative party won big – bigger than it had since Thatcher’s day. That result was clear from the moment that polls closed – 5:00 PM our time – though, so it wasn’t curiosity about who won that held my attention. Rather, I was fascinated by the emergence in the constituency-by-constituency results of two facts that seem highly relevant to our own politics.

The first of these relates to a profound change in traditional party loyalties. Regions that had been the heart of Labour’s support – old mining and industrial towns – went for the Tories, many for the first time since the 1930s or before...

Read More

Just Do It, Nancy


Impeach him.

You’ve been telling us for three years that Trump is a criminal, a traitor, the worst president ever, … in short, the devil’s own spawn. Yeah, that Russian collusion thing that you touted so long and so loudly didn’t play out as you hoped, but now, you caught him red handed! If you look at the transcript of his call to Zelensky from just the right angle – and don’t read it too closely – you can claim (er, have claimed) that he was using the delayed aid to Ukraine to ‘bribe’ that country into investigating Biden. Of course, it would have been better if Zelensky had known that the aid was being delayed, or had felt coerced, or had even done what Trump asked before he got the aid, but whatevs. Intentions matter, right? And you just know Trump inte...

Read More


I have spent a fair bit of time wondering what motivates the extreme Trump-hatred that I see daily in the press and among some of my nearest and dearest. Sure, many of the same people strongly disliked George W. Bush, or thought him an idiot, so in that sense the personalization of opposition to Trump seems almost normal; but there’s more to Trump-hatred than the now-customary anti-Republican disdain among the elites. Trump’s detractors hate him. Many have even convinced themselves, and seek to convince us, that he’s some sort of Nazi – a warmonger, a bigot and an authoritarian. Let’s look at Trump’s record as regards each of these alleged character flaws.

Ironically, the same people who, at first, were certain that Trump would prove to be a warmonger have nothing but contempt fo...

Read More

An American Dragon

Kanye West got it right: President Trump has dragon energy. He also has dragon breath, which he uses constantly, sometimes to the chagrin of natural allies like yours truly. And a dragon’s wiliness. 

My first instinct, on reading Trump’s “command” that American businesses that do business in China look for other places to produce their products, was to think “this time he’s finally lost it – no president has the authority to boss around private businesses like that.” I thought his words were a mere tantrum that made him look foolish and, ultimately, weak – that last ways that a president should allow himself to look. 

I was wrong. Apparently, under the International Emergency Powers Act ( if a president declares...

Read More

Election Interference

A close friend with whom I have recently been having distinctly adversarial conversations and email exchanges on political topics wrote to me a couple of days ago, effectively daring me to deny that Russia’s interference in our most recent presidential contest had taken place (and, it was implicit, thereby cast a pall over the election’s legitimacy), and asking whether I think our government is doing enough to prevent such acts in the future (the implication being that the Trump Administration, being too friendly with Russia, is not). A longer version of my off-the-cuff email response is presented below:      

Of course the Russians interfered with our election – as they have been doing since the revolution. They are not our friends...

Read More

A Curious Absence of Curiosity

Why aren’t my Democrat friends and relatives even slightly curious about the origins and purpose of the Trump/Russia collusion hoax? Now that it should be clear to all that there never was any genuine evidence of traitorous wrongdoing by the Trump campaign, shouldn’t we all wonder whether prominent members of the Obama Administration cooked the whole thing up to cover their tracks? 

Admittedly, it’s still possible that there’s an innocent explanation for Comey’s FBI having tried to entrap George Papadopoulos and misled the FISA courts with the (actually Russian-sourced and Clinton bought-and-paid-for “Steele Dossier”) in order to get authorization to spy on the Trump campaign. 

Maybe they thought Trump was really, really icky...

Read More