Category: Feature

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Ridiculous Establishment Attacks on Trump

If you wonder why the American Establishment lost its grip on power, at least a little bit, look no further than its ridiculous attacks on President Trump over Russia and deposed FBI Boss James Comey. The Establishment, which I call the Rancid Ruling Elite, just isn’t serious. Maybe they still can bring down Trump, although I doubt it; but that only would mean the whole country isn’t serious – something that also seems more evident every day. What serious person even takes these allegations seriously? As I pointed out here five months ago, there’s no way the Russians could have...

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Wednesday’s Child: Profanation, Plagiarism, Pastiche

Several people had told me this was a novel worth reading, and one of them had it sent from Amazon, so the trap was sprung and I walked right into it. Well, not exactly.  I’ve been around the block a few times, having savaged well over a thousand new books in my day, and the reviewer’s equivalent of Oscar Wilde’s dictum to the effect that only the very shallow do not judge by appearances is consequently never far from my mind. To judge a book by its cover is not an eccentric foible, it’s as close to a human right...

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Trump’s 114 Days

“How am I doin’?” the late Ed Koch used to go around New York asking when he was its terrible mayor. In my article here, “The Hundred Days Myth,” I debunked the need for judging President Trump so early. Now, after 114 days, we finally have some developments that show how he’ll be governing the rest of his term in office. Presidents, being human, naturally govern the way their lives were before being draped in the imperial purple. President Obama was a “community organizer.” Hence, Obamacare and its ever-inflating premiums; and what’s being called the “out of control” murder rates...

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Feeding the Monster:  Macron and the Propaganda War

The new French president claims that opponents tried to sabotage his campaign by claiming that he is homosexual.  The claims were based, on the one hand,  in  “misogyny because they say it’s not possible to be with a woman who’s 24 years older, and “on the other side, it’s homophobic.” Emmanuel Macron is in a bit of a bind, because when any public figure denies allegations of  homosexuality, his denials are taken, in some quarters at least, as evidence of anti-homosexual bigotry.  He is quick, therefore, to insist that he would cheerfully admit to being homosexual, if he were, though I...

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Diary of a Nobody: Sunday in the Octave of Cinco de Mayo 

It was Sunday after lunch.  My wife had already gone out to inspect her flowers, while I was tying the laces of my walking shoes and fiddling with our little bluetooth speaker in preparation for the two-miler with Italian lesson. Finally, shoes tied, the Linguaphone lesson discovered, speaker connected, I walked out into the yard to find my wife chatting with a rather queer duck, dressed as if he were a recently retired member of the Sweet Adelines or the Buffalo Bills (once-famous Barbershop quartets).  He was wearing an alarmingly striped jacket, with sweater vest, blue shirt and—I believe—a paisley...

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Wednesday’s Child: “Class A” Democracy

We have municipal elections coming up in Palermo, a feast of democratic disingenuousness that happens every five years when a raft of corpulent men with moustaches gets replaced, from the mayor on downwards, with another raft of corpulent men with moustaches.  There are posters of these hopefuls all about town, and my wife says the men in the photographs look like actors who have been asked to portray the Seven Deadly Sins – except, of course, there are many more than that number in the race, so every sin has about a dozen understudies. Some wear glasses, I’ve noticed, which...

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Mamma Mia! POB II.D: The Italian Family

The variety of family forms that Italians have embraced is bewildering and have proved to be the rock on which many a sociological theory of the European family has foundered.  Even today, Sicily is far more different from Lombardia than South Carolina is from Minnesota, and some evidence suggests that as Central and Northern Italy continue to shed the last trappings of Christianity, the still Catholic Mezzogiorno is becoming even more alien to postmodern northerners.  Italy still offers a distinctive cultural continuum, and while marriages are sometimes strained by arguments over cuisine—the garlic-olive oil-tomato culture of the South at war...

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The Hundred Days Myth

The chattering classes are all aTwitter about Trump supposedly failing to do much in his first “Hundred Days” haunting the Oval Office, which ends on April 29. Actually, I think he has done fairly well, as I’ll write about more in detail once he actually has passed the supposedly crucial milestone. FDR started the Hundred Days craze in 1933 during the depths of the Great Depression. He used it as a marketing gimmick to push his New Deal socialist schemes which, far from ending the Depression, extended it. His New Deal actually was an expansion of President Hoover’s schemes –...

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Syria Strike Aids Trump’s Enemies, Alienates Friends

  “I reward my friends and [expletive] my enemies,” was how the noted political philosopher Bill Clinton once explained his governance. It’s pure Machiavellianism, but it worked for him. And while such amorality is an abomination, the kernel of truth is that a politician needs friends, and needs to keep them, because he certainly will gain plenty of enemies whatever he does. I’ll provide some examples in a minute. President Trump seems not to understand that his Syria attack endangers his entire presidency because it repulsed his truest friends, who backed him no matter what during the long and bloody...

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Wednesday’s Child: A Blast of Cynicism

Say what you will, democracy has a responsible side.  Hardly anybody in America believed the findings of the Warren Commission, but you can never argue it was for want of trying on the part of its members, or for that matter on the part of those who had organized the assassination.  In totalitarian countries, by contrast, a lie is thought to be wasted on the populace unless it’s a white lie, and a conspiracy that is convincingly covered up is simply not worth the blood of the victims. So it is with the news of the recent blast in the...