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To brother Cromartie, with love

WASHINGTON — There is something eternally bonding about a shared near-death experience, which is how I first met Michael Cromartie. This was 15 or so years ago, before I had moved to the nation’s capital for an up-close look at power. Cromartie had called to invite me to one of the Faith ...

Needing an ‘Enemy’: Reprising Communist Conspiracy

Eric Hoffer, a San Francisco longshoreman and philosopher who died in 1983, the year President Ronald Reagan awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, could have been analyzing contemporary American politics when he wrote, some 66 years ago, that “mass movements can rise and spread ...

Trump hardly a champion of US worker

This will be the first Labor Day of the presidency of Donald J. Trump, who came to office riding a wave of anti-establishment anger from average working people. No one can say they didn’t see it coming. By the time Trump was elected, the typical American household had a net worth 14 percent ...

Price gouging is good capitalism

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is upset about "price gouging" during hurricane Harvey. Some stores raised prices to $99 for a case of bottled water — $5 for a gallon of gas. "These are things you can't do in Texas," he says. "There are significant penalties if you price gouge in a crisis ...

Tweeter-in-chief versus wisdom of Robert E. Lee

I hate to say this, but I'm starting to feel sorry for Donald Trump. He's only been in office for half a year, and already he's running out of Americans to attack. Of course, he came into office having already notched his AK-47 Twitter rifle with hundreds of hits on the American citizenry, ...

America repudiates its president

A remarkable thing happened last week. You might have missed it, because while it happened in plain sight, it also happened in increments. You had to put the pieces together to appreciate the magnitude of it. Last week, you see, America repudiated its president. This, of course, was in ...

Trump needs schooling on separation of powers

WASHINGTON — While the country is mesmerized by Hurricane Harvey and North Korea heightens the threat of nuclear war, President Trump intensifies his war on our legislative and judicial branches. The president already has his hands full picking fights with Senate Majority Leader Mitch ...

What do we make of us?

We were standing in the checkout line at our local grocery, this stranger and I, admiring each other’s necklace. Hers was a ruby embedded in a tiny gold leaf, a gift from her grandmother when she was a child. Mine was a rough-hewn silver cross from Ireland, a gift from my daughter. Being ...

Diana, still our goddess of beauty

What is it about the month of August that finds so many celebrities dying? Just this month we’ve seen the passing of Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Dick Gregory and Jerry Lewis. Thomas Meehan, who wrote the book for the musical “Annie,” died last week. Marilyn Monroe died in August 1962 ...

Symptom of old Western disease

The virus seems to be approaching its breakout phase. We could be looking at a full-scale epidemic here. Zika? Ebola? Flu? Nope. We don’t have a great word for this sickness yet. “Iconoclasm” — i.e., the destruction of images and monuments that offend this mob or that — comes ...

A Nation Divided By Identity Politics

Every generation has its own axe to grind, attitudes to assume and enemies to attack. It’s the way the young move into maturity, sometimes with smarts and sometimes without. Every generation wants to make the world over in its own image. Action and reaction can be creative as well as ...

Don’t let Mr. Hyde take control of your vehicle’s wheel

Anyone who has been driving for a while has likely been on the receiving end, or at seen, some kind of road rage. Anyone care to admit that they themselves dish out road rage? We often see people who are generally pretty nice, sensible and law abiding, but once behind the wheel, something ...

Trump takes Palmerstonian policy on Pakistan

President Donald Trump’s Afghanistan speech Monday night was disciplined, measured and sometimes verging on eloquence. It was presidential. Evidently, his vision wasn’t impaired when he looked at the eclipse without the proper eyewear earlier in the day. Like Barack Obama, Trump came to ...

Trump is on road to irrelevance

We have endured Donald Trump for seven months. In that brief time he has almost single-handedly destroyed the moral authority of the presidency of the United States at home and abroad, brought us to the brink of a nuclear war without consulting anyone, and sown division and hatred across the ...

In removing offensive symbols, start with Democratic Party

Al Sharpton just may be right about the need to remove offensive statues from the American public way. I’d been somewhat torn on the idea of erasing history by tearing down statues, even Civil War Confederate statues, since destroying public imagery and iconography isn’t the kind of thing ...

View of Nazis makes Trump unfit

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” — Edmund Burke, “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” Edmund Burke’s admonition in 1770 should be taken as a warning to us today. The ...

A president also must possess moral leadership

It was obviously an earlier, less cynical time when the president of the United States could explain an unscheduled drive from the White House he had once taken. “I was outraged,” the president wrote when he was out of office, “when I read in the newspapers about a black family. ... The ...

Charlottesville didn’t spring from nowhere

It is important to look beyond the riot. Yes, last week’s violent demonstration by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, culminating in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, made for a carnival of obscenity as sickening as it was riveting. But the thing is, it did not spring ...

Trump’s presidency under siege

WASHINGTON — The departure of Steve Bannon as President Trump’s chief strategist has opened a can of worms regarding his continued influence on the direction of national policy, and Trump’s grip on his own administration. Shortly after the press learned that Bannon was leaving the White ...

We know what we must do

In 1997, my 9-year-old daughter met Miep Gies, the Gentile friend who helped hide Anne Frank and her family in the small attic apartment in Amsterdam until they were caught and murdered by the Nazis. This was a momentous event in our family. Gies was in Cleveland to deliver an evening ...