Columns

Chomsky’s Venezuela Lesson

Venezuela descends into chaos. Its people, once the wealthiest in Latin America, starve. Even The New York Times runs headlines like “Dying Infants and No Medicine.” My Venezuelan-born friend Kenny says his relatives are speaking differently. Cousins who once answered “Fine” or ...

What is worse than being poor?

These are hard times for America's gold miners. They're struggling to haul wealth out of the land, but seeing their pay dropping further and further down. Take Bob Mercer, who's been a top miner for years, but last year, (which has been described as somewhere between lackluster and ...

Intolerance for Inconvenient Facts

Some people will call it surprising that a reporter was reportedly assaulted Wednesday night by a political candidate. Truth is, it is not surprising in the least. For those who hadn’t heard: Greg Gianforte, a Montana Republican running for Congress, was charged with misdemeanor assault for ...

Cheer, Cheer for Protesters of Notre Dame

Before we get into the debate here over whether it’s appropriate for graduating college students to protest their commencement speakers, I want to share my own observation about a growing trend in parental manners at these events. In recent years, I’ve delivered a dozen or so commencement ...

Terrorism’s ‘Groundhog Day’ scenario

The terrorism scenario is always the same. Events repeat themselves, like in the film “Groundhog Day.” First the video of screaming innocents, as in Manchester, England, where an Islamist detonated a suicide bomb at an Ariana Grande concert, killing at least 22 people, many of them ...

Always risky to leave unattended children in vehicles

As parents or grandparents a fair number of us at some point have left young children unattended in our vehicles. The usual scenario involves us “running” into the store for 5-10 minutes while our child waits in the backseat. Maybe we get to a destination and our child is sound asleep in ...

Trumpian World of Shifting Reality

WASHINGTON — Facts aren’t facts; truth isn’t true; reality isn’t real. This is where we are. It’s no wonder that “Orwellian” is the most widely used adjective derived from the name of a writer. We are living in the most surreal of times. But Orwell’s days may be numbered ...

Self-pity is fatal shortcoming in world of politics

In polls of American historians conducted over the past 17 years by C-SPAN, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt have consistently ranked — along with George Washington — among the three best U.S. presidents. Yet President Lincoln was vilified in life, referred to in print as “the ...

Trumpty Dumpty making U.S. global laughingstock

Comandante Trump, El Jefe, the gringo strongman! That’s the image our current Commander-in-Chief seems to be cultivating. He has surrounded himself with generals, he cavalierly threatens war with all “bad hombres,” he is drastically bulking up military spending and he imperiously slaps ...

Times’ Green Baloney

The New York Times’ hostility to industry gets worse every day. Last week, the Times ran a big picture of a bay in Alaska with the headline “In Reversal, E.P.A. Eases Path for a Mine Near Alaska’s Bristol Bay.” While this was just another of their stories about how Donald Trump will ...

Remove Trump for profound stupidity

Dear Republicans: So how much more will it take? What else do you need to see? Seriously: What Rubicon must yet be crossed, what crisis must be borne, what tragedy must befall, before you stop smiling queasy, nothing-to-see-here smiles, stand like grown-up women and men and say, finally, ...

Chatter about Trump’s impeachment is premature

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s early stumbling out of the presidential gate in the judicial, legislative and diplomatic realms has already surfaced talk by wishful thinkers of invoking the constitutional route of impeachment to remove him from the Oval Office for committing “high crimes and ...

Strange Fruit, 2017

Please, somebody tell these boys it’s 2017. Last weekend, several dozen white people, most of them male and all of them loud, swarmed Lee Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest a City Council vote to remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Similar protests have cropped ...

Awards have lost their meaning

Awards once meant something. There was a time not that long ago when they were given in recognition of important accomplishments. Today, we tend to value celebrity over steady achievement. Fame is paramount. It matters little how one attains it. The Kardashians are just one of many ...

Roger Ailes, one of a kind

On my first visit to Roger Ailes’ office, I half expected to find him petting an enormous white tiger, perhaps feeding it from a bowl of raw meat. After all, this was at the height of Ailes’ reputation as a kind of James Bond villain (and well before the sexual harassment scandals that ...

Anger Games: Documentary depicts new world

“Hate is a more powerful motivator than love.” According to the new Netflix documentary “Get Me Roger Stone,” that is one of the “rules” the self-described Republican “agent provocateur” has lived by. Stone, of course, is a showman. The “evil political operator” pose is to ...

Stop blaming workers — bosses made this mess

The wailing in our country about the "invasion of immigrants" has been long and loud. As one complainant put it, "Few of their children in the country learn English... The signs in our streets have inscriptions in both languages... Unless the stream of the importation could be turned they will ...

Continuing drug war is cruel, stupid

President Trump's attorney general, Jeff Sessions, ordered federal prosecutors to seek maximum penalties for drug-related crimes. This is both cruel and stupid. It's cruel because Session's 5,000 prosecutors must now push for long jail sentences even for people who pose no violent threat ...

White animus deeper than politics

“White people riot by voting.” Years later, I no longer recall who first shared that bit of wisdom with me, but I’ve always found it striking. Not, of course, that it is literally true. As is attested by any fair reading of the history of urban uprisings — New York City in 1863, ...

Trump has grown — from buffoon to menace

WASHINGTON — Until last week, Donald Trump appeared mostly to be a foulmouthed, narcissistic liar whose behavior and words demeaned the presidency as much as they demeaned himself. But a Washington Post report Tuesday that he revealed highly classified information on the war against the ...