Juan Perón Trump vs. Isabel Perón Clinton

By 2.4.16

They say history repeats itself, but let’s hope that doesn’t mean America is turning into Argentina.

There are some disquieting omens that it may be, though. Their names are (or, were) Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Colonel and Mrs. Juan Domingo Perón.

Let’s start with Juan and Don. The late South American strongman and the current GOP frontrunner share a number of attributes: both are masters of collectivist campaign techniques (e.g. fostering personality cults, skillfully using mass media for political manipulation, and making big empty promises at huge get-out-the-vote rallies).

And, when you get right down to it, Perón’s biggest promise was to “Make Argentina Great Again.”

The reality, though, is that he and his disciples in subsequent decades actually ruined a once-great country. In the process, they also badly damaged the rule of law. Authoritarian regimes are not terribly fond of checks and balances on their political powers — such as those exercised by independent and conscientious judges.


Trump vs. Putin — Do Likes Attract?

By 12.21.15

What does it mean if Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, likes you? Is it auspicious to be embraced by the Russian bear? Ask Donald Trump.

Putin has recently made very complimentary remarks about the Donald’s persona, describing Trump as “undoubtedly a very colorful talented person” and “outstanding.” Quick to return the “kiss,” Trump responded that it is a “great honor” to receive such a remark.



By 12.18.15

Edward Moore Kennedy, named for a man described by one biographer as Joseph Kennedy’s “whoremaster,” never really stood a chance of becoming anybody but Edward Moore Kennedy. Camelot courtiers nevertheless continually try to turn bawdy Prince Hal into heroic King Henry V. But like mixing Shakespeare with Lerner and Loewe in the same mixed-up metaphor, the effort forever fails.

The latest rehabilitation project for the late senator who could have once (or twice or thrice) benefitted from rehab comes from Hollywood and it goes by the working title Chappaquiddick. Mark Ciardi, who registered a 9.37 earned-run average in the majors but enjoys a somewhat better record as a producer of sports movies, told the Hollywood Reporter: “You’ll see what he had to go through.”

Does the producer of Chappaquiddick not know that Mary Jo Kopechne was a “she”?

The little that Ted Kennedy “had to go through” in terms of consequences during his formative years foreshadowed what he put Kopechne through on July 18, 1969.


Cardinal Wuerl’s Embassy Row Penthouse

By 11.18.15

Walking through the posh neighborhood of Embassy Row in October, I stumbled across a scoop: that Washington, D.C.’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl lives in a penthouse atop a mansion priced north of $40 million.

That Embassy Row mansion is the Our Lady Queen of the Americas parish. As I approached the mansion, across from the elegant Russian Cultural Center, I wondered if it contained a chapel. Curious, I walked inside. On the first floor, I walked past posters touting open-borders propaganda (“Ten Myths About Immigration” and so on) and saw signs for a leftist outfit called the “Washington English Center,” which offers language and job services to immigrants, legal and illegal.

Not finding the chapel on the first floor, I looked for a priest to direct me to it. I found one, or maybe I didn’t. A man with dyed hair and an ornament in his ear, sporting a priestly collar of an unspecified denomination, was standing near the stairs. “Where is the church?” I asked him. “It is on the second floor,” he replied. “Cardinal Wuerl lives in a penthouse on the third floor,” he added with a grin.


How About Suing Bill McKibben for Racketeering?

By 11.16.15

Bill McKibben, a writer for The New Yorker, has emerged as the leader of the popular movement to get us to give up fossil fuels. He is the founder of 350.org, which is intent on returning the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (it just passed 400).

McKibben has written more than a dozen books, including The End of Nature and most recently Oil and Money. His organization 350.org has sponsored 20,000 demonstrations around the world in every country except North Korea. He spearheaded the opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and spent three days in jail in Washington after leading a demonstration. He was recently rewarded when President Obama cancelled the project. For his efforts he has been awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the “alternative Nobel.”


Pope Francis Reaps the Wuerlwind

By 10.21.15

No American cardinal has benefited more from the current pontificate than Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. Wuerl is basking in the liberal glow of Francis, enjoying in the twilight of his ecclesiastical career a series of plum assignments.

He is selecting heterodox archbishops for the Church in America, such as Chicago’s Blasé Cupich and San Diego’s Robert McElroy, from his powerful seat on the Congregation for Bishops, an appointment Francis tossed to him in 2013. That appointment, which knocked the conservative cardinal Raymond Burke off the Congregation for Bishops, cleared the path for American prelates in the mold of Cupich. Wuerl’s influence is also seen at the calamitous synod on the family still underway in Rome. Wuerl is one of the ten cardinals chosen by Francis to write the synod’s final document.


Why Natalie Portman’s Holocaust Comments Are Deeply Disturbing

By 8.24.15

In an interview with the British newspaper The Independent, actress Natalie Portman made several comments about the Holocaust. 

Portman was interviewed to promote her directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness, a Hebrew language adaptation of Amos Oz’s autobiographical novel about the birth of the State of Israel. She is best known for her appearances in the Star Wars prequels and would later earn a Best Actress Oscar for Black Swan. In the interview, Portman questioned Jews for overemphasizing the Holocaust to the exclusion of other acts of genocide, specifically the Hutu massacre of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994:


Bernie Sanders, Weirdo in Chief

By 8.14.15

Senator Bernie Sanders tops former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 44-37 in a poll of likely Democratic voters in the New Hampshire primary. A proud socialist in the driver’s seat in a state where they inscribe “live free or die” on the license plates speaks to what a long, strange trip it’s been.

Socialists normally run for president. They rarely call themselves socialists. The novelty of “Bernie Sanders for President” stems from his truth in advertising. But some truths one never prefers to advertise.


The Grotesquery That Is Donald

By 8.10.15

My God, has it come to this? I’m pole-axed that there are serious people who take Donald Trump seriously for a New York minute.

Trump is an arrogant, self-satisfied, crude, and pompous windbag and bully who grossly overestimates his competence, his knowledge, his successes, and, not least, his charm. If this grotesque showman is the guy a plurality of the Republican base prefers, then that base is baser than I thought it was.

The man is hideous. He is not a serious human being. He is not a serious candidate. He is a blister on the bum of the Republican Party (to which his loyalty is so minimal as to be unmeasurable) and a serious threat to help install Clinton 2.0 at 1600 in 2017. It’s undeniable that a weak Republican establishment has been less than forceful on the issues that need to be engaged if America is to become America again. But this un-seriousness does not justify support of an even less serious Donald Trump. Trump may be a symptom of conservatives’ frustrations, but he damn sure isn’t a cure for them.


Ego Central

By 8.5.15

As Jon Stewart signs off later this week as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show after 16 years, the mainstream media is giving him the sort of reverence it normally reserves for President Obama.

Steve Almond of Salon.com writes, “[T]he consensus that has formed around him is that he’s a national hero, an intrepid truth teller, a kind of secular prophet in an age of folly, and the first Jew perhaps worthy of canonization.” Daily Beast columnist and CNN contributor Dean Obdeidallah thinks Stewart should succeed Obama and run for President. If that were to come to pass it would be like Obama never left office.