Does Putin Back Hillary?

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Democrat standard-bearer Hillary Clinton in happier times. [Credit: thepoliticalcarnival.net]

Perhaps because I’m in Italy, I’ve not been infected by the contagion that has spread more rapidly than the Zika virus: the febrile notion that Russian president Vladimir Putin is subverting our electoral process in an effort to elect Donald J. Trump as president.

Never has such conspiratorial speculation mutated so quickly into received wisdom. Continue reading

Trump and Friends

Donald Trump's recent foreign policy speech reflects our love/hate relationship with our allies. Credit: businessinsider.com

Donald Trump’s recent foreign policy speech reflects our love/hate relationship with our allies. Credit: businessinsider.com

“Who the f*** does he think he is?Who’s the f***ing superpower here?”  — President Bill Clinton after meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu in 1996

Donald Trump, the GOP’s presumptive standard-bearer, shares former President Clinton’s frustration with America’s allies.  And like Clinton, President Obama and others who have occupied the Oval Office, Trump isn’t sure what to do about it. Continue reading

Antonin Scalia, R.I.P.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Saturday, practiced a constitutional conservatism that is out-of-step with today's Right. [Credit: lifenews.com]

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died on Saturday, practiced a constitutional conservatism that is out-of-step with today’s Right. [Credit: lifenews.com]

The arc of conservatism’s decline was traced in the course of a few hours last Saturday. That afternoon we learned of the passing of a genuine constitutional conservative, Antonin Scalia. Hours later, we endured another GOP debate during which professed conservatives traded barbs and insults, now considered a suitable substitute for character and substance by a large swath of Republican voters. Continue reading

GOP Debate: Bring Back The CNBC Moderators

GOP Presidential contenders struggled with substantive questions during last week's debate. [Credit: ibtimes.com

GOP Presidential contenders fumbled substantive questions during last week’s debate. [Credit: ibtimes.com]

Donald Trump wants a piece of the Keystone Pipeline.

The issue didn’t come up during last week’s GOP debate, so Trump didn’t have the chance to elaborate on his declaration that he would have approved the project only if the Canadian company forked over 25 percent of its profits.

“I want a piece of the deal,” Trump told Bret Baier of Fox News.  “When I say I want a piece, I’m now representing our country the way I would represent myself.” Continue reading

Trump Is (Sort Of) Right About Yellen

Donald Trump this week said that Federal Reserve Board Chairman Janet Yellen won't raise rates because President Obama told her not to. Why he's (sort of) right. [Credit: CNBC]

Donald Trump this week said that Federal Reserve Board Chairman Janet Yellen won’t raise rates because President Obama told her not to. Why he’s (sort of) right. [Credit: CNBC]

The media just can’t keep up with The Donald.

Corporate news-gathering outlets do their best to repeat and amplify his every offbeat utterance.  His accusation that Marco Rubio is a “disaster with his credit cards” has rippled through the press and forced Rubio to respond.  Ditto for Trump’s mockery of Jeb’s energy, Carson’s religion, Carly’s face, Kasich’s poll numbers, Hillary’s marital relations  (“If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”), Bernie’s mental health and the menstrual cycles of debate moderators.

But as they were buzzing about his scheduled appearance on Saturday Night Live, the media largely overlooked what was perhaps Trump’s most heretical accusation of all. Continue reading

High on Trump

Donald Trump is leading the GOP pack heading into tonight's debate. Why that's good news for Democrats. [Credit: CBS Pittsburgh]

Donald Trump is leading the GOP pack heading into tonight’s debate. Why that’s good news for Democrats. [Credit: CBS Pittsburgh]

The marijuana dispensary on Downing Street is in a cozy Denver neighborhood, tucked amid coffee shops, boutiques and other artifacts of gentrification.  Entering the store on a bright Sunday morning, I’m greeted by a glassy-eyed young man slumped in a chair with a large bowl of bud on his lap.  His job, in addition to rolling ju-jus, is to check IDs, turn away minors and identify out-of-staters, whose purchases are limited to one-quarter ounce per transaction. Coloradans can legally buy four times that amount, the state’s lawmakers evidently believing that natives can handle their weed better than non-residents.

His colleagues behind the counter are in a similarly amicable stupor, but knowledgeable about their product and full of advice to prevent patrons from pulling a Maureen Dowd, the New York Times columnist who descended into a paranoid delusional state after locking herself in a hotel room and wolfing down a THC-laced Sky Bar. The delicacies at this shop are said to contain safe amounts of the active ingredient, enough to produce a manageable euphoria that won’t end in an emergency room visit or inspire another loopy New York Times column.

There is something vaguely surreal about getting medical advice, however sound, from people in a drug-induced haze at ten o’clock in the morning.  The “wake and bake” crew at the marijuana dispensary fits the caricatures that opponents of legalization have sketched, making them a bad advertisement for their political cause.

Which brings me to Donald Trump. Continue reading