Jay Bookman blog posts

Opinion: Trump demands your self-respect

Opinion: Trump demands your self-respect

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen claimed Tuesday that she was unaware of any intelligence finding that Russia intervened in the 2016 elections on behalf of Donald Trump. That’s quite odd. As DHS secretary, Nielsen is charged with election security and protecting the nation from Russian cyberattacks. Yet she is claiming to be ignorant of basic, freely available information about...
Opinion: A gross abuse of power

Opinion: A gross abuse of power

President Trump is demanding -- no, ordering -- a federal investigation into the investigation that is dogging his administration and that he wants desperately to end. <div></div><br><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether...

Opinion: A little Low Cut Connie to go

Here’s a band out of Philly that I’ve been following for a few years now.  It’s tough to find that sweet spot, that balance between melody and good old-fashioned rock and roll, but these guys hit it pretty good. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UHeNnHqJoec?feature=oembed" frameborder="...
Opinion: If you’re innocent, act like it

Opinion: If you’re innocent, act like it

Remember the great “unmasking scandal” of 2017? Maybe not. But for a hot minute last year,  defenders of President Trump were screaming to the skies, claiming to have found proof that the Obama administration had used the nation’s intelligence-gathering powers to spy illegally on the Trump campaign. The “mastermind” behind that claim, House Intelligence Chairman...
Opinion: Mueller is Trump’s creation

Opinion: Mueller is Trump’s creation

One year ago today, Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate Russian interference into our 2016 elections as well as possible collusion by Americans with that foreign interference. As we mark that anniversary, it’s important to remember two things: 1.) Mueller’s appointment became necessary only when President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and when he bragged...
Opinion: The con man becomes the mark

Opinion: The con man becomes the mark

At some point, it was going to happen. At some point, the bluebirds-singing-kumbaya, happy-castles-built-on-sand fantasy that North Korea was willing to shed its nuclear arsenal, the notion that it’s time to schedule a flight to Oslo for the Nobel ceremony because, really, “everyone’s saying” that President Trump has earned it -- at some point, all of that was going to collide...
Opinion: Two Georgias, one governor

Opinion: Two Georgias, one governor

Georgia Republicans are obsessed with guns -- guns guns guns guns guns -- and they’re downright terrified of immigrants.  Also, guns. At least, that’s the impression left by most of the campaign commercials being aired in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Those ads were created by political consultants paid to know their audience, on behalf of politicians competing to lead their party...

Opinion: An embarrassment of riches

As some of you know, I took a couple days off last week to attend the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and it more than lived up to its billing. The food, the friendly crowds and the music -- the music was everywhere. Gospel, jazz, blues, zydeco, country, soul, roots rock, Cajun -- it was awesome. Unfortunately, with 12 different stages featuring an ever-rotating list of bands, you can&rsquo...
Opinion: Our small-hearted, small-minded nation

Opinion: Our small-hearted, small-minded nation

Earlier this month, the Trump administration ordered 56,000 Honduran refugees out of the country no later than Nov. 4, 2019.  Those people have been living and working in the United States legally since 1998, when Hurricane Mitch devastated their homeland, killing 7,000 and leaving as many as 1.5 million people homeless. They are not alone. In January, the administration ordered the ouster of...
Opinion: Who hears that ka-ching?

Opinion: Who hears that ka-ching?

“Ka-ching!” That’s the sound made by coins pouring out of a slot machine that just paid off big time, and Sheldon Adelson knows it well. Las Vegas Sands, the casino company owned by Adelson, last month reported that its first-quarter net income jumped by a remarkable 179 percent. Most of that gain came as a direct result of last year’s huge corporate tax cut, touted by Republicans...
Opinion: Big money in Trump’s Swamp

Opinion: Big money in Trump’s Swamp

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis now acknowledges that it paid $1.2 million in carefully structured payments to Trump fixer Michael Cohen, allegedly for Cohen’s expertise on “U.S. health-care policy matters.” That’s odd. Beyond financing the occasional abortion for girlfriends of GOP bigwigs, Cohen has no discernible expertise on “U.S. health-care policy matters...
Opinion: Trump’s Iran disaster

Opinion: Trump’s Iran disaster

Back during the campaign, Donald Trump told an audience of conservative American Jews what they wanted to hear: If elected president, “My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”  "I’ve studied this issue in great detail — I would say actually greater by far than anybody else," Trump bragged, a claim that drew mocking laughter...

Opinion: On good weeks, Friday comes early

I’m posting my Friday music offering on Wednesday this week, because, well, it’s Friday for me, if not for you! I’m headed down to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for a few days of music and other delights, and won’t be back until next week.  So be good, and here’s some of what you’ll be missing: <iframe width="480" height="270"...
Opinion: Our absurd gun-safety debate

Opinion: Our absurd gun-safety debate

<iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4ABRz_epvic?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> As Georgia secretary of state for the past eight years, Brian Kemp has not exactly wowed people with his competence and judgment. Even his fellow Republicans...
Opinion: ‘Mr. Mueller will see you now’

Opinion: ‘Mr. Mueller will see you now’

The gross incompetence of the Trump White House in handling the Mueller probe is pretty stunning, and the problems begin at the top.1 For example, from Tuesday morning: <div></div><br><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked&rdquo...
Opinion: Please, spare me the sanctimony

Opinion: Please, spare me the sanctimony

With her scorching comments at the White House Correspondents Dinner, comedienne Michelle Wolf has touched off a national debate about decency and civil debate in our political life, led by conservatives professing outrage at her harsh attacks on President Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, among others. I say fine, let’s have that discussion. And let me begin by stipulating...

Opinion: Song for a beautiful weekend

The weather folks are calling for a beautiful spring weekend here in the ATL, which means my Inman Park neighborhood will once more play host to tens of thousands of visitors to the annual Inman Park festival. Welcome, Atlanta! Music is always a big part of the festival’s draw, and one of the highlights will be Sandra Hall and the Shadows, playing Saturday evening at little Delta Park. To whet...
Opinion: The taint of Reed’s legacy

Opinion: The taint of Reed’s legacy

In last fall’s campaign to be mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms had to dance a delicate line. On the one hand, she had to reassure angry voters that she was sincere when she talked about addressing serious issues of corruption in the city bureaucracy uncovered in a major federal investigation. In sending that message, though, Bottoms had another audience that she had to please in the person...
Opinion: An epic, Trumpian rant

Opinion: An epic, Trumpian rant

Calling into his buddies at Fox & Friends, President Trump went off on an epic, multi-topic rant this morning, with ramifications that will probably haunt his presidency for as long as that presidency lasts. How epic was it? It was so epic that with the president of the United States rambling on in anger and frustration, making dumpsters-full of breaking news on Fox News air, it was panicked host...
Opinion: An administration of charlatans

Opinion: An administration of charlatans

The best gauge of a leader’s character, competence and intelligence is the quality of people whom he chooses to surround him and act on his behalf. As proof of that assertion, I offer up the example of Donald J. Trump. As former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt describes it, “we’ve never quite seen the assemblage of crooks, just outright weirdos, wife beaters, drunk drivers, complete...
Opinion: Trump and the N. Korea dilemma

Opinion: Trump and the N. Korea dilemma

President Trump has set himself up for a massive, perhaps humiliating failure in his upcoming summit with North Korea. Hundreds of thousands of lives -- at a minimum -- will depend on how maturely he deals with that failure. Other than that, though, we have no cause to worry. Let’s start with the basics: 1. Trump has set the bar for success so high as to be unattainable. What he wants out of...

Opinion: The legend that is Aretha

Maybe you know this story, but if you don’t, you should. Twenty years ago, at the 1998 Grammy awards ceremony in New York City, tenor Luciano Pavarotti was scheduled to do a live performance of his personal showpiece, “Nessun Dormi,” from Puccini’s opera “Turandot.” A half hour into the national TV broadcast, however, Pavarotti suddenly announced that his throat...
Opinion: Right there in the middle of 5th Avenue

Opinion: Right there in the middle of 5th Avenue

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans and conservative leaders rallied around President Trump Friday, attempting to minimize political damage after Trump shot down a man in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York City. “I’m not going to put myself in the position of having to respond to every presidential shooting,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a hastily called press conference...
Opinion: Troubles mount for Kasim Reed

Opinion: Troubles mount for Kasim Reed

Kasim Reed was, in many ways, a good mayor for Atlanta. Maybe not great -- certainly not Beyoncé-at-Coachella great, as he himself sees it -- but good nonetheless. During Reed’s two terms in office, the city has prospered. The crime rate fell, transformative projects such as the BeltLine moved forward, corporate America bought into the Atlanta story and thanks in part to Reed, Atlanta&rsquo...
Opinion: The Donald and Vlad bromance, Part XVI

Opinion: The Donald and Vlad bromance, Part XVI

In a blistering speech last week before the U.N. Security Council, Ambassador Nikki Haley told her fellow diplomats that this time, she would not repeat the presentation she had given after a previous chemical-weapons attack launched by the Syrian government, with the backing of Russia. This time, she would not show the world the gruesome pictures of dead children, their bodies blue from a lack of...
Opinion: James Comey’s fatal vanity

Opinion: James Comey’s fatal vanity

James Comey loves the spotlight. After a while, the spotlight does not love him back. That’s because, in the harsh glare of the spotlight, you begin to see something unfortunate. You begin to see that it has never been enough for Comey to strive to be fair and honest and ethical, the guideposts by which he has lived his public life. You begin to see that his Achilles heel, his Kryptonite, is...
Opinion: We all drink the poisoned chalice

Opinion: We all drink the poisoned chalice

“You all know that I did not seek this job,” House Speaker Paul Ryan reminded the country in announcing his retirement. “I took it reluctantly.” That’s putting it mildly. Three years ago, Ryan had been adamant, refusing to drink from the poisoned chalice of becoming a GOP speaker. He relented and took the job only after being begged to do so by fellow Republicans, who...
Opinion: Things are going to hell

Opinion: Things are going to hell

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, our commander in chief attempted to reassure the American people and the world that everything is fine and under control, that our self-described “very stable genius” in the White House was not ranting and raving in anger but in fact was, to use his own words, “very calm and calculated with a big focus on open and fair trade with China, the...
Opinion: The Founders v. Donald J. Trump

Opinion: The Founders v. Donald J. Trump

“It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense,” President Trump said Monday, sitting in the White House Cabinet room surrounded by generals and admirals. “It’s an attack on what we all stand for.” The president was not describing the well-documented attempt by Russia to interfere with our 2016 elections — he has never used words anywhere near that strong...
Opinion: Now, we await Trump’s eruption

Opinion: Now, we await Trump’s eruption

The office and home of Michael Cohen, personal attorney to President Donald Trump, have been raided by the FBI. That, ladies and gentlemen, is big news. According to the New York Times, which broke the story, one area of interest to the FBI was Cohen’s role in payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, aka Stephanie Clifford. Agents reportedly seized emails, tax documents and business records...

Opinion: Mary don’t you weep

Here’s one of my favorite gospel songs to honor Good Friday and swing us into Easter weekend.  <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tebjshm7f_I?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> I’m taking next week off, so absent some...
Opinion: Georgia will miss Gov. Deal

Opinion: Georgia will miss Gov. Deal

On the whole, Nathan Deal has been a good governor. Admittedly, those are words that I did not think I would be writing seven and a half years ago, in large part because of the ethical baggage that Deal brought with him to Atlanta from his time in Congress. Those concerns were real -- indeed, the biggest black mark of Deal’s tenure as governor remains his decision to push out employees of the...
Opinion: A vacuum of leadership

Opinion: A vacuum of leadership

It’s not merely that the modern Republican Party lacks the competence needed to govern responsibly, although it does. What ought to bother voters even more is that it has abandoned all pretense of trying. Exhibit A for that claim is of course Donald Trump and the ongoing chaos that he has wrought as president, both domestically and internationally. Exhibit A1 is the party’s profound...
Opinion: Zell Miller, a man out of time

Opinion: Zell Miller, a man out of time

Zell Miller always struck me as a man trapped in an era not his own, and his efforts both personally and politically to reconcile the tug of the past with his profound hope for the future accounted for much that made him fascinating to Georgians and to those of us who were lucky enough to cover him. That conflict was all the more poignant and symbolic because as Miller rose to statewide and then national...
Opinion: Buckle your seatbelts

Opinion: Buckle your seatbelts

It might seem a contradiction in terms to write that chaos is taking shape, but ... in the Trump White House, chaos is taking shape.  What we have witnessed in the last 14 months, as unsettling as it has been, has indeed been the calm, and that relative calm has come to its end, on a variety of fronts. We see it in Donald Trump’s legal team, where, in a matter of days and despite claims...
Opinion: Putin has Trump’s number

Opinion: Putin has Trump’s number

If Donald Trump had to choose a favorite word to describe himself, my bet would be on the word “tough.” In a recent speech to describe his approach to drug abuse, he used a version of “tough” 19 times. He’s tough on trade, tough on the media, tough on porn stars, tough on immigration. Suspected terrorists should be tortured; drug pushers should be executed. No matter...
Opinion: Our hypocritical horndog-in-chief

Opinion: Our hypocritical horndog-in-chief

A porn star is engaged in a highly public legal spat with the president of the United States over her ability to speak freely about their extra-marital affair. A second porn star has come forward to reveal the president’s effort to recruit her for a threesome. A third woman, a former Playboy Playmate, has also launched a legal battle to reclaim the right to reveal her own extra-marital affair...
Opinion: We can’t punish our way out of the opioid crisis

Opinion: We can’t punish our way out of the opioid crisis

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans aged 50 and younger, claiming more than 60,000 lives each year. That’s more Americans than died in the entire Vietnam War, and despite increased attention the trend lines still point in the wrong direction. To some, the appropriate response to that crisis is to launch a renewed war on drugs, to treat the opioid epidemic as a law-enforcement...

Opinion: ‘If you are innocent, act like it’

U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy -- a conservative Republican, former prosecutor and Benghazi attack dog -- offered some advice to Donald’s Trump’s personal attorney over the weekend. "If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it,” Gowdy said on Fox News. "If the allegation is collusion with the Russians, and there is no evidence of that, and you are innocent of that, act...

Opinion: Take me away, sweet music

Another wild week in the news business has come to an end -- OK, you’re right -- these days it never really comes to an end. However, I’ve found that nothing changes your mood and focus better or more quickly than music, so give Mr. John Boutté a listen and have a great weekend.   <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RBEhS0XNaYU?feature=oembed"...
Opinion: Stumbling down the path to war

Opinion: Stumbling down the path to war

Incompetence at the highest levels of government, particularly in the arenas of diplomacy and national security, can have enormous consequences. When that incompetence is blended with blind arrogance, with a conviction that gut instinct is a suitable, even preferable substitute for strategic thinking, the likelihood of a major blunder grows exponentially. It can easily lead to a war, or multiple wars...
Opinion: Tax cut can’t save GOP

Opinion: Tax cut can’t save GOP

Even though they control every lever of the federal government, Republicans can so far claim only one solitary accomplishment of any significance, the passage of a massive tax cut.  This week, in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, they gave that singular accomplishment a test drive as a campaign issue, and it didn’t just fall flat, it backfired. It...
Opinion: The first swell of a blue tsunami

Opinion: The first swell of a blue tsunami

You’ve seen the numbers: In 2016, Donald Trump carried Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District by 20 percentage points. In 2012, Mitt Romney carried it by 17 points. It is the heart of Trump country, overwhelmingly white with strong working-class roots. Yet after Republicans invested more than $10 million in this week’s special election, vastly outspending the Democrats, after...
Opinion: Trump unshackled, Trump unhinged

Opinion: Trump unshackled, Trump unhinged

“No” is one of the shortest words in the English language. It is also one of the most powerful and effective. Donald Trump does not like to hear that word, not directed at him. He doesn’t like it from the media, he doesn’t like it from other countries, he doesn’t like to hear it from Congress. He particularly doesn’t like to hear it from those who in his mind owe...
Opinion: Tillerson gone, Russia smiles

Opinion: Tillerson gone, Russia smiles

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, standing behind the White House seal in the White House briefing room, with the American flag behind her, announced Monday that the United States was standing with its longtime ally, the United Kingdom. “The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against UK citizens on UK soil is an outrage,” Sanders said. “The attack was reckless, indiscriminate, and irresponsible...
Opinion: Trump’s a political coward

Opinion: Trump’s a political coward

In a White House meeting in the wake of the Parkland shootings, Donald Trump made a big, public demonstration of his courage in daring to buck the National Rifle Association, drawing a pointed contrast to the craven attitude of congressional leaders. “Some of you people are petrified of the NRA,” he said, taunting  senators and House members gathered around the table as the TV cameras...

Opinion: An ode to happiness

Years ago, Atlanta-based Oliver Wood fronted an excellent funk and blues band by the name of “King Johnson,” playing venues like the Northside Tavern and building an avid fan base around town. But bands come and bands go, and these days Oliver has joined up with his younger brother Chris to form -- good guess! -- the Wood Brothers! Here’s Oliver, preaching the virtues of happiness...
Opinion: The dotard and the rocket man

Opinion: The dotard and the rocket man

Donald Trump’s supporters claim that Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” against North Korea -- using threats, sanctions and military posturing -- has forced Kim Jong Un to come to the negotiating table. There’s probably a lot of truth in that claim. However, the opposite point is equally true: From the North Korean perspective, Kim can argue that it was his own threats...
Opinion: U.S. is no trade victim

Opinion: U.S. is no trade victim

If you believe President Trump -- a dangerous act in its own right -- the United States has long allowed itself to be “ripped off” and played for a fool in bad trade deals negotiated by tougher, smarter competitors.  “The United States has been taken advantage of by other countries, both friendly and not so friendly, for many, many decades,” as he repeated in a press conference...
Opinion: Trump is juggling chainsaws

Opinion: Trump is juggling chainsaws

The private lawyer for the president of the United States has paid a porn star $130,000 in return for silence about their extramarital affair. The payment is almost certainly a violation of campaign finance law, and it is also futile: Despite the payment, the porn star is refusing to stay silent about their sexual relationship, with her attorney now confirming it on national television. Oh, one more...
Opinion: Don’t sanction anti-gay bias

Opinion: Don’t sanction anti-gay bias

The battle against anti-gay bigotry is far from won, but the trend is clear. All over the country, the notion that gay, lesbian and transgender Americans are second-class citizens who can be legally discriminated against is giving way to a recognition that liberty and freedom cannot be denied on the basis of sexual identity. However, some here in Georgia still seek to push our state in the opposite...
Opinion: ‘Alexa, call BS for me’

Opinion: ‘Alexa, call BS for me’

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, writing in the AJC’s op-ed section, offers his rationale for the decision to withdraw a long-proposed $40 million tax cut for Delta Air Lines. You can read Cagle’s entire argument here, but I’d like to take issue with him on several specific points. For example, he writes: I’m not sure which is more remarkable: the fact that Cagle would make such...
Opinion: Trade war? Sure, why not.

Opinion: Trade war? Sure, why not.

Proposition: We are governed by an idiot. Evidence:  <div></div><br><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country...
Opinion: The mirage of rationality

Opinion: The mirage of rationality

At a televised bipartisan summit at the White House Wednesday, Donald Trump demonstrated the potentially immense value of an outsider’s fresh perspective, in this case applied to gun-safety issues that had long ago hardened into Washington concrete. In his comments to Republican and Democratic leaders, he revealed himself as unbound by ideology and past commitment, willing to buck the National...
Opinion: Nobody guarding the chicken coop, and the foxes are thrilled

Opinion: Nobody guarding the chicken coop, and the foxes are thrilled

Russia has shown no sign of slowing down its social-media interference and cyberattacks on U.S. targets,  including election infrastructure,  because “they have not paid a price that is sufficient to change their behavior," according to Admiral Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency. “Clearly, what we’ve done hasn’t been enough,” Rogers...
Opinion: GA GOP are world-beaters in hypocrisy

Opinion: GA GOP are world-beaters in hypocrisy

On Monday, Republican leaders of the Georgia Senate announced that they would kill a $40 million tax cut they were about to grant Delta Air Lines. Their reason? Responding to public protests, Delta had decided to end discounts it had offered to members of the National Rifle Association, and for that egregious act, Georgia conservatives decided that the company had to be punished. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle...
Opinion: A $40 million tax for crossing the NRA?

Opinion: A $40 million tax for crossing the NRA?

Delta Air Lines, with a reported pre-tax profit of $5.5 billion last year, does not need and should not get a $40 million tax gift from the Georgia Legislature. However, it also should not be subject to political blackmail by Georgia Republicans willing to use the taxing powers of the state to force compliance with their own political ideology. That is outrageous. Since the Parkland shooting tragedy...

Opinion: Rock on outahere ...

It’s FRIDAY! In case you hadn’t noticed.... Here’s some Brian Fallon to kick off the weekend for us. He’s scheduled to play at King Plow here in the ATL, which is a great little music venue if you haven’t had the chance to attend a show there. <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1jf4qiIs2AU?feature=oembed"...
Opinion: The NRA and ‘mental health’

Opinion: The NRA and ‘mental health’

In moments such as these, the NRA’s crisis-management playbook calls for diverting public attention away from the easy availability of weapons of mass death to important but subsidiary issues such as mental health. In his speech this week to the Conservative Political Action Conference, for example, Wayne LaPierre seemingly committed his group to toughening background checks to catch the mentally...
Opinion: Armed teachers solve nothing

Opinion: Armed teachers solve nothing

President Trump held an emotionally fraught, painful “listening session” at the White House on Wednesday for survivors and next-of-kin of school shootings. Remarkably, his main takeaway from that session -- the proposal that he embraced most enthusiastically -- was that teachers, janitors and other adults in schools ought to be armed. Which led to this truly bizarre tweet this morning...
Opinion: Trump already has his wall

Opinion: Trump already has his wall

In the latest Quinnipiac poll, 83 percent of Americans say that it’s important to them that the president of the United States be loyal to his or her spouse. Among Republicans, it’s even higher, with 86 percent saying that it’s important that the president be faithful in marriage. Then comes the next question:  “Do you think President Trump has been loyal to his wife throughout...
Opinion: Parkland kids tell truth

Opinion: Parkland kids tell truth

A little more than five years ago -- it seems so much longer -- a gunman armed with an assault weapon walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 children aged six or seven, along with six staff members who had tried to protect them. The children who survived Sandy Hook were too young to speak publicly about their trauma, and the parents who tried to do so quickly became targets of a right-wing...
Opinion: Kremlin 2016 intervention was significant

Opinion: Kremlin 2016 intervention was significant

According to a 37-page federal grand-jury indictment returned today, the effort by the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 elections and to promote the election of Donald Trump was significantly more substantial than previously understood. The indictment levels charges of conspiracy to defraud against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities, and outlines a project that began as early...
Opinion: A case study in Russian meddling

Opinion: A case study in Russian meddling

His name was “Jermaine,” and based on his Twitter profile picture, he was a young black American male. In early November of 2015, Jermaine was angry and outraged about racial tensions on the campus of the University of Missouri, and also fearful of the violence being perpetrated there. “The cops are marching with the KKK!” he claimed on Twitter. “They beat up my little...
Opinion: A basic disrespect for women

Opinion: A basic disrespect for women

Back in the early ‘90s, a magazine profile of Donald Trump quoted his advice about how to handle troublesome women. “You have to treat ‘em like (human excrement),” Trump had allegedly said. In 1994, when asked about the quote by ABC News, Trump vehemently denied it and attacked the person who reported it. “The woman’s a liar, extremely unattractive, lots...
Opinion: Conspiracy: The IED of information warfare

Opinion: Conspiracy: The IED of information warfare

The conservative movement has created a pretty neat little conspiracy-generation factory, and these days it’s humming at peak output. In addition to classics such as PizzaGate and the Seth Rich murder, a partial listing of its recent product line would include the so-called “unmasking” scandal back in April, in which top Obama officials in the national security arena were accused...

Opinion: Ain’t short of much

With Carnival season coming to its peak soon, and Mardi Gras just a few short days away, I thought it would be right to toss out a little taste of New Orleans to kick off our weekend. Ladies and gentlemen, savor some Trombone Shorty. Stay dry this weekend, looks like this mini-drought we are supposedly experiencing is coming to an end. <iframe width="480" height="270" src="...
Opinion: A parade of insecurities

Opinion: A parade of insecurities

So now he wants a parade. You know who throws huge military parades for no real purpose? Countries that are insecure about their power and identity do. Also, dictators do. Dictators who equate a nation’s power with their own. Dictators who need to be flattered and groomed. Dictators who demand applause and cheers, and who treat the failure to applaud and cheer as some kind of treason. ...
Opinion: Throw more tax cuts on the bonfire

Opinion: Throw more tax cuts on the bonfire

Back in 2009, in the midst of the greatest recession in 80 years, with 800,000 Americans losing their jobs each month, congressional Republicans refused to support a major economic stimulus package needed to pull the country back from the brink. It was, they explained, a matter of principle. Even with the nation teetering on economic depression -- “this sucker could go down,” as President...
Opinion: Trey Gowdy has regrets

Opinion: Trey Gowdy has regrets

Citing the Nunes memo, Trump defenders want us to believe that a FISA judge might not have been fully informed by the FBI when asked to approve a warrant to spy on Carter Page. The charge is probably false, but that’s what they want us to believe. From there, however, things get ridiculous. They also want us to believe that the FISA controversy ought to be a much bigger scandal, and draw much...
Opinion: Nunes hoisted by his own petard

Opinion: Nunes hoisted by his own petard

The Nunes memo is more than the bust I predicted. It is a bomb. It not only fails spectacularly to live up to the hysterical Republican descriptions of its contents and impact, it actually detonates several of the most cherished narratives that President Trump and his backers have attempted to weave in his defense. Those narratives, and the evidence against them, are: WRONG. To the contrary, the Nunes&rsquo...
Opinion: Trump targets FBI, DOJ

Opinion: Trump targets FBI, DOJ

President Trump sends out a lot of tweets, as you may have heard. This particular tweet, sent Friday morning, will probably prove to be of historic importance: <div></div><br><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative...
Opinion: ‘ ... material omissions of fact’

Opinion: ‘ ... material omissions of fact’

On Monday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray both went to the White House to plead with administration officials not to release the classified “memo” churned up by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee in their effort to sabotage the Russia investigation. Their pleas apparently fell on deaf ears. “It will be released here...
Opinion: ‘Bloody nose,’ and then what?

Opinion: ‘Bloody nose,’ and then what?

A few hours before President Trump’s State of the Union speech, which focused heavily on the threat from North Korea, his administration announced that it was withdrawing the nomination of Victor Cha as U.S. ambassador to South Korea. Cha, a Korean-American foreign-policy expert who served on the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, knows the region, its challenges and its...
Opinion: The destruction of truth

Opinion: The destruction of truth

Hidden in the rush of other news, the Trump administration announced Monday that despite legislation passed overwhelmingly by Congress to punish Russia for interfering in our election, the United States would not impose additional sanctions on Russian leaders and oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin. According to a State Department statement, any further sanctions are unnecessary because simply having...
Opinion: Must be hard to be a genius

Opinion: Must be hard to be a genius

Unlike President Trump, I’m no genius, which must be why his strategy for dealing with special counsel Robert Mueller makes no sense to me. I apparently lack the IQ points needed to appreciate its subtle wisdom and brilliance, to see eight or 10 moves ahead when it all comes together as perfectly as a piece of Ikea furniture. I do know this much: Mueller spent 12 years as director of the FBI...

Opinion: Happy birthday, Miss Lucinda 

Happy birthday to the great Lucinda Williams, American poet, singer and songwriter. Have a great weekend everyone ... <iframe width="459" height="344" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7tUzhodl_rw?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>
Opinion: The scariest man in Washington

Opinion: The scariest man in Washington

President Trump has a lot of enemies, many of his own making or even invention. He rails endlessly against the media -- “the enemy of the people,” he calls us. He attacks the FBI and the nation’s intelligence agencies, infecting much of his own party with the notion that a “Deep State” conspiracy is being perpetrated to topple him and the Constitution. Yet his biggest...
Opinion: An FBI-led coup? Get real

Opinion: An FBI-led coup? Get real

Just about every night now, Sean Hannity goes on Fox News to tell his audience that a coup attempt is underway, housed in the FBI and the Justice Department, to overthrow the duly elected president of the United States and to destroy the foundations of our democracy. “This, so you understand, is so much bigger than Watergate. It’s about our Constitution, about the rule of law,” he...
Opinion: Dreamers as hostages

Opinion: Dreamers as hostages

Not wanting to criticize President Trump personally, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has directed his anger and frustration at Trump’s staff instead, more specifically at a particular senior aide. "As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we are going nowhere,” Graham said Sunday. “He's been an outlier for years."  That drew a response from the White...
Opinion: The price of losing

Opinion: The price of losing

President Trump and his fellow Republicans are claiming victory, insisting that they have forced Senate Democrats to blink in their confrontation over immigration. Well, they are 100 percent correct in that assessment. Heading into the shutdown, the primary goal of Democrats was to win protection for the Dreamers. The goal of Republicans was to block protection for the Dreamers. And anyway you measure...
Opinion: The shutdown and the Dreamers

Opinion: The shutdown and the Dreamers

The Republicans are trying to blame the government shutdown on the insistence by Democrats that Congress finally take action to protect the so-called Dreamers. “This vote should be a no-brainer,” as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put it, “and it would be, except the Democratic leader has convinced his members to filibuster any funding bill that doesn’t include legislation...

Opinion: ... out of kindness, I suppose

Townes Van Zandt left us a true classic in the bittersweet “Pancho & Lefty,” which Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson later covered and turned into the anthem of the outlaw country movement.  "I realize that I wrote it, but it's hard to take credit for the writing, because it came from out of the blue,” Townes told documentarians for PBS back in 1984. “It came through...
Opinion: Not a shutdown, a meltdown

Opinion: Not a shutdown, a meltdown

What’s happening in Washington is less a government shutdown than a government meltdown, with most of the heat generated by a conflict between two starkly different visions of immigration. Let me propose what I believe to be a fair description of the GOP position on immigration, gleaned from statements by President Trump, congressional leaders and the conservative media: 1.) We need to build...
Opinion: Sorry, rural Georgia

Opinion: Sorry, rural Georgia

Rural Georgia is in deep trouble, and the attention now being paid to its challenges by state leadership is long overdue. Lifespans are shrinking; jobs are disappearing. Rural hospitals can’t keep their doors open, and health-care professionals and the network they sustain are evaporating. The opioid epidemic is taking a heart-breaking toll, particularly among young men.  Overall, Georgia...
Opinion: The lost art of the deal

Opinion: The lost art of the deal

If you listen to his fans, Donald Trump is a brilliant deal-maker and negotiator. He literally wrote the book on the art of deal-making, and he has promised repeatedly, endlessly, to put that skill to work to make America great again.  As his biggest fan of all once put it: <div></div><br><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"...
Opinion: Our sycophantic senator

Opinion: Our sycophantic senator

For U.S. Sen. David Perdue, memory works in a very odd way. Or so he claims. Last Friday, Perdue and a colleague, U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, told the world that they “do not recall” racist comments made a day earlier by President Trump in an immigration meeting.  That lack of recollection seemed astonishing. In that meeting, Trump had dismissed all of Africa as “shithole&rdquo...
Opinion: Our racist in chief

Opinion: Our racist in chief

Imagine that you’re sitting at a bar, and you glance at the guy on the barstool next to you. He looks like he’s had four or five beers already, and before you know it, he strikes up a conversation. About immigration. He launches into a crude rant, complaining about immigrants from places like Africa, El Salvador and Haiti. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries...
Opinion: Why is Mueller so scary?

Opinion: Why is Mueller so scary?

Somebody really, really doesn't want to talk to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  <div></div><br><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues. There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems knows there was no collusion, & yet on and on it goes. Russia &...
Opinion: Save us, Oprah

Opinion: Save us, Oprah

No, Oprah. Do not fall for it. Do not listen to the sirens' calls; deafen yourself to those political consultants no doubt working every contact they can find, eager to reach you and whisper sweet songs about your future. Pay them no heed, and none of your millions. The temptations are obvious: If you take a meeting, those consultants will tell you that if you want the Democratic presidential nomination...
Opinion: Russia is getting away with it

Opinion: Russia is getting away with it

"I think Russia has moved from plausible deniability to implausible deniability," national security adviser H.R. McMaster told the country in an interview last week, asserting that the evidence of Russian interference in our 2016 election is now conclusive and overwhelming. “The Russians were very active in Europe as well, in the French election recently, in the Spanish referendum...

Opinion: A little Choctaw bingo?

Larry McMurtry is one helluva storyteller, as you no doubt know if you ever read things like the "Lonesome Dove" series or "Last Picture Show." His boy James ain't a bad yarn-spinner his ownself. Stay warm. Go Falcons. Go Dawgs. See you next week.
Opinion: 'More for me, not for thee'

Opinion: 'More for me, not for thee'

Republicans would have us all believe that the economy under Barack Obama had been a catastrophe -- "American carnage," as Donald Trump described it in his inauguration address a year ago. We are also encouraged to believe that under Trump's inspirational leadership and business genius, the economy has suddenly begun to boom. As the president bragged just this morning: Trump is correct...
Opinion: The portrait of a scam artist

Opinion: The portrait of a scam artist

Here is author Michael Wolff, digesting his time as a "fly-on-the-wall" observer in the Trump White House and after hundreds of hours of interviews with top members of the Trump presidential staff: "My indelible impression of talking to them and observing them through much of the first year of his presidency, is that they all — 100 percent — came to believe he was incapable...
Opinion: Bannon sees treason in TrumpLand

Opinion: Bannon sees treason in TrumpLand

The former CEO of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign has now publicly accused three of his former campaign colleagues -- Trump's son, his son-in-law and his campaign manager -- of committing treason against the United States. "The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor --...
Opinion: This story isn't about Trump

Opinion: This story isn't about Trump

According to Playwriting 101, Act One of a play must introduce us to our cast of characters, to their strengths and limitations, and also to the setting in which they operate. A loaded gun — in some cases literal, but more often figurative — should also be introduced somewhere in the opening scenes, and now sits ominously on the fireplace mantel. I think that's a pretty good description...
Opinion: '... bread crumbs luring the prey into the trap'

Opinion: '... bread crumbs luring the prey into the trap'

Thanks to the "tax cut" bill now being enacted by Washington Republicans, this is what the tax code will look like by 2027: -- American households making $75,000 or less will see an INCREASE of their federal income taxes totaling $28.5 billion a year. -- American households making $100,000 or more will see a DECREASE of their taxes totaling $23.5 billion a year. The numbers are clear. The...
Opinion: Merry Christmas, suckers

Opinion: Merry Christmas, suckers

For more than a generation, the most pressing economic problem confronting the United States has been the growing concentration of wealth among the already wealthy. Whether through government policy, economic transformation or a combination of the two, the share of income and wealth available to the middle and working classes has been shrinking steadily for 40 years, and as available resources have...

Opinion: An injustice corrected

I've posted here before about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a vastly underappreciated rock pioneer who has been cited as a major early influence by the likes of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis and Johnny Cash. It's hard to think of a better list of people to vouch for your relevance, but somehow she has never ever gotten her due, not during her lifetime and not afterward. That is, until now. The Rock...
Opinion: Hey Mikey, about that pardon?

Opinion: Hey Mikey, about that pardon?

"I don't want to talk about pardons with Michael Flynn yet," President Trump said Friday morning. The word doing the work in that sentence, the word flashing in neon, is "yet." In his remarks on the South Lawn of the White House, Trump also announced that "we're going to rebuild the FBI," claiming that "when you look at what's going on with the FBI and the Justice...
Opinion: Spare us the Mueller conspiracy talk

Opinion: Spare us the Mueller conspiracy talk

I swear, these people have lost their ever-lovin' minds. They have snipped their last tethers to reality and gone floating off into a fantasy land of their own creation. Take our own U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, Republican from Georgia. In a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Collins joined his GOP colleagues in confronting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over the supposed partisan...
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