By James A. Kidney Endless wars over dry desert lands. Ancient Muslim myths promulgated to the young by old men demanding a return to the nomadic life of 700 years ago or longer, an unachievable goal pursued at the cost of those young lives, but not of the old. If your dreams are not of the nomadic Muslim life as described in the Quran, demand instead that we relive the equally ancient lives recounted in the Old Testament and the Torah, with all the violence, hatred and – again – mythology those texts provide. In the Middle East, it is easy to find those far more loyal to an ancient, tribal story of division as a substitute for logical and scientific thinking, modern achievement, and a welcoming community. But why not look to restore the past in the Middle East? The present and a thousand years of history have … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Texas hosted the first primary election of 2018 on March 6, kicking off the race for the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. The contested Senate seats are mostly owned now by Democrats in pink or red states. Another big state, Illinois, holds its primary March 20. There is some electoral relief until May 8, when four states, including barometer states North Carolina and Ohio, hold their primaries. Thirteen states hold primaries in May with 17 more in June. Hello, Bob Mueller? Most prognosticators of the Mueller investigation believe there is still a long way to go before final indictments and a confidential report to the acting attorney general complete the actions of the special counsel. The predictions are based on known grand jury subpoenas and named cooperating witnesses. The Mueller team itself seems pretty much inoculated against the D.C. disease known as … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Most of the mainstream media identifies the Republican Party as one in distress, torn between the capital C Conservatives embodied by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, and the radical flamethrowers encouraged by Steve Bannon and the actions, if not always words, of Donald Trump. But I wish I was a Republican. I wish I could be unabashedly in favor of the rich while proclaiming I am looking out for the little guy. I wish I could speak crassly of my fellow citizens on occasion and let inner prejudices out for a stroll. I wish I didn’t worry so much about those same citizens as their economic condition deteriorates or look with anger on the very wealthy for whom enough is never enough. I wish I could be blind to the damages inflicted on this great nation as a democracy is converted to a corporatocracy with the … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Five observations on the Donald Trump Jr. emails and meeting with the Russians: Don’t let Trump Derangement lead to bad law. Some journalists and political commentators — is there still a difference? — are pushing for some very bad law when they argue/analyze/conclude that Donald Trump Jr.’s agreement to receive negative information about Hillary Clinton from the Russians is unlawful. The main theory being proffered (there are many) is that the law prohibits contributions to U.S. political campaigns from foreign governments and that information, which sometimes has a price, is equivalent to a financial or services donation. Equating delivery of accurate, non-classified information with illegal financial contributions, or contributions of meals, transportation and the like, is a very dangerous pathway. Information, unlike air travel, catering, and advertising, for example, is very fluid and its source not always identifiable. Penalizing people for receipt of useful information which … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney The worst thing that can happen to an entertainer like Donald Trump happened last week when he tweeted the visual of his faux physical attack on CNN. Trump jumped the shark. He is not only a boor, which we have known for years, but his antics are old and tired. Of course, he is still news. He is still a huge, perhaps existential, threat to our Constitution and even our world. But his personality, upon which he relies for his dwindling popularity, has moved from entertaining or curious to “what else is new?” If you are unfamiliar with the term “jump the shark,” it means that a tv series has outlived its entertainment value. It originates from a really boring, extended shot of the Fonz in the 1970s show “Happy Days” water skiing over a shark. That was viewed by critics as a sign the show … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney [Ed note: The New York Times plans to lay off hundreds of copy editors, a sign of financial pressure and a management strategy to beef up digital resources — they say. The Times also eliminated its Public Editor — the person who entertained reader complaints about reporting and posted occasional columns assessing the Times reporting, sometimes critically. In its place, the Times is offering up something called the Reader Center to receive comments on these changes. You can send your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is our comment (edited somewhat) sent to the executive editor through the Reader Center email site.] Dear Mr. Baquet, I am a nearly life-long subscriber to The Times (lately, the digital version), a former reporter (UPI, U.S. News) turned lawyer. I was married for 38 years to the late Sara Fritz, who I believe you knew from your LA Times days. So … Read more of this post . . .