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Thursday, January 28, 2016

"When Bad Men Combine"

Donald Trump is no conservative. One of the fathers of modern conservatism, the eighteenth century Englishman Edmund Burke, knew what the response of conservatives, liberals, and anybody decent in America should be to an inciter of mobs like Trump: "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

Monday, January 25, 2016

Stopping on Beltway on a Snowy Evening

With apologies to Robert Frost

Whose cars these are I do not know
Just that they're moving awfully slow
Ten thousand tail lights are all I see
Lit with that evil red glow

My little Prius must think it weird
To stop where I have always feared:
The car to my right, advertising Trump
Driven by some maniac with a beard

With my luck, our cars will bump
He'll climb out and fetch me a thump
And calling me a liberal creep
Will leave upon my head a lump

The cars they crawl, the horns they beep
The maniac takes the next exit in his Jeep
How many more hours till I can sleep?
How many more hours till I can sleep?

Monday, January 11, 2016

The United States of Trump

First The Donald threw out the hecklers, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a heckler.
Then he threw out the undocumented immigrants, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not an undocumented immigrant.
Then he threw out the Muslims, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Muslim.
Then he threw out the other minorities, and I did not speak out—
Because I was white.
Then he threw out everyone who didn't worship him without question—
and there was no one left in America.
(With apologies to Pastor Martin Niemöller).

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Book Purchasing Report

This is what happens when my wife goes away for the weekend and leaves me to my own devices. I head for the used book store and binge.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Time to Pull the Fire Alarm: It's Happening Here

As I said in a recent Facebook post, the fire alarm has been pulled far too often about the return of "fascism," as George Orwell noted already in 1946. Originally a left-wing reflex, encouraged by Soviet propaganda that applied the label indiscriminately to America and virtually all non-Communist regimes, movements and public figures, this irresponsible habit has spread to the Right in the age of the Internet. It is a staple of anti-Israel propaganda, the temptation of affixing Hitler's visage to his victims being too much for anti-Semites to resist.

But when Donald Trump, currently the front-runner for the presidential nomination of America's great, historic Republican Party, calls for rounding up and deporting millions of Hispanic residents of this nation, and his popularity soars; when he says he would "consider" monitoring all members of the Muslim religious minority and tracking them in a giant database, and his campaign grows stronger; when he demands the police use torture on suspects; when he tells Big Lie after Big Lie, Josef Goebbels style, and no amount of exposure of such falsehoods as "thousands" of New Jersey Muslims cheering about 9/11 weakens him; when he eggs on enormous mobs of his supporters to "rough up" protesters, and the mobs hasten to do his will; then the use of the term "fascism" is not only warranted, it is mandatory.

Donald Trump is not a joke anymore. His hairpiece is no more ridiculous than that other fellow's mustache. It Can't Happen Here? It is happening here.

Speak out now. Tomorrow it will be too late.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

An Open Letter to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

Dear Governor Hogan,

As an American and a Maryland resident, I am disgusted that you have jumped on the demagogic bandwagon to bar Syrian refugees fleeing war and massacre in their home country. Of course such refugees should and will be screened before admission to the United States to try to ensure that there are among them no Islamist terrorists--the very barbarians they are running from.

As it happens, I am a strong critic of President Obama's foreign policy--his seemingly unbreakable habit of appeasing our enemies and alienating our friends--and specifically his worse than useless policy of meaningless pinprick strikes against the so-called Islamic State. But this must not be confused with the urgent humanitarian need to admit refugees from that unfolding disaster. The impulse to shut the gates in their faces is just as short-sighted and disgraceful as when America's "Golden Door" was closed to those trying to flee the Nazi Holocaust. You should be ashamed of yourself.