Russian Roulette

(by Michael Isikoff and David Corn) (2018) This is an absorbing, readable and – remarkably – balanced account of the 2016 US election and the possible effect of Russian or Russian-sponsored hacking and disinformation. The existence of actual collusion between the Trump campaign and Putin’s apparatchiks relies on a number of guilt-by-association inferences, commercial ties with Russian oligarchs, and meetings attended by the numerous idiots connected with the campaign. Ultimately, the authors leave open the question both of direct collusion, and of the causative links of Russian meddling to Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Which is not to say there isn’t plenty…

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George H. W. Bush

December 1, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, HISTORY, POLITICS, USA History |

(12 June 1924 to 30 November 2018) Born in Massachusetts, educated at Yale, after flying for the navy in World War II, he became part of the Texas Oil industry, and a lifelong Republican. With experience in Congress, the Diplomatic Corp. and Intel, he was a steady second-in-command to the more flamboyant Reagan, and an obvious choice as his successor to the presidency. He oversaw the end of the Cold War, clipped Saddam Hussein’s wings (but crucially, drew back to allow that dictator to stay in place, ensuring an uneasy balance of power in the Middle East), and was generally…

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Chappaquiddick

(Directed by John Curran) (2018) We all know what we know of the story: in July 1969 Edward Kennedy, Senator for Massachusetts, competed in the annual Edgartown Yacht Club Regatta.  Most of the Senator’s entourage were staying at a hotel on the mainland.  A cottage on Chappaquiddick Island (near to the larger island of Martha’s Vineyard) was hired for a reunion of The Boiler Room Girls, six single women in their twenties who had worked for Robert Kennedy during his fatal presidential campaign. At sometime during the night of Friday July 18, the Senator and a secretary, Mary Jo Kopechne, left the…

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American Pharaoh

The Mayor at the opening of the Lake Front Festival, 1973, showing his sartorial flair

Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the Nation (by Adam Cohen & Elizabeth Taylor) (2000) What other book to buy in the south side of Chicago? TVC was only a few blocks from Bridgeport, where Richard J Daley lived and died, with his wife of five or so decades and 7 children, bog Irish and loyal to their neighbourhood to an insane degree, so loyal that they looked down on Irish families that moved to the suburbs, the ones so pretentious that they “had fruit in the house when nobody was sick,”  Having selected this and one other book, TVC…

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Socialism as Religion

Be careful who you give awards to...the Reverend Jim Jones, 1977's Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian award winner

Born May 13 (1931), the Reverend Jim Jones is famous for his deep Christian-Socialist beliefs, his humanitarian impulses, his Peoples’ Temple in San Francisco where he organised leftist demonstrations, and of course, the workers’ paradise he established at Jonestown in Guyana.  His passionate commitment to equality and fairness drew inspiration from thinkers such as Jesus, Buddha, Lenin, Marx, Castro and Mao, and won him kudos from the likes of well-known lib-labs Walter Mondale, Rosalynn Carter, Jerry Brown, and Harvey Milk (who called the Reverend “a man of the highest character.”) In any case, the socialist paradise shuddered to a halt…

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