Korea: Too much saber rattling, too little talk

The public television series on the Vietnam War reveals lessons the U.S. failed to learn as it was engulfed by the struggle. Whatever its intent, the series suggests parallels with the current North Korea crisis.   A viewer comes away from the programs with impressions about what works and where to be careful. President Kennedy and […]

National debt to climb whoever wins budget-tax debate

Congress won’t ever block an increase in the debt ceiling. Threats to cap it are pure political grandstanding. Congress spends money without raising enough tax revenues to cover spending. The shortfall must be met by borrowing. If the debt ceiling increase were blocked, borrowing would be prevented. The U.S. government wouldn’t have the funds needed […]

Trump continues campaigning; only Congress can save his presidency

The government seems to be operating without a president.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican like President Trump, questions if his presidency can be saved. The 2016 campaign continues.  Trump attacks Republicans, Democrats, and the media.  He implies that he has no “moral” concern about Nazi and white supremacist demonstrators.  If Democrats won’t support […]

GOP conservatives forced to confront Trump’s “base”

The white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. provides strong evidence of the widening division in American politics. President Trump’s reaction shows a new stage in the rightward evolution of the Republican Party, one rejected by many GOP leaders. He would not single out the far right demonstrators for responsibility, even after one of them had […]

Electric bills hide costly government policies

Electric bills hide turmoil in the electric industry. Some recent events illustrate the point.  The Maine Legislature sustained Gov. LePage’s veto of solar power subsidies.  Renewable subsidies are pushing up costs.  New transmission lines are raising rates.  Major Canadian hydro projects, hoping for U.S. markets, experience runaway costs Policy decisions contribute to hidden increases in […]

One party control is not working

Political battles in Washington reveal the sad state of governing. Traditional pragmatism has been replaced by strict partisanship.  Checks and balances are threatened. Partisanship – “It’s my way or the highway” – has replaced the pragmatic style of government. Our tradition has been to find practical solutions to clear public needs. Is there no role […]