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OpEdge: Making of Our Tables One Table

TRUMP AND THE FEAR OF DIFFERENCE by Marc Jampole   SOMETHING QUITE WONDERFUL happened to my wife and me the other day during our annual public humiliation, which is how we refer to our one trip a year to buy sweet kosher wine — always for our seder. We entered the neighborhood liquor store near Hunter College and sheepishly asked […]

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OpEdge: Truth vs. Republican Whitewashing

by Marc Jampole   A SPOKESPERSON for U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) just resigned rather than tell a bold-faced lie that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other ICE officials have been floating. They have been complaining that about eight hundred undocumented immigrants escaped arrest because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned the community that ICE raids were coming. […]

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OpEdge: The American Grand Guignol

MASS MURDER AT A SCHOOL ONCE AGAIN WHILE RIGHTWING POLITICIANS MAKE EXCUSES FOR NOT TIGHTENING GUN LAWS by Marc Jampole TO BLAME MENTAL ILLNESS as the reason that Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old boy, used his legally purchased automatic weapon to kill 17 people at a Florida high school is to commit the logical fallacy to […]

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GOP to Low-Income Americans: Tough Noogies

by Marc Jampole   AS MANY OTHERS have pointed out, the Republican Party hasn’t wasted any time letting the other shoe drop. They’re dancing their standard two-step of first creating a deficit by cutting taxes on the wealthy and then wailing that the deficit is hurting the economy — of course, the only way to fix it by […]

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Unionized Public Schools Do a Better Job

BUT POVERTY TRUMPS TEACHERS EVERYWHERE by Marc Jampole from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   IN DEFINING what constitutes a leftist perspective on education, let’s rely on a number of foundational principles that have defined the American left for more than 150 years: The left favors unions; the left believes in public education; the […]

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OpEdge: Hugh Hefner as a Sexist Pig

INTELLECTUAL, LIBERAL, STYLISH — BUT NONETHELESS A PIG!   by Marc Jampole   AS PART of his glorification and ascent to the Valhalla of dead celebrities, Hugh Hefner has received far too much credit for the positive impact he had on American society and far too little condemnation for the negative. True, he advocated for abortion […]

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OpEdge: Trump’s Stand-Up Shtik

THE JOKE IS ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE by Marc Jampole   AT FIRST LISTEN, Donald Trump’s speaking style when he eschews the teleprompter seems chaotically free form, as if he had tossed a few dozen tweets and sound bites into one of his “Make America Great Again” caps and picked a few out, one at a […]

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OpEdge: Restraining the Military Budget

$400 BILLION ANNUALLY SHOULD DO! by Marc Jampole THE AGENDA of the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans includes raising military spending by billions of dollars. A lot of that money will go to developing a new generation of smaller, “smarter” nuclear weapons and to developing weapons that will inflict damage on the enemy without prior command by […]

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OpEdge: Public Schools On Top

by Marc Jampole I’M NOT SURE if it was the author or the headline writer, but someone in the New York Times produced a headline that certainly constitutes false news: “Dismal Results from Vouchers Surprise Researchers.” What surprise? Researchers who have been paying attention already know that public policy driving families to put their children […]

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OpEdge: The Koch Administration

by Marc Jampole FUNNY HOW everything seems to always work out well for some people. Take the Koch brothers, David and Charles, who kept a billion dollars in their and their associates’ pockets that they had planned to spend to sway the 2016 presidential election for just about any Republican candidate other than Donald Trump. […]

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OpEdge: Trump’s Lies about John Lewis

by Marc Jampole JOHN LEWIS said what a lot of us have been thinking: that Trump is not a legitimate president because of voter suppression laws in a handful of states that broke to Trump by micro-thin margins and decided the results of the Electoral College. The Georgia Congressional representative also implied that Trump delegitimizes […]

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OpEdge: The Make-Busy Congress

by Marc Jampole THERE MIGHT BE some possibility of convincing Donald Trump and the Republicans not to build a wall along the Mexican border if they sincerely felt threatened by an invasion of undocumented immigrants. Once they learned that more of the undocumented have been leaving the U.S. than entering over the past few years, […]

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OpEdge: The Accidental President

A NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT AND A NATIONAL TRAGEDY by Marc Jampole IN IMAGINING presidential candidates at the beginning of 2016, if someone had said to me that an erratic and narcissistic sociopath would garner even a million votes, I would have considered it a national embarrassment, regardless of that candidate’s political stances. Same feeling if even […]

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OpEdge: Shame on Us, White People

by Marc Jampole SHAME ON US, white people. We just rejected the most presidential, qualified candidate in history to vote for a mentally ill buffoon who spews hate speech and has no impulse control. We voted against someone who has studied every issue and developed a reasoned approach to each so we could vote for […]

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Paul Celan as Existentialist Poet

THE COMPLEX BEAUTY OF HIS LATE POEMS by Marc Jampole from the Autumn 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry, by Paul Celan, translated from the German by Pierre Joris. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014, 736 pages. MOST PEOPLE know poets by one or two poems […]

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OpEdge: Hillary vs. Trump, Issue by Issue

by Marc Jampole AMERICANS in the 21st century judge their presidential candidates on many parameters: issues, party, character, demeanor (presidentialness, if I may coin a phrase), trustworthiness, and experience. Often how the candidates say what they’ll do is as important as what they say they’ll do. Let’s set aside all other aspects of the voting […]

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OpEdge: The Quack Interviews the Creep

WHY IS THE MEDIA PROMOTING DONALD TRUMP? by Marc Jampole MARK TWAIN would have changed the names and turned it into a hilarious short story: A charlatan physician interviews a charlatan businessman about his health. For that’s what we’re talking about in the Mehmet Oz interview of Donald Trump. Oz, a medical doctor, has a […]

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Is Social Democracy Un-American?

THE NEW DEAL AND THE GREAT SOCIETY IN RETROSPECT by Marc Jampole from the Summer 2016 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics, by Jefferson Cowie. Princeton University Press, 2016, 438 pages. HISTORIAN JEFFERSON Cowie’s The Great Exception: The New Deal and […]

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OpEdge: Killed by Police and Killing Police

There’s No Relationship, But Both Are a National Tragedy by Marc Jampole THOSE like Rudy Giuliani who believe that the Black Lives Matter movement has led to an increase in violence against police officers have not read the statistics. Killings of American police officers are way down, from 27.88 per 100,000 to 7.16 per 100,000 […]

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OpEdge: Is Trump Trying to Dump the Election?

by Marc Jampole LATELY I’ve been wondering if Donald Trump is trying to lose the election. Maybe he started running as a way to burnish his brand, similar to what Ben Carson evidently was doing. What he wanted to do was raise his awareness, especially among the uneducated, so he could continue to place his […]

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OpEdge: Obama’s Not So Anti-War Foreign Policy

Obama Continues Mainstream Post-WW II Foreign Policy By Allowing Arms Sales to Vietnam by Marc Jampole PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS ISSUED a number of executive orders over the past two years that have overridden the obstructionist Congress to give Americans what they voted for: a left-looking centrist administration. Among other things, he has negotiated an historic […]

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OpEdge: The American Contradiction

Democracy Needs Informed Citizens; Consumerism Needs Self-Centered Dolts by Marc Jampole THAT A FAILED real-estate developer turned reality TV star and brand marketer could win enough votes in Republican primaries to become the presumptive GOP nominee confirms the essential contradiction of a consumerist capitalist society organized as a representative democracy. Democracy requires well-informed, well-read, well-adjusted […]

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OpEdge: Independent Voters and the Primaries

by Marc Jampole SOMEONE TOOK an online poll that finds that more than half of all Americans think that the primary system is rigged. If the primaries are rigged, the fix favors rural counties and rural states, which tend to be more conservative. In that, our nominating process resembles our bicameral system — one house […]

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OpEdge: Two Roads for Bernie

by Marc Jampole IT’S PRETTY CLEAR that Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States. Bernie Sanders has fought a good, clean fight and in the process has moved the entire Democratic Party leftward. He has also made Hillary a better candidate, forcing her to sharpen her ideas. […]

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OpEdge: Are Conservatives Idealists?

by Marc Jampole Reviewed in this essay: Why the Right Went Wrong, by E. J. Dionne Jr. Simon & Schuster, 2016, 544 pages. READING E. J. Dionne Jr.’s Why the Right Went Wrong provides an illuminating contrast to Jane Mayer’s Dark Money. Both cover the same history: the Republican Party and conservatism since the 1950s. […]

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OpEdge: Is Donald Trump a Fascist?

by Marc Jampole I WAS PREVIOUSLY reluctant to call Donald Trump a fascist, because he hasn’t overtly called for a dictatorship. It also seems like an ad hominem cheap shot to compare anyone to the Nazis. His first television commercial, however, reminds me how much his campaign resembles fascist political initiatives in Italy and Germany […]

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OpEdge: Mr. Potato Head and Cannibal Capitalism

by Marc Jampole ABOUT EIGHTEEN MONTHS ago, Frito-Lay introduced a TV ad in which animated versions of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head eat potato chips, knowing full well that they are indulging in cannibalism but reveling in the sin. In the original spot, Mr. Potato Head gets home from work and can’t find his wife […]

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OpEdge: A Putsch by the Super-Wealthy?

Was Ferdinand Lundberg Right? by Marc Jampole SINCE THE PUBLICATION of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century, the mainstream news media has been paying attention to the impact of the super-rich on the political system. We see a growing number of candidates for major offices who are multi-millionaires and billionaires without elective experience, such […]

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OpEdge: Thankful Not To Be a Refugee

by Marc Jampole AS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of Americans gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we should give thanks that we aren’t refugees. Whether praying to a deity or expressing our humanity, we should give thanks that our homes have not been destroyed, that we have not seen friends and family […]

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OpEdge: The Immigration Issue that Rubio Ducked

by Marc Jampole BOTH THE ASSOCIATED PRESS and The New York Times did a solid job of reporting the factual mistakes made by the various Republican candidates for president in the fourth debate. Between the two media outlets, they picked up on the fact that: Ben Carson was wrong when he said that raising the […]

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OpEdge: Carson’s Alternative Reality

by Marc Jampole EVERY DAY we’re learning more about the fantasy world that presidential candidate Ben Carson inhabits. Carson believes in a curious hodgepodge of fantasies, discredited myths, false ideas, and inaccuracies, all of which he seems to have determined a priori, that is, before he considered any evidence outside his own longings or those […]

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OpEdge: Netanyahu Hits a New Low

by Marc Jampole ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu sank to a new low in shamelessness when he recently said that a Palestinian leader gave Hitler the idea for the Final Solution — which, it is always instructive to recount, involved gassing and incinerating millions of people because they were Jewish. This egregious rewriting of history, […]

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OpEdge: Truth-Telling in the Democratic Debate

by Marc Jampole FOR ME, the best moment of the debate among the five Democratic candidates for president came early, when ex-Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley verbally slapped around Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on the issue of greater gun controls. O’Malley was right that the gun issue in America does not come down to rural versus […]

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OpEdge: Are More Cops Getting Shot?

by Marc Jampole A RECENT NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO (NPR) broadcast put the lie to the Big Lie that protests in the wake of police killings of black citizens in Ferguson, Cleveland, Baltimore, New York, and elsewhere have led to a significant uptick in violence against police across the country. The reasoning is a bit absurd. […]

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OpEdge: Reevaluating the Obama Presidency

by Marc Jampole A FEW YEARS BACK, I rated Barack Obama as the sixth best president of the twelve we have had since World War II, behind Johnson, Clinton, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Carter, in descending order. At the time, I wrote, “Obama is basically a pro-business, anti-union liberal who shares the consensus view that the […]

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OpEdge: Donald Trump as Stand-Up Comic

by Marc Jampole MOST CANDIDATES use the same speaking style, starting with the organization of their speeches into distinct sections in which they talk about one or a few related issues. Each section will handle the issues using similar rhetorical and syntactical devices: employing more words than are necessary; using anecdotes instead of statistics; hedging […]

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OpEdge: The Ethics of Killing People Efficiently

by Marc Jampole Reading “Robot Weapons: What’s the Harm?” by Jerry Kaplan, who is a Stanford University teacher of the ethics of artificial intelligence, made me wonder what the heck does the term “ethics of artificial intelligence” mean? I would think that artificial intelligence — like any other technology — has no ethics, which is […]

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OpEdge: Bicycling While Black

by Marc Jampole UNEQUAL TREATMENT of African-Americans by Tampa police has not received much national publicity, probably because, unlike Ferguson, Cleveland, New York, Waller County and Arlington, Texas, Cincinnati, Charlotte, and elsewhere, there have been no reported killings in Tampa. But the situation in Tampa symbolizes how deeply racism has infected the criminal justice system […]

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OpEdge: A Christian Nation?

by Marc Jampole Reviewed in this essay: One Nation Under God, by Kevin M. Kruse. Basic Books, 2015, 384 pages. IN ONE NATION UNDER GOD, Kevin M. Kruse, a Princeton history professor, reconstructs the story of the growth of the twin ideas that the United States is a Christian nation and that a free-market, deregulated, […]

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OpEdge: Gun Control Is the Issue

We’ll All Feel Good about Pulling Down the Confederate Flag, But It’s Not the Issue by Marc Jampole DON’T GET ME WRONG, I have been opposed to the flying of the Confederate flag for decades. I immediately become physically revulsed when I see the blue X with white stars across a field of red — […]

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OpEdge: Who is Black? Who is a Woman? Who is a Jew?

by Marc JampoleAS A JEW, I come to the current controversies over who is a woman and who is an African-American with a special perspective. The defining of who is a Jew has haunted the Jewish religion, culture, race, and/or nation for millennia. Internally, Jewish courts have long enforced the concept that religious identification comes […]

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From Moses to Mean Joe Greene

Our Changing Cultural Vocabulary by Marc Jampole IT SEEMS as if it were only yesterday that America first saw the heart-rendering TV commercial in which Mean Joe Greene, a professional football player from the 1970s, throws a jersey to a young boy who offered him a Coke. The commercial, first introduced in 1979, makes all […]

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OpEdge: Two Agendas for America’s Future

by Marc Jampole WE’VE SEEN two agendas for America’s future released within a 24-hour period: the new Contract for America by New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (in order of size of population represented), which they presented in Washington, D.C., and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s plan to grow […]

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Humiliating the Poor — for a Fee

by Marc Jampole WHEN REPUBLICANS support a law to address a non-problem, they usually have an ulterior motive. Take the slew of recent state laws making it harder to vote. The stated rationale behind these laws is to prevent voter fraud, a complete non-problem since there is virtually no voter fraud perpetrated by individual voters […]

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Just Like Brian Wilson

by Marc Jampole DO NOT believe in kings. When others sing, In Jerusalem next year, shunning David’s city, chant instead Wherever you want to be: in Paris or another European hub studying the texture of paint under glass, in the dust behind the plate, mask on,

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OpEdge: On the Bridge in Selma

by Marc Jampole IT’S EASY TO FORGET that there were three Selma marches in 1965. March 7th commemorates the bloody first march, in which state troopers and a county posse attacked six hundred unarmed marchers when they reached the Edmund Pettis Bridge. The marchers had wanted to walk fifty-odd miles to Montgomery, the Alabama state […]

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Netanyahu: Faulty Logic for a Dangerous Policy

by Marc Jampole BENJAMIN NETANYAHU’S REASONING makes as little sense as his overall strategy. Netanyahu is determined to scuttle the imminent deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries over Iran’s development of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. (P5+1 refers to the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, Russia, China, […]

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OpEdge: A Campaign to Make LAWS Against the Law

by Marc Jampole DOES YOUR SPELL-CHECK program ever frustrate you when it changes the grammatically correct “the person who” to the incorrect “the person that” or misses your mistake when you write the incorrect “the company and their employees” instead of the correct “the company and its employees”? We can blame these mistakes on the […]

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OpEdge: Obama on Taxes, What Took Him So Long?

by Marc Jampole BARACK OBAMA STARTED with Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. Six years later the opposition holds both. Why did the President wait until he was in the overwhelming minority to push for higher taxes for the wealthy and lower taxes on the middle class? True, a few years back, Democrats […]

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OpEdge: Judging from the Polls…

Our Country and Constitution are in Big Trouble by Marc Jampole RECENT POLLS PAINT an unappetizing portrait of the United States and its citizens. If you believe these polls, we have a violent, gun-toting, intolerant, and racist society ruled by lies. These polls are very disappointing for progressive Americans, as majorities or large pluralities support […]

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OpEdge: Torturing Language to Sanitize Torture

by Marc Jampole HOW DO WE KNOW that those who are defending the American torture program under the presidency of George W. Bush recognize that they are wrong and that torture is both illegal and immoral — in other words, evil? We can tell in the language they use. As soon as the Central Intelligence Agency, […]

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OpEdge: A Death Penalty for Saying “Fuck You”

More Reflections on Ferguson and Racism by Marc Jampole ACCORDING TO FERGUSON, MISSOURI POLICE OFFICER Darren Wilson, the altercation that led to him pulling the trigger of his gun and killing Michael Brown last August started when either Brown or his friend said “Fuck what you have to say.” Let’s be clear: everyone in the […]

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OpEdge: The Contradictions of U.S. Intervention

by Marc Jampole ONE COMMENT ON NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO this morning should jolt anyone into an epiphany about the brutal absurdity of the United States foreign policy since at least World War II. When asked about the attitude of Syrians regarding the prospect of U.S. help to fight ISIS, a Syrian photographer answered that Syrians […]

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OpEdge: Why Didn’t They Vote?

by Marc Jampole WHO ARE THE 63.7 PERCENT of the population who didn’t vote in mid-term elections this year? That’s the highest percentage of people to sit on their hands on election day since 1942, when poll taxes and voting restrictions prevented a significant part of our population — all African-American — from voting throughout the South […]

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OpEdge: Scenes from the Class War

by Marc Jampole FOR DAYS, IMAGES of the Philadelphia public school system have haunted me. More than 30 children in one class share 11 math books. Bathrooms locked because there aren’t enough hall monitors. What’s most heartbreaking is to know that just a few miles away other school students attend some of the highest rated […]

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Is Inequality of Weath the Key Problem?

by Marc Jampole From the Autumn, 2014 issue of Jewish Currents Discussed in this essay: Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer. Belknap Press, 2014, 696 pages. A FEW YEARS BACK, when government debt trumped all other macroeconomic concerns in the news media, a fairly shoddy economic […]

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OpEdge: Alternatives to War Against ISIS

by Marc Jampole PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS DECIDED that there is only one way to respond to ISIS, a pan-Islamic military organization that now controls parts of Iraq and Syria, and that’s the way the United States usually responds to foreign events that displease us: we go to war. Early reactions suggest that Congress and the […]

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OpEdge: Nuclear Waste Goes Permanent

by Marc Jampole THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT NEWS STORY in recent days — the one most likely to still be affecting lives in ten or even a hundred years — was buried on page A13 of The New York Times last week. The Wall Street Journal didn’t cover it all, nor did Yahoo! News or Google News. […]

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OpEdge: Three Lessons from Ferguson, Missouri

by Marc Jampole THE AMERICAN PUBLIC is relearning many lessons from the events following the shooting of an unarmed teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The three biggest takeaways from this tragedy and its aftermath are: We have gone way too far in militarizing our local police forces. There is still rampant institutional […]

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Ariel Sharon and Israeli Militarism

by Marc Jampole From the Spring 2014 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this essay: Arik, by David Landau. Alfred A. Knopf, 2013, 635 pages. Napoleon once said that he needed ten thousand new soldiers a month to wage his wars. What he meant was that he knew that ten thousand of his own troops […]

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OpEdge: When Commencement Speakers Chicken Out

by Marc Jampole Across the country, colleges are holding graduation ceremonies for hundreds of thousands of graduates. But what used to be called the graduation season is rapidly gaining a new name: commencement speaker cancellation season. This year, in particular, there seems to be a large number of high profile commencement speakers who have backed […]

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Fumbling the Relationship with Iran

by Marc Jampole The Obama Administration made a big mistake denying a visa to Iran’s new ambassador to the United Nations, Hamid Aboutalebi. The United States should be seeking to improve our relations with Iran so that they will cease development of nuclear weapons and help us seek peaceful ways to clean up the messes […]

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War Over Crimea, Anyone?

by Marc Jampole Anybody want to go to war over Crimea? Anyone want to see American soldiers die? Anyone want to see Ukrainian soil soaked with the blood of innocents? Anyone want to see the unspeakable tragedies of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria repeated? Anyone want to risk a nuclear conflagration?

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Class Warfare from the Mid-’30s until Today

The Power of the Corporate Elite by Marc Jampole iIlustration by Sarah Glidden From the Winter 2013-2014 issue of Jewish Currents Reviewed in this essay: The Myth of Liberal Acendancy: Corporate Domination from the Great Depression to the Great Recession by G. William Domhoff. Paradigm Publishers, 2013, 278 pages.   MANY CONTEMPORARY PROGRESSIVES LOOK BACK […]

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Automation and the Minimum Wage

The Future of Eating Out: Microwaved Frozen Food Served by Robots by Marc Jampole The dining experience of most Americans is beginning to resemble how the agricultural industry prefers to raise cattle and chickens: an impersonal, industrialized process. Unbeknownst to many, most of the food eaten in casual dining restaurants comes to the restaurant already […]

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Charter Schools and Budget Cuts

by Marc Jampole When it comes to education, it seems as if the right is more interested in ideological posturing than in actually helping to give children the knowledge and skills they need to live in the modern world, have rewarding careers, and achieve their version of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” as […]

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Living as Long as Possible

by Marc Jampole The New York Times opinion page seems to be on a full-bore campaign against radical extension of human life. For the second time in less than a month, the Times has decided that the voices in favor of not pursuing life extending technologies and therapies need to be heard. Three weeks ago […]

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Epstein’s Meritocracy: Where Is It?

by Marc Jampole Every once in a while, a white male who has made his living as a “responsible conservative” or a conservative parading as a centrist produces an article bemoaning the fact that we are now ruled by a meritocracy. Through the years, George Will, Irving Kristol, and William Buckley Jr. can count themselves […]

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What Is the Biggest Cause of the Drop in Crime Rates?

by Marc Jampole The latest statistics demonstrate that New York City’s Draconian stop-and-frisk policy has not been the cause for a precipitous drop in the rate of violent crime in the five boroughs. Even after NYC’s finest curtailed stop-and-frisk without cause, crime rates continued to plummet. I’ve been meaning for some time to analyze why […]

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Pay Them More!

What Wal-Mart and Arne Duncan Have in Common by Marc Jampole Two stories floating around the news media lately both make me want to shake the principal actors and yell in their faces, “Raise wages and you’ll solve the problem.” The first story involves Wal-Mart’s latest embarrassment — employees in its Canton, Ohio store organized […]

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The Myth and Marketing of JFK

by Marc Jampole In the tsunami of stories about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, no one yet has observed that JFK was one of the first and finest examples of manipulation of the mass media to elect a major candidate. In 1956, Kennedy was a back-bench senator known for […]

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The Snafus Don’t Invalidate the Good of Obamacare

by Marc Jampole So far, the rollout of the health exchanges — the heart of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — has reminded me of the incompetence associated with the Bush II Administration. The interesting part of the Obama Administration’s bungling of the rollout is that the mistakes have not been made now in the […]

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David Koch’s Lonely Picketer

by Marc Jampole The luxury apartment building at 740 Park Avenue in New York’s Upper East Side is so famous that it even has a book dedicated to its history. Now lots of churches and castles have volumes describing their history and residents, but not many apartment buildings achieve this mythic status. When the news […]

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Fast Food and the Minimum Wage

by Marc Jampole The Big Mac and Baconator aren’t as cheap as people think they are. In fact, every time someone bites into a burger or other fast food concoction, the federal government subsidizes the meal—and the profit made by the fast food company. That’s because more than one half of low-wage workers employed by […]

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The Tea Party’s Evil Brew

by Marc Jampole A group of rich industrialists are not happy with the direction in which the country is going, so they give money to support and develop a radical party to push their agenda for smaller government and lower taxes and regulation. But the fringe party they support gets into a position to subvert […]

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The Day that Should Live in Infamy

by Marc Jampole A sudden flash of light, followed by a gigantic ever-expanding mushroom cloud. Within minutes the explosion destroys virtually everything and everyone within a mile radius, including innocent children. A black rain of soot and oil descends on the region. Those who survive have severe burns and other injuries. A silent atmospheric poison […]

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McDonald’s Burger-Flippin’ Budget

by Marc Jampole McDonald’s recently created a sample budget for its employees to help them do better financial planning. The budget is so absurd in its assumptions, and serves as such ready proof that Mickey D’s doesn’t pay its workers enough, that you would almost swear it was something Jonathan Swift might conjure. Other articles […]

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Let Them Eat Bobkes

As the lead story of the latest issue of The Progressive Populist by Jill Richardson reminded us this week, the House of Representatives wants to cut $2.0 billion out of the annual food stamp budget. A bill in the Senate would limit the cut in the food stamp program to $400 million. Either set of […]

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It’s Not Just the Feds Who Wants to Spy on Us

The Obama Administration is rightfully taking a lot of hits for government surveillance programs that track data related to every phone call of every U.S. citizen, and for demanding data that the computers of Google, Apple, and other information technology companies collect from everyone. Now we’re learning that the government isn’t the only one that […]

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OpEdge: Ignoring the Poor

by Marc Jampole Whenever there is a contentious issue between the two dominant political parties, the Democrats and many Republicans immediately depict their positions as better for the middle class. Below you’ll find a few of the thousands of quotes which put the middle class front-and-center in the recent “fiscal cliff” confrontation. I place “fiscal […]

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OpEdge: Does the Public Care When Candidates Lie?

by Marc Jampole Perhaps the most talked-about moment in the second presidential debate was Mitt Romney’s unfortunate elision of “binders full of resumes of women” into “binders full of women.” Many Democrats and feminists have been giving Romney a hard time about the remark. The remark, as stated, does commodify women — but give the […]

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OpEdge: Racism and the Election

by Marc Jampole As it turns out, when you put the voters leaning one way or another in the respective columns of President Obama and Mitt Romney (I am reluctant to call him governor, sine he has repudiated everything he did as governor of Massachusetts), there are only 3-5 percent of likely voters who are […]

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OpEdge: Justice Roberts, As Usual

by Marc Jampole I didn’t make a prediction in print on whether the Supreme Court would rule that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional or not, but I told several friends that I thought the vote would be 6-3 in favor of the law. I figured that Roberts always votes for the best interests of […]

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OpEdge: Bin Laden as a Political Distraction

By Marc Jampole Both President Obama and the Republicans have been playing misdirection games on the anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden, using pseudo-issues to keep our minds off what should be our central concerns as we contemplate the capture and then illegal assassination of the symbol of anti-American terrorism. Obama was happy […]

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A History of Health Care Reform

by Marc Jampole With the Supreme Court considering multiple challenges to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 next week, OpEdge readers might want to delve into the long-term history of health care reform in the United States. If so, there is no better place to go than Paul Starr’s recent Remedy and […]

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Wealth and Ethics

by Marc Jampole The news this week that a new study found that wealthier people were more likely to behave unethically set off a chicken-or-egg debate in my mind. In the study, Paul Piff, a graduate student at the University of California-Berkeley, led a team of researchers at UC-Berkeley and the University of Toronto in […]

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Food Stamps and Racism

by Marc Jampole Newt Gingrich has persisted in calling President Obama the “food stamp” president, despite the fact that more people went on food stamps during Bush II’s presidency than during the Obama presidency. What I find interesting is how many people, both conservative and progressive, assume that the statement is inherently racist. And behind […]

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OpEdge: The Three-Way Battle for Control of the Internet

  by Marc Jampole The one-day protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) accomplished its objective: With three major sponsors running from the proposed legislation, SOPA and PIPA backers are scrambling to revise the law to make it more palatable to the Wikipedias and Googles of the […]

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How Many Neo-Cons Does It Take To Screw Out a Light Bulb?

by Marc Jampole An article by Claudia Rosett titled “First, they came for our 100-watt bulbs” making the rounds of right-wing media this week proposes that a new engineering standard is really an encroachment on our basic rights. She bemoans the loss of freedom represented by the federal government mandate to gradually phase out incandescent […]

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Steve Jobs & Disney

Jobs did as much to keep adults acting like children as Disney, of which he was the largest shareholder by Marc Jampole The death of Steve Jobs led to a tidal wave of sympathetic news coverage. Jobs the entrepreneur. Jobs the visionary. Jobs the entertainer. Jobs the philanthropist. Jobs the college dropout who showed those […]

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“Best Cities” Biases

by Marc Jampole The latest mass media survey of the best cities in which to live again fixes the results by putting bias into the criteria by which it measures things. The fix is always in favor of an automobile, mall and chain store-based existence, even when considering city life. This time, it’s a Bloomberg […]

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Justice and the Death Penalty

by Marc Jampole In baseball parlance, the anti-death penalty movement has batted 500 over the past 24 hours.  The Supreme Court of the United States stopped the execution of white man Cleve Foster, but the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency to black man Troy Davis. The racial contrast speaks for itself. Much […]

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9/11 and Our National Conscience

by Marc Jampole Where was I? In my office in downtown Pittsburgh speaking by phone with the Manhattan-based chief financial officer of a Fortune 500 company whose habit was to have a financial TV station on in his office constantly for the stock ticker.  Suddenly he cuts me off mid-sentence and screams, “Oh, s—t, on […]

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Bertrand Russell and the Koch Bros.

by Marc Jampole Reading the great 20th century philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell’s The History of Western Philosophy has made me wonder once again about the motivation of the Koch brothers and other ultra-rich who oppose environmental regulation and global warming. I’m thinking specifically about Russell’s analysis of John Locke’s ethical doctrines.  In Russell’s probably […]

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A Real-Life American Atlas

by Marc Jampole I recently stumbled across a new book by Boston-area university professors Cynthia Enloe and Joni Seager that I highly recommend to everyone: The Real State of America Atlas is a series of charts, graphs, surveys, facts and snippets of text that attempt to give a picture of present-day America. Enloe and Seager use […]

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Budget-Cutting: Choosing Among the Same Things

by Marc Jampole Last week, we had three competing plans to reduce the deficit as a condition of raising the debt ceiling: 1) The McConnell-Reid Outline; 2) “Gang of Six” Plan; and 3) The Tea Party Plan (aka “cut, cap and balance”). Now we have the star-cross Boehner plan. These plans present us with the […]

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