Archive - 2017

Date

March 17th

Liberal Opinion Week discontinues publication

As of March 13, Liberal Opinion Week has discontinued publication both in print and online. The website will remain active for another few months before it is taken down. Please send any questions or comments to liberal@iowaconnect.com.

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March 2nd

The Big Faker and his big date with Big Data

    Steve Bannon, the white-supremacist-turned-squatter-on-a-president’s-shoulder, says the Trump administration’s war with the news media has only just begun, and it’s “going to get worse.”

    Right you are, Steve. You just don’t understand which side of the conflict will get the worst of it.

    Donald Trump doesn’t understand. Otherwise, he would cease using pimply-faced laments to explain away his problems.

    He shrinks in the public estimation every time he uses the term “fake news.”

    Yes, every time a little more helium escapes from the polyurethane construct that he is.

    Each time he says “fake news,” he reminds skeptical Americans of how small he is, seeing thepresidency as a battle royal in the sea of balls.

    He thinks he is branding press in his childishly churlish way. Wrong. He is branding himself. “Fake news” is his baby, his trademark. It’s the only coin that will ever bear this president’s face.

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Does Trump know that he's in office?

    The Trump administration so far has been smoke and mirrors, sound and fury, self-proclaimed victimhood and angry tweets. Where is the substance? Where is the competence? And where -- increasingly -- is the public support?

    Donald Trump's approval rating of 41 percent is the lowest Gallup has ever measured for a president this early in his term. It should be no surprise that Trump isn't having a hearts-and-flowers honeymoon, given that his inauguration was followed a day later by the biggest mass protest in the nation's history. But it usually takes more than a few weeks for the relationship between POTUS and populace to become so curdled.

    It is true that most of those who voted for Trump are sticking with him. But they, you will recall, were in the minority -- try as he might, Trump will never erase the fact that he lost the popular vote. And Trump has done essentially nothing to bring skeptics over to his side.

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Trump and Bannon are the 'corporatists'

    Just when you despair that only chaos animates the Trump administration, along comes Steve Bannon, the White House ideologue, to offer the Rosetta Stone illuminating what this circus is all about.

    And when you realize what Trump & Co. might really be up to, your despair turns to alarm.

    There is no way of knowing how much Donald Trump truly cares about the ideas that Bannon holds close to his heart. Trump seems far more obsessed with attacks on him from many directions -- and genuinely worried that investigations of his team's ties to Russia could pose a mortal threat to his power.

    After Bannon had offered his Deep Thoughts on Trumpism at the Conservative Political Action Conference last Thursday, there was Trump on Friday morning back to his usual grubby business of using Twitter to denounce his enemies. His target in this case was the FBI. He accused the agency of being "totally unable to stop the national security 'leakers'" and being guilty of leaks of its own.

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The Fight for Obamacare Has Turned

    The campaign to let 20 million Americans keep their health insurance is working.

    It still has a long way to go, and it’s not guaranteed to succeed. But the progress of the last couple months is remarkable.

    Thanks in part to a surge of activism — town hall meetings, online postings, calls to Congress — the politics of Obamacare have flipped. Many Americans have come to realize that the care part of the law matters much more than the Obama part. As a result, the Republicans no longer have a clear path to repeal.

    President Donald Trump, in his speech to Congress on Tuesday night, will probably pretend otherwise. He may repeat the same magical promises to pass a bill that’s better and cheaper and covers everyone. Privately, though, he and his aides have begun to realize the mess they have made by promising the impossible.

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Has GOP been rebranded as a Trump property?

    Last week's Conservative Political Action Conference, featuring lengthy remarks from President Trump and his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, telegraphed their plans to commit the whole Republican Party to their concept of economic nationalism.

    Bannon declared that Trump's "America First" slogan signaled his fight for the "deconstruction of the administrative state" by undoing Obama multilateral trade deals and other global arrangements intruding on American sovereignty.

    He called Trump's decision to withdraw the country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement "one of the most pivotal moments in modern American history," adding, "we're a nation with an economy, not an economy just in some global marketplace with open borders but ... a nation with a culture and a reason for being."

    Bannon also incorporated his and Trump's open war on the American news media, which has dubbed "the opposition party." He said "they're corporatist, globalist media that are adamantly opposed ... to an economic nationalist agenda like Donald Trump has."

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Will today's town hall crowds turn into a liberal tea party?

    I get a kick out of the Republican members of Congress who claim the angry constituents at their town hall meetings are paid agitators. I remember how Democrats tried to dismiss noisy tea party protesters the same way in 2009.

    Not surprisingly, President Donald Trump doesn't see it that way.

    "The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans," Trump tweeted Tuesday, "are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists."

    Gee, imagine that: Angry liberals are strategically encouraging people to come out and let their lawmakers know what's on their minds. Liberals are calling it grassroots politics while some conservatives are calling it "AstroTurf politics."

    But that's what a lot of liberals called it when the conservative tea party movement erupted in 2009. Now many of those tea party critics are trying to employ the same tactic.

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Trump, Archenemy of Truth

    Donald Trump’s unrelenting assault on the media is in fact an assault on the implacability of truth, the notion of accountability and the power of free speech. It is also a bit of a bow to the conspiracy theorizing that Trump is wont to do.

    Last week at CPAC, the politically crippled Reince Priebus delivered a soliloquy lamenting Trump’s negative media coverage, saying, “We’re hoping that the media would catch up eventually.”

    Trump’s “boss,” Steve Bannon, immediately blasted the notion the way a shotgun blasts a quail rising from the brush:

    “The reason Reince and I are good partners is that we can disagree. It’s not only not going to get better. It’s going to get worse every day.”

    Bannon continued:

    “And here’s why. By the way, the internal logic makes sense. They’re corporatist, globalist media that are adamantly opposed — adamantly opposed to an economic nationalist agenda like Donald Trump has.”

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The Uses of Outrage

    Are you angry about the white nationalist takeover of the U.S. government? If so, you are definitely not alone. The first few weeks of the Trump administration have been marked by huge protests, furious crowds at congressional town halls, customer boycotts of businesses seen as Trump allies. And Democrats, responding to their base, have taken a hard line against cooperation with the new regime.

    But is all this wise? Inevitably, one hears some voices urging everyone to cool it — to wait and see, to try to be constructive, to reach out to Trump supporters, to seek ground for compromise.

    Just say no.

    Outrage at what’s happening to America isn’t just justified, it’s essential. In fact, it may be our last chance of saving democracy.

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Trump vs. Press: Crazy, Stupid Love

    Much has been made of Melania Trump’s absence from the capital.

    But our new president’s most intense, primal, torrid relationship is in full “The War of the Roses” bloom here. And it is not with his beautiful, reserved wife. It’s with the press, the mirror for the First Narcissus.

    President Donald Trump thinks that the mirror is cracked and the coverage is “fake.” And many in the press, spanning the ideological spectrum, think that he is cracked and that a lot of his pronouncements are fake.

    Can this strange, symbiotic relationship be saved? Probably not. It is too inflamed and enmeshed, too full of passionate accusations. It’s going to end like all those plays and movies — from “Othello” to “Endless Love” — where the mutual attraction is so powerful, it’s toxic.

    Trump could not live without the press. It is his crack. He would be adrift and bereft without his sparring partners, lightning rods, scapegoats and amplifiers.

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