Archive

August 19th, 2016

Manners still matter, Mr. Trump

    When you've dug yourself into a hole, as an old saying goes, stop digging. Most people are smart enough to follow that advice. They aren't Donald Trump.

    In the two weeks after their parties' conventions, the Republican presidential nominee has been digging himself into a hole, falling badly behind his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the polls -- and he keeps on digging.

    At a rally near Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday, for example, he came up with a new piece of nonsense that President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Clinton "founded" the Islamic State, or ISIS, our No. 1 jihadi enemy these days.

    Like a small child who has discovered a new word -- or a salesman who has run out of new things to say -- Trump was too delighted by the phrase to stop repeating it in his rambling rap, at least a half-dozen times. Count 'em.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Blue corners of Pennsylvania have turned red, but it won't matter

    The lunch group in Monessen, Pennsylvania, is evenly divided between Trump supporters and Trump opponents. But the dark mood across the whole room suggests why this working-class town might end up favoring him in November.

    Monessen, once a steelmaking hub, has steadily lost plants, jobs and population over the decades. Along Donner Avenue, there are more boarded-up buildings than open stores. Mayor Lou Mavrakis points out one that has clearly been inhabited by birds for decades, and not cleaned.

    The mayor assembled a group of locals for lunch at Felicia's Restaurant and Lounge, where they talked about the problems they see at home and abroad. "I'm tired of being a 911 for the world," says Kevin Iacovangelo, who fixes and sells computers.

    This is Westmoreland County. Here and in the adjacent struggling southwestern Pennsylvania counties, Donald Trump hopes to roll up big wins. He campaigned in Monessen early this summer; the last national figure to stump here was John F. Kennedy, for the 1962 midterms.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Will Trump's D.C. hotel block free speech?

    The whole thing would be laughable, a real thigh- slapper, if the danger weren't so real.

    The Trump Organization, led by arch First Amendment foe Donald Trump, has worked out a traffic arrangement with the District of Columbia government that one free-speech advocacy group, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, fears will allow for the stifling of speech and assembly in proximity to the historic Old Post Office Building, which Trump has leased from the feds for use as a Trump International Hotel.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

What makes America great? Team USA is showing us.

    Through the first week of the Rio Games, it's been moving to see so much of what's lately been generating anxieties at home contribute so powerfully to U.S. preeminence on the international stage. If race, gender, immigration and even our definitions of success are dividing us as citizens and voters, they're uniting us, if only temporarily, as fans of Team USA.

    In the women's gymnastics competition, our national strength comes from diversity.

    Reigning world champion Simone Biles, gold medalist in the individual and team all-around competitions, is African American, as is Gabby Douglas, who won gold medals in those events at the 2012 London Olympics. Laurie Hernandez is Puerto Rican, and the team is rounded out by two white gymnasts, Aly Raisman, who is Jewish, and Madison Kocian.

    This lineup stands out in a political season animated by a dark winner-take-all mentality suggesting that success for one group of Americans can come only at the expense of another.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Trump loves conspiracy theories. So do his foes.

    When people talk about conspiracy theorists in the 2016 presidential campaign, they usually focus on Donald Trump. It isn't hard to see why: Many candidates have played with conspiracy theories over the years, but Trump is far more flamboyant (most politicians do not insinuate that an opponent's family is linked to the JFK assassination) and far less interested in sounding refined (most do not cite the National Enquirer as a source).

    Yes, Trump and his fans are prone to seeing plots. But he's not the only conspiracist around. Alleged cabals have captured the imagination of Trump's foes, too. Conspiracy chatter isn't an occasional interruption that flares up on the fringes in especially weird election years. It's a regular feature of American politics.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

August 18th

The soft response to terror isn't weakness

    A top Bavarian domestic intelligence official has made tabloid headlines by saying there are "hit squads" and "sleeper cells" among the refugees who have recently arrived in Germany -- something right-wing populists have been maintaining all along. Yet the true "sleeper cells" have been here for decades, and that explains why, as Germany and other European countries step up anti-terror efforts, there is a strong resistance to unnecessary harshness.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

To Get to Harvard, Go to Haiti?

    This summer, as last, Dylan Hernandez, 17, noticed a theme on the social media accounts of fellow students at his private Catholic high school in Flint, Michigan.

    “An awfully large percentage of my friends — skewing towards the affluent — are taking ‘mission trips’ to Central America and Africa,” he wrote to me in a recent email. He knows this from pictures they post on Snapchat and Instagram, typically showing one of them “with some poor brown child aged 2 to 6 on their knee,” he explained. The captions tend to say something along the lines of, “This cutie made it so hard to leave.”

    But leave they do, after as little as a week of helping to repair some village’s crumbling school or library, to return to their comfortable homes and quite possibly write a college-application essay about how transformed they are.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

The Perfect GOP Nominee

    Speaking of crazy. ...

    All these woebegone Republicans whining that they can’t rally behind their flawed candidate is crazy. The GOP angst, the gnashing and wailing and searching for last-minute substitutes and exit strategies, is getting old.

    They already have a 1-percenter who will be totally fine in the Oval Office, someone they can trust to help Wall Street, boost the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, cuddle with hedge funds, secure the trade deals beloved by corporate America, seek guidance from Henry Kissinger and hawk it up — unleashing hell on Syria and heaven knows where else.

    The Republicans have their candidate: It’s Hillary.

    They can’t go with Donald Trump. He’s too volatile and unhinged.

    The erstwhile Goldwater Girl and Goldman Sachs busker can be counted on to do the normal political things, not the abnormal haywire things. Trump’s propounding could drag us into war, plunge us into a recession and shatter Washington into a thousand tiny bits.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Is the 'lesser of two evils' an ethical choice for voters?

    Every election cycle, there are citizens who don't like either of the candidates nominated by the two major political parties.

    And so, a familiar debate begins: Is a vote for a third party a principled stand - or wasteful naiveté?

    This year, party discord has swelled the numbers of dissatisfied citizens, and the debate is even louder than usual.

    Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are unprecedentedly unpopular. On the left, intense pressure is mounting to vote for Clinton to avoid what many think will be genuine, large-scale dangers of a Trump presidency. This pressure is most intense in states that rank relatively high on what Nate Silver describes as the "voter power index," like Nevada or Florida. But such arguments are also engendering a defiant backlash as voters declare, "I won't vote . . . out of fear."

    As a moral philosopher, I'm particularly interested in the question of whether we can be obligated to vote for someone we dislike. Let's look at the arguments.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Hillary Clinton's late-night panic

    This has been quite a week for Donald Trump. But how is it playing on Team Hillary? A glimpse at her team's group chat.

    Time: 2:04 AM

    In Chat: Hillary, Ready4Hillary

    Hillary: So this is going well, right?

    Ready4Hillary: Yes

    Hillary: I keep worrying, though. Should I be in the news more? Every day I look at the newspaper and the first two words in the first headline on every front page are always "Donald Trump."

    Ready4Hillary: no, that's good

    Hillary: that seems bad

    Ready4Hillary: Fact-check rating -- mostly false! The less you do, the better. When you do things, people remember that they don't like you. The best thing to do is try to be invisible and let people see that the alternative is the candidate equivalent of being tossed into a live volcano full of enraged hornets.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!