Archive

June 9th, 2016

Top supporters of Bernie Sanders gently tell him: It's time

    Hillary Clinton decisively defeated Bernie Sanders in the big delegate-rich states of California and New Jersey, and in a rousing, emotional speech Tuesday night, she laid claim to a piece of American history as the first woman ever to be the presumptive nominee of a major party. But Sanders is still digging in, and in his own speech Tuesday night, he vowed to fight on to the convention, adding: "the struggle continues."

    In interviews with me, however, two of Sanders' most important supporters in Congress -- Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus -- said Sanders would have to accept the inevitably of Clinton's nomination, and begin the process of getting behind her.

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!

Sanders Helping Trump?

    Bernie Sanders has had a stunning impact this year, helping set the political agenda and winning the passionate embrace of a demographic a quarter his age. A socialist, Jewish, non-pandering candidate who didn’t kiss babies but lectured their parents on social justice won 22 states. But now he has lost. It’s time for him and his followers to stop sniping and start uniting.

    Sanders has said he will ultimately support the Democratic ticket, and I’m sure he intends to. But for now he’s still dividing more than coalescing.

    In a New York Times/CBS News poll last month, nearly one-fourth of Sanders supporters said that in a Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump matchup, they would either vote for Trump (which suggests bipolar disorder!) or stay home. That figure is inflated by bitterness and resentment, but if some Sandernistas sit on their hands this fall they could help elect a man antithetical to everything they stand for.

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!

June 8th

Chewbacca and the World of Semi-Reality News Media

    A Facebook video of a woman wearing a Chewbacca mask and laughing almost hysterically in her car has drawn more than 140 million hits from numerous sources in the past two weeks.

    Candace Payne, a 37-year-old mother of two from Grand Prairie, Texas, has had to hire a publicist to help field the numerous calls from the media—and, perhaps, wookies who want to have an affair.

    Why so many people have been intrigued by the three-minute video may be because people just need to laugh in a year in which political hate and the media have come together to annoy anyone with a temperature. It may also be because the people realize that the media have been abysmal purveyors of information, and the political conventions and what passes as TV news have become circuses of mediocrity.

    The presidential primaries are filled with candidates attacking each other, with lies and half-truths fogging the political debate, all of which are faithfully recorded, published and aired but seldom evaluated and challenged by the media.

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's outlaw view of the judiciary

"The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution." -- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 78.

   

    Somewhere, Hamilton -- West Indian, not Mexican -- is weeping over Donald Trump and his alarming, ignorant conception of the role of the judiciary.

     The latest, scariest manifestation of Trump's attitude involves his now doubled-down attack on the federal judge -- Indiana-born, but Mexican for Trump's repellent purposes -- hearing the Trump University case.

     U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel "is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater," in Trump's view, "a total disgrace," because he has allowed the class-action fraud lawsuit to proceed and, most recently, had the gall to unseal documents detailing Trump University's operations.

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 early winner of the 2016 campaign: Obama

    If you look at the polls, it is clear who's winning in the 2016 presidential contest: Barack Obama.

    There remains the technical impediment that the president is constitutionally barred from a third term. But the longer the campaign goes on, the higher Obama's approval rating rises. This should be bad for Donald Trump and good for the eventual Democratic nominee, almost certainly Hillary Clinton. But it is even better for Obama's legacy.

    According to Gallup, which has been charting the nation's assessment of its presidents longer than anyone else, Obama's approval stands at 52 percent, compared with 44 percent disapproval. That may not look impressive but it is actually quite good for a president nearing the end of his second term; Ronald Reagan, by comparison, had 49 percent approval at this point in his tenure.

    For most of last year, Obama's numbers were upside-down -- more Americans disapproved than approved. So there are two obvious questions: What airport is going to be renamed Obama International? And why the turnaround?

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!

Clinton scores, Ryan punts

    Hillary Clinton gave the speech about Donald Trump that, with a few changes, House Speaker Paul Ryan could have given. And he should have.

    With her address, she assumed the role of the Democratic presidential nominee, even if the delegate numbers hadn't quite ratified that yet.

       Instead of sticking to his vaunted principles, Ryan forged a link between the Republican Party and Donald Trump that may endure in public consciousness long after this campaign is over.

    There will be some brave dissenters, especially among Republicans and conservatives who do not hold elected office (and former presidents named Bush).

     But party leaders have decided that Trump's nativism and racism, his utter disrespect for the judicial system, his soft spot for foreign dictators and his latent authoritarianism matter far less to them than holding on to the House and the Senate. It will be up to the voters to decide how big a price Ryan, Mitch McConnell & Co. should pay for this.

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!

June 7th

Bernie Sanders tells supporters to knock off the violence

    Bernie Sanders made a direct appeal to supporters in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," imploring them not to engage in violence after a week in which protesters - some apparently loyal to the Democratic underdog - attacked Donald Trump backers in California.

    "Any person who is a Bernie Sanders supporter, please, do not in any way, shape or form engage in violence," the senator from Vermont said.

    Sanders emphasized that the bad actors represent a tiny fraction of the "millions and millions of people who are supporting us." But the candidate's plea appeared to be an assertion of influence over his supporters' behavior - a contrast to his response last month to an outburst at the Nevada Democratic convention.

    Unhappy with the disqualification of pro-Sanders delegates who had failed to meet a registration deadline, some Sanders supporters defaced the party's state headquarters and sent threatening messages to chairwoman Roberta Lange.

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!

A self-driving car will be my godsend

    When my wife and I leave the house, she usually does the driving. I am at that age where my reflexes and judgment are an issue. She's only a year younger, but I fell asleep at the wheel on the Beltway a few years ago, denting the car alongside me. I don't bother arguing about our relative competence.

    Someday our three children, one of whom lives with us in Pasadena, California, and regularly witnesses our driving, will sit us down and have the conversation nearly everyone our age fears. One child is a journalist. Another is a lawyer. There will be questions. How do you feel about your driving? Are you sure your long trips up the coast are a good idea? How did that bumper get so bent?

    Eventually, after listening to our feeble answers, they are going to drop the bomb, the end of life as we know it for California freeway kids like Linda and me. They will want us to stop driving. I have long worried about this. But it recently occurred to me there is a new answer to their sharp questions. We can say Herbie will take us around.

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!

Italy Feels Our Pain

    During the circuslike years of Silvio Berlusconi, Italians grew flinchingly accustomed to being the butts of the world’s jokes.

    Will they have the last laugh?

    They look toward America and wonder. Me, too. In Donald Trump, we have a version of their buffoonish former prime minister — a clown all our own. He baffles and appalls much of Europe.

    Here in Italy, he prompts an additional reaction: relief, even satisfaction, that another country is proving vulnerable to an emphatically tanned, flamboyantly randy and frequently ridiculous billionaire who makes promises he can’t possibly keep.

    The Ferragamo is on the other foot.

    “We do feel, partly, ha-ha-ha,” said Maria Valentini, a professor at a university just outside Rome. “It’s your turn.”

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!

Meet Sultana, the Taliban’s Worst Fear

    Of all the students preparing to go to college this fall, perhaps none have faced a more hazardous journey than a young woman named Sultana. One measure of the hazard is that I’m not disclosing her last name or hometown for fear that she might be shot.

    Sultana lives in the Taliban heartland of southern Afghanistan, and when she was in the fifth grade a delegation visited her home to warn her father to pull her out of school, or else she would have acid flung in her face. Ever since, she has been largely confined to her high-walled family compound — in which she has secretly, and perilously, educated herself.

    “I’m unstoppable,” Sultana laughs, and it’s true: She taught herself English from occasional newspapers or magazines that her brothers brought home, in conjunction with a Pashto-English dictionary that she pretty much inhaled. When her businessman father connected the house to the internet, she was able to vault over her compound walls.

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!