Archive

September 13th, 2016

Gary Johnson's Worst Week in Washington

    Everything seemed to be coming up Gary Johnson when the week started. No one liked the two major party candidates. (OK, maybe not no one but lots and lots of people.) The first presidential debate was still almost three weeks off. It looked like there might be a real chance for Johnson to make the debate stage alongside Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump!

    Then Johnson went on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." And it all came tumbling down. Here's the exchange between Johnson and Mike Barnicle:

    BARNICLE: "What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo?"

    JOHNSON: "About?"

    BARNICLE: "Aleppo."

    JOHNSON: "And what is Aleppo?"

    And, scene.

    Aleppo, as you almost certainly know, is a city in Syria that has been at the heart of that country's ongoing civil war. It has been the epicenter of the refugee crisis. It is also the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.

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!

Europe's unsettling turn

    The surge of populist right-wing parties in Europe has now damaged the standing of the continent's most important leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Worse, the rise of movements fueled by nationalistic and racist programs signals that a core ethos of the European-American alliance vital to global stability for seven decades is threatened by extremist politics on both sides of the Atlantic.

    There are many tangible factors in the lurch to the narrow nationalism reflected in Britain's vote to quit the European Union, the defeat of Merkel's conservative forces by the three-year-old Alternative for Germany party in a key state election last Sunday, and the earlier rise of such movements in Poland, Hungary, France and elsewhere.

    These factors include a backlash to economic dislocation caused by globalization, the floodtide of refugees coming from Syria and other failed states on Europe's southern periphery, and the terrorist outrages committed by the Islamic State and other jihadist forces.

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!

Donald Trump's 'outreach' isn't working

    Last month, as Donald Trump showed his campaign manager the door (again) amid stalling poll numbers, the GOP nominee started trying to make amends for all the alienating things he had said about minorities and women. He apologized for causing "personal pain" with some of his remarks. He started courting black voters. He tried to "soften" his language on immigration. Finally, it seemed that Trump realized that he could not win in November with just the voters that had won him the primary.

    But Sunday's new Washington Post-ABC poll shows that with only two months to go, this outreach has not worked. Overall, Hillary Clinton leads Trump by 5 percentage points with likely voters -- a small drop from her 8-point lead just after the Democratic convention, but a formidable gap nonetheless given that the convention bounces have now faded. When asked if they think "is or is not biased against women and minorities," 60 percent of Americans say he is -- the same number as in the August Post-ABC poll and up four percent from the July poll.

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 Ideology of Applause

    Americans are such sticklers. Such poops. Sure, some of Vladimir Putin’s political opponents wind up in jail, while some of the journalists he dislikes end up in the morgue. Yes, his government is apparently committing cybercrimes to meddle in our election. And there was that small matter of invading and annexing one of Russia’s neighbors.

    But look at his numbers! What’s a little blood on your hands when you’re polling like that?

    “He does have an 82 percent approval rating,” Donald Trump said during the special “commander in chief” forum last week. It’s worth dwelling on that sentence, because it’s the key to what drives and guides his presidential bid. It’s the giveaway.

    For Trump, the whole point of political office is adulation, and adulation is the entire proof of a person’s worth. Rectitude pales next to ratings. Ethics are a sorry substitute for applause. And the methods by which a crowd is fired up don’t matter, so long as he can bask in the clapping.

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 is good news for Russia

    "A New York Times report sheds new light on the close ties between Donald Trump's campaign chairman and Kremlin cronies in Ukraine and elsewhere" - the Atlantic, Aug. 15. "U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections" - The Post, Sept. 6. "Wouldn't it be nice if we actually got along, as an example, with Russia?" - Donald Trump, July 27.

    Good grief.

    One of the year's most underreported stories is the Kremlin's covert efforts to influence our presidential election - a development with potentially far- reaching impact on our nation's security. That U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies are reportedly investigating this broad Russian operation in the United States is reassuring. Voters heading to the polls, however, ought to be aware of the threat.

    To be sure, my view of the former U.S.S.R. and today's Russian Federation is rooted in both my military service and my work as a sworn federal law-enforcement officer with responsibility for the security of State Department personnel and sensitive information.

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 'Mad Men' days are finally waning

    Gretchen Carlson got something out of the settlement of her sexual harassment case against Roger Ailes that most women who make a claim against a powerful man don't obtain. Not the money - although the $20 million to be paid to the former Fox News Channel host is indeed eye-popping. Most women who bring successful sexual harassment claims do eventually receive some compensation.

    Carlson is different in another way: She emerged with her honor and reputation intact. In my experience as a lawyer who has represented hundreds of sexual harassment victims, that is rare.

    In the real world of sexual harassment cases that take place outside the public glare that accompanied Carlson's claims, many women forgo making solid claims because they know they risk being depicted as liars or sluts. They worry about being branded troublemakers and suffering harm to their ability to be employed in the future.

    Indeed, when Donald Trump, questioned about Carlson's claim, said a few months ago that a woman who experiences workplace sexual harassment should consider finding another job, or even another career, he had - sadly - a point.

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!

Temperatures Rise, and We’re Cooked

    One of Donald Trump’s 100 wackiest ideas is that climate change is a hoax fabricated by China to harm the United States.

    “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing uncompetitive,” Trump once tweeted.

    He later said, unconvincingly, that he had been kidding about China, but he has emphasized that he does not believe in climate change and would end serious efforts to prevent it.

    That obstinacy confronts a new wave of research showing that climate change is much more harmful than we had imagined.

    Until now, the focus has been on rising seas, more intense hurricanes, acidification of oceans, drought and crop failures. But new studies are finding that some of the most important effects will be directly on our bodies and minds.

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!

I'm the first Muslim in Congress. I believe America can beat Islamophobia.

    Fifteen years ago, the United States was attacked by terrorists claiming to act in the name of Islam. America's response? "United We Stand." Yet now it feels like Muslims face more hatred in 2016 than on Sept. 11, 2001.

    Back then, President George W. Bush, no liberal, visited a mosque in Washington, D.C., just days later to show solidarity with Muslims, saying, "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war." People came together in gratitude for those who risked everything rescuing others during the attacks, including Mohammed Salman Hamdani, a 23-year-old first responder who died saving lives in the World Trade Center. He was Muslim. So am I.

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!

An open letter to Donald Trump

    Mr. Trump, with all due respect to you as the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, you cannot credibly serve as commander in chief if you embrace Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader has repeatedly shown himself to be an adversary of the United States. Putin, during his long tenure, has repeatedly pursued policies that undermine U.S. interests and those of our allies and partners. He has steadily but systematically moved Russia from a fledgling democratic state to an authoritarian one. He is the last foreign leader you should be praising.

    Abroad, Putin has interfered in the internal affairs of a host of nations on his periphery - through information operations, manipulation of elections and direct support, including providing weapons, to insurgent groups. Most significant, in the past decade, Putin has invaded two neighbors, Georgia and Ukraine - including annexing Crimea, the first major land grab in Europe since World War II. Putin's goal in doing this is to keep the nations of the former Soviet Union from linking their futures to that of Europe and the West. Do you back these actions?

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!

Why Trump's insurgency isn't like Goldwater's

    Half a century ago, a Republican rode his party's divisions to a presidential nomination by defying its establishment and empowering a populist base. Sen. Barry Goldwater dismayed Republican liberals who thought him extreme and some conservatives who foresaw his landslide defeat.

    Now Donald Trump is repeating history, minus the Republican liberals. Commentators have noted the parallels, some of them predicting that Trump will transform his party as Goldwater unexpectedly did in 1964 by mobilizing conservative forces that eventually produced the Reagan revolution.

    But there's a huge difference. Once nominated, Goldwater eventually commanded at least rhetorical support from Republican leaders. While a few regulars bailed out and many remained vexed, most went along because that's what you do.

    But not with Trump. Never has a candidate been rejected by such a diverse range of his own party's prominent figures. What's unprecedented is how many of them proclaim that he's not qualified for the job.

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!