Archive

March 3rd, 2016

‘I’m Not a Super Predator’

    Days before Hillary Clinton thundered to an overwhelming victory over rival Bernie Sanders in South Carolina — largely on the strength of black voters who supported her by an even higher percentage than they supported Barack Obama with in 2008 — a young, proudly queer, black activist, Ashley Williams, was in Charlotte, North Carolina, plotting an action that would make a statement of its own.

    She was planning to attend a private Clinton fundraiser in Charleston, South Carolina, and confront the candidate about her support of policies — specifically the 1994 crime bill — that contributed to the explosion of racially tilted mass incarceration in this country.

    Williams and her friends decided to make a sign — but what to put on it? They toyed with phrases from a now infamous speech Clinton gave in 1996 — when the 23-year-old Williams was a toddler — in which Clinton said:

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 refuses to condemn the KKK, dispels any notion he rejects racists' support

    Normally, the question "Do you denounce the Ku Klux Klan?" has one answer: "Yes." But not in Donald Trump's world. On CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday morning, host Jake Tapper asked the Republican front-runner about the support of white supremacist and former KKK grand wizard David Duke. "Voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage," said Duke. Tapper inquired whether Trump would "unequivocally condemn" Duke's support. Trump dodged:

    "Well, just so you understand, I don't know anything about David Duke," replied Trump, "Okay? I don't know anything about what you're even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists." As Tapper continued to press Trump, the latter denied any knowledge of Duke and refused multiple chances to disavow the KKK. A few hours later, Trump tweeted that he does "disavow" Duke's support.

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!

March 2nd

Clinton brings it to Trump - and has her best night of the campaign

    When Hillary Clinton started speaking Saturday night, it sounded as though she would give a clunker of a victory speech. Instead, it turned into one of the strongest speeches she has delivered all campaign - and a hint of what to expect from her in the general election.

    CNN wasted no time calling the South Carolina primary for her the moment the polls closed, and she wasted no time reverting to the studied delivery she often uses, a manner that seems to communicate nothing more than, "I am a politician speaking to you." At one point, she seemed to boast that she has many small donors behind her, but it turned out to be a solicitation for more donations.

    But the longer her speech went, the better it got. Clinton began talking about the mothers of African Americans who died in high-profile cases, such as Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland. She focused on the grief their parents felt. Most people, no matter what they think about these cases, can respect the power of that emotion.

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 shared resistance to transparency

    Transparency is not the natural instinct of the politician. The political mind tends to think: What voters don't know can't hurt you. What political opponents, and media, do with information can.

    So the ordinary urge is to hold close, to dribble out, to yield the bare minimum, unless the politician perceives some comparative advantage in revelation. (Think Jeb Bush, eye on Hillary Clinton, unloading years of gubernatorial emails, plus a gusher of tax returns.) The role of the media should be to counter this impulse toward secrecy, demand disclosure and -- in appropriate circumstances and appropriate ways -- inflict pain on candidates who resist.

    Such as this column.

    The current campaign features two parallel arguments over transparency -- on the Republican side, Donald Trump's tax returns; on the Democratic side, transcripts of Hillary Clinton's paid speeches.

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 Killing Field

The killing field on the edge of town is marked by skulls and bones littering the ground, attracting vultures and hyenas.

There is little clothing, for the soldiers stripped the men and boys they seized. Spines have been sliced in half and clavicles shattered, suggesting that victims were clubbed to death or hacked apart with machetes. Some of the skulls might even belong to five staff members of Doctors Without Borders who were murdered here.

Atrocities happen all around the world, of course. But these were crimes against humanity committed by “our side” — by the government of South Sudan that the United States helped to install.

It’s impossible to calculate the death toll, but it seems to me plausible that as many civilians are dying in the war here in South Sudan as in Syria. One reason it’s hard to estimate is that many civilian deaths here come not from bullets or barrel bombs, but from starvation and disease arriving as a direct result of war and ethnic cleansing.

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 GOP's Frankenstein monster

    When the plague descended on Thebes, Oedipus sent his brother-in-law to the Delphic oracle to discover the cause. Little did he realize that the crime for which Thebes was being punished was his own. Today's Republican Party is our Oedipus. A plague has descended on the party in the form of the most successful demagogue-charlatan in the history of U.S. politics. The party searches desperately for the cause and the remedy without realizing that, like Oedipus, it is the party itself that brought on this plague. The party's own political crimes are being punished in a bit of cosmic justice fit for a Greek tragedy.

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!

That Coke Can Is Back

    They were dramas that drilled into the most sensitive parts of the national psyche, searing and dividing us with lurid sexual images and racial grievances as old as the nation.

    They both started out as narratives about the mistreatment of women but were swiftly twisted into parables about the mistreatment of black men.

    Anita Hill went to the Senate in 1991 to testify about creepy sexual overtures by her former boss, Clarence Thomas, but Thomas made it to the Supreme Court by cowing the Democratic senators who were supposed to protect Hill. Thomas claimed that he, not she, was the victim. The senators were stunned and silenced when Thomas accused them of a “high-tech lynching.”

    Four years later, O.J. Simpson’s lawyers got him acquitted on charges of murdering the ex-wife he battered, Nicole, by turning it into what The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin called “a civil rights melodrama.” The lawyers argued the football and movie star was framed by a racist LA detective, which made O.J., not Nicole, the victim — another high-tech lynching.

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!

Sybil Ludington? Betty Zane?

    Do you know these women? Of course not, because this nation has not been nearly so zealous recording women's history as that of men.

    Every American school child knows about Paul Revere and his midnight ride. But few ever hear of Sybil Ludington and even fewer know of Betty Zane. Sybil Ludington's horseback ride in the dark of night--that same night--served the same purpose as that of Paul Revere and was nearly twice as long as his. Furthermore, she was only sixteen!

    When natives attacked a frontier fort in Virginia, it was teenager Betty Zane who saved the day by making a daring sprint to obtain essential gunpowder for the settlers. Somehow she has been overlooked in our history books.

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!

If Donald Trump Changed Genders

    Imagine, for a moment, the presidential candidacy of a rich, brash real estate magnate and reality TV star named Donna Trump.

    Quizzically coifed and stubbornly sun-kissed, she’s on her third marriage. There’s clear evidence that infidelity factored into the demise of the first, and among her children is one conceived when The Donna wasn’t married to the other parent.

    Her sexual appetites have been prodigious, at least according to her frequent claims and vulgar cant. And she has a tendency — disturbing on its own, even more so in someone who aspires to civic leadership — to talk about men as sirloins and rump roasts of disparate succulence. She denigrates those who displease her on cosmetic grounds:

    So-and-so used to be a 9 but, with that male-pattern baldness and desperate comb-over, is down to a 6. So-and-so thinks he’s covering up that paunch with baggy suits, but we all know better.

    How well do you think The Donna would do in the polls? How far into the race would she survive?

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!

It was far too easy for my son to buy guns

    I am not an expert on guns. I have never owned one, and my husband and I never kept one in the house. So when it comes to gun safety and reducing the number of mass shootings that take place in our country, I would be the last person to suggest there are easy answers. But I do have a tragically personal vantage point on the issue.

    Nearly 17 years ago, my son Dylan, and his friend Eric Harris, walked into Columbine High School carrying an array of firearms and explosives. They killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded more than 20 others. It was an incomprehensible tragedy that I have lived with every day of my life since. Why did Dylan do it? How could this have happened? These questions have consumed my every waking moment.

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!