Archive

February 15th, 2017

Buyer's remorse for the president?

    Donald, let me ask, in private, man to man: Is this what you wanted? The phones in the White House are fascinating, certainly. The new curtains are a great choice. But the hand towels on Air Force One are not soft enough. (You know what they say: The hand towels on Air Force One always look softer from the other side.) And already the press has spread the scurrilous rumor that you possess a bathrobe. Instead of being able to deny this in your customary manner, you had to send out a shouting man who does not know what sort of suit to wear and make him tell the world: "I don't think the President wears a bathrobe, and definitely doesn't own one."

    Think of your brand, Donald.

    There are many things America does not know about you. Anything that might appear in your tax returns. Whether you have figured out the difference between a strong and a weak dollar. Why you are always so bewilderingly kind to Vladimir Putin in your public remarks. Things like that.

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!

Andrew Johnson, not Jackson

    Egged on by his top political adviser, Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump is touting an analogy between his populist administration and that of Andrew Jackson, who was first elected in 1828 as the tribune of Appalachian backwoodsmen - and whose portrait now hangs significantly in the Oval Office.

    They've got the wrong Andrew. The past White House occupant Trump most closely resembles is the 17th president, Andrew Johnson, who served briefly as Abraham Lincoln's vice president before Lincoln's assassination in April 1865 - then ruled turbulently, barely staving off impeachment, over the next three years and 11 months.

    As it happens, ostentatious admiration for Jackson is the first point of similarity between Trump and Johnson - though the latter, a Scotch-Irishman of humble origins who rose to represent Jackson's home state, Tennessee, in the Senate, came by his more honestly.

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!

February 14th

With lawsuit, Melania defines public service, Trump-style

    We can all thank Melania Trump for giving us a clearer sense of what she and her family are looking for from their stay in the White House.

    In court papers Melania filed on Monday as part of a libel lawsuit against the parent company of the Daily Mail, she said that the British tabloid and web site, by falsely reporting that she had once worked as a prostitute, caused the first lady to miss "major business opportunities" and "multimillion-dollar relationships."

    The lawsuit, first reported by the New York Post on Tuesday evening, said Melania's missed deals would have involved such products as "apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care, skin care, and fragrance."

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 ISIS, Al-Qaida And Iran's Mullahs All Love Donald Trump

    Have Americans really become a nation of gullible cowards? Sometimes it looks that way. Take President Trump's executive order banning travel from seven Middle Eastern and North African countries. If you think it has anything whatsoever to do with protecting against terrorist attacks, then you haven't been paying attention.

    The administration's policies are designed not to deal with real problems in the visible world, but to rile up partisan ignoranuses (sic) here in the U.S.A. Also to stimulate nativism and fear of dark-skinned foreigners, and to make Democrats appear to be defending Muslims instead of the Constitution.

    Poorly thought out and incompetently drafted, to the extent that Trump's order has anything to do with ISIS or al-Qaida terrorists, it will help them. The reasons are quite simple, and pretty much undeniable.

    New York Times reporter David Zucchino spoke with Iraqi soldiers barricaded inside the city of Mosul, where they are fighting a brutal house-to-house battle against ISIS fighters for control of the country's second-biggest city. Its outcome is crucial to breaking the terrorist insurrection for good.

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 happens to us?' Why Sweden is so worried about the Trump administration.

    A winter evening in Stockholm, lights glinting in the harbor, snow falling outside. "And what about us," I am asked, "up here in the North? What happens to us?" My Swedish companions are journalists, analysts and civil servants, people who care about their country's national security. Though neither elite nor wealthy, they do share a worldview. They think their country's prosperity depends on the European Union and its open markets. They also think their safety depends on the United States' commitment to Europe. And since President Donald Trump took office, they suddenly find themselves staring into an unfathomable abyss.

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 immigrant clampdown hurts the heartland

    Donald Trump was elected to the presidency on a promise to revive the economies of struggling regions. He drew strength from small cities and towns in the Midwest and the South. But the administration's hasty, poorly-thought-out policies toward immigrants and foreign students are putting many of those places in grave danger. Trump and his advisers seem to be unaware of the degree to which local economies in the heartland depend on universities -- and of how much those universities rely on foreign students.

    The president's first executive order on immigration restricted travel and denied re-entry by visa holders from several majority-Muslim countries. That is already affecting students at a number of American universities. Circulated drafts of the next executive order contain a provision severely limiting foreign students' ability to work while in the United States.

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 Reject Trump the Perverse, Poets Wage a Battle in Verse

    Some people stand up to President Donald Trump in the courts, others in street protests. And the poets among us, they battle Trump with an arsenal of verse.

    The Republican man of the hour 

    Is a wellspring of bluster and glower. 

    Trump is rich and he’s white, 

    How’s he leading the fight 

    Against entrenched Establishment power?

     

    That’s by Bill McGloughlin, a librarian in Charlotte, North Carolina, who was one of the winners of my Donald Trump Poetry Contest. We had about 2,000 entries, and today I’m publishing the winners.

    Some relied on humor — while complaining that almost nothing rhymes with “orange”! — and that’s the tack taken by Stephen Benko, a retired businessman in Fairfield, Connecticut. Benko has published an entire book of poems about Trump, but this one is new:

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 business lobby's hypocritical, one-size-fits-all answer to regulation: No.

    Like all presidents since Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump came into office promising to reduce unnecessary regulation, ordering rollbacks of environmental and financial regulation and directing all executive agencies to throw out two rules for every one new one they propose.

    Back in Reagan's time, the big debate was over his executive order requiring the government to perform cost-benefit analyses for every federal regulation. The business community had long complained that government officials focused only on the benefits of regulation, while ignoring the costs to businesses and the economy as a whole. Liberal interest groups - unions, consumer advocates and environmentalists - went bananas. How can anyone put a monetary value on the human life that is saved because of environmental regulation, they asked, or the limb that is not cut off because of workplace safety rules, or the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your life savings are safe from the predations of Wall Street sharks? Any estimates of the benefits of regulation, they argued, were too squishy and too subjective - and downright immoral.

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!

Steve Bannon vs. Pope Francis?

    Steve Bannon disrupted American politics and helped elect Donald Trump as president. Will he disrupt the Roman Catholic Church by joining forces with right-wing Catholics who oppose Pope Francis?

     Bannon's dark vision contrasts sharply with the sunny disposition of a pope who has chided "sourpusses" and "querulous and disillusioned pessimists."

     Bannon believes that "the Judeo-Christian West is in a crisis." He calls for a return of "the church militant" that will "fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity" which threatens to "completely eradicate everything that we've been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years."

    Where Francis has insisted on dialogue with Muslims, Bannon points to "the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam" and reaches as far back as the eighth century to praise "forefathers" who defeated Islam on the battlefield and "kept it out of the world, whether it was at Vienna, or Tours, or other places."

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!

Puzder's record on labor is terrible. But it's typical for the fast-food industry.

    Andrew Puzder has never been a big friend of labor, but he might soon become its biggest boss. As President Trump's choice to lead the Department of Labor, the former chief executive of CKE restaurants, of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's brand fame, could soon control the regulatory body he's been accused of flouting throughout his career.

    Puzder has been linked to a smorgasbord of alleged labor abuses: Since 2004, scores of investigations by the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division resulted in penalties totaling about $145,310 in back pay for 877 employees, plus about $81,600 in civil penalties. Occupational-safety regulators also documented 32 serious health and safety violations, including workers getting scalded with hot water and hot oil and, in one case, being injured in a trash compactor. Meanwhile, in a survey by the advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Center, two-thirds of female workers reported experiencing sexual abuse while working for the corporation famous for its controversial burger ad featuring Paris Hilton in a bathing suit.

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!