Archive

February 1st, 2017

Do unto Congress as Rubio wants to do to D.C.

    Sen. Marco Rubio has a well-deserved reputation for being a windbag who huffs and puffs but never quite blows anything down. The Florida Republican is relentless, however, when it comes to throwing his weight against the District of Columbia. Nothing like beating up on someone who can't fight back.

    Toward that end, Rubio has reintroduced the Second Amendment Enforcement Act, a bill aimed at gutting the city's tough gun-registration requirements, which a federal judge upheld.

    Rubio's bill went nowhere when introduced in 2015. But with a Republican-controlled Congress, and a president who has a concealed-carry permit and a National Rifle Association endorsement, Rubio might finally get a win.

    If he succeeds, the District will be the big loser.

    Besides undoing the city's gun laws, Rubio's bill would make it easy for residents and visitors to get a concealed-carry permit. That's right, stand in line at the checkout counter, stroll through the city's streets or have a row with a neighbor, all while packing heat.

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 doubles down on lying

    President Trump, still obsessed with the fact he lost the 2016 popular vote to Hillary Clinton, told congressional leaders at a White House reception earlier this week that he really had won it -- because as many as five million people had voted illegally, presumably for Clinton and against him.

    The next day, he sent out White House press secretary Sean Spicer to brief White House reporters on the same lie, which Spicer sanitarily passed on without saying he agreed. Or as Spicer put it: "The President does believe that, I think he's stated that before, and stated his concern of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have brought to him."

    Asked for the evidence, Spicer erroneously cited a Pew Charitable Trust report for a different year that "showed 14 percent of people who voted were noncitizens" but made no contention of widespread voter fraud.

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 Sisterly ‘No’ to Donald Trump

    On his first full day in office, our new president harangued the National Park Service about more flattering inauguration photos and preened in front of a memorial to real American heroes, crowing about how often he’s been on the cover of Time magazine.

    Before his first full week was done, he temporarily barred refugees from entering the United States, halted immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries and decreed that Christians get preference over Muslims when we let outsiders in.

    I watch this and feel heartsick about America, whose most fundamental values and claim to moral leadership are at stake.

    Then I talk to my friend Maya Rao and her sisters and I feel just a little bit better. I feel pride and hope.

    They’re precisely the kind of Americans who feel so insulted and threatened by Trump. They’re precisely the kind who make this country so special and fill me with such fierce love for it. It gave them a home and horizons they might not have found elsewhere. They treasure that enough to defend it.

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 War On Public Schools

    One of the most disturbing things about the Trump administration is its antipathy toward public schools.

    Perhaps you remember the president’s mini-rant in his inaugural speech about an “education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.”

    Well, Trump’s choice for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, is responsible for Michigan’s charter school boom, which currently costs the state about $1.1 billion a year. A 2014 investigation by the Detroit Free Press found myriad examples of “wasteful spending and double-dipping.” Thanks in large part to DeVos’ lobbying in the Legislature, there’s virtually no oversight. So much for the young and beautiful students.

    Take that for a rant.

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 pledge on drug pricing tests both parties

    Donald Trump has a chance to rally his core supporters as well as left-wing Democrats, wrapping himself in the populist flag to take on the politically powerful drug industry.

    He is vowing to keep a campaign pledge to push legislation allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, a practice currently prohibited by law. Proponents say this would reduce drug prices and Medicare costs for the federal government. Medicare pays for about 29 percent of prescription drugs in the U.S. and would have considerable leverage.

    Trump would be taking on the leaders of his own party, starting with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin. Most Republicans have long argued that giving Medicare such power is tantamount to government price-setting, which ideologically they oppose and which they say would stifle innovation and research in the drug industry. Many of them receive huge campaign contributions from the industry's sizable political war chest.

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 has long embraced alternative facts

    Donald Trump's ubiquitous spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway, coined a new term in the new president's first week. In an exchange about Inauguration Day turnout with NBC's Chuck Todd, she called false White House claims of record-setting crowds "alternative facts."

    While the term "alternative facts" is likely to become a signature catchphrase, forever associated with Trump, Conway, her boss and press secretary Sean Spicer are playing an old White House game.

    Ron Ziegler, the late press secretary to President Richard Nixon, tried over four decades ago to characterize White House lies as something other than lies. Past falsehoods were "inoperative" during the Nixon administration, he explained, and corrections to the record simply became "operative."

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 only thing that can stop Trump from turning Washington into a permanent Crazytown

    There are several ways to understand the political cacophony emanating from Washington over this past, frenetic week.

    Some of it represents a noxious partisan effort to eradicate everything done by President Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress, whether it worked or not. This is the kind of tribal revenge more common in primitive societies, a score settling designed not only to crush the other party but also to demoralize and punish the voters who support it. Neither the White House nor the Republican leadership now bother even to make the pretense that they intend to consult or work with Democrats. And Democrats are responding in kind with party line votes against Cabinet nominees. With a Supreme Court nomination next week, this partisan warfare will shift into Defcon 1.

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 genius - and flaw - of Greenpeace's 'RESIST' protest at the White House

    If these were ordinary times, and if the man in the White House were an ordinary politician, then the banner hung by Greenpeace activists on a downtown construction crane in Washington on Wednesday morning would seem a minor stunt. But the sign - a banner of brilliant orange, bright yellow and black emblazoned with the word "resist" - was placed in public space, visible from the White House, with a message that is inspiring to the large and terrified opposition to President Trump.

    It also animates a dialectic that Trump himself regularly indulges: About size and bigliness, especially when it comes to who has the swagger to control messaging in our short-attention-span world. Even last year, a sign like this one, relatively small and almost whimsical with its stylized depiction of a hopeful sunrise - would have mainly inspired thoughts about its ineffectuality and its antiquated trope of an earlier age of protest. It would seem, perhaps, even quaint. And then conversation would turn to the nuisance caused by the protesters, who managed to shut down a city block, snarl traffic and delay construction at the site (formerly the home of The Washington Post and now being redeveloped as offices for Fannie Mae). Time is money, after all, and money is all that matters.

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!

January 31st

May's 'global Britain' is doomed

    Everybody else was talking about economics. But all through the Brexit referendum campaign and in the months after the vote, I worried about British geopolitics. I worried about Britain's alliances. I worried that the protracted divorce negotiations between Britain and its closest economic and political partners would create misunderstandings and eventually anger - and indeed, this is already coming to pass.

    I also worried that Britain would slowly begin to redefine itself as a country outside the Western alliance. Isolated, looking for trade partners and political friends, Britain might even drift away from European and transatlantic institutions and instead seek closer relationships with Russia and China, two countries which already have a large presence in the British economy. But I failed to imagine what has actually transpired: that Britain - isolated and really quite desperately looking for trading partners and political friends - would rush with thanks and relief into the arms of Donald Trump, a U.S. president who is drifting away from European and transatlantic institutions too.

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!

Don't dismiss Trump's rants as distractions

    Where to begin? That's the daily question for anyone trying to follow the words and deeds of the new administration, which is like drinking through two fire hoses -- one gushing policy, the other spewing insanity.

    Neither stream can be ignored. I wish I could agree with those who say we should pay little attention to President Trump's verbal eruptions and focus only on concrete actions, but I can't. It matters that the most powerful man in the world insists on "facts" that are nothing but self-aggrandizing fantasy. It matters that the president of the United States seems incapable of publicly admitting any error. It matters that Trump's need for adulation appears to be insatiable.

    The president's most acute obsession is with the false notion that he only lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton because of widespread election fraud committed by "millions" of people.

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!