Archive

August 2nd, 2016

Trump's news conference: more outrages and lies

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump -- I can't believe I wrote those words -- gave a news conference Wednesday. Shall we first count the outrages or the lies?

    I think we need to start at the top of the outrage column. Asked about the hacking of Democratic National Committee emails, which many experts believe was carried out by agents of the Russian government, Trump speculated that Russia might also have hacked into Hillary Clinton's private email server. Then he asked the Russians to release any deleted emails they might have found there.

    Trump looked directly into the television cameras and said, "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

    You read that right. The man one of our two major parties has nominated for president just encouraged cyberespionage by an adversarial foreign power against a former U.S. secretary of state.

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August 1st

How Donald Trump could start a war with Russia

    Donald Trump has expressed some radical thoughts about foreign policy -- including that the U.S., as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, can choose whether or not to come to the aid of an ally under attack. To better understand how alarmingly wrong such thinking is, it's worth reading a new novel by a former high-ranking NATO official.

    The book -- called "War With Russia, 2017" -- describes a terrifying series of events. NATO members become embroiled in squabbles over funding and how to deal with Russia, leaving inadequate forces in the Baltic region. Emboldened by the perceived weakness, Russian President Vladimir Putin launches a surprise attack, taking Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in a matter of days. By the time Western leaders find the resolve to fight back, they face entrenched Russian troops protected by sophisticated air defenses -- and by Putin's pledge to respond to any attack with tactical nuclear weapons. Outright nuclear war becomes a distinct possibility.

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Bill O'Reilly irretrievably loses it over White House slaves

    If James Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch are looking for a moment in which to make a statement about their vision for Fox News, now is it. These two brothers -- sons of mogul Rupert Murdoch and two-thirds of the triumvirate at Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox -- are widely known to have resented the way that recently resigned Fox News chief Roger Ailes ran the network.

    Well, it's been a week since Ailes left, and his offensive style of broadcasting lives on. On Wednesday night, host Bill O'Reilly took to the network's airwaves to attempt a defense of his comments regarding first lady Michelle Obama's Monday night speech here at the Democratic National Convention. She said, in part, "I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters - two beautiful, intelligent, black young women - playing with their dogs on the White House lawn."

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Donald Trump knows nothing about true sacrifice

    Donald Trump has asked why I did not speak at the Democratic convention. He said he would like to hear from me. Here is my answer to Donald Trump: Because without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart.

    Donald Trump said I had nothing to say. I do. My son Humayun Khan, an Army captain, died 12 years ago in Iraq. He loved America, where we moved when he was 2 years old. He had volunteered to help his country, signing up for the ROTC at the University of Virginia. This was before the attack of Sept. 11, 2001. He didn't have to do this, but he wanted to.

    When Humayun was sent to Iraq, my husband and I worried about his safety. I had already been through one war, in Pakistan in 1965, when I was just a high school student. So I was very scared. You can sacrifice yourself, but you cannot take it that your kids will do this.

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There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Free Market’

    The debates leading up to the election this year will no doubt invoke the “American value” of capitalism. But what, exactly, does that mean? And what should it mean?

    I’m no economist, but I took a few economics courses while earning an undergraduate business degree. Growing up in a capitalist society, I thought I understood the basic concepts underlying capitalism — free markets, competitive advantage, and so forth.

    Then I actually read The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, the founding work that described what we call capitalism in the first place. That was a game changer.

    We’re all probably familiar with Smith’s ideas at some level.

    The market regulates itself, as each of us operates based on our own self-interest. Businesses try to earn profits, and consumers try to meet their needs at the best prices. The market ensures that the demand of consumers is met with supply from business.

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The Democrats' well-deserved WikiLeaks blowback

    Over at the CIA and the National Security Agency headquarters, they must be really enjoying watching Democrats in Philadelphia squirm over WikiLeaks's exposure of tens of thousands of internal Democratic Party emails. There's a word for what is happening in the intelligence community:

    Blowback.

    Throughout the entirety of the Obama administration, nothing was done as WikiLeaks damaged our national security with its serial leaks of highly classified intelligence documents.

    When in 2010 WikiLeaks released more than 76,000 secret intelligence documents in 2010 - exposing "the identities of at least 100 Afghans who were informing on the Taliban, including the names of their villages, family members, the Taliban commanders on whom they were informing, and even GPS coordinates where they could be found," as I wrote in The Post - nothing was done.

    When in 2011 WikiLeaks released a trove of classified documents it dubbed the "Gitmo Files" in 2011 - including secret details about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program - nothing was done.

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Putin, Trump and Our Election

    Some foreign leaders settle for stealing billions of dollars. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, may have wanted to steal something even more valuable: an American presidential election.

    As our election takes a turn that could be drawn from a Cold War spy novel (except it would be too implausible), Putin has an obvious favorite in the race: Donald Trump.

    “It’s crystal clear to me” that Putin favors Trump, says Michael McFaul, a Stanford professor who was ambassador to Russia until 2014. “If I were Putin, I would rather deal with Trump, too, given the things he has said about foreign policy.”

    Look, Democratic Party leaders exchanged inappropriate emails showing bias for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, and a hacker’s disclosure has properly triggered a ruckus. But that scandal pales beside an effort apparently by a foreign dictatorship to disrupt an American presidential election.

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Populism Even Republicans Can Get Behind

    What if organizers and volunteers joined forces to run a nationwide campaign to replace today’s corporate-owned congress — all at once?

    Yes, one sweeping campaign against all incumbents of either party who owe their jobs to Big Money.

    A new campaign called Brand New Congress is trying to do just that, aiming to oust those congress critters with hundreds of coordinated campaigns running simultaneously in every state. They’ll back local candidates publicly pledged to fight for an agenda of economic, social, environmental, and political justice.

    Sound impossible? Not in the minds of the plan’s architects, which include several of the former Bernie Sanders staffers who conceived and implemented the Vermont senator’s successful grassroots campaigns.

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Philadelphia challenges a conservative myth

    My hotel room in Philadelphia features a magnificent view of City Hall. Each day, I've stood at the window and marveled over it; on Tuesday I made a visit. Constructed over the last three decades of the 19th century, the building is larger than the U.S. Capitol. The Washington Monument is only seven feet taller. City Hall's 700 rooms are constructed of 88 million bricks covered in granite and marble. Some walls are 25 feet thick.

    And ooh-la-la is it ornate. The City Hall website refers to its design as "High Victorian Picturesque Eclecticism," though it's more commonly called French Second Empire. The most exquisite rooms feature gold leaf on the ceilings, marble columns, mosaic tile. Inside and out, there are more than 250 relief and free-standing sculptures. And, of course, the whole enterprise is topped by the statue of William Penn, who still commands the skyline of the city he lovingly designed.

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Media Has History Of Inventing Hillary 'Scandals'

    It's always been my conviction that if Hillary Clinton could be appointed president, she'd do a bang-up job. Getting elected, however, might prove more difficult. Michelle Goldberg does an excellent job defining the problem in a Slate article about why so many people say they hate her.

    "There's a reason actors do screen tests," Goldberg writes. "Not everyone's charm translates to film and video. For as long as Hillary Clinton has been in public life, people who've met in her person have marveled at how much more likable she is in the flesh than she is on television."

    As a friendly acquaintance since 1980, I'd second that. My wife, who worked with her on the board of Arkansas Children's Hospital, will hear nothing against her. We recently read a Facebook posting from a friend in Eureka Springs. Neither a big shot nor a political activist, she was profoundly touched that after her husband died in a bicycle crash, one of her first callers was New York's newly elected senator. Hillary had left Arkansas for good, but not its people.

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