Archive

February 2nd, 2017

Mexico can thrive without Trump

    The Mexican government has been courteous toward Donald Trump, as both a candidate and now U.S. president. Indeed, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has paid a high political cost at home for his being open to working constructively with President Trump. But Peña Nieto has done the right thing by putting the interests of Mexico and the preservation of mutually beneficial relations with our neighbor above his personal popularity. Nevertheless, the time has come to admit that the actions of the new administration have closed off, at least for the foreseeable future, the possibility of any agreement being achieved through dialogue and negotiation that could satisfy the interests of both parties.

    This is an unfortunate and sad situation, but the effort to accommodate President Trump's capricious wishes has proven worthless and should not be continued. It is not useful for Mexico or the United States.

    In retrospect, the probability of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement on the topics on President Trump's Mexico agenda was always small, considering that his demands have defied legal and economic rationality all along.

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A marcher for the ages

    Mary Richards wasn't trying to be anyone's feminist icon. She became an associate producer at a Minneapolis TV station not because she was trying to make a statement but because she needed a job to support her new life on her own in the city after a breakup. She took birth control pills because she was a responsible single woman who dated. She stayed out all night on a date because she was having a good time. She gave her best friend, Rhoda, a pep talk about body image because Rhoda needed it. She asked for a paycheck equal to her male predecessor's because it seemed only fair.

    And yet, because Mary was the central character on the classic 1970s sitcom "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," those small, everyday actions made her a feminist icon. When the actress who portrayed her, Mary Tyler Moore, died Wednesday at age 80, it marked the end of an era, sure. But coincidentally, another era officially started this month with the Women's March on Washington and millions marching in solidarity around the world. And Mary Richards was one very important step between the women's movement of her era - once seen as a radical, fringe group - and this resurgence of feminism in mainstream culture as it stares down four years with an openly sexist new president.

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Wild Child Takes Charge

    So now we’re getting the crazy straight up.

    The Doomsday Clock is ticking faster, the resistance is growing, and teetotaler Donald Trump already seems drunk with power.

    He’s got the role of his life and he’s casting his show: Steve Bannon is his Roy Cohn, the combative hammer and agitprop genius; Theresa May is Maggie to his Ronnie; Ivanka and Jared are his consiglieri, family to help him figure out who stays and who gets iced; Vladimir Putin echoes the role of Trump’s dad, Fred, who was supremely aggressive and calculating, cool where Donald was hot, someone who believed the world was divided into killers and losers. (But in Putin’s case, it’s literal.)

    It took us years to find out that Richard Nixon was swilling Scotch, eating dog biscuits, talking to the White House portraits and blowing up the Vietnam peace talks in 1968 to help his election bid. It took us years to find out that, despite that deep, reassuring voice, Dick Cheney was a demented megalomaniac.

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The true, correct story of what happened at Donald Trump's inauguration

    I apologize to Donald Trump. As Sean Spicer so wisely said at his first news conference on Monday (It was the first. The one that happened on Saturday did not happen at all, and I recognize that!), it is unfair to be so mean and negative all the time.

    Here is the fair and unbiased story about the inauguration written in compliance with the Trump style guidelines that we should have been obeying all along. 

    Nothing that has ever happened or will ever happen was as great as Donald Trump's inauguration.

    The crowd was magnificent and huge, bigger than any crowd had ever been before! It stretched all the way to the moon. The Pope, who was there, confirmed it.

    "Thanks for being here, Pope," Trump told him.

    "Are you kidding? You're my best friend," the Pope said. "I wouldn't miss your big day for anything!" He gave Trump a big high-five.

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President Trump, Meet My Family

    This newspaper has periodically, to its shame, succumbed to the kind of xenophobic fearmongering that President Donald Trump is now trying to make American policy.

    In 1875, The Times sternly warned that too many Irish and German immigrants (like the Trumps) could “deprive Americans by birth and descent of the small share they yet retain” in New York City.

    In 1941, The Times cautioned in a front-page article that European Jews desperately seeking American visas might be Nazi spies. In 1942, as Japanese-Americans were being interned, The Times cheerfully suggested that the detainees were happily undertaking an “adventure.”

    We make bad decisions when we fear immigrants we “otherize.” That’s why Americans burned Irish Catholics alive, banned Chinese for decades, denied visas to Anne Frank’s family and interned Japanese-Americans. And yes, The New York Times sometimes participated in such madness.

    But we will not be part of that today.

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February 1st

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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