Archive

October 28th, 2016

It’s Trump’s Party

    The presidential campaign is entering its final weeks, and unless the polls are completely off, Donald Trump has very little chance of winning — only 7 percent, according to the Times’ Upshot model. Meanwhile, the candidate continues to say disgusting things, and analysts are asking whether down-ballot Republicans will finally repudiate their party’s nominee.

    The answer should be, who cares? Everyone who endorsed Trump in the past owns him now; it’s far too late to get a refund. And voters should realize that voting for any Trump endorser is, in effect, a vote for Trumpism, whatever happens at the top of the ticket.

    First of all, nobody who was paying attention can honestly claim to have learned anything new about Trump in the last few weeks. It was obvious from the beginning that he was a “con artist” — so declared Marco Rubio, who has nonetheless endorsed his candidacy. His racism and sexism were apparent from the beginning of his campaign; his vindictiveness and lack of self-discipline were on full display in his tirades against Judge Gonzalo Curiel and Khizr Khan.

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!

October 27th

How fascist is Donald Trump? There's a formula for that

    "Donald Trump is a fascist" sounds more like a campaign slogan than an analysis of his political program. But it's true that the GOP nominee doesn't fit into America's conventional party categories, and thoughtful people - Robert Kagan and Jeffrey Tucker, among others - have hurled the f-word at him.

    Fascism was born in Italy during World War I and came to power with the ex-journalist and war veteran Benito Mussolini in 1922. Since the 1950s, dozens of top historians and political scientists have put fascism, especially the Italian and German versions, under the microscope. They've come up with a pretty solid agreement on what it is, both as a political ideology and as a political movement, factoring in all the (sometimes contradictory) things its progenitors said as they ascended to power. As a political ideology, fascism has eight main traits. As a political movement, it has three more. So: Just how fascist is Trump? On the fascist meter, we can award him from zero to four "Benitos."

    First, the ideological features:

 

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!

My mom, an immigrant, is vetted every day

    I doubt my mother would pass the "extreme vetting" process Donald Trump has in mind for refugees seeking a new life in the United States. After 26 years in this country, she still speaks with a heavy accent, misplaces tenses, mumbles. She doesn't know the Pledge of Allegiance. Her job as a night security guard requires staying awake and making sure the doors stay locked, the perfect position for an immigrant like her.

    Before coming to America, Mom was a psychiatrist, working in a busy clinic in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The city's population was more than a million, but after 30 years as a doctor, she couldn't run an errand without bumping into a former patient or grateful family member. It used to annoy me as a child, and I'd tug on her arm, impatient to move on. Once we came to the United States, that was no longer a problem.

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 2016 debates lacked Quemoy and Matsu.

    In 1960, a gentlemanly quarrel about these two tiny islands was the most significant policy difference in the Kennedy-Nixon debate, though historians call the proceedings a watershed event in televised politics.

    Nixon said the islands off China’s coast merited Cold War saber-rattling. Kennedy said they didn’t.

    The Clinton-Trump presidential debates? Nothing of that sort. Really, nothing at all. However, I’m here to convince you that they were the most important, and yes, substantive, ever.

    They were important because we saw the substance in both candidates. More accurately: In one candidate we saw substance; in the other we saw a charred crater.

    As many have observed, any real policy distinctions in these debates were obscured by layers of tar and slime. Personal distinctions, however, became crystal-clear, like – you know, the first time the optometrist fits you for corrective lenses.

    The polls say hundreds of thousands of Americans watched these debates and exclaimed, “Oh, my goodness; I see.”

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 you can't save us, please bomb us'

    The calls come to Khaleel's phone every day, dozens every week: Women and girls, held captive by the Islamic State, beg us to rescue them.

    Like us, they are Yazidis. And in the wickedest of ironies, they are survivors of genocide, kept alive by the Islamic State to be raped and subjected to sexual slavery. They have heard about our rescue network and reach us on cellphones that they have managed to hide.

    We save as many victims as we can and provide care to help rehabilitate them. Thus far, however, we've been able to help only a small number of the 3,700 who are enslaved. We believe most are in Mosul, which is Iraq's second-largest city, the Islamic State's most important stronghold after Raqqa in Syria and the largest urban center under the Islamic State's control. So intense is the suffering of these women and girls that they tell us that they want the United States and other countries to attack Mosul, even if the bombs pose a threat to their lives.

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 Trump loses, the news media should break the addiction - but can they?

    In the final pages of Richard Ben Cramer's seminal book about presidential politics, "What It Takes," Michael Dukakis looks around in wonderment at the scene outside his Massachusetts home less than 24 hours after his crushing 1988 loss to George H.W. Bush.

    "The barricades were gone. And the agents. And the cop cars, the van, the people - that block had been wall-to-wall demonstrations," Cramer wrote. No TV trucks, photographers, microphones. The only sound: birds.

    "Nobody," Dukakis says with relief to top aide John Sasso. And Sasso smiles and agrees: "Yeah."

    It's what happens to losing presidential candidates: Mitt Romney, Al Gore, the elder Bush himself in 1992, after his loss to Bill Clinton.

    The blazing spotlight moves away. It's over.

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!

House Republicans wage war on medical research

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee has a Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives that has held only two hearings since it was created a year ago. Its meetings are marked by walkouts and little substantive discussion. Many House members, including some Republicans, hope it will expire by year-end.

    Some medical experts say this special committee may seem like a joke but is nonetheless having a chilling effect on important medical research. The issue is the use of fetal tissue taken from aborted fetuses that would otherwise be discarded.

    The genesis of the panel was a secret and selectively edited video of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of these tissues. The language was indelicate, actually stupid, and Planned Parenthood apologized. But the notion that there was a racket illicitly making money from the sale of fetal tissue is bogus.

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!

Guns on campus only invite tragedies

    Texas this year became the eighth state to require state colleges and universities to allow civilians with permits to carry concealed guns in public places. As a result, the University of Texas at Austin - a school that 50 years ago suffered the trauma of the nation's first campus mass killing - must allow guns to be brought onto campus.

    To those behind the campus-carry movement making such inroads in Austin and other state capitals, that's a good thing. This effort is based on the belief that allowing more guns in public places will lead to less violence. But does the evidence support this premise? A new report released by Johns Hopkins University, with co-authors from Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts at Boston, surveys the best available research and says no.

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's gift to Hillary

    Two high-profile political events of the last week provided an unintended present from Donald Trump to his rival for the presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton.

    First in their final debate Wednesday in Las Vegas, and then the next night at the Al Smith charity dinner in New York, Trump's behavior gave Clinton venues in which she displayed her superior political skills, knowledge and temperament.

    In the debate, she repeated her ability to goad Trump into excesses of personal invective, misstatements of fact and insensitivity to women. Then, at the officially Democratic but traditionally nonpartisan dinner, she largely maintained a sense decorum fitting the occasion, as he occasionally overstepped the affair's tradition of good-natured ribbing, drawing audible boos from the invited guests.

    In both settings, the Democratic nominee offered a much greater level of comfort and control of the facts expected of a would-be president. In contrast, her Republican opponent in that final debate had gravely wounded himself with his unwillingness to say he would accept the American voters' decision in the election outcome.

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!

Clinton’s Specter of Illegitimacy

    President Barack Obama is fond of saying that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to ever seek the presidency. And, if current polls are correct and prove resilient, she will be one of the most qualified people to be elected and ascend to that office.

    But one of the great ironies of this election is that America’s first female president may be viewed by many as the country’s most invalid president, hanging under the specter of suspicion, mistrust and illegitimacy.

    This is partly because her opponents all along the way have complained that the system — from the media to the electoral apparatus — was “rigged” and unfairly tilted in her favor, and it’s partly because of unflattering bits of information that have come to light from an illegal hack.

    During the primaries, Bernie Sanders (who now supports Clinton) made very clear that he thought that both the media and the Democratic Party itself had not been fair to him. As he put it, “We knew we were taking on the establishment.”

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!