Archive

December 18th

Terrorism is the universal enemy

    A 12-year-old girl is beaten at school in New York, is called "ISIS" and nearly has her hijab torn off by her classmates. A 16-year-old Somali American dies in a fall from a six-story building in Seattle that his family and the Muslim community in the city suspect was the result of foul play. Rocks are thrown through the windows of a Muslim family's home in Plano, Texas. A shop owner in Queens, New York, is attacked at his business by a man shouting, "I'll kill Muslims." This is only a small sampling of the recent violence and hate crimes against Muslims,which have reached record highs.

    These days, sermons at mosques in the United States, rather than focusing on community and religion, conclude with advice about how Muslims can protect themselves from attack. The fear that any non-Muslim American feels about his or her safety in the face of terrorism is felt tenfold by Muslim Americans. I am 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, a Rhodes scholar and student at Harvard Medical School. I am not used to feeling so afraid for my body.

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!

Gun rights are different from your travel rights

    What if the National Rifle Association is right that the no-fly list shouldn't be used for denying people guns, as President Barack Obama has urged and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, D, has said he will do? If you're a liberal, the very idea may seem absurd -- but in fact an important constitutional issue is at stake.

    The problem isn't that gun-sales restrictions are unlawful in themselves. It's that the no-fly list is a black box full of errors, featuring limited opportunity for redress. Whether you like it or not, gun possession is a constitutional right under the Second Amendment -- unlike flying. That means we need to decide whether the government can restrict that right based on a determination of dangerousness that occurs with a very unusual form of due process.

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!

Dictatorships, double standards and Cruz's worldview

    Remember when Republicans opposed dictators? It was 2005. Netflix only mailed DVDs, everyone seemed to have a blog and George W. Bush was president. Saddam Hussein was in the dock in Baghdad. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak was under pressure from the State Department to allow members of the Muslim Brotherhood to run for parliament. Even Saudi Arabia was being pushed to let people vote in local elections.

    In his second inaugural address that January, Bush said his foreign policy would support democratic movements all over the world "with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

    Well, those days are gone. Today most Republicans (with the exception of Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain) don't want to squeeze dictators such as Egypt's General Abdel-Fattah El- Sisi. But this sentiment has largely been kept in the background. After all, what politician wants to say alliances with the jailers of journalists should be a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy?

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 nightmare scenario in the Mideast

    The wars in Syria and Iraq and jihadist attacks in the West have obscured yet another Middle East threat: the possibility that slowly escalating violence between Palestinians and Israelis will destroy one of the few remaining zones of relative tranquility between Morocco and Iran, along with one of the last secular and moderate Sunni governments.

    Attacks on Israelis by Palestinians, which began in Jerusalem in September, have turned into a steady drumbeat. There were five in the first four days of last week alone; 13 Israelis were shot, stabbed or deliberately hit by cars, while three of their Palestinian attackers were shot and killed. The Israeli army reports 90 stabbings, 33 shootings and 15 car rammings between Sept. 13 and Dec. 9. The Associated Press says at least 19 Israelis and 112 Palestinians have been killed, including Arabs killed in clashes with security forces.

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!

Hope From Paris

    Did the Paris climate accord save civilization? Maybe. That may not sound like a ringing endorsement, but it’s actually the best climate news we’ve had in a very long time. This agreement could still follow the path of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which seemed like a big deal but ended up being completely ineffectual. But there have been important changes in the world since then, which may finally have created the preconditions for action on global warming before it’s too late.

    Until very recently there were two huge roadblocks in the way of any kind of global deal on climate: China’s soaring consumption of coal, and the implacable opposition of America’s Republican Party. The first seemed to mean that global greenhouse emissions would rise inexorably no matter what wealthy countries did, while the second meant that the biggest of those wealthy countries was unable to make credible promises, and hence unable to lead.

    But there have been important changes on both fronts.

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!

First Time at A Gun Show

    I was in San Antonio on Saturday for the college graduation of a nephew when one of my brothers, the one who’s a gun collector, invited me to a local gun show. As he put it, “If you’re gonna write about it, you need to see it.” I jumped at the chance.

    As we drove to the Austin Highway Gun Show, we dove headfirst into our gun debate.

    He seemed determined to convince me of the futility of many of the national gun control measures now being debated and how they would do little to block criminals from acquiring weapons or mass killers from using weapons.

    I was determined to convince him that some new measures were needed to at least put a dent in this country’s abominable gun death numbers.

    Indeed, as the Los Angeles Times has noted:

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!

December 16th

Trump and the moderate majority

    Among the many maddening aspects of Donald Trump's domination of American political discourse are the twin challenges he poses to clear thinking. You can overstate his significance and the power of the forces he is unleashing. You can understate them, too.

     We have heard the words "Trump leads in the polls" for so long you'd think he has taken the entire country by storm. In fact, Trump is not broadly popular. He leads only in a minority subset of the population -- depending on the survey, projected Republican primary voters or Republicans combined with Republican-leaning independents. Neither of these groups represent a majority of Americans.

    Moreover, most Republicans pick another candidate over Trump. He is ahead, sometimes by sizable margins, because there are so many other candidates fracturing the non-Trump vote.

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!

Will the Supreme Court add to campus turmoil?

    Watching the racial ferment on campuses nationwide, and listening to the Supreme Court consider the charged topic of affirmative action, exposes the gulf -- the chasm, really -- between the difficult reality of race relations on campus and the out-of-touch, aggrieved perspective of the conservative justices.

    Like me, you may not be a fan of the current wave of college protests. Students have been outrageously uncivil; they have overreacted to perceived slights; they have discounted the importance of the open debate that is central to the academic enterprise.

    At the same time, underlying this bad behavior is a sincere sense of hurt and alienation. Minority students too often feel like intruders on majority white campuses, unwelcome and disrespected. They have too few student peers and even fewer faculty role models.

     Into this combustible environment strolls the Supreme Court, to weigh making matters worse. Last Wednesday, the justices heard oral argument in a case that challenges the affirmative-action program at the University of Texas -- and could end up tying the hands of colleges nationwide.

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 attacks on Muslims brought him more media coverage than ever

    Just over a month ago, I wrote about how Donald Trump seemed to have lost his media mojo. At the time, television news coverage of his campaign had plateaued for more than six weeks, falling to either equal or below that of his GOP rivals.

    But now he seems to have recovered from that lull. In fact, on Dec. 9, he reached a new record for the 2016 presidential race, accounting for 76 percent of all mentions of candidates of either party on national television news networks and 82 percent of mentions of the GOP candidates.

    On Dec. 9, Trump received 3,919 total mentions on national television, setting an all-time record for his campaign. This was almost 750 more mentions than he received after his much-anticipated first debate performance on Sept. 16.

    The massive surge in mentions of the candidate began Dec. 8 as he spent the morning defending his proposal to forbid Muslim immigration to 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!

The Worst Year in Washington

    ​Famous last names. Enviable poll numbers. Establishment support. Lots and lots of money. The whiff of inevitability. That's where Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton started 2015. Both were expected to cruise to their respective parties' presidential nominations.

    That's not how things played out.

    Bush ends the year in the far more hopeless position. He is mired in single digits in every national and key early-state poll, placing fifth among Republican candidates in the latest Washington Post-ABC News survey. Clinton is way ahead of her closest Democratic rival - Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders - nationally.

    But the similarities in the un-dynamic duo's year are striking: hot starts followed by the realization that their built-in advantages mattered a whole lot less than they thought. Name recognition and organization and all the money in the world can't sell a message that voters aren't all that interested in buying.

 

    Jeb!

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!