Archive

December 22nd

What will be Trump's legacy? Who cares.

    Was Donald J. Trump a recruit in

    The Russians' quest for a route in-

    To the Oval Office

    By way of a novice?

    Trump pooh-poohs it: pooh-Putin.

    So you hail a cab in Manhattan to go to LaGuardia and the cabdriver heads for the Lincoln Tunnel and you say, "LaGuardia, LaGuardia, LaGuardia," and he says, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," and you're in New Jersey, and you yell at him to stop and he doesn't, he points north and says, "Bridge!" and now you're on I-87 passing through Poughkeepsie -- this is pretty much where we are with Trump Inc. so far. The populist revolt turns into a corporate boardroom and the disaffected Democrats who voted for it are not going to catch that plane to Florida after all. They will be spending four years on cousin Sid's rollaway in Schenectady.

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 21st

Trump’s Approach: A Fresh Start or Crazy Reckless?

    Maybe it will all turn out OK. If it does, put me down as promising to applaud.

    But my fellow Americans, whatever mix of motives led us to create an Electoral College majority for Donald Trump to become president — and overlook his lack of preparation, his record of indecent personal behavior, his madcap midnight tweeting, his casual lying about issues like “millions” of people casting illegal votes in this election, the purveying of fake news by his national security adviser, his readiness to appoint climate change deniers without even getting a single briefing from the world’s greatest climate scientists in the government he’ll soon lead, and his cavalier dismissal of the CIA’s conclusions about Russian hacking of our election — have no doubt about one thing: We as a country have just done something incredibly reckless.

    There is actually something “prehistoric” about the Cabinet that Trump is putting together. It is totally dominated by people who have spent their adult lives drilling for, or advocating for, fossil fuels — oil, gas and coal.

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 holidays aren't a big, happy family celebration for everyone. And that's OK.

    While opening Halloween candy, my 12-year-old daughter asked, "Is anyone coming for Thanksgiving?"

    Not "who" is coming over, but whether anyone would join us at all.

    "Just the three of us," I said, cheerfully. She was quiet, thoughtfully chewing a bite-sized chocolate.

    "And Christmas?" she asked.

    "Just the three of us in Florida," I said, and then to sweeten the deal, "presents by the pool!" She smiled.

    We go through this every year as soon as the detritus of Halloween is swept away, this eight-week holiday season marathon when everyone else has grandparents flying in, aunts and uncles an hour's drive away, cousins to play and fight with, houses filling up with love and chaos, or at least chaos. At least that's how it is in our leafy, affluent suburb where many nuclear families are not only still intact but thriving, with functional extended family relationships.

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!

How U.S. could retaliate for Russian intervention

    If Russia really tried to throw the U.S. election to Donald Trump, what then? Did the hacking violate international law? And if so, what can the U.S. do to retaliate? The short answer is that trying to change the outcome of another country's election does violate a well-recognized principle of international law, and the U.S. would be legally justified in taking "proportionate countermeasures." But, in a painful twist, the best precedent comes from a 1986 case the U.S. lost and never accepted.

    There are essentially two ways to establish a principle of international law: by treaty or by custom -- and there's no explicit treaty prohibiting nations from intervening in one another's affairs. That makes nonintervention a principle of customary international law -- albeit a custom sometimes honored more in the breach.

    The idea that states should leave one another alone certainly makes sense. On some level the whole theory of national sovereignty -- the cornerstone of modern international law -- depends on that idea.

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!

How the first family reshaped perceptions of the black family in America

    Families can be mysterious, intense and, more often than not, indecipherable to the outside world. Most families seem to endure similar gyrations and upheavals. There are moments of failure and success. There is admirable endurance. To study any individual family is to crisscross tricky terrain, and to invite an endless and almost timeless inquiry.

    As Barack, Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama - the first family, along with grandma Marian Robinson - depart the White House, it is worth looking back at their visage. What did it mean to have a black family, for eight years, astride the political and cultural colossus of American society? How much did the "African" in "African American" resonate?

    There perhaps is no other family unit in America that has been analyzed, poked and studied as much as the black family. Its habits, customs, rituals and odyssey have been tabulated, collated and stored for generations. The hyper-curiosity is rooted in slavery and the gouging, sweeping damage it wreaked upon a race 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!

Donald Trump's strange defense of Russia

    Good lord. We are about to inaugurate as president a man whose election, according to the CIA, was aided by a Russian intelligence operation. Try as we might, we cannot pretend this didn't happen.

    We can't ignore outrageous interference by an adversarial foreign power because President-elect Donald Trump's actions question his own legitimacy, or at least his fitness to hold the nation's highest office, virtually every day.

     He jets around the country holding adulatory victory rallies in the manner of an authoritarian strongman, preening like some latter-day Juan Peron. Does this worry you? It worries me.

    He can't be bothered to sit through the regular intelligence briefings that have been a vital part of every modern president's job. "I'm, like, a smart person," he explained Sunday. Are you reassured? I'm not.

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 Trump will be violating the Constitution as soon as he's sworn in

    President-elect Donald Trump's tweets Monday night about his plans for his business are a baby step in the right direction. But it still falls far short of the giant leap he should make, following every president for the past four decades in divesting his business interests using a blind trust or the equivalent.

    Late Monday, Trump's transition announced that he was delaying a previously announced news conference that was set for Thursday on how he would handle his businesses. He later took to Twitter to say that he plans to pass over his businesses to his sons Donald Jr. and Eric and require that they not pursue any "new deals":

    "Even though I am not mandated by law to do so, I will be leaving my busineses before January 20th so that I can focus full time on the. . .. . .

    "Presidency. Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.

    "I will hold a press conference in the near future to discuss the business, Cabinet picks and all other topics of interest. Busy times!"

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!

An indictment of 'real' news

    The arrest in Washington, D.C., of the "Pizzagate" shooter - the North Carolina man who stormed the Comet Ping Pong restaurant in the District, in hopes of exposing a child-abuse cabal that fortunately didn't exist - has put "fake news" near the top of things to panic about in the strange new age of Donald Trump.

    "Fake news" is the name many journalists now use for fabricated Internet-based news stories, many of them generated from sites in Eastern Europe and Russia, and the pizzeria scare has encouraged many of them to conclude that Web-based rumor-peddling is a threat to the republic.

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 can't wait to sell out his base

    "Watch what we do, not what we say."

    At the beginning of Richard Nixon's presidency, that's how Attorney General John Mitchell explained the way reporters could best understand what the country was about to experience.

    It's also good advice for understanding the administration of the billionaire phony populist who will assume the presidency next month. Donald Trump cast himself as the champion of a besieged American working class and a defender of its interests. His early decisions tell us something very different: This could be the most anti-worker, anti-union crowd to run our government since the Gilded Age.

    There's an irony here, since Mitchell was trying to reassure journalists that despite Nixon's 1968 law-and-order campaign, he would stay true to enforcing civil rights laws. In Trump's case, we're learning that rhetoric out of labor songbooks meant less than nothing. He was covering up an agenda focused on undercutting legal protections for workers and weakening their already beleaguered organizations.

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!

Make Colleges Diverse

    Many college campuses have reacted to Donald Trump’s election with shock and angst. Professors and students are wondering how the rest of the country could be so different from them. The more introspective are asking: What can we do?

    Michael Bloomberg has an answer.

    It’s an answer that should appeal to both liberals and conservatives — an answer that isn’t about Trump per se but instead about the alienation that helped him win. Bloomberg wants to make leading colleges more open to the working class. He wants to make them fairer places that look more like America.

    Top colleges are already diverse in some ways, of course. They enroll students of every ethnicity, from around the world. Yet those otherwise diverse student bodies remain distressingly affluent. Worst of all, they remain affluent even though many poor and middle-class students could thrive at top colleges.

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!