Archive

December 8th

Count Those Votes! Again!

    Presidential recount underway. What’s your take on it?

     — This is a plot to distract the country from the stupendous Election-Day fraud in which millions of dead people cast their votes for Hillary Clinton. 

     — Is it going to get rid of Donald Trump? If it isn’t, I don’t care. I don’t care about anything. Excuse me, I’m going back to bed.

    Wow, happy holidays.

    Yes, it’s true the postelection nation is still divided, this time between the folks who don’t want to believe Trump is going to be president and the ones who don’t want to hear that more people actually voted for Hillary.

    But about the recount: The star of this show is Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee for president. On Wednesday Stein’s lawyers filed paperwork to force Michigan to recheck its vote tallies. She’s also getting a recount in Wisconsin and she’s working on Pennsylvania.

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!

Can we stop pretending that Trump is a 'populist' now?

    Donald Trump has named Steve Mnuchin - a Goldman Sachs alum and hedge fund manager - to be his secretary of the Treasury, in keeping with his repeated promise to take on Wall Street and the powers-that-be on behalf of the little guy.

    So can we stop pretending that Trump's campaign "populism" was anything other than just one more con?

    It isn't just the next Treasury secretary. This morning on CNBC, Mnuchin outlined his people-centered plan for the country's economy.

    "Our number one priority is tax reform," he said. "We think by cutting corporate taxes we'll create huge economic growth and we'll have huge personal income so the revenues will be offset on the other side."

    At last, a Republican administration that believes in the wonder-working power of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy! If only George W. Bush had known about that, we would have had spectacular growth through the 2000s and the Great Recession never would have happened. Oh wait - this is exactly the economic program Bush pursued, to such disastrous effect.

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!

Americans don't sleep enough, and it's costing us $411 billion

    Myriad business executives and heads of state have said they get by on little to no sleep. President Barack Obama told Vanity Fair in 2012 that he didn't shut off the lights at the White House until 1 a.m. and rose each morning before 6. Internet pioneer Vint Cerf made his thoughts on the topic clear: "Sleep is a waste of time." And President-elect Donald Trump, who wrote in his 2004 book "Think Like a Billionaire" that he sleeps only about four hours per night, recommended "don't sleep any more than you have to."

    Such messages are not supported by substantial research that documents the health dangers of sleep deprivation. Our latest research - "Why Sleep Matters: Quantifying the Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep" - goes a step further and puts a price tag on sleeplessness around the world.

    Lack of sleep exacts an economic toll of more than half a trillion dollars per year in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Japan alone. The lack of sleep in these countries and across the globe affects work, business and, as a result, the world's economy.

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!

Why we can't - and shouldn't - ignore Donald Trump's tweets

    For the second time in two weekends, President-elect Donald Trump stirred controversy, bigly, using only his thumbs.

    With a trio of tweets Sunday alleging millions of fraudulent votes and "serious" fraud in three states, Trump effectively hijacked the news cycle for the next 24 hours with baseless conspiracy theories. A week prior, it was Trump's tweets demanding an apology from the cast of "Hamilton" for disrespecting Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience the previous night.

    It can all feel pretty small and sideshow-y at times. Some have a prescription: The media should resist the urge to cover Trump's tweets as big news. Others even say we should ignore them altogether.

    But both of those are fantasies. And we'd be doing readers a disservice if we tried either.

    Undergirding the idea that Trump's tweets shouldn't be big news is the theory that he's manipulating the media into focusing on small things to cover up less sexy but more important things - conflicts of interests and possible corruption, in particular.

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 disastrous pledge to keep jobs in the U.S.

    One of Donald Trump's most consistent campaign promises has been to prevent U.S. businesses from moving good jobs to Mexico -- whether through taxes, jawboning, or more drastic means such as an outright prohibition. Economists might regard this as a misguided form of protectionism, but in fact, it's worse than that: If instituted, it could prove a major step toward imposing capital controls on the American economy and politicizing many business decisions.

    Let's consider how such a policy would be enforced in practice.

    When an American company "moves jobs to Mexico," it doesn't disassemble a factory and load all of the parts onto border-crossing trucks. That might be relatively easy to stop. Instead, the company closes or limits some U.S. production while expanding or initiating new production south of the border. Given that reality, how is government supposed to respond?

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 7th

Trump should support the Cuba deal

    At long last, Fidel Castro is dead. Now the oppressive system he installed in Cuba can wither and die, too -- unless Donald Trump reverts to Cold War policies and gives Cuba's failing dictatorship new life.

    It is tempting to see Castro's death as little more than a formality. After all, his brother Raul has been running the country for a decade, ever since ill health forced Fidel to step aside and kept him from reassuming command. But the very fact that Fidel still drew breath served as a limiting factor in the program of economic reform Raul has been trying to enact.

    According to The Washington Post, Raul Castro gave a speech in April in which he joked that "we have two parties here, just like in the United States -- Fidel's and mine." Fidel's is the Communist one, he added, "and you can call mine whatever you want."

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 and the arrival of the post-literate age

    In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, the media has worked itself into a panic about the rise of fake news on social media. Reporters have examined the subject from dozens of angles -- profiling misinformation peddlers from California to the Caucasus, analyzing how hoaxes spread, raising red flags about media literacy, and much more.

    You can understand why journalists are so worried. For one thing, most reporters genuinely want the public to be well-informed. For another, there's a matter of self-interest: Fake news undermines journalists' authority as arbiters of truth. Also -- and I'll let you in on a little secret here -- most mainstream journalists probably preferred Clinton to Trump, so the idea that fake news swung the election is a tantalizing story.

    But all this focus on fake Facebook news obscures a much bigger story about the way social media -- the endless public opining and sharing of information -- is reshaping politics. Even if you've never given much thought to its meaning, you've probably heard someone say "the medium is the message," the famous dictum of media theorist Marshall McLuhan.

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 donkey and the moose

    So many Trumpists have written in since the election, and I am grateful for their interest and also impressed by the sheer variety of their profanity. I never learned to swear that well because by the time my mother died, at 97, it was too late for me to learn. I gather from the letters that their lives were devastated by the advent of gay marriage, political correctness, the threat of gun control, the arrogance of liberals, and now a champion rises from Fifth Avenue & 56th Street and God forbid that any dog should bark when he speaks or any pigeon drop white matter on his limousine.

    What the letter-writers don't grasp is that cursing is highly effective in person -- someone kicks his car in rage, forgetting he's wearing flip-flops, and flames pour from his mouth, it's impressive. But you see it in print and it's just ugly. It makes you pity the writer's wife.

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 Case for Mitt Romney

    A show of hands, please: How many of you would like Donald Trump to step away — far away — from his Twitter account? I’m pretty sure I have a majority, but to be safe: How many can at least agree on no tweets before breakfast?

    Yowza. I’m above 95 percent. Reince, you don’t have to nod wildly and jump up and down; the raised hand alone will do. And you get one hand, Melania, not two. Two is a real, provable case of voter fraud.

    Thanks in part to the president-elect’s predilection for outbursts of fewer than 140 characters, he routinely comes across as petty and mercurial. But right now he has an opportunity for the opposite impression. He can choose Mitt Romney as his secretary of state.

    That he’s actually mulling this — the two were scheduled for a second meeting about it, over dinner, Tuesday night — is alone extraordinary. Trump knows how to carry a grudge the way Jim Brown knew how to carry a football, and Romney gave him cause for vengefulness, with a major speech during the Republican primaries that labeled him a fraud and exhorted Americans to reject him.

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!

Pro-democracy Republicans can counter Trump

    Donald Trump's accusations claiming that millions of people "voted illegally" in the election were quickly and definitively shown to be false. So why didn't the truth settle the issue? The answer demonstrates how Trump's habit of publicizing conspiracy theories could be a danger to the health of U.S. democracy during his presidency.

    Remember, most citizens don't pay close attention to the news. But they do hear things a president (or president-elect) says, and if he says elections aren't honest, then many citizens will believe him. The less people trust the basic integrity of elections, the less they are likely to believe in democracy.

    False claims of illegal voting have already been used as a cast ballots in several states, and it's possible that Trump will try to restrict these rights further.

    Several prominent Republicans quickly challenged his accusations on illegal voting. This pushback was better than none, even if the president (or president-elect) will always have the biggest megaphone. Unfortunately, none of those objecting were Republican members of Congress -- the ones who are best positioned to rein him in.

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!