Archive

August 15th, 2016

You Choose or You Lose

    If you’re a Republican politician, announcing you’re not going to vote for Donald Trump is a little like declaring that you’re not going to rob a bank to finance your next campaign. Really, you don’t get any credit unless you say what you’re going to do instead.

    “I truly don’t know,” said Sen. Susan Collins unhelpfully.

    Collins, R-Maine, made news this week when she penned an op-ed for The Washington Post, announcing that she couldn’t support her party’s nominee because “Mr. Trump’s lack of self-restraint and his barrage of ill-informed comments would make an already perilous world even more so.”

    It’s tough being a high-profile Republican these days. People are always demanding to know what you think about your candidate’s latest horrific remark. But unless you come up with an alternative, disavowing a candidate is more like a sulk than a solution.

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 I'm not convinced Donald Trump will show up at the debates

    "I will absolutely do three debates," Donald Trump told Time magazine Tuesday. "I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions." Yeah. That last sentence is what makes his unbelievable assertion that less believable.

    Among "the conditions" the Republican presidential nominee promises to assert himself is over the moderators of the three debates with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Trump told Time, "Yeah, I would say that certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely." He added, "I want to have fair moderators . . . I will demand fair moderators."

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!

Voters settle in to scrutinize candidates in detail

    As the presidential campaign moves on to the seven-week stretch before the first nationally televised debate by the party nominees, the voters have the serious task of sorting out who can best be trusted to lead this great country over the next four years.

    On the simplest level, the choice is between Donald Trump, who denies the basic premise that this is a great country and pledges to make it great again, and Hillary Clinton, who says it is great now and she will keep it so.

    Two minor-party candidates, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee, and Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, will be using the time trying to build 15 percent support in five designated public opinion polls to qualify in the three debates conducted by the independent Commission on Presidential Debates, starting on Sept. 26.

    Right now, Johnson with about 5 percent support is considered to have a better chance than Stein. Even a minor third-party vote could affect the outcome, as longshot Ralph Nader demonstrated in 2000.

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 Second Amendment line is protected speech

    A century ago, Donald Trump might have gone to prison for suggesting that "the Second Amendment people" might find a way to stop Hillary Clinton's agenda as president. Today, the First Amendment protects him -- barely.

    It's still a federal crime to threaten the life of the president, and people go to jail for it all the time, despite the apparent abridgment of free speech. But while Trump's words would probably get him a Secret Service visit if he were an ordinary crazy person, they wouldn't lead to prosecution.

    The law here is 18 U.S.C. Section 871(a). First passed in 1917 and used to punish threats to Woodrow Wilson's life, it makes it a felony to utter a threat of bodily harm against the president "knowingly and willfully."

    Originally directed only against the president, vice president or others in line for the office, the law was subsequently expanded to include "a major candidate for the office of President or Vice President, or a member of the immediate family of such candidate." So Clinton is covered by the law, even though she isn't president.

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 economic reset short-changes his base

    Is Donald Trump becoming what he, among many other conservatives, warns us against?

    In his economic policy speech to the prestigious Detroit Economic Club on Monday the Republican presidential nominee sounded a lot like a tax-and-spend Democrat. Call him a "tax-and-deduct Republican."

    Aides billed his speech as a blueprint for stimulating growth and creating jobs. It also was aimed at resetting Trump's campaign after his own runaway mouth -- including his verbal attacks on a Muslim American family whose son died fighting in Iraq -- helped to erase any bump he received in the polls from the Republican National Convention.

    His mission in Detroit: Look and sound presidential. Use a Teleprompter. Offer something to every income bracket of voters. Don't respond to protesters in the audience -- who interrupted his speech more than a dozen times. Don't insult anybody, except maybe Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. If so, don't lay it on too thick. Show the kindlier, gentler Donald.

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 campaign proves the system isn't rigged

    The cornerstone of Donald Trump's shaky rhetorical constructs is this: The fix is in. Indeed, in this most inconsistent and unpredictable of political campaigns, Trump consistently promises that everything that matters has been rigged beforehand.

    "I'm afraid the election's going to be rigged. I have to be honest," Trump told supporters in Ohio last week. A North Carolina poll found that seven in 10 supporters believed him.

    "It's not just the political system that's rigged, it's the whole economy," Trump told a crowd in June. It seems the heir to a construction fortune just can't get a break these days.

    Yet if there is a silver lining to this grim assessment, or a cause for optimism about the proper functioning of democratic society and the disciplined restraint of those running the show, the best evidence may be Trump himself. Trump clearly has enormous confidence in the integrity of the system.

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 Buddies Up to Putin

    Please, people — stop denigrating Donald Trump as a foreign policy ignoramus.

    After all, he’s a global real estate tycoon with special insights into U.S. adversaries, like Vladimir Putin of Russia. “I got to know him very well,” The Donald has assured us voters. Only, it turns out, by “very well” he meant “not at all.” He later conceded that he’s never actually, you know, met Putin.

    Still, Trump says he’s taken measure of the authoritarian Russian president from his corporate perch atop Trump Tower, concluding admiringly that Putin is “a lot stronger than our leader.”

    Sure, if by stronger he means violently suppressing any opposition, stealing billions of dollars from the public for himself and his chosen oligarchs, or invading neighboring Ukraine.

    Picky-picky-picky, says Donnie, who’s so enamored with Putin he publicly pleaded with the foreign strongman to hack into Hillary Clinton’s computers in order to interfere with the U.S. presidential election.

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 Challenges of ‘Leaving No Trace’

    I just got back from hiking 95 miles in the Sierras. (Yes, just like that Reese Witherspoon movie Wild, only far fewer miles.)

    I returned from my trip with something eating at me. Backpackers are supposed to “Leave No Trace.” It’s not just a nice concept, but a specific set of rules we follow — even when we go to the bathroom.

    You dig a hole at least six inches deep before doing your business, and you bury it. And you do that far enough away from lakes and streams to prevent contamination of the water we all drink.

    You’re even supposed to take your used toilet paper with you when you leave, because nobody wants to feel like they’re hiking in a bathroom. Obviously, you clean up and pack out your trash, too.

    Serious hikers are fastidious about doing those things. Some go so far as to hide evidence of their campsites before leaving by scattering twigs and stones over the spot where their tent was.

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!

Principle playing second fiddle to politics

    When there's any question whether Paul Ryan, the U.S. House speaker and 2012 Republican vice-presidential candidate, would win his primary in a carefully sculpted Wisconsin district against a neophyte challenger with ties to the tea party and Sarah Palin, you know the political world is upside down.

    The back and forth over whether Ryan would, or wouldn't, endorse his party's nominee, Donald Trump, dominated news coverage for weeks. Ryan, tugging his chin, hemming and hawing, finally did. But then the tables turned with Trump refusing to endorse Ryan while making very nice to his opponent, Paul Nehlen.

    Trump did endorse the speaker, tepidly, a few days ago. Ryan won on Tuesday and will likely win in November, putting one Trump-induced crisis behind the party.

    The Ryan re-election is one of a number of contests in which incumbents are threatened, either by an unexpectedly strong primary challenger or in the general election, or both, to the point where Republicans may lose their majority in the Senate, and possibly even the House.

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!

Obama’s Worst Mistake

    A crazed gunman’s attack on an Orlando, Florida, club in June, killing 49 people, resulted in blanket news coverage and national trauma.

    Now imagine that such a massacre unfolds more than five times a day, seven days a week, unceasingly for five years, totaling perhaps 470,000 deaths. That is Syria. Yet even as the Syrian and Russian governments commit war crimes, bombing hospitals and starving civilians, President Barack Obama and the world seem to shrug.

    I admire Obama for expanding health care and averting a nuclear crisis with Iran, but allowing Syria’s civil war and suffering to drag on unchallenged has been his worst mistake, casting a shadow over his legacy. It is also a stain on all of us, analogous to the indifference toward Jewish refugees in the 1930s, to the eyes averted from Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s, to Darfur in the 2000s.

    This is a crisis that cries out for U.S. leadership, and Obama hasn’t shown enough.

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!