Archive

June 7th, 2016

Italy Feels Our Pain

    During the circuslike years of Silvio Berlusconi, Italians grew flinchingly accustomed to being the butts of the world’s jokes.

    Will they have the last laugh?

    They look toward America and wonder. Me, too. In Donald Trump, we have a version of their buffoonish former prime minister — a clown all our own. He baffles and appalls much of Europe.

    Here in Italy, he prompts an additional reaction: relief, even satisfaction, that another country is proving vulnerable to an emphatically tanned, flamboyantly randy and frequently ridiculous billionaire who makes promises he can’t possibly keep.

    The Ferragamo is on the other foot.

    “We do feel, partly, ha-ha-ha,” said Maria Valentini, a professor at a university just outside Rome. “It’s your turn.”

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!

Meet Sultana, the Taliban’s Worst Fear

    Of all the students preparing to go to college this fall, perhaps none have faced a more hazardous journey than a young woman named Sultana. One measure of the hazard is that I’m not disclosing her last name or hometown for fear that she might be shot.

    Sultana lives in the Taliban heartland of southern Afghanistan, and when she was in the fifth grade a delegation visited her home to warn her father to pull her out of school, or else she would have acid flung in her face. Ever since, she has been largely confined to her high-walled family compound — in which she has secretly, and perilously, educated herself.

    “I’m unstoppable,” Sultana laughs, and it’s true: She taught herself English from occasional newspapers or magazines that her brothers brought home, in conjunction with a Pashto-English dictionary that she pretty much inhaled. When her businessman father connected the house to the internet, she was able to vault over her compound walls.

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!

Hillary’s Really Good Day

    Hillary Clinton made a great speech this week. Not what we were expecting, which was just a sturdy slog through the summer. Even though it was a policy address on national security that centered on the listing of six points, it was a super performance.

    The bottom line was that America can choose her, or give the nuclear codes to a guy no sane person would put in charge of policing a parking lot.

    And it drove the presumptive Republican nominee nuts.

    “After what she said about me today in her phony speech, that was a phony speech, that was a Donald Trump hit job,” he howled to a rally in California. “I will say this! Hillary Clinton has to go to jail, OK? She has to go to jail — has to go! That was a phony hit job! She’s guilty as hell!”

    It was a little less controlled than Trump’s Twitter response: “Bad performance by Crooked Hillary Clinton! Reading poorly from the telepromter! She doesn’t even look presidential!” But equally deep.

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 Id That Ate the Planet

    On Tuesday the political arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of America’s most influential environmentalist groups, made its first presidential endorsement ever, giving the nod to Hillary Clinton. This meant jumping the gun by a week on her inevitable designation as the presumptive Democratic nominee, but the NRDC Action Fund is obviously eager to get on with the general election.

    And it’s not hard to see why: At this point Donald Trump’s personality endangers the whole planet.

    We’re at a peculiar moment when it comes to the environment — a moment of both fear and hope. The outlook for climate change if current policies continue has never looked worse, but the prospects for turning away from the path of destruction have never looked better. Everything depends on who ends up sitting in the White House for the next few years.

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!

Advice for divided Democrats

    With the Democratic primaries grinding to a bitter end, I have suggestions for both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters that neither will like.

    First, my advice to Clinton supporters: Don't try to drum Sanders out of the race before Clinton officially gets the nomination (if she in fact does get it).

    Some of you say Sanders' should bow out because he has no chance of getting the nomination, and his continuing candidacy is harming Clinton's chances.

    It's true that Sanders' chances are slim, but it's inaccurate to say he has no chance. If you consider only pledged delegates, who have been selected in caucuses and primaries, he's not all that far behind Clinton. And the upcoming primary in California -- the nation's most populous state -- could possibly alter Sanders's and Clinton's relative tallies.

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!

Hillary takes up the cudgels against Trump

    House Speaker Paul Ryan having finally yielded the last vestige of any Republican hope to stop Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton has eagerly seized the task with her blistering assault on him as a foreign policy know-nothing.

    Ryan justified his capitulation by saying he believed he and Trump could work together on shared policy objectives to keep the House of Representatives in Republican hands in November. Into the breach, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee promptly blasted Trump as "dangerously incoherent" in world affairs.

    In her foreign-policy speech in San Diego Thursday kicking off her final push to win the California Democratic primary on Tuesday, Clinton pivoted to Trump at a time organized opposition to his hostile takeover of the GOP has collapsed.

    Clinton, oft-criticized to date for unimpressive stump appearances, largely put aside the pesky nomination challenge of Sen. Bernie Sanders in favor of zeroing in on Trump's free-wheeling and reckless observations on U.S. military and diplomatic responsibilities and actions abroad.

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 says a Muslim judge might be biased, too

    Donald Trump has broadened his judicial objections from an actual jurist of Mexican descent to a hypothetical judge who practices Islam, saying a Muslim on the bench could be biased against him, too.

    The presumptive Republican presidential nominee spent much of the past week criticizing the rulings of U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over a case involving Trump University. Trump told the Wall Street Journal that Curiel's Mexican heritage represents an "inherent conflict of interest," because the candidate has proposed construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Curiel was born in Indiana.

    In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," Trump suggested that judges who belong to other ethnic and religious minority groups might also be unable to objectively consider the merits of a case involving one of his companies. This was his exchange with host John Dickerson:

    DICKERSON: If it were a Muslim judge, would you also feel like they wouldn't be able to treat you fairly because of that policy of yours?

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 next U.S. president should keep India close

    When this bitter, divisive presidential campaign mercifully comes to an end in November, the victor will face the Olympian task of restoring flagging public and congressional support for strong U.S. leadership in the world.

    A truth once undisputed in American politics - that U.S. global primacy is beneficial for our country - is now under assault. Bernie Sanders's narrow, pessimistic view of the United States' great-power future has encouraged twin scourges of protectionism and isolationism on the left. Donald Trump's fearful, fact-free campaign has been infinitely more damaging in stoking isolation and nativism on the right. Hillary Clinton alone has held up the banner that all post-World War II presidents have carried - one of U.S. engagement and global leadership.

    When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the White House on June 7, Republicans and Democrats will have a chance for redemption by lending bipartisan support for such leadership - in the form of an ambitious strategic partnership with India and its 1.25 billion 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!

We're all implicated in the messy Gawker case

    A mean-spirited news and gossip website publishes the extramarital sex tape of a C-list, former professional wrestler. The wrestler sues, claiming invasion of privacy, and wins an unexpectedly large $140 million award. It later comes out that the litigation was secretly financed by a Silicon Valley billionaire who has held a decade-long grudge against the website for outing him as gay and bullying his friends.

    The billionaire claims that his involvement is not about revenge, and instead declares insufferably that helping to shut down the website could be one of the "greater philanthropic things" he has done. The website's editors, in turn, defend the newsworthiness of the sex tape and self-righteously claim that "journalism is as journalism does," despite the ugliness of much of their output.

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!

Here's how we leave coal behind

    The Supreme Court's decision in February to stay President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan may lead to a protracted legal battle over aging, unprofitable and environmentally unsound coal plants. But instead of litigating our way out of the problem, there is a simpler solution: The federal government could buy the plants and close them.

    The court's move threatens to not only derail the president's initiative to curb greenhouse-gas emissions at U.S. coal-fired power plants but also unravel the progress that the United States and 195 other nations made on climate change in Paris in December. If the courts invalidate or delay the Clean Power Plan, some climate activists may turn to a Plan B that would encourage enlightened business leaders and states with large coal plants to support a voluntary version of the Clean Power Plan. But such an effort would be even less effective than the complex and overly cautious Obama plan, which at best would reduce power-plant emissions by 15 percent more than what is expected without the Clean Power Plan and would take 15 years to do that - not nearly enough to meet U.S. commitments under the Paris agreement.

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!