Linda Chavez from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 18 Jul 2018 22:15:14 -0700 Linda Chavez from Creators Syndicate 476a86b0760a04f0df4415b9ef0ff26c Don't Play Politics With Kavanaugh Appointment for 07/13/2018 Fri, 13 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court is a welcome move. As readers of my column know, I am no Donald Trump fan, but in this instance, the president has done well. Kavanaugh, whom I've worked with in the past, is a serious jurist with one of the most impressive backgrounds of any Supreme Court nominee in recent history. His record speaks for itself, and senators will have ample opportunity to question his past opinions and decipher his legal doctrine before confirming him to the high court. But <span class="column--highlighted-text">what they should not do is attempt to play politics with the nomination. Unfortunately, Democrats are doing just that in a tit-for-tat attempt to stop Kavanaugh's appointment.</span></p> <p>Their first line of attack was to claim that President Trump should not have the right to get his choice confirmed before the midterm elections, claiming the same logic employed by Republicans when President Barack Obama tried to get Judge Merrick Garland appointed before the 2016 election after Justice Antonin Scalia's death. I didn't agree with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal to bring up the nomination of Garland for a vote. In my view, presidents should be given maximum leeway in appointing justices, provided they are qualified, and the Senate has an obligation to act on a nomination and vote to confirm or deny the appointment. But even though the Republicans' pausing because of a pending presidential election was a thin reed, that is no justification for not voting in advance of a midterm election, especially in a year in which control of the Senate is exceedingly unlikely to change.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 13, 2018</p> 8fccedd65d1137175511f39582200413 How to Protect Democracy for 07/06/2018 Fri, 06 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There was a time in recent history when conservatives understood the dangers of an imperial presidency. I, along with most conservative commentators, railed against the overreach of the Obama administration in everything from health care to environmental policy. Even when I agreed with the goal, e.g., giving protections to undocumented immigrants who had come to the United States as children, I argued that the method President Barack Obama used &#8212; an executive memorandum, in this case &#8212; was flawed.</p> <p>Like most conservatives, I support separation of powers and believe that neither presidents nor the courts should try to legislate. Today, unfortunately, all too many conservatives have given up on the idea that Congress makes laws, the president's role is to implement them and the courts are charged with ensuring that laws enacted conform to the Constitution and are implemented as written.<p>Updated: Fri Jul 06, 2018</p> a9a2222ee2389dc9bdbafb4c54c00096 Trump's Executive Order Doesn't Solve the Problem for 06/22/2018 Fri, 22 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Apparently, the pictures and audio of crying babies, toddlers and older children separated from their parents at the border was too much even for Donald Trump's rock-solid base of supporters. Many religious leaders &#8212; from Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelical minister Billy Graham, to Jentezen Franklin, a megachurch pastor from Georgia &#8212; condemned the administration's policy of taking children away from asylum-seekers and immigrants alike when they crossed the southern border illegally. Finally, President Trump succumbed to pressure and signed an executive order to change direction going forward. He still plans on prosecuting as criminals those individuals who cross the border without permission &#8212; which is a misdemeanor civil offense unless the person has been caught doing so previously &#8212; but now his administration will detain parents and children together.</p> <p>It isn't immediately clear whether this practice will be deemed legal. After a suit filed in 1985, the government agreed in a federal court settlement in 1997 to release juveniles caught at the border to relatives or legal guardians or to place them in facilities that provided the least restrictive conditions. The Trump administration abandoned this practice by detaining and charging the parents as if they were serious criminals and placing their children in federally supervised custody. The better approach now would be to go back to what the government has been doing for years &#8212; quickly processing asylum-seekers and immigrants who have crossed the border illegally, jailing dangerous gang members and drug and human traffickers, and releasing others until their cases can be heard by a judge, attaching monitoring devices to keep track of them.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 22, 2018</p> 0eddf9c83750e8c11cf7d9c16ac6824c Don't Make Matters Worse When Fixing DACA for 06/15/2018 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For more than a decade, Congress has refused to deal with a broken immigration system. Year after year, members of Congress complain that our immigration laws are outdated, are poorly enforced and no longer serve our needs as a nation. But despite repeated efforts to pass bills to fix the problem, nothing happens. Although illegal immigration to the U.S. has been very low over the past few years &#8212; down to a level not seen since the early 1970s &#8212; it has shot up again in the past few months as the U.S. economy has gone into high gear. We currently have more open jobs than workers willing and able to do them, which is why we are seeing a flood of new migrants trying to cross the border. So what are the Trump administration and Congress doing to solve the problem? All the wrong things.</p> <p>The administration's entire focus has been on eliminating illegal immigration and limiting legal immigration. Unable to get his "big, beautiful wall" and make Mexico pay for it, President Donald Trump has instead turned his attention to removing as many immigrants who came here illegally &#8212; and even some who came here legally &#8212; as he can. First he announced that he was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gave temporary protection from deportation and permission to work to those whose parents brought them here illegally as children and who are currently in school, working or in the military. Although the courts have put on hold Trump's plans to remove the protections and ultimately deport DACA recipients en masse, Congress has failed to act, so their status remains precarious. The administration has also announced it will remove temporary protected status to some Haitians, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Sudanese who are here because of natural disasters or war, so they, too, will be subject to deportation. In all, we are talking about well over a million people.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 15, 2018</p> 892a310ce0e977e06cf3b5c3a9294468 The Harebrained Summit for 06/08/2018 Fri, 08 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Not since President Franklin Roosevelt sat down with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin after World War II has a meeting posed such a danger for American values as the coming week's summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un. The outcome of the Roosevelt-Stalin meetings (which also included British Prime Minister Winston Churchill) was the loss of half of Europe to the communists for a half-century. The stakes are not so high in the upcoming summit between Trump and Kim, but the parallels are still a sober reminder of how easily we can lose our way when dealing with ruthless totalitarians.</p> <p>North Korea has suffered under three generations of Kim rulers, and the youngest member of the dynasty has shown himself to be as cruel as any before him. He came to power after his father, Kim Jong Il, died, and he executed his own uncle shortly afterward, using artillery shells to kill him in an open field. He ordered two women to assassinate his half brother, and they did so by administering a nerve agent at an airport in Malaysia. But most importantly, he has continued to imprison North Koreans by the hundreds of thousands in concentration camps, where they are starved, tortured and worked to death. The system, known as the kwan-li-so, includes camps hidden in the mountains and camps near cities, and entire families suffer for the purported sins of individuals. Following the dictum of his grandfather and founder of the communist state, Kim Il Sung, that the "seed" of "factionalists" and "enemies of class" must be "eliminated through three generations," Kim Jong Un even puts infants and grandparents in the camps. And though Kim looks as if he's never missed double servings at meals, many of his citizens suffer from severe malnutrition. Food shortages born of disastrous central planning and corruption continue even after a famine wiped out hundreds of thousands of North Koreans in the mid-1990s.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 08, 2018</p> 04c0720d9e97716c613e00c0ab524de4 The Disinformation Campaign for 06/01/2018 Fri, 01 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The human mind can focus on only so much &#8212; and President Donald Trump has been exploiting this truism to his advantage since taking office. Each week in this highly unconventional presidency, scandals, missteps, policy incoherence and sheer incompetence have made it difficult to focus on what is really important. This week alone, the administration reignited a broad trade war on aluminum and steel with our closest allies; broke off and then restarted negotiations for a summit with North Korea, the outcome of which no one can predict; dangled pardons for political hacks and a TV personality who were convicted of federal crimes; tried to blame the Democrats for the inhuman policy of separating children from their mothers who were seeking asylum at the border; and continued a disinformation campaign that would have made the Soviets proud, alleging that the previous administration placed spies in his campaign during the 2016 election. Because each of those stories requires careful attention, all of them get lost.</p> <p>Most Americans have little appetite for politics. They pay attention (not enough probably) at election time and then tune out the rest of the time. They focus on their day-to-day lives: Is my job secure? How are my kids doing in school? Will I be able to afford to retire someday?<p>Updated: Fri Jun 01, 2018</p> 377b84a44d2e09389afce02a965c4b6b Asians Face Ceiling in College Admissions for 05/25/2018 Fri, 25 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Asian-Americans are among the most successful groups in the United States, but we often forget the discrimination they faced in getting where they are, as well as the challenges they still endure.</p> <p>No immigrant group faced as great a barrier to entry into the United States as Asians did. Chinese laborers began arriving in the mid-19th century to fill jobs, largely in the West, building railroads, mining and planting and picking crops. By the 1880s, however, animus against them was so high that Congress passed the first legislation restricting immigration. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 barred entry of Chinese laborers for 10 years (which was later extended and made permanent in 1902) and made Chinese immigrants ineligible for U.S. citizenship, a prohibition that remained in effect until 1943. In 1917, Congress passed other restrictions on immigration from the so-called Asiatic Barred Zone, which included the Far East, the Philippines (at the time a U.S. territory) and other Pacific islands. Not until the 1960s did Congress lift all the racial restrictions on immigration (1965) and prohibit national origin discrimination in employment (1964).<p>Updated: Fri May 25, 2018</p> a9ace5256e87d2e17e4d7e6c7bd896c8 Truth Is Best Antidote to Prejudice for 05/18/2018 Fri, 18 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The man yelling in a video that has gone viral this week threatens employees at a New York deli that he will call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because he overheard employees speaking Spanish: "If they have the balls to come here and live off of my money &#8212; I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here. The least they can do &#8212; the least they can do &#8212; is speak English." <span class="column--highlighted-text">It was an ugly episode, but should it surprise us when the president of the United States feels free to call some unauthorized immigrants "animals" and the White House chief of staff says that today's immigrants from Latin America "don't integrate well" and "don't have skills"?</span></p> <p>The deli incident revealed what a lot of Americans believe about immigrants, that they come here to take advantage of welfare, that they cost Americans without benefiting the country. Chief of staff John Kelly made much the same point, though in less inflammatory language. And the president? Well, we know he thinks Mexicans are rapists &#8212; a comment he made during his announcement of his presidential candidacy and repeated in April, alleging, without any evidence, that on their journeys to the border, "women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before."<p>Updated: Fri May 18, 2018</p> ccd10b7d4c7a6b8ac537fd05362be3ec Paul Ryan's Moral Compass for 05/11/2018 Fri, 11 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is playing politics with the lives of some 800,000 young undocumented immigrants who are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program that the Trump administration has been relentlessly trying to end. Some Republican members of the House are fed up. Led by Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., 17 Republicans (as of Thursday) have signed a discharge petition to allow a vote on a resolution to put immigration bills on the House calendar to a vote without the speaker's assent. The hope is that once confronted with actual legislation to protect DACA recipients, enough Republicans will vote for a reasonable compromise bill that can actually pass the House. But final passage under this scenario would require &#8212; horrors &#8212; bipartisanship. Ryan has been adamant that he will only allow a bill to get to the floor that can be passed entirely with Republican votes. Why? Fear.</p> <p>Opposition to immigration &#8212; legal and illegal &#8212; is fast becoming the sine qua non of the Republican Party. It is an ugly turn of affairs &#8212; and one that is inconsistent with the history of the party, going back to Abraham Lincoln. Until Donald Trump became the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, immigration was one of those issues on which a range of views existed within the party. There were free market Republicans like me, who favored changes in immigration law to allow more immigrants into the country, both because we believed it would be good for the economy and because we thought it to be the best way to reduce illegal immigration. There were also those who believed that we should allow only high-skilled immigrants and should seek more punitive measures to discourage illegal immigration, including harsher penalties for employers hiring undocumented immigrants. But few Republicans favored drastically reducing legal immigration, much less punishing young men and women whose parents may have brought them here illegally when they were children but who have lived exemplary lives ever since.<p>Updated: Fri May 11, 2018</p> c02a5544b8d5de74549728394f1ae321 The Latest Dumpster Fire in Trump World for 05/04/2018 Fri, 04 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>You have to question the timing, not to mention the content, of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's revelation in the ongoing saga of the president of the United States and a porn star. On Wednesday, Giuliani, now a lawyer for President Donald Trump, chose Sean Hannity's eponymous TV show to announce that Trump had indeed paid off Stormy Daniels during the waning days of the 2016 election to keep her from revealing that she'd had sex with him in 2006. The money's route, through the office of Trump's longtime fixer and attorney, Michael Cohen, was circuitous and delayed, but according to Giuliani, the $130,000 Cohen paid Daniels (whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford) came out of Trump's bank accounts. Giuliani is trying to clean up a mess, but he's making an even bigger one in the process. Giuliani should know better. He's a respected former U.S. attorney.</p> <p>According to Giuliani, Trump reimbursed Cohen for the $130,000 hush money by putting him on a $35,000-a-month retainer, apparently starting in February 2017. Giuliani explained it this way: "Everybody was nervous about this from the very beginning. I wasn't. I knew how much money Donald Trump put into that campaign. I said, '$130,000? You're going to do a couple of checks for $130,000.' When I heard Cohen's retainer of $35,000 &#8212; when he was doing no work for the president &#8212; I said, 'That's how he's repaying it &#8212; with a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes.'" It will be fascinating for prosecutors to discover how Cohen billed this "reimbursement," if he even bothered.<p>Updated: Fri May 04, 2018</p> 25019d0e58ad65a74c2b816619c73c22 Still the Safest Way to Travel for 04/20/2018 Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For white-knuckle flyers like me, this week's tragic accident aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Texas reinforces our worst fears but also reassures us that flying remains the safest means of travel within the United States. I fly 100,000 miles a year, despite my phobias, and have encountered everything but an actual crash or loss of life aboard the many flights I've taken &#8212; last-minute aborted landings, engine failure, lightning strikes, fires in the galley, loss of the hydraulic system, geese sucked into the engine during takeoff. Some of these incidents required emergency landings with runways foamed for possible fire. My automatic response has been to grab for my rosary and say my prayers. The only times I wasn't absolutely terrified were when I was expected to help on landing because I was seated in an exit row or, once, when an elderly couple sitting next to me said they had never flown before and needed comforting. But every time that something scary happened, as soon as the pilot spoke, I felt reassured.</p> <p>Passengers aboard Southwest Flight 1380 report the same thing. It was the pilot's voice that kept them from becoming hysterical. It was not the deep baritone (often with a Southern drawl) that I've experienced during emergencies but a woman's voice &#8212; steady, calm and professional. The pilot, Tammie Jo Shults, had a distinguished, path-breaking career in the U.S. Navy before becoming one of the few female commercial pilots flying big jets. Just 4.4 percent of commercial jet pilots are women, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Shults flew F/A-18 Hornets and trained others to fly combat missions (she was excluded as a woman from doing so herself) before leaving the Navy in 1993. Commercial airlines have benefited greatly from being able to hire military-trained pilots, though they rely less on veterans today than in the past. It's not just that military pilots already have the flight hours and training to handle complicated aircraft. More importantly, they have learned to keep their heads clear in the most challenging environments. Most commercial aircraft today practically fly themselves once in the air, which is why we don't gasp when we see the pilot or co-pilot leave the cockpit during flight. Yes, there's another person in control of the aircraft, but autopilot does much of the job once the plane is safely at cruising altitude. Except when disaster strikes.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 20, 2018</p> 9923c3751cb60687ddd4191197dd7361 Firing Mueller Would End Trump's Presidency for 04/13/2018 Fri, 13 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The genius of an Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson would be insufficient to juggle the multiple crises facing the current president over the past week: a poison gas attack in Syria; a looming trade war with the world's second-biggest economy, China; a criminal probe involving both the president and his longtime personal lawyer; and the resignation of the Republican speaker of the House, the man chiefly responsible for passing the president's signature accomplishment, tax reform. How much worse, then, that President Donald Trump is no Lincoln or Jefferson but a narcissistic, impulsive man who knows little history, refuses to take advice from those who do, gets his policy briefings from Fox News talking heads and uses Twitter as his preferred method of issuing policy directives and executing foreign policy.</p> <p>We live in dangerous times, grown exponentially more dangerous because no one in President Trump's orbit is willing to take him on. He has fired much of his national security team and picked replacements based on their willingness to flatter him and defend him on TV. In the balance hang peace in the Middle East, a nuclear threat from North Korea and a potential economic crisis if he persists in his trade war folly. We have never been in such a perilous place with someone so inept in dealing with complexity. And all of this is taking place against a backdrop of an investigation into whether candidate Trump or his campaign, wittingly or unwittingly, encouraged or assisted efforts by Russia to influence the presidential election and whether the president has obstructed justice in attempting to shut down the investigation.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 13, 2018</p> f950fa13753b5404cd8baa2e76340fa0 Sending Troops to the Border Is Harmful for 04/06/2018 Fri, 06 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>They are women and children, workers in straw hats, a few elderly, carrying their scant belongings in knapsacks, walking hundreds of miles north through Mexico, away from the grinding poverty and horrific crime of their home country, Honduras &#8212; a caravan of refugees seeking protection from gangs who prey on their children, extort their meager earnings and will kill them if they report crimes they witness. The migrants' purpose is not to "invade" the United States as President Donald Trump seems to believe but to focus attention on their plight and that of the thousands of others left behind in Honduras. It is a largely symbolic journey that migrants have repeated every year since 2008. Yet President Trump has now used the caravan to justify deploying the National Guard at the southern border with Mexico. The move plays well with right-wing talk show hosts and provocateurs and the minority in his base who are anti-immigrant, but it is both unnecessary and belligerent at a time when illegal immigration is at its lowest point in nearly 50 years.</p> <p>Apparently, after watching Fox News Channel reports on the flow of some 1,000 refugees trekking across Mexico, Trump began warning of Armageddon. "Getting more dangerous. 'Caravans' coming," he tweeted. It followed his meltdown on Easter Sunday morning when he displayed his Christian charity by notifying some 800,000 young people brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents when they were children that he would oppose any effort to give them legal status. "NO MORE DACA DEAL," the president tweeted, this after promising just a couple of months ago that he'd take the heat and sign any bipartisan bill to give legal status to recipients of Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 06, 2018</p> f2d29376bfefc9d4acb9fc6187c1aa42 More Candor on Census and Citizenship for 03/30/2018 Fri, 30 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In a last-minute decision this week, the Commerce Department decided to include a question on citizenship on the 2020 census form mailed to every household in the United States. On its face, the addition seems benign. Why shouldn't the agency charged with counting America's population and gathering other demographic information simply ask every person whether he or she is a U.S. citizen?</p> <p>But <span class="column--highlighted-text">as with most things Trumpian, skeptics regard this move as having sinister motives</span>. Not so, says the president's press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. It's all about enforcing laws designed to protect minority voters. The question, she said in her daily briefing, will provide "data that's necessary for the Department of Justice to protect voters" and "help us better comply with the Voting Rights Act." She also claimed, "This is a question that's been included in every census since 1965 &#8212; with the exception of 2010, when it was removed." She is wrong on all counts.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 30, 2018</p> 573442ae074aa7e66b0311464d9cc7e2 Big Brother Is Watching for 03/23/2018 Fri, 23 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>I joined Facebook originally so that I could see pictures of my kids and grandkids, keep tabs on what they were doing, and share my own pictures and adventures. I rarely used the platform initially, except on vacation, and I almost never sought out "friends." I was wise enough not to let Facebook get hold of my contact list, usually remembered to turn off the location button unless I wanted it to be known I was someplace exciting, say Paris or Seville, and knew better than to post anything more than what I wouldn't mind seeing in print with my name attached. But over the years I was on the platform, "friends" kept accumulating &#8212; first people who sent me friend requests who also happened to know actual friends of mine and then "friends" of those "friends" and so on. I also felt compelled to answer political comments and to post my own take on events, especially during the 2016 election.</p> <p>But after the election, I found myself more and more irritated by what I was seeing on my feed and found that trying to reply with reason and evidence to some of the wackier stuff just generated more creepiness. I learned how to block and unfriend, which I did on a case-by-case basis, depending on how far out the posts of the offender were. Then, this week, I'd had enough. I looked up "how to deactivate your Facebook account," quickly found the answer and did the deed. It wasn't so much my irritation at something someone posted as it was the news that Cambridge Analytica, an outfit Steve Bannon helped start, had used Facebook to mine data from unwitting Facebook users, data that may well have been used in the Trump campaign &#8212; and (though this is mere speculation on my part) may even have found its way to St. Petersburg, Russia, and been exploited by Vladimir Putin's trolls during their interference with our election. Turns out I was not alone in hitting the "delete my account" button. A whole movement has sprung up of like-minded users who were, frankly, outraged at being used.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 23, 2018</p> 7db3b0b2341f1752a842f662be5e4290 Luck of the Irish for 03/16/2018 Fri, 16 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Green has never been my favorite color, but I happily wore it each March 17 growing up. Attending Catholic school in the 1950s and '60s meant celebrating St. Patrick's Day with shamrocks and green, even if you weren't Irish. I doubt that many of my classmates, with names such as O'Connor and Moynihan and Ryan, ever imagined I was Irish. But two of my great-grandparents, Catherine Dolan and Michael McKenna, were Irish through and through, with both families hailing from County Mayo, one of the poorest on the west of the island. As I grew older, I became quite proud of that heritage, falling in love with Irish literature and music. Being of Irish descent in America is so commonplace &#8212; 34.5 million Americans list themselves as primarily or partly Irish &#8212; we rarely think of the Irish as particularly distinguishable from others of European descent. It wasn't always so.</p> <p>The Irish who came in the 19th century, including my family, weren't exactly welcomed with open arms. Most were fleeing poverty and famine. They traveled across the Atlantic in the most unhealthy and dangerous conditions. As my friend and colleague Jason Riley wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal, 19 percent of Irish emigrants died on their voyages in 1847, more than twice the average death rate of Africans on British slave ships: "Slave-owners had an economic incentive to keep slaves alive. No one had such an interest in the Irish." Discrimination once the Irish got here was widespread, though it may have been based on antipathy toward Catholicism as much as ethnicity. "No Irish Need Apply" signs may not have been so endemic as collective memory serves, but prejudices against the Irish were common in the largely Protestant America of the 19th century. The Irish started their lives in America on the bottom rungs and had to work to move into the middle class and acceptance by those of native stock.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 16, 2018</p> c6f3c0a9f2f275f953697d5854890ce7 Trump Should Come Clean About Stormy Daniels for 03/09/2018 Fri, 09 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>After many Democrats largely dismissed Bill Clinton's Oval Office romp with Monica Lewinsky as a "private matter," it's harder for them to make a case that Donald Trump's alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels a decade before he was elected president really matters. Of course, it might have made a difference to some voters, evangelicals perhaps, if they'd known about the relationship before they cast their votes, but they forgave the "Access Hollywood" tape and Trump's reference to "grabbing women by..." well, you know. Trump's voters also chose to ignore the nearly two dozen women who said that Trump did more than talk about sexually assaulting women &#8212; that he actually did it to them. But the new wrinkle in the reality TV star/president's actions is that Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid off Daniels to buy her silence just days before the election. We learned this in January, but the story disappeared quickly in the wake of the scandal-du-jour nature of this White House. Now it's back on the front pages, in part because Cohen started threatening the actress when he learned she might tell her full story despite the fact that she signed a nondisclosure agreement in exchange for $130,000 in October 2016.</p> <p>It says a great deal about whom we have become to note that virtually no one is surprised that our president, while married and with a new baby at home, had a relationship with a woman whose claim to fame is acting in, writing and now directing pornographic films. It wasn't all that long ago that being divorced was an impediment to becoming president, never mind advertising your affairs on the front pages of tabloid magazines as Trump did in 1990 in the midst of his breakup with the mother of his three eldest children, Ivana Trump. Sure, other presidents may not have been saints, but for the most part, they had the decency not to flaunt their behavior in the public's face, or they wouldn't have been elected in the first place. Call it hypocrisy that the press stayed silent on President Franklin Roosevelt's longtime relationship with Lucy Mercer, his wife's onetime secretary, and President John F. Kennedy's dalliances with a mobster's girlfriend, among others. But the old adage about hypocrisy's being the tribute vice pays to virtue at least recognizes that public appearances matter because most of us know the difference between right and wrong and prefer the former.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 09, 2018</p> 39bc211a89ed0f48f6ae1cc8b2bfd49d Trump's Dangerous Trade Game for 03/02/2018 Fri, 02 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>President Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum may be the most dangerous thing he has done since assuming office &#8212; and that is a high standard, given his many reckless policies. The president made the decision at a hurriedly put together White House meeting in which he invited CEOs from the nation's biggest producers, despite warnings from his own economic advisers that the plan could be dangerous, and without the usual preparation for detailing how the policy would be implemented. The stock market reacted swiftly, falling 500 points by midafternoon, and many in Congress watched in disbelief that Trump would make such a decision without taking their concerns into account, much less the effect on the broader economy the decision was likely to provoke. <span class="column--highlighted-text">It was vintage Trump: Act first; think later. </span></p> <p>But if Capitol Hill and Wall Street were surprised, they shouldn't have been. Trump's protectionist fervor was central to his politics long before he decided whether he was a Democrat or a Republican, a New York liberal or a heartland conservative. "Make America Great Again" was all about protecting what he saw as threats to American greatness: everything foreign, whether it be people, goods or values he saw as not homegrown. His idea of America is a closed society, one in which American workers (whom he seemingly envisions as only those whose ancestors came from Europe) make our own products, which we are happy to sell to the world but not if it involves treaties that allow us to buy cheaper, non-American goods from foreign producers. It's a view that sells well in parts of America that have seen manufacturing job losses. At least the rhetoric appeals, even if the impact &#8212; having to pay more for foreign-produced goods that consumers have grown accustomed to buying at lower prices &#8212; hasn't quite sunken in yet. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 02, 2018</p> 07cbcd1be7eaea50528f17c4e3fa9a28 Don't Honor Abusers of Human Rights for 02/23/2018 Fri, 23 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>With the attack last week that killed 17 people at a school in Parkland, Florida, it is easy to miss the humanitarian crisis that occurred across the globe in Syria. On Tuesday, hundreds of civilians, including children, died when Syria's government and its allies executed a direct strike on a rebel stronghold in eastern Ghouta &#8212; where Syrian forces used sarin in 2013, killing an estimated 1,500 people. The bloody faces of small children are all too familiar in this vicious war by Bashar Assad and his Iranian and Russian allies, who are intent on keeping him in power. More than 5 million people have fled the regime. Another 6 million have been displaced within Syria. And hundreds of thousands of people have died in the civil war.</p> <p>Though this carnage has drawn condemnation from the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, as long as Assad's partners in crimes against humanity, Russia and Iran, continue to supply arms and fighters to the region, the killing will not stop. The United Nations has been impotent to impose meaningful sanctions because Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has veto authority to stop them, which it has used seven times so far. But what of Iran's role? Why has the international community not done more to focus on Iran's activities in the region? And more importantly, why are U.N. bodies inviting members of Iran's government to participate in human rights councils at the very time Iran is helping Syria massacre civilians?<p>Updated: Fri Feb 23, 2018</p> 639c1e98b891fb3a26d562b86f895dba Stop the Killing for 02/16/2018 Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Guns don't kill people; people do. We've heard it time and again, usually after some horrific shooting like the one that occurred in a Florida high school on Wednesday, which left 17 people who had been about to leave school on Valentine's Day dead. Of course, a person pulled the trigger, allegedly a 19-year-old who had been expelled from the school. But without an AR-15 at his disposal, a deranged young man would most likely not be able to wreak the kind of carnage we saw here. The Second Amendment was not meant to put such lethal weapons in the hands of individuals intent on killing their fellow citizens &#8212; and it's time we quit pretending otherwise.</p> <p>I own guns. As someone who has often lived in remote places, far away from police in an emergency, I appreciate the right to be able to protect myself. But I am also willing to accept that my right does not extend to amassing an arsenal or purchasing weapons more appropriate for military use than self-protection or sport. Most Americans, I suspect, agree with me, even those who own guns. So <span class="column--highlighted-text">why do politicians refuse to consider even sensible restrictions that might keep guns, especially the most lethal ones, out of the hands of would-be mass murderers?</span><p>Updated: Fri Feb 16, 2018</p>