Time for my weekly Current Events Write-Up, in which I link to news and opinion pieces and comment on them.
Dallas News: The first casualties of Trump’s trade wars are Texas cattle ranchers, by Richard Parker.
“Free trade” has its positives and negatives for Americans. On the one hand, it allows U.S. businesses and exporters to expand the market for their products. On the other hand, there are the problems of outsourcing and trade deficits.
Real Time with Bill Maher: Maher’s Interview of Milo Yiannopoulos.
We witnessed the rise and fall of Milo this week! What interested me about Bill’s interview of Milo is Milo’s remark that humor and satire bring people together. Maybe he has a point, though some would understandably say that there should be boundaries. But, if we are to embrace humor and satire as something that brings people together, why should Donald Trump be so agitated and offended by the Saturday Night Live skits about him and his cabinet?
ABC This Week: Jonathan Karl on Trump’s Criticisms of the Media.
Karl was trying to argue that Trump has taken attacks of the media to a new level. But Karl made good points about how previous Presidents have criticized the media, and how Trump as a candidate made himself available to the media, more than other candidates. See his comments at the end of the transcript. Maybe Trump made himself available to the media because he wanted to have his say, rather than allowing others to put words in his mouth (from his perspective). His making himself available to the media may have coincided with a distrust of the press, in short.
Townhall: Fixing Health Care, by Bruce Biatosky.
I agree with some of these ideas and disagree with others. On areas of disagreement, I think that there need to be people who pay into the health insurance system, so that the health insurance can pay for people’s treatments, and also to spread the cost of the insurance around. I don’t know how we can accomplish this without a health insurance mandate. I also am skeptical that Health Savings Accounts, by themselves, would be adequate to cover the costs of certain medical treatments. On areas of agreement, I support reducing the prices of prescription drugs, informing patients of costs, streamlining visits of doctors through usage of modern technology, and high-risk pools, provided that sufficient funds are provided for those pools.
Yahoo Finance: Ivanka Trump visits center for minority-owned businesses, by Catherine Lucey.
“‘I feel like Ivanka listened very intently and asked some very intelligent questions,’ [National Urban League President Marc] Morial said, noting that she wanted to understand which programs worked and could be implemented on a larger scale.”
I applaud Ivanka Trump for doing this.
Slate: Report: DeVos Wanted to Keep Trans School Protections, Was Overruled By Sessions and Trump, by Mark Joseph Stern.
I am intrigued when someone does the unexpected in politics. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised. Betsy DeVos is a conservative Christian, but a conservative Christian who has compassion for transgender students. And yet, this is not a great surprise to me, for I have read comments by people who know her, and they say she is a good person, one who sincerely wants to help others. This is not to imply that those who oppose President Obama’s bathroom policies are bad people. What interested me is that progressives online were praising DeVos for this, and then the next day they resumed attacking her.
London Review of Books: A Short History of the Trump Family, by Sidney Blumenthal.
I read this article over several days, since it is a lengthy article. It is a damning portrait of Donald Trump. This is especially the case when it discusses Trump’s alleged treatment of his brother Fred, Jr.’s family and of his mentor, Roy Cohn. This article brings to my mind Elizabeth Warren’s question: “What kind of man does this?” And yet, how much of this is unique to Trump? John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon supposedly had ties to the mafia, which Blumenthal says was the case with Trump. Blumenthal says that Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump, Sr., ran a racist campaign, and yet what about the allegation that Blumenthal tried to help Hillary in 2008 by searching for Kenyan connections to Barack Obama (see here for a discussion of whether that happened)? I am all for exposes, but I have to ask why I am expected to recoil in horror at Trump after reading about his dirty laundry, but not at the “respectable” politicians who likewise have dirty laundry. Blumenthal’s article was a good read, though: I especially enjoyed his literary references.
Wall Street Journal: Bernie Sanders Loyalists Are Taking Over the Democratic Party One County Office at a Time: In fight to define party in age of Donald Trump, Sanders followers want to transform it from the bottom up by taking control of low-level state and county posts, by Reid J. Epstein and Janet Hook.
This reminds me of a post that I wrote in May 2016: Can Bernie Sanders Supporters Replicate the Success of the Christian Coalition? I doubt that Sanders supporters got the idea from me. They are simply doing what is politically astute: getting involved at the local level and in Democratic Party politics.
Yahoo News: I’m a Silicon Valley liberal, and I traveled across the country to interview 100 Trump supporters — here’s what I learned, by Sam Altman.
Altman interviewed Trump supporters, who were diverse. Many of them expressed reservations about Trump. All of the comments are worth reading, as they challenge liberal condescension and intolerance while expressing feelings of powerlessness. The most poignant statement was this one: “He’s crazy, but it’s a tactic to get other nations not to mess with us.”
Yahoo: Fox News Veteran Alan Colmes Dies at 66, by Cynthia Littleton.
On the one hand, the partisan nature of the TV show “Hannity and Colmes” got on my nerves. Hannity would make a big deal about a Democratic politician doing or saying something bad, then Colmes would provide examples to Republican politicians doing or saying something similar. Or vice versa. Here’s a newsflash: Republicans and Democrats are people, with strengths and weaknesses! No political party has a monopoly on virtuous or wicked people. On the other hand, I had to respect Colmes. When he was on a local right-wing talk-show in 2004, the host was saying that John Kerry wanted to raise taxes, and Colmes articulately responded with a more nuanced presentation of Kerry’s position. Colmes also kept a sense of humor, even when he was criticized. I remember when Hannity had the audience applaud for him, then he asked Colmes supporters to applaud Colmes. Nobody applauded for Colmes! Colmes replied, “I think I heard a vibrator back there!”
World Net Daily: Doesn’t Romans 14 Say Sabbath Is Optional?, by Joseph Farah.
The right-wing site, World Net Daily, has an article defending the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath. This is of interest to me, since I grew up as a seventh-day Sabbatarian.
Townhall: An Echo of Trump in the Last of the Whigs, by Jeff Jacoby.
I read this on President’s Day. Millard Fillmore was a nativist and was a bit lukewarm in opposing slavery. That was a factor in the decline of the Whig Party, which was replaced by the anti-slavery Republican Party. Whether or not the comparison to Trump is merited, the article was an interesting read.
Crux: How pro-life movement was born as a liberal cause, and more, by Charles C. Camosy.
Camosy interviews historian Daniel Williams, who argues against the idea that the pro-life movement was a right-wing reaction against Roe vs. Wade. Actually, it existed before then, and it had a lot of progressives!