Politics, Moderate





The real hoax about the border crisis

It's all a hoax. A great big hoax.

Not the family separations, the babies alone in cages, the drugged immigrant children, the stolen toddlers too traumatized to speak, the wailing children whom Ann Coulter slanders as "child actors."

Sadly, those cruelties are all too real.

The hoax is the premise that President Trump's administration has ...Read more

Trump is hurling a wrecking ball toward the trans-Atlantic alliance

BRUSSELS -- A bright banner at NATO's lavish new headquarters here proclaims the core conviction of the trans-Atlantic alliance: "We are together. We are strong." But the words seem a bit hollow these days, as President Trump escalates his attacks on America's traditional European partners.

Trump's "America First" policies have shaken many of ...Read more

Parents can slow summer slide with household chores

CHICAGO -- Now that the elementary-school textbooks, backpacks and lunchboxes have been stowed away across the country, it's time to get to work.

Indeed, it's the summer slide season -- the time when students, especially low-income ones, lose some of the academic gains they made during the school year because they're hanging out at home, not ...Read more

If this isn't a trade war, what is it?

WASHINGTON -- The escalating trade war between the United States and China poses crucial, though unanswerable, questions: Is this the beginning of the end of the post-World War II international trading system or will the present arrangements survive, as they have for 70 years?

Almost certainly, historians will judge favorably the postwar ...Read more

Trump's 'deal' with Kim is far from closed

WASHINGTON -- President Trump boasted last weekend that his "denuclearization deal" with Kim Jong Un could "save potentially millions & millions of lives!" He even proclaimed in the exhilaration of his return from Singapore: "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea."

But as the Great Dealmaker should know, it's important to read ...Read more

Donald Machiavelli no habla espanol

WASHINGTON -- Cracking down on illegal immigration was never going to be pleasant, but this?

It's worse than you think. The travesty of separating children from their undocumented, migrant parents was less about cracking down as a policy than about Donald Trump's bet-winning. If Niccolo Machiavelli hadn't been born, Trump would have ...Read more

We'll be cleaning up Trump's mess for generations

President Trump's generational warfare continues, as he repeatedly prioritizes cheap political wins today over the massive costs they will impose tomorrow.

Consider, first and foremost, all the ways he's trashing the planet.

In pandering to his base last year, the president announced plans to pull out of the Paris climate accord, which would ...Read more

Is the 'gig economy' a myth?

WASHINGTON -- The "gig economy," RIP. Well, maybe.

As you'll recall, the gig economy refers to a radical transformation of the nature of work and U.S. labor markets. Digital platforms better match workers with jobs (aka, gigs). Uber was, and is, the prototype of this upheaval.

Its existence seemed confirmed. One survey by well-regarded labor ...Read more

Inhumanity rules the border

WASHINGTON -- Put yourself in the room with immigration officials and try to imagine exactly which argument would convince you that separating children from their migrating parents would be a good idea.

Would it work for you because you're a stickler for obedience to rules -- no exceptions? Would it be OK because the U.S. must convey to others ...Read more

Mr. Rogers infused make-believe neighborhood with real-life lessons

CHICAGO -- Three years ago, I inadvertently landed on a YouTube episode of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," and my heart stopped when I heard the bells introducing the theme music. When Rogers started singing his signature greeting, I burst into tears.

Last week, at a screening of "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" -- the new documentary of Fred Rogers ...Read more

Trump's tariffs are already backfiring

CLYDE, Ohio -- Before steel and aluminum tariffs alienated our allies, before President Trump suggested car imports threatened our "national security," before that 1,000-plus-item list of Chinese goods targeted for new tariffs, there were washing machines.

Yes, washing machines.

It seems almost quaint today, but the U.S. washer industry was ...Read more

The small miracle of Armenia's 'velvet revolution'

YEREVAN, Armenia -- If you're looking for some good news from a faraway land, here's a tale of Armenia's "velvet revolution," which just deposed a corrupt, authoritarian government and installed a team of eager young reformers to govern a tiny nation perilously bordering Russia.

Maybe it's the start of a counter-trend, in a world where so many ...Read more

Politicians learn how governments are held accountable

Political leaders often talk as if the right to vote is our most powerful tool for holding government accountable. Voting is important, but its impact is limited by an electoral process that protects incumbents and offers voters few meaningful options.

Fortunately, as the Seattle City Council learned recently, there are other ways to hold ...Read more

Remember Bourdain by relishing diversity in food

CHICAGO -- News about the end of chef Anthony Bourdain's simultaneously hardscrabble and charmed life reminded me of the passion with which he talked about Central and South American kitchen workers.

"A three-star Italian chef pal of mine ... greatly prefers Ecuadoreans, as many chefs do," said Bourdain in the audiobook version of his best-...Read more

In his deal with Trump, Kim gave up very little

WASHINGTON -- Credit President Trump for seizing the diplomatic moment at the Singapore summit. But the person who most shaped this extraordinary encounter was North Korean leader Kim Jong Un -- who is indeed, as Trump said Tuesday, a "very talented" young man who has achieved something that "one out of 10,000 probably couldn't do."

It's almost...Read more

Art of the deal: Nukes for condos in North Korea?

WASHINGTON -- Well, it happened: The president and the dictator met, shook hands, looked each other in the eye, smiled for the cameras -- and lied through their teeth.

The visuals, we witnessed; the lies we infer -- from experience, history and redundant prescience.

But the summit was definitively historic. Let us count the ways.

Donald Trump...Read more

Republicans take the coward's way out on health care

If the GOP really thinks gutting protections for people with pre-existing health conditions is good policy, they should pass a damn law.

I dare them to try.

For eight years, on and off, they did. And they failed. The House passed literally dozens of repeal bills, none of which had the chance of becoming law while Barack Obama was still ...Read more

Trump's North Korea summit to be a glorious success -- if you're a Trump supporter

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

President Donald Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is going to be a huge success. If you're a Trump supporter.

Trump could walk out of that Tuesday meeting with two black eyes, a nuclear warhead shoved in his mouth and a signed agreement transferring ownership of the entire Pacific Northwest to North Korea and it would still ...Read more

No, we don't treat immigrant families the same way we treat other "criminals"

Sorry, Trump officials. It's flat wrong to say that tearing asylum-seeking immigrant parents from their children is "no different" from how we handle other "crimes."

This past week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revived a problematic argument the Trump administration keeps using to defend its inhumane policy of forced family separations at the...Read more

The cowardice of the political class

WASHINGTON -- The trustees for Social Security and Medicare issued their annual reports last week. This is cause for discouragement because it reminds us how much we've mortgaged the country's future to spending for older Americans.

Already, Social Security and Medicare constituted 42 percent of federal spending in 2017, say the trustees. If ...Read more