Politics, Moderate





Helsinki hath no fury like a nation scorned

WASHINGTON -- Surely, now, we can concede that letting Trump be Trump has exhausted itself -- even among the smugly credulous.

For a year and a half, we've heard his supporters say: Watch what he does, not what he says. Sure, he's rude and crude, they said, but he's going to make America great again.

No, he's not.

Nor was he ever, ...Read more

An apology to Putin: Sorry I ruined U.S./Russia relations with my 'foolishness'

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

I would like to apologize to the people of Russia, and in particular to President Vladimir Putin, for being foolish and stupid.

It is clearly my fault that America's relationship with Russia is so bad and, as a known purveyor of foolishness and stupidity, I have to acknowledge that the buck stops here. I'm really sorry.

My complicity in the ...Read more

Why do Republicans hate consumers?

Why do Republicans hate consumers so much?

Seriously. It's bizarre. Whenever they get the chance, Republican officials seem intent on bleeding consumers dry. Or at least celebrating others' bloodletting.

Such consumers might be 9/11 first responders and brain-injured National Football League players alleged to have been bilked out of millions ...Read more

Trump's stunning answer to 'who do you believe'?

WASHINGTON -- President Trump was doing pretty well in Helsinki, really, laying out a modest but achievable agenda for improving U.S.-Russia relations. And then came the final question about whether Trump believed his own intelligence chiefs or Russian President Vladimir Putin -- and in his weird, waffling answer, you could almost hear the ...Read more

The $247 trillion global debt bomb

WASHINGTON -- The untold story of the world economy -- so far at least -- is the potentially explosive interaction between the spreading trade war and the overhang of global debt, estimated at a staggering $247 trillion. That's "trillion" with a "t." The numbers are so large as to be almost incomprehensible.

Households, businesses and ...Read more

Putin must wonder what else America knows about Russia

WASHINGTON -- When President Vladimir Putin sits down at the table in Helsinki on Monday, he will surely have in the back of his mind some intelligence worries that have nothing to do with the U.S. president seated across from him.

Putin's elite spy world has been penetrated by U.S. intelligence. That's the implication of the extraordinarily ...Read more

Saving NATO from Donald Trump

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to President Trump, it's hard to pick his worst decision from the plethora he has provided.

His most recent -- to brazenly insult our NATO allies -- surely ranks among the top three in my book, the others being his romancing of Russia without commensurate leverage and, likewise, rushing to legitimize North Korean ...Read more

Trump administration is shooting itself in the foot

CHICAGO -- Let's say you're the president of the United States and want to keep the country safe. But data from the Department of Defense shows that a stunning 71 percent of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are unable to join the military because they are too overweight, are poorly educated or have a record of crime or drug abuse.

But ...Read more

China will learn its lesson -- just not the one Trump wants

President Trump wants to teach China a lesson. Unfortunately, the lesson that China learns may be the exact opposite of the one Trump thinks he's teaching.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration released a list of proposed tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products. This would be in addition to tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods partially ...Read more

Better relations with Russia are a worthy goal. But at what price?

WASHINGTON -- As the Helsinki summit approaches, President Trump appears to be on the verge of acquiescing to the belligerent strategy and behavior that Moscow has been pursuing for decades.

The summit will be a culmination of Trump's often-proclaimed eagerness for better relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "He's not my enemy. And ...Read more

The culture leads, not the Supreme Court

Just about every American election year is peppered with quotes from seemingly very serious people claiming that, for some reason, this is the most important election of our lifetime. This year, we're also being told that the political battle to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy may be the most important confirmation vote of...Read more

Why aren't wages rising?

WASHINGTON -- It's a mystery. The U.S. economy seems strong. Since the nadir of the Great Recession, employers have added about 19 million workers. The unemployment rate is 4 percent, near the lowest level since 2000. By standard economic theory, the strong demand for labor should be pushing up wages. But that isn't happening. Wage gains of 2.7 ...Read more

To better understand Trump's zigzag diplomacy, look to his comeback from near-bankruptcy

WASHINGTON -- Watching President Trump's diplomatic maneuvers -- in Singapore last month and in the runup to his meetings over the next week in Brussels and Helsinki -- I wonder whether analysts have been making a mistake explaining his bargaining style in terms of the brash young personality described in his 1987 memoir, "The Art of the Deal." ...Read more

Repealing Obamacare didn't work. So Republicans are trying sabotage.

Last year, Republicans learned that conspicuously ripping health insurance from millions of poor and sick people would probably cost them votes. So instead, they pursued a sneakier strategy: sabotage.

Undermining Obamacare can be nearly as effective as repealing Obamacare, after all. And relative to a big, splashy legislative vote, boring-...Read more

Summer road trip, America, 2018: Who, exactly, lives in a bubble?

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

CODY, Wyo. -- William "Buffalo Bill" Cody was slick at the con game -- his theatrical wild-West life based on a string of tall tales and hefty embellishments -- so I imagine he would've admired the Myth of the Bubble.

That's the idea that Donald Trump became president in part because big-city liberals like me refused to step outside our urban ...Read more

At Marquette, conservatives got it wrong

WASHINGTON -- Free speech won; decency lost.

This has become such a common observation that it hardly merits a headline. But in a Wisconsin Supreme Court case resolved Friday, the plaintiff was that rarest of victors these days -- a conservative professor defending his freedom of speech rights against a university.

Sounds delicious, doesn't it...Read more

Instead of forgetting about immigrant families in detention, do something to help them

CHICAGO -- It's been just a few weeks since the nationwide uproar over the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border, yet it feels like the issue is already slipping from people's radar.

That's partly because the initial media coverage and subsequent protest rallies and outrage -- spurred by images of immigrant children sleeping in cages...Read more

Can China build an anti-U.S. alliance?

President Trump is right about one thing. China really has been stealing many of America's most valuable ideas.

For years, the Chinese government turned a blind eye to counterfeited U.S. luxury goods, bootlegged Hollywood films, fake Apple stores, trade secrets pilfered from cutting-edge U.S. tech companies. It forced U.S. firms to hand over ...Read more

Is Populism a Blessing or Curse?

As we celebrate our nation's 242nd birthday, America is caught up in a populist moment. Whether this is a good thing or not depends largely upon how you define populism.

For some, populism is nothing more than a belief that, in America, the people are supposed to be in charge. It's reminding government officials of the timeless principles ...Read more

Churros in Japan prove culture travels across the globe

OSAKA, Japan -- After one day in the land of the rising sun, I had anxiety nightmares that my husband diagnosed as a reaction to visiting a country with a language I couldn't speak or read.

Truth be told, Japan is incredibly easy for visitors to navigate, with most train, bus and public announcements presented in both Japanese and English. But ...Read more


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