National Columnists

The cognitive dissonance presidency

T o paraphrase Groucho Marx, President Donald Trump has a position on the Lamar Alexander/Patty Murray health care deal, and if you don’t like it, he has another one. Within hours, Trump veered wildly on the bipartisan compromise on Obamacare that the Tennessee Republican and the Washington ...

Self-anointed rainmaker Bannon only dances during cloudbursts

A Washington lobbyist once told me that the first rule of rainmakers is: “If it starts to rain, dance!” In other words, if you’re hired to get something done, by all means take credit for it if it happens, even if you had nothing to do with it. Another version of the same principle ...

Is liberalism a dying faith?

Asked to name the defining attributes of the America we wish to become, many liberals would answer that we must realize our manifest destiny since 1776, by becoming more equal, more diverse and more democratic — and the model for mankind’s future. Equality, diversity, democracy — this ...

Trump is his own worst enemy

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump has a special talent for creating political problems for himself and then compounding them. Attempting to counter the allegation that for nearly two weeks he had failed to call the bereaved mother and wife of an Army soldier killed in the line of duty in Niger, he ...

Is Liberalism a dying faith?

Asked to name the defining attributes of the America we wish to become, many liberals would answer that we must realize our manifest destiny since 1776, by becoming more equal, more diverse and more democratic — and the model for mankind’s future. Equality, diversity, democracy — this ...

A CNN smear

Did you happen to catch CNN's latest smear? Anderson Cooper's show recently featured a "two-part exclusive" that claims Donald Trump's EPA director had conspired with the CEO of a mining company to "withdraw environmental restrictions" so the company could dig "the largest open pit mine in ...

Beware the rape allegation bandwagon

"#MeToo" is the social media meme of the moment. In a 24-hour period, the phrase was tweeted nearly a half million times and posted on Facebook 12 million times. Spearheaded by actress Alyssa Milano in the wake of Hollyweird's Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal, women have flooded ...

Who pays what in Taxes?

Politicians exploit public ignorance. Few areas of public ignorance provide as many opportunities for political demagoguery as taxation. Today some politicians argue that the rich must pay their fair share and label the proposed changes in tax law as tax cuts for the rich. Let’s look at who ...

Is war with iran now inevitable?

With his declaration Friday that the Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest, President Donald Trump may have put us on the road to war with Iran. Indeed, it is easier to see the collisions that are coming than to see how we get off this road before the shooting starts. After ...

Who will not be the 2020 presidential nominee

On 1963, the legendary Russell Baker, writing in The New York Times, explained how we in the press, years before the nation’s next presidential campaign, are miraculously able to agree upon who qualify — and, perhaps more importantly, who do not qualify — as plausible White House ...

Trump cannot abide the separation of powers

At the core of Donald Trump’s frustrations in the Oval Office appears to be his inability or unwillingness to accept the basic concept in the American political system of the separation of powers. Election as president has given him the keys to the executive branch only. He is the ...

Today’s turn-of-the-century problems

Is America in a new Gilded Age? That's the contention of Republican political consultant Bruce Mehlman, and in a series of 35 slides, he makes a strong case. In many ways, problems facing America today resemble those facing what we still call "turn-of-the-century" America, the 1890s to the ...

Trump head, Pence tail

If a metaphor could be used for this White House, it might be a two-sided coin with President Trump the head and Vice President Mike Pence the tail. The president tends toward the bombastic to get people's attention and make his points, while his vice president is calm and measured in his ...

Obama lied. My FOURTH health plan died

Cue the funeral bagpipes. My fourth health insurance plan is dead. Two weeks ago, my husband and I received yet another cancellation notice for our private, individual health insurance coverage. It's our fourth Obamacare-induced obituary in four years. Our first death notice, from Anthem Blue ...

Harvey, Heidi and Hoeven

There certainly has been plenty in the news the past week as this long, strange trip of a year rolls toward winter (boo!). There’s been so much happening at the national level that every news cycle seems to bring something different. Inside the newsroom at Minot Daily News, the challenge has ...

Let them leave

The United States was born when the Founding Fathers seceded from England. So why do so many people now see secession as a terrible thing? Recently, people in Catalonia voted to break away from Spain — not to declare war on Spain or refuse to trade with Spain, just to control their ...

All news is local

There used to be 324 newspapers in the state of Pennsylvania. Today, there are about 60, give or take a few. The Pennsylvania Gazette is the first one on record not just in the colony of Pennsylvania but in all of the Crown’s colonies. Benjamin Franklin bought the paper with a partner ...

Our broken moral compasses

As George Orwell said, “some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.” Many stupid ideas originate with academics on college campuses. If they remained there and didn’t infect the rest of society, they might be a source of entertainment, much in the way a circus is. ...

Trump embraces the Culture War

To attend the Indianapolis Colts game where the number of the legendary Peyton Manning was to be retired, Vice President Mike Pence, a former governor of Indiana, flew back from Las Vegas. With him in the stadium was wife Karen. In honor of Manning, she wore a No. 18 jersey as “The Star ...

Why criticize Harvey Weinstein?

"Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom's instruction." (Proverbs 29:18) Ancient wisdom from a Higher Authority, which is available to anyone who takes the time to consider it, was provided to constrain people like Harvey Weinstein from ...