Tribune News Service

Op-Ed Budget for Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET (0930 UTC)

This budget is now available on the Web at www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^Commentary: Anti-Asian panic is spreading like a virus<

^CORONAVIRUS-RACISM-COMMENTARY:LA—<The images out of Wuhan are chilling. In the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, health officials in white hazmat suits hover over the body of a victim. Crowds of ordinary people, their faces obscured by surgical masks, try to carry on as normal.

As the United States, Australia, Russia, Japan and many other countries announce travel restrictions to and from China, it was only a matter of time before paranoia about coronavirus and Asians would spread as well.

On Jan. 30, Los Angeles officials warned that a fake letter circulating on Facebook and email falsely claimed that five people in Carson, a city south of downtown Los Angeles, had contracted coronavirus and named five local businesses in an Asian neighborhood as being connected to the outbreak.

The hoax letter is just one instance of fear-mongering directed at Asian communities that is playing out on social media.

700 by Tamara Venit-Shelton. MOVED


^Commentary: Annexations in Israel and India would threaten the very idea of international law<

^ANNEXATION-COMMENTARY:LA—<Here we go again. We've moved on to a new chapter in the playbook used by the global club of illiberal democrats. It started with the inflammatory rhetoric against those deemed undesirables, be they immigrants, members of minority groups or just political enemies. Then it was transformed into policy, as Donald Trump made clear when he announced his infamous Muslim ban just a few days after assuming office.

Trump's friends in the world saw fit to translate their own exclusionary words into exclusionary policy.

850 by David N. Myers. MOVED


^Commentary: Trump expansion of US land mine use may cause more civilian casualties, alienate allies<

^LANDMINES-COMMENTARY:LA—<Before the global land mine ban in 1997, as many as 25,000 civilians lost their lives each year because of the explosive devices and thousands more were permanently injured. Far too often, those victims were innocent children walking to school, retrieving water, playing near these silent sentinels.

Since the ban, casualties have been cut by about 75%, but they still average around 6,500 a year.

The U.S. never fully participated in the global ban, and now the Trump administration has reversed a policy that kept U.S. forces from using anti-personnel land mines outside of the Korean peninsula.

750 by Lesley Wexler. MOVED


^Commentary: Trump's wall is bulldozing the borderlands<

^BORDERWALL-PROGRESSIVE-COMMENTARY:MCT—<Picture a cool running stream — a ribbon of life in southern Arizona's rocky deserts. Now envision bulldozers stripping the surrounding land and erecting steel slats right across it.

President Donald Trump wants to build part of his promised border wall on top of one of the last free-flowing rivers in the American Southwest.

650 by Dan Millis. MOVED



^Dahleen Glanton: Let's face the truth, America: John Bolton played us<

^GLANTON-COLUMN:TB—<John Bolton never had any intention of testifying in Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial. And he knew he would never have to.

Trump's former national security adviser threw Democrats a sucker punch by pretending that he was noble enough to stand up against his old boss and the entire Republican Party. Turns out, he's a selfish manipulator — just like Trump. And the American people got played.

900 by Dahleen Glanton. MOVED


^Will Bunch: The most horrifying thing about Trump's State of the Union? The two words he never said<

^BUNCH-COLUMN:PH—<Imagine that it's January 1941, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt is delivering his annual State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. The planet is literally on fire from the Big One, World War II. Nazi Germany has overrun France and Adolf Hitler's regime has been raining bombs on London for months. Japan has overrun much of Asia.

But FDR begins his speech with a long riff on how great the American economy has done under his presidency — including some gratuitous swipes at his predecessor Herbert Hoover, even though it's been eight years since Hoover left the Oval Office. There's a brief, bloodless mention that "our relationship with our European allies has never been stronger," and then he moves on — urging a standing ovation for the oldest living veteran of the Civil War. And when the speech is done, the radio pundits gloss over Roosevelt's snub of the global conflagration.

1200 by Will Bunch. MOVED


^Melinda Henneberger: Kansas City refugee from Sudan supported Trump but now is 'so disappointed' by travel ban<

^HENNEBERGER-COLUMN:KC—<Maybe President Donald Trump never knew he had friends like former Sudanese refugee Philip Tutu, a Kansas City, Mo., computer systems engineer who not only voted for Trump in 2016, but worked hard for his election.

So how did that turn out? First, the Trump administration rewarded Sudan's genocidal Islamist dictator, Omar al-Bashir, who Tutu and many others in his community had been sure President Trump would crack down on, along with "all of the bad guys."

And now that the Sudanese people have finally managed to rid themselves of Bashir after 30 deadly years, the Trump administration has put Sudan on the expanded list of countries from which travel is banned or restricted, effective Feb. 22.

900 by Melinda Henneberger. MOVED


^George Skelton: Iowa doesn't represent America's diversity. It shouldn't set the tone for a presidential election<

SKELTON-COLUMN:LA — California voters finally are in position to influence the nomination of a presidential candidate. But elsewhere the Democrats' nominating process needs to be chucked.

The long-ballyhooed Iowa caucuses and the hallowed New Hampshire primary should be stripped of their first-in-the-nation privileges before the next presidential election.

These pipsqueak states have been allowed to kick off the national nominating process for far too long. Even if Iowa hadn't booted the head count on its chaotic caucuses night, the Hawkeye and Granite states should not influence the candidates' fates disproportionately to their small size and homogeneous population.

950 by George Skelton in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED


^Andres Oppenheimer: China's coronavirus could seriously hurt Latin America's economies<

^OPPENHEIMER-COLUMN:MI—<As if Latin America didn't have enough problems, there's a new threat to the region's economic growth this year: China's coronavirus epidemic.

You don't see much about this in the region's media, but there is growing concern within international financial institutions that the coronavirus epidemic could hit Latin America's economies especially hard because China is the No. 1 trading partner of several countries in the region.

800 by Andres Oppenheimer. MOVED


^Marcos Breton: We should be able to talk about Kobe Bryant's rape case without receiving death threats<

^BRETON-COLUMN:SA—<Two prominent female journalists were pummeled on social media, one was even suspended from her job. Both received death threats for having the audacity to mention a well-established rape charge against the late Kobe Bryant.

Just consider the irony of that for a moment. You thought we were in the #MeToo generation and that we had moved beyond the previously allowed, or rationalized, shaming of women who raised their voices against sexual assault or harassment of women.

Well, not so fast.

950 by Marcos Breton. MOVED


^Blair Kamin: A plan mandating classical and traditional design for federal buildings could be heading for Trump's desk. My advice: Rip it up<

^KAMIN-COLUMN:TB—<Less than six weeks into 2020, we already have a leading candidate for the year's most misguided architectural idea: A proposal, now reportedly circulating in the Trump White House, that would make classicism the preferred style for federal courthouses and a wide range of other federal buildings.

The title of the seven-page screed, a draft executive order called "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again," proves, if nothing else, that its authors know how to curry favor with the slogan-slinging occupant of the Oval Office.

If enacted, it would quash architectural innovation and expressions of cultural diversity, likely saddle taxpayers with more expensive construction costs and undercut the very democratic ideals that such classically inspired national icons as the White House and the Lincoln Memorial so stirringly represent.

850 by Blair Kamin. MOVED


^Michael Hiltzik: Trump's budget proposal shreds Social Security and Medicaid benefits<

^HILTZIK-COLUMN:LA—<In accordance with the old adage that budgets are political documents, President Trump's budgets are windows into his political id.

Trump's proposed $4.8-trillion budget for the 2021 fiscal year makes his intentions crystal clear: He means to shred the federal safety net for the poor and the sick.

The budget proposal released Monday calls for drastic cuts in Social Security and Medicaid benefits, as well as in a program protecting defrauded student loan borrowers.

1700 by Michael Hiltzik. MOVED



^Cal Thomas: A missed opportunity<

^THOMAS-COLUMN:MCT—<For 68 years the National Prayer Breakfast has been a political oasis, a chance for Republicans, Democrats, national and world leaders to assemble and pray for each other and the nation.

Not this year.

One could tell where things were headed when President Trump arrived later than most other presidents and held up two newspapers with the headline "Acquitted," a reference to the vote by the GOP majority in the Senate the day before, which refused to convict him of articles of impeachment written by the Democratic majority in the House.

700 by Cal Thomas. MOVED

^Robert B. Reich: Billionaire Bloomberg is trying to buy the presidency<

^REICH-COLUMN:MCT—<the presidency.

Michael Bloomberg's net worth is over $60 billion. The yearly return on $60 billion is at least $2 billion — which is what Bloomberg says he'll pour into buying the highest office in the land.

In January alone Bloomberg spent more than $300 million on campaign advertising. That's more than Hillary Clinton spent on advertising during her entire presidential run. It's multiples of what all other Democratic candidates have spent on advertising, including billionaire Tom Steyer.

900 by Robert B. Reich. MOVED

^John Kass: What do I know about romance on Valentine's Day? Not much, maybe<

^KASS-COLUMN:TB—<When it comes to Valentine's Day, I'm the last man on earth you'd ask for romantic advice.

Romance? Me?

What could some grizzled OK Boomer possibly know about young love?


1000 by John Kass. MOVED



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^Editorial: The movie business goes global with Oscar wins for 'Parasite'<

^OSCARS-EDITORIAL:TB—<The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, criticized for a lack of diversity in Oscar nominations, helped change that narrative Sunday by celebrating the South Korean comedy-thriller "Parasite." The film took home four awards, including best picture — a first for a non-English-language film.

As in movies, real-life redemption is a wonderful thing.

But there was something else notable about the big night for "Parasite": Hollywood's growing embrace of globalization.

400 by The Editorial Board. MOVED


^Editorial: Trump's proposed budget is a deeply cynical document<

^TRUMP-BUDGET-EDITORIAL:BZ—<Donald Trump's supporters like to reassure themselves that the president is a tell-it-like-it-is fellow who delivers on his promises in a way that his predecessors and other more traditional politicians did not. Yet the $4.8 trillion budget he submitted to Congress on Monday once again demonstrates how that view is an absolute fiction.

In the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump promised to eliminate the deficit (and all existing U.S. debt) in eight years. Instead, the budget deficit is two-thirds larger than the deficit he inherited, and his latest spending plan expects the shortfall to linger into 2035. And that's only because the budget is built on a mountain of falsity.

750 by Baltimore Sun Editorial Board. MOVED


^Editorial: What is the purpose? The war in Afghanistan continues without a clear aim<

^AFGHANISTAN-EDITORIAL:PG—<The U.S. military marked its 18th year in Afghanistan last year and, in the process, set a depressing new record by dropping 7,423 bombs in the country, the highest number since U.S Air Forces Central Command began tracking the figures in 2006.

This number comes on the heels of the December publication of internal government documents by the Washington Post. These documents, which came from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, confirmed what millions of Americans already knew: The war in Afghanistan, costing more than $1 trillion in taxpayer dollars as well as the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers, is a war without a mission. The upper echelons of the federal government don't know what purpose a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan serves.

300 The Editorial Board. MOVED


^Editorial: School choice and the fight for public education's soul<

^PUBLIC-EDUCATION-EDITORIAL:PH—<The political and philosophical divides that the election of President Trump exposed often play out as a fight for the soul — and the meaning — of the country.

It's perhaps not surprising that we are also seeing a fight for the soul of education in this country. That battle got particularly heated last week on a number of fronts.

500 by The Inquirer Editorial Board. MOVED


^Editorial: Sane people of the world, unite: The 'American Factory' director couldn't possibly have meant what we think she meant<

^AMERICANFACTORY-EDITORIAL:NY—<What on earth was director Julia Reichert thinking at Sunday night's Oscars?

"American Factory" is a very good documentary, backed by Barack and Michelle Obama, about the growing and shrinking pains that result when a Chinese company takes over a former General Motors manufacturing plant in Ohio. Its lesson, to the extent there is a clear one, is that in a tough global economy, employees must find new ways to bridge cultural divides, save their unions and protect their jobs.

300 by Daily News Editorial Board. MOVED


^Editorial: Online voting: Washington experiment is worth watching<

^ONLINE-VOTING-EDITORIAL:PG—<The problems with an online app that led to an embarrassing delay in tabulating the results of the Iowa caucus votes for Democratic presidential candidates should serve as a not-so-subtle reminder that online voting is not quite ready for prime time.

Still, there is a test program for online voting in the state of Washington that could prove useful in identifying what works and what areas need more work. By experimenting with a small election, the risks are greatly reduced.

400 The Editorial Board. MOVED



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