Goodman: Do you see President Trump as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize?

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a campaign-style rally in Washington Township, Mich., on Saturday. (Tom Brenner/The New York Times)

Is there a Nobel Peace Prize in President Trump’s future? The man who talked about “shithole countries” and warned North Korea, and its leader “little Rocket Man,” of “fire and fury like the world has never seen”?

Sen. Lindsay Graham thinks it’s possible. The South Carolina Republican and former Trump critic said that if there’s a successful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Trump should get the credit.

“Donald Trump convinced North Korea and China he was serious about bringing about change,” Graham said Friday. “We’re not there yet, but if this happens, President Trump deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.”

And so does Harry J. Kazianas, director of the conservative Center for the National Interest.

President Trump’s tough stance against a nuclear North Korea and his success in winning approval of international economic sanctions against the North at the United Nations that have crippled the country’s economy clearly succeeded beyond expectations in pushing Kim to the negotiating table.

Christie: Philly Starbucks arrests brew bitter cup over social justice

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, the two men arrested at a Starbucks, tell their story on “Good Morning America” on April 20. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC)

It would be easy — even tempting — to simply dismiss the the recent arrest of two black men who were waiting for friend in a downtown Philadelphia Starbucks as just another racial incident in America.

But that would be a cop out.

RELATED: Philadelphia Starbucks arrest: Men say manager called 911 minutes after they arrived

We could try to explain away an experienced Starbucks store manager over-reacting and calling 911 when those two black men — Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, both 23 — asked to use the restroom while sitting and waiting for friend.

But that would be denial.

There are some who may choose to believe that the decision by police to handcuff and arrest the two men was justified.

But any rational person viewing knows it wasn’t.

Instead, we have a new hashtag blowing up social media: #WaitingWhileBlack.

We’re left shaking our heads in frustration. (Hell, many folks are just pissed off.) What happens when otherwise good people who work for an otherwise socially conscience company show as much racial bias as the worst of us?

There’s a lot to unpack here. Starbucks, as a corporate citizen, has not only sought to force us as a society to face the race issue head on — and flubbed the effort — but has also redefined the term “public space” by inviting us to come in and meet with folks over an over-priced cup of coffee. It’s not unusual for folks to linger at a Starbucks for hours.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, under heavy criticism for the arrests of two 23-year-old Philadelphia men at a Starbucks near Rittenhouse Square a week ago and his defense of the police action, apologized to the men on April 19, and said he had made the situation worse. (David Swanson/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

That’s what the two young black men were attempting to do, by the way, when the store manager called 911. Well, they hadn’t bought a cup of coffee yet. They were waiting on a white local businessman to talk over a potential real estate opportunity.

But after a couple of police arrived, the two men calmly, and respectfully answered their questions. Then, a few more cops arrived. They continued to calmly, and respectfully answer questions. They were arrested anyway for trespass. They were not charged.

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Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, a black man who at first staunchly defended his officers’ handling of the encounter, is now backtracking. “I should have said the officers acted within the scope of the law, and not that they didn’t do anything wrong,” Ross said. “Words are very important.”

At a news conference, a somber Ross said he “failed miserably” in addressing the arrests.

Yeah, he did.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson during a Bloomberg Television interview. (Bloomberg photo by Mike Kane.)

For their part, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson stepped up and owned the incident. After apologizing publicly, he met with the Nelson and Robinson to apologize personally. The two men have accepted the company’s apology.

Meanwhile, the store manager has reportedly left the company or been moved to another location.

Perhaps, more significantly, Johnson brought out the big gun, founder and executive board Chairman Howard Schultz, to announce plans to close more than 8,000 of the company’s U.S. stores for several hours on May 29 to conduct racial bias training for nearly 175,000 workers.

The training is “designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks feels safe and welcome,” according to a Starbucks news release. The curriculum, being developed with civil rights groups, will be made available to other companies — including businesses that license the Starbucks brand to operate stores, like Barnes & Noble.

Starbucks has never been shy about touting its values, or its belief in corporate responsibility. It created a corporate responsibility department in 1999, has been outspoken on a range of issues, and in 2015 started an ill-fated “race together” movement in response to police shootings of black men. (Bloomberg photo by Victor J. Blue.)

Starbucks responded quickly, communicating remorse and a commitment to social justice. Ross, the Philadelphia police commissioner, can learn a lot from them, starting with whether bias played a role in how police responded to the complaint. After all, police do have some discretion in these situations.

But what about the rest of us?

Take out poll here:

Should the U.S. rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

WEST PALM BEACH: President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump arrive with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe on Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport for a weekend together at Mar-a-Lago resort on Feb. 10, 2017. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

With Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, coming back to Palm Beach for talks with President Trump Tuesday, it’s a good time to ask if the U.S. should rejoin the multi-country trade agreement.

In a head-spinner of a reversal, Trump on Thursday said he was looking into rejoining the TPP. Tearing up the pact was one  of his bedrock campaign promises and first acts as president.

Back then, he denounced the deal as “a rape of our country.” But now many farmers, business people and Republican lawmakers are worried about threats of tariffs and trade barriers.

Trump made the comment to a gathering of farm-state lawmakers and governors, so maybe this was mind-boggling idea that evaporates as soon as the intended audience leaves the room, like the time he seemed to side with Democrats on DACA or that moment when he embraced universal background checks on gun purchases.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, forged during the Obama administration, was to unite 12 countries,  representing 40 percent of the world’s economic output, in a trading bloc. The hope was to strengthen economic ties by slashing tariffs and writing policies and regulations — and to counter China’s dominance in Asia.

Critics on the left, as well as Trump-supporting nationalists, assailed the pact as costing U.S. jobs and said it was developed with too little transparency.

So what do you think? Is the U.S. better off outside the TPP? Or should we get back in?

Goodman: Syrian gas attack: Should Trump order U.S. strike against Assad regime?

This image released early Sunday by the Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets, shows a child receiving oxygen through respirators following an alleged poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, Syria. (Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP)

The pictures from Syria are horrific.

President Trump, denouncing as a “barbaric act” the suspected poison gas killing of more than 49 people in a city held by the Syrian opposition, said Monday he will decide within 24 to 48 hours whether the U.S. will respond militarily.

“We’re talking about humanity and it can’t be allowed to happen,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “We’ll be making that decision very quickly, probably by the end of today. We cannot allow atrocities like that.”

The president suggested that Syria’s patrons in Russia and Iran may also be responsible, and seemed to imply that he would take action of some sort to punish them as well.

“If it’s Russia, if it’s Syria, if it’s Iran, if it’s all of them together, we’ll figure it out and we’ll know the answers quite soon,” he said. “So we’re looking at that very strongly and very seriously.” (New York Times)

Just days ago, Trump said he wanted U.S. troops to withdraw from Syria. But after the Saturday night attack on rebel-held Douma, White House officials said a missile strike is a possibility. After a similar chemical attack a year ago, Trump responded by attacking a Syrian air base with cruise missiles.

What do you think the U.S. should do?

Christie: Post readers react to Sinclair, WPEC ‘fake news’ editorial

If you’d never heard of Sinclair Broadcast Group — the nation’s largest owner of local television stations — before this week, don’t fret about it.

And don’t worry if you didn’t know that they owned Palm Beach County’s WPEC-Channel 12.

You were in good company. But that’s all changed now.

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Sinclair Broadcast, which is pretty tight with President Donald Trump’s White House and pushes a conservative political agenda through its stations, gained infamy earlier this week when word got out that it forced news anchors at its 170-plus stations to read a “must-run” statement/editorial about “fake news” which also cast aspersions on its media brethren.

And yes, that on-air diatribe included respected WPEC news anchors Liz Quirantes and John Discepolo.

Needless to say, a number of WPEC viewers didn’t take the news very well, hammering the station on social media — Facebook and Twitter — as well as its own website. (It apparently had to shut down comments on the latter, at least temporarily.)

RELATED: Ex-reporter from Sinclair-owned WPEC calls out the company

Sinclair Broadcast Group stations, including WPEC-CBS12 in West Palm Beach, have come under fire for reading a “must-run” editorial about fake news that also cast aspersions on other media. (NBC News)

The Post has been getting some angry letters to the editor about the Sinclair controversy — which its chairman is unapologetic for, by the way.

For example, there was this letter from James Taffuri, of Jupiter:

Dump Channel 12 for unbiased TV news

Thank you to Frank Cerabino for finally exposing the cloak and dagger airing of editorial content by Boris Epshteyn, mandated by a biased corporate parent but fraudulently disguised as a local cut-in. (“Setting the record straight on Channel 12’s fake-news editorial,” Monday)

The clearly ethical conduct needed would be to either clearly label the content for what it is, via disclaimer, or allow for a rebuttal afterward, i.e. a point/counterpoint.

I, for one, discovered these shenanigans a while back and quickly dumped Channel 12 as my local news provider after many years as a viewer. I have found Channel 5 or Channel 25 do the job quite nicely.

We all know the “ones to turn to ” (MSNBC or Fox) to receive our national or international news coverage with whatever slant we choose. Can’t we please leave our local stations as a sacred source for unbiased news and investigative reporting affecting our community?

Truly sad and sickening. [READ MORE]

And this one from Judith Abramson of Delray Beach:

Vigilance needed to spot fake news

Sinclair Broadcast Group is probably the most powerful company you’ve never heard of. The conservative giant owns around 170 TV stations across the country, including our local West Palm Beach CBS affiliate,WPEC. Sinclair has been pushing its right-wing agenda since the Bush administration and, like Fox, has close ties to Trump.

It’s been reported that they order their local anchors to read corporate-written editorials to push their views and criticize other new sources.

This is just another example — as with the plethora of information coming out about Cambridge Analytical, the targeting citizens on Facebook, Russian bots flooding social media every single day and their proven meddling in our elections — at mind control.

I implore my fellow citizens to be more vigilant and realize that they must scrutinize what they hear and read and try to sort out what is opinion and what is real news and not be manipulated. [READ MORE]

WPEC-CBS12 news anchor Liz Quirantes and fellow evening anchor John Discepolo (not pictured) read the “fake news” editorial on-air. (Courtesy of WPEC-CBS12)

So here’s what makes all the Sinclair must-run editorial so concerning to many readers and viewers.

The company is trying to get even bigger. By owning and operating a total of 193 stations nationwide, Sinclair already covers far more than any other station owner.

It is currently trying get Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to buy Tribune Media’s 42 local stations, allowing Sinclair to reach 72 percent of U.S. households.

Previously, Sinclair was prohibited from serving more than 39 percent of households under a statute of the Telecommunications Act.

Last year, however, Trump’s Federal Communications Commission, under chairman Ajit Pai, brought back to life the technologically obsolete “UHF Discount” rule. The rule, from the pre-digital era when local stations were hard to tune in to, allowed local stations to be counted as a fraction of the 13 “normal” stations found on the “top dial.”

Of course, today most people get all of the old UHF channels as easily as “top dial” channels, making Trump’s resurrection of the old rule not only silly but clearly in violation of both the letter and spirit of the Telecommunications Act. Free Pass and other activist groups are currently suing to prevent the UHF “loophole” and the Sinclair-Tribune purchase from going further, but with corporate masseuse Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, don’t hold your breath.

And while Trump is green-lighting Sinclair, he’s been blocking AT&T’s purchase of CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, saying “it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

That would just happen to be the same CNN that Trump repeatedly labels as “fake news,” the same sentiments that Sinclair just happened to echo in its recent collective Trump incantation.

But does Sinclair — and by extension, WPEC — really deserve all of this grief?

Take our poll and tell us what you think:

Christie: Are the Parkland shooting teens fair game for conservative critics?

Emma Gonzalez, center, and the other student activists from Parkland cheer on stage at the end of the March for Our Lives rally in Washington. The attacks on the teenage survivors of the shooting have been fierce from the beginning, and have only continued since the students helped spearhead hundreds of protests last month. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)

It’s been a month and half since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 students and school personnel dead at the hands of 19-year-old gunman Nikolas Cruz.

RELATED: Depression is setting in, concerned Parkland students say at town hall

Thanks to the outspokenness and energy of surviving students like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, the tragic shooting has sparked a movement against gun violence and for common-sense gun control laws. The constant rhetoric, rallies and TV appearances of Parkland shooting survivors moved a previously immovable Florida Legislature to enact in three weeks what it had refused to do in nearly three decades: stricter gun controls.

Though state lawmakers still have more work to do, long-time Tallahassee political observers marveled at what these well-spoken, impatient teens have already been able to accomplish.

RELATED: POINT OF VIEW: Politicians, put yourselves in Parkland survivors’ shoes

But those efforts, and the teens’ further demands for more stricter gun controls, have put them squarely in the sights of the powerful gun lobby led by the influential National Rifle Association.

As a result, they’ve been attacked repeatedly by regular folks, politicians, celebrities and even law-enforcement officers on radio, TV and in social media.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham apologized under pressure last week for taunting a survivor of the school shooting in Parkland as several companies confirmed they would pull advertising from her show. (Laura Segall/The New York Times)

Most recently:

  • Fox News host and conservative firebrand Laura Ingraham was forced to take a week off from her show after she was pilloried for criticizing Hogg on Twitter after he talked about his difficulties getting into the University of California.
  • Artist and musician Frank Stallone  was forced to apologize after a profanity-laced criticism of the Parkland survivors over the weekend.
Ted Nugent (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

But rocker and NRA board member Ted Nugent has been unapologetic. Nugent, who began his attack of the Parkland teens over the weekend, doubled down on WABC’s Curtis + Cosby show on Monday.

“(David Hogg) has been brainwashed, it’s tragic,” Nugent said. “I don’t think the guy can be fixed. … This guy is a lost cause. He is consumed with hate. He is part of the problem, not the solution.”

Nugent also said Hogg and the Douglas High School students are “not very educated” and “wouldn’t know an AR-15 from a pterodactyl.”

Pro-gun supporters and others argue that the teens stepped into a serious grown-up issue and thus relinquished the right to be treated with kid gloves. If you dance to the music, you’ve got to pay the piper, they say.

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But what do you think?

Do you agree with the criticisms being leveled against the student survivors of the Douglas High School shooting by right wing and NRA supporters? Or should there be a hands-off approach to these outspoken teens who suffered an unimaginable tragedy?

Take poll here: