Getting Twitchy About Mr. Trump – The New York Times

“It’s a question fit for Donald Trump himself: Can Republicans fire this guy?Monday’s news that Mr. Trump’s campaign is turning over the couch cushions for cash and has built next to nothing in terms of a national organization was just the latest reason for Republicans to worry that they have a historic loser on their hands. Mr. Trump’s racist comments about the federal judge presiding over a lawsuit against Trump University, his congratulating himself on predicting the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., and his insinuating that the nation’s Muslims and President Obama were somehow involved in domestic terrorist plots have persuaded many Republicans that Mr. Trump will never fulfill their hopes of becoming a more judicious “presidential” candidate.

Fully 70 percent of registered voters now say they dislike Mr. Trump, including more than three-quarters of women and nearly 90 percent of nonwhite people, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll. Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has opened a double-digit lead in some national polls.”

Source: Getting Twitchy About Mr. Trump – The New York Times

The World’s Disappearing Sand – The New York Times

“MOST Westerners facing criminal charges in Cambodia would be thanking their lucky stars at finding themselves safe in another country. But Alejandro Gonzalez-Davidson, who is half British and half Spanish, is pleading with the Phnom Penh government to allow him back to stand trial along with three Cambodian colleagues. They’ve been charged, essentially, with interfering with the harvesting of one of the 21st century’s most valuable resources: sand.

Believe it or not, we use more of this natural resource than any other except water and air. Sand is the thing modern cities are made of. Pretty much every apartment block, office tower and shopping mall from Beijing to Lagos, Nigeria, is made at least partly with concrete, which is basically just sand and gravel stuck together with cement. Every yard of asphalt road that connects all those buildings is also made with sand. So is every window in every one of those buildings.

Sand is the essential ingredient that makes modern life possible. And we are starting to run out.”

Source: The World’s Disappearing Sand – The New York Times

Not many comments yet on this article, but the few I reviewed are excellent, such as:

ando arike

Brooklyn, NY 2 hours ago

“Nearly a fifty years ago, MIT scientists released a computer-modeled study that was published, to great acclaim and controversy, as “Limits to Growth,” predicting a collapse of industrial civilization in the first half of the 21st century. The collapse would be caused, according to their forecast, by growth — in the economy, in population, in pollution, in consumption of finite resources. The depletion of sand described by Mr. Beiser here is yet another sign that those limits to growth have been reached — indeed, surpassed. Where is the leadership humanity needs to reverse our suicidal trajectory of growth, growth, growth? As the environmentalist Edward Abbey put it, “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” “

Who Is to Blame for Brexit’s Appeal? British Newspapers – The New York Times

“LONDON — No one should be surprised that Britain could vote to leave the European Union on Thursday. For decades, British newspapers have offered their readers an endless stream of biased, misleading and downright fallacious stories about Brussels. And the journalist who helped set the tone — long before he became the mayor of London or the face of the pro-Brexit campaign — was Boris Johnson.I know this because I was appointed Brussels correspondent for The Times of London in 1999, a few years after Mr. Johnson reported from there for another London newspaper, The Telegraph. I had to live with the consequences.

Mr. Johnson, fired from The Times in 1988 for fabricating a quotation, made his name in Brussels not with honest reporting but with extreme euroskepticism, tirelessly attacking, mocking and denigrating the European Union. He wrote about European Union plans to take over Europe, ban Britain’s favorite potato chips, standardize condom sizes and blow up its own asbestos-filled headquarters. These articles were undoubtedly colorful but they bore scant relation to the truth.”

Source: Who Is to Blame for Brexit’s Appeal? British Newspapers – The New York Times

Slamming Shut America’s Door – The New York Times

“Republicans in Congress have reacted to the Orlando, Fla., tragedy with a meanspirited and illogical proposal to ban all refugees to the United States indefinitely.The impulse to slam the door shut on some of the world’s most vulnerable people is not new. In recent years, congressional Republicans have tried to limit the numbers of refugees coming into the country from conflict zones like Syria. Meanwhile, officials in states such as Indiana and Texas have tried to bar resettlement of Syrian refugees, although, so far, none have succeeded.

Donald Trump, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, has given xenophobic sentiments a megaphone by endorsing a ban on all Muslims coming to this country, whether refugees or not, and building a wall to keep out Mexicans. Since Orlando, he declared his intention to “suspend immigration from areas of the world when there is a proven history of terrorism” against the United States and its allies. On Sunday, he called for racial profiling as a preventive tactic against terrorism.”

Source: Slamming Shut America’s Door – The New York Times

Excellent Editorial. On a related topic, NPR reported this morning on the Syrian army using snipers to kill doctors, nurses and patients going in and out of hospitals in rebel held cities. I hope the US organizes NATO, like we did for Bosnia, and shuts down the Syrian military, and create a “huge” no fly zone, so Syrians can live in Syria. The human population has gone from 2 to 7 billion in the last 100 years. Population control should be our main national security objective, in this new era, the Anthropocene age.

Another Age of Discovery, by Tom Friedman – The New York Times

“Have we been here before? I know — it feels as if the internet, virtual reality, Donald Trump, Facebook, sequencing of the human genome and machines that can reason better than people constitute a change in the pace of change without precedent. But we’ve actually been through an extraordinarily rapid transition like this before in history — a transition we can learn a lot from.

Ian Goldin, director of the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University, and Chris Kutarna, also of Oxford Martin, have just published a book — “Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance” — about lessons we can draw from the period 1450 to 1550, known as the Age of Discovery. It was when the world made a series of great leaps forward, propelled by da Vinci, Michelangelo, Copernicus and Columbus, that produced the Renaissance and reshaped science, education, manufacturing, communications, politics and geopolitics.

“Gutenberg’s printing press provided the trigger,” Goldin told me by email, “by flipping knowledge production and exchange from tight scarcity to radical abundance. Before that, the Catholic Churches monopolized knowledge, with their handwritten Latin manuscripts locked up in monasteries. The Gutenberg press democratized information, and provided the incentive to be literate. Within 50 years, not only had scribes lost their jobs, but the Catholic Church’s millennia-old monopoly of power had been torn apart as the printing of Martin Luther’s sermons ignited a century of religious wars.” ”

Source: Another Age of Discovery – The New York Times

Our Vietnam War Never Ended, By VIET THANH NGUYEN, APRIL 24, 2015 – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES — THURSDAY, the last day of April, is the 40th anniversary of the end of my war. Americans call it the Vietnam War, and the victorious Vietnamese call it the American War. In fact, both of these names are misnomers, since the war was also fought, to great devastation, in Laos and Cambodia, a fact that Americans and Vietnamese would both rather forget.

In any case, for anyone who has lived through a war, that war needs no name. It is always and only “the war,” which is what my family and I call it. Anniversaries are the time for war stories to be told, and the stories of my family and other refugees are war stories, too. This is important, for when Americans think of war, they tend to think of men fighting “over there.” The tendency to separate war stories from immigrant stories means that most Americans don’t understand how many of the immigrants and refugees in the United States have fled from wars — many of which this country has had a hand in.

Although my family and other refugees brought our war stories with us to America, they remain largely unheard and unread, except by people like us. Compared with many of the four million Vietnamese in the diaspora, my family has been lucky. None of my relatives can be counted among the three million who died during the war, or the hundreds of thousands who disappeared at sea trying to escape by boat. But our experiences in coming to America were difficult.”

Source: Our Vietnam War Never Ended – The New York Times

Review: ‘The Sympathizer,’ a Novel About a Soldier, Spy and Film Consultant, by Sarah Lyall – The New York Times

“There’s a great comic interlude in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel “The Sympathizer” when the unnamed narrator, a Vietnamese Army captain exiled in Los Angeles, critiques the screenplay of a gung-ho Hollywood movie about America’s heroism in the Vietnam War.

By this time, a lot of things have already happened. Saigon has fallen. Chaos has closed in. The captain has secured the bloody, terrifying extraction of his boss, a pro-American general, on one of the last flights out (were there any other kind of flights in Saigon in 1975?). Working as an aide and sometime hit man for the general, now a California liquor-store owner, the captain applies himself to his real job: spying on the general, and other members of the Vietnamese diaspora, for the Communists who seized power back home.”

Source: Review: ‘The Sympathizer,’ a Novel About a Soldier, Spy and Film Consultant – The New York Times

For Viet Thanh Nguyen, Author of ‘The Sympathizer,’ a Pulitzer but No Peace – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES — Viet Thanh Nguyen has been wrestling with “Apocalypse Now” for most of his life — as a boy, a college student, a scholar, a writer of fiction. The movie was initially a source of pain, then a puzzle to be understood, and finally an inspiration for his novel about a Vietnamese spy, “The Sympathizer.”

Even now, after a rapturous reception for the novel, his first, that included the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Mr. Nguyen’s feelings about Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 war epic are still somewhat raw.“‘Apocalypse Now’ is an important work of art,” Mr. Nguyen, 45, said in an interview at his house here. “But that doesn’t mean I’m going to bow down before it. I’m going to fight with it because it fought with me.””

Source: For Viet Thanh Nguyen, Author of ‘The Sympathizer,’ a Pulitzer but No Peace – The New York Times

R.I.P., Jo Cox. May Britain Remember Your Wisdom. by Nicholas Kristof- The New York Times

“CAMBRIDGE, England — As I listen to the stormy debates here in the run-up to Thursday’s Brexit vote on whether Britain should exit the European Union, my thoughts keep drifting to my friend Jo Cox, a member of Parliament assassinated last week.

Jo was a leader who fought for genocide victims in Darfur, for survivors of human trafficking, for women’s health, for Syrian refugees, and, yes, for remaining in the European Union. She was also a proud mom of two small children: When she was pregnant, she used to sign her emails “Jo (and very large bump).”

Jo’s dedication to the voiceless may have cost her life. At least one witness said that the man who stabbed and shot Jo shouted “Britain First!” and when he was asked to say his name at a court hearing he responded, “My name is death to traitors, freedom for Britain.” ”

Source: R.I.P., Jo Cox. May Britain Remember Your Wisdom. – The New York Times

 

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT Pending Approval, NYT comments.

I guess numbers and macroeconomic forecasts are not Nicholas Kristof’s strong suite. I feel hungry for more discussion of the economic forecasts of the rather oblique summary of the International Monetary Fund report. It appears to avoid any numerical summary number.

The other day Paul Krugman voted reluctantly for Britain to stay in the EU, and said his model suggested a permanent, long term 2% loss for gdp in both Britain and Europe, if I remember correctly. Krugman said that his number was in line with the numbers of some other mainstream economists. I would like more analysis of the major forecasts, with opinion as to their degree of confidence.

Even with these questions, I agree with Kristof, and Krugman, that Britain should stay, but not for long necessarily. It seems logical that Britain should be able to have some control of immigration into Britain. The European experiment has to have more muscle and tools in banking and security, while allowing individual nations some sovereignty over immigration and the protection of their cultural diversity. States have a lot of rights in the US, and they will need to preserve many rights to keep the dream of a united Europe alive. The melting pot in Europe will occur more smoothly if it feels voluntary, rather than ordered from some bureaucrats in Brussels.

Bob Kerrey and the ‘American Tragedy’ of Vietnam – The New York Times

“Los Angeles — EVEN today, Americans argue over the Vietnam War: what was done, what mistakes were made, and what were the lasting effects on American power.This sad history returns because of Bob Kerrey’s appointment as chairman of the American-sponsored Fulbright University Vietnam, the country’s first private university. That appointment has also prompted the Vietnamese to debate how former enemies can forgive and reconcile.What is not in dispute is that in 1969 a team of Navy SEALs, under a young Lieutenant Kerrey’s command, killed 20 unarmed Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, in the village of Thanh Phong. Mr. Kerrey, who later became a senator, a governor, a presidential candidate and a university president, acknowledged his role in the atrocity in his 2002 memoir, “When I Was a Young Man.”Those in the United States and Vietnam who favor Mr. Kerrey’s appointment see it as an act of reconciliation: He has confessed, he deserves to be forgiven because of his efforts to aid Vietnam, and his unique and terrible history makes him a potent symbol for how both countries need to move on from their common war.I disagree. He is the wrong man for the job and regarding him as a symbol of peace is a failure of moral imagination.”

Source: Bob Kerrey and the ‘American Tragedy’ of Vietnam – The New York Times

I have not made up my own mind on this yet. I am still collecting information, and processing it.

Here is a comment thought, one of many from the NYT comments which I think is helpful and significant:

Ted Hanoi

Vietnam 7 hours ago

“As I long time Vietnam resident (23 years) I cannot agree with Bob Kerrey’s appointment to the Fulbright University. It is a divisive issue here and I am at a loss to understand the lack of sensitivity in this appointment.
I understand Mr. Kerrey has been supporting fundraising for this project for a number of years. A role he can continue to undertake, but not full-time in Vietnam.
I can understand that Mr. Kerrey is trying to atone for past deeds, but his past actions will always be in the background during his tenure at Fulbright which will make his task more difficult and perhaps less effective.
I see the major benefit of the Fulbright as not just delivering “free-market values” to Vietnam but also being an open education model that will slowly force the State higher education institutions to reform and adopt teaching methods that will produce graduates with enhanced innovative thinking capabilities.
I do not agree with Mr. Nguyen regarding a memorial to the Thanh Phong victims at the Fulbright as this idea is directly related to Mr. Kerrey’s appointment. In my opinion, and if there is to be a memorial, the Fulbright should consider erecting a “generalized” memorial to all atrocity victims from this period so that the Fulbright stands as a symbol of reconciliation.
Similarly, Mr. Nguyen’s scholarship proposal should not just focus on Thanh Phong, it should assist as many disadvantaged students as possible from all over the country.”

 

I think that young men of both sides committed atrocities, and they all deserve to be forgiven, if they show regret and remorse and become agents of positive growth. In the end, it for the Vietnamese, not the Americans, to decide if they can permit Bob Kerry to continue his noble acts of repentance inside of Vietnam, as a university president.