Obama takes off the gloves, by David Leonhart, NYT

David Leonhardt: “Time and again as president, Barack Obama has chosen to use cautious language, at times frustrating both his allies and critics. His descriptions of corporate America’s misbehavior during the financial crisis sounded like cocktail-party chatter compared with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s jeremiads. Obama’s sporadic refusal to utter “terrorism” or “radical Islam” has become a Republican meme.

All of which highlights the bluntness and harshness of his attacks on Donald Trump on Wednesday night.

“Anyone who threatens our values, whether fascists or communists or jihadists or,” Obama said, pausing slightly, “homegrown demagogues, will always fail in the end.” Look at that list: A president notorious for his cool demeanor compared the opposing party’s presidential nominee to America’s two great 20th-century enemies and its bloodthirsty 21st-century enemy.”

Arguments, provocations and observations from Times Opinion writers.
nytimes.com
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Did Putin Try to Steal an American Election? by Nick Kristof- The New York Times

“Some foreign leaders settle for stealing billions of dollars. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, may have wanted to steal something even more valuable: an American presidential election.As our election takes a turn that could be drawn from a Cold War spy novel (except it would be too implausible), Putin has an obvious favorite in the race: Donald Trump. “It’s crystal clear to me” that Putin favors Trump, says Michael McFaul, a Stanford professor who was ambassador to Russia until 2014. “If I were Putin, I would rather deal with Trump, too, given the things he has said about foreign policy.”

Look, Democratic Party leaders exchanged inappropriate emails showing bias for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, and a hacker’s disclosure has properly triggered a ruckus. But that scandal pales beside an effort apparently by a foreign dictatorship to disrupt an American presidential election.”

Source: Did Putin Try to Steal an American Election? – The New York Times

Top comments at the NYT:

Beth Reese nyc 4 hours ago

Vladimir Putin sees a chance to have the perfect President: a malignant narcissistic fascist who thinks that he and Putin “can do business.” Add to this Hair Duce’s financial ties to various Russian oligarchs and his apparent dismissal of the importance of NATO and you have the perfect puppet. Massage Trump’s fragile ego and he’s your best buddy. Putin must be salivating a the prospect of a Trump Presidency. Of course he’s doing whatever he can to influence our election. Putin is no fool-but Donald Trump is a fool for the ages.

Reply 235Recommended

Rlanni Princeton NJ 6 hours ago

Asking a foreign power to steal an ex secretary of state’s work emails which might contain US state secrets is by definition TREASON. Trump should be arrested and sent to jail.

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Reply 213Recommended

President Obama and the Long March, NYT

God Bless America.

He took a long view in his convention speech, stressing Americans’ common bonds, consistent with the spirit that drove his historic presidency.
nytimes.com|By The Editorial Board
David Lindsay

David Lindsay

Great Comments  after an excellent accolade to our president.

Most Recommended:

Lakshmi Sunder Palo Alto, California 10 hours ago

“I am an immigrant from India and I love this country. My president’s speech today made me cry and feel joyous about why I love this country and what it means to be an American. After listening to months of hate filled speeches, feeling alienated, and wondering if I belong here, this president explained what makes America great. MY president described a country and its people that I fell in love with when I was sixteen. The kindness, the generosity, the ingenuity, the optimism, and the diversity is what makes America great. Watching the video describing the accomplishments of this president in the last eight years made me proud to be an AMERICAN. This speech will forever remind me why America is a beacon of light to the rest of the world.”

Why Home Solar Panels No Longer Pay in Some States – The New York Times

“LAFAYETTE, Calif. — It was only two years ago that Elroy Holtmann spent about $20,000 on a home solar array to help cover the costs of charging his new electric car. With the savings on his monthly electric bills, he figured the investment would pay for itself in about a dozen years.But then the utilities regulators changed the equation.As a result, Pacific Gas & Electric recently did away with the rate schedule chosen by Mr. Holtmann, a retired electrical engineer, and many other solar customers in this part of California. The new schedule will make them pay much more for the electricity they draw from the grid in the evening, while paying those customers less for the excess power their solar panels send back to the grid on sunny summer days.As a result, Mr. Holtmann’s solar setup may never pay for itself.”

Source: Why Home Solar Panels No Longer Pay in Some States – The New York Times

I have installed 29 solar panels on the roof of my house. It covers 100% of my electrical usage at the time of installation. I hope that UI and the CT regulators don’t screw the first implementers in CT.

Debt Collectors’ Abuses Prompt Consumer Agency to Propose New Rules – The New York Times

“For the first time in nearly 40 years, federal regulators are preparing to significantly strengthen the rules that govern debt collection in an effort to clamp down on collectors who hound consumers for debts they may not even owe.Under the proposed regulations, which will undergo a lengthy review process, debt collection companies will have to more fully document the debt they are trying to collect, make it clear how a consumer can dispute the debt, and observe state statutes of limitations that bar them from legally pursuing older debts — all safeguards that are frequently flouted, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the federal agency that plans to put forth the new rules on Thursday.”

“Some 77 million people — roughly one in three adults with a credit report — have a delinquent debt in collections, according to an estimate by the Urban Institute.”

Source: Debt Collectors’ Abuses Prompt Consumer Agency to Propose New Rules – The New York Times

Web People vs. Wall People. by Tom Friedman – The New York Times

“Yes, we’re having a national election right now. Yes, there are two parties running. But no, they are not the two parties that you think. It’s not “Democrats” versus “Republicans.” This election is really between “Wall People” and “Web People.”

The primary focus of Wall People is finding a president who will turn off the fan — the violent winds of change that are now buffeting every family — in their workplace, where machines are threatening white-collar and blue-collar jobs; in their neighborhoods, where so many more immigrants of different religions, races and cultures are moving in; and globally, where super-empowered angry people are now killing innocents with disturbing regularity. They want a wall to stop it all.Wall People’s desire to stop change may be unrealistic, but, in fairness, it’s not just about race and class. It is also about a yearning for community — about “home” in the deepest sense — a feeling that the things that anchor us in the world and provide meaning are being swept away, and so they are looking for someone to stop that erosion.”

Source: Web People vs. Wall People – The New York Times

Hillary, This Is Why Democrats Are Still Struggling, by David Brooks NYT, and applause by David Lindsay

PHILADELPHIA — Dear Hillary,Donald Trump has presented you with an amazing opportunity to become a world historical figure! If you crush him in this election, you could create a new Democratic majority and reduce the G.O.P. to an ever-declining rump of ethnic nationalism. On the other hand, if you fail to beat Trump, you will go down as America’s most hapless political loser and be vilified forever for enabling an era of American Putinism.

No pressure! Have fun in Philadelphia!To end up on the right side of this equation you’re probably going to have to resist three natural tendencies, two of them your party’s and one your own.First, you’re going to have to fight your party’s materialistic mind-set.This is 2016, not 1992. Over the past few years, economic and social anxiety has metastasized into something spiritual and existential.Americans are no longer confident in their national project. They no longer trust their institutions or have faith in their common destiny. This is a crisis of national purpose. It’s about personal identity and the basic health of communal life. Americans’ anger and pessimism are more fundamental than anything that can be explained by G.D.P. statistics.

Many Democrats have trouble thinking in these terms. When asked to explain any complex phenomenon, they instinctively reduce it to a materialist cause. If there’s terrorism there must be lack of economic opportunity. If marriage is declining it must be because of joblessness.This materialistic mind-set means that many Democrats are perpetually surprised by events that involve cultural threats and national identity. Why don’t working-class Kansans vote for us? We offer them more programs. Why did the Brits leave the E.U.? It’s against their economic interest.”

Source: Hillary, This Is Why Democrats Are Still Struggling – The New York Times

David Brooks has disappointed me a lot in the last four years, with his false equivalence between Democrats and the GOP, but his late transformation is extraordinary, and this is an extraordinary piece of writing. Hillary Clinton and her entourage should study this and use it. Brooks is talking about a serious flaw in Mrs. Clinton’s speeches that my girlfriend and I have been noticing all year. The amazing and talented Clinton shouts too much. She needs to talk with empathy and openness about the pain and suffering that underscores the anger behind both the Sanders and Trump popularity. She needs to slow down, and, discuss with empathy, that 47% of Americans don’t have $400. for an unplanned emergency, as discovered by a pole by the Fed, and reported in the Atlantic. Hillary Clinton needs to be know as the woman leader who understands their suffering, anger and fear, not the woman whose deaf campaign people keep auctioning off a chance to sit with the candidate if you can find another $19 dollars this month. They are idiots. 40% of Americans don’t have an extra $19 to give to repeatedly to anyone outside their dependents. The brilliance of David Brooks in this piece is that he spells out their greatest internal weakness– financial and professional arrogance.

My compliments to David Brooks part two.
Brooks wrote, “Third, you’re going to have to answer hatred with love. Your tendency so far in your career has been to answer hostility with distrust, and secretiveness.

You’ve ended up projecting coldness but also weakness and hurt. People who build emotional walls amid conflict do so out of fear, not strength.

Along the way you’ve made yourself phenomenally unpopular. The polls show that you are now just as distrusted by the American people as Donald Trump is.”
I would like David Brooks to look at Nicholas Kristof’s brilliant op-ed on the false narrative. He claims, and I agree, that Fox News and talk radio has conducted a hate campaign against Hillary successfully. Brooks needs to write about this, expand on it, and explain how his advice still works, even if Hillary is right that she isn’t a witch, bitch or liar, it is all a real conspiracy, a false narrative brought to you by Roger Ailes and his ilk.

Delusions of Chaos, by Paul Krugman – NYT, vs Freakonomics (my comment)

“Last year there were 352 murders in New York City. This was a bit higher than the number in 2014, but far below the 2245 murders that took place in 1990, the city’s worst year. In fact, as measured by the murder rate, New York is now basically as safe as it has ever been, going all the way back to the 19th century.National crime statistics, and numbers for all violent crimes, paint an only slightly less cheerful picture. And it’s not just a matter of numbers; our big cities look and feel far safer than they did a generation ago, because they are. People of a certain age always have the sense that America isn’t the country they remember from their youth, and in this case they’re right — it has gotten much better.

How, then, was it even possible for Donald Trump to give a speech accepting the Republican nomination whose central premise was that crime is running rampant, and that “I alone” can bring the chaos under control?”

Source: Delusions of Chaos – The New York Times

Nice column, Dr. Krugman. I am disappointed that you don’t mention the hypothesis for the drop in crime which makes senses and had some statistical support in Freakonomics. From Widipedia:
“Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything is the debut non-fiction book by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner. It was published on April 12, 2005 by William Morrow. The book has been described as melding pop culture with economics.[1] By late 2009, the book had sold over 4 million copies worldwide.[2]”
Specifically, I am referring to:
“Chapter 4: The role legalized abortion has played in reducing crime, contrasted with the policies and downfall of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu (Levitt explored this topic in an earlier paper entitled “The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime,” written with John Donohue.)”
I thought this was the best chapter of a fascinating book, and it was a convincing argument.

You Probably Don’t Need Dental X-Rays Every Year – The New York Times

“But the easy answer isn’t necessarily the right one. Do I need bitewing X-rays every year?The American Dental Association says I don’t, and you probably don’t either. Adults without apparent dental problems do not need dental X-rays of any kind every year, the A.D.A. says. Adults who properly care for their teeth and have no symptoms of oral disease or cavities can go two to three years between bitewing X-rays, according to the A.D.A.Adults with a high risk of cavities (like those with a history of them) should receive them at least every 18 months, and possibly more frequently, depending on the condition of their teeth and gums.”

Source: You Probably Don’t Need Dental X-Rays Every Year – The New York Times

To Hillary Clinton, From David Lindsay, May 23, 2016

To Hillary Clinton,

From David Lindsay,  May 23, 2016.

 

I have cheered Hillary Clinton on for many years, and during these latest Presidential debates, marveled at her superior qualities which are many. I agree with other analysts that Hillary has a messaging problem. Pundits keeps saying, she doesn’t have a pithy short platform or brand message of her own, other than, “stay the course and build on the work of President Obama and Bill Clinton.” It is not easy, because she is not a demagogue, but a brilliant intellectual. Her branding message must be complex and simple.

Here is my stab at at a branding message, what Hillary should start saying at the beginning of almost every speech.

“We will do well by doing right. I promise to rebuild the American middle class and reduce income inequality, while improving the environment and fighting climate change. We will work for major investments in sustainable energy and modernizing infrastructure. We will create a jobs program to convert our existing buildings and infrastructure into more energy efficient systems. These programs will create good jobs, put our people to work, and make our American businesses more efficient and competitive for domestic growth and world trade.”

My associate, Kathleen Schomaker remarked, “Hillary has to show that she feels the pain of the dislocated workers who have lost good jobs and wages. Because she is a woman, Hillary is expected to display empathy.”     I agree.  I have heard Hillary say good things, like I have met x and talked to y, and their stories are shocking, xyz….      She has to keep up that good work.  She has to keep reporting that she knows about the hardships that average Americans are facing. She has to interlace her big picture — to restore the greatness of the middle class, and strengthen the safety net —  with specific examples of hardship and woe, like all good story tellers do. We in the middle class, are struggling. Neal Gabler recently reported in the Atlantic magazine that

according to a Federal Reserve Board survey, 47% of Americans report that they do not have $400 in cash to get out of a small emergency. (Atlantic, 2016, cover story “The Secret Shame of the Middle Class.”)

Your position on college tuition is good. I am one of thousands of Americans worried about keeping my house and keeping my kids’ college tuition debt under control.

Don’t settle for bland sound bites. People are upset and scared. Say you will ask your Justice Department to look at prosecuting some of the worst offenders in the subprime mortgage scandal, such as the CEO of Country Wide Mortgage, who walked away with $200 million, while ruining his bank, and leaving tens of thousands of customers facing foreclosure. Throw some meat. Suggest you will try to extend the statutes of limitations for white collar crime, and stiffen the penalties.

Even if the banks are not too big, they probably do have too much power. Keep pounding away that you want to undo Citizens’ United. To limit the power of the 1%., we need to undo the Citizen’s United Supreme Court Decision, and reinstate campaign finance reforms.

It is clearly wrong that a black, 16 year old, teenager gets three years in jail for shoplifting a backpack, when corporate CEO’s and CFO’s get little fines to be paid by their shareholders for stealing or mishandling millions of dollars, sometimes billions, and also get golden parachutes for severance. My god, there is anger out there for you to connect with and channel! Tell some stories, show some anger, but don’t yell.

I saw a clip of you yelling at your crowd one night, and was not impressed. You do not sound so good when yelling. You are a great talker, it is OK to use your beautiful voice. You are smart, sophisticated, and humorous. Don’t be afraid to be these things.

Here is something I wrote months ago for you, Hillary, and your campaign:

I am confident you can handle Bernie Sanders, try some new lines like: “I don’t promise you a revolution, I promise you real solutions, and progressive evolution. If you want me to lead a progressive revolution, give me a House of Representatives and a Senate controlled by progressive Democrats.

The world is threatened by severe environmental changes. The world will thank you if you sweep the climate change deniers out of the way so we can address serious problems with solutions supported by science.

Many analysts say that the House can’t be won back in one election. The progressive Revolution is easy to promise, but difficult to deliver. What my leadership and administration will be able to deliver, realistically, is incremental and achievable improvements on the progressive agenda. With a green Democratic House and Senate, we could have a revolution of economic restoration through sustainable growth and clean energy development.”

 

The best way to beat Bernie Sanders is with love and appreciation. You want his supporters, but you will be able to replace his most radical ones with centrist Republicans and Independents who support a US role in the world, international trade and action against climate change.

Old note: You should support Glass-Steagall, or explain in detail why you do not need to. You need to remind the public that you took speaking fees from big banks to support your family and work to rebuild the middle class, and so you could support the extraordinary work of the Clinton foundation. Cite sources for why we shouldn’t break up the big banks, like Steve Eisman, and his brilliant column in the NYT, who wrote, “The main problems were not the size of the banks, but their leverage ratios, which Dodd Frank has fixed.” You told me in a debate that Dodd Frank was good, but not why it was good.

Old note: Please review Maureen Dowd’s op-ed of Feb 6, ’16, “Hillary Battles Bernie Sanders.” 75% is useful. Remember the wisdom of the Toyota Motor Company using Bell Labs quality management, Treat every complaint as a nugget of gold. Learn from every mistake.” She remarks that the yelling doesn’t work. This leads to the next section. You can not collect good information if you do not make it easy to send it in.

Web and Email Communication issues.

After one debate, I tried to send some speech writing advice to Hillary Clinton or her campaign, but her website was like a lock box. I couldn’t get any email to use, so I never even typed up the advice till now.

I was appalled by the Hillary Clinton’s web site, which forced you to give your email and then a donation, just to get to the data on the website. It was heavy handed, aggressive and stupid. Thank god that part has been fixed.

There is still something wrong with Hillary’s electronic communications team. Her campaign email communications have bad breath, and are managed by insensitive people. You do not impress your donors and fans by exposing them to constant email abuse. Right around Christmas, 2015, I sent in $25. In the next 30 days I got approximately 30 emails begging me hysterically for more. I’m unemployed, or on unpaid book leave, and have two kids in college. I was embarrassed for Hillary and her thuggish email fundraisers.

Change your website, so it invites comments of any length, and allows writers to send in an email to an address where intelligent workers will read, sort and respond, while someone trustworthy is mining the advice for you . You and your staff appear to be cut off from the public. One local female corporate lawyer said at a party, “Hillary’s campaign is in a closed bubble. They don’t listen or respond, unless you hit them over the head with a 2 by 4. (Marilyn Fagelson). She and I agree that your PR apparatus appears to be stupid:   as in insensitive, and hermetically sealed.

Your supporters should be allowed to email your campaign with a message, without filling out an obnoxious form each time. Registration should be an option, not a requirement. I have sent in snippets from your off-putting site, and never received a single acknowledgement. I just get, “Please chip in,”  over and over, and “Can’t you come up with $19 or more today?”  No wonder most young people prefer Bernie Sanders. They can’t come up with another $19 every time they communicate with you or make a donation. Invite the public to join your team with volunteer activities, money or both. Show some respect to those who feel they can’t afford another $19. Remember, you are expected to show empathy.

Please  continue to be wonderful and fabulous, and have someone clean up your campaign,  email abuse, fundraising fiasco. I think you should add David Lindsay and Kathleen Schomaker to your active political consultants to do that very job.

There are important pieces to mine, for changing the negative media messages, and to fight false narratives: The New York Times endorsement,  Hillary for the Democratic Nomination  on 1/30/2016! And Is Hillary Clinton Dishonest? The “Crooked Hillary” narrative is fundamentally unfair. nytimes.com|By Nicholas Kristof   (Posted on April 25, 2016 .

Sincerely,

David Lindsay Jr.