How the Clinton-Trump Race Got Close – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

“Monday’s presidential debate was a blowout, surely the most one-sided confrontation in American political history. Hillary Clinton was knowledgeable, unflappable and — dare we say it? — likable. Donald Trump was ignorant, thin-skinned and boorish.Yet on the eve of the debate, polls showed a close race. How was that possible?

After all, the candidates we saw Monday night were the same people they’ve been all along. Mrs. Clinton’s grace and even humor under pressure were fully apparent during last year’s Benghazi hearing. Mr. Trump’s whiny braggadocio has been obvious every time he opens his mouth without reading from a teleprompter.So how could someone like Mr. Trump have been in striking position for the White House? (He may still be there, since we have yet to see what effect the debate had on the polls.)

Part of the answer is that a lot more Americans than we’d like to imagine are white nationalists at heart. Indeed, implicit appeals to racial hostility have long been at the core of Republican strategy; Mr. Trump became the G.O.P. nominee by saying outright what his opponents tried to convey with dog whistles.”

Source: How the Clinton-Trump Race Got Close – The New York Times

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The Age of Reaction – by David Brooks – The New York Times

“In the normal telling, history is driven by visionaries and revolutionaries. If you studied history in school you probably plowed through book after book about this revolution or that one — the American Revolution or the French, the industrial revolution or the information one. In the normal telling of the past, events are driven by revolutionaries, and the few reactionaries who stand in the way get run over.

But really, history is often a volley between revolutionaries (who take control in some periods) and reactionaries (who drive events in others). Today, as the Columbia political theorist Mark Lilla points out in his compelling new book, “The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction,” reactionaries are in the saddle.

Reactionaries, whether angry white Trumpians, European nationalists, radical Islamists or left-wing anti-globalists, are loud, self-confident and on the march.”

Source: The Age of Reaction – The New York Times

Thank you David Brooks for a challenging piece of writing. You have a masterly way of skating around and making sense. I am struck by an unexpected similarity between the right wing bible thumping reactionaries behind Trump, and my own crowd of depressed, but ardent, environmentalists. We have are own fear of apocalypse, or ending of life as we know it. It is not from too many people of color, but, of just too many damned people. We are looking at population growth going from 2 to 7.5 billion in just a hundred years, and the destruction of 50% or 85% of the current species on the planet in the next 100 years. We are the meteor, we are the Anthropocene. So we environmentalists have an apocalyptic view, just like our Trump supporting brethren.

Want to Make Ethical Purchases? Stop Buying Illegal Drugs -By MARIO BERLANGA – The New York Times

“Many of my friends and classmates here in the United States care about making the world a better place, and they try to make purchases that reflect their values. Some have become vegetarians to save animals or fight climate change. Others buy cruelty-free cosmetics, fair-trade coffee or conflict-free diamonds.

Yet I’ve noticed at parties and festivals that some of these same people pop Ecstasy or snort cocaine. They think this drug use is a victimless crime. It’s not. Follow the supply chain and you’ll find a trail of horrific violence.In Mexico, the official death toll from the past decade’s drug trade stands at over 185,000, with many of the dead innocent bystanders. And these tallies don’t include the thousands of people who have disappeared, including four members of my family who were kidnapped and never seen again. We were deprived of our loved ones without explanation, without even their bodies to cry over.

I was born and raised in a midsize town in northern Mexico. As a child, I biked and skated in the streets. But these days, kids aren’t allowed to play outside. Everyone has a heartbreaking story of how the drug trade has damaged his life.”

Source: Want to Make Ethical Purchases? Stop Buying Illegal Drugs – The New York Times

As I’ve said before, if we legalized all addictive drugs, just like we legalized alcohol after prohibition failed, the extraodinary profits from an illegal trade would disappear, and so would the armies of armed thugs to protect the illegal markets.

An Ugly Campaign, Condensed Into One Debate – The New York Times

Inconvenient News Worldwide

We watched the debate, and Hillary impressed us greatly, as expected. Donald turned our stomach, as expected.

I decided after reading the editorial below, not to post it. I had posted the NYT editorials endorsing Hillary, and condemning Donald, yesterday on blog 1, Inconvenient News.  Then I read this comment, which I had to post:

Yuri Asian

Bay Area4 hours ago

“This was just surreal.

If self-medicating works the proof it can be found in Trump’s deflated fans who proclaim his victory.

My mom — almost 100 now — is Chinese from a generation taught to defer to men and view unfavorably women who achieve prominence. In her mind and from her culture there’s a natural order and women aren’t part of it. That’s despite her degree from St. John’s University in Shanghai, regarded as the “Harvard of China.” Despite being a single immigrant woman, raising two sons while…

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Progressive Family Values – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

“Here’s what happens every election cycle: pundits demand that politicians offer the country new ideas. Then, if and when a candidate actually does propose innovative policies, the news media pays little attention, chasing scandals or, all too often, fake scandals instead. Remember the extensive coverage last month, when Hillary Clinton laid out an ambitious mental health agenda? Neither do I. For that matter, even the demand for new ideas is highly questionable, since there are plenty of good old ideas that haven’t been put into effect. Most advanced countries implemented some form of guaranteed health coverage decades if not generations ago. Does this mean that we should dismiss Obamacare as no big deal, since it’s just implementing a tired old agenda? The 20 million Americans who gained health coverage would beg to differ.”

Source: Progressive Family Values – The New York Times

Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President – The New York Times

“When Donald Trump began his improbable run for president 15 months ago, he offered his wealth and television celebrity as credentials, then slyly added a twist of fearmongering about Mexican “rapists” flooding across the Southern border.

From that moment of combustion, it became clear that Mr. Trump’s views were matters of dangerous impulse and cynical pandering rather than thoughtful politics. Yet he has attracted throngs of Americans who ascribe higher purpose to him than he has demonstrated in a freewheeling campaign marked by bursts of false and outrageous allegations, personal insults, xenophobic nationalism, unapologetic sexism and positions that shift according to his audience and his whims.

Now here stands Mr. Trump, feisty from his runaway Republican primary victories and ready for the first presidential debate, scheduled for Monday night, with Hillary Clinton. It is time for others who are still undecided, and perhaps hoping for some dramatic change in our politics and governance, to take a hard look and see Mr. Trump for who he is. They have an obligation to scrutinize his supposed virtues as a refreshing counterpolitician. Otherwise, they could face the consequences of handing the White House to a man far more consumed with himself than with the nation’s well-being.”

Source: Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President – The New York Times

Hillary Clinton for President – The New York Times

“In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate — our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.)

But this endorsement would also be an empty exercise if it merely affirmed the choice of Clinton supporters. We’re aiming instead to persuade those of you who are hesitating to vote for Mrs. Clinton — because you are reluctant to vote for a Democrat, or for another Clinton, or for a candidate who might appear, on the surface, not to offer change from an establishment that seems indifferent and a political system that seems broken.Running down the other guy won’t suffice to make that argument. The best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump.The best case is, instead, about the challenges this country faces, and Mrs. Clinton’s capacity to rise to them.”

Source: Hillary Clinton for President – The New York Times

I have been listening to Hillary’s book, “Living History,” about her life from childhood, through 8 years as the first lady. She has an amazing story. The Whitewater investigtion, with the Office of the Independent Prosecutor, Ken Starr, went on for about 6 years, cost about that much in millions of dollars, and uncovered zero.

A Formula to Make Bail More Fair – The New York Times

“The group Equal Justice Under Law sued the city last year, arguing that the old approach to bail violated equal protection under the Constitution by keeping poor defendants in jail while letting wealthier ones accused of the same crime pay their way out.

The new scoring system, developed by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, uses nine factors to estimate risk, including a defendant’s age, whether the charge is a violent offense, prior convictions and previous failures to appear in court. It does not take into account race or gender, and judges still have the final say in setting bail.”

Source: A Formula to Make Bail More Fair – The New York Times

The Shady History of Big Sugar – The New York Times

“Charlottesville, Va. — On Monday, an article in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that in the 1960s, the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists to publish a study blaming fat and cholesterol for coronary heart disease while largely exculpating sugar. This study, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in 1967, helped set the agenda for decades of public health policy designed to steer Americans into low-fat foods, which increased carbohydrate consumption and exacerbated our obesity epidemic.This revelation rightly reminds us to view industry-funded nutrition science with skepticism and to continue to demand transparency in scientific research. But ending Big Sugar’s hold on the American diet will require a broader understanding of the various ways in which the industry, for 150 years, has shaped government policy in order to fuel our sugar addiction.

Today’s sugar industry is a product of the 19th century, when the key federal sugar policy was not a dietary guideline but a tariff on sugar imports. In the decades after the Civil War, Americans’ per capita consumption of sugar more than doubled, from 32 pounds in 1870 to 80 pounds in 1910. As a result, the government got hooked on sugar, too: By 1880, sugar accounted for a sixth of the federal budget.”

Source: The Shady History of Big Sugar – The New York Times

This article is important. The comments are helpful, such as:
Wendy Fleet Mountain View CA September 17, 2016

“Having fought (and lost) to get sugar in teaspoons on the new Nutrition Label, I have a keen sense of the power of FIC aka Food Industrial Complex. The Label COULD say 28g/7t, and you would then know at a glance that your adorable tiny strawberry yogurt has 7 teaspoons of sugar in it — an absurd & appalling amount YOU would never add yourself. Or that your Big Gulp has 23 teaspoons of sugar in One Drink you drink in 10 minutes. Or that your Fab Healthy Coconut Pomegranate Kiwi Healthy Healthy has 8 teaspoons of sugar in that single healthy healthy drink.

They would change ANYthing on that Label as long as they did not have to clarify/expose sugar. NO one in America gets grams at a glance, so they guzzle in peace — until they fall over dead or into a long grim illness. [Yes yes, I know a subset of seldom-shopping nerds does grok grams, but out of 300 people I asked, one person knew that there are 4 grams to 1 teaspoon.] The ‘Health’ Industry is entirely complicit. Sugar is the Unholy Grail.”

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Will the Left Survive the Millennials? – The New York Times

“Midway through my opening address for the Brisbane Writers Festival earlier this month, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, a Sudanese-born Australian engineer and 25-year-old memoirist, walked out. Her indignant comments about the event might have sunk into obscurity, along with my speech, had they not been republished by The Guardian. Twenty minutes in, this audience member apparently turned to her mother: “ ‘Mama, I can’t sit here,’ I said, the corners of my mouth dragging downwards. ‘I cannot legitimize this.’ ” She continued: “The faces around me blurred. As my heels thudded against the grey plastic of the flooring, harmonizing with the beat of the adrenaline pumping through my veins, my mind was blank save for one question. ‘How is this happening?’ ”

I’m asking the same thing.”

Source: Will the Left Survive the Millennials? – The New York Times

Kathleen Schomaker: