The Russians Were Involved. But It Wasn’t About Collusion. – by Daniel Hoffman – NYT

“I know all this from having spent much of my 30-year government career, including with the C.I.A., observing Soviet, and then Russian, intelligence operations. I came to realize that President Vladimir Putin, who spent his formative years in the K.G.B., the Soviet Union’s main intelligence agency, and served as director of its successor agency, the F.S.B., wants, as much as anything, to destabilize the American political process. For all his talk of desiring friendly relations, Mr. Putin favors a state of animosity between our two nations. By characterizing the United States and NATO as Russia’s enemies, he can attack within his own borders what threatens him the most — the ideals of liberty, freedom and democracy, of which the United States has been a defender.

This background is necessary for understanding the real meaning of the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between Kremlin-connected Russians and three representatives of Donald Trump’s campaign: his son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort, then the campaign manager. The evidence that has emerged from this meeting strongly suggests that this was not an effort to establish a secure back channel for collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign but an influence operation with one simple objective: to undermine the presidential election.”


Here is a comment I support.


Eugene, Oregon 23 hours ago

The Russian government may not have intended to collude, but the Trump campaign obviously did. They attended a meeting to receive information from the Russian government. They must have anticipated that more information could be forthcoming. That’s collusion. Impeachment of Trump is the only way to keep Putin from winning.


Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski- the Health Vote Heroines – by Gail Collins – NYT

“And he underestimated two Senate Republicans, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. John McCain’s “no” vote was the high point of the drama, but Collins and Murkowski were the fierce, consistent forces of resistance that gave McCain his opportunity.
My favorite moment came when Trump dispatched Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to warn Murkowski that if she continued to vote against the bill, her home state of Alaska would lose stuff it wanted from the federal government.”

Sally Yates: Protect the Justice Department From President Trump – The New York Times

“The spectacle of President Trump’s efforts to humiliate the attorney general into resigning has transfixed the country. But while we are busy staring at the wreckage of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ relationship with the man he supported for the presidency, there is something more insidious happening.

The president is attempting to dismantle the rule of law, destroy the time-honored independence of the Justice Department, and undermine the career men and women who are devoted to seeking justice day in and day out, regardless of which political party is in power.”

Legal framework- roadmap needed for Việt Nam’s wind power – VietNam News

“HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam needs to develop a legal framework and feasible roadmap to turn its wind energy potential into reality, which will help to meet the country’s rapidly rising electricity demand, experts have said.

Tobias Cossen, head of GIZ’s project on supporting the up-scaling of wind power said that Việt Nam has great potential to develop wind power as the country possesses around 3,000 km of coastline with excellent wind conditions.

The Vietnamese government has approved several programmes to encourage the development of renewable energy in the country. As many as five wind farms with total capacity of almost 200MW are currently in operation. More than 50 other projects are in the construction and planning phase.”

Source: Legal framework, roadmap needed for Việt Nam’s wind power – Society – Vietnam News | Politics, Business, Economy, Society, Life, Sports – VietNam News

The Sanctimony and Sin of G.O.P. ‘Moderates’ – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“And three senators, including McCain, declared in a press conference Thursday afternoon that they would indeed vote for this “skinny reform” — but only if assured that the House would go into conference rather than simply passing it. That is, they were willing to vote for something they know is terrible policy, as long as they were assured that it wouldn’t actually become law. The dignity of the Senate, 21st-century style.You might ask, why not just vote no and try to come up with actually good policy? Because, as they also know, Republicans don’t have any good policies to offer, so a bum’s rush is the only way they can pass anything. And, until that last-minute vote, McCain, who has demanded a return to “regular order” in the Senate, turns out to be perfectly willing to help the bums get rushed.”


According to this comment by Socrates, John McCain redeemed himself at the end.


is a trusted commenter Verona NJ 8 hours ago

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
Susan Collins of Maine
John McCain of Arizona

Three moderates from three corners of America went out and prevented an American healthcare massacre.

They deserve our thanks and applause.

As for the 49 Republican Senators who voted blindly for a healthcare insurance massacre of the American people, I hope the truth gets out to all Americans that they were actively trying to hurt, maim and kill their fellow countrymen, women and children through healthcare abandonment and they are forever shamed and shunned for their immorality, sadism and lack of basic humanity.

America’s healthcare system is an international disgrace and the greatest healthcare rip-off in the world…. and they proposed to fix it by destroying the ACA and replacing it with tax cuts for the rich ?

What is it like to have no conscience, no humanity and no human decency ?

What is it like to vote for your fellow Americans to ‘drop dead’ ?

What is it like to sponsor a GOP Death Panel for the poor, the sick and the injured ?

Only in America – only in Republistan and in the morally sick and twisted Trumpland created by Republican ignorance, greed and cruelty – did they proudly trying to kill their own citizens.

The Make America Sick Again campaign is a failure, thanks to three moderate Republicans, but what about those 49 sickos who voted for it ?

Eternal shame and damnation is forever theirs.

And eternal thanks to President Obama and the Democrats for Making America Great Again.

The Climate Lab That Sits Empty – By Hillary  Rosner – NYT

“The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration first sought funding for this program without success in 2012 and is trying yet again this year. But there seems to be little hope that lawmakers will finally provide the roughly $5 million for the machine and attendant research program. Worse, the whole national greenhouse-gas monitoring program may be at risk, if Congress approves President Trump’s proposed cuts to climate science.

Losing that program would be catastrophic to the world’s ability to track and address climate change. The monitoring system, called the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network and run by NOAA, is the most extensive network of its kind. It also provides the scale against which every other international institution calibrates its greenhouse gas measurements.”

No Insurance- but for 3 Days- Health Care Is Within Reach – by Nicholas Kristof – NYT

The patients swamped the county fairground here for a three-day health extravaganza of free care organized by Remote Area Medical, an aid group that holds these events across the country. This one involved about 1,400 volunteers serving 2,300 men and women who needed care of every kind.Some patients camped out for three days at the fairground gate before the clinic opened to make sure they would be treated.

Liu Xiaobo and the Decline of China – by Brett Stephens – NYT

“The core mistake is to assume that values aren’t inputs. “The process of abandoning the ‘philosophy of struggle’ was also a process of gradual weakening of the enemy mentality and elimination of the psychology of hatred,” Liu wrote in a courtroom statement that would become his Nobel lecture (delivered in absentia).

“It was this process,” he added, “that provided a relaxed climate, at home and abroad, for Reform and Opening Up, gentle and humane grounds for restoring mutual affection among people and peaceful coexistence among those with different interests and values, thereby providing encouragement in keeping with humanity for the bursting forth of creativity.”

Creativity requires freedom. Ideas need room to compete and collide, free of social and legal penalties. As economies approach the creative frontier, the need for freedom expands commensurately. The gap between available information and necessary information needs to be as narrow as possible. Much of what is economically necessary information is also political information, making censorship and repression incompatible with the requirements of a dynamic economy.

Liu understood that the Chinese model of economic modernization without political reform was destined to fail: The insight is at the heart of the Charter 08 manifesto that landed him in prison. “The decline of the current system has reached the point where change is no longer optional,” it warned.As if to prove it really didn’t get the point of Liu’s teachings, Beijing moved quickly to censor stories about him and expressions of sympathy on the internet. But at least one pointed anonymous message got out to the Wall Street Journal reporter Nicole Hong. China boosters, take note:

You want to bury him

bury into the dirt

but you forget

he is a seed.”

Wow- Trump Can’t Terminate – by Gail Collins – NYT

Gail Collins today is priceless. For everything else, there is Mastercard.

“Trump appears completely unaware that he’s beginning to look like the worst terminator in history. Introducing Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, at an event this week, the president jovially said that Price had better get the health care bill passed through Congress, “otherwise, I’ll say: ‘Tom, you’re fired.’ I’ll get somebody.”

This was at that Boy Scouts jamboree when Trump did such a great job of impersonating your Uncle Fred Who Gets Drunk at Family Dinners. How many of you think the Boy Scouts have been yearning for the day when the president would come to their big event, tell the teens that their federal government is a “sewer,” recount a long and incoherent story about a real estate developer who went off to make whoopee on his yacht, and brag incessantly about having won the election? On the plus side, Trump did not misrepresent the Scout position on Hezbollah.”

To understand this brilliantly funny last line, you will have to read all of Gail’s column.