‘First They Came For …’ – by Charles Blow – NYT

It is no longer sufficient to brand Donald Trump as abnormal, a designation that is surely applicable but that falls significantly short in registering the magnitude of the menace.The standard nomenclature of normal politics must be abandoned. What we are witnessing is nothing less than an assault on the fundamentals of the country itself: on our legacy institutions and our sense of protocol, decency and honesty.In any other circumstance, we might likely write this off as the trite protestations of a man trapped in a toddler’s temperament, full of meltdowns, magical thinking and make believe. But this man’s vindictiveness and mendacity are undergirded by the unequaled power of the American president, and as such he has graduated on the scale of power from toddler to budding tyrant.”

Bravo, excellent op-ed. Continue to Blow-  Charles. I’m so sick and exhausted regarding this president that I do not want to read anymore about Donald Trump, and his slow demolition of our country. And yet,  the great writers find more to say, and better ways to say what we already know. You are a strong member of a strong team. Just this week, Frank Bruni discribed how Trump is stalking Hillary Clinton. Ross Douthat explained why Trump’s turning on Session is proof that Trump is an incompetent idiot. Your not so easy to summarize. Perhaps, we had better stop Trump, before he destroys our democracy. Hitler did it, and it does happen, when enough people refuse to speak up and fight back.

Here is a comment I enjoyed.

Bruce Rozenblit is a trusted commenter Kansas City,MO 4 hours ago

But yet!

In spite of all of Trump’s transgressions, his defiling of the Office of the Presidency, his non stop lies and daily demonstrations of serious mental illness and steadily advancing dementia, millions cling to him as if he we the second coming. Why is that?

1) Because these people want a second coming and chose Trump. He is their deliverer.

2) Because his supporters are now faced with the possibility that they have all been conned, duped and defrauded. As one woman told the press, “I wouldn’t have voted for him if he was an idiot.” She concludes that Trump is therefore not an idiot because she voted for him. In other words, rejecting Trump means she has to reject herself, her own judgement. She can’t do that so she continues to support Trump. His supporters have boxed themselves in.

3) They have been bribed with jobs that will not return. Low and unskilled factory jobs are gone forever. Automation has killed them off. Any new plants that are built must be highly automated to compete in the global markets. This new Foxconn plant that will be built (with the assistance of $3 billion in tax giveaways) may employ several thousand, but many if not most of those jobs will be high tech, skilled and highly skilled.

This is how dictators rise to power. They promise the downtrodden the world, things they cannot deliver. They fall for con and turn a blind eye to the transgressions. Then it’s too late. Ask Jeff Sessions about it.
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A Trump Tower of Absolute Folly – by Ross Douthat – NYT

“Donald Trump’s campaign against his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in which he is seemingly attempting to insult and humiliate and tweet-shame Sessions into resignation, is an insanely stupid exercise. It is a multitiered tower of political idiocy, a sublime monument to the moronic, a gaudy, gleaming, Ozymandian folly that leaves many of the president’s prior efforts in its shade.

Let us walk through the levels of stupidity one by one. First there is the policy level — generally the lowest, least important in Trumpworld, but still worth exploring.

To the extent that any figure in the Trump administration both embodies “Trumpism” and seems capable of executing its policy ambitions, it is Sessions, who is using his office to strictly enforce immigration laws and pursue an old-school law-and-order agenda.”

Brilliant Ross Douthat, just brilliant.

Here is a top comment I found interesting>


Connecticut 6 hours ago

I’m a board-certified psychiatrist who has worked extensively in the forensic arena. I have evaluated many people for age-related mental compromise. I have watched videos of Trump from years ago (interviewed by Chris Matthews and many others) and watched and listened to him over the last few years. It’s clear to me that Trump’s cognition and judgment have progressively declined, and his utterances are those of a compromised individual. Your article amply demonstrates Trump’s lack of logic, poor judgment (defined as the ability to foresee the consequences of one’s actions), and his poor impulse control. His immature and mindless blather is filled with moment-to-moment contradictions and semantic mantras of repetition (“Believe me” or “beautiful”) indicating an inability to think and speak coherently. While he has not had a major “stroke” I am certain he has not-so-subtle indications of vascular compromise that would show up on brain scans. Aside from his severe personality defects, he is cognitively and emotionally compromised by virtue of organic brain changes, and the 25th Amendment would be an appropriate remedy.

Self-Driving People- Enabled by Airbnb – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

“Roughly a decade ago two new “platform” companies burst out of California. The one that dominated the headlines was called Uber, which created a platform where with one touch of your phone you could summon a cab, direct the driver, pay the driver and rate the driver. It grew like a weed — as all kinds of people became taxi drivers in their spare time. But Uber made clear that its ultimate goal was self-driving cars.

The other was called Airbnb. It created a trust platform so efficient that people all over the world were ready to use it to rent out their spare bedrooms to total strangers. Airbnb is growing so fast that it’s now adding the equivalent of one entire Hilton hotel chain’s worth of rooms for rent each year.

But while Uber aspires to self-driving cars, Airbnb has a different goal: enabling what I call self-driving people.”

Donald Trump’s Dominatrix – by Frank Bruni – NYT

“At this point I think it’s fair to say that Donald Trump has gone beyond taunting and demonizing Hillary Clinton to a realm of outright obsession.

He’s stalking her.

He can’t stop tweeting about her. Can’t stop muttering about her. On Monday he addressed tens of thousands of boy scouts at their Jamboree, and who should pop up in his disjointed thoughts and disheveled words? Clinton. He dinged her, yet again, for having ignored voters in Michigan, which he won.

The Jamboree, mind you, was in West Virginia.”

Well done Frank Bruni. Here are the two top comments, I suppoort. It is with horror and admiration that I note that Christine McMorrow posted at 6 AM. That is serious commenting.

Christine McM is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 4 hours ago

“He can no more retire her than Miss Havisham, in “Great Expectations,” could put away her wedding dress.”

Oh Frank! What an image! I guess one could also call him the Ancient Mariner, with Clinton as his albatross.

I too have pondered why on earth he keeps dragging that poor woman out on the stage with him, to shadow box when he runs out of states to crow about.

Maybe she represents his own self doubts that yes, she was Door #1 and polls had her winning, but isn’t he wonderful for surprising the world?

But man, his relitigating and reliving the campaign is getting old. It’s more than a nervous tic or campaign Tourette’s syndrome. It’s downright frightening.

He does it because he’s jumping on the nation’s collective hate for all things Clinton, especially HER. You see, for Trump women exist mainly to reflect his glory–and Clinton did everything but.

She represented every female teacher, relative, or authority figure that wouldn’t let Donald get away with lying. In the debates she drove him mad with her mastery of detail.

But let’s face it, the man is sick. And manipulative. She’s a convenient foil because in the end she’s fun to kick around and isn’t there to taunt him as she did during the debates.

Or is she? His obsession with Hillary Clinton shows she’s still renting space in his head, reminding her of every female that knew all the answers.

They say that adults keep reliving high school. In Donald’s case it may be grammar school.

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Socrates is a trusted commenter Verona NJ 2 hours ago

“Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts? Right?” Mr. Trump said to tens of thousands of children on Monday.

Who the hell begins a speech to children with a shout-out to ‘hell’ ?

TRUMP continued: “Secretary Tom Price is also here today. Dr. Price still lives the Scout oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our secretary of Health and Human Services. And he’s doing a great job. And hopefully he’s going to gets the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us.

(APPLAUSE by Boy Scout crowd)

Boy Scout crowd chant: “USA! USA! USA!”
Who the hell propagandizes tens of thousands of young boys to hate a constructive health care program that gave health insurance to 20 million Americans ?

Who the hell turns a Boy Scout Jamboree into a Nuremberg Rally from the 1930’s ?

Who the hell tells a crowd of young boys “what do you think the chances are that this incredible massive crowd, record setting, is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero? The fake media will say….”President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.” That’s some — that is some crowd. Fake media. Fake news.”

Who the hell has the biggest Presidential Inferiority Complex in United States history ?

Who the hell voted to decorate the Oval Office with a Grand Old Psychopath who took a sacred boyhood oath of honor with his bathroom mirror ?

Reply 668 Recommended

Population Growth – Letter to the NYT by Philip Warburg

To the Editor:“Fixing a Major Piece of the Climate Puzzle” (news article, July 14) identifies a major and growing contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions: the use of hydrofluorocarbons in air-conditioning. But the solution isn’t simply to switch to a refrigerant less damaging to our environment.

Durwood Zaelke of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development is briefly quoted referring to population growth as one of the factors leading us to greater reliance on air-conditioning and, more broadly, to accelerated global warming. He’s right. Population growth will have a big effect on our global environment, yet we seldom face that issue head-on.The United Nations has just updated its “World Population Prospects,” and the numbers are stunning. Under a slow-growth scenario, we will have 9.6 billion people on this planet by 2100. On the high end, there will be 13.2 billion of us — a 76 percent increase above today’s 7.5 billion.

It’s time to get serious about encouraging policies at home and abroad that stand a chance of steering us toward the lower end of those United Nations projections. Family planning, birth control and voluntary abortion aren’t dirty words; they’re keys to our environmental survival.”

PHILIP WARBURG, NEWTON, MASS.The writer is a nonresident senior fellow at Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy.

It’s High Time for Ticks- Which Are Spreading Diseases Farther – The New York Times

“With the expansion of the suburbs and a push to conserve wooded areas, deer and mice populations are thriving. They provide ample blood meals for ticks and help spread the pests to new regions.

Originally from the Southeast, the lone star tick, for example, is heading north; it can now be found in 1,300 counties in 39 states. The blacklegged tick, also called the deer tick, is expanding its territory, too. In a recent study, Dr. Eisen reported a nearly 45 percent increase since 1998 in the number of counties with blacklegged ticks.”

‘Make It So’: ‘Star Trek’ and Its Debt to Revolutionary Socialism – The New York Times

“H. G. Wells’s foundational work of political science fiction, “The Time Machine,” predicted a future in which a small utopia of sprightly elites is kept running by a subclass that lives below the ground and is reduced to bestial violence. This prediction, carried to a horrifically logical extent, represented the intense wealth disparity of the Victorian England in which Wells wrote the novel. Judging from the major political narratives of the fictions of our era, films like “The Hunger Games,” “Elysium” and “Snowpiercer,” the certainty of a future rendered increasingly barbarous by class division remains essentially the same.

But this was not always the case. In 1920, Wells met Vladimir Lenin, a fellow world-building visionary who planned “the inauguration of an age of limitless experiment” to rebuild and industrialize his country from ruination by years of war, abolishing class society in the process. Wells was impressed by the pragmatic revolutionary and his planned “utopia of electricians.” “

The Kook- ‘the Mooch’ and the Loot – by Charles Blow – NYT

“Then there was the Washington Post report: “Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut” Mueller’s Russia investigation, “building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.”

The Post continued: “Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people.”

Chuck Schumer: A Better Deal for American Workers – The New York Times

“. . . First, we’re going to increase people’s pay. Second, we’re going to reduce their everyday expenses. And third, we’re going to provide workers with the tools they need for the 21st-century economy.

Over the next several months, Democrats will lay out a series of policies that, if enacted, will make these three things a reality. We’ve already proposed creating jobs with a $1 trillion infrastructure plan; increasing workers’ incomes by lifting the minimum wage to $15; and lowering household costs by providing paid family and sick leave.”

Nice op-ed by Chuck Schumer. The comments tear it to shreds, perhaps unfairly. He might be right to not champion a single payer health system, since the country is so divided on the subject. Is it smart not to mention climate change?

I agree with commentators frustrated at the lack of mention for even a plan to overturn Citizen’s United, but in Schumer’s defense, you have to capture both houses to control future Supreme court appointments.

If only I had a crystal ball. Is it better to run by following the crowd, like Trump, telling people what they want to hear, right or wrong, or to lead, and reach for a mandate worth fighting for. The answer is probably neither. You must pick your battles, and cave when necessary. You have to want to win as badly as your opponents,even if you won’t stoop to their level of dirty tricks.

I wonder, if the Democrats announced they would support what ever horrible health plan the Republicans put forth, just to let them show the country the value of their ideas and leadership, what would happen? They would have to insist that the reforms take place a year before the next election. Wouldn’t the Republican health plan help sweep the Republicans out of office in the next election?

California Shows How States Can Lead on Climate Change – The New York Times

“California, which has long been a pioneer in fighting climate change, renewed its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions last week by extending, to 2030, its cap-and-trade program, which effectively puts a price on emissions. It’s a bold, bipartisan commitment that invites similarly ambitious policies from other states, and it sends a strong signal to the world that millions of Americans regard with utmost seriousness a threat the Trump administration refuses to acknowledge, let alone reckon with.”

“Attention now turns to the Northeast, where nine states, including New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts, are part of what is known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which, like California’s effort, is a market-based cap-and-trade program that goes beyond state boundaries. So far, R.G.G.I., as it known for short, has helped reduce emissions from power plants in the region by 40 percent between 2008 and 2016, according to the Acadia Center, a research and public interest group. States are now negotiating the future of the program beyond 2020.”