Here’s Another Fine Mess They’ve Gotten Us Into – The New York Times

“Once again, Americans are being treated to a Capitol Hill cliffhanger over a government shutdown. The themes and plot twists differ each time, but this is a formulaic drama that reveals Congress’s bipartisan failure to perform its most basic task: to fund the federal government.

This battle isn’t over the 2018 budget; lawmakers haven’t gotten there yet. It’s a fight over short-term legislation to extend current funding levels and avert a government shutdown at midnight on Friday.One could almost — but not really — feel sorry for Republicans. This is a mess President Trump created, and Republicans are tiptoeing around him trying to fashion a temporary fix that he won’t demolish with a tantrum or a tweet.”

Yes. And here is the top comment, which I recommend:

Bruce Rozenblit is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 13 hours ago
What do you expect when you have a certified cognitively perfect man in the White House who is also a stable genius? What do you expect when the most physically and mentally fit man ever to walk the earth gets his jollies from creating chaos and disrupting the political process? What do you expect when a TV celebrity views the world as a ratings contest and consequently does whatever he can to stay on top of the ratings.

Look, if you want real government that functions, elect real politicians that want and know how to govern. If you want results, elect people that are solidly connected to reality and don’t live inside a fantasy Fox News bubble world.

I you want compromise, don’t hold young immigrants and sick poor kids hostage for political advantage. Gangsters do stuff like that. Picking on the weakest and using them as pawns is not governing. It’s extortion. That’s why we have a policy to never negotiate with terrorists. In America, we don’t do business that way. At least we didn’t before Trump and the Republicans came to town.

872 Recommended

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Showdown Vote in Senate on Friday With Government Shutdown at Stake – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The Senate is heading toward a showdown vote on Friday on legislation to keep the government open past midnight, and Democrats appear ready to block it, gambling that a weakened President Trump will have to offer concessions in the face of a looming government crisis.

After the House cleared stopgap spending legislation on Thursday that would keep the government funded through Feb. 16, Senate Republicans are set to test whether Democrats will make good on their promise to move the government toward a shutdown. But Democrats appear intent on securing concessions that would, among other things, protect from deportation young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, increase domestic spending, aid Puerto Rico and bolster the government’s response to the opioid epidemic.

And they hope that Mr. Trump, scorched by the firestorm prompted by his vulgar, racially tinged comments on Africa last week, will be forced back to the negotiating table.”

David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT Pending Approval
Democrats should not participate in shutting down the govenment. The GOP will never let the public forget about it. Shutting down the govetnment over DACA, which is playing a major identity politics card, is political madness, even if it is morally and economically correct. Democrats, don’t pander to your base, when you want to own the center. In that sin, you mimic the Republicans, who have dishonored themselves and the country, by ignoring or obfuscating the meddling by Russia in our elections, and by turning the EPA against its own mission of protecting the environment, and of protecting Americans and all people and species from life-threatening pollution.
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David Lindsay Jr. blogs at The TaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Prosecutors Had the Wrong Man. They Prosecuted Him Anyway. – The New York Times

“In the robbery, kidnapping and rape that began in the French Quarter of New Orleans on April 6, 1992, much of the evidence pointed to a man named Lester Jones.He fit the description of the attacker down to his round-rimmed glasses. His car looked like the perpetrator’s. The rape took place near the housing project where he lived. And after the police arrested him on suspicion of other crimes in the French Quarter that same month, they found jewelry from the robbery in his possession.

Yet the Orleans Parish district attorney’s office chose to arrest a different man, 19-year-old Robert Jones — no relation — for the crime. Mr. Jones not only was convicted, but spent more than 23 years in jail before being cleared of those crimes and a murder he did not commit.On Tuesday, Mr. Jones sued, charging that prosecutors had deliberately and repeatedly covered up evidence that would have undermined the case against him. More than that, he charged that he was neither the first nor the last victim of such treatment — that prosecutors had an unwritten policy of hobbling the legal defenses of accused citizens without their knowledge.

The New Orleans district attorney’s office has chalked up legal black marks for years, including a string of Supreme Court cases involving prosecutorial misconduct. But the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, is perhaps the most damning compilation of misconduct accusations to date.”

Here is the top comment, which I recommend, and my reply to the following comment.

Marcus

San Antonio 1 hour ago

Rather amazing that this article fails to even mention the name of the Orleans Parish District Attorney, Harry Connick Sr., who held that position from 1973 to 2003. As a longtime resident of New Orleans, I am not alone in being aware of the vast corruption that infused that office for decades, including at the very top. Your story is about cover-ups, yet by not even mentioning Connick’s name, this article itself is covering up the truth.

David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT Pending Approval
Heartbreaking and disgusting. In ancient China, acccording to Robert van Gulik, if a Magistrate sent a person to jail, concentration camp or death, and it was detemined later to be a mistake, the magistrate had to undergo the same penalty he had administered incorrectly. We should return to those good old days. There is a great comment below, about making prosecutors reveal all evidence as they receive it. Severe penalties for sending innocent people to prison would do wonders to reduce this problem.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at The TaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

WHAT A REAL PRESIDENT WAS LIKE – By Bill Moyers – Washington Post -1988

This amazing piece by Bill Moyers in 1988, was a hypertext link in the comment by Socrates regarding the Charles Blow piece on racism posted just before this post. This is the great nugget of them all.

WHILE Lyndon Baines Johnson was a man of time and place, he felt the bitter paradox of both. I was a young man on his staff in 1960 when he gave me a vivid account of that southern schizophrenia he understood and feared. We were in Tennessee. During the…
washingtonpost.com

As Shutdown Talk Rises- Trump’s Immigration Words Pose Risks for Both Parties – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT Pending Approval
“Ten Democratic senators are on the ballot this November in states that are heavily white, have little sympathy for undocumented immigrants and that Mr. Trump won. Many of these lawmakers have no desire to force a government shutdown over an immigration issue. Some of the party’s most at-risk seats are in Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia and North Dakota.

If they side with Senate Republicans, Congress could pass yet another short-term spending bill by Friday that would end the shutdown threat for now as negotiations continue.

But some Democrats considering presidential runs, such as Senators Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, are pressing Democrats to oppose any government-funding bill — no matter how short-term — that does not also protect the approximately 800,000 young immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers. Mr. Trump rescinded the program in September and gave Congress six months to enshrine its protections into law.”
These presidential hopefuls are short-sighted to let their ambition endanger the Democrats taking over the Senate and their strategy is improper. I will work against any presidential hopeful who wants to use shutting down the government as a tool of partisanship. A Government shutdown would cost the public a fortune.
If the Republicans shouldn’t use that irresponsible tool, Hello! nor should the Democrats.

Trump Is a Racist. Period. – by Charles Blow – NYT

“I find nothing more useless than debating the existence of racism, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence. It feels to me like a way to keep you fighting against the water until you drown.The debates themselves, I believe, render a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of “racism” frustratingly murky.

So, let’s strip that away here. Let’s be honest and forthright.Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.”

David Lindsay: “Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.”
Yes, true, and this is a fine op-ed, but racism is also a complicated set of discriminatory ideas or practices, that infect even many of the most scrupulously moral people, because of attitudes thalt are in the society, or are molded by difficult encounters with poor and disturbed people, who are often people from a different skin color and culture. By this larger, more complex definition, all humans have some racism, but the most moral humans try to be aware of their racism, and using intellect, try not to be ruled by racist attitudes that were part of their upbringing or general culture.

Here is the top comment, which I endorsed and recommend:

Socrates

is a trusted commenter Downtown Verona. NJ 1 day ago

“I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” said LBJ to his young aide Bill Moyers in 1960.

“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

And four years later, after LBJ signed The Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, LBJ was euphoric, but late that very night the same aide Moyers found him in a melancholy mood as he lay in bed reading the early edition of The Washington Post with headlines celebrating the day, and Moyers asked him what was troubling him.

“I think we just delivered the South to the Republican party for a long time to come,” said LBJ.

Here we sit 50-plus years later – certainly a much better and more evolved country – but still deeply cursed by LBJ’s prescience and the wretched fumes of white privilege, white supremacy and the radical rich right-wing that foments racism for political power and economic pillaging and plundering.

Trump perfectly personifies the conjoining of Republican evil – psychopathic greed hiding strategically behind the wall of psychopathic racism, fear and loathing that has served its 0.1% Randian overlords grotesquely well since 1968 to divide, conquer and shatter America into a shoddy, fake democracy of rural rubes cheering for 18th century coal as rest of the world ramps up on solar, wind, a better education and better job skills.

https://goo.gl/YpJ7pf

Grand Old Poison 2017

 

Robots Can’t Vote- but They Helped Elect Trump – by Thomas Edsall – NYT

My god, this is imortant imformation. Thank you Thomas Edsall et al.

“When you look across America to see where jobs and wages have been lost to robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation, it is the middle of the country that stands apart from the rest.The accompanying map, which was produced by Daron Acemoglu of M.I.T. and Pascual Restrepo of Boston University, shows the size and scope of the region that has borne the brunt of postindustrial modernization.”

Trump’s Threat to Democracy – by Nicholas Kristof- NYT

“Two political scientists specializing in how democracies decay and die have compiled four warning signs to determine if a political leader is a dangerous authoritarian:1. The leader shows only a weak commitment to democratic rules. 2. He or she denies the legitimacy of opponents. 3. He or she tolerates violence. 4. He or she shows some willingness to curb civil liberties or the media.“A politician who meets even one of these criteria is cause for concern,” Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, both professors at Harvard, write in their important new book, “How Democracies Die,” which will be released next week.

“With the exception of Richard Nixon, no major-party presidential candidate met even one of these four criteria over the last century,” they say, which sounds reassuring. Unfortunately, they have one update: “Donald Trump met them all.” ”

Yes. Here is the top comment I endorse:
Mike Roddy is a trusted commenter Alameda, Ca 2 hours ago
I spent a couple of years in Venezuela early in Chavez, reign, and saw the country’s decline up close. Included was utter corruption, even by South American standards, and a President who reflexively lied to the public during eight hour speeches on TV every Sunday.

The Venezuelans laughed at him and shrugged their shoulders, knowing that the elections were rigged and they were helpless. American left wingers didn’t do their homework, and somehow believed his schtick.

The lesson here is that we cannot underestimate the president, for many reasons.

1. Trump won’t decide to follow democratic norms, since he comes from a real estate background that included bribery, partnerships with criminals, and refusals to honor contracts.
2. Strengthening democratic norms is wise, but our attacks on the President must be blunt and relentless. This is not just another blowhard, but rather a dangerous, and murderous, potential dictator.
3. How can someone be expected to obey democratic norms when he doesn’t even know the words to the national anthem?
4. This is the most important: The oligarchs who back Trump- Mercer, Adelson, Koch, and the entire fossil fuel industry- also don’t care about democracy. They are waist deep in global bribery and environmental carnage. The press has been negligent in rarely making those connections. Many of Trump’s staffing decisions were dictated by them.

Your turn, New York Times. You’ve been OK so far (apart from ignoring #4), but without you we lose.

215 Recommended

Everyone in Trumpworld Knows He’s an Idiot – by Michelle Goldberg – NYT

DL: Michelle Goldberg is the newest young voice to join the NYT op-ed page as a regular. What a well written piece. I couldn’t recommend any of the top comments to this essay, since they refused to even acknowledge the gifted writer which provided the platform for their add ons, mostly a pile on.

I finally got to reading my new subscription to the Wall Street Journal the other day, and was disappointed at how hateful, scornful and arrogant the lead editorial was against the Democrats, using fake news to attack the Trump administration. The polarization between the parties is the worst I’ve seen in my lifetime, and over the Vietnam war, it was ferocious.

“Trumpworld” might be misleading. It refers to his White house senior staff, cabinet and senior advisors.

“One of the more alarming anecdotes in “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s incendiary new book about Donald Trump’s White House, involves the firing of James Comey, former director of the F.B.I. It’s not Trump’s motives that are scary; Wolff reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were “increasingly panicked” and “frenzied” about what Comey would find if he looked into the family finances, which is incriminating but unsurprising. The terrifying part is how, in Wolff’s telling, Trump sneaked around his aides, some of whom thought they’d contained him.

“For most of the day, almost no one would know that he had decided to take matters into his own hands,” Wolff writes. “In presidential annals, the firing of F.B.I. director James Comey may be the most consequential move ever made by a modern president acting entirely on his own.” Now imagine Trump taking the same approach toward ordering the bombing of North Korea.

Wolff’s scabrous book comes out on Friday — the publication date was moved up amid a media furor — but I was able to get an advance copy. It’s already a consequential work, having precipitated a furious rift between the president and his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who told Wolff that the meeting Donald Trump Jr. brokered with Russians in the hope of getting dirt on Hillary Clinton was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” On Thursday the president’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to Wolff’s publisher, Henry Holt, demanding that it stop publication, claiming, among other things, defamation and invasion of privacy. This move would be fascistic if it weren’t so farcical. (While some have raised questions about Wolff’s methods, Axios reports that he has many hours of interviews recorded.)”