Your Recycling Gets Recycled- Right? Maybe- or Maybe Not – The New York Times

By Livia Albeck-Ripka
May 29, 2018

Oregon is serious about recycling. Its residents are accustomed to dutifully separating milk cartons, yogurt containers, cereal boxes and kombucha bottles from their trash to divert them from the landfill. But this year, because of a far-reaching rule change in China, some of the recyclables are ending up in the local dump anyway.

In recent months, in fact, thousands of tons of material left curbside for recycling in dozens of American cities and towns — including several in Oregon — have gone to landfills.

via Your Recycling Gets Recycled, Right? Maybe, or Maybe Not – The New York Times

With ‘Spygate’ Trump Shows How He Uses Conspiracy Theories to Erode Trust – NYT

By Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Maggie Haberman

WASHINGTON — As a candidate, Donald J. Trump claimed that the United States government had known in advance about the Sept. 11 attacks. He hinted that Antonin Scalia, a Supreme Court justice who died in his sleep two years ago, had been murdered. And for years, Mr. Trump pushed the notion that President Barack Obama had been born in Kenya rather than Honolulu, making him ineligible for the presidency.

None of that was true.

Last week, President Trump promoted new, unconfirmed accusations to suit his political narrative: that a “criminal deep state” element within Mr. Obama’s government planted a spy deep inside his presidential campaign to help his rival, Hillary Clinton, win — a scheme he branded “Spygate.” It was the latest indication that a president who has for decades trafficked in conspiracy theories has brought them from the fringes of public discourse to the Oval Office.

Now that he is president, Mr. Trump’s baseless stories of secret plots by powerful interests appear to be having a distinct effect. Among critics, they have fanned fears that he is eroding public trust in institutions, undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicions about the government and news media that mirror his own.

“The effect on the life of the nation of a president inventing conspiracy theories in order to distract attention from legitimate investigations or other things he dislikes is corrosive,” said Jon Meacham, a presidential historian and biographer. “The diabolical brilliance of the Trump strategy of disinformation is that many people are simply going to hear the charges and countercharges, and decide that there must be something to them because the president of the United States is saying them.””


David Lindsay:  Yes, he lies on purpose, and the counrtry is in trouble, mostly because other Republicans are supporting his lies, which is more criminal behavior.
Here are the top two comments, I enjoyed:

Massachusetts1h ago
“”He’s the blame shifter in chief…It goes to this idea that you can’t believe anything that you read or see. He has sold us a whole way of accepting a narrative that has so many layers of unaccountable, unsubstantiated content that you can’t possibly peel it all back.””

I found this analysis, and the above quote from Glenda Blair, extremely frightening. Particularly the fact that “kook” thinking is being branded with the authority of the US presidency.

I keep wondering if Trump actually believes all this tripe or if he’s merely deliberately conning us. Some in his administration say the president lies so often he starts believing his own fantasies.

Deep down, however, I don’t buy it–for me, it’s clearly a con to divert. The fact he so good at it, makes it worse. Add to that,the lack of push-back from Congress–and the enthusiastic support from the Devin Nunes crowd– build on a deliberate strategy to kill the Russia investigation.

The world must look at us and think the US has gone bonkers.

It reminds me of all those post-World War II war novels describing the unsettling feeling residents of totalitarian states have when reality conflicts with government propaganda.

I look at it and wonder where it will all end? More important, will it end?

7 Replies 231 Recommended

Socrates commented 1 hour ago
Downtown Verona. NJ1h ago
“No one is entitled to the truth.”

E. Howard Hunt – Watergate criminal and professional liar for President Richard Nixon

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Psychopath

“I am the perpetual white, Christian, male victim of a ‘deep state'” — Donald ‘Birther Liar’ Trump

Destroyer of Truth: Liberator of Lies: TRUMP 2018

Reply 153 Recommended

Opinion | The Weasel of Oz – by Charles Blow – NYT

Assuming that you have maintained the ability to be astonished by Donald Trump’s antics and insolence, The Washington Post reported last week that in 2017, before Trump was to deliver a speech to Congress, he “huddled with senior adviser Jared Kushner and [Stephen] Miller in the Oval Office to talk immigration.”

As The Post reported:“Trump reminded them the crowds loved his rhetoric on immigrants along the campaign trail. Acting as if he were at a rally, he recited a few made-up Hispanic names and described potential crimes they could have committed, such as rape or murder. Then, he said, the crowds would roar when the criminals were thrown out of the country — as they did when he highlighted crimes by illegal immigrants at his rallies, according to a person present for the exchange and another briefed on it later. Miller and Kushner laughed.”

Opinion | Democrats Are Running a Smart- Populist Campaign – by David Leonhardt – NYT

Stacey Abrams and Conor Lamb are supposed to represent opposite poles of the Trump-era Democratic Party. She is the new progressive heroine — the first black woman to win a major-party nomination for governor, who will need a surge of liberal turnout to win Georgia. He is the new centrist hero — the white former Marine who flipped a Western Pennsylvania congressional district with support from gun-loving, abortion-opposing Trump voters.But when you spend a little time listening to both Abrams and Lamb, you notice something that doesn’t fit the storyline: They sound a lot alike.They emphasize the same issues, and talk about them in similar ways. They don’t come across as avatars of some Bernie-vs.-Hillary battle for the party’s soul. They come across as ideological soul mates, both upbeat populists who focus on health care, education, upward mobility and the dignity of work.

Opinion | The North’s Jim Crow – By Andrew W. Kahrl – NYT

Last month in Philadelphia, a white Starbucks manager summoned police officers to confront a pair of African-American men after one asked to use the restroom before he had purchased a drink. About two weeks later, at Lake Merritt Park in Oakland, Calif., a white woman called police to report a black family that was grilling food for a picnic.

In both instances, the victims were accused of violating laws or rules governing conduct in commercial establishments and public spaces. In the first case, it was for trespassing or loitering. In the second, it was for using a charcoal grill outside of the designated areas.

“Quality of life” laws serve as a potent instrument of racial segregation. They provide commercial establishments, law enforcement officers and everyday citizens with tools enabling them to police racial boundaries while at the same time claiming to simply be upholding the law.

In contrast to the Jim Crow laws of America’s dark past, these laws supposedly apply to everyone. But in practice, they clearly don’t. Like most middle-aged white people, I have spent countless hours in Starbucks without buying anything. Plenty of white people have barbecued, blasted music and drunk alcohol at that same Oakland park, without anyone calling the police.

Added Value Farms is Where David Buckel worked. A youth-­centered urban farming and food justice non­-profit in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Added Value Farms is a youth-­centered urban farming and food justice non­-profit in Red Hook, Brooklyn. We create opportunities for teens to expand their knowledge base, develop their leadership skills, and positively engage with each other, their community, and the environment. We operate two urban farms and a community composting program in partnership with other local organizations and city agencies. The Red Hook Community Farm (2.75 acres) focuses on education and production, while the NYCHA farm (1 acre) focuses on community engagement. Our programs include a teen farm apprenticeship, a weekly farm stand, a CSA, and a school workshop program. We strive to transform vacant lands into vibrant urban farms, improve access to healthy, affordable produce, and nurture a new generation of green leaders.

Quick Facts:
Last year, we produced 20,000 pounds of produce at our 2 farms.
We hire and mentor 5-25 youth per year (spring, summer, and fall) to run our farm and market.
Our Saturday Farmers Market is open for business June-November, and sells affordable, fresh, pesticide-free produce grown right here in Red Hook!
More than 1,200 children visited for our farm-based learning program last year.
In partnership with Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the NYC Compost Project, we compost over 200 tons of organic waste annually.
Over 60 families invest in the farm through our Community-Supported Agriculture program.
Hundreds of volunteers support our work through weekly drop-in workdays as well as volunteer events through their workplace.

via Mission — Home

What Drove a Man to Set Himself on Fire in Brooklyn? – By Annie Correal -NYT

It is impossible to know all the reasons a person commits suicide. Mr. Buckel suggested one: He was trying to call attention to pollution and global warming. “My early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves,” he wrote in his email.

His suicide is one of the few known cases of political self-immolation in the United States since the 1960s — when demonstrators set themselves on fire to protest the war in Vietnam — and perhaps the first one anywhere in the name of climate change.

But his political message still left Mr. Buckel’s friends and family at a loss: Why would someone in his position resort to such a drastic measure to make his message heard? Why would someone who was committed to the quiet, daily work of making change — and who was notoriously private — stage a dramatic public suicide? He told no one of his plan, not his husband and partner of 34 years, Terry Kaelber, nor the lesbian couple with whom they raised their college-age daughter. He did not say goodbye to them.

via What Drove a Man to Set Himself on Fire in Brooklyn? – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  I am deeply pleased to see this piece about David Buckel, emphasizing, the main reason for his protest suicide: “His suicide is one of the few known cases of political self-immolation . . .  since the 1960s — when [Vietnamese Buddhist] demonstrators set themselves on fire to protest the war in Vietnam — and perhaps the first one anywhere in the name of climate change.”

The first article in the NYT was clumsy, and buried this revelation in the end of what was a sad pondering about whether the man was mentally ill, since he must have been. It completely missed the sad but powerful part of his turning to Buddhism, and becoming an admirer of the Buddhists in Tibet and Vietnam, who used self-immolation, because of their deep desire to communicate their distress over government policies that they despised. As I recall, the Buddhist monks who used self-immolation in Saigon were mostly protesting against how the South Vietnamese government was persecuting members of the the Buddhist community.

Though apparently depressed, David Buckel was more to the point, a saint and a martyr. Saints and martyrs are often people who grow so impatient with their contemporaries, that they are willing to sacrifice their lives for their beliefs.

It would be useful to get a copy of David Buckel’s letter to the press, so we can learn more about his thinking at the time of his sacrifice.

Opinion | Think Military Strikes Could Stop North Korea? Try It and See. – By MARK FITZPATRICK – NYT

“United States-North Korean relations have been a rollercoaster in recent months. Escalating missile tests from Pyongyang and taunting tweets from the White House in 2017 were followed by a period of seeming rapprochement as President Trump and North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, agreed to meet for a summit to discuss “denuclarization.” And now things seem to be taking another turn for the worse.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump, in a fiery letter to Mr. Kim, called off the summit, following North Korea’s clarifications that it would not immediately give up its nuclear weapons. The Trump administration, led by the hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, seems to once again be contemplating military options. In his letter to Mr. Kim, Mr. Trump wrote, “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”

The results of any American military action against North Korea could be disastrous. To truly understand the consequences of what such a strike would mean, click through the options presented below.

This is an exercise based on what we know about American policy, North Korea’s military and the strategic calculus of Northeast Asia. It isn’t a sure thing, but it should make clear pretty quickly that the outcome of war on North Korea will be bad, worse or much, much worse.”

Source: Opinion | Think Military Strikes Could Stop North Korea? Try It and See. – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  To science based, law respecting environmentalists like myself, Donald Trump is an embarrassment and a disaster.  This war game set of scenarios by points out many of the serious problems of going to war with North Korea. Sun Tzu would laugh himself into another life, if he could witness such foolishness. His disciples in China must be smiling, while his disciples in Vietnam are probably crying.

California Plans to Fight Climate Change With Forestry – Bloomberg Businessweek

“Forests give us shade, quiet and one of the harder challenges in the fight against climate change. Even as we humans count on forests to soak up a good share of the carbon dioxide we produce, we are threatening their ability to do so. The climate change we are hastening could one day leave us with forests that emit more carbon than they absorb.

 Thankfully, there is a way out of this trap — but it involves striking a subtle balance. Helping forests flourish as valuable “carbon sinks” long into the future may require reducing their capacity to sequester carbon now. California is leading the way, as it does on so many climate efforts, in figuring out the details.
 The state’s proposed Forest Carbon Plan aims to double efforts to thin out young trees and clear brush in parts of the forest, including by controlled burning. This temporarily lowers carbon-carrying capacity. But the remaining trees draw a greater share of the available moisture, so they grow and thrive, restoring the forest’s capacity to pull carbon from the air. Healthy trees are also better able to fend off bark beetles. The landscape is rendered less combustible. Even in the event of a fire, fewer trees are consumed.
 The need for such planning is increasingly urgent. Already, since 2010, drought and beetles have killed more than 100 million trees in California, most of them in 2016 alone, and wildfires have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres.”

Source: California Plans to Fight Climate Change With Forestry – Bloomberg

The Best Way to Spur Growth? Help the Poor- Not the Rich – by Peter Coy – Bloomberg Businessweek

“Trickle-down economics” is a term liberals use when they want to disparage tax cuts for the rich. So on Nov. 9, when Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo asked Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin at an Economic Club of New York luncheon, “Do you still believe in trickle-down economics?” the prudent answer was obvious: “Of course not, Maria. That’s not what the Republican tax plan is about at all.”

Instead, Mnuchin said, “Uh, uh, I do.”

To be sure, Mnuchin is gaffe-prone. He was last spotted on Nov. 15 happily gripping a big sheet of uncut dollar bills while his wife, actress Louise Linton, struck a Cruella de Vil pose beside him. As the journalist Michael Kinsley once said, a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. And the truth is that Republicans have gone all in on the notion that if they pour tax cuts onto the very rich, the benefits will flow down to the mere rich, and from them to the middle class, and finally to the poor. Like a Champagne tower at a swanky wedding reception.

There’s a reason trickle-down is suddenly trickling from everyone’s lips. The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center calculates that the Senate’s version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would give the biggest benefits to people just below the top 1 percent of incomes in 2019 and 2025, measuring benefits as the percentage change in each group’s after-tax income. By 2027, as some of the law’s provisions expire and others remain, the top 0.1 percent would be the biggest beneficiaries, the center says. (To be fair, this preliminary calculation doesn’t take into account potential economic growth effects from the tax changes.)”

Source: The Best Way to Spur Growth? Help the Poor, Not the Rich – Bloomberg

David Lindsay:

I love Paul Krugman, because he can make complicated economics understandable. Peter Coy has that ability, and here he does a fine job of deciphering one of the right wing’s great canards.