Opinion | Trump’s Supreme Betrayal – Paul Krugman – NYT

“By now, it’s almost a commonplace to say that Trump has systematically betrayed the white working class voters who put him over the top. He ran as a populist; he’s governed as an orthodox Republican, with the only difference being the way he replaced racial dog-whistles with raw, upfront racism.

Many people have made this point with respect to the Trump tax cut, which is so useless to ordinary workers that Republican candidates are trying to avoid talking about it. The same can be said about health care, where Democrats are making Trump’s assault on the Affordable Care Act a major issue while Republicans try to change the subject.

But I think we should be seeing more attention devoted to the way Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court fits into this picture. The Times had a good editorial on Kavanaugh’s anti-worker agenda, but by and large the news analyses I’ve seen focus on his apparently expansive views of presidential authority and privilege.

I agree that these are important in the face of a lawless president with authoritarian instincts. But the business and labor issues shouldn’t be neglected. Kavanaugh is, to put it bluntly, an anti-worker radical, opposed to every effort to protect working families from fraud and mistreatment.”

David Lindsay: Yes, Bravo. Here is the top comment to enjoy.
Socrates
Downtown Verona. NJJuly 30
As far as a majority of Republican and Trump voters are concerned, the United States Supreme Court is for enshrining Christian Shariah Law, negating the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts and preserving the inalienable right of White Christian Male terrorists to randomly slaughter as many Americans as possible based on their individual mood swings.

The corporate and 1% raping of 99% of America doesn’t really register with these voters.

As long as Republicans wave the slightly veiled neo-Confederate flag of White Spite, these voters are perfectly comfortable with 350:1 CEO:worker pay ratios, the elimination of class action suits, mandated corporate arbitration, the destruction of union/worker rights, the fouling of the water, the air and the land, and the elimination of all common sense regulation that protects consumers, citizens and the non-rich.

Trump and the Grand Old Plantation party know exactly what they’re doing and they’ve been doing it very effectively since 1968 when they began their neo-Confederate Strategy.

The Republican Party is no friend of anyone except the richest Americans.

“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.” Lyndon B. Johnson

Kavanaugh is for Corporate Shariah Law that reduces Republican voters to Grand Old Peasants.

D for democracy; R for right-wing, Randian radicalism.

Resist.

Reply783 Recommended

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The Worst Drug Crisis in American History – By Jessica Bruder – NYT

By Jessica Bruder
July 31, 2018 89 comments
DOPESICK Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America By Beth Macy Illustrated. 376 pp. Little, Brown & Company. $28.

In 2000, a doctor in the tiny town of St. Charles, Va., began writing alarmed letters to Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. The drug had come to market four years earlier and Art Van Zee had watched it ravage the state’s poorest county, where he’d practiced medicine for nearly a quarter-century. Older patients were showing up at his office with abscesses from injecting crushed-up pills. Nearly a quarter of the juniors at a local high school had reported trying the drug. Late one night, Van Zee was summoned to the hospital where a teenage girl he knew — he could still remember immunizing her as an infant — had arrived in the throes of an overdose.

Van Zee begged Purdue to investigate what was happening in Lee County and elsewhere. People were starting to die. “My fear is that these are sentinel areas, just as San Francisco and New York were in the early years of H.I.V.,” he wrote.

Since then, the worst drug crisis in America’s history — sparked by OxyContin and later broadening into heroin and fentanyl — has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, with no signs of abating. Just this spring, public health officials announced a record: The opioid epidemic had killed 45,000 people in the 12-month span that ended in September, making it almost as lethal as the AIDS crisis at its peak.”

David Lindsay:

My comment to the NYT, now also the blog post before this one:

If we legalize and regulate addictive drugs, much of these enormous profits from the illegal drug business would decrease dramatically. When alcohol was re-legalized after prohibition, armed gangs were disbanded and killings decreased greatly.

Many economists, at least privately, admit that we should legalize addictive drugs to ameliorate the negative effects. Herbert Stein and Milton Friedman are two famous right of center economists who have called for legalization.

   Legalization would allow us win the war on illegal drug trafficking, and it is probably the only way to win the war on drug trafficking.

It would not be simple. There would need to be investment and resources into drug addiction rehabilitation programs, jobs programs, support systems. We would need severe financial penalties and long jail sentences for  businesses and individuals that push addictive drugs onto non-addicts. The law has to be severe with people who turn citizens or patients into addicts.

Decriminalization would be an immediate place to begin, to get tens of thousands of petty drug users and sellers out of our jails.

We have a heroin epidemic in New England and the rest of the country right now. Much of the heroin is bad, and kills people. If heroin was legal and regulated, doses would be bad for you, but wouldn’t stop your heart. Countless young people, including my son Austin, would be alive after experimenting with the drug. It is the illegality of these drugs that make them unregulated. Bad batches kill people, like my son Austin. The huge illegal profits are destabilizing whole countries, and police forces, prosecutors and judges.

Legalize Addictive Drugs – By David Lindsay Jr

If we legalize and regulate addictive drugs, much of these enormous profits from the illegal drug business would decrease dramatically. When alcohol was re-legalized after prohibition, armed gangs were disbanded and killings decreased greatly.

Many economists, at least privately, admit that we should legalize addictive drugs to ameliorate the negative effects. Herbert Stein and Milton Friedman are two famous right of center economists who have called for legalization.

   Legalization would allow us win the war on illegal drug trafficking, and it is probably the only way to win the war on drug trafficking.

It would not be simple. There would need to be investment and resources into drug addiction rehabilitation programs, jobs programs, support systems. We would need severe financial penalties and long jail sentences for  businesses and individuals that push addictive drugs onto non-addicts. The law has to be severe with people who turn citizens or patients into addicts.

Decriminalization would be an immediate place to begin, to get tens of thousands of petty drug users and sellers out of our jails.

We have a heroin epidemic in New England and the rest of the country right now. Much of the heroin is bad, and kills people. If heroin was legal and regulated, doses would be bad for you, but wouldn’t stop your heart. Countless young people, including my son Austin, would be alive after experimenting with the drug. It is the illegality of these drugs that make them unregulated. Bad batches kill people, like my son Austin. The huge illegal profits are destabilizing whole countries, and police forces, prosecutors and judges.

 

originally posted on Facebook.

Here is the same comment, cut to under 1500 words, to become a comment at the NYT today, after an article by Jessica Bruder, “The Worst Drug Crisis in American History”

If we legalize and regulate addictive drugs, much of these enormous profits from the illegal drug business would decrease dramatically. When alcohol was re-legalized after prohibition, armed gangs were disbanded and killings decreased greatly. Many economists, at least privately, admit that we should legalize addictive drugs to ameliorate the negative effects. Herbert Stein and Milton Friedman are two famous right of center economists who have called for legalization. There would need to be investment and resources into drug addiction rehabilitation programs, jobs programs, support systems. We would need severe financial penalties and long jail sentences for  businesses and individuals that push addictive drugs onto non-addicts. The law has to be severe with people who turn citizens or patients into addicts. Decriminalization would be an immediate place to begin, to get tens of thousands of petty drug users and sellers out of our jails. We have a heroin epidemic in New England and the rest of the country right now. Much of the heroin is bad, and kills people. If heroin was legal and regulated, doses would be bad for you, but wouldn’t stop your heart. Countless young people, including my son Austin, would be alive after experimenting with the drug. It is the illegality of these drugs that make them unregulated. Bad batches kill people, like my son Austin. The huge illegal profits are destabilizing whole countries, and police forces, prosecutors and judges.

Editorial | Impeach Rosenstein? C’mon  Man – Reps Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio – NYT

“While Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is surely disheartened to have had five articles of impeachment filed against him by a clutch of congressional Republicans on Wednesday evening, he should not take the move personally.

Although Representatives Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, the current and former chairmen of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who are leading this crusade, are running around Washington loudly accusing Mr. Rosenstein of high crimes and misdemeanors, their public relations assault is not actually about his refusing to turn over this or that document related to the Russia investigation. It’s not really even about the lawmakers’ loathing of the broader investigation, though certainly President Trump’s congressional lackeys — Mr. Meadows and Mr. Jordan most definitely included — are increasingly desperate to derail it.

For Freedom Caucus leaders, this impeachment resolution is about something at once much broader and far pettier: the need to make a huge, disruptive, polarizing political stink just as members head home for the long hot August recess. Especially with a critical midterm election coming, it never hurts to have some extra well-marbled meat to throw the voters. And it is unlikely a coincidence that, less than 24 hours after filing, Mr. Jordan — who, lest anyone forget, is multiply accused of overlooking rampant sexual abuse while an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University — formally announced his candidacy for House speaker.

Not to make Mr. Rosenstein feel any less special, but this is the fourth year in a row that Freedom Caucusers have pulled a summer-break stunt so nakedly self-serving that it would be comic if it weren’t so odious in its quest to erode public faith in government and in democratic institutions more broadly. Indeed, for all those wondering how the Republican Party reached the point where Donald Trump could swallow it whole with his furious everything-is-awful-and-everyone-is-out-to-get-you brand of demagogy, look no further than the nihilists in the Freedom Caucus.” . . . . .

“This stunt is in fact so ridiculous, so unfounded, so poisonous to the Republic that Attorney General Jeff Sessions felt compelled not only to publicly defend his deputy, but also to suggest that the lawmakers involved find a better use of their time. And Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general who was fired in January 2017 for refusing to defend President Trump’s travel ban, tweeted a warning about the long-term damage of “using the Department of Justice as a prop for political theater.”

Opinion | Michael Cohen Takes a Bullet – by Charles Blow – NYT

“Here’s to Michael Cohen. He’s finally getting something right.

First, let’s state forthrightly that Cohen, Trump’s longtime lawyer, the fix-it man, the one who mopped up Trump’s messes, the one who said he would “take a bullet for the president,” is an incredibly unsavory character and a bully.

He thought himself a tough guy, Trump’s muscle collecting the crumbs of Trump’s money.

For instance, in 2015 he threatened a Daily Beast reporter who was writing about the time Trump’s first wife, Ivana, claimed Trump had raped her, only to later say that she didn’t want her use of the word rape “to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

According to that reporter, Cohen erroneously — and outrageously — claimed, “You cannot rape your spouse,” before launching into this tirade:

“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know … So I’m warning you, tread very [expletive] lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be [expletive] disgusting. You understand me?

“You write a story that has Mr. Trump’s name in it, with the word ‘rape,’ and I’m going to mess your life up … for as long as you’re on this frickin’ planet … you’re going to have judgments against you, so much money, you’ll never know how to get out from underneath it.” “

Opinion | How Trump Lost Re-election in 2020 – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“Last week, my colleague Bret Stephens imagined a news article on the morning after President Trump’s re-election. Today, I imagine a different outcome.In the end, it was a lot simpler than it often seemed.Donald J. Trump, who spent much of the past four years as a historically unpopular president, lost his bid for re-election Tuesday. His approval rating hasn’t approached 50 percent since he took office, and neither did his share of the vote this year.

In an era of deep national anxiety — with stagnant wages, rickety health insurance and aggressive challenges from China and Russia — voters punished an incumbent president who failed on his central promise: “I alone can fix it.” ”

David Lindsay:

Bravo David Leonhardt. Well written. You have even opened my mind a few inches towards considering Elizabeth Warren. I have been thinking, we must have a Joe Biden or a younger version of him, to win those pesky swing states. But, on the other hand, the never another woman in our lifetime crowd, which I was in, should all read David Brooks magnificent piece recently on the need for the Democrats to tell a good story. Trump has a good story, and focusing on identity politics isn’t the same thing as a moving narrative. Not only is Elizabeth Warren extremely qualified, she also has her life passion for consumer protection.  I still prefer we run a male, but we have to find one that swears that Elizabeth Warren will get to run the Consumer Protection Agency that she helped create.

That said, let me remind my fellow commentators and readers that Leonhardt did not choose Elizabeth Warren yet, he used her because Bret Stephens did. Pay attention to who Leonhardt does support, because I will bet you a penny he has sophisticated polling data to back up his choice if he makes one.

Political Bubbles and Hidden Diversity: Highlights From a Very Detailed Map of the 2016 Election – The New York Times

“An interactive map published by The New York Times allows you to explore the 2016 presidential election at the highest level of detail available: by voting precinct.This map, although nearly two years old, continues to define American politics. The vast majority of people who voted for Donald J. Trump say they approve of his job performance today, while the vast majority of Hillary Clinton voters say they disapprove.

On the neighborhood level, many of us really do live in an electoral bubble, this map shows: More than one in five voters lived in a precinct where 80 percent of the two-party vote went to Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton. But the map also reveals surprising diversity.”

To Take the Senate- Democratic Group Will Spend Big in Red States – By Alexander Burns – NYT

By Alexander Burns
July 26, 2018

131 comments
“A heavily funded Democratic group will spend tens of millions of dollars to mobilize voters in the Republican-leaning states where control of the Senate is likely to be decided this November, stepping in to fill a void left by years of decay in Democratic infrastructure at the state and local level.

Senate Majority PAC, the principal “super PAC” supporting Democratic efforts to capture the chamber, intends to steer at least $20 million into the voter-mobilization campaign ahead of the midterm elections, officials with the group confirmed. The program, which follows a similar — successful — Democratic effort in Alabama last year, underscores the degree to which outside groups that can take massive donations have supplanted the traditional role of political parties.

The initiative by Senate Majority PAC — which will run through an affiliated nonprofit group, Majority Forward — will span more than a dozen states where Senate seats are at stake. But it is to focus on four states above all: Missouri and Indiana, where endangered Democrats are seeking re-election, and Arizona and Tennessee, where strong Democratic challengers are running for open seats currently held by Republicans.

Those four races are among the country’s most competitive. And for Democrats to take control of the Senate, they would likely have to win at least three of them, or perhaps all four, depending on the outcome of races in other states.”

Mueller Examining Trump’s Tweets in Wide-Ranging Obstruction Inquiry – by Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman – NYT

by Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman
July 26, 2018
16 comments
“WASHINGTON — For years, President Trump has used Twitter as his go-to public relations weapon, mounting a barrage of attacks on celebrities and then political rivals even after advisers warned he could be creating legal problems for himself.Those concerns now turn out to be well founded. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is scrutinizing tweets and negative statements from the president about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to three people briefed on the matter.

Several of the remarks came as Mr. Trump was also privately pressuring the men — both key witnesses in the inquiry — about the investigation, and Mr. Mueller is examining whether the actions add up to attempts to obstruct the investigation by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring senior law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry.

Mr. Mueller wants to question the president about the tweets. His interest in them is the latest addition to a range of presidential actions he is investigating as a possible obstruction case: private interactions with Mr. Comey, Mr. Sessions and other senior administration officials about the Russia inquiry; misleading White House statements; public attacks; and possible pardon offers to potential witnesses.”

A Conservative Answer to Climate Change – By George P. Shultz and James A. Baker III -WSJ

A Conservative Answer to Climate ChangeEnacting a carbon tax would free up private firms to find the most efficient ways to cut emissions.1742 COMMENTS
By George P. Shultz and James A. Baker III
Updated Feb. 7, 2017 7:07 p.m. ET
“Thirty years ago, as the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer was dwindling at alarming rates, we were serving proudly under President Ronald Reagan. We remember his leading role in negotiating the Montreal Protocol, which continues to protect and restore the delicate ozone layer. Today the world faces a similar challenge: the threat of climate change.

Just as in the 1980s, there is mounting evidence of problems with the atmosphere that are growing too compelling to ignore. And, once again, there is uncertainty about what lies ahead. The extent to which climate change is due to man-made causes can be questioned. But the risks associated with future warming are so severe that they should be hedged.The responsible and conservative response should be to take out an insurance policy. Doing so need not rely on heavy-handed, growth-inhibiting government regulations. Instead, a climate solution should be based on a sound economic analysis that embodies the conservative principles of free markets and limited government.We suggest a solution that rests on four pillars. First, creating a gradually increasing carbon tax. Second, returning the tax proceeds to the American people in the form of dividends. Third, establishing border carbon adjustments that protect American competitiveness and encourage other countries to follow suit. And fourth, rolling back government regulations once such a system is in place.”

Source: A Conservative Answer to Climate Change – WSJ