Opinion | The Senate’s Failure to Seek the Truth – By Emily Bazelon – NYT

By Emily Bazelon
Ms. Bazelon is a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine.

Sept. 28, 2018 177 comments

Twice as a reporter, I’ve interviewed women who have accused men of sexual assault and the men they accused. In both cases, the women looked me in the eye and told me about how they’d been raped, and then the men looked me in the eye and told me they’d never raped anyone. All four people spoke with force and emotion. In the moment, I wanted to believe each one. It’s uncomfortable to imagine that someone who seems wholly sincere is not. It’s confusing — it seems unfeeling — to turn away from someone who makes a vehement claim of truth.

If you watched Thursday’s hearing, in particular Christine Blasey Ford’s opening statement and Brett Kavanaugh’s, maybe you know what I mean. So then what? As a reporter, I looked for corroborating evidence as a means of assessing each person’s veracity. What else could I find out, and how did their accounts stack up against that? This is how investigators do their work. They find out as much as they can about the surrounding circumstances. Then it’s up to judges to weigh the facts and decide which account is most credible.

Judge Kavanaugh didn’t sound as if he was thinking like a judge. His partisan attack on Democrats wasn’t judicial, in any sense of the word. His approach to evidence wasn’t either.”

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Opinion | This Hearing Is Stacked Against Christine Blasey Ford – By Jill Abramson – NYT

By Jill Abramson
Ms. Abramson is a former executive editor of The Times and author, with Jane Mayer, of “Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas.”

Sept. 27, 2018

“There is a reason Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing will be short and feature only two witnesses, the Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford. Republicans have designed the hearing to end in a “he said, she said” stalemate. No matter how credible Dr. Blasey is, isolating her as a lone accuser is the most effective political strategy for confirming Judge Kavanaugh.

His strategy will be simple: categorical denial.

Republicans will insist, despite the swirling uncertainty, including a third woman who came forward Wednesday with sexual misconduct allegations against him, that Judge Kavanaugh deserves the benefit of the doubt and should be confirmed.

Republicans will then be able to claim that fairness had been served because both witnesses were heard. But Americans, denied the testimony of other relevant witnesses who could support Dr. Blasey’s account and denied an F.B.I. investigation into other evidence, won’t be any closer to the truth.”

Opinion | Supreme Confusion – Gail Collins and Bret Stephens – NYT

“Bret Stephens: Good morning, Gail. I know we’ll have plenty to say about Blasey v. Kavanaugh today, but, first, Rod Rosenstein! The Times had a bombshell story last week saying the deputy attorney general felt so badly used by President Trump last year after the firing of James Comey that he considered wearing a wire to record the president’s ranting. Rosenstein denied it categorically and the Republican establishment urged Trump not to fire him.

First thing Monday morning, news breaks that Rosenstein is close to resigning. Or not. Two questions for you. First, should we rename Eighth Avenue, where we converse, “Avenue of the Rosenstein?” Second, is this the beginning of the end for the Trump presidency or the beginning of the end for the Justice Department?

Gail Collins: Yow, Bret. What was that old Chinese curse about living in interesting times?

I have a lot more faith in the staying power of the Justice Department than in the staying power of the president. But we’ll see. And renaming Eighth Avenue — you know the way Rosenstein’s fate has been bouncing around, I’m thinking maybe we could find him a nice traffic rotary upstate.

Bret: If Trump fires Rosenstein, he gets rid of the guy who has been Robert Mueller’s main protector at Justice. Yet firing him on charges of insubordination means believing that the Fake News got the story about Rosenstein’s 25th Amendment musings right. This may be the ultimate Trumpian dilemma.”

Affordable Solar Program Launched in Connecticut for Middle-Class Homeowners – Green Energy Tribune

Connecticut is one of the best places if you want to go solar – but only if you’re rich enough. Due to the steep upfront costs of around $32,000 in cash, only those upper-income families can afford to install solar arrays. Green Energy Tribune is, however, looking to change that. This new project hopes to help middle class communities see the sun in a different light.
The cost for the installation to the middle class families is little to $0 down. The homeowner gets solar panels on their roof and a new reduced electric rate. If interested you can sign up at SolarVisit.com. Green Energy Tribune predicts that it could save individual families up to $2,400 a year, which they hope could then be spent on other essential bills.

Source: Affordable Solar Program Launched in Connecticut for Middle-Class Homeowners – Green Energy Tribune

Opinion | The Party of No Ideas – by Paul Krugman – NYT

Democrats will almost certainly receive more votes than Republicans in the midterm elections. But gerrymandering and other factors have severely tilted the playing field, so they would need to win the popular vote by a wide margin to retake the House, and a huge margin to retake the Senate. I don’t know how it will turn out — or what will happen to the perceived legitimacy of the federal government if all three branches are controlled by people the voters rejected. Neither does anyone else.One thing we do know, however, is that Republicans have decisively lost the battle of ideas. All of their major policy moves, on health care, taxes and tariffs, are playing badly with voters.In fact, Republican policies are so unpopular that the party’s candidates are barely trying to sell them. Instead, they’re pretending to stand for things they actually don’t — like protecting health coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions — or trying to distract voters with culture war and appeals to white racial identity. The G.O.P. has become the party of no ideas.

Fighting Climate Change in Steve King Country? by JD Scholten running for Congress in Iowa 4th district

David Lindsay: Elizabeth Warren sent out a request for folks to support this young man running against a Trumpster in the Iowa 4th congressional district. His staff have pointed me to this excellent article of JD Sholten’s on Climate Change.

“Growing up in the 80s, I was taught to dream big. I love it when the U.S. is innovative and a respected leader. That’s why last week during the international climate talks in Bonn, Germany, I was disappointed when the official American delegates were relatively non-existent and non-influential. This is a stark contrast to climate summits when President Obama was in office and exemplifies America’s division on climate talks. Governor Jerry Brown of California commented on the division when he said, “There’s a debate in the United States between the denialists who pooh-pooh any thought about climate change and the catastrophic dangers it portends, and those who agree with the scientific academies of every country in the world that we’re facing an existential threat and we have to do something about it.”

Earlier this month, 13 federal agencies unveiled an exhaustive scientific report saying:

…humans are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise that has created the warmest period in the history of civilization.

Over the past 115 years global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to record-breaking weather events and temperature extremes. The global, long-term warming trend is “unambiguous,” and there is “no convincing alternative explanation” that anything other than humans — the cars we drive, the power plants we operate, the forests we destroy — are to blame.

The time to address this issue is NOW. The time to create policy is NOW. For those who do not believe in climate change, the question of “Why you don’t believe?” is irrelevant. The question now is “What part of climate change don’t you understand?” ”

Source: Fighting Climate Change in Steve King Country?

Opinion | Of Time- Tides and Trump –  – The New York Times

“O.K., I know you’re obsessed about sex and the Supreme Court. But the hurricane flooding in North Carolina has been terrible. Let’s give it some serious thought right now.

Particularly when it comes to ways the government screwed up. First lesson is easy. Coastal flooding is getting way, way worse because of global warming. So obviously we’ve got to join other nations in combating this universally recognized threat.

Hahahahaha.

Yeah, yeah. President Trump does not believe in climate change. Who among us can forget the time he claimed the whole idea was a Chinese plot to ruin American manufacturing?

Maybe he’ll evolve. After all, Trump does occasionally show some concern for nature. When he visited North Carolina on Wednesday, he particularly inquired about the well-being of the state’s Lake Norman. (“I love that area — I can’t tell you why, but I love that area.”)”

DL: Keep reading, Trump has a golf course there.
We all need some light reading for a change.

Opinion | A Smorgasbord Recession? (Wonkish) – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

“The 2008 financial crisis is (duh) a decade in the past; employment has been growing steadily since early 2010. Since nothing is forever, and proclamations that the business cycle is over have always ended in embarrassment, lots of people are looking for the sources of the next recession.

The thing is, there’s nothing out there as obvious as the housing bubble of the mid-2000s, or even the tech bubble of the late 1990s. So here’s my thought: maybe the next recession won’t be caused by one big shock but instead by the combined impact of several smaller shocks. There are arguably several mid-sized bubbles out there, from private equity debt to emerging markets. Stocks are priced as if there’s no risk despite omens of trade war, consumer confidence similarly seems to discount dangers. There’s probably other stuff I’m missing.

The point, anyway, is that we might be looking at a smorgasbord recession, one that involves a mix of smallish things rather than a single dominant item. And there’s a model for that kind of recession: the slump of the early 1990s.”

Opinion | The Kavanaugh Accusation Is Dangerous for the Pro-Life Movement – By Ross Douthat – The New York Times

“This includes the pro-life movement. Even if it wins its long-desired victory at the high court and more anti-abortion legislation becomes possible, a pro-life cause joined to a party that can’t win female votes and seems to have no time for women will never be able to achieve those legislative goals, or at least never outside a very few, very conservative states. And having that long-awaited victory accomplished by a male judicial appointee confirmed under a cloud of #MeToo suspicion seems like a good way to cement a perception that’s fatal to the pro-life movement’s larger purposes — the perception that you can’t be pro-woman and pro-life.

This points to a conclusion that’s certainly unfair to Kavanaugh if he’s innocent, but nobody ever said that politics would be fair. If his accuser testifies publicly and credibly, if her allegation isn’t undermined by a week of scrutiny and testimony, if it remains unprovable but squarely in the realm of plausibility, then all the abortion opponents who were supporting him should hope that his nomination is withdrawn — with, ideally, a woman nominated in his place.”

DL: Nice try Ross.
Here is a comment that covers my main thoughts well.

Clare

Sorry, but people thinking they can be feminists or pro-women’s rights and also thinking that the state should force women to give birth against their will is fundamentally untenable. If you don’t like abortion, first of all, don’t have one. That seems obvious, but the stories of pro-life protesters waving signs outside clinics one day and going into one the next when they or a family member needed an abortion are legion. Second, recognize that making abortion illegal does not help you reach your stated goal of limiting abortion to the greatest extent possible. (In fact, both history and contemporary experience teaches us that the more restrictive the abortion laws, the higher the abortion rates — true across states and countries). What reduces abortion rates are comprehensive sex education, readily accessible, effective birth control, and a social safety net that is sufficient for women to make decisions about abortion for reasons other than economics. When people on the so-called pro-life side embrace these things as policy, I will be willing to concede that they care about the actual issue and not just punishing women for exercising their agency. Until then, please don’t pretend you care in the least about women and their rights, or even policy positions that have a chance of getting you to your stated goals.

Opinion | Can the People Who Almost Brought Down the News Business Save It? – by Kara Swisher – The New York Times

“. . . Mr. Benioff said he had been looking to extend the active personal investing — sometimes he calls it philanthropy — his family was doing already, in areas like climate change, public schools and health care for children. He said he looked at all the assets, such as Fortune, but was soon attracted to Time’s broader audience and wider circulation, as well as its pedigree of excellence. He claims that it is profitable, too, which was also an attraction.

“Time is a name that was most trusted for a rapidly changing society,” he said, one that still has “the ability to reach readers on a multidimensional level.”

Ticking off stats on the magazine’s readership, video views, event successes and digital impressions, Mr. Benioff sounded like a man on a mission to make us all understand that this brand of the past is surely the brand of the future.

And the jovial billionaire, who was wearing one of his endless supply of Hawaiian shirts, said he would be putting his copious money — $6.6 billion — where his voluble mouth is. He plans to give Time “as much investment as it needs” to succeed.

Mr. Benioff is not, of course, the first tech mogul to buy a diminished media asset recently. He joins a group that includes Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who bought The Washington Post; Laurene Powell Jobs, who has invested in The Atlantic and several other publications; and the biotech entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong, who purchased The Los Angeles Times.”

DL: Yes and thank you. Here is a comment I endorsed with enthusiasm.

Robert
Seattle

“Can the People Who Almost Brought Down the News Business Save It?”

Benioff, Google, Facebook, Apple, et al. did not bring down the fact-based news business by themselves. Reagan undid the Fairness Doctrine and initiated the deregulatory train wreck that has never stopped. We have not had so little appropriate regulation since the 1930s. Most of these companies are natural monopolies that should be regulated like the utilities they are. Their unfair market power makes everything go sour, including the fact-based news business. No evidence supports the Trump Republican and libertarian deregulatory tulip mania. Progressives, however, have been far too complacent. They were sucked in by the silly and untrue industry-wide “do no evil” marketing PR, and the new age internet Kool-Aid. The free press was never only a business per se. It has always been a vital public service utility whose presence was explicitly required by the Constitution. Every American who can afford it must subscribe to at least one online or print news source, and must vote for the appropriate regulation of these businesses which are now the most valuable and the most powerful businesses in the world. The Russian Facebook and Google YouTube interference in the last election on behalf of Trump should be the last straw.