Fights Worth Having – by Brett Stephens – NYT

“For my money, the best op-ed published in The Times this week was Mona Charen’s Feb. 25 barn-burner, “I’m Glad I Got Booed at CPAC.” Charen is a movement conservative who worked for Nancy and Ronald Reagan and is a longtime contributor to National Review. One of her books is titled “Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help.” A Bernie Sanders progressive she is not.

But Charen is also a NeverTrumper who chose to speak her mind during a panel discussion on the #MeToo movement at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Asked by the moderator to discuss feminist hypocrisy, Charen reframed the question.

“I’m disappointed in people on our side,” she replied. “For being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party. Who are sitting in the White House. Who brag about their extramarital affairs. Who brag about mistreating women. And because he happens to have an ‘R’ after his name, we look the other way, we don’t complain.” “


The Content of the G.O.P.’s Character – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“Even those who have long since accepted the premise that Donald Trump is corrupt, self-centered and dishonest seem a bit shocked by his tirades over the Presidents’ Day weekend. Using the Parkland, Fla., massacre as an excuse to attack the F.B.I. for investigating Russian election intervention on his behalf — while lying about his own past denials that such intervention took place — took vileness to a new level, which is truly impressive given Trump’s previous record.

Yet if you step back a bit and think about it, Trump’s latest outbursts were very much in character — and I don’t just mean his personal character. When did you last see a member of the Trump administration, or for that matter any prominent Republican, admit error or accept responsibility for problems?Don’t say that it has always been that way, that it’s just the way people are. On the contrary, taking responsibility for your actions — what my parents called being a mensch — used to be considered an essential virtue in politicians and adults in general. And in this as in so many things, there’s a huge asymmetry between the parties. Of course not all Democrats are honest and upstanding; but as far as I can tell, there’s almost nobody left in the G.O.P. willing to take responsibility for, well, anything.

And I don’t think this is an accident. The sad content of modern Republican character is a symptom of the corruption and hypocrisy that has afflicted half of our body politic — a sickness of the soul that manifests itself in personal behavior as well as policy.”

The Dirty Little Deals That Would Foul the Environment – The New York Times

“Here’s a warning to the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, and other environmentally inclined Senate Democrats, like Sheldon Whitehouse and Ed Markey: A legislative minefield lies dead ahead, pocked with destructive amendments of Republican origin hostile to clean air, clean water, endangered species and fragile landscapes. And here’s a plea: Stop these measures from becoming law.Following its approval of the big budget deal on Feb. 9, Congress began writing the dozen appropriations bills that direct federal dollars to specific agencies. These bills are likely to be incorporated in one giant omnibus spending measure to be negotiated over the next few weeks by House and Senate leaders in advance of the March 23 expiration of the continuing budget resolution that has kept the government going.

Given its urgency, the bill is fertile ground for the kind of mischief the Republicans in particular have been notorious for over the years — loading up must-pass bills like this one with provisions, known as riders, that in most cases could not survive on their own and thus need protective cover. In years past, such riders were usually inserted at the last minute on the House or Senate floor. Here they are in plain sight, having been approved in earlier votes or endorsed by powerful committee chairmen or chairwomen who will do their level best to make sure they are included in the final bill. Mr. Schumer can prevent that from happening. The Democrats are effectively 49 in number, the Republicans 51. By holding his party together, he can deny the Republicans the 60 votes they need to overcome a filibuster — ensuring a clean bill, and a cleaner environment.”

Judges Say Throw Out the Map. Lawmakers Say Throw Out the Judges. – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — In Pennsylvania, a Republican lawmaker unhappy with a State Supreme Court ruling on gerrymandering wants to impeach the Democratic justices who authored it.

In Iowa, a running dispute over allowing firearms in courthouses has prompted bills by Republican sponsors to slash judges’ pay and require them to personally pay rent for courtrooms that are gun-free.

In North Carolina, the Republican Party is working on sweeping changes to rein in state courts that have repeatedly undercut or blocked laws passed by the legislature.

Rather than simply fighting judicial rulings, elected officials in some states across the country — largely Republicans, but Democrats as well — are increasingly seeking to punish or restrain judges who hand down unfavorable decisions, accusing them of making law instead of interpreting it.

Civil liberties advocates and other critics have a different take: The real law-flouting, they say, is by politicians who want to punish justices whose decisions offend their own ideological leanings.”

DL: This is how democracies slide into facist dictatorships.

Eric Holder’s Group Targets All-G.O.P. States to Attack Gerrymandering – The New York Times

“A Democratic group backed by former President Barack Obama intends to pour millions of dollars into an eclectic array of elections in a dozen states, in an effort to block Republicans from single-handedly drawing congressional maps after 2020, officials leading the group said.

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, formed last year under the leadership of Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general, has settled on a strategy to contest a combination of governorships, legislative seats and more obscure state offices to chip away at Republicans’ sweeping control of the redistricting process.

Mr. Holder said in an interview that the group was chiefly determined to deny Republicans so-called trifectas in state governments — places where a single party controls the governorship and an entire legislature, as Republicans do in Ohio and Florida, among other critical battlegrounds.”

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

Good article, thank you. Alexander Burns writes, “The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, formed last year under the leadership of Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general, has settled on a strategy to contest a combination of governorships, legislative seats and more obscure state offices to chip away at Republicans’ sweeping control of the redistricting process.” Gerrymandering is one of the great threats to our democracy, and we should wish this organization luck, and support it with our dollars. David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion,” and blogs at The and


The Republicans’ Real Fake Scandal – Outing Devin Nunes – The New York Times

“In nearly every crime-caper movie there’s a shifty guy on the street corner who, seeing the cops in hot pursuit, flips over a fruit cart to slow them down and give the culprits a chance to get away.In Trump-era Washington, that role is being played with impressive conviction by Devin Nunes, the eight-term Republican representative from California and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Nunes, supported by a rotating coterie of conspiracists in Congress and the usual suspects on right-wing cable news, has labored to divert attention from the expanding Russia investigation by tossing out sinister-sounding allegations of wrongdoing by federal law enforcement officials.

Mr. Nunes’s act has kept alive the prospect of impeding or ending the investigation even as President Trump has backed off his efforts to fire the man in charge, the special counsel, Robert Mueller.Last year he accused top Obama administration officials of improperly “unmasking” Trump associates in intelligence reports — a charge that turned out to be baseless. No matter: The whole point of this game is to make the job of the actual investigators harder while confusing the public about where the true scandal lies.”

DL; Is this the end of democracy as we know it, or the beginning of another renaissanace?

An Article of Impeachment Against Donald J. Trump – by David Leonhardt – NYT

There are good reasons to be wary of impeachment talk. Congressional Republicans show zero interest, and they’re the ones in charge. Democrats, for their part, need to focus on retaking Congress, and railing about impeachment probably won’t help them win votes.But let’s set aside realpolitik for a few minutes and ask a different question: Is serious consideration of impeachment fair? I think the answer is yes. The evidence is now quite strong that Donald Trump committed obstruction of justice. Many legal scholars believe a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. So the proper remedy for a president credibly accused of obstructing justice is impeachment.The first article of impeachment against Richard Nixon argued that he had “prevented, obstructed and impeded the administration of justice.” One of the two impeachment articles that the House passed against Bill Clinton used that identical phrase. In both cases, the article then laid out the evidence with a numbered list. Nixon’s version had nine items. Clinton’s had seven. Each list was meant to show that the president had intentionally tried to subvert a federal investigation.Given last week’s news — that Trump has already tried to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the Trump campaign — it’s time to put together the same sort of list for Trump. Of course, this list is based only on publicly available information. Mueller, no doubt, knows more.

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.


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 and

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:


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.

Grand Old Poison 2017


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.

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