Opinion | 1918 Germany Has a Warning for America – By Jochen Bittner – The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Getty Images

“HAMBURG, Germany — It may well be that Germans have a special inclination to panic at specters from the past, and I admit that this alarmism annoys me at times. Yet watching President Trump’s “Stop the Steal” campaign since Election Day, I can’t help but see a parallel to one of the most dreadful episodes from Germany’s history.

One hundred years ago, amid the implosions of Imperial Germany, powerful conservatives who led the country into war refused to accept that they had lost. Their denial gave birth to arguably the most potent and disastrous political lie of the 20th century — the Dolchstosslegende, or stab-in-the-back myth.

Its core claim was that Imperial Germany never lost World War I. Defeat, its proponents said, was declared but not warranted. It was a conspiracy, a con, a capitulation — a grave betrayal that forever stained the nation. That the claim was palpably false didn’t matter. Among a sizable number of Germans, it stirred resentment, humiliation and anger. And the one figure who knew best how to exploit their frustration was Adolf Hitler.

Don’t get me wrong: This is not about comparing Mr. Trump to Hitler, which would be absurd. But the Dolchstosslegende provides a warning. It’s tempting to dismiss Mr. Trump’s irrational claim that the election was “rigged” as a laughable last convulsion of his reign or a cynical bid to heighten the market value for the TV personality he might once again intend to become, especially as he appears to be giving up on his effort to overturn the election result.”

David Lindsay:
What do Jochen Bittner and my sister Elly Lindsay have in common. It is at least an interest in history. I graduated from high school in three years complicated by anti Vietnam war activities and drugs. My parents supported me in a gap year, where I lived in Cambridge MA with my sister Elly. I worked as a volunteer stage carpenter and electrician at the Harvard Loeb Drama Center, while Elly finished her senior year at Radcliff College at Harvard. Elly was the president of the Harvard Dramat at the Loeb Theater, and acting in shows, while studying history and literature. She was particularly proud of one of her major papers for the history department, where she examined how Germany fell into fascism, and she wrote in her conclusions, that Americans would not have been immune to the forces at work in Germany. We could in similar circumstances, be just as horrible as the Germans were in World War II.
Bret Stephens wrote about Dolchstosslegende in a piece I posted last week. This piece adds a great deal to the discussion, or better put, to the warning. Trump insisting that the election was stolen, is dangerous. Republicans of any patriotic worth, should quickly disavow it.

Opinion | Dear Joe, It’s Not About Iran’s Nukes Anymore – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Arash Khamooshi for The New York Times

“With the assassination by Israel of Iran’s top nuclear warhead designer, the Middle East is promising to complicate Joe Biden’s job from day one. President-elect Biden knows the region well, but if I had one piece of advice for him, it would be this: This is not the Middle East you left four years ago.

The best way for Biden to appreciate the new Middle East is to study what happened in the early hours of Sept. 14, 2019 — when the Iranian Air Force launched 20 drones and precision-guided cruise missiles at Abqaiq, one of Saudi Arabia’s most important oil fields and processing centers, causing huge damage. It was a seminal event.

The Iranian drones and cruise missiles flew so low and with such stealth that neither their takeoff nor their impending attack was detected in time by Saudi or U.S. radar. Israeli military analysts, who were stunned by the capabilities the Iranians displayed, argued that this surprise attack was the Middle East’s “Pearl Harbor.”

They were right. The Middle East was reshaped by this Iranian precision missile strike, by President Trump’s response and by the response of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to Trump’s response.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Tom Friedman. You always have something useful and important to say. I quit carried by your words, until I wading through some very bad comments, to get to some very thoughtful ones. I will print a few of my favorites, which I recommended.

Socrates
Verona, N.J.Nov. 29

One thing Trump is not is a diplomat. Trump thinks he understands ‘deals’, but what he’s referring to when he says ‘deals’ are cheap transactions counted in dollars, not diplomacy, which is counted in saved lives, security, lasting peace and international engagement. Trump got something ‘right’ in Saudi Arabia by accident the same way a clock gets it accidentally right twice a day. Look at Trump’s ‘diplomatic deal’ with North Korea; some highly rated photo ops at the DMZ followed by absolutely nothing. All hat and no cattle. Joe Biden and his Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken have plenty of global experience and are believers in diplomacy, reasoned discourse and de-escalation. That approach may not always ‘solve the problem’, but it will have a better batting average than the ‘art of the empty deal’ that he who shall not be named championed. The whole world is looking forward to American sanity and alliance-building starting Jan 20 2021. Let’s give it the old college try.

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Thomas
Seattle6h ago
Times Pick

The whole reason Iran needs threats (precision missiles, nukes, etc.) is to protect their sovereignty from the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Friedman flatly states that Iran is homicidal, but Iran expressly sought to minimize fatalities in both the Saudi oil strike and the American-Iraq base strike. In the past couple years, however, the Saudi crown prince had Jamal cut up, we precision struck Soleimani, and presumably Israel just assassinated Mohsen. Friedman also states that Iran’s preferred weapon for homicide is precision guided missiles, which, funnily enough, happens to be our favorite toy too. The deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia is not one made out of love, and I’m skeptical it will lead to a less polarized Middle East. Iran needs to be reintegrated into the world and the Biden administration would be wise to not fall for Saudi-Israeli manipulations.

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lin commented November 29

lin

Eventually, the point is to come to the negotiating table. Best not to have too many bodies to climb over to get there. Many homicidal drone strikes have Made in America written on them, even when they have not been launched by American forces. But when Friedman says ‘it’s complicated’ I don’t think he fully discloses how American and Israeli actions – including arms sales – are contributing factors.

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Meuphys
Atlanta41m ago
Times Pick

By all means, restart the nuke deal with Iran. I don’t really think it matters whether Netanyahu, an undemocratic indicted criminal, and Prince Muhammad bin Salman of Saudi disapprove. Both nations badly need a shakeup in leadership, and while we are not and cannot be the agents of that, it’s important for US credibility that we be seen as returning to a responsible posture rather than accept Trump’s poorly-planned and poorly-executed policies as the new normal. The rest of Europe, also signatories to the Iran deal, would welcome our return to the table. As for the new Iranian missile capabilities, the way to address that is through negotiations and intelligence, not through the ham-handed bullying which has characterized US foreign policy in the Trump years. Iran is a democracy, if flawed, and Saudi Arabia is a monarchy. Israel is a democracy technically, but one currently led by a criminal in thrall to hardline religious elements – a criminal whose party’s vote total in the last election was insufficient to win without going into coalition with the Blue & White party. Like Trump, Netanyahu is a criminal whose continued freedom has been dependent on his political position.

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George Cooper
Tuscaloosa, Al6h ago
Times Pick

Friedman doesn’t mention a key reason for Iranian influence in the gulf is the political disenfranchisement of the Shia minority ( Shia are majority in Bahrain ) giving the Persian Shia an opening to their Arab brothers. Likewise, Hezbollah came into existence and gained power in Lebanon as response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon ( shades of the Lon Nol coup coupled with the American/ARVN invasion of Cambodia that eventually ushered in Pol Pot Mr. Freidman also missed a second seminal event from a tactical military view. That is despite being armed to the teeth with worlds most advanced weapons systems by the US, the Saudi’s multi billion air force and African mercenary army (Saudi’s hate to engage their own men in Yemen ) has been given a thumping by a home grown guerrilla army, the Houthi’s. The UAE ( the only Gulf Army worthwhile) has pulled out and retreated. One can attach the word “homicide” to the Iranians, however it seems more appropriate alongside MBS and the Saudi’s for their carnage inflicted upon the people of Yemen.

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Public
Powerful piece by Tom Friedman, taken to task for his tone, and brevity, and possibly, his blind hatred of Iran, all though, what he says, is helpful in understanding one of the most dangerous quagmires in the world. Unfortunately, George W Bush contributed mightily to the instability and carnage of the war torn region.

David Brooks, largely describing the work of Jonathan Rauch. “The Rotting of the Republican Mind,” – reactions

I’m still grappling with, and excited by these two articles I have referenced or posted, by David Brooks, largely describing the work of Jonathan Rauch. “The Rotting of the Republican Mind,” is about fake news and conspiracy theories become the tools of dangerous populists, despots and dictators. I am now looking at the comments to the Brooks piece, here is a sampling. The most popular comment:

Dan B.Southern CaliforniaNov. 27Times Pick

It is not the Democrats who have systematically deprived people of quality healthcare, education and a living wage. It is the Republicans. How do you convince voters that their economic success is being sabotaged by those who they put and keep in power?59 Replies3699 RecommendedHere is one that I have mixes feelings about:LlenzBostonNov. 27Times Pick”Why would the internet have corrupted Republicans so much more than Democrats, the global right more than the global left?” Because Republican economic policies contribute more to the growing wealth gap – the disenfranchisement of everyone but the very wealthy – the Republican party can only maintain power by fleecing a large portion of the electorate. They know it’s easier to fleece people with less training in critical thinking, such as those without college degrees, or people who were raised to take the words of the Bible literally, without question. They knew their marks and groomed them perfectly for someone like Trump. Cynical emotional appeals to people opposed to abortion and gay marriage all too easily gave way to an outright disinformation strategy, fashioned by Fox and weaponized to full extent when the internet came along. The flood of disinformation available due to the internet is destabilizing governments around the globe. Honestly, if we don’t figure out a way to address this problem, we’re tanked.

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DL: We can quickly fix a lot of fake news on Fox, by returning an law turned off by Ronald Reagan, the Fairness Doctrine of the FCC, that requires any news organization if they put forth an side of an argument over Federal airwaves, they are required to put forth the other popular or competing arguments as well. They have to give the other side equal time. FCC fairness doctrine – Wikipediaen.wikipedia.org › wiki › FCC_fairness_doctrine”The fairness doctrine of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, was a policy that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was—in the FCC’s view—honest, equitable, and balanced.”

Here is a comment that is full of promise, though I don’t know how easy to accomplish:A. W.Brooklyn NYNov. 27Times Pick

A third thing that can be done is to shift education’s focus from rewarding students for the answers they give to rewarding them for the questions they ask . If we train our youth to challenge information offered them from their earliest years they will be better equipped to ask the urgent questions needed before voting. Spitting back facts on exams to get a good grade does not hold a candle to learning to ask the teacher, “ How do we know that is true?” A student body that is used to asking this question is more likely to become a thoughtful citizen. And to be clear, training in this way doesn’t require a college education. It can be done at the earliest levels in our classrooms. As a former elementary school teacher I asked my students to challenge my statements. And bit by bit they did. I had to prove where my information came from and they had to decide whether to believe me because I was the authority in the classroom or because my answer to their questions conformed to their growing sense of how we should access truth.

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Opinion | Why the 2020 Election Makes It Hard to Be Optimistic About the Future – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

“The 2020 election is over. And the big winners were the coronavirus and, quite possibly, catastrophic climate change.

OK, democracy also won, at least for now. By defeating Donald Trump, Joe Biden pulled us back from the brink of authoritarian rule.

But Trump paid less of a penalty than expected for his deadly failure to deal with Covid-19, and few down-ballot Republicans seem to have paid any penalty at all. As a headline in The Washington Post put it, “With pandemic raging, Republicans say election results validate their approach.”

And their approach, in case you missed it, has been denial and a refusal to take even the most basic, low-cost precautions — like requiring that people wear masks in public.

The epidemiological consequences of this cynical irresponsibility will be ghastly. I’m not sure how many people realize just how terrible this winter is going to be.

Deaths from Covid-19 tend to run around three weeks behind new cases; given the exponential growth in cases since the early fall, which hasn’t slowed at all, this means that we may be looking at a daily death toll in the thousands by the end of the year. And remember, many of those who survive Covid-19 nonetheless suffer permanent health damage.

To be fair, the vaccine news has been very good, and it looks likely that we’ll finally bring the pandemic under control sometime next year. But we could suffer hundreds of thousands of American deaths, many of them avoidable, before the vaccine is widely distributed.

Awful as the pandemic outlook is, however, what worries me more is what our failed response says about prospects for dealing with a much bigger issue, one that poses an existential threat to civilization: climate change.

As many people have noted, climate change is an inherently difficult problem to tackle — not economically, but politically.

Right-wingers always claim that taking climate seriously would doom the economy, but the truth is that at this point the economics of climate action look remarkably benign. Spectacular progress in renewable energy technology makes it fairly easy to see how the economy can wean itself from fossil fuels. A recent analysis by the International Monetary Fund suggests that a “green infrastructure push” would, if anything, lead to faster economic growth over the next few decades.

But climate action remains very difficult politically given (a) the power of special interests and (b) the indirect link between costs and benefits.

Consider, for example, the problem posed by methane leaks from fracking wells. Better enforcement to limit these leaks would have huge benefits — but the benefits would be widely distributed across time and space. How do you get people in Texas to accept even a small rise in costs now when the payoff includes, say, a reduced probability of destructive storms a decade from now and half the world away?

This indirectness made many of us pessimistic about the prospects for climate action. But Covid-19 suggests that we weren’t pessimistic enough.

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Opinion | What Biden Can Do About Climate Change – By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Leonhardt is a senior writer at The Times.

Credit…Marly Gallardo

“During the months that Joe Biden and President Trump were campaigning against each other, vast sections of the American West caught on fire. More than five million acres burned, and the air in California, Oregon and Washington was sometimes more harmful to breathe than in the pollution-clogged cities of India.

In the Atlantic Ocean this year, there have been more big storms recorded than in any previous year — 29 thus far, so many that the group that names storms exhausted the English alphabet and had to switch to Greek. Nine of those storms became much more intense in the span of a single day, an event that was rare before the planet was as warm as it now is.

Worldwide, the month of September was the hottest ever measured, and 2020 may end up being the hottest year. The Arctic is warming even faster than the rest of the planet, and glaciers are losing more ice each year than can be found in all of the European Alps. Sea levels now seem to be rising at an accelerating pace. In Siberia, melting ice appears to be releasing gases that cause gigantic explosions, leaving craters that are up 100 feet deep.

Climate change is a fantastically complex phenomenon. It does not proceed at a steady pace, and scientists are often unsure precisely what its effects are and which weather patterns are random. But the sum total of the evidence is clear — and terrifying. The earth is continuing to warm, breaking new records as it does, and the destructive effects of climate change are picking up speed. Future damage will almost certainly be worse, maybe much worse.

Yet there is also a major way in which 2020 has the potential to be a turning point in the other direction. A president who has called climate change a hoax — whose administration has tried to discredit government scientists and has overhauled federal policy to allow more pollution — has lost re-election. He has lost to a candidate who made climate policy a bigger part of his campaign than any previous winning president.

The last two Democratic presidents, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, put a higher priority on expanding health insurance than fighting climate change. Mr. Biden, by contrast, has said he will accomplish his unavoidable short-term priorities — controlling the coronavirus and restarting the economy — in significant part by fighting climate change.

He has proposed spending $2 trillion on clean energy over the next four years to put people back to work, a sum that’s almost 20 times larger than the clean-energy spending in Mr. Obama’s 2009 economic-recovery package. Embedding clean-energy measures into other policy areas is likely to be a theme of the Biden presidency. His advisers have told me that during almost every policy discussion, they ask themselves how to incorporate climate.

The issue is simply more salient today than it was in 2008, as Gina McCarthy, who ran the Environmental Protection Agency under Mr. Obama and has advised Mr. Biden, points out. “The difference between then and now is that the issue of climate change is so much more relevant and personal now,” said Ms. McCarthy, who runs the Natural Resources Defense Council. “There is a real opportunity here that I think Biden is capturing.”

What he can accomplish, of course, will depend on Congress — and specifically on whether Democrats manage to win both Senate runoffs in Georgia in January. That won’t be easy. If Democrats don’t win both, Republicans will keep Senate control, and one of the world’s few major political parties that rejects climate science will be able to block large parts of Mr. Biden’s agenda.

But even in that scenario, he is likely to shift federal policy in a profound way. His advisers have spent months thinking about how to reduce carbon emissions through regulation rather than legislation. And Mr. Biden may also be able to win over a few Republican senators — which is all he would need — for an economic recovery bill that included billions of dollars of clean-energy spending.

The fact that Mr. Biden seems inclined to make the climate a top priority does not stem from a longtime personal obsession. He is not Al Gore. But he has spent his career trying to understand where the center of the Democratic Party is moving and then moving with it. And both the Democratic Party and the country have moved on climate.

For many young progressives and political activists, who will have to live most of their lives on a planet suffering from climate-related damage, climate is the defining issue. “There’s so much pressure from the outside, from young activists — it’s very impactful,” said Kathy Castor, a Democrat from the Tampa area who heads the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Consider that Bernie Sanders made Medicare for All his signature issue; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made the Green New Deal hers.

If anything, the attention on racial injustice since George Floyd’s killing in May has put more momentum behind climate policy. When Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts released the Green New Deal — a statement of principles, rather than a detailed piece of legislation — last year, some moderate Democrats and climate experts criticized its breadth. It called not only for stopping global warming but also for addressing economic inequality and racism.

Now, though, that broad approach means that climate policy feels like a crucial part of another progressive priority: combating racial inequities, by reducing the disproportionate health damage that pollution causes in Black and Latino neighborhoods. Rhiana Gunn-Wright, who helped write the Green New Deal and now runs the climate program at the Roosevelt Institute, said that she used to spend a lot of time answering questions about how climate change and racial justice were connected. “I don’t get asked those questions anymore,” she added.

In addition to the activist energy, broader public opinion seems to be shifting, as climate change has gone from being a hypothetical future problem in many people’s minds to an everyday problem. In a Pew Research Center poll this year, 52 percent of Americans said that dealing with global climate change should be a top priority for the president and Congress. In 2009, only 30 percent did. In a New York Times/Siena College poll during the campaign, 66 percent of likely voters said they favored Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan, with only 26 percent opposed.

As Ms. Gunn-Wright said, “It’s getting harder and harder to act like climate change is a long-term issue that’s coming down the pike.”

Regardless of what happens in the Georgia elections, Mr. Biden’s approach to climate change will differ from Mr. Obama’s. Like most of the Biden agenda, this change reflects a larger shift in the party. In the case of climate, Democrats have become more hardheaded about the tricky politics of the issue. The change has been subtle, and no politician has ever announced it. But it has also been fundamental.

Democrats used to focus their efforts to pass a climate bill on the idea of raising the cost of carbon emissions, through either a tax or a system of permits, known as cap-and-trade. For all of the complicated details, the basic idea was simple: If dirty energy became more expensive, people would use less of it.

Many economists favor this approach, because it harnesses the power of market incentives to shift millions of people’s behavior. Mr. Obama also hoped that the market-oriented approach might win enough Republican votes to get it through the Senate. It did not.

Without bipartisan support, a price on carbon has a huge political weakness. Because higher costs are the central part of the plan, opponents are able to brand it as a tax increase for hard-working families. That criticism helped defeat the Obama plan in the Senate and has also led to the downfall (or weakening) of climate policies in other countries. If a carbon price can’t pass, its technocratic elegance and economic efficiency are irrelevant.

Having learned this lesson, many progressives changed their strategy. They have moved away from a carbon price and now focus on the two other major ways that a government can address climate change. The first is to subsidize clean energy so it becomes cheaper and, in turn, more widely used. The second is put in place rules — often called standards — that simply mandate less pollution, leaving utilities and other companies to work out the details of how they will emit less carbon.

These two approaches are the core of the Biden agenda. And the creation of standards will be the most important one if Democrats fail to win both Senate races in Georgia.

Crucially, a president already has the legal authority to enact standards in the sectors that emit the most carbon, like utilities and transportation. Mr. Biden will not need new legislation to do so. In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act applied to carbon emissions, allowing the Environmental Protection Agency to restrict them. Mr. Obama used this power, and Mr. Biden will probably be even more aggressive.

Standards can have a big effect. The Obama policies, combined with technological advances in solar and wind power, have helped reduce coal’s share of the power sector to 20 percent, from almost 50 percent in 2010. Thirty states have created their own energy standards, including California, New York, Arizona and Colorado, which has also helped. In some cases, the state-based policies are the result of a referendum.

That’s a sign that these standards tend to be more popular than energy taxes: Most Americans support pollution reductions. Opponents still portray them as tax increases, as they no doubt will during the Biden administration. “The oil industry is always going to be arguing that no matter what you do, it’s a price on carbon,” as Mr. Markey told me. But it’s easier for climate advocates to win that argument.

In some cases, Mr. Biden may use the threat of regulation to negotiate with industry. Automakers seem open to making a deal. When Mr. Trump tried to free them from Obama-era restrictions, some balked. Many auto executives understand that clean-energy cars are the future. They would rather get working on the transition, rather than having to maintain two different product lines — gas-guzzling vehicles in some places (like red states) and more fuel-efficient cars elsewhere (like California and Europe).

With a Republican Senate, the Biden climate agenda will consist of dozens of smaller pieces, rather than one sweeping piece of legislation. The Agriculture Department will create incentives for farms to emit less carbon, and the Energy Department will do the same for buildings. On Capitol Hill, the administration will try to add some clean-energy subsidies to legislation on virus relief and infrastructure.

Foreign policy will also be geared toward persuading other countries to emit less. China, in particular, has shown more willingness to listen to American requests on climate change than on other big subjects, like human rights and intellectual property.

Will this be enough to avoid the worst consequences? It is impossible to know. Our chances would certainly be better if Congress were able to pass major legislation.

“We have to use every tool in the toolbox on climate action, before it is too late,” Ms. Castor said. Ms. McCarthy added: “We are way past the time when we should be looking incrementally instead of very aggressively.”

That aggressive approach depends on Democrats winning both Georgia races, which would give them 50 Senate seats and allow Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties. In that case, Democrats could pass much of Mr. Biden’s proposed clean-energy spending. This money would increase spending on research and development, as well as give consumers and businesses incentives to make immediate changes. Many more families would probably buy an electric car, for example, if the government subsidized the purchase and also paid to build many more charging stations.

A Democratic Senate could also try to protect Mr. Biden’s regulatory authority from court challenges, especially given the newly conservative makeup of the Supreme Court. Some climate advocates even hope the Senate would be willing to revisit targeted carbon taxes, perhaps only for the power sector.

The biggest reason to believe that Mr. Biden’s presidency may mark a new era in climate policy is also the biggest reason for pessimism about the future. The effects of climate change seem to be accelerating. The coming years will bring more fires, more unbreathable air, more extreme storms and more flooding, as well as damage that we cannot yet predict. At some point, voters may demand aggressive action and punish politicians who put a higher priority on the profits of the energy industry than on the condition of the planet.

We’re not there yet. But Mr. Biden seems to grasp that his success in fighting climate change will go a long way toward defining his success as president.”

What The ‘Strongmen’ Of History Reveal About Modern Politics – Ruth Ben-Ghiat – On Point – NPR CT

Play

47:1312 hours ago

What The ‘Strongmen’ Of History Reveal About Modern Politics

Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat studies authoritarian regimes, like Italy under Mussolini. Can a democracy pry itself out of a strongman’s grip?

Source: On Point

David Lindsay: I just heard part of this radio interview of Historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat. She points out that Trump is not weak, but very good, at undermining our democracy. He was never trying to be a good democratic leader. All of his nonsense have been out of the playbooks of strong men, who took over their Democracies, and sometimes ended them. All his lies and chaos have left him with 70 million fanatic, almost cult followers. He will be a great danger to our democracy in the next 70 days, and if we do not take steps to contain him, he will run again in 4 years.

Who Are Contenders for Biden’s Cabinet? – The New York Times

By 

“President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has signaled his intention to draw from a diverse cross section of America in building his cabinet. Unlike President Trump’s cabinet, which is more white and male than any in nearly 40 years, Mr. Biden’s list of likely top advisers promises to reflect 21st-century sensibilities.

“Across the board — from our classrooms to our courtrooms to the president’s cabinet — we have to make sure that our leadership and our institutions actually look like America,” Mr. Biden wrote in an op-ed article last summer.

In naming the group, Mr. Biden must appease progressives within his own party while gaining support from Republicans who may still control the Senate. Mr. Biden is likely to include Republicans in his cabinet as he attempts to engineer a working relationship between the parties.

Mr. Biden’s transition team, led by former Senator Ted Kaufman of Delaware, a longtime confidant, already has been working on a list of candidates.

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT |NY Times Comment:
This is an interesting read into the probable? top candidates for Biden’s cabinet. It is researched and written by 18 NYT reporters. I hope and pray that Pete Buttigieg is invited because I am familiar with and admire his leadership.
I feel the same about Elizabeth Warren, but as others have just written, with the senate now so closely divided, it would be reckless to take her out of the senate, when her governor is a Republican.
I also am fond of Susan Rice and suspect that Jay Inslee would be a good choice.
I don’t know most of the people on this list. Picking a new cabinet by a new president–these are good issues to deal with.

Opinion | Third Term of the Obama Presidency – By Charles M. Blow – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

“Barack Obama — his policies and his posture — just won a third term.

Joe Biden will be president because of his close association with Barack Obama, because he espoused many of the same centrist policies and positioning and because of public nostalgia for the normalcy and decency the Obama years provided.

Biden is a restoration president-elect, elected to right the ship and save the system. He is not so much a change agent as a reversion agent. He is elected to Make America Able to Sleep Again.

He doesn’t see his mission as shaking things up, but calming things down.

But, just as was the case with Obama, many of the people who made Biden’s win possible are far to the left of him. As Biden told a Miami television station last month: “I’m the guy that ran against socialists, OK. I’m the guy that’s the moderate. Remember, you guys were all talking, you’d interview me and say, ‘Well, you’re a moderate, how can you win the nomination?’ It’s who I am.” But progressives are not likely to be as silent now as they were during the Obama years.

Obama faced intense, often unfair, resistance from the right on every front, so many who wanted to push him in a more progressive direction held their criticism or limited it for fear of adding to the damage being done to him by his conservative opposition.

But many progressives emerged from that unhappy or downright angry. They are not likely to repeat what many consider a mistake.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NY Times Comment:
I’m sorry, you couldn’t be much farther off Mr. Blow. We had a chance for a 2nd blue wave, and we blew it. The left wing of the Democratic party has possibly damaged our only chance to mitigate climate change in the next 10 years. The far left has to modify their rhetoric of democratic socialism, and their unrealistic pleas for defund the police. Their refusal to look coldly at where the bulk of the country is, nearly cost us four more years of Trump, who was and is still working to end the democracy, as well as speed up the rape of the planet. Choosing language that Rupert Murdoch and his media empire can’t exploit is not just smart, it is a necessary sacrifice. AOC has so polluted the term Green New Deal with democratic socialist ideas, none of which I disagree with, that the term is now a danger to our political success in fighting climate change. Now we need to call it something else. We need a giant jobs program focused on efficient and sustainable development. And we need serious police reform, including reforms to make bad apples accountable. And a better safety net, could mean that the police are not always required to handle calls for the mentally sick.

A Split Decision for Democrats – By Carl Hulse – The New York Times

Despite a record-setting fund-raising bonanza and a flurry of indications that voters were deeply dissatisfied with Mr. Trump, disappointed Democrats came up well short of their aspirations to seize clear control of the Senate and pad their numbers in the House. Instead, they watched gloomily on Wednesday as their path to the Senate majority narrowed while they absorbed unexpected losses in the House.

The split political decision underscored the reality that even as they turned away from the chaos of a divisive Republican president, voters wanted to hedge against Democratic hegemony in the nation’s capital and in statehouses around the country. Far from the so-called blue wave that many Democrats had imagined, the election was shaping up to be a series of conflicting squalls pointing in different directions that, above all, appeared to promise continuing division at all levels of government.

In some ways, the configuration could be tailor-made for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., should he ultimately prevail, which appeared increasingly likely on Wednesday. And it mirrored the decision that Democrats made this year in choosing Mr. Biden as their standard-bearer, elevating him over far more progressive contenders.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NY Times Comment:
Thank you Carl Hulse, for helping me understand this partial but major disaster. Of course, it could have been worse. As an environmentalist, and a climate change hawk, I’m terrified. I do agree with some of the comments castigating the Dems for their extremism, in the face of a fairly conservative electorate. Defund the police was nuts, and appearing soft on illegal immigration, separated the Dems from the majority of the country.
Most seriously, the GOP senate enabled Trump in his multiple transgressions and even treasons, like betraying our allies the Kurds and the northern Syrian militias.
I am left with the lesson this year from a teacher of accents, who offered a few words, to practice, to acquire a real Irish accent. Weave, Beef, Hoooked Just say these more or less together.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

My arguments to a friend and Trump Supporter on why to support Biden – by David Lindsay – Inconvenient News.net

11.02.2020

I played tennis this early morning with Mr. Migs, and since the election is tomorrow, I asked him if he did his homework. No he said, but he might tonight. Since he voted for Trump four years ago, and plans to vote for him again tomorrow, I had asked him to watch just the first 20 minutes of the first debate between Trump and Biden. He agreed to do this, but hasn’t.  Migs said he decided during the second debate between Al Gore and George W Bush, that because Gore made faces of condescension while Bush was talking, he realized that he could never vote for Gore, and therefore his vote went to Bush. The fact that Migs was an engineer for an oil company probably had more to bear on his world view than he admits.

Migs usually beats me 6-1, 6-0, but today was headed towards one of those 6-0, 6-0 days, and I decided to make my case for Biden. I mentioned that Trump was un-presidential, and damaging to our society, when he declared things that weren’t true, such as his recent tweet, that Obama ordered the 6 navy seals who supposedly killed Osama Bin Laden,  killed themselves, to hide the fact that they had not assassinated Bin Laden, but had in fact killed a body double instead. After that comment, Migs served a ball hard as he could toward my stomach, so all I could do was bounce it defensively into the netting between the indoor courts. I mentioned the powerful op-ed in the NYT on Sunday by Roger Cohen, who described how Trump was undoing all of our alliances that we forged after winning WW II, and that the great peace, or the Pax Americana, was coming to a dangerous end.

I asked him if he knew why Trump was impeached, and he said he didn’t know or remember. I reminded him that President Trump told the president of the Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, that the $400 Million in military aid for their hot war with Russia would be held up, unless he did Trump a favor, and announced an investigation into the corruption of Joe Biden and his son Hunter, regarding their relationships with the Burisma Gas Company.  After hemming and hawing, the young president of Ukraine finally agreed to do so, but one of the various American analysts listening in on the call reported the crime to the Justice department anonymously, under the whistle blower act. Trump had essentially committed a form of treason, by hurting the US policy to aid Ukraine in their war with Russia, unless they agreed to try and besmirch one of Trump’s expected political rivals.

I lost another hard fought game. Migs was hitting so hard, I couldn’t drive his cross court ball down the line, and keep it inside the court.  Did he know of one, Jamal Khashoggi.  No he didn’t. I explained that Khashoggi was a journalist in Saudi Arabia, who after criticizing the royal family, had to flee to the US, where he became a writer for the Washington Post, and grew more vocal in criticizing the house of Saud. While back in the middle east, he went to a Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, to get the papers to legally marry his fiancé, but he was apprehended by about 12 Saudi agents, and never heard from again.  A security film showed a man in his clothes left the building,  but it wasn’t him. The Turkish Government produced a sound tape of his torture and dismemberment by small bone saws. He was apparently packed into a small suitcase for disposal. The point, I mentioned, was that Trump refused to criticize the Saudis, and he sent a message to the world that as far as his administration was concerned, it was OK to murder journalists.

And lastly, I reminded Migs of a story I’d related months earlier, of how Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked Trump to remove his  500 American soldiers from northern Syria, which he did, at Erdogan’s request, leaving our Kurdish and Syrian allies in that part of Syria unprotected. These were the fighters who had fought and over ten years had defeated ISIS with our support. The Kurds were the most democratic forces in the region. After the withdrawal, the airforces of Syria, Turkey and Russia bombed our Kurdish and northern Syria militia allies back into the stone age. It was a bloodbath, targeting schools, hospitals and mosques. It appeared that Trump was working for Putin of Russia, not for the American people. This was treason on a tragic scale. The American military leadership was caught off guard, shamed and embarrassed.

Migs, said, stop worrying, Trump has no chance, he will lose. I agreed that he was probably right.  I pointed out though, that Jeff Greenfield was on the PBS Newshour last night reporting that one forecasting group says that Biden will have to win by at least 6 percentage points, to also win the electoral college. We set our next time to play, and left each other in peace to start the work day.