Opinion | The Roots of Big Tech Run Disturbingly Deep – The New York Times

” “Big tech” companies like Google and Facebook are, in reality, the products of hundreds of mergers. Each root below represents a company acquired by a tech giant at a particular moment in its history. A vast majority of these acquisitions, funded by public markets, have received minimal media coverage and limited regulatory scrutiny. But that is changing, given new concerns about consolidation in the tech industries.

Google
(Alphabet)270 Total Acquisitions171 Competitive 55 Conglomerate 44 Others

David Lindsay:  Yes, yes, yes. We should break up Amazon, Facebook, Google, and California.

Seriously, Amazon should be forced to sell every company it forced to sell to itself, like Diapers.com, as reported in Bloomberg Businessweek.

It appears that the other two giants are also guilty of throwing their weight around.

BUARLH!   Break Up And Regulate Like Hell!

Opinion | Let’s Ditch Mitch – By Gail Collins – The New York Times

Gail Collins

By Gail Collins

Opinion Columnist

O.K., throwing this one at you without warning: What’s your opinion of Mitch McConnell?

A) Spawn of Satan.

B) Sort of pitiful, what with having Donald Trump on his back.

C) Can we talk about how he looks like a turtle?

Definitely not the last one. It’s true that many Americans think of McConnell as turtle-like, due to his lack of anything resembling a chin.

But this is wrong on two counts. First, you shouldn’t tackle people you disagree with by making fun of their looks.

Second, it gives turtles a bad name. Turtles are great for the environment and everybody likes them. They sing to their children. You are never going to see a turtle killing gun control legislation.

Mitch, on the other hand, has a longstanding alliance with the National Rifle Association, which has shown its affection to the tune of about $1.3 million in support. Anything the N.R.A. dislikes never gets the chance to come up for a Senate vote. Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is moldering away in a corner because the N.R.A. doesn’t want authorities taking guns away from domestic abusers.

It’s been another terrible year of mass shooting violence. One simple, very popular response would be to improve the background checks for gun purchases. It would at least show our elected officials care about the crisis.

Such a bill passed the House of Representatives and went to the Senate where it’s, um, laying around somewhere. “There’s a whole bunch of Republican support, but he won’t let it move to the floor,” said minority leader Chuck Schumer.

This goes on a lot. McConnell, who has near total control over what comes up for a vote, sits on things he doesn’t like until they smother. Farewell, immigration reform, Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, lowering prescription drug prices, protecting election security, restoring net neutrality.”

David Lindsay:  Thank you Gail Collins for a good piece. Also good comments. Here is one I found useful but daunting.

Denise
Louisville
Times Pick

I live in the same area of town as Mitch- the Highlands of Louisville, one of the most liberal neighborhoods in Kentucky. You can only imagine how painful it is to stand behind him at the local deli or in Kroger, knowing how responsible he is for this very real threat to our democracy. For all those who believe that removing him from power is simply a matter of telling Kentuckians that he hurts us more than helps us – oh how naive you are! His willingness to allow the movement against abortion rights to progress through his manipulation of the judicial system is enough for most KY voters to back him yet again. The real problem lies within the Senate. How is it that only the number of years one has served can give one man from such a small state as KY so much power? This debacle of McConnell reveals yet another weakness in our democracy. A man who can cater to singular interests of a small portion of society can retain his seat for decades. He doesn’t even acknowledge the letters, calls and emails those who disagree with him send. He doesn’t need us. His power is entrenched and Republicans at large know it. McConnell can be as deceitful, manipulative and hateful as they need because he faces no consequences. The system of designating power must change.

13 Replies1691 Recommended
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David Lindsay: It is an irony that if we let the right overturn Roe V Wade, McConnell would probably lose his grip on the Kentucky electorate, and all the other great things McConnell is preventing could become the law of the land, or at least get a vote.
Are other option, is to make sure the Democrats take back the Senate, which removes McConnell from his leadership role.

The Man Who Told America the Truth About D-Day – The New York Times

By David Chrisinger

“Most of the men in the first wave never stood a chance. In the predawn darkness of June 6, 1944, thousands of American soldiers crawled down swaying cargo nets and thudded into steel landing craft bound for the Normandy coast. Their senses were soon choked with the smells of wet canvas gear, seawater and acrid clouds of powder from the huge naval guns firing just over their heads. As the landing craft drew close to shore, the deafening roar stopped, quickly replaced by German artillery rounds crashing into the water all around them. The flesh under the men’s sea-soaked uniforms prickled. They waited, like trapped mice, barely daring to breathe.

A blanket of smoke hid the heavily defended bluffs above the strip of sand code-named Omaha Beach. Concentrated in concrete pill boxes, nearly 2,000 German defenders lay in wait. The landing ramps slapped down into the surf, and a catastrophic hail of gunfire erupted from the bluffs. The ensuing slaughter was merciless.

But Allied troops kept landing, wave after wave, and by midday they had crossed the 300 yards of sandy killing ground, scaled the bluffs and overpowered the German defenses. By the end of the day, the beaches had been secured and the heaviest fighting had moved at least a mile inland. In the biggest and most complicated amphibious operation in military history, it wasn’t bombs, artillery or tanks that overwhelmed the Germans; it was men — many of them boys, really — slogging up the beaches and crawling over the corpses of their friends that won the Allies a toehold at the western edge of Europe.

Pyle was beloved by readers and service members alike for his coverage of the war through the eyes of the regular infantrymen on the front lines.”
CreditBettmann Archive/Getty Images
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comments
Thank you David Chrisinger. I loved this piece. I must find a book by Ernie Pyle. My favorite story about the invasion of Normandy is the story of Hobart’s Funnies. This Englishman saw the slaughter which occurred attacking entrenched Germans, and invented weird tanks and vehicles, to save the lives of the attackers on the beach. The vehicles looked like they were from a cartoon, and the Americans laughed at their looks and the novelty of their idea. They worked. The British causalties using these bizarre vehicals was a small fraction of the Americans.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net and sings about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.

If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It- Should We Stay Home? – By Andy Newman – The New York Times

“The glaciers are melting, the coral reefs are dying, Miami Beach is slowly going under.

Quick, says a voice in your head, go see them before they disappear! You are evil, says another voice. For you are hastening their destruction.

To a lot of people who like to travel, these are morally bewildering times. Something that seemed like pure escape and adventure has become double-edged, harmful, the epitome of selfish consumption. Going someplace far away, we now know, is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change. One seat on a flight from New York to Los Angeles effectively adds months worth of human-generated carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

And yet we fly more and more.

The number of airline passengers worldwide has more than doubled since 2003, and unlike with some other pollution sources, there’s not a ton that can be done right now to make flying significantly greener — electrified jets are not coming to an airport near you anytime soon.

Still, we wonder: How much is that one vacation really hurting anyone, or anything?

It is hard to think about climate change in relation to our own behavior. We are small, our effects are microscopically incremental and we mean no harm. The effects of climate change are inconceivably enormous and awful — and for the most part still unrealized. You can’t see the face of the unnamed future person whose coastal village you will have helped submerge.”

David Lindsay:  Amazing article, thank you Andy Newman. I loved the link at the end to the Openthefuture.com website, and the article there about the carbon footprint of a single cheeseburger, or the 50 to 150 cheeseburgers most Americans eats every year.

I liked the comments, about getting involved in politics and personal changes. I have upped my contributions to climate change hawks running for office, and added 46 solar panels to the roof of my house. We have upgraded our two gasoline autos to one electric Nissan Leaf and one Toyota Prius plug in hybrid. We are now converting the gas systems in the house with electric ones.  We replaced the old gas fired hot water heater with a heat pump electric water heater, and have installed 4 ductless splits, electric condenser heat pump room heaters and air conditioners by LG.

I remain as guilty as the rest, with my use of occasional air travel, which I will have to examine.

Here is one of many comments I liked:

Tom

Yes we should, and that is what my wife and I have done for the last 8 – 10 years when we quit flying. I’m in my late 60’s and everyone I know bridles at the mention of limiting travel. They feel they worked most of their life and this is their time to travel and see the world. I felt that way too until I learned about habitat loss, ocean pollution and climate change. My wife and I greatly limit our consumption due to the impact producing those goods has on the environment. We live by Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle. Our friends consider us anomalies, and our lives completely unreasonable. We won’t limit climate change significantly any other way. Renewables and electric cars are not nearly enough.

4 Replies119 Recommended

Opinion | Democrats- Do Your Damned Duty! – by Charles Blow – The New York Times

David Lindsay:
I wish it were so easy, and simple, but I fear it isn’t.
David Leonhardt and Bret Stephens have both argued that impeachment right away would give Trump the foil he needs to play the victim card over and over. He would then be exonnerated by the Senate. It would give him a boost before the 2020 election.
Here is a comment, I was able to endorse:
Ron Cohen
Ron Cohen
Waltham, MA3h ago
Times Pick
As others have pointed out, time favors the Democrats, not Trump. He wants impeachment now, so he can be exonerated by the Senate before the 2020 campaign begins.

He doesn’t want the drip, drip, drip of further revelations during the campaign, which surely will accelerate once impeachment proceedings have begun.

There’s nothing in the Constitution that REQUIRES Congress to impeach—now, or ever. Those who argue that Congress has a “Constitutional responsibility,” or “duty,” to impeach are wrong. There is no such thing. Whether to impeach is a political decision, and it has always been regarded as such. Congress is free to leave the judgment to the voters if it feels that is a less divisive and more certain means of redress.

And that is exactly what will happen if impeachment proceedings are delayed until next year, when the campaign is under way. The final verdict will be made by the voters—by then more fully engaged and informed—who may well “convict” via the ballot box. There’s no certainty they will do so, but it is certain the Senate will not. Once Trump is out of office, of course, his immunity to prosecution will be gone.

17 Replies213 Recommended

Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr:

Everyone please look at the article above.

Amazing, heartbreaking. Caution: intelligent people should be warned that this story might cause depression and despair. The antidote, go see Al Gore’s second film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power. It is full of good news.

Here is my comment at the NYT.

Thank you Nathanial Rich and the NYT. There are real villains in this story. I was unaware that George H W Bush beat Michael Dukakis partly because Dukakis was pro Coal and a climate change denier, and George HW Bush was looking for a way to beat Dukakis in New Hamshire, where the former Governor, John Sununu recommended climate change was popular in his state. These two men are the villains. Sununu almost single handedly, according to this short history, derailed the climate change summit in 1988, that was headed to world action on carbon dioxide pollution. Sununu deserves our disgust and contempt, but he wasn’t the only villain. George HW Bush was an oil and gas man from Texas, and he put as his Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, another oil and gas executive. Both Bush presidents were intellectual light weights. According to this short history, HW Bush didn’t like or let scientist brief him. He preferred getting briefed by his political buddies. Billions of people will probably suffer, and many of them die, in the ugly centuries ahead, even if we get serious about climate change after the next election or two. There will be plenty of blood, on many hands, but there will be a specially hot place in the 9th ring of hell, for John Sununu, Dick Cheney, and the anti-science Bush presidents. Don’t quit, don’t despair. Get environmental patriots to the polls, and to run for office.

David Lindsay Jr. blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com

 

 

Trump Administration Could Blacklist China’s Hikvision, a Surveillance Firm – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering limits to a Chinese video surveillance giant’s ability to buy American technology, people familiar with the matter said, the latest attempt to counter Beijing’s global economic ambitions.

The move would effectively place the company, Hikvision, on a United States blacklist. It also would mark the first time the Trump administration punished a Chinese company for its role in the surveillance and mass detention of Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority.”

Source: Trump Administration Could Blacklist China’s Hikvision, a Surveillance Firm – The New York Times

Trump Administration Could Blacklist China’s Hikvision, a Surveillance Firm – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/21/us/politics/hikvision-trump.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

“WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering limits to a Chinese video surveillance giant’s ability to buy American technology, people familiar with the matter said, the latest attempt to counter Beijing’s global economic ambitions.

The move would effectively place the company, Hikvision, on a United States blacklist. It also would mark the first time the Trump administration punished a Chinese company for its role in the surveillance and mass detention of Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority.

The move is also likely to inflame the tensions that have escalated in President Trump’s renewed trade war with Chinese leaders. The president, in the span of two weeks, has raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goodsthreatened to tax all imports and taken steps to cripple the Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei. China has promised to retaliate against American industries.

Hikvision is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products and is central to China’s ambitions to be the top global exporter of surveillance systems. The Commerce Department may require that American companies obtain government approval to supply components to Hikvision, limiting the company’s access to technology that helps power its equipment.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Commets
Thank you Ana Swanson and Edward Wong. My god this is complicated. I confess I liked comments which appeared on the surface at least, to disagree with each other. We need to try and help the oppressed Uighurs of Xinjiang. But are tariffs the best way to do it, or do tariffs bite us as well as the Chinese? We need to play hard balll with China, but are tariffs the right tool? Was there anything in th TPP, (the Trans Pacific Partnership) tool bag for its members to help the Uighurs? Please write more about this complexity. Does our trade war with China help or hurt our need to reduce world green house gases dramatically in the next ten years? I would like to hear from world famous economists as well as Sinophiles.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs about the environment at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com.

Opinion | How Trump Helps MS-13 – by Bret Stephens – The New York Times

“. . . There are better options. Bill Clinton and then George W. Bush invested some $10 billion in counterinsurgency and counternarcotics efforts to rescue Colombia from the grip of jungle guerrillas and drug lords. The plan was expensive, took a decade, involved the limited deployment of U.S. troops, and was widely mocked.

Yet it worked. Colombia is South America’s great turnaround story. And nobody today worries about a Colombian migration crisis.

It’s always possible that Trump knows all this — and rejects it precisely because it stands a reasonable chance of eventually fixing the very problem that was central to his election and on which he intends to campaign for the next 18 months. Demagogues need bugaboos, and MS-13 and other assorted Latin American gangsters are the perfect ones for him.

But whether he gets that or not, it behooves Americans to know that the crisis at our border has a source, and that Trump continues to inflame it. The answer isn’t a big beautiful wall. It’s a real foreign policy. We used to know how to craft one.”

David Lindsay:

I thought this op-ed piece way above average, and praised Bret Stephens for being spot on in suggesting Trump might actually want to continue destabizing countries to our south. But these top comments do show, I was a little too generous on a major flaw.

RME
Seattle
Times Pick

While analysis is excellent, it’s perhaps inaccurate to blame Obama for creating the conditions that created the ISIS. That was created first by invasion of Iraq, which also benefited Iran. Then in particular by the decision to dissolve the Iraq army. And consider the US more or less told them if they surrendered – which they mostly did – they could keep thier jobs. Perhaps Obama should have negotiated harder to keep a US military presence in Iraq. But at the time there wasn’t much Democratic or Republican political support for continuing US military mission there. Blaming ISIS on that choice is a tad disingenuous.

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Susan commented May 11

Susan
Paris
Times Pick

“Colombia is South America’s great turnaround story. And nobody today worries about a Colombian migration crisis.” And Colombia has taken in millions of refugees fleeing the economic/political collapse in Venezuela. Despite limited means, the people of Colombia have responded to this humanitarian crisis with a compassion sorely lacking on our borders. Instead of threatening American intervention in Venezuela, why don’t we do something to help Colombia to deal with this crisis until Maduro is gone? Of course that wouldn’t provide as many opportunities for Trumpian grandstanding, but might actually do some good.

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Cemal Ekin commented May 11

Cemal Ekin
Warwick, RI
Times Pick

“Barack Obama’s ill-judged military exit from Iraq in 2011 …” Hold on! First, why must we bring President Obama into every discussion? Second, why distort the truth? The decision to withdraw from Iraq was signed by President Bush and the Iraqi government did not want the US troops there. The perpetual “Obama defense” on everything is wearing thin. Please be more careful to state the facts. A simple search will find reliable sources fact-checking this tired story. Why do you still use it?

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Opinion | The Tawdry Trump-Nadler War – By David Brooks – The New York Times

By David Brooks
Opinion Columnist

May 9, 2019, 828
Image
Representative Jerry Nadler went “there,” declaring the nation is in a “constitutional crisis.”CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

“Our system of checks and balances requires that political leaders hold two opposing ideas in their heads simultaneously. If you’re a political leader, the first is that your political opponents are wrong about many things and should be defeated in elections. The second is that you still need them. You need them to check your excesses, compensate for your blind spots and correct your mistakes.”

David Lindsay:  Brooks has the clearest argument I have heard, as to why the Democrats should slow down, and not jump into impeachment. They should hold their fire, until they have tried to get Robert Muller to testify, and hear what he has to say. David Leonhardt has warned that impeaching Trump prematurely will make him a martyr, and empower and rebuild his crumbling party.