Opinion | God Is Now Trump’s Co-Conspirator – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditGetty Images

“Listening to the speech William Barr, the attorney general, gave last week at the University of Notre Dame Law School, I found myself thinking of the title of an old movie: “God Is My Co-Pilot.” What I realized is that Donald Trump’s minions have now gone that title one better: If Barr’s speech is any indication, their strategy is to make God their boss’s co-conspirator.

Given where we are right now, you might have expected Barr to respond in some way to the events of the past few weeks — the revelation that the president has been calling on foreign regimes to produce dirt on his domestic opponents, the airport arrest of associates of the president’s lawyer as they tried to leave the country on one-way tickets, credible reports that Rudy Giuliani himself is under criminal investigation.

Alternatively, Barr could have delivered himself of some innocuous pablum, which is something government officials often do in difficult times.

But no. Barr gave a fiery speech denouncing the threat to America posed by “militant secularists,” whom he accused of conspiring to destroy the “traditional moral order,” blaming them for rising mental illness, drug dependency and violence.”

David Lindsay: Amen.

I am reading Eager to Love, by Richard Rohr, and it is opening my eyes to a form of Christianity, following St. Francis of Asisis, that is open, big tent, humble, focused on good works, and more Unitarian than expected.

I agree with Paul Krugman, and here is one of the many good comments, I heartily recommended.

Tim Doran
Evanston, IL
Times Pick

Speaking as a very religious Christian, I hope and pray that the influence of American evangelicalism disappears as soon as possible. I much prefer that the influence of atheistic secularism increases because generally atheistic secularists do a far better job of following Jesus than does the typical American evangelical. Jesus explicitly condemned those who make a show of praying in public and those who oppress the poor. Trump’s evangelical supporters love to pray loud and long as they push for policies that oppress the poor and immigrants. Secular atheists obviously never pray in public and typically support policies that assist immigrants and the poor. This country would likely more closely follow the teachings of Jesus under the influence of secular atheism than under American evangelicalism.

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‘I Gave the Other Guy a Shot’ – By Trip Gabriel – The New York Times

“ERIE, Pa. — Mark Graham, a real estate appraiser in this faded manufacturing hub, sat with friends at a gym named FitnessU on the morning after the Democratic debate in mid-September. He had voted for Barack Obama, but in 2016 he took a gamble on Donald Trump. Although he called the president’s conduct in office “a joke,” he was unwilling to commit to voting Democratic in 2020, unconvinced by the 10 party hopefuls the night before.

Jump ahead to October and Democrats in Congress are investigating evidence of President Trump’s possible abuse of power. Mr. Graham has had an electoral conversion.

“Things have changed in the last couple weeks: More stupidity has come out,’’ Mr. Graham, 69, said in a telephone interview last week. He hopes Democrats nominate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., but he is not particular. “I’d vote for the Democratic nominee no matter who it is at this point,” he said. “If Mr. Trump gets into another four years, where he’s a lame duck, it’s going to be like adding gasoline to the fire.”

Heading into 2020, there is intense focus among campaign strategists on the weakest element of the Trump coalition: the millions of voters who disapproved of both major candidates in 2016 but took a chance on Mr. Trump. Whether an impeachment inquiry moves Obama-Trump voters like Mr. Graham off the fence, one way or the other, is a major narrative arc in the 2020 script that is rapidly unfolding and updating.”

David Lindsay: The article reports that 6.7 million voters supported Obama, then Trump. They made up 5% of the total vote, and they alone allowed Trump to win. One commentator said that the article shows they were mostly sexist men (and women), which might be an accurate summary. Which leads to my insistence that our nominee to knock off Trump has to be a centrist male, which suggests strongly Joe Biden, or Buttigieg, or Booker.

Here is a comment I chose to respond to:

Glenn
Olympia

He’s “a really conservative family guy,” who sent four children to Catholic schools. He voted for Trump. Might again. I don’t understand how people can compartmentalize their values like this.

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT response to comment:
@Glenn
I sypathize with your confusion. My take, is that many in the country really care about closing, or at least controlling, our borders. This is especially a central issue to whites, who vote more regularly than any other race in the country, according to David Leondhart’s reporting.
If the Democrats do not sound convincingly like they want control of illegal immigration, they support Trump on of the key issue that keeps winning for him.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.
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Here is another important comment.
Ellwood Nonnemacher
Pennsylvania

I live in an area of Pennsylvania where people voted for Herr Trump, or any other GOP candidate for one reason and one reason only, they are deathly afraid any Democrat will take away their guns. Many of my neighbors disliked Herr Trump and thought he was not capable of doing the job, but they wanted to keep their guns more.

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DL: This sounds unfortunately true. It suggests that the Democrats should soft pedal gun conttrol, and not talk about it much, accept for saying they want to keep guns out of the hands of crazies, with background checks, but allow sane Americans to keep their guns.

Opinion | Is China Heading for Crisis? – by Bret Stephens – The New York Times

“In 2001, Gordon Chang, an American lawyer who had spent many years in Hong Kong and Shanghai, published a book forebodingly titled “The Coming Collapse of China.” At the time, the thesis seemed improbable, if not preposterous.

It looks a great deal less improbable now.

China — or, rather, the Chinese regime — is in trouble. Tuesday’s gigantic parade in Beijing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic looked like something out of the late Brezhnev era: endless military pomp and gray old men. Hong Kong is in its fourth straight month of protests, marked and stained by this week’s shooting of an unarmed teenage demonstrator. The Chinese economy is growing at its slowest rate in 27 years, even when going by the overstated official figures.

Meantime, capital is fleeing China — an estimated $1.2 trillion in the past decade — while foreign investors sour on Chinese markets. Beijing’s loudly touted Belt-and-Road initiative looks increasingly like a swamp of corruption, malinvestment and bad debt. Its retaliatory options in the face of Donald Trump’s trade war are bad and few. And General Secretary Xi Jinping has created a cult-of-personality dictatorship in a style unseen since Mao Zedong, China’s last disastrous emperor.

Remember the “Chinese Dream” — Xi’s vision of China as a modern, powerful, and “moderately well-off” state? Forget it. The current task for Chinese leadership is to avoid a full-blown nightmare of international isolation, economic decline, and domestic revolt.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment
Bret writes well, but doesn’t seem to know much about China. In reading the comments, I am reminded that most Chinese do not care about democracy, but getting out of poverty, and they are pleased with their government.
One astute writer this summer, pointed out that China doesn’t need Hong Kong’s market anymore. The Chinese market makes China independent financially from Hong Kong. That writer suggested that the dissidents of Hong Kong are doomed. I am impressed that the CCP has announced a $500 billion push over the next five years into solar and sustainable energy. They have announced that all cars will be electric by 2030, and now have 42 companies making electric cars. The News Hour showed last night that you have to join a lottery to get a automoblie license, and it getting harder and harder to get a license for gas vehicles.
A Vietnamese professor teaching at a universtiy in the USA, recently reported that the top government officials of Vietnam have been bought out by the Chinese CCP, and are quietly not fighting China’s take over of the South China Sea. There is a question among my friends about whether a democracy like the United States, is capable of dealing with the existencial threat of the climate crisis.
If the oil and gas companies continue to control our politics for their short term profit, we might be the biggest threat to our own future.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Opinion | Ukraine’s Leader Has Jumped Into Trump’s Trap – By Sylvie Kauffmann – The New York Times

By 

Ms. Kauffmann is the editorial director of Le Monde.

CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“For some Europeans, the most embarrassing revelation of the now very public phone conversation between Donald Trump and Ukraine’s president on July 25 was not the attempt by Mr. Trump to interfere in the judiciary system of a foreign country for his own political benefit. Nothing the American president does could surprise any longer.

What they found particularly disappointing, instead, was the servility with which his young counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, sought to ingratiate himself with Mr. Trump, pretending that he had won the Ukrainian presidency by imitating him, claiming to have appointed a new prosecutor general who would be “100 percent my person,” and happily joining in the Euro-bashing that has become one of Mr. Trump’s trademarks.

Masks were falling off. So this popular maverick comedian turned real-life politician after playing one in a TV series, this promising reformer that President Emmanuel Macron of France had hosted at the Élysée even before he was elected, was in fact another spineless, unprepared leader jumping into President Trump’s every trap.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Macron have been wise enough not to comment on this pathetic turn of events. Privately, French diplomats insist that Paris still actively supports Mr. Zelensky — even more so in light of the American meltdown. What is at stake in Ukraine for the European Union is far too important, and the risk of seeing Mr. Trump’s dirty work derail laborious efforts to reform that post-Soviet country far too real.”

David Lindsay: Here is the perfect antidote to Rachel Maddow, who spent way to much time the other night on the Inspector General’s calling 8 house committees for an emergency meeting, to get rubbish about conspiracy theories put together by non other than Rudy Guiliani.

Here are the top two comments I endorsed:

P. Bourke

Excellent article. It helped me realize that in reading the transcript of Trump’s phone call with President Zelensky, it’s worth noting what was not in the transcript, and not just the criminality so clearly in evidence. There was not even the briefest discussion of Ukraine’s economic or military situation or any other item of substance, and this at a very fraught time in the history of the Ukraine, as well as in the US-Russian relationship. Such dereliction of duty by an American president should itself be cause for impeachment.

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Bruce Rozenblit commented 2 hours ago

Bruce Rozenblit
Kansas City, MO

This essay underscores the absolute essential nature of globalism and diplomacy. It reveals what happens if amateurs are placed in charge of highly specialized and professional administrative positions. When the Trumpist path is taken, everything falls apart. We are falling apart. The United Kingdom is falling apart. And now, Ukraine in falling apart. All of this ensuing chaos is to the benefit of Putin. Putin is waging a war of chaos and disfunction against the West. The more disorganized the West becomes (Brexit), the more turmoil inside our governments (Trump’s war on our institutions and public meritocracy), the more friction between allies (Trump’s ever expanding trade wars with our closest allies), the lesser the threat the West presents to him and the stronger Russia becomes. Trump, with his attempt to extort political assistance from Ukraine, plays right into Putin’s hand. Trump, whether he realizes it or not, is Putin’s puppet. The EU has been trying to pull Ukraine into the West’s sphere of influence and rule of law through increased trade. Trump is doing the complete opposite. He is using tariffs as weapon to isolate and turn all against all. This new trade war with the EU, which has just started, has the potential to be devastating, both economically and strategically. It will cost consumers plenty, reduce trade and slow down the global economy, which is already slowing down from tariffs on China. Putin couldn’t be happier.

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Famous story of Mayor Pete Buttigieg from Donald Zimmer MD

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage

from a post by Gary Rouillier on Facebook

From Donald Zimmer, an ER doctor in South Bend, which is right across the river from Mayor Pete’s house.

“Here is the story again of how I met Mayor Pete: happy to share if it convinces people to support to his campaign:

The first time I met Mayor Pete I was working in the ER, very shortly after finishing my residency and moving back to South Bend. I was caring for a little Somali boy who had nearly to hanged himself. We had no Arabic translator immediately available that could help me talk with his mother, and we were working on getting one of the phone translation services when a young man in a suit showed up and just started translating. I assumed the hospital had found and sent down an official translator because translators at the hospital where I did my residency training always wore suits. The boy was gravely ill, and I did not bother to ask who the new translator was, but he spent about an hour with the mother and I, just helping me talk with her about his treatment and his prognosis. Then he followed her and her son up to the ICU when the boy was admitted. During the whole event he never mentioned who he was or said anything to take the focus away from caring for this little boy and his family.

About an hour later he came down from the ICU and shook my hand before he left. I asked him how long he had been a translator with the hospital, and he very casually replied, “I don’t work for the hospital, I’m Mayor Pete.” He shook my hand and left without another word He had come and done what he needed to do and was on his way either home or back to work.

I learned later that he had simply heard over the police scanner that we needed an Arabic translator at the hospital for this tragic situation and just wanted to help. In addition to studying at Harvard, being a Rhodes scholar, working as a McKenzie consultant, he speaks fluent Arabic and worked for Navy intelligence in the Middle East. He is a pretty amazing guy, has done incredible work here in South Bend, and will do great things for the country I hope.”

David Lindsay:

From Peggy Bekeny from Trinity Church on the Green on Facebook.
I must confess, I’ve read this story about Pete Buttigieg before, and do not remember if I posted it last year. A critical limitation of Facebook, is that it doesn’t let you categorize and search your posts, like my blog InconvenientNews.net at wordpress does.

I did a search here, on Pete Buttigieg, and found all my posts, but couldn’t tell if this story was stuck in one of them or not. At any rate, its an old story from last year, but a good one.

This Is the Moment Rachel Maddow Has Been Waiting For – by Amanda Hess – The New York Times

“Maddow has hosted “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC at 9 p.m. five nights a week for 11 years. But over the past three, her figure has ascended, in the liberal imagination, from beloved cable-news host to a kind of oracle for the age of Trump. If her show started out as a smart, quirky, kind-of-meandering news program focusing on Republican misdeeds in the Obama years, it has become, since the 2016 election, the gathering place for a congregation of liberals hungering for an antidote to President Trump’s nihilism and disregard for civic norms.

CreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

Maddow does not administer beat-downs or deliver epic rants. She is not a master of the sound bite. Instead, she carries her viewers along on a wave of verbiage, delivering baroque soliloquies about the Russian state, Trump-administration corruption and American political history. Her show’s mantra is “increasing the amount of useful information in the world,” though the people who watch it do not exactly turn to it out of a need for more information. They already read the papers and scroll through Twitter all day. What Maddow provides is the exciting rush of chasing a set of facts until a sane vision of the world finally comes into focus.”

David Lindsay:

My good friend Vin Gulisano had me over for dinner about a few years before he died, and what he really wanted to share with me was his passion for Rachel Maddow. We watched an episode, and I was ambivalent. She was sharp and articulate, but she gave her opinions loosely, as part of the news she reported, in a way that I thought was unprofessional.

The story above by Amanda Hess describes someone who has perfected a strong story telling style. I taped her show last night, and was deeply impressed. She has truly studied, relentlessly, Trump’s relations with Russia, and it gave depth and gravity to her understanding of the problems Trump now is having with the Ukraine. Her quote, from her recently published book, was shockingly news worthy and to the point. She was the first opinion journalist to say clearly, Donald will be impreached by the house, since he has already admitted to doing what he is accused of doing, asking a foreign government to meddle in our next election to help Trump.

One of my favorite commentors at the NYT.com, Christine McMorrow, had this comment about Maddow:

ChristineMcM
Massachusetts

“By the time she cut to her first commercial break, she had zoomed out so far that Trump’s July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine appeared to be just one little pushpin on a map of vast global corruption.” That’s what she does, and that’s why some of us love her to death.

Yes, her monologues can be tedious (Get to the point, Rachel!) but always in the end, well worth it. She manages to pack 100 pounds of news into a 5-pound news slot, weaving and integrating building blocks of understanding. It’s truly amazing how she writes her openings, and yet, at a dime, changes them in seconds to meet the latest late-breaking.

I’ve never seen any media person like her, and consider her a rare treasure in a sea of repetitive pundits. She may urge us to watch what Trump does, not says, but in her case, I want to watch what she says, each and every night.

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Opinion | Warren Versus the Petty Plutocrats – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditTravis Dove for The New York Times

“Remember when pundits used to argue that Elizabeth Warren wasn’t likable enough to be president? It was always a lazy take, with a strong element of sexism. And it looks ridiculous now, watching Warren on the campaign trail. Never mind whether she’s someone you’d like to have a beer with, she’s definitely someone thousands of people want to take selfies with.

But there are some people who really, really dislike Warren: the ultrawealthy, especially on Wall Street. They dislike her so much that some longtime Democratic donors are reportedly considering throwing their backing behind Donald Trump, corruption, collusion and all, if Warren is the Democratic presidential nominee.

And Warren’s success is a serious possibility, because Warren’s steady rise has made her a real contender, maybe even the front-runner: While she still trails Joe Biden a bit in the polls, betting markets currently give her a roughly 50 percent chance of securing the nomination.

But why does Warren inspire a level of hatred and fear among the very wealthy that I don’t think we’ve seen directed at a presidential candidate since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt?”

DL: Read the rest, it gets better. Elizabeth Warren is amazing. I still support Joe Biden, because I expect he will be better at winning the electoral college than any of his exellent rivals. I must confess, that the comments after the Krugman praises, got me recommending statements about supporting her presidency, which I do, but not yet, in 2020, unless the polls show that she is the stonger candidate in the deep red states and the purple swing states. The electoral college will be won, unfortunately, in the red states.

Trump Was Repeatedly Warned, That, Ukraine Conspiracy Theory Was ‘Completely Debunked’ – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — President Trump was repeatedly warned by his own staff that the Ukraine conspiracy theory that he and his lawyer were pursuing was “completely debunked” long before the president pressed Ukraine this summer to investigate his Democratic rivals, a former top adviser said on Sunday.

Thomas P. Bossert, who served as Mr. Trump’s first homeland security adviser, said he told the president there was no basis to the theory that Ukraine, not Russia, intervened in the 2016 election and did so on behalf of the Democrats. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Bossert said he was “deeply disturbed” that Mr. Trump nonetheless tried to get Ukraine’s president to produce damaging information about Democrats.

Mr. Bossert’s comments, on the ABC program “This Week” and in a subsequent telephone interview, underscored the danger to the president as the House moves ahead with an inquiry into whether he abused his power for political gain. Other former aides to Mr. Trump said on Sunday that he refused to accept reassurances about Ukraine no matter how many times it was explained to him, instead subscribing to an unsubstantiated narrative that has now brought him to the brink of impeachment.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comments
Great article By Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker, thank you. I do not agree with one part of many of the most recommended comments. I do not think Donald Trump has the mind of a kindergartener, or is stupid, or believes in magic thinking, or in the nonesense, lies and fake news that he promotes and trades in. Donald Trump is evil, dangerous, cynical and as a professional con artist, he is excellent at what he does. It bothers me that his critics keep underestimating him. There are a few new news stories on NPR and the NYT about how Trump does his most stupid and racist tweets, just when the news is getting geared up against him. He changes the channel on the media, like a parent changing the channel of their children’s television. To get the better of such a danerous manipulator, the media will have to keep their focus on the big stories, and not run crazy with every despicable tweet.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Impeaching the Peach One, by Maureen Dowd, the New York Times

“WASHINGTON — It’s a beautiful day for an impeachment.

Or at least an inquiry about an impeachment inquiry.

So on Friday, as summer stretched on, I went to the Capitol to see what the speaker of the House was thinking, now that she has lowered the boom.

At the tender age of 73, Donald Trump may finally have to face some consequences for his depredations. His casino games have caught up with him and this time Daddy’s not here to bail him out. How delicious that a woman has the whip hand.

“Isn’t it something, Maureen?” Nancy Pelosi asks about what she calls her “wild week.”

I nod. It surely is. “The president says you’re no longer speaker of the House, that you’ve been taken over by the radical left,” I say to Pelosi, who looks smart in a pink pantsuit and sparkly pink high heels.

She laughs. “See, I always think he’s projecting: When he says ‘She’s not the speaker of the House,’ what he really means is ‘I shouldn’t be president of the United States.’ When he says that Adam Schiff should resign, what he really means is ‘I, Donald Trump, should resign.’ He knows that this is really very incriminating.”

The speaker is in a fine mood, now that she’s turned her focus from reining in the progressives to reining in the president.”

David Lindsay Jr.

 Hamden, CT NYT Comment

“The man who always claims the system is rigged against him keeps trying to rig the system — proving Pelosi’s point that Trump projects.” Bravo Maureen Dowd. When your are this good, you are great. I am terrified though about the warnings of Ross Douthat and David Brooks. Ross warned, Trump really wants this, because, it changes the discussion from about his lousy record, to his being persecuted by a witchhunt. So, Democrats, pay attention to these warnings. You must make room in the press for the candidates to run their election.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

The World’s Oceans Are in Danger, Major Climate Change Report Warns – By Brad Plumer – The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Earth’s oceans are under severe strain from climate change, a major new United Nations report warns, threatening everything from the ability to harvest seafood to the well-being of hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts.

Rising temperatures are contributing to a drop in fish populations in many regions, and oxygen levels in the ocean are declining while acidity levels are on the rise, posing risks to important marine ecosystems, according to the report issued Wednesday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders in policymaking.

In addition, warmer ocean waters, when combined with rising sea levels, threaten to fuel ever more powerful tropical cyclones and floods, the report said, further imperiling coastal regions and worsening a phenomenon that is already contributing to storms like Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston two years ago.

“The oceans are sending us so many warning signals that we need to get emissions under control,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, a marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany and a lead author of the report. “Ecosystems are changing, food webs are changing, fish stocks are changing, and this turmoil is affecting humans.”