As Shutdown Talk Rises- Trump’s Immigration Words Pose Risks for Both Parties – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT Pending Approval
“Ten Democratic senators are on the ballot this November in states that are heavily white, have little sympathy for undocumented immigrants and that Mr. Trump won. Many of these lawmakers have no desire to force a government shutdown over an immigration issue. Some of the party’s most at-risk seats are in Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia and North Dakota.

If they side with Senate Republicans, Congress could pass yet another short-term spending bill by Friday that would end the shutdown threat for now as negotiations continue.

But some Democrats considering presidential runs, such as Senators Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, are pressing Democrats to oppose any government-funding bill — no matter how short-term — that does not also protect the approximately 800,000 young immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers. Mr. Trump rescinded the program in September and gave Congress six months to enshrine its protections into law.”
These presidential hopefuls are short-sighted to let their ambition endanger the Democrats taking over the Senate and their strategy is improper. I will work against any presidential hopeful who wants to use shutting down the government as a tool of partisanship. A Government shutdown would cost the public a fortune.
If the Republicans shouldn’t use that irresponsible tool, Hello! nor should the Democrats.

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7 Wishes for 2018 – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“Well, at least it’s not 2017 anymore.

I expect that future historians will look back on it as one of the darker non-war years in the country’s history — a year when the president lied constantly, America’s global influence suffered and Congress used its mighty powers to enrich the rich. Yet the long view of American history still offers reason for optimism. We usually figure out how to emerge from our darker periods.In the hope that 2018 represents at least the start of a turning point, I offer seven New Year’s wishes:Republicans stand up for the rule of law. The country’s most urgent problem is the possibility that the president will impede an investigation into illegal behavior by his aides and possibly himself.

President Trump clearly wants to do so. His allies are defaming Robert Mueller even though Mueller is a longtime Republican, a successful F.B.I. director and a decorated Marine who’s now pursuing matters of national interest, such as: Does a hostile foreign power have influence over American officials? And did the president use illegal tactics in his campaign?Republicans in Congress can make sure that the country gets answers. They can refuse to tolerate any disruption of Mueller’s investigation, including the firing of him or his boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. If Trump tries to go there, his fellow Republicans can tell him that his presidency would effectively be over. Privately and publicly, they should be saying so now.”

Yes, and here is a top commeent I endorsed:
ChristineMcM is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 13 hours ago
It’s still 2017 by my clock, here in MA at 10:25. I hope the next 1.5 hours pass as slowly as 2017 seemed to.

David Leonhardt, I like your list of wishes for 2018, particularly your first priority: that the Mueller investigation proceed unimpeded. Never before has democracy seemed under such a dark cloud, not even during Watergate when the nation wasn’t as polarized, and most recognized right from wrong.

In your next to last wish, towards the tail end of “creeping” authoritarianism, you cast a personal call for higher voter turnout.

The figures you cite are appalling–“It was only 42 percent in the last midterm, in 2014, compared with more than 60 percent in recent presidential elections…..groups with the potential to increase their political say are 18- to 24-year olds (17 percent citizen turnout in 2014); Asian-Americans (27 percent); and Latinos (also 27 percent).”

To preserve the world’s oldest continuous democracy, we must do better, if only to provide a good example to the next generation.

But hand in hand with higher voter rates is education–informed voters not only make more informed choices, but also better citizens.

Because without a shared understanding of our past, as well as a consensus regarding our obligations and rights as citizens, how can we preserve our freedoms from hostile forces right here at home?

FlagReply 192 Recommended

Related to the 7th point, hoping we all manage to escape and stay centered, last night for New Year’s Eve I went to White Plains NY to an English Country dance which was marvelous. Like the Morris and Sword Team I started and still dance with in New Haven, The Country Dancers of Westchester seem like a group in danger of extinction, if they do not figure out how to attract new and younger participants.

Conservative Groups Seeking Support for Tax Cuts Find It a Hard Sell – The New York Times

” “The American people have waited 31 long years to see our broken tax code overhauled,” the leaders of the Koch’s political network insisted in a letter to members of Congress on Monday, urging swift approval of final legislation. They added that the time had come to put “more money in the pockets of American families.”

The problem, as Republicans are learning, is that most Americans do not believe that is what the tax plan will do.

Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist, said that amid all the talk about the need to score an important victory for their party, “it bears mentioning that the ‘win’ is something that is extraordinarily unpopular with 75 percent of the American people.” ”

David Linday: Republicans in red states, call your congressmen and women, and stop this tax bill from impoverishing the middle class, to make the top 5% even more wealthy.

Tax reform could be a great morvement for the majority of Americans, if it were bi-partisan, and carefully crafted with hearings and external reviews.

David Lindsay Jr is the author of The Tay Son Rebellion, and blogs at TheTaysonRebllion.com, and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

How a Radio Shack Robbery Could Spur a New Era in Digital Privacy

“WASHINGTON — The case that could transform privacy law in the digital era began with the armed robbery of a Radio Shack store in Detroit, a couple of weeks before Christmas in 2010. In the next three months, eight more stores in Michigan and Ohio were robbed at gunpoint.

The robbers took bags filled with smartphones. Their own phones would help send them to prison.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will consider whether prosecutors violated the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches, by collecting vast amounts of data from cellphone companies showing the movements of the man they say organized most of the robberies.

Experts in privacy law said the case, Carpenter v. United States, No. 16-402, was a potential blockbuster.

“Carpenter could be the most important electronic privacy case of the 21st century,” said Jeffrey Rosen, the president of the National Constitution Center, a nonprofit group devoted to educating the public about the Constitution.

In a pair of recent decisions, the Supreme Court expressed discomfort with allowing unlimited government access to digital data. It limited the ability of the police to use GPS devices to track suspects’ movements, and it required a warrant to search cellphones.”

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

Interesting story. My first reaction is that the court has to allow this criminal to go to jail, while clarifying that going forward, the government needs to get a search warrant to look into the digital fingerprints we leave by using cell phones and other digital devices, to protect the general public from governmental over reach.

The Real Reason for Republicans’ Silence on Donald Trump – The New York Times

“It’s less striking that a few Republican congressmen have publicly denounced President Trump’s conduct than that most of their colleagues have not. Their fellow legislators have silently accepted his outrages in exchange for policies they’ve always wanted.

At his inauguration Mr. Trump said his presidency was about “transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people.” But he and his allies in Congress are transferring power to Wall Street, fossil fuel companies, the chemical industry and other special interests, and are stoking an anti-populist bonfire to incinerate protections for consumers and workers.”

DL: Some of us are paying attention. How do we get this information to the folks who watch Fox News, or their local TV news owned by Sinclair, and listen to right wing talk radio?

A conservative op-ed writer from Colorado wrote 20 or 30 years ago, that if we hadn’t had Roe v Wade and forced legalized abortion on the whole country, there never would have been the huge backlash against it. It created a new energy in organizing the right wing of the country, which led to their taking over state governments, and propelling a new vitality in right wing organizations. We would probably never had a Donald Trump, that Colorado writer would have argued, if the pro abortion forces had made abortion legal the slow but sure way it was working before Roe v Wade, as state after state individually made abortion legal. While that would have taken a bit longer, it wouldn’t have woken up this powerful backlash, that is so vital today to right wing political power.

Consumer Bureau Loses Fight to Allow More Class-Action Suits – The New York Times

“Senate Republicans voted on Tuesday to strike down a sweeping new rule that would have allowed millions of Americans to band together in class-action lawsuits against financial institutions.The overturning of the rule, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-to-50 tie, will further loosen regulation of Wall Street as the Trump administration and Republicans move to roll back Obama-era policies enacted in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis. By defeating the rule, Republicans are dismantling a major effort of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog created by Congress in the aftermath of the mortgage mess.

The rule, five years in the making, would have dealt a serious blow to financial firms, potentially exposing them to a flood of costly lawsuits over questionable business practices.For decades, credit card companies and banks have inserted arbitration clauses into the fine print of financial contracts to circumvent the courts and bar people from pooling their resources in class-action lawsuits. By forcing people into private arbitration, the clauses effectively take away one of the few tools that individuals have to fight predatory and deceptive business practices. Arbitration clauses have derailed claims of financial gouging, discrimination in car sales and unfair fees.

The new rule written by the consumer bureau, which was set to take effect in 2019, would have restored the right of individuals to sue in court. It was part of a spate of actions by the bureau, which has cracked down on debt collectors, the student loan industry and payday lenders.”

David Lindsay Jr.:

This is a sad day for the American consumer.
Breathe the air while it is still clean,
and take the longer view for solace.
When the pendulum swings too far to the right,
guess where it swings next.

Complacency Could Kill Health Care – by Paul Krugman – NYT

“I haven’t yet read Hillary Clinton’s “What Happened,” but it seems pretty clear to me what did, in fact, happen in 2016.

These days, America starts from a baseline of extreme tribalism: 47 or 48 percent of the electorate will vote for any Republican, no matter how terrible, and against any Democrat, no matter how good. This means, in turn, that small things — journalists acting like mean kids in high school, ganging up on candidates they consider uncool, events that suggest fresh scandal even when there’s nothing there — can tip the balance in favor of even the worst candidate imaginable.

And, crucially, last year far too many people were complacent; they assumed that Trump couldn’t possibly become president, so they felt free to engage in trivial pursuits. Then they woke up to find that the inconceivable had happened.Is something similar about to go down with health care?Republican attempts to destroy Obamacare have repeatedly failed, and for very good reason. Their attacks on the Affordable Care Act were always based on lies, and they have never come up with a decent alternative.

The simple fact is that all the major elements of the A.C.A. — prohibiting discrimination by insurers based on medical history, requiring that people buy insurance even if they’re currently healthy, premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion that make insurance affordable even for those with lower incomes — are there because they’re necessary. Yet every plan Republicans have offered would do away with or undermine those key elements, causing tens of millions of Americans to lose health insurance, with the heaviest burden falling on the most vulnerable.”

Please note that Lindsay Grahm is one of the four Senators behind this horrible bill.

I am ambivalent about its passage. Its passage would hurt millions of people, but would also give the Democrats the big item they need to take both houses of congress. As an environmentalist, I have to support a democratic party sweep of both houses.

Joe Biden: Reclaiming America’s Values – The New York Times

 

“Around the world, including in the United States, we are seeing the resurgence of a worldview that is closed off and clannish. President Trump keeps longstanding allies such as Germany at arm’s length, while expressing admiration for autocrats like Vladimir V. Putin who thwart democratic institutions.

(Joe Biden, a former Democratic senator from Delaware and vice president of the United States, leads the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.)

Rather than building from a narrative of freedom and democracy that inspires nations to rally together, this White House casts global affairs as a zero-sum competition — for the United States to succeed, others must lose. Among the many problems that plague the Trump administration’s foreign policy, this line of thinking is perhaps the most disturbing.”

“Finally, a foreign policy built on our values must stand firm against foreign powers that celebrate a perceived withdrawal of American leadership as an opportunity to increase their influence. Without the United States standing as a bulwark for global democracy, illiberal powers like Russia will take increasingly aggressive steps to disrupt the international order, bully their neighbors and return to a more divided world.

From the Marshall Plan after World War II to our alliances in East Asia, both Republican and Democratic officials have long embraced a vision of American leadership that fosters a more secure, inclusive and generous planet. That ideal made the world safer and more prosperous — for Americans and everyone else.”

What I really like about Joe Biden’s argument, is his insistence that when we put our values into our foreign policy, we communicate to the world that we care about the rights of Americans, and of all peoples of the world.

I wrote a comment after this article.
David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval
Hi Joe.
Great op-ed.
I was completely with you until you finished without once mentioning climate change.
Our values have no value, if we destroy the planet, by going, as we are headed, to 8,100 gigatons of carbon dioxide pollution.
I’ll bet you a penny, that If I reread your piece, I could insert the words, “and mitigate the causes of climate change,” without changing the rest of your message, even if we have to take out the same number of characters.

David blogs at InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Harrowing Storms May Move Climate Debate- if Not G.O.P. Leaders – The New York Times

For years, climate change activists have faced a wrenching dilemma: how to persuade people to care about a grave but seemingly far-off problem and win their support for policies that might pinch them immediately in utility bills and at the pump.But that calculus may be changing at a time when climatic chaos feels like a daily event rather than an airy abstraction, and storms powered by warming ocean waters wreak havoc on the mainland United States. Americans have spent weeks riveted by television footage of wrecked neighborhoods, displaced families, flattened Caribbean islands and submerged cities from Houston to Jacksonville.“The conversation is shifting,” said Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii. “Because even if you don’t believe liberals, even if you don’t believe scientists, you can believe your own eyes.”

Here is a a comment I didn’t like, and my response.

William Case United States 25 minutes ago NYT Pick

The climate has been cooling since the Holocene Climate Optimum peaked between 7,500 to 5,000 years ago, when temperatures were much higher than today. The cooling is produced by the Milankovitch Cycle—predictable changes in the Earth’s orbit—which combines with changes in the tilt of the earth orbit and the present positioning of the continental plates to produce very long glacial periods (ice ages) and very short interglacial periods (warming periods). The glacial periods last millions of years while the interglacial periods average about 10,000 years. In geological time, the current interglacial period has a few minutes still to go. There have been other brief warming periods during the cool-down similar to the one we are now experiencing. The only difference is that manmade carbon emissions are now contributing to the present warming period. If manmade carbon emissions can prolong the current interglacial period, they may be doing as much good as harm. However, it is unlikely that manmade carbon emissions will offset the Milankovitch Cycle. The probability is that the ice sheets will soon return, once again covering the northern tier of the United States beneath kilometers of ice.

In Reply to comment above:
David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval
William Case, cite your source or sources. If we cause the extinction of 80% of species on earth, as predicted by EO Wilson of Harvard and others, the human species might be one of them. We do not have several thousand years to exacerbate the overheating of the planet, before the next cooling period.
If we melt most of earth’s ice in the next few hundred years, the wars that might ensue from a 100+ foot sea level rise might do in most of the human race as well.

Dreamers- Liars and Bad Economics – by Paul Krugman

“But in any case, adding “and besides, they’re stealing our jobs” undercuts the whole pretense.

Furthermore, the claim was, as I said, junk economics. The idea that there are a fixed number of jobs, so that if a foreign-born worker takes a job he or she takes it away from a native-born worker, is completely at odds with everything we know about how the economy works. Hearing it from a conservative is especially surreal.

The truth is that letting the Dreamers work legally helps the U.S. economy; pushing them out or into the shadows is bad for everyone except racists.

To understand why, you need to realize that America, like other advanced economies, is facing a double-barreled demographic challenge thanks to declining fertility.

On one side, an aging population means fewer workers paying taxes to support Social Security and Medicare. Demography is the main reason long-run forecasts suggest problems for Social Security, and an important reason for concerns about Medicare. Driving out young workers who will pay into the system for many decades is a way to make these problems worse.

On the other side, declining growth in the working-age population reduces the returns to private investment, increasing the risk of prolonged slumps like the one that followed the 2008 financial crisis.

It’s not an accident that Japan, which has low fertility and is deeply hostile to immigration, began experiencing persistent deflation and stagnation a decade before the rest of the world. Destroying DACA makes America more like Japan. Why would we want to do that?”

I struggle with this issue, but I have enormous respect for Paul Krugman, and I can’t find fault with his arguments or facts. I would like more proof that these people are not taking jobs from Americans, but the prooofs are from macro economics, and not always, but  mostsly. When some of us were laid off in the recession of 2008, it might have been because we were older. We were often replaced by younger workers. It is in the next 50 years that all of Kruman’s arguments make sense. In the next 30 years, we are in danger of copying the deadly deflation of Japan.

Here is a comment I endorse:

Socrates

is a trusted commenter Verona NJ September 8, 2017

Aside from the moral obscenity of deporting 800,000 law-abiding young people from the country they grew up in, what’s often overlooked about Republicans and their policies is how consistently destructive they are economically.

The historical record shows that Republican Presidents and Republican policies consistently have long-term deleterious economic effects: see Bush-Cheney’s 2001 – 2009 Reign of Error for a refresher course on Republican economic catastrophe.

A Moody’s Analytics analysis of Trump’s proposed economic policies last year showed that removing all undocumented immigrants from the labor force would trigger an economic recession within one year.

University of California – Davis economist Giovanni Peri says ending DACA would bring a net loss in productivity, given that the U.S. economy is close to full employment.

The CATO Institute estimated that ending DACA would reduce tax revenue by nearly $280 billion over a decade.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center estimated that deporting DACA-eligible individuals would reduce Social Security and Medicare tax revenue by $24.6 billion over a decade.

The Center for American Progress estimated that that the loss of all DACA-eligible workers would reduce US GDP by $433 billion over the next 10 years.

The proposed elimination of DACA is great for Making America Hate Again…and horrible for Making America Great Again.

But Greed Over People demands mindless White Spite to drive it over yet another Republican cliff.