How YouTube Radicalized Brazil – The New York Times

“NITERÓI, Brazil — When Matheus Dominguez was 16, YouTube recommended a video that changed his life.

He was in a band in Niterói, a beach-ringed city in Brazil, and practiced guitar by watching tutorials online.

YouTube had recently installed a powerful new artificial intelligence system that learned from user behavior and paired videos with recommendations for others. One day, it directed him to an amateur guitar teacher named Nando Moura, who had gained a wide following by posting videos about heavy metal, video games and, most of all, politics.

In colorful and paranoid far-right rants, Mr. Moura accused feminists, teachers and mainstream politicians of waging vast conspiracies. Mr. Dominguez was hooked.

As his time on the site grew, YouTube recommended videos from other far-right figures. One was a lawmaker named Jair Bolsonaro, then a marginal figure in national politics — but a star in YouTube’s far-right community in Brazil, where the platform has become more widely watched than all but one TV channel.”

David Lindsay:  When Elizabeth Warren included Google in her list of major Social Media and Tech companies that should be broken up and heavily regulated, I thought she had gone overboard. It turns out, she was right, and I was clueless as to what a nightmarish monster parts of Google, such as Youtube, have become, aiding and abetting the rise of facists and extreme right wingers around the world. I now join Elizabeth Warren, that Google is on the list of oversized and dangerous monoliths that have to be broken up and carefully regulated to protect democratic and open market values.

Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply- United Nations Warns – By Christopher Flavelle – The New York Times

“The world’s land and water resources are being exploited at “unprecedented rates,” a new United Nations report warns, which combined with climate change is putting dire pressure on the ability of humanity to feed itself.

The report, prepared by more than 100 experts from 52 countries and released in summary form in Geneva on Thursday, found that the window to address the threat is closing rapidly. A half-billion people already live in places turning into desert, and soil is being lost between 10 and 100 times faster than it is forming, according to the report.

Climate change will make those threats even worse, as floods, drought, storms and other types of extreme weather threaten to disrupt, and over time shrink, the global food supply. Already, more than 10 percent of the world’s population remains undernourished, and some authors of the report warned in interviews that food shortages could lead to an increase in cross-border migration.

A particular danger is that food crises could develop on several continents at once, said Cynthia Rosenzweig, a senior research scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the lead authors of the report. “The potential risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” she said. “All of these things are happening at the same time.” “

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Thank you IPCC and Christopher Flavelle for reporting on their important work. The message is clear, all hands on deck. It appears in this short summary, the human population growth, perhaps the root cause, is still a taboo subjecct and off the table. It is time for the IPCC to address human population growth and call for zero or negative population growth.
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David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Opinion | ICE Came to Take Their Neighbor. They Said No. – By Margaret Renkl – The New York Times

When ICE officials arrived, residents of a Nashville neighborhood formed a human chain to protect an undocumented man and his 12-year-old son.

Margaret Renkl

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

CreditCreditUgc/Nashville Noticias, via Reuters

“NASHVILLE — Residents of a quiet working-class neighborhood in the Hermitage section of Nashville woke up very early on July 22 to find officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement trying to arrest one of their own.

An unmarked pickup truck with flashing red and blue lights had pulled into the man’s driveway, blocking his van. Two ICE agents armed with an administrative warrant ordered the man and his 12-year-old son to step out of their vehicle. The man, who had lived in the neighborhood for some 14 years, did exactly what the Tennessee Immigrant Refugee and Rights Coalition urges immigrants to do in such cases: He stayed put.

An administrative warrant gives officials permission to detain a suspect but it does not allow them to enter his house or vehicle. The ICE officials in that Nashville driveway were apparently counting on the man not to know that. With an administrative warrant, “there’s no judicial review, no magistrate review, no probable cause,” Daniel Ayoade Yoon, a lawyer later summoned to the house by immigration activists, told The Nashville SceneHe told WTVF, “They were saying, ‘If you don’t come out, we’re going to arrest you, we’re going to arrest your 12-year-old son.’” The administrative warrant they held did not give them the authority to do either.

Neighbors witnessing the standoff were appalled. “We was like, ‘Oh my God, are you serious?’” Angela Glass told WPLN. “And that’s when everybody got mad and was like, ‘They don’t do nothing, they don’t bother nobody, you haven’t got no complaints from them. Police have never been called over there. All they do is work and take care of their family and take care of the community.’” “

David Lindsay:

To the Editor, NYT:

Regarding ICE Came to Take Their Neighbor. They Said No, By Margaret Renkl, I had several reactions. This was a strong and disturbing piece, and it is the first piece by Renkl I disapproved of.

I wonder if Reader comments were not welcome, because she sensed she was getting into murky waters. Is she arguing obliquely for open borders, and unlimited, illegal immigration? It appears she is decently cheering on humans acting for a cause greater than themselves.

My guess is that she dislikes the arbitrariness of picking on two lovely illegals, who are law abiding, accept for the fact that they broke the law to come and remain illegally in the US. Renkl is a writer, who was just praising the The Overstory, by Richard Powers, that laments the rapid extinction of thousands of non-human, tree and plant species, because we humans are over populated and we over pollute, while we cut down the forests of the world to plant things we can eat or sell. I am sorry the Margaret Renkl didn’t make any attempt to reconcile her two contradictory impulses, to protect the planet from humans, and to protect humans from suffering. I worry for her, and myself, and for all of us. A growing number of scientist suggest that humans should limit their numbers to about 4 billion, in order to survive in a sustainable and beautiful world that welcomes humans and other species together. We need to stop population growth, and illegal immigration, and the cutting down of all the forests in the world, and the burning of fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide, a notorious green-house gas. I admit I would love an organized, and humane as possible set of immigration laws, but we have to also keep track of the the costs. If we are to applaud these neighbors, for helping two lovely illegals, we should also lament that ICE also has a job, that has to be well defined and managed, and supported.

Sincerely,

David Lindsay, Hamden CT

Opinion | Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’ – by Lara Bazelon – The New York Times

“. . .Worst of all, though, is Ms. Harris’s record in wrongful conviction cases. Consider George Gage, an electrician with no criminal record who was charged in 1999 with sexually abusing his stepdaughter, who reported the allegations years later. The case largely hinged on the stepdaughter’s testimony and Mr. Gage was convicted.

Afterward, the judge discovered that the prosecutor had unlawfully held back potentially exculpatory evidence, including medical reports indicating that the stepdaughter had been repeatedly untruthful with law enforcement. Her mother even described her as “a pathological liar” who “lives her lies.”

In 2015, when the case reached the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, Ms. Harris’s prosecutors defended the conviction. They pointed out that Mr. Gage, while forced to act as his own lawyer, had not properly raised the legal issue in the lower court, as the law required.

The appellate judges acknowledged this impediment and sent the case to mediation, a clear signal for Ms. Harris to dismiss the case. When she refused to budge, the court upheld the conviction on that technicality. Mr. Gage is still in prison serving a 70-year sentence.

That case is not an outlier. Ms. Harris also fought to keep Daniel Larsen in prison on a 28-year-to-life sentence for possession of a concealed weapon even though his trial lawyer was incompetent and there was compelling evidence of his innocence. Relying on a technicality again, Ms. Harris argued that Mr. Larsen failed to raise his legal arguments in a timely fashion. (This time, she lost.)

She also defended Johnny Baca’s conviction for murder even though judges found a prosecutor presented false testimony at the trial. She relented only after a video of the oral argument received national attention and embarrassed her office.

And then there’s Kevin Cooper, the death row inmate whose trial was infected by racism and corruption. He sought advanced DNA testing to prove his innocence, but Ms. Harris opposed it. (After The New York Times’s exposé of the case went viral, she reversed her position.)

All this is a shame because the state’s top prosecutor has the power and the imperative to seek justice. In cases of tainted convictions, that means conceding error and overturning them. Rather than fulfilling that obligation, Ms. Harris turned legal technicalities into weapons so she could cement injustices.”

David Lindsay:  In ancient China, if a mandarin was caught giving a harsh sentence, such as life at hard labor, or death, to an innocent person, he had to take the same penalty that he had given out incorrectly.  By that arguably fair standard, Kamala Harris should be incarcerated with a death penalty.

Opinion | Winners and Losers of the Democratic Debate- Night 2 – The New York Times

 

Good reading. I agree with Ross Douthat, that Joe Biden was the real winner of the first debate.  Here is a comment, after the second debate, that I endorsed:

Eric Cosh
Phoenix, Arizona
Times Pick

I pretty much agree with most of the columnist of what they thought about the debate last night. However, what really matters is “What did the voting public think?” That’s all that really matters. My 2 cents is I thought the moderators really won last night! Their questions were really thought out and they kept the ball rolling. I’m not sure if anyone’s mind is made up just by debates. Where we tend to get deeper into their “souls” is one on one. After last night, I’m still kind of holding onto Joe to beat Trump. Having said that, I’ve now narrowed the field down to just Three! Biden, Warren & Booker. What I do see are some very good cabinet posts, excluding De Blasio.

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David Lindsay:  What I would add to the above comment, is that I’m still greatly enamored with Pete Buttigieg, and he is so young, that he is my first choice for vice president for Joe Biden,

Opinion | A Racist Stuck in the Past – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

Paul Krugman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditFrances Roberts 

“Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. Yes, Donald Trump is a vile racist. He regularly uses dehumanizing language about nonwhites, including members of Congress. And while some argue that this is a cynical strategy designed to turn out Trump’s base, it is at most a strategy that builds on Trump’s pre-existing bigotry. He would be saying these things regardless (and was saying such things long before he ran for president); his team is simply trying to turn bigoted lemons into political lemonade.

What I haven’t seen pointed out much, however, is that Trump’s racism rests on a vision of America that is decades out of date. In his mind it’s always 1989. And that’s not an accident: The ways America has changed over the past three decades, both good and bad, are utterly inconsistent with Trump-style racism.

Why 1989? That was the year he demanded bringing back the death penalty in response to the case of the Central Park Five, black and Latino teenagers convicted of raping a white jogger in Central Park. They were, in fact, innocent; their convictions were vacated in 2002. Trump, nevertheless, has refused to apologize or admit that he was wrong.

His behavior then and later was vicious, and it is no excuse to acknowledge that at the time America was suffering from a crime wave. Still, there was indeed such a wave, and it was fairly common to talk about social collapse in inner-city urban communities.

But Trump doesn’t seem to be aware that times have changed. His vision of “American carnage” is one of a nation whose principal social problem is inner-city violence, perpetrated by nonwhites. That’s a comfortable vision if you’re a racist who considers nonwhites inferior. But it’s completely wrong as a picture of America today.

For one thing, violent crime has fallen drastically since the early 1990s, especially in big cities. Our cities certainly aren’t perfectly safe, and some cities — like Baltimore — haven’t shared in the progress. But the social state of urban America is vastly better than it was.

On the other hand, the social state of rural America — white rural America — is deteriorating. To the extent that there really is such a thing as American carnage — and we are in fact seeing rising age-adjusted mortality and declining life expectancy — it’s concentrated among less-educated whites, especially in rural areas, who are suffering from a surge in “deaths of despair” from opioids, suicide and alcohol that has pushed their mortality rates above those of African-Americans.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Paul Krugman. I didn’t want to read this piece, because I’m getting tired of going over Trump, who gets too much attention. But Krugman doesn’t disappoint. Here is top comment I heartily endorsed:

Jonathan
Olympia

Paul Krugman is, currently, and has been for some long while, the best opinion columnist in America. Not only are his analyses of problems almost inevitably deeply, penetratingly, accurate, recognizing and illuminating a host of ideas and issues related to the main issue and showing how they are related – usually social problems are complex, let alone political and economic ones – he is also a superb writer, able to articulate all manner of complex notions in simple, clear language. Today’s column is spectacularly good – and merely the normal for him. He is a gift to the nation.

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Opinion | Spare Me the Purity Racket – By Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

Maureen Dowd

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — After I interviewed Nancy Pelosi a few weeks ago, The HuffPost huffed that we were Dreaded Elites because we were eating chocolates and — horror of horrors — the speaker had on some good pumps.

Then this week, lefty Twitter erected a digital guillotine because I had a book party for my friend Carl Hulse, The Times’s authority on Capitol Hill for decades, attended by family, journalists, Hill denizens and a smattering of lawmakers, including Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Susan Collins.

I, the daughter of a D.C. cop, and Carl, the son of an Illinois plumber, were hilariously painted as decadent aristocrats reveling like Marie Antoinette when we should have been knitting like Madame Defarge.

Yo, proletariat: If the Democratic Party is going to be against chocolate, high heels, parties and fun, you’ve lost me. And I’ve got some bad news for you about 2020.

The progressives are the modern Puritans. The Massachusetts Bay Colony is alive and well on the Potomac and Twitter.

They eviscerate their natural allies for not being pure enough while placing all their hopes in a color-inside-the-lines lifelong Republican prosecutor appointed by Ronald Reagan.

The politics of purism makes people stupid. And nasty.

My father stayed up all night the night Truman was elected because he was so excited. I would like to stay up ’til dawn the night a Democrat wins next year because I’m so excited to see the moment when the despicable Donald Trump lumbers into a Marine helicopter and flies away for good.

But Democrats are making that dream ever more distant because they are using their time knifing one another and those who want to be on their side instead of playing it smart.

House Democrats forced Robert Mueller to testify, after he made it clear that he was spent and had nothing to add to his damning yet damnably legalistic, double-negative report, because they were hoping the hearings would jump-start howls for impeachment.”

David Lindsay: You go girl. Maureen is spot on, even if catty as ususal. It all boils down to the anlaysis of lights like David Leonhard and the folks he reports on. Trump would do welll in impeachment, claiming every day to be the victim, while enjoying all the negative attention. Then, if the Dems were stupid enough to actually impeach him, it would go to the Senate, which would declare his innocence, which he would trumpet like a happy drunk.  It’s a part he plays well. We do not worry about his base, but about the myriad red state voters who voted for Obama, but then voted for Trump.

Opinion | Trump Wants Immigrants to ‘Go Back.’ Native Americans Don’t. – By Deb Haaland – The New York Times

By Deb Haaland

Ms. Haaland is a Democratic representative from New Mexico.

Bears Ears National Monument.CreditMark Holm for The New York Times

“Last week President Trump told four of my colleagues to “go back” to where they came from — even though all are American citizens, and only one is an immigrant. But Mr. Trump has somewhere to “go back” to as well: He is a second-generation American. For Native Americans like myself, his comments are perplexing, and wrongheaded.

If anyone can say “go back,” it’s Native Americans. My Pueblo ancestors, despite being targeted at every juncture — despite facing famine and drought — still inhabit this country today. But indigenous people aren’t asking anyone to go back to where they came from.

When I heard the chilling, hate-filled chants coming from the president’s rally the other night, I thought about my fight in a committee hearing, earlier that day, to protect my ancestral homeland of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. The Bureau of Land Management plans to sell leases in the area for fossil fuel extraction.

In the late 1200s, my Pueblo ancestors migrated to the Rio Grande Valley from the areas of Chaco Canyon, Bears Ears, Mesa Verde, Grand Staircase Escalante and other places. I want to protect these sacred sites for future generations and against this administration’s policies that put profits over people. This administration has put a premium on leasing federal land to oil companies and neglects to consider the impacts that drilling has on sacred cultural sites.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comments
I join the chorus of your new fans here, I love your oe-ed, and welcome your voice. I have a concern to share though. You sound as if you are for open borders, and unlimited immigration. I hope and expect that is not true, because I think it would be wrong for this country and our neighbors. Overpopulation is causing climate damage, and unlimited population growth will destroy our beautiful, blue planet for human habitation. If Democratic leaders, including you, are not clear about controlling illegal immigration, you will be handing Trump, who was apparently Drumpf in Germany, four more years, which would be bad for the Pueblos, the environment, and the world that we strive to protect. In my Christian religion, some of us pray that we may learn to do good works, and practice stewardship towards the enviroment.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Opinion | Leana Wen: Why I Left Planned Parenthood – By Leana S. Wen – The New York Times

By Leana S. Wen

Dr. Wen is an emergency physician.

“This week, I left my position as the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood.

In my farewell message to colleagues, I cited philosophical differences over the best way to protect reproductive health. While the traditional approach has been through prioritizing advocating for abortion rights, I have long believed that the most effective way to advance reproductive health is to be clear that it is not a political issue but a health care one. I believed we could expand support for Planned Parenthood — and ultimately for abortion access — by finding common ground with the large majority of Americans who can unite behind the goal of improving the health and well-being of women and children.

When the board hired me to chart this new course, I knew that it would be challenging. Few organizations, let alone organizations under constant siege, accept change easily. Indeed, there was immediate criticism that I did not prioritize abortion enough. While I am passionately committed to protecting abortion access, I do not view it as a stand-alone issue. As one of the few national health care organizations with a presence in all 50 states, Planned Parenthood’s mandate should be to promote reproductive health care as part of a wide range of policies that affect women’s health and public health.

Another area of contention was my attempt to depoliticize Planned Parenthood. The organization and the causes it stands for have long been in the cross hairs of political attacks. In the last few months, seven states have passed laws banning abortion before many women even know that they are pregnant. Just this past Monday, the Trump administration announced that it would start enforcing a gag rule that would prohibit doctors and nurses working in federally funded clinics from referring patients to abortion care.

I had been leading our organization’s fights against these attacks, and believe they offer even more reason for Planned Parenthood to emphasize its role in providing essential health care to millions of underserved women and families. People depend on Planned Parenthood for breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, H.I.V. testing and family planning. To counter those who associate the organization with only abortion and use this misconception to attack its mission, I wanted to tell the story of all of its services — and in so doing, to normalize abortion care as the health care it is.”

David Lindsay:  This story makes me sad. I have been a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood since young adulthood, but I am at a loss. I thought Leana Wen had good ideas for making this organization more palatable to some of its enemies. I also fear that a softer, more sophisticated PP would be more helpful in defeating Donald Trump. Tightening up and becoming more narrow and strident, will problably help him by keeping his pro-life supporters galvanized.

Here is a comment I liked:

Billdoc2
Newton, MA
Times Pick

Wen is correct and those within PP who opposed her will regret her loss. As an older physician who went through medical training at a time when abortion was illegal and I watched over the deaths of many young women who died from botched attempted abortions, I know how important Roe is. As a long time observer of the political realities, I know that a different approach by PP made excellent sense. I have been a dedicated financial supporter of PP. My enthusiasm for continuing in that role has been severely diminished. I suspect I am not alone in those feelings.

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Opinion | ‘Trump’s Going to Get Re-elected, Isn’t He?’ – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Voters have reason to worry.

Thomas L. Friedman

By Thomas L. Friedman

Opinion Columnist

President Trump in June at the launch of his 2020 campaign in Orlando, Fla.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

“I’m struck at how many people have come up to me recently and said, “Trump’s going to get re-elected, isn’t he?” And in each case, when I drilled down to ask why, I bumped into the Democratic presidential debates in June. I think a lot of Americans were shocked by some of the things they heard there. I was.

I was shocked that so many candidates in the party whose nominee I was planning to support want to get rid of the private health insurance covering some 250 million Americans and have “Medicare for all” instead. I think we should strengthen Obamacare and eventually add a public option.

I was shocked that so many were ready to decriminalize illegal entry into our country. I think people should have to ring the doorbell before they enter my house or my country.

I was shocked at all those hands raised in support of providing comprehensive health coverage to undocumented immigrants. I think promises we’ve made to our fellow Americans should take priority, like to veterans in need of better health care.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Thomas Friedman for such a cognent argument. The comments are well worth reading also, such as this one:

blgreenie
Lawrenceville NJ
Times Pick

Bravo, Mr. Friedman. When all those Democrats raised their hands to promise comprehensive health coverage for the undocumented, I thought, what a gift that was to Trump. It’s like they signed a contract without reading the fine print. I, too, was shocked. Little by little, Democrats are giving away an election that is winnable for them. Will it be Nixon-McGovern, again?

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