Opinion | Fire Floods and Power Outages: Our Climate Future Has Arrived – By Justin Gillis – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Gillis, a former environmental reporter for The Times, is a contributing opinion writer.

CreditCreditMichael Owen Baker/Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Now we suffer the consequences.

In Northern California, power was cut to more than a million people this week. Near Houston, houses that flooded only two years ago just succumbed again. The South endured record-shattering fall heat waves. In Miami, salt water bubbled through street drains yet again as the rising ocean mounted a fresh assault.

All of it was predicted, in general outline, decades ago. We did not listen. Ideologues and paid shills cajoled us to ignore the warnings. Politicians cashed their checks from the fossil fuel lobbyists and slithered away.

Today, we act surprised as the climate emergency descends upon us in all its ferocity.

The scientists knew long ago, and told us, that the sea would invade the coasts. They knew a hotter atmosphere would send heavier rains to inundate our cities and farms. They knew the landscape of California, which always becomes desiccated in the late summer and early fall, would dry out more in a hotter climate.

But even the scientists did not quite foresee the way that bone-dry vegetation would turn into a firebomb waiting for a spark. California is the state that has done the most to battle the climate crisis, but that has not saved it from recent fires so ferocious they burned people alive.”

“. . . . We can sit back, citizens, and watch the fires and the floods and the heat waves with a rising sense of doom. Or we can be as brave as a schoolgirl and decide that now is the time to stand up and fight.”

David Lindsay:

My favorite essay in the Times this weekend was by
Justin Gillis in the Sunday Review, NYT, Our Climate Future Has Arrived.

Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy – Vincent Bugliosi – Books – The New York Times

“LOS ANGELES, May 13 — The prosecutor who put Charles Manson behind bars now wants to solve another crime — a really simple one, he insists. So simple that it takes only 1,612 pages to prove his case.

Vincent Bugliosi, whose prosecution of Charles Manson in 1970 led him to write one of the best-selling true-crime books of all time, “Helter Skelter,” has now turned his attention to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

And that is his full attention: 20 years of research, more than one million words, hundreds of interviews, thousands of documents and more than 10,000 citations. The result, “Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy” (W. W. Norton), is due out tomorrow. His conclusion: Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy, and acted alone.

Why would such a simple conclusion require so much argument?

“Because of the unceasing and fanatical obsession of thousands of researchers over the last 43 years, from around the world but mostly in the United States,” Mr. Bugliosi said in an interview at the cafe of the Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel in Studio City, Calif. “Examining under a high-powered microscope every comma, every period, every detail on every conceivable issue, and making hundreds and hundreds of allegations, they have transformed this simple case into its present form.”

Mr. Bugliosi likes to tell a story illustrating why he believes this book is necessary. In 1992, less than a year after the debut of Oliver Stone’s conspiracy-minded film “J.F.K.,” Mr. Bugliosi was addressing a group of trial lawyers when a member of the audience asked him about the assassination.”

David Lindsay:  Today, I attended the Yale SEA brown bag lecture by Michele Thompson on Tue Tinh of 14th century Vietnam. At the lunch after, I talked with two of her graduate students from Southern CT State U., one of whom named Matt, mentioned this book above, which he used in his master’s paper on Richard Nixon and the history of the Republican Party through Nixon’s presidency. Matt insisted that it was impossible to read this book and not agree that Oswald did, in fact, like the Warren Commission found, acted alone. I should not be surprised that the Warren Commission did a good job, since  my uncle, John Lindsay, the mayor of NYC, and my father, David Lindsay, thought highly of it. From Wikipedia I found:

Committee

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.

1 Reply625 Recommended

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 | The Great Republican Abdication – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

Paul Krugman

By Paul Krugman

Opinion Columnist

Mitch McConnell hanging on President Trump’s every word.CreditBrendan Smialowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
“So all the “fake news” was true. A hostile foreign power intervened in the presidential election, hoping to install Donald Trump in the White House. The Trump campaign was aware of this intervention and welcomed it. And once in power, Trump tried to block any inquiry into what happened.

Never mind attempts to spin this story as somehow not meeting some definitions of collusion or obstruction of justice. The fact is that the occupant of the White House betrayed his country. And the question everyone is asking is, what will Democrats do about it?

But notice that the question is only about Democrats. Everyone (correctly) takes it as a given that Republicans will do nothing. Why?

Because the modern G.O.P. is perfectly willing to sell out America if that’s what it takes to get tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans may not think of it in those terms, but that’s what their behavior amounts to.”

Opinion | How Capitalism Betrayed Privacy – The New York Times

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Tim Wu

By Tim Wu

Mr. Wu is the author of “The Attention Merchants: The Epic Struggle to Get Inside Our Heads.”

CreditCreditErik Carter

For much of human history, what we now call “privacy” was better known as being rich. Privacy, like wealth, was something that most people had little or none of. Farmers, slaves and serfs resided in simple dwellings, usually with other people, sometimes even sharing space with animals. They had no expectation that a meaningful part of their lives would be unwatchable or otherwise off limits to others. That would have required homes with private rooms. And only rich people had those.

The spread of mass privacy, surely one of modern civilization’s more impressive achievements, thus depended on another, even more impressive achievement: the creation of a middle class. Only over the past 300 years or so, as increasingly large numbers of people gained the means to control their physical environment through the acquisition of wealth and private property, did privacy norms and eventually privacy rights come into existence. What is a right to privacy without a room of your own?

The historical link between privacy and the forces of wealth creation helps explain why privacy is under siege today. It reminds us, first, that mass privacy is not a basic feature of human existence but a byproduct of a specific economic arrangement — and therefore a contingent and impermanent state of affairs. And it reminds us, second, that in a capitalist country, our baseline of privacy depends on where the money is. And today that has changed.

The forces of wealth creation no longer favor the expansion of privacy but work to undermine it. We have witnessed the rise of what I call “attention merchants” and what the sociologist Shoshana Zuboff calls “surveillance capitalism” — the commodification of our personal dataClose Xby tech giants like Facebook and Google and their imitators in telecommunications, electronics and other industries. We face a future in which active surveillance is such a routine part of business that for most people it is nearly inescapable. In this respect, we are on the road back to serfdom.

 

via Opinion | How Capitalism Betrayed Privacy – The New York Times

Opinion | America the Cowardly Bully – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

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By Paul Krugman
Opinion Columnist

March 4, 2019,   529 c


President Trump’s trade belligerence has done lasting damage to America’s reputation.CreditCreditPete Marovich for The New York Times
This is the way the trade war ends. Not with a bang but with empty bombast.

“According to multiple news organizations, the U.S. and China are close to a deal that would effectively end trade hostilities. Under the reported deal, America would remove most of the tariffs it imposed last year. China, for its part, would end its retaliatory tariffs, make some changes to its investment and competition policies and direct state enterprises to buy specified amounts of U.S. agricultural and energy products.

The Trump administration will, of course, trumpet the deal as a triumph. In reality, however, it’s much ado about nothing much.

As described, the deal would do little to address real complaints about Chinese policy, which mainly involve China’s systematic expropriation of intellectual property. Nor would it do much to address Donald Trump’s pet although misguided peeve, the imbalance in U.S.-China trade. Basically, Trump will have backed down.

If this is the story, it will repeat what we saw on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump denounced as the “worst trade deal ever made.” In the end, what Trump negotiated — the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, or U.S.M.C.A. — was very similar to the previous status quo. Trade experts I know, when not referring to it as the Village People agreement, call it “Nafta 0.8”: fundamentally the same as Nafta, but a bit worse.”

via Opinion | America the Cowardly Bully – The New York Times

Opinion | The Sanders Foreign Policy Advantage – By Jamelle Bouie – The New York Times

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By Jamelle Bouie
Opinion Columnist

Feb. 21, 2019, 24c

Image   Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont leaving a news conference after the final Yemen Resolution vote in December.
Credit     Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times

Bernie Sanders’s most prominent message is economic, organized around a critique of capitalist inequality, an indictment of the ultrawealthy and a call for expansive new social programs. It helped propel him to a strong second in the 2016 Democratic primary campaign and has returned as the marquee message for his 2020 campaign, which he announced on Tuesday with a promise to “complete the revolution.”

Unfortunately for his 2020 campaign, Sanders is less distinct on economic policy than he was in 2016. His rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have either embraced broad ideas like Medicare for all or unveiled their own: Elizabeth Warren’s universal child care proposal; Cory Booker’s plan to drastically reduce housing costs; Kamala Harris’s LIFT Act, which would build on the earned-income tax credit and create a new monthly cash payment for most middle-class households.

But Sanders isn’t without an advantage. If in 2016 his foreign-policy thinking was underbaked, then in 2019 he stands as one of the few candidates with a fully formed vision for American foreign policy. It’s one that ties his domestic focus on political and economic justice to a larger project of international cooperation and solidarity, anti-authoritarianism and promotion of democratic values. It’s a vision that rests on the conviction that progressive politics must continue past the water’s edge.

Sanders articulated the substance of his foreign policy views in two speeches: one in 2017 at Missouri’s Westminster College — speaking from the stage where Winston Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech — and one last October at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

via Opinion | The Sanders Foreign Policy Advantage – The New York Times

Opinion | Hope for a Green New Year – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

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Let’s be honest with ourselves: The new Democratic majority in the House won’t be able to enact new legislation. I’ll be astonished if there are bipartisan deals on anything important — even on infrastructure, where both sides claim to want action but what the G.O.P. really wants is an excuse to privatize public assets.

So the immediate consequences of the power shift in Washington won’t involve actual policymaking; they’ll come mainly from Democrats’ new, subpoena-power-armed ability to investigate the fetid swamp of Trumpian corruption.

But that doesn’t mean that Democrats should ignore policy issues. On the contrary, the party should spend the next two years figuring out what, exactly, it will try to do if it gains policymaking power in 2021. Which brings me to the big policy slogan of the moment: the so-called Green New Deal. Is this actually a good idea?

Yes, it is. But it’s important to go beyond the appealing slogan, and hash out many of the details. You don’t want to be like the Republicans, who spent years talking big about repealing Obamacare, but never worked out a realistic alternative.

via Opinion | Hope for a Green New Year – The New York Times

Paul R. Krugman | Dean of the Faculty – Princton 2015?

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Paul Krugman will transfer to emeritus status at the end of the current academic year, after spending 15 years on the Princeton faculty. It is no exaggeration to say that Paul is one of the leading economists and one of the leading public intellectuals of his generation.

Paul grew up on Long Island, earned his B.A. at Yale, and received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977. After teaching at Yale for three years, he returned to MIT, where he revolutionized the field of international trade theory. A short stint at Stanford and a return engagement with MIT were followed by the longest stretch of his academic career, which he spent at Princeton with a joint appointment in the economics department and the Woodrow Wilson School. Of course, Paul is equally well known for his “other career,” as an outspoken opinion writer for The New York Times.

Paul was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2008 for his work on international trade with increasing returns to scale. When Paul came to the field, the traditional theory of trade based on the 19th-century writings of David Ricardo explained trade by differences between countries that generated a comparative advantage for each. But Paul (and others) noticed the tension in the fact that a majority of trade took place between similar countries, with similar factor endowments and access to similar technologies. Surely, something else besides comparative advantage must be at the root of such trade. Moreover, traditional trade theory emphasized interindustry trade, with countries specializing in the production of some goods and exporting them in exchange for others. In fact, much of actual trade was intra-industry; countries imported and exported different varieties of relatively similar goods that fell into the same industry classification. Paul developed an elegant theory of international trade based on economies of scale and product differentiation. The existence of scale economies internal to the firm limited the extent of product differentiation that the market could support. But trade allowed countries to consume varieties that were not produced locally. Countries trade in order to take advantage of a larger world market and all gained from the greater diversity in consumption and potentially from longer production runs. Soon, Paul’s models formed the core of the “new trade theory,” which rapidly generated a paradigm shift in thinking about trade that persists today.

Paul’s work on “new trade” led relatively quickly and naturally to his 1991 monograph Geography and Trade, which soon spawned the “new economic geography.” In his monograph and a nearly contemporary paper in the Journal of Political Economy on “Increasing Returns and Economic Geography,” Paul developed a now-famous “core-periphery model” in which economies of scale in manufacturing interact with transport costs to generate the agglomeration of economic activities in a few large markets, leaving the periphery with the residual, constant-returns-to-scale activities. He demonstrated the possibility for cumulative causation in which the core grows large, because a large market is attractive to businesses, which want to locate near to their customers. In the process, the periphery can be left behind, even if the periphery is no different from the core at the beginning of the process. Soon, an army of regional and urban economists were running with his ideas, much as had been true in the trade field just a decade earlier.

via Paul R. Krugman | Dean of the Faculty