Opinion | A Brief History of the Warren Presidency – By David Brooks – The New York Times

David Brooks

By 

Opinion Columnist

“A crisis of legitimacy swept across American politics in the second decade of the 21st century. Many people had the general conviction that the old order was corrupt and incompetent. There was an inchoate desire for some radical transformation. This mood swept the Republican Party in 2016 as Donald Trump eviscerated the G.O.P. establishment and it swept through the Democratic Party in 2020.

In the 2020 primary race Joe Biden stood as the candidate for linear change and Elizabeth Warren stood as the sharp break from the past. Biden was the front-runner, but fragile. Many of the strongest debate performers — Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bennet — couldn’t get any traction because Biden occupied the moderate lane. By the time he faded, it was too late.

Warren triumphed over the other progressive populist, Bernie Sanders, because she had what he lacked — self-awareness. She could run a campaign that mitigated her weaknesses. He could not.

Biden was holding on until Warren took Iowa and New Hampshire. He or some other moderate could have recovered, but the California primary had been moved up to March 3, Super Tuesday. When Warren dominated most of the states that day, it was over. The calendar ensured that the most progressive candidate would win.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment.
David Brooks, this is a fine piece of fiction, and you make many good points. But it is missing the elephant in the room. Bloomberg Businessweek put on its November 5th, 2012 cover: “It’s Global Warming Stupid” The NYT has done a magnificent job covering the climate crisis. Please take a serious look at their Magazine of around August 1st, 2019, titled, “Losing Earth: thirty years ago we could have saved the planet.”
I would recomment you look at this weeks Time Magazine 9/23/19 titled, Special Climate Issue, 2050 How Earth Survived, with the cover story by Bill McKibbon, and other spectacular pieces by Al Gore, and Aryn Baker. I haven’t read them all yet.
But for God’s sake, or for the sake of our grandchildren, wake my friend, and “study the Science,” as 16 year old Greta Thunberg just begged a group of congressmen and women to do. You are one of my favorite Republican, right of center, writers, thinkers and analysts, but you are starting to embarrass me because you don’t see, read or feel, the climate crisis:  that they are suffering multiple days of heat in Jacobabad, Pakistan of 51.1 degrees Celsius. That is multiple days of 124 degrees Fahrenheit. Global warming was predicted by climate scientists, because it is based on high school chemistry.

Greta Thunberg, on Tour in America, Offers an Unvarnished View – The New York Times

“These are some of the things that Greta Thunberg has learned on her American tour.

New York City smells. People talk really loudly here, they blast air conditioning and they argue over whether or not they believe in climate change, while in her country, Sweden, they accept it as fact.

Also, American lawmakers would do well to read the latest science on the threats posed by climate change.

That’s what Ms. Thunberg, 16, told members of Congress on Wednesday, when she was asked to submit her testimony into the record. She submitted a report issued last October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, spelling out the threats of global temperature rise. “I don’t want you to listen to me,” she said. “I want you to listen to the scientists.”

Her remarks lasted barely a minute. “And then I want you to take real action.” “

David Lindsay
I am a big fan of Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish teenager with low level autism, who surprised the Swedes by cutting school on Fridays to stand outside the Swedish parliament building, with a sign that read something like, we children demand that you adults take care of and protect our future.

She no longer has to stand by herself on Fridays.
From Wikipedia: “In August 2018, at 15 years of age, Thunberg took time off school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament, holding up a sign calling for stronger climate action. Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together they organized a school climate strike movement, under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over one million pupils each.”
DL: I admire this youngster.She reminds me of Joan of Arc, who some argue raised the spirits of generals and solders and accompaniedd them into war as a teenager.

Opinion | The Oslo Accords’ Last Remnants Are Under Fire. Don’t Let Them Die. – By Michael J. Koplow – The New York Times

By 

Dr. Koplow is an advocate for a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

CreditCreditHazem Bader/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his intention to immediately annex the West Bank’s Jordan Valley after Israel’s election on Sept. 17, should he emerge victorious. He further pledged to apply sovereignty to Israel’s settlements throughout the West Bank after President Trump unveils his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative.

But Mr. Netanyahu’s fortunes and Mr. Trump’s plan may not matter. Under the radar, the Israelis and Palestinians have already set ominous precedents in administering their divided territories that will be extremely difficult to back away from and promise an incendiary environment for any talks about a lasting peace.

In short, the longstanding rules of temporary side-by-side coexistence in the West Bank, as set out under the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, are already being violated, and bit by bit both sides are taking steps that would nullify the remaining vestiges of the accords. If that trend continues, what is shaping events on the ground now may render any type of future division impossible.

Here is the problem: Oslo created clear lines of administrative control in the West Bank for Israel and the Palestinians by dividing the territory into distinct zones in which each side is responsible for day-to-day governing. Areas A and B are under Palestinian Authority administrative control, and Area C is under Israeli administrative control. While there have been numerous and continuing violations by both sides when it comes to security responsibility, that has not been the case with administrative responsibility. Until recently, Israel exercised its administrative control of Area C without attempting to extend its administrative reach into Areas A and B, while the Palestinian Authority ran Areas A and B with respect for Israel’s monopoly on governing Area C.”

 

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Comment at the NYT
Thank you Michael J. Koplow for this disturbing report. Ever since reading “Exodus” by Leon Uris as a teenager, I have been a supporter of Israel. But over decades, the picture has slowly changed, and the victims have become the victimizers.
It is time for the US to stop its $3 Billion subsidy to Israel, or explain what clear purpose it serves. My heart goes out to both sides, but the Palestinians, despite their faults, deserve a place to live.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

Opinion | Our Children Deserve Better – by Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

“On Thursday, 10 Democratic presidential candidates will debate. It would be a natural opportunity to provoke a national conversation on the subject. But a question about child poverty hasn’t been asked at a presidential debate in 20 years, not since a Republican primary debate in 1999, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.

Presidential candidates have been asked about the World Series, about cursing in movies, even about flag lapel pins more recently than they have been questioned about child poverty. We’ve had 147 presidential debates in a row without a single question on the topic (here’s a petition calling for more questions on the issue). I hope Thursday’s debate won’t be the 148th.

UNICEF says America ranks No. 37 among countries in well-being of children, and Save the Children puts the United States at No. 36. European countries dominate the top places.

American infants at last count were 76 percent more likely to die in their first year than children in other advanced countries, according to an article last year in the journal Health Affairs. We would save the lives of 20,000 American children each year if we could just achieve the same child mortality rates as the rest of the rich world.

Half a million American kids also suffer lead poisoning each year, and the youth suicide rate is at its highest level on record.”

Opinion | Elizabeth Warren’s Plan for Social Security Looks Smart – by David Leonhardt – The New York Times

“When I was a teenager, my mom showed me a statement that she had received in the mail from the Social Security Administration. It included an annual history of her earnings, which showed a big string of zero’s covering the years when she was in her late 20s and early 30s. “That’s you and your sister,” she explained, laughing.

My mom is doing just fine these days, but anyone who spends years as a stay-at-home parent — or an unpaid caregiver of any kind — faces a financial penalty when it comes time to retire. Our Social Security system doesn’t recognize parenting as the socially and economically valuable job that it is.

That’s not the system’s only inequity, either. It also punishes teachers, police officers, firefighters and other government employees. Their Social Security benefits are cut if their pension is large enough, unlike private-sector workers, who can keep their full Social Security benefit regardless of the size of their private pension.

Elizabeth Warren has become famous for her plans, and her latest one, out this morning, is meant to address this unfairness. It would let public-sector workers keep their full Social Security benefits and increase benefits for people who spend at least 80 hours a month as unpaid caregivers for young children, the elderly or the disabled.

The biggest part of the plan, however, is an across-the-board increase in monthly Social Security payments. Every current and future beneficiary will receive at least $200 more per month than under the current plan, and many low-income workers will receive at least $600 more.”

Opinion | ‘Steve Bullock Is the Most Important Person on the Planet’ – By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

David Leonhardt

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

 

I love David Leonhardt. Whenever I feel I should work much harder at researching and writing an article, I discover I can just repost David Leonhardt, such as his piece today:
“Steve Bullock is the most important person on the planet,” Robert Frank, the economist and author, recently wrote to me in an email.

Bullock is the populist Democratic governor of Montana who’s running a lackluster campaign for president. But he’s so popular in Montana, despite its deep conservatism, that he is the only Democrat with any reasonable chance of beating the state’s incumbent Republican senator, Steve Daines, next year. That’s why Frank thinks Bullock is the most important person on the planet.

“The window of opportunity for effective action on the climate crisis is rapidly closing,” Frank wrote. “Absent robust measures to curb greenhouse gases, climate scientists forecast steadily more frequent and intense storms, droughts, flooding, and wildfires. Alone among major political parties worldwide, Republicans have refused even to admit the existence of climate change, much less enact meaningful legislation for dealing with it.” And seemingly the only way the United States will take meaningful climate action in the next couple years is if the Democrats control both Congress and the White House.”

x
DL: Taking back the Senate is as impportant as winning the White House. That is why Beto O’Rourke is a misguided egotist. He could and should challenge John Cornyn in Texas for his Senate seat.

Opinion | Trump and Xi Sittin’ in a Tree – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“I was glad to see the stock market get a boost from the news that Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators were talking again and that President Trump blinked a bit and pulled some of his planned tariffs.

But don’t be fooled. Trump and President Xi Jinping of China are still locked in a cage match over who is the true big dog in today’s global economy. Both are desperate not only to “win,” but to be seen to win, and not be subjected to the scorn of their rivals or critics on social media.

Precisely because neither leader feels he can afford that fate, both have overplayed their hands. Xi basically believes that nothing has to change — and all can be made to stay the same by the force of his will. Trump basically believes that everything has to change — and all can be made to change by the force of his will.

The rest of us are just along for the ride.

Let’s look at both men’s calculations and miscalculations. Trump was right in arguing that America should not continue to tolerate systemic abusive Chinese trade practices — intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers, huge government subsidies and nonreciprocal treatment of U.S. companies in China — now that China is virtually America’s technology equal and a rising middle-income country.”

Opinion | Useful Idiots and Trumpist Billionaires – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

Paul Krugman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

“Whoever came up with the phrase “useful idiots” — it’s often credited to Lenin, but there’s no evidence he ever said it — was on to something. There are times when dangerous political movements derive important support from people who will, if these movements achieve and hold power, be among their biggest victims.

Certainly I found myself thinking of the phrase when I read about the Trump fund-raiser held at the Hamptons home of Stephen Ross, chairman of a company that holds controlling stakes in Equinox and SoulCycle.

Most reporting on the Ross event has focused on the possible adverse effects on his business empire: The young, educated, urban fitness fanatics who go to his gyms don’t like the idea that their money is supporting Donald Trump. But the foolishness of Ross’s Trump support goes well beyond the potential damage to his bottom line.

I mean, if you’re a billionaire who also happens to be a racist, supporting Trump makes perfect sense: You know what you’re buying. But if you’re supporting Trump not because of his racism but despite it, because you expect him to keep your taxes low, you’re being, well, an idiot.”

Opinion | How White Democrats Moved Left – by David Brooks – The New York Times

“. . . .  To say that white educated Democrats have moved left is true, but it’s not the essential truth. The bigger truth is that this segment is now more likely to see politics through a racial lens. Racial equity has become the prism through which many in this group see a range of other issues.

 

For example, immigration is now seen through the lens of race, in a way that simply wasn’t true two decades ago. As Zach Goldberg noted in an essay in Tablet Magazine, between 1965 and 2000, the percentage of white liberals who wanted higher immigration levels never deviated far from 10 percent. During the Obama administration, the number rose to the range of 20 to 30 percent. Now, more than 50 percent of white progressives want to see higher immigration levels.

 

Many progressives see barriers to immigration as akin to unjust racial barriers. Many want to dismantle the border enforcement agencies and eliminate criminal sanctions against undocumented crossings precisely because they are seen as structures of oppression that white people impose on brown people.”

David Lindsay:  The commentors take Brooks apart for the usual issues, and ignore the main idea he confronts and the question he raises. It is important to understand why so many progressives are quiet about closing our open borders, since this is the issue that will probably give the next election to Trump if they don’t recongnize it’s potency with voters.

Opinion | Trump’s Secret Foreign Aid Program – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

Paul Krugman

By 

Opinion Columnist

“Donald Trump often complains that the media don’t give him credit for his achievements. And I can think of at least one case where that’s true. As far I can tell, almost nobody is reporting that he has presided over a huge — but hidden — increase in foreign aid, the money America gives to foreigners. In fact, the hidden Trump program, currently running at around $40 billion a year, is probably the biggest giveaway to other nations since the Marshall Plan.

Unfortunately, the aid isn’t going either to poor countries or to America’s allies. Instead, it’s going to wealthy foreign investors.

Before I get there, let’s talk for a second about a claim Trump often makes about a highly visible part of his economic strategy, the tariffs he has imposed on imports from China and other countries. These tariffs, he has insisted again and again, are being paid by China and represent billions in gains to the United States.

This claim is, however, demonstrably false. Tariffs are normally paid by consumers in the importing country, not exporters. And we can confirm that this is what’s happening with the Trump tariffs: Prices of goods subject to those tariffs have risen sharply, roughly in line with the tariff increases, while prices of goods not subject to the new tariffs haven’t gone up.”