Opinion | Blacks Still Face a Red Line on Housing – The New York Times

“For generations of white American families, homeownership has been a fundamental means of accumulating wealth. Their homes have grown in value over time, providing security in retirement and serving as an asset against which they can borrow for education or other purposes.

But African-Americans were essentially shut out of early federal programs that promoted homeownership and financial well-being — including the all-important New Deal mortgage insurance system that generated the mid-20th-century homeownership boom. This missed opportunity to amass wealth that white Americans took for granted is evident to this day in a yawning black-white wealth gap and in worse health, living conditions and educational opportunities for African-Americans.

The Fair Housing Act, which turned 50 years old last week, ended the most egregious forms of discrimination and brought a modest rise in black homeownership. But those gains — and the hard-won wealth they represented — were wiped out a decade ago in the Great Recession, which reduced the African-American homeownership rate to levels not seen since housing discrimination was legal in the 1960s.”

David Lindsay:
This editorial gets three stars out of three from me. The good news is we are leaving plenty of low hanging fruit for our children and their generation to fix up and improve upon.

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Editorial | The Law Is Coming- Mr. Trump – The New York Times

“Why don’t we take a step back and contemplate what Americans, and the world, are witnessing?

Early Monday morning, F.B.I. agents raided the New York office, home and hotel room of the personal lawyer for the president of the United States. They seized evidence of possible federal crimes — including bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations related to payoffs made to women, including a porn actress, who say they had affairs with the president before he took office and were paid off and intimidated into silence.

That evening the president surrounded himself with the top American military officials and launched unbidden into a tirade against the top American law enforcement officials — officials of his own government — accusing them of “an attack on our country.”

Oh, also: The Times reported Monday evening that investigators were examining a $150,000 donation to the president’s personal foundation from a Ukrainian steel magnate, given during the American presidential campaign in exchange for a 20-minute video appearance.

Meanwhile, the president’s former campaign chairman is under indictment, and his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying to investigators. His son-in-law and other associates are also under investigation.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval at Comments to the NYT
Great editorial, “The Law Is Coming,” thank you. Now, please help me understand, why does Mitch McConnell stop the bipartisan bill to protect the Mueller investigation from getting passed? What is his game, or thinking? Does he expect that he and the GOP will prosper by keeping Trump in power? Is he an employee of Koch Industries and their club of coal, oil and gas oligarchs? Is he betting, against your editorial, that the Republicans will keep enough power, to stop the resistance to Trump, till at least 2020? Maybe the law is coming, but when?

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

Opinion | The Failures of Anti-Trumpism – by David Brooks – NYT

WACO, Tex. — Over the past year, those of us in the anti-Trump camp have churned out billions of words critiquing the president. The point of this work is to expose the harm President Trump is doing, weaken his support and prevent him from doing worse. And by that standard, the anti-Trump movement is a failure.We have persuaded no one. Trump’s approval rating is around 40 percent, which is basically unchanged from where it’s been all along.We have not hindered him. Trump has more power than he did a year ago, not less. With more mainstream figures like H. R. McMaster, Rex Tillerson and Gary Cohn gone, the administration is growing more nationalist, not less.We have not dislodged him. For all the hype, the Mueller investigation looks less and less likely to fundamentally alter the course of the administration.”

David Brooks, in my opinion, wrote and filed this before the Mueller investigation raided Trump’s lawyer yesterday afternoon. He gets my respect anyway. He has balls to not have pulled and ammended it. Unfortunately, it has more mistakes than ususual. Some of his counsel is sound, but here are two critical comments I fully endorse.

Michael Hogan
Georges Mills, NH
Times Pick

David, I was right there with you, right up to this little nugget of nonsense: “…tens of millions of Americans rightly feel that…their religious liberties are under threat.” Oh, please. What’s under threat, in the case of the Americans to which that is presumably directed, is their right to impose their religious beliefs on others, whether it’s to refuse someone service that’s available to anyone else or to deny their employees access to medical insurance for any procedure they find distasteful. It is no different than saying that the civil rights movement threatened the civil liberties of those who wanted to carry on segregating people and refusing to serve them based on their race. Your analysis is otherwise spot on, but you need to get past this blind spot about the creeping efforts by Christian fundamentalists to stage a back-door takeover of the public square.

 

Kathy Lollock
Santa Rosa, CA3h ago
Times Pick
Mr. Brooks, let’s get one thing straight, and I think I speak for thousands of anti-Trumpers. We are not “insufferably condescending.” On the contrary, we are merely fighting tooth and nail for our rights, including health and welfare and equality and justice for all persuasions, that we see daily trampled on by this failure of a man and his ruthless Cabinet and Congress.

I have friends and family who are Trump supporters, and again I would never dream of patronizing or impugning them. Even though I may not agree with their politics, they are good people, and I will not judge them.

But what I will do is NOT be swayed by your analysis of our “failures.” I will continue to fight for the vulnerable, the black and brown-skinned, the aged, the woman, the gay, the Muslim. I will continue to support our youth who have better sense than we so-called adults when it relates to guns. And I hope everyone out there who reads this column agrees with me that we should not and can not stop when it comes to an amoral, degenerative who was fraudulently elected president..a word that will be tainted for years to come by this horrible man.

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Here is a comment I liked a lot, but couldn’t recommend, because it gets ugly and rude at the end, after making a series of excellent points. We should always listen respectively to David Brooks, who despite his blind spots, is a national treasure. His multiplicity of strengths far outweigh his weaknesses.

V

I’m confused, Mr. Brooks, did you write this column before or after the FBI raid on President Trump’s lawyer’s office and residence today?

This has never happened in our country before.

Trump still has the support of the Republican base because the Republican leaders are allowing this wildly corrupt, shady liar to hold onto his base. Speaker Ryan and Senator McConnell refuse to hold Trump accountable, refuse to investigate his corrupt practices, his corrupt cabinet members, refuse to call out his lies. They are feckless, spineless, complicit.

Since Trump makes policy decisions by literally watching “Fox and Friends,” Trump’s Fox-watching base is living in some sort of weird bubble.

The 40% can have this lying, corrupt President Trump. The opposition is winning because Trump’s support hasn’t grown, and that’s because of the protests, the enthusiasm on the left, the resistance.

A majority of Americans did not vote for President Trump in 2016.

We need this majority to galvanize and vote all Republicans out of office in 2018, in 2020, and beyond.

Don’t listen to Mr. Brooks.

Resist.

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
David Brooks is a national treasure. I’m guessing that he wrote and filed this before the Mueller investigation raided Trump’s lawyer yesterday afternoon. It already feels dated. He gets my respect anyway. He has courage to not have pulled and amended it. Unfortunately, it has more mistakes, or challenging comments, than usual. Some of his counsel is rock solid sound, but there are two critical comments I fully endorse. (Michael Hogan and Cathy Lollock.) There is a comment by V I liked a lot, but couldn’t recommend, because it gets ugly and rude at the end, after making a series of excellent points. Brooks sounds soft sometimes on the GOP leadership. His digs are subtle, even oblique. We should always listen respectively to David Brooks, who despite his blind spots, or gentleness, is a national treasure. His multiplicity of strengths far outweigh his weaknesses, such as when he writes about psychology and philosophy and love and values. He also covers a wider range of topics than many of his peers at the NYT. And he is right, that Hillary Clinton, and many of her supporters, disrespected many of the Trump supporters. Fearless Brooks does not tire in reminding us to always show respect to our opponents and people in fly-over country. He never promises you a rose garden, but will help you identify and climb mountains.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

F.B.I. Raids Office of Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen; Trump Calls It ‘Disgraceful’ – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. raided the Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, on Monday morning, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including a payment to a pornographic film actress.

Mr. Trump, in an extraordinarily angry response, lashed out hours later at what a person briefed on the matter said was an investigation into possible bank fraud by Mr. Cohen. Mr. Trump accused his own Justice Department of perpetrating a “witch hunt” and asserted that the F.B.I. “broke in to” Mr. Cohen’s office.The president, who spoke at the White House before meeting with senior military commanders about a potential missile strike on Syria, called the F.B.I. raid a “disgraceful situation” and an “attack on our country in a true sense.”

It is not clear how the F.B.I. entered Mr. Cohen’s office, but agents had a search warrant and typically would have presented it to office personnel to be let in. The documents identified in the warrant date back years, according to a person briefed on the search.The prosecutors obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel in the Russia investigation, Robert S. Mueller III, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, who called the search “completely inappropriate and unnecessary.” The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation, but most likely resulted from information that he had uncovered and gave to prosecutors in New York.”

What a wonderful day we are having.
Here is one of many great comments to this extraordinarily important new piece, which I felt compelled to respond to.

Steve Burton Staunton, VA 18 hours ago
Michael Cohen has demonstrated himself to be a bully toward his adversaries, fast and loose with facts, and extremely arrogant in his demeanor. It’s fitting to see him taken down a notch or two. Still, it is troubling to consider the power of law enforcement to seize attorney-client communications…. On the other hand, I can’t help hoping that they nail him.

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David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT Pending Approval
I am sorry Mr. Burton, it is not troubling that law enforcement can seize attorney-client communications if done properly. This is essential, if lawyers and politicians are not to be above the law that the rest of us must respect and live by.
As Madeleine Albright wrote in the NYT the Sunday Review, “no politician, not even in the oval office,” should be allowed to break the law and tarnish the dreams of the American people.

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

What Holds America Together – by David Brooks – NYT

“Unity can come only from a common dedication to this experiment. The American consciousness can be formed only by the lab reports we give one another about that experiment — the jeremiads, speeches, songs and conversations that describe what the experiment is for, where it has failed and how it should proceed now.

One of my favorites of these lab reports is Walt Whitman’s essay “Democratic Vistas,” published in 1871. The purpose of democracy, Whitman wrote, is not wealth, or even equality; it is the full flowering of individuals. By dispersing responsibility to all adults, democracy “supplies a training school for making first class men.” It is “life’s gymnasium.” It forges “freedom’s athletes” — strong and equal women, courageous men, deep-souled people capable of governing themselves.”

“Whitman was not, however, pessimistic. He had worked as a nurse during the Civil War, watching men recover and die, and the experience had given him illimitable faith in the goodness of average citizens. Average American soldiers showed more fortitude, religious devotion and grandeur than all the storybook heroes, he wrote. They died not for glory, nor even to repel invasion, but out of gratitude to have been included in the American experiment. They died “for an emblem, a mere abstraction — for the life, the safety of the flag.”

Whitman spent his life trying to spiritualize democratic life and reshape the American imagination, to help working people see the epic heroism all around them that unites the American spirit.”

David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT Pending Approval NYT Comments.
Wow. This is magnificent piece by David Brooks. I am sorry that so many of the comments tear him apart, without addressing the brilliant ideas he brings forth from the genius and heart of Walt Whitman.
I hate to sound snobby, but the comments section doesn’t seem to give this man a fair hearing, or to even understand the profundity of some his research and questioning. My father was a Lincoln scholar, who read Whitman, and it is a priviledge to hear some of Whitman’s extraordinary essay, and to contemplate his faith in and admiration of common people.
I almost wish that the comments section had a 4th tab, after: All, Readers Picks and NYT Picks, there should be another, called Mostly in Praise, or, In Support. This 4th tab, would be especially usefull when reading quickly through the angry mob of comments for David Brooks, or for instance, Brett Stephens. I love Socrates the commentor, but he makes a fool of himself, when he suggests that Abe Lincoln would be shocked by the scoundrels that have taken charge of the government today. Lincoln was famous for so many things, joke telling, brilliance, humor, wrestling, and especially his humility and sadness over the behavior of his fellow citizens. I recommend all six volumns of the Carl Sandberg biography. Now, we should read Whitman.
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David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Supreme Court Won’t Block New Pennsylvania Voting Maps – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court rejected on Monday a second emergency application from Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania seeking to overturn decisions from that state’s highest court, which had ruled that Pennsylvania’s congressional map had been warped by partisan gerrymandering and then imposed one of its own.

The ruling means a new map drawn by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will very likely be in effect in this year’s elections, setting the stage for possible gains by Democrats. Under the current map, Republicans hold 12 seats while Democrats hold five and are expected to pick up another when the result of a special election last week is certified.The latest application was denied by the full Supreme Court without comment or noted dissents.”

David Lindsay: The resistance to GOP Trumptopia just got a boost from the Supreme Court! Thank you for calling one for democracy. Pennsylvania districts will be un-gerrymandered

Trump’s Worst Watcher – by Gail Collins – NYT

“Do you remember back when everybody thought John Kelly was going to calm down the Trump White House?Stop laughing. Although it has been another wow of a week, hasn’t it? We had one top administration official, Rob Porter, resigning over claims of domestic abuse regarding two ex-wives. Kelly defended Porter as “a friend, a confidant and a trusted professional” shortly before a picture popped up of one former Mrs. Porter sporting a black eye.

This was a little bit after Kelly himself made headlines for suggesting that some young immigrants couldn’t qualify for federal help because they were just “too lazy to get off their asses” and file some paperwork. Meanwhile the president, apparently unsupervised, was calling for a government shutdown and lobbying enthusiastically for an expensive new military parade. Because he saw one in Paris and thought it was cool.A good chief of staff advises the president against doing things that will make the administration look stupid or crazy. So, are we all in agreement that Kelly, retired general turned Trump chief of staff, appears to be … a failure? And sort of a jerk in the bargain?When Kelly first came over to run the Trump team there was near-unanimous expectation that he’d be the adult in the room. And indeed the chain of command got more efficient and some problem employees were evicted. However, there’s a limit to how long you can live off your laurels for firing Omarosa and The Mooch.”

Socrates is a trusted commenter Downtown Verona. NJ 15 hours ago
Here are John Kelly’s full ‘fine people’ remarks:

“I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

“That (John Kelly) statement could have been given by Confederate general (and unrepentant rebel) Jubal Early in 1880,” said Stephanie McCurry, history professor at Columbia.

“It’s the Jim Crow version of the causes of the Civil War. It tracks all of the major (revisionist) talking points of this pro-Confederate view of the Civil War.”

“The South wanted a separate nation where they could protect slavery into the indefinite future. That’s what they said when they seceded. That’s what they said in their constitution when they wrote one,” said McCurry.

“This is profound ignorance; that’s what one has to say first, at least of pretty basic things about the American historical narrative. I mean, it’s one thing to hear it from Trump, who, let’s be honest, just really doesn’t know any history and has demonstrated it over and over and over. But General Kelly has a long history in the American military,” says historian David Blight.

It turns out there are no ‘fine people’ in the Trump Administration.

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David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT Pending Approval
I wanted to quibble with Gail over her words, “It’s hard to remember many times that Kelly’s outspokenness helped the president out of trouble. After the Charlottesville tragedy, he did look depressed while Trump blathered an off-key defense of the Nazi-friendly marchers. But later when Kelly had a chance to comment himself, he offered up a theory that the Civil War was caused by “the lack of an ability to compromise.””
Socrates above has a better response than mine, but the quibble remains. There is some truth in what John Kelly said. I remember reading one famous historian who wrote, One of the great causes of the Civil War was that both sides underestimated the seriousness of the other side. Both sides thought the other side would collape or negotiate after the first gunshots were fired. In other words, both sides had a kind of arrogant stupidity, which actually, has been a trademark of American foreign policy debacles in the last half century. Think Vietnam and Iraq. An ability to compromise with the political opposition requires some humility, and the intelligence to realize that the truth is hard to discern if you happen to be human. As Sun Tsu wrote, one of great laws of war is to know your enemy as well as you know yourself. If you can’t easily win, don’t engage in warfare.
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David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at The TaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Showdown Vote in Senate on Friday With Government Shutdown at Stake – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — The Senate is heading toward a showdown vote on Friday on legislation to keep the government open past midnight, and Democrats appear ready to block it, gambling that a weakened President Trump will have to offer concessions in the face of a looming government crisis.

After the House cleared stopgap spending legislation on Thursday that would keep the government funded through Feb. 16, Senate Republicans are set to test whether Democrats will make good on their promise to move the government toward a shutdown. But Democrats appear intent on securing concessions that would, among other things, protect from deportation young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, increase domestic spending, aid Puerto Rico and bolster the government’s response to the opioid epidemic.

And they hope that Mr. Trump, scorched by the firestorm prompted by his vulgar, racially tinged comments on Africa last week, will be forced back to the negotiating table.”

David Lindsay Jr. Hamden, CT Pending Approval
Democrats should not participate in shutting down the govenment. The GOP will never let the public forget about it. Shutting down the govetnment over DACA, which is playing a major identity politics card, is political madness, even if it is morally and economically correct. Democrats, don’t pander to your base, when you want to own the center. In that sin, you mimic the Republicans, who have dishonored themselves and the country, by ignoring or obfuscating the meddling by Russia in our elections, and by turning the EPA against its own mission of protecting the environment, and of protecting Americans and all people and species from life-threatening pollution.
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David Lindsay Jr. blogs at The TaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

A Democratic Chorus Rises in the Senate: ‘Franken Should Resign’ – NYT – He Shouldn’t Yet – David Lindsay Jr

“WASHINGTON — Support for Al Franken all but collapsed on Wednesday among his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, with dozens calling for him to resign after a sixth woman said he had made an improper advance on her.

“Senator Franken should resign,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said Wednesday evening, the latest in an avalanche of statements that began with a half-dozen Democratic women and then snowballed throughout the day. “I consider Senator Franken a dear friend and greatly respect his accomplishments, but he has a higher obligation to his constituents and the Senate, and he should step down immediately.”

Mr. Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, has scheduled an announcement on his future in the Senate for Thursday, and he pushed back on a Minnesota Public Radio report that he would be resigning. “No final decision has been made and the Senator is still talking with his family,” his office said on Twitter.”

David Lindsay Jr: Al Franken should not resign at this time. There are many good comments to that effect in the comments section, such as:

Parker NY 20 hours ago   NYT Pick
Did I miss something? Have the accusations escalated beyond insulting, immature behavior in public settings? This is what these senators find not merely worthy of condemnation but resignation? Good grief. Franken has been a remarkable public servant and we owe the Mueller investigative to his prescient questioning of Jeff Sessions. While I’d agree none of that would matter if he’d been revealed to be of low moral character, that is not the case here and has never been suggested. Bad behavior is equal to predation? There is no gray area, no rehabilitation, no apology suffices? This is extremism of the worst kind. I’m shocked that my senator and women I’ve long admired have revealed themselves to be either so simplistic or so politically craven.

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NYT Pick
Gary Sloane
20 hours ago
Just a hypothetical question or two here:

What if the Senate Ethics Committee examines the allegations and Franken’s behavior and issues a mild reprimand, or even “censure”? Does he still need to go? Should he be forced out before that can happen?

Where is the line between a dumb prank like the USO tour photo — wrong, offensive, not funny — and child molestation and other forms of actual sexual assault?

To me, there’s a world of difference between the behavior of Al Franken and the likes of Donald Trump, Roy Moore or even, not to be partisan, Anthony Wiener.

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NYT Pick
Rick Gage Mt Dora 21 hours ago
This false moral equivalence that the Democratic Senators are imposing on a man who has called for his own ethics inquiry so we can gauge the credibility of his accusers will not help in the greater attempt to shine a light on sexual harassers. It just trivializes the greater harm done to those with legitimate claims of forced intimacy and job discrimination. If they think using Sen. Franken as a sacrificial lamb will assuage the Republicans who are claiming this false equivalence they are surely mistaken. This makes them look panicked, unreasonable and reactionary. If the accusers were truly harmed I agree he should go but he has denied these claims and the Senators are calling for him to be burned at the stake before we know whether this is a witch hunt or not.
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Be Strategic- Not Impulsive- on North Korea – Thomas Friedman – NYT

“Bader, who has served multiple administrations in diplomatic and policy jobs related to China and is now a private consultant, begins by asking the best question any American strategist could ask when thinking about how to deter a nuclear-armed foe: What would George Kennan do?

Kennan was the architect of America’s successful containment of the Soviet Union, which had tens of thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at us for roughly half a century.

Kennan, argues Bader, would grasp that “while some situations may be unacceptable, they do not lend themselves to short-term fixes. The North Korean challenge is one of them.” ”

David Lindsay Hamden, CT Pending Approval at NYT comments.

Great column Thomas Friedman. I loved your proposal. “What should the American proposal say? It should tell the North Koreans, says Bader, that in return for their complete denuclearization and dismantling of their missile program, we would establish full diplomatic relations; end the economic embargo and sanctions; and provide economic assistance, investment and a peace treaty to replace the 64-year-old armistice agreement.”

In response to Susan Rice’s excellent op-ed, I wrote: ” I read a good idea by a commentator at the NYT who suggested, the US should woo North Korea into a de-escalation. We could, for example. offer to pull our military forces out of South Korea in exchange for their giving up their nuclear weapons program. It would be useful if talks could start, aimed at giving both countries what they want or need. I add to the commentators idea, it might be necessary to let the North Koreans keep the nuclear weapons that they have. This might be acceptable, if we could get them to allow verification that they stop all further development. I continue to be depressed by most of the discussion. It is arrogant for the US to think that it has to be in charge of North Korea, when they are China’s neighbor and vassal state. We should remind ourselves continually, that this part of the world is not our backyard, but China’s.”

I’m not sure Your approach is better, Mr. Friedman, but your right, we should laugh at every missile launch as pathetic and stupid.