Opinion | California Takes Revenge on Trump – By Timothy Egan- The New York Times

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

Credit…Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

“President Trump clearly hates the most populous state in the country he governs. While trashing California with his gutter mouth, the president has used his office to physically trash the home to nearly one in eight Americans — seeking to make its air more polluted, its water less clean, its forests more vulnerable to catastrophic fires.

But now the Golden State is poised to strike back. By moving its presidential primary from June to March 3, California will finally exert a political influence commensurate to its size. Almost 500 delegates, a fourth of the number needed to win the Democratic nomination, are at stake.

Perhaps more consequential — or at least overlooked — is what’s happening among the vast diaspora of more than 7.3 million people who have left California since 2007. They appear to be changing the political makeup of the states they’ve moved to, perhaps enough to alter the Electoral College map in favor of Democrats.

With nearly 40 million people, California is still gaining population — barely. But stratospheric home prices and unbearable rental costs have created a reverse “Grapes of Wrath,” forcing those who are not rich to flee to states with much lower costs of living.

The question is: Are they bringing California values — fierce defense of the environment, tolerance of immigrants and a multiracial society, insistence on universal health care — with them? It could be just demographic churn. But if you look at the changing politics of Nevada, Colorado and Arizona, all fast-growing states packed with new arrivals from California, the answer is yes. Texas may not be far behind.”

Opinion | Bernie Sanders Can’t Win – By Timothy Egan – The New York Times

By

Contributing Opinion Writer

 

 

Bernie Sanders at a campaign event in Sioux City, Iowa.
Credit…Mark Makela for The New York Times

“Watching “Succession,” the HBO show about the most despicable plutocrats to seize the public imagination since the Trumps were forced on us, made me want to tax the ultrarich into a homeless shelter. And it almost made a Bernie Bro of me.

That’s the thing about class loathing: it feels good, a moral high with its own endorphins, but is ultimately self-defeating. A Bernie Sanders rally is a hit from the same pipe: Screw those greedy billionaire bastards!

Sanders has passion going for him. He has authenticity. He certainly has consistency: His bumper-sticker sloganeering hasn’t changed for half a century. He was, “even as a young man, an old man,” as Time magazine said.

But he cannot beat Donald Trump, for the same reason people do not translate their hatred of the odious rich into pitchfork brigades against walled estates.

The United States has never been a socialist country, even when it most likely should have been one, during the robber baron tyranny of the Gilded Age or the desperation of the Great Depression, and it never will be. Which isn’t to say that American capitalism is working; it needs Teddy Roosevelt-style trustbusting and restructuring. We’re coming for you, Facebook.

The next month presents the last chance for serious scrutiny of Sanders, who is leading in both Iowa and New Hampshire. After that, Republicans will rip the bark off him. When they’re done, you will not recognize the aging, mouth-frothing, business-destroying commie from Ben and Jerry’s dystopian dairy. Demagogy is what Republicans do best. And Sanders is ripe for caricature.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
Thank you Tim Egan, I completely agree. I can’t get down far enough through the Bernie bros to find anyone who agrees with us. I have something for them though, do remember George McGovern, and how great he was. He lost in a landslide. Michael Dukakis lost by even more, I think he won only 14 electoral votes. Kennedy, Carter, Clinton, Obama were all moderates.
What really matters, with the maw of climate change and the 6th extinction hanging over us, is winning with an environmentalist. The polsters say Biden has a much better chance than Sanders or Warren, in the critical swing states. That is why Egan is right.

Opinion | The Day That Decided the 2020 Election – by Timothy Egan – The New York Times

“The impeachment hearings had been bumping along, the main story clear: a parade of impeccable public servants trying to uphold the values of their country against a gangster White House. A candidate who had gloated over chants of “lock her up” for an opponent who had used unsecured emails had, once elected, conducted foreign policy by extortion, on open cellphone lines penetrated by the Russians.

Most Americans felt that Trump had committed an impeachable offense, but barely half favored removing him by the constitutional equivalent of the death penalty.

Instead, he said that the unusual diplomatic dance in Ukraine was not part of a rogue operation holding up American tax dollars as part of a scheme to take down a political opponent. It was White House policy, the government of the people in service of one person.

“We followed the president’s orders,” he said. “Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret.” “

Opinion | Worst Democratic Strategy Yet: Attack Obama’s Legacy – The New York Times

Timothy Egan

By 

Contributing Opinion Writer

ImageBarack Obama, of all people, is now a target for candidates from the left, Tim Egan writes.
CreditCreditAl Drago/The New York Times

“With 66 weeks to go until the election, the Democrats tasked with saving a sinking ship of state have shown that they would rather drown in a sea of self-righteousness than steer the Donald Trump-rotted hulk to a fresh shore.

You know the presidential debates this week were a disaster for Democrats because Republican attack ads are already parroting the lines used by the leading candidates: Take away people’s private health care, decriminalize the border, socialism!

And rather than effectively prosecute the easy case against the worst president ever, the Democrats went after one of the best: Barack Obama. This is a winning strategy only in a world where everyone gets a trophy, which is to say, much of the younger Democratic base.

Debates are supposed to refine and reduce a party’s message. The unwinnable and unpopular are shown to be just that. Crazy falls away. Good ideas rise. A story emerges. A governing strategy is presented. You can imagine the Day After Trump, which is what a majority of the country desperately wants.”

Opinion | The Founders Would Gag at Today’s Republicans – By Timothy Egan – The New York Times

The cult of Trump has embraced values and beliefs that Jefferson, Washington and Lincoln abhorred.

Timothy Egan

By Timothy Egan,    Contributing Opinion Writer

“Kids in cages and tanks for the tyrant. After that dictator-friendly Fourth of July, it’s time for all true patriots to conduct a political gut check.

“Like many people, I’m worried about the Democrats. A majority of Americans are desperate for someone to dislodge the despot from the White House. And yet some Democrats are pushing policy positions — such as taking away private health insurance from more than 150 million people — that are deeply unpopular.

The smarter candidates will rethink this, and soon, or otherwise ensure that an awful American aberration is more than a one-off.

But as troubled as I am by the Democrats, I’m terrified of the Republicans. In numerous surveys of a party that has adopted the worst pathologies of President Trump, Republicans have shown themselves to be explicitly anti-American. The Founders would gag. So would Abraham Lincoln.”

“. . . . Trump has compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, which is like comparing a noxious weed to a redwood tree. When the anti-immigrant Know Nothing party was at its height in the 1850s, Lincoln had this to say: “I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be?” He continued, “As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it, ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.’” ”

David Lindsay:

Thank you Tim Eagan, for light and truth. Here is the most popular comment, which, along with many others, I endorse.

CD In Maine
Freeport, ME
Times Pick

Thank you Timothy Egan for your harsh characterization of the American South. I so often dream about the kind of nation the U.S. would be but for the outsized influence of southern culture on our government and politics, which has been a counter-force to the realization of the American ideal since the country’s birth. We would more likely resemble Canada or New Zealand. The Republican Party is now the political reflection of the worst of southern culture. The racism, militarism, paranoia, and anti-intellectualism that animates the Republican Party has a rich history in that region. There is no Trump without the South. I hate to generalize so broadly, but I am tired of a living in a nation where a senator from Kentucky rules the country. I am tired of being unable to implement sensible policy of the kind found everywhere else in the world because Wyoming has as many senators as New York. I am tired of pandering to uneducated rural voters because the electoral college disenfranchises millions of voters in blue states. I am tired subsidizing red states while they moan about the evils of a government that redistributes resources to them. But mostly, especially on July 4, I am tired of being told that I am the one who is “un-American.” I just want the Confederacy to go away, once and for all.

26 Replies1034 Recommended

Opinion | The Comeback of the Century – The New York Times

“In the digital age, the printed book has experienced more than its share of obituaries. Among the most dismissive was one from Steve Jobs, who said in 2008, “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore.”

True, nearly one in four adults in this country has not read a book in the last year. But the book — with a spine, a unique scent, crisp pages and a typeface that may date to Shakespeare’s day — is back. Defying all death notices, sales of printed books continue to rise to new highs, as do the number of independent stores stocked with these voices between covers, even as sales of electronic versions are declining.

Nearly three times as many Americans read a book of history in 2017 as watched the first episode of the final season of “Game of Thrones.” The share of young adults who read poetry in that year more than doubled from five years earlier. A typical rage tweet by President Trump, misspelled and grammatically sad, may get him 100,000 “likes.” Compare that with the 28 million Americans who read a book of verse in the first year of Trump’s presidency, the highest share of the population in 15 years.”

Opinion | The Beginning of the End of America’s Best Idea – By Timothy Egan – The New York Times

By Timothy Egan
Contributing Opinion Writer, Nov. 23, 2018

Image
A sign designating the Corral Canyon Park recreation area stands amid landscape charred by the Woolsey fire in Malibu, Calif., on Nov. 13.CreditCreditReed Saxon/Associated Press

“AGOURA HILLS, Calif. — When I was a little kid I passed through a ghost forest in Montana, the blackened, standing skeletons of the largest wildfire in recorded American history. That was the Big Burn of 1910, which torched an area nearly the size of Connecticut in a weekend.

What remained of that blowup told a story: of hurricane force winds, of 100-foot trees that crushed firefighters, of a land so scorched by intense heat that it was decades before seedlings sprouted in some places.

But at least life returned. And over the last century, a healthy forest emerged along with a consensus political view that wild land was essential to our national character.

Today, walking over the ashen floor of another spectral land, I’m struck by how naked everything looks in the world’s largest urban national park. Almost 90 percent of the federal land in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was burned in this month’s Woolsey Fire. The smell alone is mournful.

The story it tells is grim, a portent of nature altered and convulsive. It’s not just that this audacious experiment — a huge parkland on the doorstep of a metro area of 13 million people — is now on life support. It’s that, as we are the first species to radically disrupt the world that gave us life, much of that world may soon be unsafe for human habitation.

California used to have distinct fire seasons. Now the storms of flame and smoke are year-round, and all of the nation’s most populous state is a fire zone. One in eight Americans lives in a land that could turn catastrophic on any given day.

Last year it was the wine country north of San Francisco and the mountains above Santa Barbara. This year it’s the area around Yosemite National Park, the peopled canyons of the northern part of the state, and this last best open space on the shoulders above Los Angeles.

In the north, the town of Paradise was essentially wiped off the map, with more than 13,000 homes gone, more than 80 people killed, hundreds still missing, thousands homeless — the deadliest fire in state history. It’s a human tragedy.

In the south, it’s almost 100,000 acres put to flame in the mountains that meet the sea, with deer left charred in their tracks, an iconic Western-set movie ranch burned into black and white, the sweet-scented chaparral and sage highlands all of a moonscape. It’s a tragedy of nature.”

The Trump Fog Machine – by Timothy Egan – NYT

“But while his legislative agenda is in tatters, his master strategy — throwing out distraction bombs on a regular basis, while turning the screws of power toward a backward era — is working. In just the last two weeks, he has allowed a humanitarian crisis affecting more than three million American citizens to fester, reportedly mocked a dying senator, and threatened to annihilate a nation of 25 million people.

But what are we talking about? Football. And whether the people who play the sport have the same right as every other American to express themselves — which, legally, is not even a question. In Trump’s view, athletes should just shut up and take their brain damage. While Americans in Puerto Rico clung to life on an island without power or adequate water and food, Trump tweeted 24 times about football.

What’s been forgotten at times in the blur of bloviation is astonishing. Possibly colluding with Russia to hijack an American election. Firing the F.B.I. director who was looking into that maze of questions. Pulling out of the Paris climate accord. Rolling back protections for clean air, water and workplace safety. Losing half his staff to scandal, deceit or overt idiocy.”

Yes, yes, yes, and     here are the two top comments I approved.

Karin Gustafson

Arkville, NY September 29, 2017

Dear Mr. Egan,

I agree with your assessment here. I (and many others I know) feel so exhausted by Trump’s continual assaults on decency that we simply want to turn off, tune out–vigilance becomes too painful; the nerves that detect lapses in judgment and morality just wilt after all the battering; passivity arises as a way to cope with abuse– Yes, it sounds a little histrionic, but isn’t. The degradation in the norms of presidential behavior has degraded expectation as well; no one is even shocked at the hypocrisy any more. I am very worried about what we will wake up too next as Trump’s ego careens between gratification and pay-back. He seems just so completely careless of consequence.

Kevin Rothstein

is a trusted commenter Somewhere East of the GWB September 29, 2017

Yes, it’s all going according to plan: government by chaos; the shock doctrine, etc.

It’s meant to leave all of us mentally exhausted and crying for relief.

Meanwhile, Trump loyalists are giddy with pleasure at the carnage being wrought.

The only solution is at the ballot box. Until then, we must keep calm and carry on and hope for brighter days to come.

 

Who Will Save the Republic? – by Tim Egan – NYT

“We’re looking for a few good men and women in Congress to understand the gravity of this debasement. We don’t need more parsing about the bad “optics” or “timing” of Trump firing the man who could have ended his presidency. We need a Republican in power to call it what it is: a bungled attempt to obstruct justice.”

Park Rangers to the Rescue – by Tim Egan – The New York Times

“It started at the inauguration, when the uniformed protectors of America’s front lawn took in the sweep of humanity at the National Mall. It seemed obvious that the crowd for President Trump was not nearly as large as that for Barack Obama in 2009. Somebody in olive green retweeted the obvious, using comparative pictures.

This small act of historical clarification by the keepers of our sacred sites and shared spaces would have been no big deal, had not the response from the new president sounded like an edict from the Dear Leader. A gag order on public servants was issued, and the National Park Service tweet on crowd size vanished, replaced by a picture of a bison.”