Buttigieg Outlines Foreign Policy Views, Urging End to ‘Endless War’ – The New York Times

“Pete Buttigieg lashed into President Trump on Tuesday for conducting foreign policy by tantrum and by tweet, as he called for the United States to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, cease the “endless war” in Afghanistan and meet “the clear and present threat” of climate change.

Outlining his foreign policy views as a 2020 Democratic candidate, Mr. Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., repeatedly invoked the America of 2054 — when he would be Mr. Trump’s age, 72 — in a speech that shared his broad campaign message of generational change.

It seemed aimed at quieting any voters’ qualms about whether he had the experience and maturity to serve as commander in chief, or running the show in the Situation Room, in a race featuring candidates with far more foreign policy experience.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. served eight years as vice president. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. And Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has long honed an anti-interventionist message based on his opposition to the Iraq War and to the current war in Yemen.”

Opinion | Republicans for Redistribution – By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

David Leonhardt

By David Leonhardt

Opinion Columnist

CreditL.E. Baskow/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

 

“”On economic policy, Democrats are unified and Republicans are divided.”

That’s one of the summary points from a fascinating new poll by the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a political science research group.

The poll shows that Democrats hold consistent views on economic policy across income groups. Both affluent and lower-income Democrats, for example, overwhelmingly favor a higher minimum wage, higher taxes on the rich and paid family leave.

Republicans are different. High-income Republicans tend to oppose these progressive economic policies. But most lower-income Republicans support them.

“About 19 percent of Republicans held economic policy positions closer to the average Democrat than the average Republican, placing them on the ‘economic left,’” write Lee Drutman, Vanessa Williamson and Felicia Wong, in their summary of the poll.”

Opinion | The Democratic Party Is Trying to Downplay Climate Change. Don’t Let It. – by Justin Gillis- The New York Times

“None of that is enough, apparently, for the Democratic Party to choose to put this issue front-and-center in the primary campaign. Not only did the D.N.C. turn Mr. Inslee down; according to him, the party informed him that he would be banned from party-sponsored debates if he took part in any unofficial candidate debate on climate change.

In a statement, the party declared it would not schedule any single-issue debates, so that voters would “have the ability to hear from candidates on dozens of issues of importance.” That might make sense if the D.N.C. were only planning two or three debates. It is planning 12; surely the party can afford to devote a twelfth of its debate time to the issue that threatens to throw human civilization into crisis.

Infuriating as this latest maneuver is, Democratic fecklessness on the subject of climate change is nothing new. The party has always made that most basic of political calculations — which voters does this issue get us that we don’t already have? — and come up with the answer: none.”

Opinion | Donald and the Delusion Discount – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

“But as I said, markets appear to be celebrating: As I write this, stock markets are up, while long-term interest rates — a better barometer of investor views about economic prospects — are off their recent lows. What’s going on?

The answer, I’d suggest, is that financial markets are basically discounting Trump’s rants; they’ve stopped treating evidence of his unfitness for office as news.

Yes, he’s deeply ignorant about policy. Yes, his rage-tweets constantly remind us of his egomania and insecurity. But we’ve known all that for a while; Trump’s personality is, in effect, already priced in.”

Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change – By Elizabeth Warren

By Elizabeth Warren

“Last year, Hurricane Florence ripped through North Carolina, damaging Camp Lejeune. Hurricane Michael tore through Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, leaving airplane hangars that housed our fifth-generation aircraft shredded and largely roofless. At Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, floodwaters swamped more than one million square feet of buildings, forcing military personnel to scramble to save sensitive equipment and munitions. The total cost to repair just three bases? In the billions.

Climate change is already impacting the way the Pentagon operates — its training, equipment, supply chains, construction, maintenance, and deployments. More and more, accomplishing the mission depends on our ability to continue operations in the face of floods, drought, wildfires, and desertification. The changing climate has geopolitical implications, as well. It’s what the Pentagon calls a “threat multiplier,” exacerbating the dangers posed by everything from infectious diseases to terrorism. In the Arctic, for example, melting ice has made previously closed sea routes easier to navigate, creating greater chances for competition and conflict over access to these waters and natural resources. In Southeast Asia, rising seas are forcing thousands of people to migrate from their homes, increasing the risk of ethnic and political strife.

In short, climate change is real, it is worsening by the day, and it is undermining our military readiness. And instead of meeting this threat head-on, Washington is ignoring it — and making it worse.

We have the most capable military in the world. It’s also the single largestgovernment consumer of energy, and it’s dependent on fossil fuels. The Pentagon spends about $4 billion a year to power its bases at fixed locations and consumes tens of billions of barrels of fuel per year. An Arleigh-Burke class destroyer can consume 1,000 gallons of fuel in an hour while underway. It cost the Pentagon as much as $400 per gallon to transport the gas needed to keep bases operational at the height of the war in Afghanistan; in Iraq, convoys transporting oil and gas were vulnerable targets for insurgent attacks. And our non-combat bases often depend on a commercial power grid that can go down for any number of reasons: old infrastructure, extreme weather, cyber-attacks. When the power’s out, it costs the Pentagon real money — more than $179,000 each day.”

Source: Our military can help lead the fight in combating climate change

Elizabeth Warren: Corporate executives like those at Wells Fargo must face jail time for overseeing massive scams – The Washington Post

April 2

Elizabeth Warren represents Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate and is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Opening unauthorized bank accounts. Cheating customers on mortgages and car loans. Mistreating service members. If you can dream up a financial scam, there’s a good chance that Wells Fargo ran it on its customers in recent years. Last week, after years of pressure, the company finally parted ways with its second chief executive in three years. But that’s not nearly enough accountability. It’s time to reform our laws to make sure that corporate executives face jail time for overseeing massive scams.

In 2016, after the Wells Fargo fake-accounts scam came to light, I called out then-chief executive John Stumpf for gutlessly throwing workers at the bank under the bus — and told him he should resign. Weeks later, he did. When Wells Fargo elevated longtime senior executive Tim Sloan to replace Stumpf, I told Sloan he should be fired for his role in enabling and covering up the fake-accounts scam. For years, I pressured federal regulators, urging Sloan’s dismissal, and last week Sloan “retired.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad Sloan and Stumpf aren’t in charge anymore. But this isn’t real accountability. When a criminal on the street steals money from your wallet, they go to jail. When small-business owners cheat their customers, they go to jail. But when corporate executives at big companies oversee huge frauds that hurt tens of thousands of people, they often get to walk away with multimillion-dollar payouts.”

Source: Elizabeth Warren: Corporate executives like those at Wells Fargo must face jail time for overseeing massive scams – The Washington Post

Opinion |  – By Roger Cohen – The New York Times

Roger Cohen

By Roger Cohen

Opinion Columnist

President Trump and other world leaders looking on as Queen Elizabeth II arrived for a D-Day commemorative event in Portsmouth, England, on Wednesday.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“PARIS — How small he is! Small in spirit, in valor, in dignity, in statecraft, this American president who knows nothing of history and cares still less and now bestrides Europe with his family in tow like some tin-pot dictator with a terrified entourage.

To have Donald Trump — the bone-spur evader of the Vietnam draft, the coddler of autocrats, the would-be destroyer of the European Union, the pay-up-now denigrator of NATO, the apologist for the white supremacists of Charlottesville — commemorate the boys from Kansas City and St. Paul who gave their lives for freedom is to understand the word impostor. You can’t make a sculpture from rotten wood.

It’s worth saying again. If Europe is whole and free and at peace, it’s because of NATO and the European Union; it’s because the United States became a European power after World War II; it’s because America’s word was a solemn pledge; it’s because that word cemented alliances that were not zero-sum games but the foundation for stability and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.

Of this, Trump understands nothing. Therefore he cannot comprehend the sacrifice at Omaha Beach 75 years ago. He cannot see that the postwar trans-Atlantic achievement — undergirded by the institutions and alliances he tramples upon with such crass truculence — was in fact the vindication of those young men who gave everything.”

Opinion | Let’s Ditch Mitch – By Gail Collins – The New York Times

Gail Collins

By Gail Collins

Opinion Columnist

O.K., throwing this one at you without warning: What’s your opinion of Mitch McConnell?

A) Spawn of Satan.

B) Sort of pitiful, what with having Donald Trump on his back.

C) Can we talk about how he looks like a turtle?

Definitely not the last one. It’s true that many Americans think of McConnell as turtle-like, due to his lack of anything resembling a chin.

But this is wrong on two counts. First, you shouldn’t tackle people you disagree with by making fun of their looks.

Second, it gives turtles a bad name. Turtles are great for the environment and everybody likes them. They sing to their children. You are never going to see a turtle killing gun control legislation.

Mitch, on the other hand, has a longstanding alliance with the National Rifle Association, which has shown its affection to the tune of about $1.3 million in support. Anything the N.R.A. dislikes never gets the chance to come up for a Senate vote. Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is moldering away in a corner because the N.R.A. doesn’t want authorities taking guns away from domestic abusers.

It’s been another terrible year of mass shooting violence. One simple, very popular response would be to improve the background checks for gun purchases. It would at least show our elected officials care about the crisis.

Such a bill passed the House of Representatives and went to the Senate where it’s, um, laying around somewhere. “There’s a whole bunch of Republican support, but he won’t let it move to the floor,” said minority leader Chuck Schumer.

This goes on a lot. McConnell, who has near total control over what comes up for a vote, sits on things he doesn’t like until they smother. Farewell, immigration reform, Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, lowering prescription drug prices, protecting election security, restoring net neutrality.”

David Lindsay:  Thank you Gail Collins for a good piece. Also good comments. Here is one I found useful but daunting.

Denise
Louisville
Times Pick

I live in the same area of town as Mitch- the Highlands of Louisville, one of the most liberal neighborhoods in Kentucky. You can only imagine how painful it is to stand behind him at the local deli or in Kroger, knowing how responsible he is for this very real threat to our democracy. For all those who believe that removing him from power is simply a matter of telling Kentuckians that he hurts us more than helps us – oh how naive you are! His willingness to allow the movement against abortion rights to progress through his manipulation of the judicial system is enough for most KY voters to back him yet again. The real problem lies within the Senate. How is it that only the number of years one has served can give one man from such a small state as KY so much power? This debacle of McConnell reveals yet another weakness in our democracy. A man who can cater to singular interests of a small portion of society can retain his seat for decades. He doesn’t even acknowledge the letters, calls and emails those who disagree with him send. He doesn’t need us. His power is entrenched and Republicans at large know it. McConnell can be as deceitful, manipulative and hateful as they need because he faces no consequences. The system of designating power must change.

13 Replies1691 Recommended
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David Lindsay: It is an irony that if we let the right overturn Roe V Wade, McConnell would probably lose his grip on the Kentucky electorate, and all the other great things McConnell is preventing could become the law of the land, or at least get a vote.
Are other option, is to make sure the Democrats take back the Senate, which removes McConnell from his leadership role.

Elizabeth Warren Proposes ‘Aggressive Intervention’ to Create Jobs – The New York Times

“Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Tuesday proposed an economic program of “aggressive intervention on behalf of American workers,” suggesting that as president she would invest $2 trillion in climate-friendly industries over a decade, create a new cabinet-level Department of Economic Development and even manipulate the dollar to promote exports.

Unveiling a campaign theme of “economic patriotism,” Ms. Warren promised to announce further plans under that banner over the next several months, on issues like trade and Wall Street regulation.

By pledging to intervene in markets to support American manufacturing and promote job creation, Ms. Warren laid out a goal that President Trump has also pursued, albeit by different means, like imposing tariffs on imports from China and Mexico.”

Joe Biden Issues Climate Plan That Aims Beyond Obama’s Goal – The New York Times

“The chief policy goals of Mr. Biden’s plan are similar to the contours of the Green New Deal, the sweeping and ambitious climate change proposal put forward by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, in February. Most specifically, Mr. Biden’s plan calls for the United States to entirely eliminate its net emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution by 2050.

By comparison, Mr. Biden’s former boss, President Barack Obama, had pledged to the world that the United States would lower its emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

“This definitely goes further than the Obama administration in terms of aspiration,” said Robert N. Stavins, an environmental economist at Harvard.

Mr. Biden would also call for an investment of $1.7 trillion over 10 years into clean energy and other initiatives. Like the Green New Deal, Mr. Biden’s plan calls broadly for “environmental justice,” programs designed to help poor people and minorities who face disproportionate economic harm from environmental pollution, and to provide retraining and new economic opportunities for coal, oil, gas and other industrial workers displaced by the decline of the fossil fuel economy.

The campaign said the spending would be paid for by rolling back President Trump’s tax breaks for corporations.”

DL: He also calls for a tax on carbon, and tarriffs against foreign goods that created unacceptable pollution.