‘Enough Already’ Said God – by  Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“The famous televangelist Jim Bakker, who is preaching again on television after a rape accusation and a prison term for financial fraud, recently warned that Christians would start an armed insurrection if President Trump were impeached. “If it happens, there will be civil war in the United States of America,” Bakker told his television audience. “The Christians will finally come out of the shadows, because we are going to be shut up permanently if we’re not careful.”

Afterward, I received the following transcript of a conversation between Bakker and, er, God. It comes from a divine source.

Bakker: “Dear God, thank you for blessing me with wisdom, courage, virtue and rugged good looks. Plus humility. Please help me raise up an army to smite the infidels trying to impeach President Trump. …”God: “Oh, enough already!”

Bakker, trying to dive under the bed: “Who’s there? And oh, no! Fire! Fire! There’s a fire on my bed!”

God: “It’s a burning bush.”Bakker: “Who said that? Fire! Fire! Help!”

God: “Don’t be such a wimp: This is a smokeless burning bush. It won’t even singe your linens. So listen up. This is God. . . . ”

Here are the top two comments, I completely endorse.
Aryae Coopersmith Half Moon Bay, California 1 day ago

Thank you Nick Kristof for giving us a few laughs while pointing out the elephant in the room!

To keep it very simple — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share three key values: love God, love your neighbor, love the stranger. The rest, as they say, is commentary.


ChristineMcM is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 1 day ago

“God: “I’m nonpartisan. I just don’t like being used. I was mortified when four out of five white evangelical Christians voted for a thrice-married liar who bragged about sexual assault — and then cited me as the reason for their votes.”

Great column, Nicholas! If anyone can call out hypocrisy, it’s God, er, and, His son.

That Trump got the support of evangelicals was definitely some sort of miracle. One that tells us more about the real morality of preachers who make their livings not so much selling God as themselves.

In a certain way, I see the connection now–at least on the hypocrisy and selling of self. It takes one to know one–Bakker and company might be selling paradise but he and his peers want a down payment first in the form of credit card donations to the show.

So what else do Trump and televangelists have in common, when not pushing the Bible or violating the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount? Or failing to offer strangers a proper welcome?

Perhaps it’s the love of large fancy mansions here on earth, over living the kind of values that might ensure them a room in God’s mansion up above.



Climate of Complete Certainty – by Brett Stephens – NYT

“Right on the merits. Confident in their methods. Sure of their chances. When Bill Clinton suggested to his wife’s advisers that, considering Brexit, they might be underestimating the strength of the populist tide, the campaign manager, Robby Mook, had a bulletproof answer: The data run counter to your anecdotes.

That detail comes from “Shattered,” Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes’s compulsively readable account of Clinton’s 2016 train wreck. Mook belonged to a new breed of political technologists with little time for retail campaigning and limitless faith in the power of models and algorithms to minimize uncertainty and all but predict the future.”

The comments section was closed, so I wrote a letter to the NYT:
Brett Stephens wrote in his op-ed Climate of Complete Certainty, “Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change knows that, while the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the Northern Hemisphere since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming, much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities.”

This is unacceptable nonsense. This is the way Bill O’Reilly writes. O”Reilly states one or two facts, and then a conculsion, not supported by the facts he has stated, and then, does not offer any evidence to support the final, damning conclusion. If this statement is true, why is there not a single example offered to support it. A big bad generality is the tool of a smear artist.

As one commentator wrote correctly, comparing Hillary Clinton taking poling data too seriously, and the public taking climate change science seriously, is a false equivalence.

Stephens analysis of Clinton’s hubris was excellent, but his twisting argument in the sentence above in neither acceptable, nor professional. Almost all science is based on probabilities. That is not a sin, that is because 100% certainty is expensive to prove, even if the concept is easy to embrace. This unsupported trash talk might have been fine at the WSJ, but it is not the standard here at the NYT.

One Problem for Democratic Leaders Is Democratic Voters – by Tom Edsall – The New York Times

“Leaders on the Democratic left who want to represent the have-nots face an obstacle: their own voters.

Keith Ellison, a congressman from Minnesota and a candidate for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, argues that Democrats “have to stand for a strong, populist economic message.” ”

Great piece Tom Edsall, thank you.
I do not dispute your reports, they are eye opening.
Yes, and, let’s not forget that the Republicans spent 8 years not allowing Obama to take care of these people with more stimulus, jobs programs and development plans.
Let me tell you about new business, condos for sale in Canada…….

Will Trump Play Spy vs. Spy? – by Evan Thomas – The New York Times

In recent days, President-elect Donald J. Trump has rejected the C.I.A.’s conclusions that Russian hackers attempted to sway the American elections, and has accused unnamed officials within the agency of trying to undermine him. And he has rejected the tradition of receiving the intelligence community’s daily briefing, implying that he would rather rely on information and analysis from his inner circle of advisers.

Why Trump Had an Edge in the Electoral College – Nate Cohn – The New York Times

Amy Ellington Brooklyn 1 hour ago”The five real reasons Hillary Clinton lost the White House”http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/14/hillary-clinton-lost-whi…1. Taking the month of August off2. Not campaigning in Wisconsin, Michigan3. Misallocating her monetary advantage4. Going after the popular vote, not Electoral College win5. Doubling down demonizing Mr. Trump, instead of articulating her own vision

Here is great comment: Amy Ellington Brooklyn 1 hour ago

“The five real reasons Hillary Clinton lost the White House”

1. Taking the month of August off
2. Not campaigning in Wisconsin, Michigan
3. Misallocating her monetary advantage
4. Going after the popular vote, not Electoral College win
5. Doubling down demonizing Mr. Trump, instead of articulating her own vision

Hillary Clinton lost the White House because of these five real reasons – Kelly Riddell – Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION:Hillary Clinton’s team would like you to believe it was FBI Director James B. Comey, Russian hacking, or American racism, xenophobia and bigotry that caused her to lose the White House.

In reality, it was campaign malfeasance. Here are five examples, where Mrs. Clinton’s campaign team strategically blew it.1. Taking the month of August offIn August, the polls indicated Mrs. Clinton had a lead, and Donald Trump had just come off a very ugly feud with Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a fallen soldier.Still, Mr. Trump was not out — he still had a base of 36 percent to 43 percent of the national vote.Nonetheless, Mrs. Clinton’s team decided to give her a summer break to focus on star-studded fundraising events in the Hamptons and Martha’s Vineyard.”

Source: Hillary Clinton lost the White House because of these five real reasons – Washington Times

The lead to my prewritten “Clinton wins” story explains a lot about why she lost – Matt Yglesias – Vox

“Like many journalists who write about politics for a living, I had a story on the 2016 outcome written the week before Election Day that presumed Hillary Clinton was going to win the election. Since she instead lost the election, we didn’t run that piece. I’ve since written a bunch of stories about the consequences of the election, but I hadn’t managed to pull my thoughts together on a piece laying out my view of what actually happened and why.For inspiration, on Tuesday I turned to my pre-election take whose lead I think turns out to work pretty well for a post-election take. Here it is — I promise — exactly as drafted and edited and ready to go on the morning of Election Day:”

“But Democratic Party leaders — elected officials, but also major donors and interest groups heads and other people involved in party-affiliated work — ought to think harder about how and why the choices came to be so narrowly circumscribed.

Back in 2008, congressional leaders aware of Clinton’s flaws encouraged Barack Obama to challenge her in the primary. In the 2016 cycle, it was clear that Joe Biden was interested in running but nobody encouraged him. Nobody tried to push a longshot Latino contender into the field. Feminist organizations whipped support for Clinton rather than offering encouragement to other women who might have been interested in stepping forward. And when former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley did insist on running as a mainstream Democratic alternative to Clinton, he was immediately frozen out.”

Thank you Matt Yglesias. Yes, I remember, when I sent mental messages to Joe Biden not to run. Hindsight is 20 20.

Source: The lead to my prewritten “Clinton wins” story explains a lot about why she lost – Vox

The End of Identity Liberalism -by Mark Lilla – The New York Times

“……One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals.”

Source: The End of Identity Liberalism – The New York Times

I loved this piece but many commentors didn’t. Here is someone who I can agree with:

Ray Carney

Boston, MA November 18, 2016

“I am a professor at a major East Coast university. I teach the criticism and appreciation of literature and film. I just sent a link to this article to my graduate students and asked them to think about it in terms of their own lives and work. “Identity politics” and the “politics of difference” extends far beyond Freshman Orientation pep talks, special-interest fraternal organizations, speaking invitations, and hiring decisions in the contemporary American university. It warps and blinkers the entire intellectual process to the point that artistic texts are understood almost exclusively in terms of issues of race, class, gender, and other forms of so-called “otherness.” Mr. Lilla’s call to “we-ness” is intellectually long overdue. On behalf of my arts graduate students, I thank him.”

Steve ‘Turn On the Hate’ Bannon- in the White House – Editorial – The New York Times

“Anyone holding out hope that Donald Trump would govern as a uniter — that the racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and nativism of his campaign were just poses to pick up votes — should think again.

In an ominous sign of what the Trump presidency will actually look like, the president-elect on Sunday appointed Stephen Bannon as his chief White House strategist and senior counselor, an enormously influential post.

Many if not most Americans had never heard of Mr. Bannon before this weekend, and for good reason: He has kept a low profile, even after taking over Mr. Trump’s campaign in August. Before that, he worked as the executive chairman of the Breitbart News Network, parent company of the far-right website Breitbart News, which under Mr. Bannon became what the Southern Poverty Law Center has called a “white ethno-nationalist propaganda mill.” ”

Source: Steve ‘Turn On the Hate’ Bannon, in the White House – The New York Times

Here is a comment I support:


Maryland 2 days ago

“Bannon wrote, “Let the grassroots turn on the hate because that’s the ONLY thing that will make [Republican leaders] do their duty.” And what duty is that?

That would be the duty to make America white again (Mr. Trump’s dog whistle decoded). The duty Bannon speaks of is to oppress minorities of color in a white ruled America. Mr. Bannon wants the Republican Party to legislate his hate into law. He called for an outpouring of hate and that hate won the day. What Trump’s election is doing is taking a dirty discarded needle and injecting Bannon’s hate into America’s arteries.

Hard to believe, but Bannon is actually more despicable than Trump. They both lack what makes mankind human, but Bannon is actually using Trump as a chump to spread his venom (ironic because Trump used so many Americans as chumps to buy his snake oil).”

To Our Readers – From the Publisher and Executive Editor – The New York Times

“When the biggest political story of the year reached a dramatic and unexpected climax late Tuesday night, our newsroom turned on a dime and did what it has done for nearly two years — cover the 2016 election with agility and creativity.

After such an erratic and unpredictable election there are inevitable questions: Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters? What forces and strains in America drove this divisive election and outcome? Most important, how will a president who remains a largely enigmatic figure actually govern when he takes office?”

Source: To Our Readers, From the Publisher and Executive Editor – The New York Times

Thank you for the apology. I remain a proud reader of the NYT, and we all share in missing some of the hidden undercurrents of this election. Those of us who argued for Hillary over Bernie certainly underestimated the Trump base, which Bernie also appealed to. We underestimated the power of targeted negative social media to enhance Hillary’s negatives. Why didn’t they do the same against Trump? I recommend that everyone who wants to understand this election read last weeks Bloomberg Businessweek, “Why the Trump Machine is Built to last,” by Green and Issenberg. They reveal that the Trump campaign used social media, mostly Facebook, to suppress essential voter turnout for Hillary in key, battleground states, with very ugly messages that when to her supporters only, in those areas. NIcholas Kristof’s latest piece “Lies in Guise of News in the Trump Era” is also must reading. We will have to work against this trend of the misuse of social media. I propose that we study the problem, and ask Facebook to block political hate groups from places like Macedonia, that interfere in our elections because for them it is simply profitable to sell hateful smears.