Maureen Dowd | Washington Manned Up and Let Us Down After 9/11 – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“WASHINGTON — I’m not one of those people who think women make naturally better leaders than men, more collegial and collaborative. I’ve covered enough women in the upper ranks, and worked for and with enough women, to know that it depends on the individual.

Yet when I look back at 9/11 and the torrent of tragic, perverse blunders that followed, I think about men seized by a dangerous strain of hyper-masculinity; fake tough-guy stuff; a caricature of strength — including the premature “Mission Accomplished” scene of George W. Bush strutting on an aircraft carrier in his own version of “Top Gun.”

All of that empty swaggering ended up sapping America and making our country weaker.

Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld wrecked W.’s presidency, with their overweening ideas about big-stick executive power, developed in the Ford administration when they were feeling crimped by post-Watergate restrictions; with their determination to exorcise our post-Vietnam ambivalence about using force; and with their loony plan to establish America as the sole superpower by preemptively striking potential foes. (Cheney, always ready to bomb despite his five deferments during Vietnam.) And of course, there was that most belligerent and shameful act: sanctioning torture.

This unholy pair of consiglieres played into W.’s fear that he would be called a wimp, as his father once was, if he did not go along with the guns-blazing, facts-be-damned case to sideline Afghanistan and invade Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11.”

Spencer Ackerman | The Jan. 6 Riot Proves the Sept. 11 Era Isn’t Over – The New York Times

“Days after the insurrection, the interim U.S. attorney for Washington at the time, Michael Sherwin, suggested that “sedition and conspiracy” charges might await the ringleaders of Jan. 6. Most people who breached the Capitol did so because Mr. Trump told them to. Few would have mobilized to steal an election had not a phalanx of elected Republicans told them the election was already stolen. But prosecutors stopped short of calling Mr. Trump even an unindicted co-conspirator. They preferred to indict those who answered the call, not those who sounded it. Elite impunity, a feature of not only the war on terror but also of American history, trumped commitments to democratic preservation.

Congress opted against using the 14th Amendment’s powers to unseat those members who fomented and cheered the insurrection, such as Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who saluted the mob as it advanced toward the Capitol. Eight months later, there is no political response to the insurrection at all, only a security response aimed at its foot soldiers. The war on terror should have taught America the lesson that security-based responses to political problems are futile.”

Federal Judge Strikes Down Trump Rule Governing Water Pollution – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Monday struck down a Trump-era environmental rule that drastically limited federal restrictions against pollution of millions of streams, wetlands and marshes across the country.

The Biden administration had already begun the lengthy process of undoing the policy, which President Donald J. Trump established in 2020 to please real estate developers and farmers. Mr. Trump’s policy allowed the discharge of pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides and industrial chemicals into smaller streams and wetlands.

But on Monday, Judge Rosemary Márquez of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona found “fundamental, substantive flaws” with the Trump administration’s policy and said that it was in conflict with the 1972 Clean Water Act. She warned of the “possibility of serious environmental harm” if the Trump rule remained in place.”

Maureen Dowd | Why Do Republicans Hate Cops? – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“WASHINGTON — It was, I must admit, a virtuoso performance by Sean Hannity.

Not since the sheriff in “Blazing Saddles” put a gun to his own head and took himself hostage has anyone executed such a nutty loop de loop.

Opening his show Tuesday night, Hannity gave a monologue defending the police (and lacing into the usual suspects: Hunter, Kamala, Hillary, Nancy, the summer riots, gun violence and unvaccinated illegal immigrants). “Attacks on law enforcement are never and should never be acceptable ever, not at the Capitol and not anywhere,” he declaimed.

Yet Mr. Pro Police had nary a word for the four police officers who had appeared before Congress that morning to describe going to “hell and back,” as a Washington police officer, Michael Fanone, put it, as they relived the scarring, desperate hours of Jan. 6 when they were attacked by Trump’s mob (and Hannity’s viewers).”

David LIndsay:

Maureen Dowd’s father was a police officer, and you can tell that this essay is personal.

Nelson Lichtenstein | Biden’s Executive Order Restores U.S. Antitrust – The New York Times

Mr. Lichtenstein is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy.

“On Friday, President Biden signed a sweeping executive order intended to curb corporate dominance, enhance business competition and give consumers and workers more choices and power. The order features 72 initiatives ranging widely in subject matter — net neutrality and cheaper hearing aids, more scrutiny of Big Tech and a crackdown on the high fees charged by ocean shippers.

The president called his order a return to the “antitrust traditions” of the Roosevelt presidencies early in the last century. This may have surprised some listeners, since the order offers no immediate call for the breakup of Facebook or Amazon — none of the trustbusting that is antitrust’s signature idea.

But Mr. Biden’s executive order does something even more important than trustbusting. It returns the United States to the great antimonopoly tradition that has animated social and economic reform almost since the nation’s founding. This tradition worries less about technocratic questions such as whether concentrations of corporate power will lead to lower consumer prices and more about broader social and political concerns about the destructive effects that big business can have on our nation.”

Paul Krugman | It’s Morning in Joe Biden’s America – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Last Tuesday President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers published a blog post warning everyone not to make too much of any one month’s employment report. It presumably released this in advance of Friday’s report to fend off possible accusations that it was just trying to make excuses for a weak number. As it happened, however, the report came in strong: The economy added an impressive 850,000 jobs.

The job gain was especially impressive given widespread claims that businesses couldn’t expand because generous unemployment benefits were discouraging workers from taking jobs. (Recent benefit cuts in many states came too late to have affected this report.) Well, somehow employers are managing to hire a lot of people anyway.

Oh, and so much for Donald Trump’s warnings that there would be a “Biden depression” if he weren’t re-elected.

That said, the council’s points were well taken. Covid-19 created huge dislocations in the economy, and as we recover from these dislocations economic data are unusually noisy — largely because the standard adjustments statisticians make to smooth out things like seasonal variation don’t work well in an economy still distorted by the pandemic.”

David Lindsay:

This is another great essay by Paul Krugman, economist and political commentator extraordinaire. Many of popular comments are cheerful and thoughtful. Too bad someone at the NYT put up a cropped photo or Joe Biden, just showing his nose and teeth. The photo is impolite, possibly mocking, whereas all the Krugman essay and the following comments are cheering our worldclass leader.
I too am proud to have been an early supporter of Joe Biden, back, two years before he became President, or was it only a year, when the Nate Cohn in the NYT showed polls showing that of all the Democrats running for President, only Joe Biden could beat Donald Trump in the six most critical swing states to win the electoral college. That day, I dropped my support of Pete Buttigieg, and began supporting Joe Biden.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs mostly at InconvenientNews.Net.

Fiona Hill reflects on ‘terrible spectacle’ of Trump-Putin summit ahead of Biden’s meeting with Russian President – CNNPolitics

“(CNN)Fiona Hill, once then-President Donald Trump’s top Russia adviser, said Tuesday evening that she was so alarmed during Trump’s 2018 press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin that she had looked for a fire alarm to pull and considered faking a medical emergency.

“I just thought, let’s cut this off and try to end it. I couldn’t come up with anything that just wouldn’t add to the terrible spectacle,” Hill told CNN’s Don Lemon on “Don Lemon Tonight.”
Her reflection on the controversial press conference — wherein Trump declined to support the US government’s assessment that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election — comes on the eve of President Joe Biden’s highly anticipated summit with Putin, an event Hill has helped the President prepare for.
Biden has spent the past week consulting fellow leaders, national security aides and political advisers, reading through extensive preparation materials and thinking about what exactly he will say to the Russian President when they meet on Wednesday.”

Source: Fiona Hill reflects on ‘terrible spectacle’ of Trump-Putin summit ahead of Biden’s meeting with Russian President – CNNPolitics

Peter Beinart | In Biden’s Foreign Policy, What Is ‘Rules-Based Order?’ – The New York Times

Mr. Beinart is a contributing Opinion writer who focuses on American foreign policy.

“Anyone who slogs through the diplomatic verbiage generated last week by President Biden’s inaugural overseas trip will notice one phrase again and again: “rules-based.” It appears twice in Mr. Biden’s joint statement with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, four times each in the communiqués the United States issued with the governments of the Group of 7 and the European Union, and six times in the manifesto produced by NATO.

That’s no surprise: “Rules-based order” (or sometimes, “rules-based system”) is among the Biden administration’s favorite terms. It has become what “free world” was during the Cold War. Especially among Democrats, it’s the slogan that explains what America is fighting to defend.

Too bad. Because the “rules-based order” is a decoy. It’s a way of sidestepping the question Democrats should be asking: Why isn’t America defending international law?”

In Rift With Biden, a Dramatic Show of Force by a Conservative Catholic Movement – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Pope Francis and President Biden, both liberals, are the two most high-profile Roman Catholics in the world.

But in the United States, neither of these men is determining the direction of the Catholic Church. It is now a conservative movement that decides how the Catholic Church asserts its power in America.

That reality was unmistakably declared last week, when the country’s bishops voted overwhelmingly to draft guidelines for the Eucharist, advancing a conservative push to deny Mr. Biden communion over his support for abortion rights.

“There is a special obligation of those who are in leadership because of their public visibility,” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, who heads the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in Indiana, said after the vote.”

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT comment:

Thank you Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham for an excellent report, and for disturbing my wa, or tranquility. I enjoyed also, the many most recommended comments. I heartily agree that the the Catholic Church continues in right wing politics, and should lose it’s tax exempt status in the US as soon as possible. What a sad bunch of medieval misogynists, more famous for protecting child molesters, than following the teachings of Jesus Christ. I have been an Episcopalian all my life, but I discovered I also feel close and comfortable with the best of Buddhists, Hindus, Shintos, Moslems, Jews and pagan nature worshippers. On most days, I believe in a higher power. I once entered a Unitarian Society or Church, and discovered that I was essentially a Unitarian, someone who focuses on good works rather than dcrines claiming the truth. Part of me looks forward to the collapse of the Catholic Church, but then, in researching my historical fiction, The Tay Son Rebellion, on 18th century Vietnam, I discovered Pierre Pigneau de Behaine, who was a great scholar, a saint, and a military leader, who deeply influenced the 30 civil year war started by the Tay Son Rebellion. In recent years, my Lady gave me a copy of Eager to Love, The Alternative way of Francis of Assisi, by Richard Rohr, and I discovered that I am, in fact, a Christian, as in a follower of Jesus through Saint Francis of Assisi, who insisted that all all life forms are equally sacred David also blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Opinion | Bill Bratton Discusses Police Reform With Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

Bratton first ran the N.Y.P.D. in the mid-90s, as Rudy Giuliani’s commissioner, trying “to take back a city that was out of control.” After he appeared on the cover of Time in 1996 in a trench coat under the Brooklyn Bridge, his relationship to a petty Giuliani went kaput.

Bratton adds that Giuliani “had such awful relations with the Black community and the Black leadership, it really prevented police commissioners, myself included, from developing relationships that we would love to have made with the Black community.”

Credit…Chad Batka for The New York Times

“. . .  It must’ve been strange to watch Rudy devolve into a two-bit henchman for a former reality TV star, and to see the feds’ recent predawn raid of Giuliani’s home and office.

“As somebody who’s got a big ego, speaking about another guy with a big ego, I can’t understand how he allowed himself to be subsumed by Trump,” says Bratton. “He’s made a caricature of himself and he’s lost the image of America’s mayor because of the antics of the last two or three years.”

I ask about the hypocrisy of Donald Trump, claiming to support the police and then siccing the mob on the Capitol Police.

“We saw how pro-police that mob was, didn’t we?” Bratton says dryly. “I know a lot of the cops really liked Trump because they feel he stands up for them against a lot of progressives. I personally believe that he was encouraging that insurrection that day.”

Bratton says it’s “shameful and disgraceful” that Republicans on Friday blocked the bill to create a commission to investigate Jan. 6, adding that “without the Capitol Police, our country would have failed on that day.”  . . .”