How the G7 Oil Price Cap Has Helped Choke Revenue to Russia – The New York Times

Jim Tankersley is an economics reporter who covers the White House. He has been tracking the Biden administration’s efforts to limit Russia’s oil revenues for the past year.

“In early June, at the behest of the Biden administration, German leaders assembled top economic officials from the Group of 7 nations for a video conference with the goal of striking a major financial blow to Russia.

The Americans had been trying, in a series of one-off conversations last year, to sound out their counterparts in Europe, Canada and Japan on an unusual and untested idea. Administration officials wanted to try to cap the price that Moscow could command for every barrel of oil it sold on the world market. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen had floated the plan a few weeks earlier at a meeting of finance ministers in Bonn, Germany.

The reception had been mixed, in part because other countries were not sure how serious the administration was about proceeding. But the call in early June left no doubt: American officials said they were committed to the oil price cap idea and urged everyone else to get on board. At the end of the month, the Group of 7 leaders signed on to the concept.

As the Group of 7 prepares to meet again in this week in Hiroshima, Japan, official and market data suggest the untried idea has helped achieve its twin initial goals since the price cap took effect in December. The cap appears to be forcing Russia to sell its oil for less than other major producers, when crude prices are down significantly from their levels immediately after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Peter Beinart | Why Joe Biden Needs a Primary Challenger in the 2024 Race – The New York Times

Mr. Beinart is a journalist and commentator who writes frequently about American foreign policy and politics.

“To understand why progressives should challenge Joe Biden in the upcoming Democratic presidential primary, remember what happened during the last one.

When Bernie Sanders exited the 2020 race — after winning more than 1,000 delegates — he cashed in his votes for public policy clout. Mr. Sanders’s supporters joined Mr. Biden’s allies in working groups that crafted a common agenda on the economy, education, health care, criminal justice, immigration and climate change. From those task forces came what Barack Obama called “the most progressive platform of any major-party nominee in history.” And that progressivism continued into Mr. Biden’s presidency. One hundred days after he took office, The New York Times concluded that he had “moved leftward with his party, and early in his tenure is driving the biggest expansion of American government in decades.”

By challenging him from the left, Mr. Sanders didn’t only change Mr. Biden’s candidacy. He also made him a better president. But only on domestic policy. There was no joint working group specifically devoted to foreign affairs — and it shows. With rare exceptions, Mr. Biden hasn’t challenged the hawkish conventional wisdom that permeates Washington; he’s embodied it. He’s largely ignored progressives, who, polls suggest, want a fundamentally different approach to the world. And he’ll keep ignoring them until a challenger turns progressive discontent into votes.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT   NYT Comment:

I approve of all the comments slamming Peter Beinart. The only thing he complained about that I vaguely agree with regards Cuba, and I think the Biden folk play hard to win the electoral college. It seems necessary to point out that Binart manages to offer parts of the Russian and Chinese points of view on our foreign policy, which raises the question, why? Most or all of his advice would weaken Biden’s chances of winning the 6 vital states that determine the electoral college. With friends like that, you don’t need enemies.

David blogs at

Thomas L. Friedman | Why Kamala Harris Matters So Much in 2024 – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“A few weeks ago, one of France’s most famous public intellectuals, Bernard-Henri Lévy, gave an interview to The Times on his new documentary, “Slava Ukraini,” and he said something that helped me understand why, as I approach my 70th birthday, I still want to be a journalist.

Asked why, at age 74, he dodged rockets in Ukraine to bring home the savagery of the Russian invasion, Lévy said, “In Ukraine, I had the feeling for the first time that the world I knew, the world in which I grew up, the world that I want to leave to my children and grandchildren, might collapse.”

I have that exact same fear.

Which is why the focus of my columns these days has been very tight. There are three things that absolutely cannot be allowed to happen: Israel cannot be allowed to turn into an autocracy like Viktor Orban’s Hungary; Ukraine cannot be allowed to fall to Vladimir Putin; and Donald Trump cannot be allowed to occupy the White House ever again.

If all three were to happen, the world that I want to leave my children and grandchildren could completely collapse.

Israel, the only functioning pluralistic democracy in the Middle East, tempered by the rule of law, albeit imperfect, would be lost.

The European Union — the United States of Europe, the world’s other great multiethnic center of free markets, free people and human rights — would be at Putin’s mercy.

And the United States of America, with a vengeful Trump back in the White House, effectively pardoned for his many attacks on our democratic institutions and his assault on the integrity of our elections, would never be the same. Trump would be unchained — an utterly chilling thought.

It’s through this lens that I want to talk about Joe Biden’s announcement on Tuesday that he is running for re-election, joined again by Kamala Harris. Biden’s ability to finish his current term and successfully navigate another one is critical to all three scenarios mentioned above. Which is why, now that Biden has declared that he is running, he absolutely has to win.

But while you may think the 2024 election is very likely going to be a rerun of 2020, that is not the case for the Democrats. This time, Biden’s running mate will really matter.”

David Lindsay:  Good essay by Thomas Friedman.  To find any comments defending Kamala Harris, I had to read through 4 or 5 ugly ones. Here are the minoritiy ones:

Orion Clemens

More Kamala bashing just sounds like more women bashing to this attorney in her late 60’s, who has heard the very same things against her all these years. At first I was too young, then I had a kid and/or no charisma, and then I was old, which means that now I’m invisible despite my four decades of legal accomplishments. Fast forward to 2016. Too many supposed Democrats “just didn’t like” Hillary. Many of us (and I do not claim sole ownership of this idea) tried to warn some of these folks about the disaster that would be a Trump presidency. A certain roll back for women, for minorities, for the LGBTQ community, you name it. We saw it all before it happened. And we were not clairvoyants – we just used our common sense. But no, too many Democrats had to pout when their Prom King Bernie didn’t receive the nomination. So they sat home, voted 3rd party, or worse some 10% of them voted for Trump, per NPR reporting. Which brings me to 2024 and Kamala. News flash Dems – you don’t get your Prom King or Queen. You look at the person running on the ticket and compare that person to the person opposing them. End of story. All you Bernie Bros out there (who brought an end to Roe v Wade, by the way) think about this. Do you want Kamala or G-d forbid the monstrosity of person who would run as VP with either Trump or DeSantis? Would Kamala make a worse president than either of these grotesque figures would make? And that is all we Dems have to ask ourselves. Period.

14 Replies248 Recommended

Phyliss Dalmatian commented April 25

Phyliss Dalmatian
Wichita Ks, Homosassa FlApril 25

Extremely well written and articulated. One of your best. But, wrong. Of course it’s a combination of sexism and racism. VP Harris could literally walk on water, and some people would complain she spoiled their day at the beach. That’s just the way it is, let’s stop trying to brush that away. Think of all the vice presidents from your own adulthood. I’m 64, so some have been good, some horrible, most middle of the road, and frankly just a trivia answer. To replace her now would be a grave insult to Women, and especially to Black Women. Must I remind this audience about the demographic group most loyal to the Democratic Party, the people who reliably VOTE, each and every election ? Yes, she needs to be more visible. I believe she’d function very well in Town Hall type settings, and taking questions from audiences. Call it a listening tour. I’d certainly attend, and welcome her with open arms. Make it happen, JOE.

14 Replies236 Recommended
DL: One commenter says that Kamala Harris made a fool of herself, and was cringe-worthy bad  at the Munich Security Conference of 2023.
I made the following reply to his comment:
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT NYT comment:

@Captain Z

I’ve just watched the first 10 minutes of Kamala Harris’s speech at the Munich Security Conference 2023, and I must disagree with you, there is nothing cringe worthy or embarassing. The speech is excellent, and powerful. It is true that Kamala is not much at public speaking, because she is so careful, as to sound wooden and scripted. But in her defense, at an international security conference, speaking slowly and carefully is not out of place. I agree with Orion Clemons and Phylliss Dalmation, two commenters soon to follow, that there seems to be a higher bar for a woman, and higher still for a woman of color. I do hope that Ms. Harris works with a speech coach, to learn to be more fluid. Here is the speech: David blogs at

PEPFAR | In This Story, George W. Bush Is the Hero – The New York Times

“When President George W. Bush invaded Iraq 20 years ago this week, I was in the middle of the smoke and chaos of that cataclysmic war that became his best-known legacy. I wrote countless columns opposing an invasion, then I was scathing as I covered the war, and I still see it as a practical and moral catastrophe.

But wait — what if there’s something Bush did that was even more consequential than the invasion of Iraq? And what if it was something astonishingly good?

This is awkward, but I have to acknowledge that Bush deserves credit for the single best policy of any president in my lifetime. It’s called PEPFAR and if you haven’t heard of it, that’s part of the problem.”

“What is PEPFAR? The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history, enabled by strong bipartisan support across ten U.S. congresses and four presidential administrations, and through the American people’s generosity.” According to the video, it has saved 25 million lives. › federal-response › pepfar

Jennifer Finney Boylan | Jimmy Carter Made Me a Better American – The New York Times

Ms. Finney Boylan is a professor of English at Barnard College of Columbia University and a 2022-23 fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

“When the Carter presidency began I was an 18-year-old Rockefeller Republican. By the time it ended, I was so liberal my own grandmother called me a Communist.

My transformation may have been the inevitable result of eating the brownies at Wesleyan University, but I think it is more likely that it was Jimmy Carter’s time in the White House — with its remarkable mash-up of triumphs and failures — that helped me better understand my country and myself.

As the former president enters the final stages of his senescence, I have been thinking a lot about who I was when I first encountered him, and how the country got where it is today. I am still grateful to Mr. Carter for demonstrating that it is possible to govern with morality, honesty and grace. It would be nice if those values didn’t seem so strangely old-fashioned.”

Biden, in Selma, Says Voting Rights Are Still ‘Under Assault’ – The New York Times


“SELMA, Ala. — President Biden told a crowd gathered to commemorate the 58th anniversary of a brutal police attack on Black protesters that the right to vote was “under assault” as Republicans introduce laws to restrict ballot access and redraw voting districts.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT NYT comment:

Excellent article by Katie Rogers, thank you. I’m disappointed by the presentation here by the NYT. There is a photo of Biden, alone, which offer little to no new information. There is no photo of the crowd, and who large it was, or whether it was engaged in the speach. Not your best.    30

From Google, I found this image from Huff Post, and others as well.

In Selma, Biden Says Voting Rights Remain Under Attack | HuffPost Latest  News

Bret Stephens | On Ukraine, Biden Outshines Macron, Scholz — and DeSantis – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“To President Emmanuel Macron of France, a suggestion:

If, as a report in The Wall Street Journal suggests, you are convinced the war in Ukraine is destined for a bloody stalemate, and would like to encourage Kyiv to enter “peace talks” with Moscow that would leave Russia in possession of large tracts of conquered territory, why not lead by example? Publicly suggest the return of Alsace to Germany as evidence that you, too, believe that territorial sovereignty should be negotiable.

To Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, another suggestion:

If you’re going to dangle the prospect of closer ties between Ukraine and NATO (but not full membership) as a way of pushing Kyiv into a diplomatic settlement with Moscow, why not invite several battalions of Russian armor to the vicinity of Berlin? That would demonstrate that you, too, are willing to adjust the verdict of 1991 to mollify the Kremlin’s resentment, greed and paranoia.

These are preposterous suggestions. That’s the point. Those who now argue that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine needs to be “realistic” or “pragmatic” — that is, that he should stop short of pursuing a complete Russian withdrawal from all occupied Ukrainian territories — are proposing a solution they would never countenance for their own countries under ordinary circumstances, let alone during a struggle for national survival.

That’s why, as the war in Ukraine enters its second year, I feel grateful for Joe Biden. Fault him all you want on many issues, particularly his gradualist approach to arming Ukraine, but on the most consequential question of our time he has the big thing right. “Appetites of the autocrat cannot be appeased,” he said last week in Warsaw. “They must be opposed.” “

Can Trump Count on Evangelicals in 2024? Some Leaders Are Wavering. – The New York Times


On Sunday, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, a longtime supporter of Donald J. Trump who has yet to endorse his 2024 White House bid, shared the stage at his Dallas megachurch with one of the former president’s potential rivals next year: former Vice President Mike Pence.

The next day, Mr. Trump lashed out at Pastor Jeffress and other evangelical leaders he spent years courting, accusing them of “disloyalty” and blaming them for the party’s disappointing performance in the 2022 midterm elections.

While Pastor Jeffress shrugged off the criticism, others weren’t as eager to let it slide, instead suggesting that it was time for Mr. Trump to move out of the way for a new generation of Republican candidates.

The clash highlighted one of the central tensions inside the Republican Party as it lurches toward an uncertain 2024 presidential primary: wavering support for Mr. Trump among the nation’s evangelical leaders, whose congregants have for decades been a key constituency for conservatives and who provided crucial backing to Mr. Trump in his ascent to the White House.”

David Lindsay Jr.

NYT Comment:

Thank you Maggie Haberman AND Michael Bender, for this excellent report. I am confused by the comments, that pastors are breaking the law by appearing with polititicians. My guess is that you do not surrender you first ammendment rights, when you become a non-profit church. Please could someone go into this complicated subject and explain it. Are laws being broken?

David blogs at

Robert B. Semple Jr. | Biden Set an Ambitious Goal for Nature. It’s Time He Went After It. – The New York Times

Mr. Semple, a reporter and an editor for The Times from 1963 to 2018, writes about the environment for the editorial board. He won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1996.

“Compared with the United Nations climate change summit in Egypt in November, the U.N. biodiversity conference held in Montreal this month may have seemed distinctly minor league.

There were no heads of state, save Canada’s. The proceedings generated few front-page headlines and little play on the evening news. Yet the issue confronting delegates from nearly 200 nations who are parties to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity was nothing less than what many scientists believe to be a planetary emergency: the alarming decline of biodiversity, which threatens the world’s food and water supplies.

This is an emergency, not incidentally, inextricably tied up with global warming. And what the conference ended up agreeing to was also significant: an ambitious pledge to protect nearly one-third of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030, a strategy whose shorthand is 30×30.”

” . . . . Second, Mr. Biden should press the Agriculture and Interior Departments to complete inventories of old-growth and mature forests and recommend protections in those deemed worthy of protection, much like the Tongass. If there is one alpha culprit in biodiversity loss, it is the clearing of forests and wetlands for farms to feed an exploding world population and, to a lesser extent, to produce biofuels. According to some estimates, the world’s natural forests are home to at least two-thirds of the world’s species. Intact forests also absorb and store enormous amounts of carbon, so preserving them assists not only the species that live there but also the struggle against climate change.”

David Brooks | Biden’s America Finds Its Voice – The New York Times

   Opinion Columnist

“The cameras mostly focused on Volodymyr Zelensky during his address to Congress on Wednesday night, but I focused my attention as much as I could on the audience in the room. There was fervor, admiration, yelling and whooping. In a divided nation, we don’t often get to see the Congress rise up, virtually as one, with ovations, applause, many in blue dresses and yellow ties.

Sure, there were dissenters in the room, but they were not what mattered. Words surged into my consciousness that I haven’t considered for a while — compatriots, comrades, co-believers in a common creed.

Zelensky and his fellow Ukrainians have reminded Americans of the values and causes we used to admire in ourselves — the ardent hunger for freedom, the deep-rooted respect for equality and human dignity, the willingness to fight against brutal authoritarians who would crush the human face under the heel of their muddy boots. It is as if Ukraine and Zelensky have rekindled a forgotten song, and suddenly everybody has remembered how to sing it.

Zelensky was not subtle about making this point. He said that what Ukraine is fighting for today has echoes in what so many Americans fought for over centuries. I thought of John Adams, Frederick Douglass, Theodore Roosevelt, George Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, the many unsung heroes of the Cold War. His words reminded us that America supports Ukraine not only out of national interest — to preserve a stable liberal world order — but also to live out a faith that is essential to this country’s being and identity. The thing that really holds America together is this fervent idea.”

“. . . .  American policy has oscillated between a hubristic interventionism and a callous non-interventionism. “We overdo our foreign crusades, and then we overdo our retrenchments, never pausing in between, where an ordinary country would try to reach a fine balance,” George Packer wrote in The Atlantic recently. The result has been a crisis of national self-doubt: Can the world trust America to do what’s right? Can we believe in ourselves?

Finding the balance between passionate ideals and mundane practicalities has been a persistent American problem. The movie “Lincoln” with Daniel Day-Lewis was about that. Lincoln is zigging and zagging through the swamps of reality, trying to keep his eye on true north, while some tell him he’s going too fast and others scream he’s going too slow.

Joe Biden has struck this balance as well as any president in recent times, perhaps having learned a costly lesson from the heartless way America exited from Afghanistan. He has swung the Western alliance fervently behind Ukraine. But he has done it with prudence and calibration. Ukraine will get this weapons system, but not that one. It can dream of total victory, but it also has to think seriously about negotiations. Biden has shown that America can responsibly lead. He has shown you can have moral clarity without being blinded by it.”

David Lindsay: Great column Mr. Brooks. Here are the three most liked comments:

New YorkDec. 22

At long last. A recognition that neither smooth oration nor tough talk matter. What both Biden and Zelinsky do is lead from the heart with competence, confidence, courage, and calm. It’s making all the difference. Thank you, David, for giving credit where credit is due.

20 Replies3296 Recommended

Jon commented December 22

San Carlos, CADec. 22

Joe Biden has done a great job given the cards he was dealt. He inherited a mess and has steadily just been cleaning up the mess. He has not gotten nearly enough credit for just being a good steward. Life gets a lot worse when there is bad stewardship.

11 Replies3113 Recommended

Kevin Leibel commented December 22

Kevin Leibel
Chapel HillDec. 22

I actually love President Biden with all my heart. He’s been doing the right thing since taking office, he has a team that earns my respect and his policies are leading the US in the right direction. The war in Ukraine is an existential fight between good and evil and I am so very proud we are on the right side.

10 Replies2394 Recommended