Opinion | Trump and Xi Sittin’ in a Tree – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

Thomas L. Friedman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“I was glad to see the stock market get a boost from the news that Chinese and U.S. trade negotiators were talking again and that President Trump blinked a bit and pulled some of his planned tariffs.

But don’t be fooled. Trump and President Xi Jinping of China are still locked in a cage match over who is the true big dog in today’s global economy. Both are desperate not only to “win,” but to be seen to win, and not be subjected to the scorn of their rivals or critics on social media.

Precisely because neither leader feels he can afford that fate, both have overplayed their hands. Xi basically believes that nothing has to change — and all can be made to stay the same by the force of his will. Trump basically believes that everything has to change — and all can be made to change by the force of his will.

The rest of us are just along for the ride.

Let’s look at both men’s calculations and miscalculations. Trump was right in arguing that America should not continue to tolerate systemic abusive Chinese trade practices — intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers, huge government subsidies and nonreciprocal treatment of U.S. companies in China — now that China is virtually America’s technology equal and a rising middle-income country.”

Opinion | Useful Idiots and Trumpist Billionaires – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

Paul Krugman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

“Whoever came up with the phrase “useful idiots” — it’s often credited to Lenin, but there’s no evidence he ever said it — was on to something. There are times when dangerous political movements derive important support from people who will, if these movements achieve and hold power, be among their biggest victims.

Certainly I found myself thinking of the phrase when I read about the Trump fund-raiser held at the Hamptons home of Stephen Ross, chairman of a company that holds controlling stakes in Equinox and SoulCycle.

Most reporting on the Ross event has focused on the possible adverse effects on his business empire: The young, educated, urban fitness fanatics who go to his gyms don’t like the idea that their money is supporting Donald Trump. But the foolishness of Ross’s Trump support goes well beyond the potential damage to his bottom line.

I mean, if you’re a billionaire who also happens to be a racist, supporting Trump makes perfect sense: You know what you’re buying. But if you’re supporting Trump not because of his racism but despite it, because you expect him to keep your taxes low, you’re being, well, an idiot.”

Opinion | Trump’s Secret Foreign Aid Program – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

Paul Krugman

By 

Opinion Columnist

“Donald Trump often complains that the media don’t give him credit for his achievements. And I can think of at least one case where that’s true. As far I can tell, almost nobody is reporting that he has presided over a huge — but hidden — increase in foreign aid, the money America gives to foreigners. In fact, the hidden Trump program, currently running at around $40 billion a year, is probably the biggest giveaway to other nations since the Marshall Plan.

Unfortunately, the aid isn’t going either to poor countries or to America’s allies. Instead, it’s going to wealthy foreign investors.

Before I get there, let’s talk for a second about a claim Trump often makes about a highly visible part of his economic strategy, the tariffs he has imposed on imports from China and other countries. These tariffs, he has insisted again and again, are being paid by China and represent billions in gains to the United States.

This claim is, however, demonstrably false. Tariffs are normally paid by consumers in the importing country, not exporters. And we can confirm that this is what’s happening with the Trump tariffs: Prices of goods subject to those tariffs have risen sharply, roughly in line with the tariff increases, while prices of goods not subject to the new tariffs haven’t gone up.”

Opinion | Why Was Trumponomics a Flop? – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

Paul Krugman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditChristopher Lee for The New York Times

“Donald Trump has pursued two main economic policies. On taxes, he has been an orthodox Republican, pushing through big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, which his administration promised would lead to a huge surge in business investment. On trade, he has broken with his party’s free(ish) trade policies, imposing large tariffs that he promised would lead to a revival of U.S. manufacturing.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates, even though the unemployment rate is low and overall economic growth remains decent, though not great. According to Jay Powell, the Fed’s chairman, the goal was to take out some insurance against worrying hints of a future slowdown — in particular, weakness in business investment, which fell in the most recent quarter, and manufacturing, which has been declining since the beginning of the year.

Obviously Powell couldn’t say in so many words that Trumponomics has been a big flop, but that was the subtext of his remarks. And Trump’s frantic efforts to bully the Fed into bigger cuts are an implicit admission of the same thing.

To be fair, the economy remains pretty strong, which isn’t really a surprise given the G.O.P.’s willingness to run huge budget deficits as long as Democrats don’t hold the White House. As I wrote three days after the 2016 election — after the shock had worn off — “It’s at least possible that bigger budget deficits will, if anything, strengthen the economy briefly.” And that’s pretty much what happened: There was a bit of a bump in 2018, but at this point we’ve basically returned to pre-Trump rates of growth.”

Opinion | Marianne Williamson Knows How to Beat Trump – By David Brooks – The New York Times

David Brooks

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditMaddie McGarvey for The New York Times

“If only …

If only Donald Trump were not president, we could have an interesting debate over whether private health insurance should be illegal. If only Trump were not president, we could have an interesting debate over who was softest on crime in the 1990s. If only Trump were not president, we could have a nice argument about the pros and cons of NAFTA.

But Trump is president, and this election is not about those things. This election is about who we are as a people, our national character. This election is about the moral atmosphere in which we raise our children.

Trump is a cultural revolutionary, not a policy revolutionary. He operates and is subtly changing America at a much deeper level. He’s operating at the level of dominance and submission, at the level of the person where fear stalks and contempt emerges.

He’s redefining what you can say and how a leader can act. He’s reasserting an old version of what sort of masculinity deserves to be followed and obeyed. In Freudian terms, he’s operating on the level of the id. In Thomistic terms, he is instigating a degradation of America’s soul.”

Opinion | A Racist Stuck in the Past – By Paul Krugman – The New York Times

Paul Krugman

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditFrances Roberts 

“Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. Yes, Donald Trump is a vile racist. He regularly uses dehumanizing language about nonwhites, including members of Congress. And while some argue that this is a cynical strategy designed to turn out Trump’s base, it is at most a strategy that builds on Trump’s pre-existing bigotry. He would be saying these things regardless (and was saying such things long before he ran for president); his team is simply trying to turn bigoted lemons into political lemonade.

What I haven’t seen pointed out much, however, is that Trump’s racism rests on a vision of America that is decades out of date. In his mind it’s always 1989. And that’s not an accident: The ways America has changed over the past three decades, both good and bad, are utterly inconsistent with Trump-style racism.

Why 1989? That was the year he demanded bringing back the death penalty in response to the case of the Central Park Five, black and Latino teenagers convicted of raping a white jogger in Central Park. They were, in fact, innocent; their convictions were vacated in 2002. Trump, nevertheless, has refused to apologize or admit that he was wrong.

His behavior then and later was vicious, and it is no excuse to acknowledge that at the time America was suffering from a crime wave. Still, there was indeed such a wave, and it was fairly common to talk about social collapse in inner-city urban communities.

But Trump doesn’t seem to be aware that times have changed. His vision of “American carnage” is one of a nation whose principal social problem is inner-city violence, perpetrated by nonwhites. That’s a comfortable vision if you’re a racist who considers nonwhites inferior. But it’s completely wrong as a picture of America today.

For one thing, violent crime has fallen drastically since the early 1990s, especially in big cities. Our cities certainly aren’t perfectly safe, and some cities — like Baltimore — haven’t shared in the progress. But the social state of urban America is vastly better than it was.

On the other hand, the social state of rural America — white rural America — is deteriorating. To the extent that there really is such a thing as American carnage — and we are in fact seeing rising age-adjusted mortality and declining life expectancy — it’s concentrated among less-educated whites, especially in rural areas, who are suffering from a surge in “deaths of despair” from opioids, suicide and alcohol that has pushed their mortality rates above those of African-Americans.”

David Lindsay: Thank you Paul Krugman. I didn’t want to read this piece, because I’m getting tired of going over Trump, who gets too much attention. But Krugman doesn’t disappoint. Here is top comment I heartily endorsed:

Jonathan
Olympia

Paul Krugman is, currently, and has been for some long while, the best opinion columnist in America. Not only are his analyses of problems almost inevitably deeply, penetratingly, accurate, recognizing and illuminating a host of ideas and issues related to the main issue and showing how they are related – usually social problems are complex, let alone political and economic ones – he is also a superb writer, able to articulate all manner of complex notions in simple, clear language. Today’s column is spectacularly good – and merely the normal for him. He is a gift to the nation.

6 Replies1211 Recommended

Opinion | Spare Me the Purity Racket – By Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

Maureen Dowd

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — After I interviewed Nancy Pelosi a few weeks ago, The HuffPost huffed that we were Dreaded Elites because we were eating chocolates and — horror of horrors — the speaker had on some good pumps.

Then this week, lefty Twitter erected a digital guillotine because I had a book party for my friend Carl Hulse, The Times’s authority on Capitol Hill for decades, attended by family, journalists, Hill denizens and a smattering of lawmakers, including Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Susan Collins.

I, the daughter of a D.C. cop, and Carl, the son of an Illinois plumber, were hilariously painted as decadent aristocrats reveling like Marie Antoinette when we should have been knitting like Madame Defarge.

Yo, proletariat: If the Democratic Party is going to be against chocolate, high heels, parties and fun, you’ve lost me. And I’ve got some bad news for you about 2020.

The progressives are the modern Puritans. The Massachusetts Bay Colony is alive and well on the Potomac and Twitter.

They eviscerate their natural allies for not being pure enough while placing all their hopes in a color-inside-the-lines lifelong Republican prosecutor appointed by Ronald Reagan.

The politics of purism makes people stupid. And nasty.

My father stayed up all night the night Truman was elected because he was so excited. I would like to stay up ’til dawn the night a Democrat wins next year because I’m so excited to see the moment when the despicable Donald Trump lumbers into a Marine helicopter and flies away for good.

But Democrats are making that dream ever more distant because they are using their time knifing one another and those who want to be on their side instead of playing it smart.

House Democrats forced Robert Mueller to testify, after he made it clear that he was spent and had nothing to add to his damning yet damnably legalistic, double-negative report, because they were hoping the hearings would jump-start howls for impeachment.”

David Lindsay: You go girl. Maureen is spot on, even if catty as ususal. It all boils down to the anlaysis of lights like David Leonhard and the folks he reports on. Trump would do welll in impeachment, claiming every day to be the victim, while enjoying all the negative attention. Then, if the Dems were stupid enough to actually impeach him, it would go to the Senate, which would declare his innocence, which he would trumpet like a happy drunk.  It’s a part he plays well. We do not worry about his base, but about the myriad red state voters who voted for Obama, but then voted for Trump.

Opinion | ‘They’re Doing It as We Sit Here’ – The New York Times Editorial

By 

The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

“If you were searching for a metaphor for the withering ideal of American public service — the one that puts country before party, truth before “narrative” or “brand” — it’d be hard to do better than the painful spectacle of Robert Mueller trying, in his halting voice, to sound the alarm on Wednesday about Russian subversion of American democracy.

It’s the same alarm that virtually every member of America’s intelligence and law enforcement communities has been ringing for the last three years: Russia attacked our elections in 2016 and is intensifying its efforts today. “It wasn’t a single attempt,” Mr. Mueller said. “They’re doing it as we sit here.”

Appearing before two congressional committees rife with politicians intent on using him to fill out their own versions of reality, Mr. Mueller seemed frail and at times even confused. But he successfully rebuffed nearly all efforts to draw him beyond the boundaries of evidence established in the report he delivered about Russian interference in the 2016 elections. The exceptions came when representatives actually showed an interest in Russian meddling and Donald Trump’s embrace of it. “I hope this is not the new normal,” Mr. Mueller said at one point, in response to a question about whether American candidates might now feel free to welcome foreign influence, “but I fear it is.”

The “sweeping and systemic” nature of that interference was the most unequivocal finding of Mr. Mueller’s 448-page report, though just as disturbing was the report’s meticulous recounting of the ways the Trump campaign accepted and even encouraged it.”

Opinion | Trump Wants Immigrants to ‘Go Back.’ Native Americans Don’t. – By Deb Haaland – The New York Times

By Deb Haaland

Ms. Haaland is a Democratic representative from New Mexico.

Bears Ears National Monument.CreditMark Holm for The New York Times

“Last week President Trump told four of my colleagues to “go back” to where they came from — even though all are American citizens, and only one is an immigrant. But Mr. Trump has somewhere to “go back” to as well: He is a second-generation American. For Native Americans like myself, his comments are perplexing, and wrongheaded.

If anyone can say “go back,” it’s Native Americans. My Pueblo ancestors, despite being targeted at every juncture — despite facing famine and drought — still inhabit this country today. But indigenous people aren’t asking anyone to go back to where they came from.

When I heard the chilling, hate-filled chants coming from the president’s rally the other night, I thought about my fight in a committee hearing, earlier that day, to protect my ancestral homeland of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. The Bureau of Land Management plans to sell leases in the area for fossil fuel extraction.

In the late 1200s, my Pueblo ancestors migrated to the Rio Grande Valley from the areas of Chaco Canyon, Bears Ears, Mesa Verde, Grand Staircase Escalante and other places. I want to protect these sacred sites for future generations and against this administration’s policies that put profits over people. This administration has put a premium on leasing federal land to oil companies and neglects to consider the impacts that drilling has on sacred cultural sites.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comments
I join the chorus of your new fans here, I love your oe-ed, and welcome your voice. I have a concern to share though. You sound as if you are for open borders, and unlimited immigration. I hope and expect that is not true, because I think it would be wrong for this country and our neighbors. Overpopulation is causing climate damage, and unlimited population growth will destroy our beautiful, blue planet for human habitation. If Democratic leaders, including you, are not clear about controlling illegal immigration, you will be handing Trump, who was apparently Drumpf in Germany, four more years, which would be bad for the Pueblos, the environment, and the world that we strive to protect. In my Christian religion, some of us pray that we may learn to do good works, and practice stewardship towards the enviroment.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at InconvenientNews.net.

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.”