Opinion | There’s a Bigger Prize Than Impeachment – By Joe Lockhart – The New York Times

By Joe Lockhart
Mr. Lockhart served as White House press secretary from 1998 to 2000 for President Bill Clinton.
“I fully understand the historical imperative of holding the president accountable for his behavior. I also share the sentiment of so many Americans who want to punish him for what he’s done to the country. But I believe there is something bigger at stake.

Allowing Mr. Trump to lead the Republican Party, filled with sycophants and weak-willed leaders, into the next election is the greater prize. Democrats have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to realign American politics along progressive lines, very much like Ronald Reagan did for Republicans in the 1980s.”

DL: In other words, the Blue Wave implementing the Green New Deal, will be a much bigger success after the election of 2020, if we let the damaged GOP dangle under the leadership of the pathetic con-artist at their head.

Opinion | The Mueller Exposé – By Ross Douthat – The New York Times

By Ross Douthat
Opinion Columnist

April 20, 2019, 774

“Roughly four thousand, two hundred and twenty-seven Trump-era news cycles ago, there was a rather famous book called “Fire and Fury.” The author, Michael Wolff, used an interesting tactic to gain access to the Trump White House: He allowed his subjects, the president included, to believe that he was going to write a positive account of the Trump administration, and then used that access to produce an account of an administration in constant chaos, and a president who was understood by everyone around him to be unfit for the job.

One way to approach the Mueller report, if your sense of civic duty requires you to approach it, is to see it as a more rigorous, capacious version of “Fire and Fury.” Mueller’s exposé was backed by subpoena power rather than just sweet talk, but ultimately it delivers the same general portrait: Donald Trump as an amoral incompetent surrounded by grifters, misfits and his own overpromoted children, who is saved from self-destruction by advisers who sometimes decline to follow orders, and saved from high crimes in part by incompetence and weakness.”

Opinion | Impeach Donald Trump? – By Charles M. Blow – The New York Times

By Charles M. Blow
Opinion Columnist

April 21, 2019, 419

“The Mueller report has been released, with redactions of course, and it is a damning document. Not only does it detail Russian efforts to attack our election to help the Trump campaign and the Trump campaign’s eager acceptance of that help, it paints a picture of Donald Trump as an unethical man with no regard for the rule of law.

In this report, we see a president who doesn’t deserve to be president. We see attempts over and over to obstruct justice, which in some cases succeed.

The question is: What are we going to do about it? Obstruction of justice is a crime. If Trump committed that crime, he’s a criminal. Are we simply going to allow a criminal to sit in the Oval Office and face no consequence? Are we simply going to let the next presidential election be the point at which Trump is punished or rewarded?

It is maddening to think that we are at such a pass. But, my mind is made up: I say impeach him.

I know all the arguments against.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment.
Practically, impeachment by the house is only a good thing, if it helps elect a Democrat in 2020, and turn over the senate. It makes absolute sense to investigate this president and his cronies, to bring his crimes and misdemeanors to light and embarrass thoughtful Republicans and his base. But it is important to try and see through various scenarios. If the house does impeach, then the senate, in a surprising move, could remove Drumpf, and replace him with Pence. My hunch is that it will be easier to defeat a badly exposed and wounded, con artist and hyper narcissist, than Mike Pence, or someone who might beat Pence in a GOP primary.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com. He performs a folk concert of songs and stories about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.

Opinion | What Is He So Afraid of? – by David Leonhardt – The New York Times

House Democrats may not be able to force President Trump to release his tax returns. But the Democrats can keep reminding Americans that Trump really does not want the public to know what’s in those returns.

As you probably know by now, all other recent presidents (and presidential nominees) voluntarily released their tax information. Trump has not. Now House Democrats are trying to get access to that information and potentially release portions of it to the public.

Last week, Richard Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, demanded to see six years of Trump’s tax returns, citing a 1924 provision in the tax code that gives Congress the power to obtain any citizen’s returns. Neal has given the Internal Revenue Service until Wednesday to hand over the returns to Congress.

Opinion | Subpoena Isn’t the Only Way to Get the Mueller Report – By Vicki Divoll – The New York Times

By Vicki Divoll
Ms. Divoll was the general counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2001 to 2003.

April 8, 2019, 279

“The House Judiciary Committee may be sitting on its subpoena for the Mueller report, but under federal law, certain other committees need neither a subpoena nor a court order to get access to it and its underlying materials, including grand jury testimony and documents.

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees should already have certain investigative materials relating to Russian election meddling, in unredacted form, collected by the special counsel, Robert Mueller.

This legal structure was created by a provision in the Patriot Act combined with the notification provisions of the National Security Act. The intelligence committees have a lawful right, virtually unbounded, to foreign intelligence information in the possession of the intelligence agencies of the executive branch.

Federal law requires that the attorney general provide to the director of national intelligence any foreign intelligence information collected during a criminal investigation. Then the director must by law provide it to the intelligence committees of Congress — either by sending a notification or acting in response to a request from the committees. The director has an obligation to inform policymakers, including Congress, of intelligence assessments so that they can take steps to protect the American people.”

– Opinion | Is Trump Keyser Söze — Or Inspector Clouseau? – By Bret Stephens – The New York Times

By Bret Stephens
Opinion Columnist

March 28, 2019

766
“President Trump speaking to the media after a summary of the Mueller report’s findings was released.
Credit
Tom Brenner for The New York Times

Image
President Trump speaking to the media after a summary of the Mueller report’s findings was released.CreditCreditTom Brenner for The New York Times
Maybe we’ve had this all wrong.

Maybe Donald Trump isn’t just some two-bit con artist who lucked his way into the White House thanks to an overconfident opponent. Or a second-rate demagogue with a rat-like instinct for arousing his base’s baser emotions and his enemies’ knee-jerk reactions. Or a dimwit mistaken for an oracle, like some malignant version of Chauncey Gardiner from “Being There.”

Thanks to Robert Mueller, we know he isn’t Russia’s man inside, awaiting coded instruction from his handler in the Kremlin.

Maybe, in fact, Trump is the genius he claims to be, possessed — as he likes to boast — of a “very good brain.”

O.K., I don’t quite believe that. But going forward, it would be wise for all of his inveterate critics in the news media, including me, to treat it as our operating assumption. The alternative is to let him hand us our butts all over again, just as he did by winning the G.O.P. nomination and then the election, and then by presiding over years of robust economic growth.”

Opinion | Bad Times in Trumpville – by Gail Collins – The New York Times

“Gee, you wake up one morning and the entire political world is transformed.

I know some of you were very sad about the way the Mueller report let Donald Trump off the hook. Even if you secretly doubted that he was actually well-organized enough to run an international conspiracy, it made you depressed to see him looking so happy.

But then he took off on the worst victory lap since — well, do you remember that baseball player who celebrated his grand slam home run by leaping in the air and fracturing a leg?

“We’re not talking about health care right now, but I will,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday.

He also vowed to make the Republicans “the party of health care.” Great strategy! The Republicans have no health care plan or even a plan about how to get one. Trying to get rid of Obamacare had been their most humiliating failure in the two years they controlled the White House and Congress. Last thing in the world they want to bring up.”

 

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT  NYT comments
Thank you Gail, magnificent. Very annoying, that reference to cruel April, what are you talking about. With out Google, I’d just be a frustrated illiterate. But I did find something about Thomas Stearns Elliot, who wrote The Wasteland, at PoetryFoundation.org: The Waste Land BY T. S. ELIOT FOR EZRA POUND IL MIGLIOR FABBRO I. The Burial of the Dead April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers. Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade, And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten, And drank coffee, and talked for an hour. Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch. And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s, My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled, And I was frightened. He said, Marie, Marie, hold on tight. And down we went. In the mountains, there you feel free.”
The rest can be found at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47311/the-waste-land but it’s not my cup of tea.
Written in 1922, Elliot was depressed, getting divorced, and shook up by WW 1. Maybe it will be easier to read after lunch. Maybe I have a tin uneducated ear, or in my focus on mitigating climate change, its seems like depressing rubbish. I’d rather read the NYT.

Opinion | Trump’s Kakistocracy Is Also a Hackistocracy – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

“It’s no secret that Donald Trump has appointed a lot of partisan, unqualified hacks to key policy positions. A few months ago my colleague Gail Collins asked readers to help her select Trump’s worst cabinet member. It was a hard choice, because there were so many qualified applicants.

The winner, by the way, was Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary. That looks like an even better call now: Ross’s department has reportedly prepared a report declaring that imports of European cars threaten U.S. national security. This is both ludicrous and dangerous. It gives Trump the right to start a new phase in his trade war that would inflict severe economic damage while alienating our allies — and, as a result, undermine national security.

Until recently, however, one agency had seemed immune to the continuing hack invasion: the Federal Reserve, the single institution most crucial to economic policymaking. Trump’s Fed nominees, have, by and large, been sensible, respected economists. But that all changed last week, when Trump said he planned to nominate Stephen Moore for the Fed’s Board of Governors.

Moore is manifestly, flamboyantly unqualified for the position. But there’s a story here that goes deeper than Moore, or even Trump; it’s about the whole G.O.P.’s preference for hucksters over experts, even partisan experts.”

Opinion | Tariff Man Has Become Deficit Man – by Paul Krugman – The New York Times

“Beyond that, however, Trump is completely wrong about what causes trade deficits in the first place. In fact, his own policies have provided an object lesson in the falsity of his vision.

In the Trumpian universe, trade deficits happen because we made bad deals — we let foreigners sell their stuff here, but they won’t let us sell our stuff there. So the solution is to throw up barriers to foreign products. “I am a Tariff Man,” he proudly proclaimed.

The reality, however, is that trade deficits have almost nothing to do with tariffs or other restrictions on trade. The overall trade deficit is always equal to the difference between domestic investment spending and domestic saving (both private and public). That’s just accounting.

The reason America runs persistent trade deficits isn’t that we’ve given away too much in trade deals, it’s that we have low savings compared with other countries.”

Opinion | We Will Survive. Probably. – By Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

By Nicholas Kristof
Opinion Columnist

March 6, 2019 204c
Image President Trump after an event at the White House on Tuesday.
Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

“In his testimony before Congress last week, Michael Cohen in effect warned of a coup:

“Given my experience working for Mr. Trump, I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power,” Cohen said.

That fit neatly into the concern in some liberal circles that President Trump may not simply undermine democracy but actually overturn it. References to the Nazi takeover of Germany have proliferated, and cautionary tales about fascism are now ubiquitous, including Madeleine Albright’s “Fascism: A Warning.”

The polarization also leads Trump supporters to worry about a coup — by the “deep state” against Trump — and some make glib references about resorting to violence.

“We are in a civil war in this country,” Joseph diGenova, a prominent conservative commentator on Fox News and other programs, told Laura Ingraham in her podcast. He added, “As I say to my friends, I do two things — I vote and I buy guns.” “