German Candidates Fail to Find Footing in Flood Response – The New York Times

BERLIN — Floods have had a way of reshaping German politics.

“Helmut Schmidt made a name for himself responding to deadly floods in Hamburg in 1962, and went on to become chancellor in the 1970s. Images of Gerhard Schröder wading through muddy water along the Elbe River in 2002 are credited with helping him win another term.

The floods that ravaged Germany last week — more severe than any in centuries — are already doing their work in this election year. But the striking thing they have revealed, political analysts say, is that none of the major candidates has been able to demonstrate the level of leadership in a crisis the public has grown accustomed to under Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
It is my hope that this flooding disaster prompts the German leadership and people to rethink their complete exit from nuclear energy as a short term bridge to a completely sustainable and circular economy. Bill Gates and associates have a new nuclear technology, that can not melt down or explode, and runs on old nuclear waste. There are about 20 new nuclear power designs, all much safer than the technology of 50 years ago. There is a growing number of scientist who think that we can’t make a transition fast enough without some new technology, and these new nuclear power plant designs are worth exploring and probably worth developing. We at least have to test them out.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of “the Tay Son Rebellion” about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

Floods in China Leave Many Searching for Loved Ones Amid Outages – The New York Times

MIHE, China — Chen Shuying was sitting at home with her husband and their 3-year-old grandson on Tuesday when water began to surge through the door. Within minutes, it was well above her waist. “The water came so fast,” she said.

They made it to the roof, where they waited for hours for the water to recede. Two days later, she still cannot return home, she said. They were lucky. Three neighbors — a grocery shopkeeper and two of the grocer’s customers — were swept away by the floodwaters and have not been seen since.

The formidable destructive power of the floods that engulfed Henan Province in central China became clearer on Thursday, even as new areas were inundated. Still more rain is in the forecast, following days of torrential downpours, including the strongest on record in the area on Tuesday.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
The silver lining of this tragic flooding in central China, is that the Chinese government deserves to be reprimanded for its insistence that it is their turn now to pollute for 300 years, like the western countries did in the last 300 years. They continue to build new coal plants in China and around the world, and insisist that they can increase their carbon emissions for at least another 15 or 30 years. While their position makes good sense morally, it ignores the science of the climate crisis. And it isn’t good for the people of China. The people of earth have to stop all climate change causing pollution emissions, or we all will suffer the awful consequences. The problems we are seeing today are just the prequel, the beginning of what could turn out to be an existential threat of floods, droughts, famines, epidemics, dislocation and war over diminishing resources.
David Lindsay Jr is the author of the Tay Son Rebellion about 18th century Vietnam, and blogs at InconvenientNews.Net.

David Brooks | The American Identity Crisis – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

For most of the past century, human dignity had a friend — the United States of America. We are a deeply flawed and error-prone nation, like any other, but America helped defeat fascism and communism and helped set the context for European peace, Asian prosperity and the spread of democracy.

 

Then came Iraq and Afghanistan, and America lost faith in itself and its global role — like a pitcher who has been shelled and no longer has confidence in his own stuff. On the left, many now reject the idea that America can be or is a global champion of democracy, and they find phrases like “the indispensable nation” or the “last best hope of the earth” ridiculous. On the right the wall-building caucus has given up on the idea that the rest of the world is even worth engaging.

Many people around the world have always resisted America’s self-appointed role as democracy’s champion. But they have also been rightly appalled when America sits back and allows genocide to engulf places like Rwanda or allows dangerous regimes to threaten the world order.

The Afghans are the latest witnesses to this reality. The American bungles in Afghanistan have been well documented. We’ve spent trillions of dollars and lost thousands of our people. But the two-decade strategy of taking the fight to the terrorists, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, has meant that global terrorism is no longer seen as a major concern in daily American life. Over the past few years, a small force of American troops has helped prevent some of the worst people on earth from taking over a nation of more than 38 million — with relatively few American casualties. In 1999, no Afghan girls attended secondary school. Within four years, 6 percent were enrolled, and as of 2017 the figure had climbed to nearly 40 percent.

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT comment:

This is a complicated essay by David Brooks, and I’m afraid he might have more good points than bad ones, but he fails to convince this reader, becasue of the dearth of real facts and knowledge of Afganistan. His first major mistake, was leaving out Vietnam in the first paragraph. He says we are keeping the Taliban at bay with little cost and almost no casualties, but what exactly are the numbers over the last five years. We already spent over a trillion dollars in Afganistan, because we wasted $2 trillion in Iraq, in a war that was a tragic mistake. I am knowledgeable now in the history of Vietnam, and our dive into that civil war was also an unmitigated disaster, based on a complete lack of appreciation for Vietnamese history and culture. What real experts in Afganistan’s history and culture think that there is any force in Afghanistan strong enough to stand up to the Taliban, without a lot more treasure by the US. The Taliban appear to be the most determined, and disciplined in this war, just like the Vietnames communists under Ho Chi Minh were. If that is not a fair comparison, who can explain in detail, why the forces we have supported have any chance with light support against the Taliban. Our side appears to be better at corruption and graft, than at fighting the Taliban.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth Century Vietnam” and blogs mostly at InconvenientNews.Net.

Europe Rolls Out Ambitious Climate Change Plan, but Obstacles Loom – The New York Times

“BRUSSELS — Europe on Wednesday laid out an ambitious blueprint for a sharply decarbonized future over the next nine years, marking the start of what promises to be a difficult and bruising two-year negotiation among industry, 27 countries and the European Parliament.

The political importance of the effort, pushed by the European Commission, the E.U.’s bureaucracy, is without doubt. It puts Brussels in the forefront of the world’s efforts to decarbonize and reach the goal of a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. To force the issue, Brussels has committed to reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases 55 percent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

Although the European Union produces only about 8 percent of current global carbon emissions, its cumulative emissions since the start of the industrial age are among the world’s highest. It also sees itself as an important regulatory power for the world and hopes to set an example, invent new technologies that it can sell and provide new global standards that can lead to a carbon-neutral economy.”

David Lindsay: I hope this succeeds. The comments are interesting, and here is my favorite so far:

Austin Ouellette

Denver, CO 52m ago

Let’s talk about the myth of “cheap” fossil fuels. Human beings need to eat food. Food is grown on an industrial scale on farms. Farms suffer massive losses from climate change, as floods become more destructive, and rainfalls become more sporadic and unpredictable. To protect themselves from the liability of those losses, farms buy crop insurance. Crop insurance, and the crops themselves, are HEAVILY subsidized by governments all around the world. We are talking billions and billions of dollars JUST in the USA alone. Go read the Farm Bill. It is a massive nearly $1/2 Trillion government spending program. Almost 10% of the total cost is crop insurance. That’s $38.52 Billion. And that’s just the United States. That’s just one of the costs that taxpayers are liable for, which does not show up on the receipt at the gas station. Let’s talk healthcare. It’s well documented fact that air pollution is getting worse, and as a result, there has been a massive increase in chronic respiratory disease across all age groups, but especially children. These cases are especially prominent in communities which allow natural gas flaring with no setbacks. Treatment for chronic respiratory disease increases healthcare costs. Again, you don’t see “sick kids” on the receipt at the pump. Those are just two examples. There are thousands of others. Fossil fuels are NOT cheap. Megawatt for megawatt, take away all the subsidies and truly account for all costs, fossil fuels are WAY more expensive.

2 Replies17 Recommended

Opinion | Northern Ireland Is Coming to an End – The New York Times

Ms. McKay is an Irish journalist who writes extensively about the politics and culture of Northern Ireland.

“BELFAST, Northern Ireland — It was meant to be a year of celebration.

But Northern Ireland, created in 1921 when Britain carved six counties out of Ireland’s northeast, is not enjoying its centenary. Its most ardent upholders, the unionists who believe that the place they call “our wee country” is and must forever remain an intrinsic part of the United Kingdom, are in utter disarray. Their largest party has ousted two leaders within a matter of weeks, while an angry minority has taken to the streets waving flags and threatening violence. And the British government, in resolving Brexit, placed a new border in the Irish Sea.

It’s harsh reward for what Northern Ireland’s first prime minister, James Craig, called “the most loyal part of Great Britain.” But the Protestant statelet is not what it was. Well on its way to having a Catholic majority, the country’s once dominant political force — unionism — now finds itself out of step with the community that traditionally gave it uncritical support. And for all his talk of the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made clear his government would cheerfully ditch this last little fragment of Britain’s empire if it continues to complicate Brexit.

The writing is on the wall. While the process by which Ireland could become unified is complicated and fraught, one thing seems certain: There isn’t going to be a second centenary for Northern Ireland. It might not even last another decade.” . . .

Thomas L. Friedman | The Best Anyone Can Hope For With Iran Is Pretty Bad – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Since Iran and the U.S. held more talks this week to try to revive their nuclear deal, with some progress reported, I want to share my views on this subject: I supported the original deal negotiated by Barack Obama in 2015. I did not support Donald Trump’s tearing it up in 2018, but when he did I hoped that he’d leverage the economic pain he inflicted to persuade Iran to improve the deal. Trump failed at that, leaving Iran free to get closer than ever to a bomb. I support Joe Biden trying to revive the deal. And I support Israel’s covert efforts to sabotage Iran’s ability to ever build a nuclear weapon — no matter what the deal.

If that sounds contradictory, it’s because, well, it just sounds that way. There is a unifying thread running through it all: Dealing effectively with Iran’s Islamic regime — in a way that permanently eliminates its malign behavior — is impossible.” . . . 

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
First response. I’m a bit lost. I like Tom Friedman’s brutal honesty, but I despise the Syrian Shiite regime of Assad. The Iranians will probably run out of water in the next 50 years, according to a major Virgina military think tank, so we could just wait out this group of old mullahs. What else could we do? Maybe, apologize to the Iranians for overthowing their leftist democracy 70 years ago, and essentially let them have the nuclear bomb they crave. Offer Israel nuclear protection. If Iran or one of its neighbors destroys Israel, with one lousy nuke, we will destroy the attacker, with as many nukes as it takes to destroy their goverment. Another idea, take out Assad, and destroy his regime, and put in its place our allies, the Sunnis to the north he has been fighting in that brual civil war. Maybe instead, we have to recongnize our inability to manage these foreign interventions well, and focus on our own, serious domestic problems. But supporting the butcher Assad doesn’t excite me. Destroying him, we might accidentally destroy the Russians fighting in Syria, sending a message to Putin about our feelings towards unlimited cyber ransomware attacks. Whatever we do, or don’t do, follow Sun Tsu’s dictum, if you are not smart enough or patient enough to avoid war, get in and get out, do not stick around. Patience might be best.

A Wave of the Hand Sets Off Spain-Morocco Migrant Fight – The New York Times

Nicholas Casey and 

“CEUTA, Spain — Daouda Faye, a 25-year-old migrant from Senegal, was elated when he heard that Moroccan border guards had suddenly started waving in undocumented migrants across the border to Ceuta, a fenced-off Spanish enclave on the North African coast.

“‘Come on in, boys,’” the guards told him and others as they reached the border on May 17, Mr. Faye said.

And in they went — by the thousands.

Normally, Morocco tightly controls the fenced borders around Ceuta, a six-mile-long peninsula on Morocco’s northern coast that Spain has governed since the 1600s. But now its military was allowing migrants into this toehold of Europe. Over the next two days, as many as 12,000 people flowed over the border to Ceuta in hopes of reaching mainland Spain, engulfing the city of 80,000.   . . . “

David Lindsay: Here is a comment a strongly recommended.

WWill. NYCNYC 1h ago

This world is so overpopulated by humans we are on the edge of disaster. If Europe doesn’t very quickly help Africa get is human population growth under control no army in the world will keep back the waves of immigrants. There are literally billions waiting to come and no fence is high enough or strong enough. Of course this will all spark dangerous right wing populism across the European continent. There are way too many humans on this planet. Way, way too many humans fighting over fewer and fewer resources. And climate change will exacerbate the trend to ever more migration and violence. Governments in Africa, the Middle East and Central America often see excess human population as a bargaining chip with the rest of the world: Excess human population is being weaponized. We need to get very serious about population control right now. In a few years it will be too late. And we need to set strict limits on immigration. Right now emigration is used as a safety valve for overpopulated countries that will eventually destabilize the receiver nations. (See Europe 2015, and that was NOTHING compared what’s to come!)

24 Recommended

Tzipi Livni | The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’s Two-State Solution – The New York Times

“TEL AVIV — The first meetings of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority back in 2007 were very emotional.

Each of us — I, as Israel’s chief negotiator, and Ahmed Qurei, known as Abu Ala, the former Palestinian prime minister — tried to convince the other who has more rights to the land: the Jewish people or the Palestinians.

Unsurprisingly, we left these sessions frustrated and unconvinced. After two such meetings, we agreed that these discussions would lead us nowhere and that any peace agreement would not determine which narrative prevailed, and instead we should focus only on how to establish a peaceful future.

The argument over historical narratives hasn’t changed. It won’t. Those on both sides that insist on forcing their narrative on the other side, or turning the conflict into a religious war, cannot make the compromises needed for peace. This is true also for those from the international community supporting one side and denying the rights of the other. This is destructive and only strengthens extremists.

Peace based on the vision of two states for two peoples gives an answer to the national aspirations of both the Jewish people and the Palestinians and requires compromises by both.

The solution of a Jewish state and an Arab state has actually existed for some 75 years. It was laid out by the United Nations in 1947 as a just solution to the conflict between Jews (including my own parents) and Arabs who already lived between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.  . . . “

Thomas Friedman | On Israel-Palestine, Biden Must Revive a Two-State Solution – The New York Times

“. . .  Therefore, I hope that when the secretary of state, Tony Blinken, meets with Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week, he conveys a very clear message: “From this day forward, we will be treating the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank as a Palestinian state in the making, and we will be taking a series of diplomatic steps to concretize Palestinian statehood in order to preserve the viability of a two-state solution. We respect both of your concerns, but we are determined to move forward because the preservation of a two-state solution now is not only about your national security interests; it is about our national security interests in the Middle East. And it is about the political future of the centrist faction of the Democratic Party. So we all need to get this right.’’

For starters, Biden should reshape U.S.-Israeli-Palestinian relations by opening a diplomatic mission to the P.A. — as the nascent Palestinian state government — near its headquarters in Ramallah. At the same time, he should invite the P.A. to send a diplomatic representative to Washington as the would-be ambassador of a future Palestinian state.    . . . “

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

Thank you Thomas Friedman. Sounds like a plan, and it just might, help starve the beast, which would be Hamas for the Palestinians, and Netanyahu and the right wing pro settler parties of Israel. I support these proposals as reasonable ideas, though I do not think the US should pay for it all. We no longer need the oil of the middle east. What we need is to focus ourselves and the world on combatting climate change and the sixth extinction, which are threats to all humans and non humans alike. World popuation grew from 2 to 7.8 billion in the last 90 years. All our foreign aid should be part of a larger war on overpopulation and climate changing pollution from fossil fuels.

Why Did the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Explode Now? – The New York Times

“JERUSALEM — Twenty-seven days before the first rocket was fired from Gaza this week, a squad of Israeli police officers entered the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, brushed the Palestinian attendants aside and strode across its vast limestone courtyard. Then they cut the cables to the loudspeakers that broadcast prayers to the faithful from four medieval minarets.

It was the night of April 13, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It was also Memorial Day in Israel, which honors those who died fighting for the country. The Israeli president was delivering a speech at the Western Wall, a sacred Jewish site that lies below the mosque, and Israeli officials were concerned that the prayers would drown it out.

The incident was confirmed by six mosque officials, three of whom witnessed it; the Israeli police declined to comment. In the outside world, it barely registered.  . . . “