Maureen Dowd | Zelensky Answers Hamlet – The New York Times

“. . . .  President Biden and his generals are facing their own existential moment as they try to figure out the incredibly knotty problem of where the line is. Are Javelins OK and MiGs too far? How do we do everything we can to help Ukraine without spurring a sadistic and unhinged Vladimir Putin to start World War III and a nuclear conflagration?

Despite the threat, we must stand by Ukraine in what its ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, calls “the 1939 moment” of good versus evil.

As Illia Ponomarenko, a reporter for The Kyiv Independent, tweeted Friday (vulgarity excised): “I wonder how many Ukrainian cities Russia needs to carpet-bomb until the West realizes that every time it refuses to give Ukraine a weapon for ‘fear of provoking Putin’ is an invitation for further escalation in war.”

I talked to George Pataki, the former governor of New York, who is in Ukraine, near Hungary, helping refugees.

“When we ask Ukrainians what they most want, the answer we always get is, ‘Close the sky,’ because families, homes and towns are being devastated from above by the Russian military,” he said. “And it’s very disappointing not to be able to answer that question. I understand we’re not going to create a no-fly zone, but we should give the Ukrainians the material support to enable them to create their own no-fly zone.”

Echoing our military leaders, Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia, told Stephen Colbert on Thursday night that a “no-fly zone is a euphemism for a declaration of war. That means an American pilot shoots down a Russian pilot, and that’s a declaration of war.” Give Ukraine everything short of that in terms of military weapons and sanctions, he said.

The attenuated debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan have left many Americans weary of conflict. But this is no time for us to withdraw into ourselves.

It is a horrible position Biden is in, dealing with an irrational, soulless fiend with over 4,000 nukes who thinks he can glue the Soviet empire back together with the blood of innocents.

As Hamlet said, the oppressor’s wrong.”

David Lindsay:  Ganook Ist Unchkifelt.  Enough is too much. In the light of Shakespeare, we should be willing to die to protect our friends and allies and their families.

When the Soviet Union imploded, Ukraine was left with about 400 nuclear weapons. It signed an agreement with NATO, the US, and Russia, that it would give up those weapons if these countries would protect it from invasion. The US signed that agreement. We now have an obligation that we are ignoring.

Here is a comment that I approved:

ChristineMcM
Massachusetts March 12
Times Pick

“… Their heroic efforts against a gobbling tyrant set on empire recall America’s own beginning.” How ironic that the country Trump denigrated to get an edge in an election he wanted to turn the country authoritarian is now teaching us what true patriotism is! It’s sickening that the more atrocities are committed, the more the sway of public opinion turns to that existential question of how much is too much in supporting Ukraine. Like many, I’ve bought into the “no nukes” line if we inadvertently declared war on Russia. But didn’t Putin himself say US-led economic sanctions were already a declaration of war? Didn’t Zelenksy point out the obvious that every time we say what we won’t do, Putin gets bolder? If we would wage war to defend Poland, right over the line from Ukraine, the only question left is how many Ukrainians must die before we cross ours?

15 Replies970 Recommended

Maureen Dowd | Can Dems Dodge Doomsday? – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Maureen Dowd  Get an email as soon as Maureen Dowd’s latest column is published. Get it sent to your inbox.

“It may be a TikTok world, but sometimes old hacks know best.

James Carville helped Bill Clinton get elected against stiff odds. David Axelrod helped Barack Obama get elected against stiff odds. And Stan Greenberg was the first to identify the fateful trend of Reagan Democrats.

All three Dems are speaking out with startling candor about the impending Repubocalypse. Many Americans are fed up. The jumbled Covid response has eroded an already shaky trust in government. Inflation is biting. War is looming. Things feel out of control. People are anxious and reassessing their lives. Democrats have to connect with that.

The Democrats are stepping all over themselves. And Republicans are doing all they can to prevent the Democrats from accomplishing anything, and then are trashing them for not doing anything. Voters like to punish the people in power. So if the Democrats don’t figure it out, Jim Jordan is going to be running the House and pushing investigations of Biden and Hillary. They can’t quit her.

Exhausted, confused, isolated and depressed Americans are not buying the Democratic line that things are better than they look.

Biden’s superpower was supposed to be empathy, but nobody’s feeling it.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT comment:
MAUREEN DOWD hits another homerun. I hope the sane part of our country get this important message from James Carville, David Axelrod and Stan Greenberg. So many commenters tear this piece apart, which bodes poorly for avoiding the Repubocalypse.

Maureen Dowd | New York Police Officers Remember Jason Rivera – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

Maureen Dowd  Get an email as soon as Maureen Dowd’s latest column is published. Get it sent to your inbox.

“We don’t hear much about good cops these days.

Their stories get lost amid the scalding episodes with trigger-happy, racist and sadistic cops.

The good ones get tarred with the same brush, even though the last person who wants to get in a squad car with a bad cop is a good cop.

It takes a catastrophe, like 9/11, or an attempted coup like Jan. 6, or a heartbreaking funeral with a sea of blue, like Friday’s ceremony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the murdered 22-year-old New York City police officer Jason Rivera, to remind us that we should be proud of good cops even as we root out bad ones.

“There shouldn’t have to be a funeral to acknowledge how valiant they can be in the face of danger,” Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum told me.”

Maureen Dowd’s brother Kevin | Trigger Warning: It’s My Brother’s Turn Again – The New York Times

” . . . . The Republicans are watching the political scene these days with a mixture of glee and trepidation.

President Biden is underwater in the polls but Donald Trump is a potential problem. No one is sure of Trump’s intentions at this point.

There is no doubt that the Trump presidency ended on a sour note. His claims of a stolen election and his badgering of state officials to overturn the results probably cost the Republicans the Senate.

David Perdue led the first round of the Georgia Senate election by about 88,000 votes but lost the runoff due in part to the confusion Trump was causing in the state. The rally on the Mall and the subsequent attack on the Capitol are also on Trump’s tab.

That day was awful to watch because protecting the Capitol was our family business. My father was in charge of security for the United States Senate. He got summer jobs for me and all my four siblings at the Capitol when we were teenagers.

I worked for four years in the Senate and House, folding lawmakers’ newsletters. One of the perks was access to the dining room, where I ate side by side with congressmen and senators.

I hope Trump does not run. He can do a lot more for the party as an advocate than a candidate. Like him or not, some of his policies were working: accords between Arab countries and Israel, Iran on its heels, China chastened, the border fence going up, low unemployment, a strong economy and best of all, low energy prices and higher wages.

Biden swept into the presidency on a wave of hope, a friendly press and a highly disliked opponent. He had run as a moderate, a creature of the Senate and a unifier, promising a return to normalcy.

Donald Trump’s bungled effort to overturn the election and the ill-advised rally that ended with an attack on the Capitol further raised Biden’s standing.

Once he became president, everything changed. Like one of the residents of Santa Mira, the fictional town in Don Siegel’s 1956 masterpiece, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” Biden looked the same but his actions revealed a startling transformation.

The moderate Joe Biden was gone. The sweeping changes he proposed in the first few months sounded more like Bernie Sanders. Many of them backfired, severely damaging his early support.”  . . . .

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
While my friend Marty S thinks I should boycott Maureen Dowd, she has always had important things to say, even if I don’t agree with some of them. Regarding her right wing Republican brother Kevin, at least he is not a Trumpster. Sun Tsu (544-496 BCE) wrote in “the Art of War” that you should try to know your enemy better than know yourself. With democracy and the climate emergency at stake, it is time to win from the middle, rather than be “right” all the time on the far left, and out of office.
We really have only about ten years to possibly stop cascading events, from feedback loops. We are facing a climate crisis, as the new video from Moving Still Productions “Earth Emergency: Feedback Loops” carefully demonstrates.

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.”

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.

Maureen Dowd | Apocalypse Right Now – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — Holy smokes.

It feels like we are living through the first vertiginous 15 minutes of a disaster movie, maybe one called “The Day After Tomorrow Was Yesterday.”

Heat waves are getting hotter. Forests are ablaze. Floods are obliterating. An iceberg nearly half the size of Puerto Rico broke off from Antarctica.

Florida’s fleurs du malalgal blooms known as red tide, have become more toxic because of pollution and climate change. They are responsible for killing 600 tons of marine life, leaving beaches strewn with reeking dead fish.

It’s Mad Max apocalyptic. Crazy storms that used to hit every century now seem quotidian, overwhelming systems that cannot withstand such a battering.

The heat wave that stunned the Pacific Northwest, killing nearly 200 people, was followed by a bolt of lightning igniting the dry earth in Oregon. The Bootleg Fire has now devoured 400,000 acres, with flames so intense, they are creating their own weather pattern capable of sparking new fires. The smoke has traveled from the West to the East Coast, tainting the air.

As Angela Merkel and President Biden touted a climate and energy partnership on her recent visit here, nature mocked them. While the two leaders had dinner, rains submerged huge swaths of Germany, including medieval towns.”

Maureen Dowd | The Ascension of Bernie Sanders – The New York Times

“. . . At 79, Bernie Sanders is a man on a mission, laser-focused on a list that represents trillions of dollars in government spending that he deems essential. When I stray into other subjects, the senator jabs his finger at his piece of paper or waves it in my face, like Van Helsing warding off Dracula with a cross.

“Maureen, let me just tell you what we’re trying to do here,” he says. “We’re working on what I think is the most consequential piece of legislation for working families since the 1930s.”

Sanders, long a wilderness prophet in Washington, a man who wrote a memoir bragging about being an outsider, admits that it is strange to be a key member of The Establishment. As the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, the democratic socialist is now pulling the levers in the control room.

He has changed the whole debate in the nation’s capital. He is the guy trying to yank his party back to its working-class roots and steer President Biden in a bolder, more progressive direction.

Mirabile dictu: A president and senator who are both pushing 80, men who were underestimated and dismissed for years in Democratic circles, are now teaming up to transform the country. It’s the Bernie and Joe show.

Sanders passionately believes that the only way to undo the damage done by Donald Trump and Trumpism is by showing that government can deliver, that good policy can overcome dangerous conspiracy theories and lies.” . . .

David Lindsay Jr.

David Lindsay Jr.Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:

So many comments about how Bernie is or might be a saint. There is some truth to this notion, but he never got my vote for saint or president. I do not forget that he withheld his support from Hillary Clinton, after she beat him in the primary, and was partly responsible for the election of Donald Trump. For that, he has blood on his hands. Sanders has been a shoddy act compared to the greats, like Abraham Lincoln. Biden is more in the Lincoln mold, knowing that you can not get too far away from the majority of the public, or they will not follow you. Unlike Bernie, these other two leaders have a record of accomplishment. Bernie does deserve a lot of credit for popularizing his positions, and pushing them into the mainstream of American politics. It’s fine to love and respect him, without putting him on a pedestal or failing to note his shortcomings.

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.”  . . .”

Maureen Dowd | Liz Cheney and the Big Lies – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — I miss torturing Liz Cheney.

But it must be said that the petite blonde from Wyoming suddenly seems like a Valkyrie amid halflings.

She is willing to sacrifice her leadership post — and risk her political career — to continue calling out Donald Trump’s Big Lie. She has decided that, if the price of her job is being as unctuous to Trump as Kevin McCarthy is, it isn’t worth it, because McCarthy is totally disgracing himself.

It has been a dizzying fall for the scion of one of the most powerful political families in the land, a conservative chip off the old block who was once talked about as a comer, someone who could be the first woman president.

How naïve I was to think that Republicans would be eager to change the channel after Trump cost them the Senate and the White House and unleashed a mob on them.  . . . “