Thomas L. Friedman | It’s Time for Biden to Out-Trump Trump on Immigration – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“According to news reports, the recent surge of migrants from Latin America flooding our southern border was largely a result of the end of a Trump-era Covid policy. I beg to differ.

It’s the result of a new world.

And this new world is going to challenge both traditional Republican and traditional Democratic views on immigration. As I’ve argued before, there is only one way to deal with the waves of migrants who will continue to come America’s way. And that is with a very high wall with a very big gate.

Democrats don’t want to hear about high walls, and Republicans don’t want to hear about big gates. Too bad. We need both.

Donald Trump was a fraud on immigration. He never wanted to solve the problem. He exploited the fears of an uncontrolled border to stop immigration and appeal to racists and white supremacists in his base. And stoking those fears worked for Trump.”

Thomas Friedman | We Are Opening the Lids on Two Giant Pandora’s Boxes – The New York Times

“. . . . . Ditto when it comes to the climate Pandora’s box we’re opening. As NASA explains on its website, “In the last 800,000 years, there have been eight cycles of ice ages and warmer periods.” The last ice age ended some 11,700 years ago, giving way to our current climate era — known as the Holocene (meaning “entirely recent”) — which was characterized by stable seasons that allowed for stable agriculture, the building of human communities and ultimately civilization as we know it today.

“Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives,” NASA notes.

Well, say goodbye to that. There is now an intense discussion among environmentalists — and geological experts at the International Union of Geological Sciences, the professional organization responsible for defining Earth’s geological/climate eras — about whether we humans have driven ourselves out of the Holocene into a new epoch, called the Anthropocene.

That name comes “from ‘anthropo,’ for ‘man,’ and ‘cene,’ for ‘new’ — because humankind has caused mass extinctions of plant and animal species, polluted the oceans and altered the atmosphere, among other lasting impacts,” an article in Smithsonian Magazine explained.”

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

Thomas L. Friedman | Our New Promethean Moment – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“I had a most remarkable but unsettling experience last week. Craig Mundie, the former chief research and strategy officer for Microsoft, was giving me a demonstration of GPT-4, the most advanced version of the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI and launched in November. Craig was preparing to brief the board of my wife’s museum, Planet Word, of which he is a member, about the effect ChatGPT will have on words, language and innovation.

“You need to understand,” Craig warned me before he started his demo, “this is going to change everything about how we do everything. I think that it represents mankind’s greatest invention to date. It is qualitatively different — and it will be transformational.”

Large language modules like ChatGPT will steadily increase in their capabilities, Craig added, and take us “toward a form of artificial general intelligence,” delivering efficiencies in operations, ideas, discoveries and insights “that have never been attainable before across every domain.”

Then he did a demonstration. And I realized Craig’s words were an understatement.”

Thomas L. Friedman | American Jews, You Have to Choose Sides on Israel – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Ever since Israel’s founding in 1948, supporting the country’s security and its economic development and cementing its diplomatic ties to the U.S. have been the “religion” of many nonobservant American Jews — rather than studying Torah or keeping kosher. That mission drove fund-raising and forged solidarity among Jewish communities across America.

Now, a lot of American Jews are going to need to find a new focus for their passion.

Because if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeds with his judicial putsch to crush the independence of the country’s judiciary, the subject of Israel could fracture every synagogue and Jewish communal organization in America. To put it simply: Israel is facing its biggest internal clash since its founding, and for every rabbi and every Jewish leader in America, to stay silent about this fight is to become irrelevant.”

Thomas L. Friedman | Netanyahu Is Shattering Israeli Society – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“Israel today is a boiler with way, way too much steam building up inside, and the bolts are about to fly off in all directions.

Lethal attacks by Palestinian youths against Israelis are coinciding with an expansion of Israeli settlements and the torching of Palestinian villages by settlers, as well as with a popular uprising against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial power grab. Together they are threatening a breakdown in governance the likes of which we’ve never seen before in Israel.

It is a measure of how serious the situation has become that several former chiefs of the Mossad — some of the most respected public servants in the country — have denounced Netanyahu’s judicial putsch, most recently Danny Yatom. He told Israel Channel 13 News on Saturday night, according to Haaretz, that if Netanyahu continues with his plans to effectively eliminate the independence of Israel’s high court, fighter pilots and special forces operatives will be able to legitimately disobey the orders that come from the government.

They “signed an agreement with a democratic country,” said Yatom. “But the moment that, God forbid, the country becomes a dictatorship,” and they receive “an order from an illegitimate government, then I believe it would be legitimate to disobey it.” “

Thomas L. Friedman | In 46 Words, Biden Sends a Clear Message to Israel – The New York Times

“I woke up on Saturday morning, read the news from Israel that at least 50,000 Israelis had just demonstrated once more against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to strip the Israeli Supreme Court of its independence and put it instead under Netanyahu’s thumb — at a time when Netanyahu himself is facing corruption charges — and I asked myself a simple question: “What does President Biden think of this?”

Biden is as pro-Israel in his gut as any president I have ever covered. He has also had a long and mutually respectful relationship with Netanyahu. So I can tell you that whatever Biden has to say about Israel comes from a place of real concern. It’s a concern that the radical transformation of Israel’s judicial system that Netanyahu’s ultranationalist, ultrareligious coalition is trying to slam through the Knesset could seriously damage Israel’s democracy and therefore its close ties to America and democracies everywhere.

Here is the statement that Biden sent me on Saturday afternoon when I asked for comment: “The genius of American democracy and Israeli democracy is that they are both built on strong institutions, on checks and balances, on an independent judiciary. Building consensus for fundamental changes is really important to ensure that the people buy into them so they can be sustained.” “

Thomas L. Friedman | Can Joe Biden Save Israel? – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“If I could get a memo onto President Biden’s desk about the new Israeli government, I know exactly how it would start:

Dear Mr. President, I don’t know if you are interested in Jewish history, but Jewish history is certainly interested in you today. Israel is on the verge of a historic transformation — from a full-fledged democracy to something less, and from a stabilizing force in the region to a destabilizing one. You may be the only one able to stop Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his extremist coalition from turning Israel into an illiberal bastion of zealotry.

I’d also tell Biden that I fear that Israel is approaching some serious internal civil strife. Civil conflicts are rarely about one policy. They tend to be about power. For years, the fierce debates in Israel about the Oslo Accords were about policy. But today, this simmering clash is about power — who can tell whom how to live in a highly diverse society.

The short story: An ultranationalist, ultra-Orthodox government, formed after the Netanyahu camp won election by the tiniest sliver of votes (roughly 30,000 out of some 4.7 million), is driving a power grab that the other half of voters view not only as corrupt but also as threatening their own civil rights. That’s why a 5,000-person anti-government demonstration grew to 80,000 over the weekend.”

Thomas Friedman on Hal Harvey | The Green New Deal Rises Again – The New York Times

“. . . .   As I wrote in my 2007 column: “To spark a Green New Deal today requires getting two things right: government regulations and prices. Look at California. By setting steadily higher standards for the energy efficiency of buildings and appliances — and creating incentives for utilities to work with consumers to use less power — California has held its per-capita electricity use constant for 30 years, while the rest of the nation has seen per-capita electricity use increase by nearly 50 percent, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That has saved California from building 24 giant power plants.”

To keep it simple, my goals would be what energy innovator Hal Harvey has dubbed “the four zeros.” 1. Zero-net energy buildings: buildings that can produce as much energy as they consume. 2. Zero-waste manufacturing: stimulating manufacturers to design and build products that use fewer raw materials and that are easily disassembled and recycled. 3. A zero-carbon grid: If we can combine renewable power generation at a utility scale with some consumers putting up their own solar panels and windmills that are integrated with the grid, and with large-scale storage batteries, we really could, one day, electrify everything carbon-free. 4. Zero-emissions transportation: a result of combining electric vehicles and electric public transportation with a zero-carbon grid.

That’s my Green New Deal circa 2019. It basically says: Forget the Space Race. We don’t need a man, or woman, on Mars. We need an Earth Race — a free-market competition to ensure that mankind can continue to thrive on Earth. A Green New Deal is the strategy for that. It can make America healthier, wealthier, more innovative, more energy secure, more respected — and weaken petro-dictators across the globe.”

Thomas L. Friedman | Five Readings for Your Thanksgiving Table – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

I always enjoy Thanksgiving, but I’m particularly going to savor this year’s in light of the midterm elections. They surfaced something beautiful and decent and vitally important in the soul of the nation. It was a readiness to defend the core of our democracy — our ability to peacefully and legitimately transfer power — when it was under imminent threat by Donald Trump and his imitators.

Had we lost our commitment to the solemn obligation that one party smoothly hands off power to another, we’d be totally lost as a country today. But instead, democracy was reaffirmed. Enough Americans — principled Republicans, Democrats and independents — sorted through their ballots and rejected almost all of the high-profile Trumpist election deniers for major state and federal offices.

In “using the tools of democracy to protect democracy,” as Vox put it, they reconnected the country with something deep in our heritage — that losers concede gracefully and move on, and winners win gracefully and govern. In celebration of that tradition, I offer these five readings for your Thanksgiving table:

Sept. 19, 1796, excerpts from President George Washington’s Farewell Address, explaining that he would not seek a third term and the most important lessons he had learned:

“The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of that very liberty which you so highly prize. … You should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness. … With such powerful and obvious motives to union affecting all parts of our country … there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those who in any quarter may endeavor to weaken its bands. …

“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.”