Opinion | Trump Mocks Climate Change. That’s a Key to Defeating Him. – By Thomas L. Friedman – The New York Times

By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

April 9, 2019, 902
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A wind farm near Glenrock, Wyo.CreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

“Here’s some news you may have missed. Southeastern Africa got hit in March with a cyclone that United Nations officials say was one of the worst weather disasters to ever strike the Southern Hemisphere. “Ever” is a long time.

The storm swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, killing hundreds. My friend Greg Carr, who runs the Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, told me that the lions, elephants and zebras sensed the storm coming and moved to higher ground to avoid the flooding. Among the people and birds that survived, many of the former lost their homes and the latter their nests and eggs.

Image  Beira, the fourth-largest city in Mozambique, was devastated last month by Cyclone Idai.CreditMike Hutchings/Reuters
While this historic weather disaster was unfolding, President Trump was urging Republicans not to kill the Democrats’ Green New Deal proposal — not because Trump wants to work with it, but because he wants to run against it in 2020.”

Opinion | Congress to I.R.S.: Don’t Even Think of Helping Taxpayers – The New York Times

By The Editorial Board
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.

April 10, 2019, 311
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CreditCreditLuba Lukova
Congress has landed on one of those rare ideas that commands support from both Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately, it’s a bad one.

“On Tuesday, the House approved legislation misleadingly titled the Taxpayer First Act that includes a provision prohibiting the Internal Revenue Service from developing a free online system that most American households could use to file their taxes. The Senate is considering a similar piece of bipartisan legislation.

This makes no sense. Congress should be making it easier for Americans to file their taxes. Instead of barring the I.R.S. from making April a little less miserable, why isn’t Congress requiring the I.R.S. to create a free tax filing website?

Better yet, the United States could emulate the roughly three dozen countries, including Chile, Japan and Britain, where most taxpayers do not need to fill out tax returns. In some of those countries, the accuracy of tax withholding is sufficient to obviate the annual filing process. In others, the government sends out completed forms to most taxpayers. In Estonia, filing taxes can be done in less than three minutes.”

The Problem With Putting a Price on the End of the World – by David Leonhardt – The New York Times

“But the downsides of performance standards are often exaggerated. Most Americans are surely happy to pay a small amount more for their homes, for instance, if their children no longer have to ingest lead paint. And the initial skepticism about California’s plan appears to have been misplaced. Critics predicted that the state wouldn’t be able to meet its goal without hurting its economy. They were wrong: The state met its goal four years early, by 2016. The costs to consumers were modest and hard to notice. John Podesta told me he considered California’s approach a model for future federal action.

The key political advantage is that performance standards focus voters on the end goal, rather than on the technocratic mechanism for achieving it. Carbon pricing puts attention on the mechanism, be it a dreaded tax or a byzantine cap-and-trade system. Mechanisms don’t inspire people. Mechanisms are easy to caricature as big-government bureaucracy. Think about the debate over Obamacare: When the focus was on mechanisms — insurance mandates, insurance exchanges and the like — the law was not popular. When the focus shifted to basic principles — Do sick people deserve health insurance? — the law became much more so.”

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 | How Preet Bharara Defines Justice – By Cristian Farias – The New York Times

By Cristian Farias
Mr. Farias is a member of the editorial board.

April 9, 2019

Preet Bharara, former prosector for the high-profile Southern District of New York, was fired by President Trump in 2017 along with dozens of other United States attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama.

““Doing Justice,” Preet Bharara’s first book, says almost nothing about Donald Trump or what led the president to dismiss Mr. Bharara as United States attorney for the powerful Southern District of New York, a position he held for seven and a half years.

Instead, Mr. Bharara, who now hosts the podcast “Stay Tuned With Preet,” spends his 368-page book walking readers through the experience of being a federal prosecutor. The chapters correspond to phases of a criminal trial, and the lessons within them are culled from Mr. Bharara’s work bringing high-profile cases like his crackdowns on insider trading, public corruption in Albany and terrorism.

In the Times Book Review, Jennifer Senior described “Doing Justice” as a memoir poured “into the mold of an advice book.”

In this conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, Mr. Bharara discusses some of the philosophies that undergirded his work as a prosecutor.”

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 | The Wrong Time for Joe Biden – By Michelle Goldberg – The New York Times

By Michelle Goldberg

Opinion Columnist

  • 1944
  • Joe Biden’s history of being physically affectionate puts him out of step with the mores of an increasingly progressive Democratic Party.CreditSaul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

 

“On Friday, Lucy Flores, a former Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor of Nevada, accused Joe Biden of touching her inappropriately as they waited to take the stage at a 2014 election rally. He put his hands on her shoulders, she said, then nuzzled her hair and kissed the back of her head. She didn’t accuse Biden, who is reportedly close to announcing his presidential candidacy, of sexual harassment or assault, just of making her uncomfortable. “I’m not suggesting that Biden broke any laws, but the transgressions that society deems minor (or doesn’t even see as transgressions) often feel considerable to the person on the receiving end,” she wrote.

In response, Biden released a statement saying that while he’s often been physically affectionate as a politician, “not once — never — did I believe I acted inappropriately.”

Then, on Monday, Amy Lappos, a former aide to the Democratic congressman Jim Himes, told The Hartford Courant that Biden pulled her toward him to rub noses during a 2009 fund-raiser. “There’s absolutely a line of decency,” Lappos said, adding: “Crossing that line is not grandfatherly. It’s not cultural. It’s not affection. It’s sexism or misogyny.” Biden’s campaign hadn’t yet begun and was already in crisis.”

David Lindsay:  This is a weak piece, and there are some very good female feminists who in the comments come articulately to Joe Biden’s defense on the handsyness.

But, There is an important  comment I couldn’t ignore. It is the comment which caused me to remove Joe Biden from my official short list, and replace him with Bernie Sanders.

While I supported Biden as highly electable, he has been too wrong on too many important issues, especially climate change, student debt,  and Anita Hill.

ScottW
Chapel Hill, NCApril 1
He voted for the war in Iraq. He pushed Clarence Thomas through the Senate confirmation hearings. He supported a bill that makes it impossible to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy.

He has not been a leader on Medicare for All. He has not led on increasing the minimum wage. He has not been a leader on climate change legislation.

He has had his shot at running for President and needs to step aside.

24 Replies1133 Recommended

Opinion | Why You Love Mayor Pete – By David Brooks – The New York Times

DL:  Pete Buttigieg is already on my short list, with Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee and Joe Biden. These are all bright, articulate leaders with good character.

By David Brooks
Opinion Columnist

April 1, 2019, 1353
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Pete Buttigieg, center, at a campaign event in Greenville, S.C., on Saturday.CreditCreditRichard Shiro/Associated Press

“Pete Buttigieg has some kind of magic right now. His campaign bio, “Shortest Way Home,” was the 25th-best-selling book on Amazon when I checked on Monday. That put him just a few dozen places behind Michelle Obama, and thousands or tens of thousands of places ahead of Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and the other candidates who have campaign books out now.

In a recent Iowa poll he surged to third place. His campaign just announced that it’s raised an impressive $7 million since January. And I can’t tell you how many Democrats in places as diverse as Nebraska, Indiana, New York and Washington have come up to me over the last few weeks raving about the guy. I met a superfan in Frederick, Md., who says that every few hours she calls the campaign to give another $10.

This is the biggest star-is-born moment since Lady Gaga started singing “Shallow.”

Why are people so in love with the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who almost nobody had heard of until he did a CNN town hall on March 10?” “

Inside the Race to Build the Burger of the Future – by Michael Grunwald – POLITICO Magazine


Michael Grunwald is a senior staff writer for Politico Magazine.

“Politicians often rally their supporters with partisan red meat, but these days Republicans are using actual red meat. They’re accusing Democrats of a plot to ban beef, trying to rebrand the Green New Deal for climate action as a nanny-state assault on the American diet. At Thursday’s rally in Michigan, President Donald Trump portrayed a green dystopia with “no more cows.” In a recent Washington speech, former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka warned conservatives that leftists are coming for their hamburgers: “This is what Stalin dreamt about, but never achieved!” Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) actually ate a burger during a press conference on Capitol Hill, an activity he claimed would be illegal under a Green New Deal.

In reality, nobody’s banning beef. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the driving force behind the Green New Deal, really did suggest that “maybe we shouldn’t be eating a hamburger for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” and her office did release (and then retract) a fact sheet implying a desire to “get rid of farting cows.” A lot of environmental activists really do target red meat, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) , a vegan who hopes to replace Trump, really did recently observe that “this planet simply can’t sustain billions of people consuming industrially produced animal agriculture.” But the actual Green New Deal resolution calls only for dramatic reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions from agriculture. It says nothing about seizing steaks, and no Democrats are pushing to confiscate cows regardless of their tailpipe emissions.

Source: Inside the Race to Build the Burger of the Future – POLITICO Magazine

Opinion | Why Are We Still Slaughtering the American Bison? – The New York Times

By Richard Conniff
Contributing Opinion Writer

March 30, 2019

Bison in Yellowstone National Park.CreditCreditJosh Haner/The New York Times

“In a 120-acre pasture on an Indian reservation in northeastern Montana, five prime examples of America’s national mammal rumble and snort. They shake their enormous heads and use them to plow aside the snow to get to their feed. In the night, I like to think, they put those shaggy heads together to ruminate on the weird politics of the American West and blast clouds of exhausted air out their shiny nostrils.

These five, all males, arrived last month from Yellowstone National Park, the last great refuge of the wild bison that once dominated the American landscape from Pennsylvania to Oregon. Their arrival marks the beginning of what will ostensibly become a pipeline sending surplus bison from Yellowstone out to repopulate portions of their old habitat.

Since 2000, it has been the custom to send 600 or 1,000 prize Yellowstone bison to slaughter every year at about this time to keep the park’s booming population at roughly 4,000 animals. The meat goes mainly to tribal nations. Even so, the culling is perverse and wasteful: Yellowstone is home to genetically pure wild bison, coveted by national parks, Native American tribes and conservation groups across the West.

But Yellowstone is also home to a notorious disease called brucellosis, dreaded by cattle ranchers everywhere. And while Congress in 2016 designated the American bison the national mammal, everyone knows that title comes with fine print reading “other than cattle.” And when it comes to cattle — a species that is not native to North America — the politics always gets weird.”