Maureen Dowd | School Shootings and America’s Human Sacrifices – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

“WASHINGTON — Once, when I thought of child sacrifice, I thought of ancient shibboleths.

In Aeschylus, Agamemnon lures his daughter Iphigenia to a spot she thinks is for her wedding, as the chorus urges: “Hoist her over the altar like a yearling, give it all your strength … gag her hard.” Agamemnon agonized but felt he had to sacrifice his daughter to appease a goddess and be granted favorable winds to sail against Troy. Small sacrifice to get your fleet moving.

In Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus kills his daughter, Lavinia, at the dinner table, after she has been raped and maimed by attackers. “Die, die, Lavinia!” he cries. “And thy shame with thee.” Small sacrifice to save your honor.

On “Game of Thrones,” Stannis Baratheon orders his sweet child Shireen burned at the stake, as she cries out for the father she adores, so black magic will melt the snows. Small sacrifice to get your starving army on the march.

Now, however, I think of child sacrifice as a modern phenomenon, a barbaric one that defines this country. We are sacrificing children, not only the ones who die, but also those who watch and those who fear the future.”

” . . . .   “Meaningful policy discussions over guns or voting or public health have left the room,” said my colleague Elizabeth Williamson, the author of the new book “Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth.” “Spewing conspiracy theories and bench-clearing nonsense around mass shootings, elections and coronavirus is becoming a tribal signifier for some on the right.”

The Republicans are doing everything they can to stop women from having control over their own bodies and doing nothing to stop the carnage against kids; they may as well change the party symbol from an elephant to an AR-15.

America is stuck in a loop on guns — and it’s a fatal one. This country always cherished its frontier image, Gary Cooper in “High Noon,” shooting it out with the bad guys. But now when the bad guys start shooting, lawmakers just shrug.

We’ve become a country of cowards, so terrified of the unholy power of gun worship that no sacrifice of young blood is too great to appease it.”   -30-

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:

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 | 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.  . . . “

Maureen Dowd | Joe Biden: Old Pol, New Tricks – The New York Times

Opinion Columnist

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Credit…Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

“WASHINGTON — Joe Biden never had a seat at the cool kids’ table at the Obama White House.

Heading into 2016 and 2020, if you told the hotshots from Obamaworld that you thought Biden would be a good candidate, they would uniformly offer a look of infinite patience, tolerance and condescension and say something like, “Well, I could understand how someone would think that.”

The message was unmistakable: Biden was not part of the Obama entourage. He was sort of a goofball and windbag. He was a member of an older, outmoded generation. In other words, uncool.

The West Wing attitude was that Biden should simply be grateful that the Great Obama had handed him a ticket to ride. Biden was viewed as a past-his-sell-by-date pol who needed the president’s guiding hand to keep Uncle Joe from making a fool of himself as vice president.

In 2012, Biden faced “friendly fire” from the West Wing, as one outraged Biden family member put it to me back then. Obama aides were furious when Biden went on “Meet the Press” and made a glorious gaffe, blurting out support for gay marriage while his boss was still dragging his feet. They trashed him anonymously to reporters, froze him out of meetings and barred him from doing some national media.”

David Lindsay:  While this column by Maureen Dowd has some flaws, it made me smile, since I too think Obama was an pretty bad president. Obama was and is a great guy, but he was an inexperienced and cautious politician. One could even hold Obama accountable for the rise of Trump.  Obama wasted a lot of his political capital waiting for Godot, for the GOP to compromise and help him help the country. His emergency bailout and stimulus package was half of what was needed in hindsight, and he followed the wrong advisors at the time. He failed to put bankers and fraudsters from Wall Street in jail, taking the advice of Wall Street chiefs, and enraged many less fortunate Americans, hundreds of thousands of whom lost their houses as the sub prime mortgage market collapsed. He unwisely took Pelosi’s advice, and in his first two years when he had a Democratic congress, he put heath care reform ahead of infrastructure and jobs, and then with the obstruction of the GOP led by Mitch McConnell, his presidency was doomed. Nothing else of consequence happened, since he lost the house in the mid terms. We made or continued the big international trade agreements, but didn’t do the job of finding or making work for the Americans displaced by the competition of world trade and the move towards automation is US manufacturing. The anger in white working class America was volcanic, and unaddressed, since the GOP wouldn’t let any of Obama’s responses go through.

The last  item on my short list is perhaps the most controversial. Obama was shy in foreign policy in Syria. He failed to follow the advice of his Joint Chiefs Staff and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and make war on Bashar Al Assad, after he crossed an expressed US red line, and used chemical weapons on the farmers, protestors and rebels from the north, who protested the lack of government aid while they combatted a severe drought attributed to climate change. The rebels of Syria begged for at least a  no fly zone to protect their schools and hospitals. Syria had about 21 million people. It is now an ugly state with perhaps 5 million refugees, 6 million displace persons, and a half million casualties, and there is a group of analysts who think we missed an important opportunity to remove or handcuff  or limit Assad to his southern enclave. Trump removed almost all of just 500 US troops from northern Syria, where they kept the peace, and we then witnessed the slaughter of  our close allies the Kurds and the northern rebels,  both of whom were betrayed by Trump. It was mainly the Kurds who did the fighting to defeat ISIS, with our backing and air support. They lost over 10,000 soldiers in that war with ISIS in Iraq.