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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#14581 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2020-January-08, 04:42

WP headline:

Quote

White House stumbles in initial public response to Soleimani’s killing

https://www.washingt...a776_story.html

That seems a little harsh. After all, the US government couldn't possibly have been prepared for a sudden unexpected development such as the US government deciding to strike an Iranian government official out of the blue. Every government would stumble in the face of such a shock!
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#14582 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-08, 05:19

Geraldine Brooks, who covered the Middle East for the Wall Street Journal from 1987 to 1995, reminds us that Suleimeni is not the only one who harmed civilians and that assassination is not a substitute for diplomacy and coherent foreign policy:

Quote

It was a hot day in June, 30 years ago. I was sweating in a chador, a speck in the black-clad throng of mourners pouring through Tehran for the funeral of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. As the keening crowd surged dangerously toward the grave site, I was lifted off my feet, lost in a heaving mass of humanity.

Then, I was a Middle East correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. My job was to understand and explain why what may have been the largest crowd of mourners ever assembled wept hysterically for a man my readers considered monstrous.

Today, three decades of diplomatic failure later, I watch from afar on cable news as a similar crowd in Iran, this time a deadly one, mourns Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani. I’m not a journalist anymore, so I’m reduced to groaning at the TV when commentators don’t help us understand what’s going on, but instead confound our understanding by providing incorrect information.

Watching CNN, I howl in frustration when a reporter states that in July 1988 the United States Navy warship Vincennes “accidentally” shot down Iran Air 655, a civilian passenger plane, and that nine months later, General Suleimani arranged the pipe-bombing in Washington of a vehicle driven by the wife of the Vincennes’s commander, Capt. William C. Rogers III. (She survived the blast.)

The CNN reporter implies that this demonstrates how volatile and dangerous General Suleimani was. But the F.B.I. was unable to establish that the bombing of the Rogers vehicle was an act of Iranian terrorism; the case remains open. And the attack on Iran Air 655 by the Vincennes wasn’t, in any meaningful sense, accidental — and it killed 290 people, 66 of them children.

In 1988 I traveled to Iran for the funerals of those 290 civilians. Their bodies had been fished from the water of the Persian Gulf and brought home for burial. My editor called me as I left for Tehran, asking me to consider the possibility that Iran shot down the plane itself, since she thought it odd that the recovered bodies were unclothed. “Did they put naked corpses in that plane before they shot it down?” she asked.

She could be forgiven for not knowing the relevant physics: Clothing would be torn from the passenger’s bodies as the exploding plane plummeted from the sky into the sea. It was harder to forgive her cultural unawareness: A state as obsessed with modesty as Iran was — to the extent of covering every hair on a woman’s head and every male kneecap — would never consider undressing bodies before blowing them up.

Ignorance surrounded — and still surrounds — that tragedy. In the immediate aftermath of the downing of Iran Air 655, the United States military’s prevarications came thick and fast: The plane wasn’t in the civilian air corridor. (It was.) It didn’t have its transponder turned on. (It did.) It was descending toward the Vincennes. (It wasn’t.)

The truth gradually came out in the course of the Navy’s own inquiries and in later investigative reports that revealed a pattern of reckless aggression by the Vincennes captain, beginning a month earlier. David Carlson, the commanding officer of the frigate Sides, which was also deployed then in the gulf, called the downing of the Iranian airliner “the horrifying climax” of that aggressiveness. Just before firing at the plane, Captain Rogers had provoked Iranian gunboats and then followed them into Iran’s territorial waters.

Yet the United States later decorated Captain Rogers “for exceptionally meritorious conduct” as commander of the Vincennes during that time. The citation made no mention of the downing of Iran Air 655. How would Americans feel if Iran pinned a medal on a man who killed 290 American civilians?

General Suleimani has American blood on his hands, as we are reminded repeatedly, not only by President Trump but also by Democratic presidential candidates. This is true. But is it wrong to remind ourselves of the Iranian blood we have on ours?

On other reporting trips to Iran, I visited Khorramshahr, a city that had been reduced to rubble by a barrage of shelling by Saddam Hussein, as well as the civilian neighborhoods of Tehran, which had endured a similar barrage. At that time Mr. Hussein was, as the United States ambassador in Baghdad told me, “a guy we can work with.” We and Israel secretly provided him with information on how best to target his missile strikes. There, too, civilian Iranian blood was on our hands.

Having witnessed that destruction, I don’t find it hard to understand why Iran seeks to build up its missile capability. We would, if in its position. Israel’s supporters often note that Israel’s military aggression can be excused because it lives in “a bad neighborhood” — and indeed, it does. But we characterize Iran as “meddling” in Iraq, forgetting or oblivious to the fact that not long ago Iraq posed an existential threat to Iran, which the United States abetted.

General Suleimani killed Americans and, we are told, had plans to kill more. He was a military commander. Military commanders have plans to kill their enemies. And the United States is Iran’s enemy, reneging on the nuclear agreement and choking its economy, impoverishing and immiserating civilians who have nothing to do with, and no say in, their government’s policy.

Is Iran a brutal, murderous, repressive regime that tramples the rights of women and minorities? No doubt. But so is Saudi Arabia, and we have managed to work with that regime. Iran is just as critical to the long-term stability of the region.

Forty years is a long time for the United States to be without a diplomatic presence in a country, and Iran bears the blame for severing those relations. But the dangerous, disproportionate assassination of General Suleimani may have shut the diplomatic door for many more decades.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14583 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-January-08, 08:55

View Postcherdano, on 2020-January-08, 04:42, said:


WP headline:

https://www.washingt...a776_story.html

That seems a little harsh. After all, the US government couldn't possibly have been prepared for a sudden unexpected development such as the US government deciding to strike an Iranian government official out of the blue. Every government would stumble in the face of such a shock!


When it becomes difficult to distinguish irony from accurate assessment I think that we are in deep trouble.
Ken
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#14584 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-08, 14:45

I'm beginning to see the problem.

Daily Beast:

Quote

Less than a third of registered American voters are able to correctly point to Iran on an unlabeled world map, a survey has shown.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14585 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-January-08, 18:25

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-January-08, 14:45, said:

I'm beginning to see the problem.

Daily Beast:




If about, but not quite, one in three Americans can find Iran on an un-labeled map I would be pleasantly surprised. I am sure that when I was 20 I could not have, and probably not when I was 30 either. I think Becky can identify all of the countries of South America from an unmarked map and name the capitals. I cannot. I can find Germany, Norway, France etc on an unmarked map but Ukraine? Maybe. I hope my life never depends on it.


Quick, what's the capital of Uruguay? I think I do know that one. But when someone was speaking of their trip to Panama City I thought that they had gone to Panama. Naive me.
Ken
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#14586 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-09, 08:12

From Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg:

Quote

I had a Twitter discussion awhile ago in which I argued that Utah Senator Mike Lee was one of the three or four most likely Republicans to vote to convict and remove President Donald Trump after a Senate impeachment trial. After Wednesday, I’m even more convinced of it.

That’s not to say that Lee is likely to vote to convict. Indeed, it’s very possible that all 53 Republicans will vote to acquit. And I haven’t seen any reporting at all suggesting that Lee is among the handful pushing for witnesses to be called and documents and other evidence to be collected and presented. Nevertheless, I still think that if there are (say) four votes to convict, Lee would probably be one of them.

Why Lee? Because he has a history of being concerned with overreach in the presidency and the executive branch. That came out again after senators were briefed on the Iran situation in the aftermath of the U.S. drone strike that killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, at the Baghdad airport last Friday. Lee emerged from the secure location and absolutely blasted the briefers to the media, calling it “probably the worst briefing I have seen” on military matters and hitting hard against how “insulting and demeaning” it had been because “one of the messages we received from the briefers was, ‘Do not debate, do not discuss the issue of the appropriateness of further military intervention against Iran,’ and that if you do ‘You will be emboldening Iran.’”

This isn’t the first time Lee has dissented. He was one of a handful of Republican senators who voted against Trump on two measures that the president eventually vetoed: One to prevent Trump from transferring funds to pay for his Mexican-border wall, and another over U.S. support of Saudi Arabia and its allies in a proxy war in Yemen.

So he’s willing to oppose Trump, including by voting against Trump’s priorities, on issues relating to what he sees as outsized claims of authority by the executive.

It doesn’t take a lot of heavy thinking to conclude that a senator upset that a president would ignore the law (in the form of specific congressional spending decisions) over money diverted to the border wall might also be unhappy about a president who refused to send duly authorized military aid to Ukraine. Or that he might find it outrageous or worse if that president refused to cooperate with congressional oversight efforts to determine what happened to the money. In fact, it’s hard to imagine that Lee hasn’t made that connection already. (If he hasn’t, it’s another good reason for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to appoint Republican-turned-independent Representative Justin Amash as one of the impeachment managers). The issues are pretty closely related.

And Lee’s electoral situation gives him a fair amount of room. Utah is solidly Republican, but it’s not very Trumpy. He might be joined in voting to convict by Utah’s other Republican senator, Mitt Romney. Lee isn’t up for re-election until 2022, when he certainly doesn’t have to worry about losing a general election because of some Trump die-hards staying home to punish him. He might have reason to fear a challenge to his re-nomination, but on the whole he’s probably about as safe as anyone. And as far as I know, Lee doesn’t have presidential ambitions of his own that could be destroyed by voting against Trump.

None of which means that Lee will necessarily back up any unhappiness he feels by actually voting to remove the president. Even if I’m correct that he really does deplore executive-branch overreach and favors standing up for congressional authority, Lee also no doubt has plenty of loyalty to his party and to his constituents, who surely oppose impeachment even if they’re less Trumpy than Republicans elsewhere. In other words, at the very least he will be be squeezed between his principled opposition to presidential abuse of power and his obligations to party and voters.

Still, to identify Lee as cross-pressured is to peg him as one of the handful most likely to vote to remove. Most Republican senators are going to think of the impeachment trial as an easy vote for acquittal. They aren’t going to feel pressured at all. (Perhaps they should, but I doubt they will). I don’t know whether Lee will join them, but if so I don’t think he’ll be entirely comfortable.

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#14587 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-January-09, 10:33

View Postkenberg, on 2020-January-08, 18:25, said:




If about, but not quite, one in three Americans can find Iran on an un-labeled map I would be pleasantly surprised. I am sure that when I was 20 I could not have, and probably not when I was 30 either. I think Becky can identify all of the countries of South America from an unmarked map and name the capitals. I cannot. I can find Germany, Norway, France etc on an unmarked map but Ukraine? Maybe. I hope my life never depends on it.


Quick, what's the capital of Uruguay? I think I do know that one. But when someone was speaking of their trip to Panama City I thought that they had gone to Panama. Naive me.

I also consider myself reasonably well informed, and I wouldn't be able to label most countries in the Middle East. The exceptions would be the ones directly around Israel, since I learned that geography in Hebrew School when I was a kid.

#14588 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-09, 15:13

View Postkenberg, on 2020-January-08, 18:25, said:




If about, but not quite, one in three Americans can find Iran on an un-labeled map I would be pleasantly surprised. I am sure that when I was 20 I could not have, and probably not when I was 30 either. I think Becky can identify all of the countries of South America from an unmarked map and name the capitals. I cannot. I can find Germany, Norway, France etc on an unmarked map but Ukraine? Maybe. I hope my life never depends on it.


Quick, what's the capital of Uruguay? I think I do know that one. But when someone was speaking of their trip to Panama City I thought that they had gone to Panama. Naive me.


Well, here is the problem as I see it.

If someone doesn't know where Iran is located - even close - has no idea of its neighbors, its history, its enemies, its risks, etc., then how can someone make a determination about that country without taking other peoples' word?

An example. My own brother - as a reminder, is right wing and a retired U.S. Army Colonel - used to throw around the quote attributed to Iran's ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad where he supposedly declared Israel should be "wiped off the map". I decided to find out for myself what this big "Iran problem" was all about.

As it turns out that quote wasn't entirely accurate. Still, what got to me is that when you truly looked into his views, what Ahmandinejad had to say wan't insane at all - in fact, it was quite logical. One of his main contentions was that because Germany was the source of the attempted genocide of the Jews, Germany should have been the country to sacrifice land for an Israeli state. To me, that makes perfect sense. Instead, the Palestinians were compelled to accept a Jewish nation and either incorporate or move. This was unfair to the Palestinians. I agree.

Although I disagree with Iran on many things, I do not consider them crazy or illogical. Dangerous? Yes. Unreasonable? No.

So, back to my main point - the 1 in 3 voters who can't find Iran on a map. It is not the geography that makes me uneasy but the lack of curiosity and dependence on viewpoints other than their own.

Someone is supposed to have once claimed, "You can't cheat an honest man." I would modify that a bit: You may be able to cheat him, but if you target a critical thinker you will have a much harder go of it.

It's the same reason I don't automatically agree with John Bolton. He's peddling propaganda to serve his agenda, not trying to establish a basic truth that leads to an informed decision.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14589 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-09, 22:07

I'm pretty sure Trump is right that we need to deregulate even more <_< - probably just get rid of...say...the FAA:


Quote

House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, who has been investigating the MAX, said the messages “paint a deeply disturbing picture of the lengths Boeing was apparently willing to go to in order to evade scrutiny from regulators, flight crews, and the flying public, even as its own employees were sounding alarms internally.”

He added: “they show a coordinated effort dating back to the earliest days of the 737 MAX program to conceal critical information from regulators and the public.”

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14590 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-January-10, 02:13

Unintended consequences - Assassination of Soleimani probably led to the deaths of 176 people on a flight bound for Ukraine

Iran May Have Downed Passenger Plane Killing 176 People, U.S. Officials Say

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson supported the assessment, saying evidence indicates an Iranian surface-to-air missile downed the plane. He added that striking the plane may have been unintentional, and said it was too early to draw conclusions.

The only thing that is sure is that President Impeached will not take any responsibility for starting the chain of events that led to these deaths.

In other news, the White House has announced the imminent threat to the US that led to the assassination of Soleimani. Apparently Iran had planned to steal Mount Rushmore and relocate it to Iran. They had secretly bought several moving companies and had lined up hundreds of semi-trucks to drive the sculpture to Iran in the middle of the night when nobody was watching. On a personal note, I have to thank the Manchurian President for saving one of our national treasures.

Ooops, this was the top secret information that Democrats couldn't be trusted with, so nobody should discuss this Iranian plot in public or private.
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#14591 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2020-January-10, 10:35

View PostWinstonm, on 2020-January-09, 15:13, said:

[size="4"]Well, here is the problem as I see it.

If someone doesn't know where Iran is located - even close - has no idea of its neighbors, its history, its enemies, its risks, etc., then how can someone make a determination about that country without taking other peoples' word?

I know it's in the Middle East, and I think it borders Iraq, because I remember battles between them. But I couldn't specifically point out which is which on a map.

#14592 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2020-January-10, 17:56

View Postjohnu, on 2020-January-10, 02:13, said:

In other news, the White House has announced the imminent threat to the US that led to the assassination of Soleimani. Apparently Iran had planned to steal Mount Rushmore and relocate it to Iran. They had secretly bought several moving companies and had lined up hundreds of semi-trucks to drive the sculpture to Iran in the middle of the night when nobody was watching. On a personal note, I have to thank the Manchurian President for saving one of our national treasures.

President Impeached is now saying that Iran was planning to steal the Grand Canyon and drop it in the Persian Gulf which would leave a big, dangerous hole in the ground in the US, and cause a tsunami which would inundate US bases in the Arabian Peninsula. I thank Individual-1 for saving thousands of US military lives and saving the Grand Canyon for future generations.

Obvious that the Dems in Congress couldn't be trusted not to leak this latest bit of information.
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#14593 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 11:28

From Elaine Luria and Max Rose at NYT:

Elaine Luria (@ElaineLuriaVA) serves the 2nd District of Virginia in the United States Congress. She’s a Navy veteran. Max Rose (MaxRose4NY) serves New York’s 11th District in Congress. He’s a veteran of the U.S. Army.

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The most consequential decision a member of Congress can make is whether to send troops into harm’s way, and it is one we take seriously and personally. We both served in the greater Middle East and saw the impact of these intractable conflicts on our fellow service members and their families. Our military personnel are our nation’s most valuable asset; we must not send them into unnecessary war.

We voted against the War Powers Resolution that the House passed this week because it merely restated existing law. It addressed a de-escalated conflict with a symbolic vote that did more to distract than to fix the real challenges we face. If Congress wants to assert its power to declare war, we must take on the hard task of publicly debating a new Authorization for Use of Military Force, the A.U.M.F., as it’s commonly called, as well as congressional appropriations for military operations. That is where decisions of war and peace are made.

Qassim Suleimani was a terrorist responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans. Our fellow service members were killed and wounded at his direction, and all intelligence indicates that he was in the process of planning further attacks. President Trump was within his right to order this attack and is now correctly de-escalating the conflict with the clear mandate that we must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear capability.

We are not at war with Iran, and no president can engage in war without congressional approval. But the commander in chief holds the authority and responsibility to target hostile combatants who threaten American forces and civilians. The War Powers Resolution passed by the House this week sends the wrong message to the American people and the world that our nation is heading toward or is currently engaged in war with Iran. Neither are true.

While we respect our colleagues who serve our nation and supported this resolution, the debate Congress should have is not whether the president had the authority to carry out the Suleimani killing, but rather how we move forward as a governing body if we must commit forces in future sustained combat operations to protect our nation.

It is Congress’s responsibility to act as a check on presidential power — and that includes on matters relating to war. This past week underscored that the United States is operating under outdated laws governing the use of force. We must replace the nearly two-decade-old A.U.M.F.s with a legal framework that empowers the president to act against threats to our nation while constraining him from unilaterally placing us on a path to war. We must also use the power of the purse in stating our military objectives.

Our constituents sent us to Congress to do what is right, even when it is difficult. This transcends partisan politics. It’s about changing the way we engage in war and peace for decades to come. Now it is up to Congress to debate an A.U.M.F. that reflects the threats of today and tomorrow, not the forever wars of yesterday.

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#14594 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-11, 14:24

From Sydney Ember at NYT:

Quote

DES MOINES — Bernie Sanders edged ahead of his Democratic rivals in Iowa, affirming his resurgence less than four weeks before next month’s caucuses, according to a new poll from The Des Moines Register and CNN.

The poll showed that Mr. Sanders was the first choice for 20 percent of would-be caucusgoers, an increase of five percentage points from November, when The Register last polled the state. He was followed closely by Elizabeth Warren at 17 percent, Pete Buttigieg at 16 percent and Joseph R. Biden Jr. at 15.

The results are the latest sign that Mr. Sanders — lifted by his loyal supporters and an unchanging message — has strong campaign momentum heading into the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses and has rebounded politically after having a heart attack in October. It is the first time he has led a Register poll this cycle. In 2016, Mr. Sanders battled Hillary Clinton to a virtual tie in Iowa, transforming him into a threat for the Democratic nomination.

The poll was less kind to Mr. Buttigieg, who held a dominant lead in the last Register poll, with 25 percent support. That poll also showed Ms. Warren at 16 percent and Mr. Biden at 15 percent.

To say the poll was highly anticipated is an understatement. The poll is the first significant survey from Iowa in nearly two months, a drought that has left a murky picture of the Democratic primary race in a state that conducts its first-in-the-nation caucuses. Iowans famously break late, sometimes making their final decision in the weeks and days before the caucuses occur, and every campaign will be scrutinizing the results for signs that their candidate is strengthening — and that their rivals are weakening — heading into the final stretch.

The poll numbers are the latest evidence that the race in Iowa remains fluid and winnable for the top four candidates, who have all crisscrossed the state in recent weeks to try to persuade supporters to come out for them on caucus night. Only 40 percent of respondents said their minds were made up, a reflection of the indecision on the ground, where conversations with Iowans often reveal that they still favor multiple candidates.

Of paramount importance to many Democrats in Iowa is beating President Trump in the general election in November. But the absence of a clear front-runner, along with no indication that any one candidate will break away from the pack in the remaining weeks, has left many voters unsure where to align their preferences.

Amy Klobuchar, who has attracted more interest in recent weeks but has yet to convert that into an increase in actual support, held steady at 6 percent, good for a distant fifth place in the poll. Cory Booker, who is hoping for a lucky break, also remained unchanged at 3 percent, behind the entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who was at 5 percent.

The poll of 701 likely Democratic caucusgoers was conducted Jan. 2-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14595 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-12, 10:06

From Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDUnn at NYT:

Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn are the authors of “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope,” from which this essay is adapted.

Quote

YAMHILL, Ore. — Chaos reigned daily on the No. 6 school bus, with working-class boys and girls flirting and gossiping and dreaming, brimming with mischief, bravado and optimism. Nick rode it every day in the 1970s with neighbors here in rural Oregon, neighbors like Farlan, Zealan, Rogena, Nathan and Keylan Knapp.

They were bright, rambunctious, upwardly mobile youngsters whose father had a good job installing pipes. The Knapps were thrilled to have just bought their own home, and everyone oohed and aahed when Farlan received a Ford Mustang for his 16th birthday.

Yet today about one-quarter of the children on that No. 6 bus are dead, mostly from drugs, suicide, alcohol or reckless accidents. Of the five Knapp kids who had once been so cheery, Farlan died of liver failure from drink and drugs, Zealan burned to death in a house fire while passed out drunk, Rogena died from hepatitis linked to drug use and Nathan blew himself up cooking meth. Keylan survived partly because he spent 13 years in a state penitentiary.

Among other kids on the bus, Mike died from suicide, Steve from the aftermath of a motorcycle accident, Cindy from depression and a heart attack, Jeff from a daredevil car crash, Billy from diabetes in prison, Kevin from obesity-related ailments, Tim from a construction accident, Sue from undetermined causes. And then there’s Chris, who is presumed dead after years of alcoholism and homelessness. At least one more is in prison, and another is homeless.

We Americans are locked in political combat and focused on President Trump, but there is a cancer gnawing at the nation that predates Trump and is larger than him. Suicides are at their highest rate since World War II; one child in seven is living with a parent suffering from substance abuse; a baby is born every 15 minutes after prenatal exposure to opioids; America is slipping as a great power.

We have deep structural problems that have been a half century in the making, under both political parties, and that are often transmitted from generation to generation. Only in America has life expectancy now fallen three years in a row, for the first time in a century, because of “deaths of despair.”

“The meaningfulness of the working-class life seems to have evaporated,” Angus Deaton, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, told us. “The economy just seems to have stopped delivering for these people.” Deaton and the economist Anne Case, who is also his wife, coined the term “deaths of despair” to describe the surge of mortality from alcohol, drugs and suicide.

The kids on the No. 6 bus rode into a cataclysm as working-class communities disintegrated across America because of lost jobs, broken families, gloom — and failed policies. The suffering was invisible to affluent Americans, but the consequences are now evident to all: The survivors mostly voted for Trump, some in hopes that he would rescue them, but under him the number of children without health insurance has risen by more than 400,000.

The stock market is near record highs, but working-class Americans (often defined as those without college degrees) continue to struggle. If you’re only a high school graduate, or worse, a dropout, work no longer pays. If the federal minimum wage in 1968 had kept up with inflation and productivity, it would now be $22 an hour. Instead, it’s $7.25.

We were foreign correspondents together for many years, periodically covering humanitarian crises in distant countries. Then we would return to the Kristof family farm in Yamhill and see a humanitarian crisis unfolding in a community we loved — and a similar unraveling was happening in towns across the country. This was not one town’s problem, but a crisis in the American system.

“I’m a capitalist, and even I think capitalism is broken,” says Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund.

Even in this presidential campaign, the unraveling of working-class communities receives little attention. There is talk about the middle class, but very little about the working class; we discuss college access but not the one in seven children who don’t graduate from high school. America is like a boat that is half-capsized, but those partying above water seem oblivious.

“We have to stop being obsessed over impeachment and start actually digging in and solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected in the first place,” Andrew Yang argued in the last Democratic presidential debate. Whatever you think of Yang as a candidate, on this he is dead right: We have to treat America’s cancer.

In some ways, the situation is worsening, because families have imploded under the pressure of drug and alcohol abuse, and children are growing up in desperate circumstances. One of our dearest friends in Yamhill, Clayton Green, a brilliant mechanic who was three years behind Nick in school, died last January, leaving five grandchildren — and all have been removed from their parents by the state for their protection. A local school official sighs that some children are “feral.”

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If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14596 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 15:27

I think Trump is confusing imminent with Imam, which gives imminent threat a whole different meaning.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14597 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-January-13, 17:04


View Posty66, on 2020-January-12, 10:06, said:

From Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDUnn at NYT:

Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn are the authors of "Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope," from which this essay is adapted.






Just a little further down we find:


Quote

Farlan, the oldest of the Knapp children, was in Nick's grade. A talented woodworker, he dreamed of opening a business called "Farlan's Far Out Fantastic Freaky Furniture." But Farlan ended up dropping out of school after the ninth grade.

Although he never took high school chemistry, Farlan became a first-rate chemist: He was one of the first people in the Yamhill area to cook meth. For a time he was a successful entrepreneur known for his high quality merchandise. "This is what I was made for," he once announced with quiet pride. But he abused his own drugs and by his 40s was gaunt and frail.

In some ways, he was a great dad, for he loved his two daughters, Amber and Andrea, and they idolized him. But theirs was not an optimal upbringing: In one of Amber's baby pictures, there's a plate of cocaine in the background.





The authors present ideas as to why things go wrong. They spend some time talking about this family.

But we get "Farlan ended up dropping out of school after the ninth grade." Why? And he went into the drug business. Why?



They are very dismissive of any notion of personal responsibility. But in a family that they look at closely they repeatedly duck opportunity to examine how the choices were made.



At one point they say "It would be easy but too simplistic to blame just automation and lost jobs" and I thought great. they will look at how some of the choices were made. Nope, they continue "The problems are also rooted in disastrous policy choices over 50 years."

Of course the matter is not solely personal responsibility. I don't know anyone who thinks that it is. But might it play some role?

If a struggling person read this article and took it seriously they might well conclude "Well, the article makes it clear that my choices are not the issue, it's all up to someone else". I really do not think that is a message that we want to send.
Why is it so hard to see that A. People need help and B. People's lives can go better or worse because of some of their own choices. Both are important.

Added:
The article has been bugging me. Here is something from further down in the story.

Quote


Americans also bought into a misconceived "personal responsibility" narrative that blamed people for being poor. It's true, of course, that personal responsibility matters: People we spoke to often acknowledged engaging in self-destructive behaviors. But when you can predict wretched outcomes based on the ZIP code where a child is born, the problem is not bad choices the infant is making. If we're going to obsess about personal responsibility, let's also have a conversation about social responsibility.


Quite a bit in a short space. Notions of personal responsibility are misconceived. People who talk of personal responsibility blame people for being poor. The authors rebut the idea that an infant is responsible for bad choices s/he has made.

This is a condescending, arrogant, dismissive, and erroneous, description of views on personal responsibility. I will say a bit about what I mean when I speak of responsibility. Things have gone wrong in my life. When they do, I reflect on errors that I have made, i try to correct them if possible, I try to learn from those errors in the hope of being a little smarter the next time around.
I do not think this approach is misconceived, I think it is realistic. I do not blame people for being poor, although I sometimes think individual decisions are ill-advised. The comment about mistakes made by infants was simply the authors cute, so they hope, way of being dismissive.

I can of course simply ignore this article. I don't know the authors, they don't know me, I am happy to leave it that way. But those who wish to win support from the public might give some thought to whether such dismissive gibberish is the best way to go.

Ken
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#14598 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-14, 13:00

In this conversation from 2017, J.D. Vance, who wrote "Hillbilly Elegy", and William Julius Wilson talk about the role that poverty, family, community, personal responsibility and luck all play in helping or hindering individual chances for escaping entrenched poverty. They agree that personal responsibility is important and they give tremendous credit to family members who helped cultivate this in their own lives and to their good fortune in having such family members. Where they disagree is in how much "structural forces" affect personal responsibility. Wilson believes that personal responsibility and the structural forces within which it operates are "recursively associated". Vance concedes that life is unfair for a lot of poor Americans and maintains that we have to emphasize the role of individual agency in spite of that unfairness and that it's a difficult balancing act. "I may not have struck that balancing act perfectly in the book", he says "but that was the intention".

I suspect they would both agree that a kid born into a family where the father cooks meth and cocaine is left lying around the house is facing an uphill battle and that, if they aren't fortunate enough to have someone in a position of responsibility in their lives to help shape their values and their decision making process, the odds that they will make bad decisions and not reflect clearly on their responsibility for making them increase recursively over time, as Wilson notes, until something happens to break the cycle or end it permanently.

I suspect they would both also agree that the leaders we need are men and women who believe in the principle of equality of life chances, regardless of race, class, gender and family background, and who work hard to increase them.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14599 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-January-14, 15:19

From William Barr, Trump’s Sword and Shield by David Rohde at the New Yorker:

Quote

In private gatherings, current and former F.B.I. agents and Justice Department officials register exhaustion at Trump’s attacks on the F.B.I. Recent retirees told me that they were surprised by how little they missed working at the Bureau.

Some agents have embraced Wray’s admonition to do their work and ignore the political brawl around them. After two and a half years on the job, Wray, a low-key former prosecutor and corporate lawyer, has inspired loyalty for handling a difficult situation gracefully. The Bureau, like the country, is deeply divided; even some agents who find Trump personally distasteful say that they support his policies. Comey was a popular director, but agents complain that his calls for people to vote against Trump play into conspiracy theories about the Bureau. The clearest sentiment is disdain for the political class. Last winter, during the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, the Bureau’s thirteen thousand agents and twenty thousand support staffers struggled to pay their bills. After employees walked into supervisors’ offices in tears, agents set up impromptu food banks to help colleagues. Trump caused the shutdown by demanding that Congress fund his border wall with Mexico, but many agents argued that politicians on both sides were responsible. “They didn’t do their job,” Tom O’Connor, a retired F.B.I. agent, told me.

The political combat of the Trump era was breeding apathy and disgust. F.B.I. and Justice Department officials said that if Trump was reëlected there would be an exodus of employees. Some retired agents fear that the institution will not survive another four years.

Stephen Gillers suggested that Trump’s attacks were part of a drive for increased power. “One way that Trump seeks to maximize control is minimizing the disclosure of information and undermining the credibility of information,” he said. “The Congress needs information to do its job, and the President has frozen it out—especially in the impeachment investigation. Another check is the media, and the President’s use of the term ‘fake news’ can cause people to lose faith in the media. What remains are the courts, which are slow and cumbersome.”

Donald Ayer, the former Bush Administration Deputy Attorney General, warned that Barr’s interpretations of executive power could be validated. “The ultimate question is what happens when these reach the Supreme Court, which has two Trump appointees,” he said. “There is a real danger that he succeeds.” Some legal analysts believe that Barr is overplaying his hand. Benjamin Wittes, of Lawfare, predicted that the Supreme Court would reject Barr’s extreme positions, creating precedents that ultimately reduce the power of the Presidency. “The idea that the President gets to assert executive privilege over material that has already been made public is laughable,” Wittes told me. “I think they are very likely to lose a lot of this.”

Chuck Cooper, the conservative litigator, disagreed. He said that Barr’s tenure represented the achievement of the legal project launched during the Reagan Administration. “He is building and extending on a foundation,” Cooper said. “It was popularized and very robustly advanced by the Meese Justice Department.” Last October, in the Oval Office, Trump awarded Meese the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. Barr attended, and Meese thanked him for carrying on his legacy: “You’ve risen to continue the string of great Attorneys General in this country.”

As Barr insists on expanded Presidential power, Republican voters are starting to agree. According to the Pew Center, forty-three per cent of Republicans believe that “presidents could operate more effectively if they did not have to worry so much about Congress and the courts.” That number has increased from fourteen per cent when Trump took office. A House G.O.P. report about Ukraine endorsed his singular authority; slightly misquoting John Marshall, it argued that Trump was, “constitutionally, the ‘nation’s sole organ of foreign affairs,’ ” and thus had unlimited latitude in his dealings with Ukraine.

Ayer fears that Barr has combined a Reagan-era drive to dismantle government with a Trump-era drive to politicize it. As the White House succeeds in holding off congressional attempts at removing Trump from office, Barr is winning his long war on the power of the legislative branch. In the 2020 campaign, Trump will argue that he alone can protect the country from the dangers posed by the left, immigrants, and other enemies. And Barr’s vision of Presidential power will be the Party’s mainstream position. “Barr sought out the opportunity to be Donald Trump’s Attorney General,” Ayer said. “This, I believe, was his opportunity—the opportunity of a lifetime—to make major progress on advancing his vision of an all-powerful Chief Executive.”

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#14600 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2020-January-14, 20:51

Impeachment by mime.

https://www.rollcall...ol-press-access

Quote

The Senate sergeant-at-arms and Capitol Police are launching an unprecedented crackdown on the Capitol press corps for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, following a standoff between the Capitol’s chief security officials, Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt and the standing committees of correspondents.

Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund and Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael C. Stenger will enact a plan that intends to protect senators and the chamber, but it also suggests that credentialed reporters and photographers whom senators interact with on a daily basis are considered a threat.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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