Opinion | Resign- Mike Pompeo. Resign- John Bolton. – by Bret Stephens – NYT

Before the word “resignation” became a euphemism for being fired, it connoted a sense of public integrity and personal honor. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and his deputy, William Ruckelshaus, showed both qualities when they resigned from the Nixon administration during the Saturday Night Massacre in 1973. Jimmy Carter’s secretary of state, Cyrus Vance, did likewise when he resigned during the Iran hostage crisis in 1980.

Assuming Mike Pompeo and John Bolton still have their own senses intact, they too should resign following the epic disgrace of the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki on Monday. So should their senior staff.

I don’t suggest this lightly. I’ve known both men for years, respect them, and wrote friendly columns when they took their current jobs. I share many of their hawkish views, and have applauded some of the administration’s controversial foreign policy decisions, particularly the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

I’m also cognizant of two factors weighing against resignation. First, cabinet members and other senior White House officials owe a president deep loyalty whatever their policy differences — the sort of loyalty George Marshall showed when he declined to resign as secretary of state despite his fierce opposition to Harry Truman’s decision to recognize Israel.

via Opinion | Resign, Mike Pompeo. Resign, John Bolton. – The New York Times

David Linday

I agree with those commenters who say the president has committed treason. Here is comment that I also endorsed though:

ChristineMcM
Massachusetts

“By continuing to serve the president, Pompeo and Bolton and their top aides are not — as they doubtlessly tell themselves in humiliating moments like this one — cleaning up after him. They are covering up for him.”

I’d use another word: “enabling,.” As they sit their silently, clearly uncomfortable with, hints of benign smiles on their faces, they form a wall of complicity with a president who is out for himself, even if that means embracing an autocrat.

I’ve wondered too just what Pompeo and Bolton are doing by participating in this wretched administration that violates just about everything they’ve stood for all their professional lives.

I may not have agreed with them, but I never doubted their patriotism and desire to serve America.

They look like so many pictures on a wall, disposable, and immovable, with no impact on a presidency run amok.

It’s also tiring to hear the most likely excuse, “if we don’t stay, things will get worse.”

So let them! Let the world and America see the full impact of the president’s folly. Don’t protect him or lend the aura of respectability.

If you can’t rein the president as he blows up 70 years of US foreign policy making, then leave.

Your departures just might bring more Americans to their senses as they follow the Pied Piper of Putin over a cliff.

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Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them? – By HENRY FOUNTAIN – NYT

The country lost most of its trees long ago. Despite years of replanting, it isn’t making much progress.

By HENRY FOUNTAIN
OCT. 20, 2017
GUNNARSHOLT, Iceland — With his flats of saplings and a red planting tool, Jon Asgeir Jonsson is a foot soldier in the fight to reforest Iceland, working to bring new life to largely barren landscapes.

Jon Asgeir Jonsson, who works for a private forestry association, with larch saplings in western Iceland.
The country lost most of its trees more than a thousand years ago, when Viking settlers took their axes to the forests that covered one-quarter of the countryside. Now Icelanders would like to get some of those forests back, to improve and stabilize the country’s harsh soils, help agriculture and fight climate change.

via Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them? – The New York Times

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Climate Change Is Killing the Cedars of Lebanon – by Anne Barnard and Josh Haner – NYT

Anne Barnard, the New York Times Beirut bureau chief for the past six years, and Josh Haner, a Times photographer, went to Lebanon’s cedar forests to see how the trees are today.
JULY 18, 2018

BAROUK CEDAR FOREST, LEBANON — Walking among the cedars on a mountain slope in Lebanon feels like visiting the territory of primeval beings. Some of the oldest trees have been here for more than 1,000 years, spreading their uniquely horizontal branches like outstretched arms and sending their roots deep into the craggy limestone. They flourish on the moisture and cool temperatures that make this ecosystem unusual in the Middle East, with mountaintops that snare the clouds floating in from the Mediterranean Sea and gleam with winter snow.

But now, after centuries of human depredation, the cedars of Lebanon face perhaps their most dangerous threat: Climate change could wipe out most of the country’s remaining cedar forests by the end of the century.

As temperatures rise, the cedars’ ecological comfort zone is moving up the mountains to higher altitudes, chasing the cold winters they need to reproduce. But here in the Barouk forest, part of the Shouf Biosphere Reserve, south of Beirut, there isn’t much farther up to go. If the climate warms at the rates expected because of the continued rise of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, some scholars say that by 2100 cedars will be able to thrive only at the northern tip of the country, where the mountains are higher.

In the north, though, there are different problems. Lebanon’s densest cedar forest, the Tannourine Cedars Forest Nature Reserve, has lost more than 7 percent of its trees to insect infestations unknown before 1997. They are directly tied to a warming, drying climate.

via Climate Change Is Killing the Cedars of Lebanon – The New York Times

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How to Combat China’s Rise in Tech: Federal Spending- Not Tariffs – by Farhad Manjoo – NYT

One program, Made in China 2025, outlines a road map for China to become a world leader in advanced manufacturing (things like robotics, aircraft and machine tools). Another plan calls for China to achieve dominance in artificial intelligence. Based on similar initiatives, the Chinese have already seen big wins. Americans invented the modern solar power industry, but thanks to Chinese government intervention, China’s solar industry leads the world. So does its high-speed rail system.

The Trump administration objects to China’s tech visions. It has cited Chinese government support for tech as a primary reason for imposing tariffs on Chinese goods. But its objections only put the disconnect in stark relief. If the United States is worried that the Chinese will win the future because they’re actually spending money to win the future, why aren’t we doing the same?

“It is a waste that we are not using the rise of China as a galvanizing cry to invest more in science and technology in America,” said Yasheng Huang, an economist who studies Chinese politics and business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. He has argued that rather than imposing tariffs to respond to programs like Made in China 2025, Americans should respond as we did in 1957, when we sharply increased government spending on science after the Soviet Union launched the world’s first man-made satellite, Sputnik 1.

via How to Combat China’s Rise in Tech: Federal Spending, Not Tariffs – The New York Times

David Lindsay:

Excellent piece by Farad Manjoo. He writes:”The Trump administration objects to China’s tech visions. It has cited Chinese government support for tech as a primary reason for imposing tariffs on Chinese goods. . . . If the United States is worried that the Chinese will win the future because they’re actually spending money to win the future, why aren’t we doing the same?

“It is a waste that we are not using the rise of China as a galvanizing cry to invest more in science and technology in America,” said Yasheng Huang, an economist who studies Chinese politics and business at the MIT’s School of Management. He has argued that rather than imposing tariffs to respond to programs like Made in China 2025, Americans should respond as we did in 1957, when we sharply increased government spending on science after the Soviet Union launched the world’s first man-made satellite, Sputnik 1.”

Yes, and, along with more investment, such efforts like the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership, are essential to our taking leadership in helping set the rules of trade, and discouraging intellectual property theft, and environmental degradation. Staying in the Paris Climate Agreement, and instigating a massive carbon tax would also help. Invest in the future, not the past. Clearly, we need better leadership.

David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com

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How WhatsApp Pushes Mobs to Murder in India – By Vindu Goel, Suhasini Raj and Priyadarshini Ravichandran – NYT

In India, false rumors about child kidnappers have gone viral on WhatsApp, prompting fearful mobs to kill two dozen innocent people since April.

One of the first to be killed was a 65-year-old woman named Rukmani.

She and four family members were driving to a temple in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in May. A mob on this road mistook them for “child lifters” and assaulted them.

via How WhatsApp Pushes Mobs to Murder in India – The New York Times

I came to breakfast, and read about the EU fining Google 5.1 Billion dollars for using the Android OS for phones to force sellers and customers into Google search and apps. I need more information, and don’t understand it clearly.

I thought about posting to my Facebook page, that we should copy the EU, and make a $50 Million dollar fine for companies like facebook, if they don’t identify and take down fake news within 24 hours. The EU passed such a law this spring, and voila, facebook set up a 2000 person emergency center in Germany, which takes down all fake news inside of 24 hours.
We should follow the EU in regulating facebook, and possibly google, et cetera.
Then, I get to the story below, about WhatsApp abuse in India leading to mobs killing innocent neighbors. Guess who owns WhatsApp. Facebook. They should have to pay costs and penalites for crimes of neglect, carelessness and recklessness. They started making obvious improvements overnight. I don’t want to quit facebook, I want strong goverment regulations to protect the public from themselves and Russian trolls, bots and hackers.

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Google Fined $5.1 Billion by E.U. in Android Antitrust Ruling – By Adam Satariano – NYT

European officials said Google, which makes the Android mobile operating system used in smartphones, broke antitrust laws by striking deals with handset manufacturers such as HTC, Huawei and Samsung. The agreements required Google’s services, such as its search bar and Chrome browser, to be favored over rival offerings. European authorities said those moves unfairly boxed out competitors.

“Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine,” said Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief. “These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under E.U. antitrust rules.”

via Google Fined $5.1 Billion by E.U. in Android Antitrust Ruling – The New York Times

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Opinion | After You- Mr. Putin – By Gail Collins and Bret Stephens – NYT

By Gail Collins and Bret Stephens
Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are opinion columnists. They converse every other week.

July 17, 2018

607 comments

A demolition derby car in Forks, Wash.CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times
Gail Collins: Bret, there are so many things to say about the Trump-Putin press conference in Helsinki. But let me admit that my absolute top take away was that at a critical moment in modern American history, our president managed to mention his winning margin in the Electoral College.

I’m not normally a speechless person but wow. Tell me everything you’re thinking.

Bret Stephens: The 25th Amendment. You know the one: the mechanisms for removal of a president who is manifestly unfit for office.

Gail: To think that just last weekend we thought he was only unfit for office because he was a morally bankrupt egomaniac with a very shady legal history. Those were the days.

Bret: Also, I’m thinking about just what Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and the rest of right-wing punditry would be saying if it had been President Barack Obama at that podium, saying the sort of things Trump was saying, not to mention the way he said it.

via Opinion | After You, Mr. Putin – The New York Times

David Lindsay:   What a great day for opinion and good sentences at the NYT. Brett sounds down right patriotic and apoplectic, somewhat surprising, given that he is a very right wing conservative ideologue.

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Opinion | The Murder-Suicide of the West – by David Brooks – NYT

When C.S. Lewis was a boy, his mother died. “With my mother’s death,” he wrote, “all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable, disappeared from my life. There was to be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs of Joy; but no more of the old security. It was sea and islands now; the great continent had sunk like Atlantis.”

It may seem melodramatic, but that passage comes to mind when I think of the death of America’s relationship with Europe, and Donald Trump’s betrayal Monday of the democratic values that were the basis for that relationship.

Europe is America’s mother continent. Our foundational institutions were inherited from Europe. Our democracy is Greek and British. Our universities are German. The etiquette book George Washington read to improve himself was translated from French, and so were Thomas Jefferson’s ideals.

Europe represented a path to progress; America saw itself embracing that path and surpassing it. After the revolution, as the historian Joseph Ellis has written, Americans were sure a new generation of Shakespeares, Dantes and Ciceros would arise on North American soil.

via Opinion | The Murder-Suicide of the West – The New York Times

David Lindsay:

David Brooks goes on to say the damage is irreparable. I find that unbelievable. David Brooks, get a grip.  Most Americans want to stay in NATO, just like most Britains probably now want to stay in the European Union.  Russia isn’t really a big enemy. Overpopulation and climate change are much bigger threats to our way of life, and democracy.  As your fan, I wish you had written this despair piece after Trump is reelected. I plan to work hard to see that that doesn’t happen. And I loved your opening statement in your essay.

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Opinion | Trump and Putin vs. America – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

From the beginning of his administration, President Trump has responded to every new bit of evidence from the C.I.A., F.B.I. and N.S.A. that Russia intervened in our last election on his behalf by either attacking Barack Obama or the Democrats for being too lax — never President Vladimir Putin of Russia for his unprecedented cyberhit on our democratic process. Such behavior by an American president is so perverse, so contrary to American interests and values, that it leads to only one conclusion: Donald Trump is either an asset of Russian intelligence or really enjoys playing one on TV.

Everything that happened in Helsinki today only reinforces that conclusion. My fellow Americans, we are in trouble and we have some big decisions to make today. This was a historic moment in the entire history of the United States.

There is overwhelming evidence that our president, for the first time in our history, is deliberately or through gross negligence or because of his own twisted personality engaged in treasonous behavior — behavior that violates his oath of office to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

via Opinion | Trump and Putin vs. America – The New York Times

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Critics of Trump Have a New Word in Their Vocabulary: Treason – By Peter Baker – NYT

By Peter Baker
July 17, 2018

WASHINGTON — John O. Brennan spent a career in the Central Intelligence Agency defending the United States against its enemies. For decades, that meant terrorists, rogue regimes or the Russians. For him now, it means the president of the United States.

When Mr. Brennan accused President Trump of treason following Monday’s meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, it opened a floodgate. The New York Daily News used the banner headline “OPEN TREASON” on its cover. Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel called it treason on their late-night shows.

In a presidency without precedent, mark another moment for the history books.

While the T-word has been thrown around on the fringes of the political debate about other presidents or politicians from time to time, never in the modern era has it become part of the national conversation in such a prominent way. Never in anyone’s lifetime has a president engendered such a wave of discussion about whether his real loyalty was to a foreign power over his own country.

via Critics of Trump Have a New Word in Their Vocabulary: Treason – The New York Times

David Lindsay:  Paul Krugman and I have both been using the T word for over a year. I wrote, or hope I wrote, that Trump’s attack on the work of the EPA to protect Americans and the environment was treasonous. His putting Putin over NATO was visible a year ago. This November, let’s vote these crooks and scoundrels out of office.

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