NY Times

Principled Conservatives Who Oppose Trump: Ben Sasse, Evan McMullin, Bill Kristol, Peggy Noonan, David Frum, George Will, David Brooks

Only two weeks and three days into the Trump Presidency, and many principled conservatives are clearly opposing Donald Trump, and speaking out against him.

This includes Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska; independent 2016 Presidential candidate Evan McMullin; Weekly Standard Publisher and Editor Bill Kristol; former Reagan speechwriter and columnist Peggy Noonan; former Bush II speechwriter and columnist David Frum; conservative columnist George Will; and NY Times columnist David Brooks.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, as these and others in the conservative movement and in the Republican Party in and out of Congress are horrified by his unconstitutional actions and rhetoric, and signs of a growing Fascism directed by White House aides Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller, and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

There are hints that people working in the White House and in the Cabinet agencies are uneasy and disturbed, and it is possible we might have some prominent figures announce their split with their boss and his dangerous extremists who are taking charge and putting the nation in danger as a result, both in domestic and foreign policy.

With the immigration travel ban being contested now in the federal courts, we may be on the way to a quick movement to force Trump out of office for violating his Constitutional oath of office.

The nation and the world are standing by in trepidation as to how much damage Trump has wrought and will continue to do so.

40th Anniversary Of Pentagon Papers!

Yesterday marked the 40th Anniversary of the release of the Pentagon Papers, secret documents stolen by Daniel Ellsberg, and released to the NY Times and Washington Post.

The administration of Richard Nixon tried to stop the release, but lost in the Supreme Court, and this enraged Nixon, and started him down the road of illegality, leading to the Watergate scandal a year later.

Ellsberg, still alive and kicking, remains a symbol for those who believe that Vietnam was an illegal war, wrongly prosecuted, and it started to turn the country against the war on a larger scale than ever before.

The revelation of government manipulation and deceit under various administrations also had the deleterious effect of undermining faith in our government, a cynicism which remains prevalent today!

Paul Krugman And Robert Reich Challenge Obama: Stop Giving In To Opposition Republicans!

Leading liberal, progressive voices such as NY Times columnist Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and Professor of Economics at Princeton University, and Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton, and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, have called upon President Obama to stop giving in to Republicans, as they claim he did in December’s and this month’s budget deals.

They call upon the President to work against the temptation to copy the Republicans on the budget issue, and instead call for tax increases on the top two percent, and support the Medicare and Social Security system by recognizing that we must all have shared sacrifice and expect the closing of tax loopholes and the raising of taxes on the middle class, which should have gone up during the Bush administration to cover the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the prescription plan for seniors, all of which was paid for with borrowed money.

This is a bold statement by both, and one awaits Barack Obama’s reaction to the Paul Ryan plan to change Medicare to a voucher system and avoid any new taxes.

The Obama speech will be made public today, and it may have a great effect on united backing of Obama within his party for the 2012 election, and certainly will frame the debate over the budget and the raising of the debt ceiling, challenges the country faces before the year ends!

The House Of Representatives Battlegrounds: Can The Democrats Keep Control?

The NY Times has published a detailed look at the battleground states in play for the House of Representatives, which most polls now predict will go Republican in November.

As the Times portrays it, each party has 168 safe seats, with the remaining 99 in play!

However, the projection is that the Democrats lead in 47 and the Republicans in 19, with 33 seats a tossup. So if you count those that lean to one party or the other, the Democrats would have 215 seats, and the Republicans would have 187, meaning the Democrats would only need 3 more seats to keep control of the chamber!

Of course, leaning to one party or the other does not mean it is a guarantee that the elections will work out that way, and voter turnout and enthusiasm will be, as always, a key factor in the results! At this point, the enthusiasm and turnout has favored the Republicans, a bad sign for the Democrats in November if it continues! 🙁

When one looks at the key House races which are tossups, it is noticeable that Pennsylvania has four contested seats; while Florida and Illinois have three competitive seats; and Indiana, Michigan and New Hampshire each have two battleground seats! So 16 of the 33 tossup seats are in states which Barack Obama won. That plus 10 other seats in states which Obama won (Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin) would mean a total of 26 seats, and if these all went to the Democrats, it would give them a total of 241 seats, meaning a loss of 16 seats, a mild loss!

But this is all speculative, and we will simply have to see if the Democrats can change the public mood in the next eight weeks and retain control of the House of Representatives and keep Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House!

A Journalistic Legend Is Gone: Daniel Schorr, 1916-2010

Just as I was leaving for my NYC vacation, the news came that journalistic legend Daniel Schorr had passed away at age 93!

Daniel Schorr was one of a rare breed of journalists that we are unlikely to see again in a field that has changed so much!

Schorr worked for the Christian Science Monitor for decades! He also reported for the NY Times until he went to CBS News as part of the great group of journalists who worked for Edward R. Murrow!

He became controversial during the administration of President Richard Nixon, deeply hated by the President, who put him on the “enemy list” for his open opposition to the Nixon policies and his investigation of Watergate!

He then worked for CNN, and after a few years, went to National Public Radio, where he worked until his death! The author had heard his commentary very recently, and wondered how long he had been serving as a journalist, checking it out as being over 60 amazing years!

Schorr spoke his mind, but it was based upon careful scholarly research, not just personal opinion! He was a walking history book, having been intimately involved in our politics through his coverage of presidents from Eisenhower to Obama!

He was the winner of three Emmys during the Watergate years, as well as a Peabody for a lifetime of reporting, and numerous other awards, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Society of Professional Journalists!

Daniel Schorr was a thought provoking and insightful journalist who gave pleasure to his listeners on many channels over the years, and he cannot be replaced, any more than Walter Cronkite, one of his colleagues at CBS, can be replaced!

Journalism will never be the same, but he left a legacy that will endure!

Confusing And Mixed Messages From President Obama

President Obama seems very confused since the victory of Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race last week, and he is sending mixed messages.

First, he goes out and speaks before public audiences, stating that he will “fight” for us, and will do so till his “last breath” and will “not rest” in doing what must be done for the American people.

Then his spokesmen on Sunday talk shows–Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, and Robert Gibbs–make it seem that he will continue to push his agenda, while admitting things will be more difficult to achieve with the recent Massachusetts election results.

Then, he tells Diane Sawyer on ABC that he would rather be a one term successful President than a two term mediocre President, which adds to the idea that he will fight for his programs, including health care reform. One thing is clear: The New York Times calls on him today in an editorial to continue to fight for a substantial health reform bill as something that cannot be abandoned after so much progress and commitment, the same as the author feels. But yet, one can wonder if the President will bend to the Massachusetts election results and back away from the fight for health care reform.

Now, the news comes out that he wants to cut domestic spending on education, nutrition, air traffic control, national parks and farm subsidies among others to a freeze level, which means behind inflation, over the next three budget years. This “freeze” would only affect the budget by three percent of the added national debt expected, about $250 million out of $9 billion!

The cuts would not affect military, homeland security, veterans, social security, medicare, medicaid, and Obama plans to ask for more money for such programs as child care, student loans, and retirement savings in his State of the Union address tomorrow night.

It is meant to be a gesture, it seems, to conservatives, Republicans and independents who complain about the budget deficit, but it really does little to deal with that issue, and is more just a political act that will not fool anyone, and may be subject to ridicule.

What it comes down to is that the budget deficit is going to grow no matter what is cut, as it is simply a political issue for both sides of the political equation, and no one is willing to do anything really tough in the midst of an economic recession and threats to national security.

But the fact that Obama said to Diane Sawyer about having one term of success rather than two terms of mediocrity may make some wonder if he intends to be aggressive in pursuit of his goals that he was elected on, even if it means not having a second term. Or could it be he may decide what seems hard to believe? That is, maybe NOT seek a second term and sacrifice it to fight for accomplishment of his goals? Is that what we will hear at some point in the next year if his party suffers major losses in the midterm elections? Or despite all his rhetoric and of those in his administration, will he instead abandon his goals at the end?

Stay tuned and be careful to analyze his State of the Union address on Wednesday night as I intend to do! 🙂

NY Times Columnist Tom Friedman And Obama’s Afghan Policy

NY Times columnist Tom Friedman is a thoughtful, insightful man, who is often seen as very perceptive.

Therefore, what he says about President Obama’s Afghan War policy is something to reflect upon.

He compares what Obama is doing to an unemployed couple in the United States adopting a “special needs” child. Obviously, it is hard to make sense of such an action.

Friedman makes clear his belief that we have so much to do at home, and so little in resources to do it, and are creating an unsustainable national debt. Also, Afghanistan, the poorest non African country in the world, is so corrupt and has such an inept government that we cannot expect that country to be self sustaining, so how can we expect to leave that nation beginning in mid 2011?

Friedman wonders how we can build a decent government that Afghans will want to fight for. He sees doom ahead, with a heavy loss of American lives and an unsustainable increase in the national debt.

This wise man must be paid attention to, and it certainly sobers the author and many other thoughtful doubters of this war strategy of our President, who means well, but is likely leading us down the wrong path!