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📝 Must Read Op-Ed and Profiles



Yes, good one…

Here’s another on PBS Newshour

(Matt Kiser) #342

In an otherwise blameless life, Paul Manafort lobbied on behalf of the tobacco industry and wangled millions in tax breaks for corporations.


Must Read!
In a new profile in The Washington Post, Speaker Pelosi explains why she against the impeachment of Trump.

There have been increasing calls, including from some of your members, for impeachment of the president.

I’m not for impeachment. This is news. I’m going to give you some news right now because I haven’t said this to any press person before. But since you asked, and I’ve been thinking about this: Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.

Day 781

Must read!
A conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates

In recent days, as Democrats debated the definition of “reparations,” Joe Biden rationalized his opposition to integration, and socialist congresswomen started demanding the rebirth of a nation, inquiring minds wanted to know: What would Ta-Nehisi say?

Throughout the Obama years, Ta-Nehisi Coates provided politics-watchers with a regular source of historically grounded, bracingly well-written punditry and reporting. But since 2016, the writer’s ambitions have led him off of Twitter and out out of the news cycle, leaving us to navigate the Trump era’s dark waters without the aid of his insight.

Until now, anyway. Earlier this week, New York caught up with the author of Between the World and Me and “The Case for Reparations” to discuss the latest developments in the Democratic Party’s 2020 primary race, the case for — and against — reparations, and the role of pop culture in fostering progressive change.

Read more below :point_down:


An upbeat editorial combined with an inspiring profile…

In a homeless shelter in Manhattan, an 8-year-old boy is walking to his room, carrying an awkward load in his arms, unfazed by screams from a troubled resident. The boy is a Nigerian refugee with an uncertain future, but he is beaming.

He can’t stop grinning because the awkward load is a huge trophy, almost as big as he is. This homeless third grader has just won his category at the New York State chess championship.

Much of the news of the last week has focused on wealthy families buying access to great universities, either illegally through bribes or legally through donations. There is no question that America is a tilted playing field that gives wealthy children huge advantages.

So we should all grin along with Tanitoluwa Adewumi, the newly crowned chess champion for kindergarten through third grade. He went undefeated at the state tournament last weekend, outwitting children from elite private schools with private chess tutors. …

Tani’s family fled northern Nigeria in 2017, fearing attacks by Boko Haram terrorists on Christians such as themselves. “I don’t want to lose any loved ones,” his father, Kayode Adewumi, told me.

So Tani, his parents and his older brother arrived in New York City a bit more than a year ago, and a pastor helped steer them to a homeless shelter. Tani began attending the local elementary school, P.S. 116, which has a part-time chess teacher who taught Tani’s class how to play.

Tani’s mom can’t play chess but takes him every Saturday to a three-hour free practice session in Harlem, and she attends his tournaments. His dad lets Tani use his laptop each evening to practice. And although religion is extremely important to the family, the parents let Tani miss church when necessary to attend a tournament.

“Tani is rich beyond measure,” in the strength, love and support of his family, Makofsky told me.

Tani’s dad has two jobs: He rents a car that he uses to drive for Uber, and he has also become a licensed real estate salesman. Tani’s mom has passed a course to become a home health aide. Meeting them, it’s easy to see where Tani’s scrappy diligence came from. …

“I feel American,” he explained. In fact, the family’s asylum request is dragging on, with the next hearing scheduled for August.

Tani tries to put that out of his mind. He lies on the floor of the shelter and practices chess for hours each evening — now preparing for the elementary national championship in May. …

Tani is a reminder that refugees enrich this nation — and that talent is universal, even if opportunity is not. Back in Nigeria, his parents say, his brilliance at chess would never have had an outlet.

“The U.S. is a dream country,” his dad told me. “Thank God I live in the greatest city in the world, which is New York, New York.”


While this unseating of T’s Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh is a long shot, it is worth noting that there may be an angle to do so. Impeachment is a difficult climb in terms of getting all the votes in House and Senate necessary. Already 20 ethics violations against Kavanaugh have been dropped, and it maybe up to Justice Roberts to impose a 'code of conduct’ clause into the Supreme Court.

#LongShot #HailMary

Donald Trump is up for reelection in about 18 months. Even if he wins, he is term-limited out of office after 2024. Even if he declares a national emergency and appoints himself dictator for life, Trump is a 72-year-old man with the diet of the Hamburglar. Most people reading this will outlive Donald Trump.

Many of us will not outlive Brett Kavanaugh. And the Constitution vests him with power for the rest of his natural life. If Democrats are going to make a move against any federal official, it should be against the Supreme Court justice who is under the cloud of 83 ethics violations.

State and federal prosecutors might someday hold Trump and his associates accountable in court for their apparent wrongdoing. Not so with Kavanaugh. Those 83 ethics complaints, all inspired by his conduct at his nomination hearings, were dismissed in December by 10th Circuit Judge Timothy Tymkovich. Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit rejected 20 appeals to reinstate the complaints. No ruling has been made about the validity of any of the allegations. The court dismissed the claims because it believes it has no authority to hold a sitting Supreme Court Justice accountable.

Chief Supreme Court Justice John Roberts is apparently thinking about imposing some kind of code of conduct upon his colleagues, but currently none exists.

But there is a constitutional mechanism to do something about Kavanaugh and the many, many lies he is accused of telling. That process is called “impeachment.

The process to impeach a Supreme Court justice is exactly the same as the process to impeach a president: a majority vote in the House of Representatives brings the charges (those charges are what we call “impeachment”), then there is a trial in the Senate. A two-thirds supermajority vote in the Senate is required to convict and remove a judge, or president, or any other federal official from office.

Because removal requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate, I know some Democrats will say that bringing charges against Brett Kavanaugh—impeaching him—is pointless. Some Democrats insist on living in a country where nothing is “worth it” unless Republicans are likely to agree.


Yes! 83 ethics violation complaints swept under the rug. Shame, shame, shame on the Republicans. Impeach Kavanaugh!

And, IMHO, even more importantly, he flagrantly lied under oath before Congress and the nation. A judge who is proven to have lied under oath cannot continue serving as a judge in any court, let alone the Supreme Court. The reasons: First, he has lost all credibility. Second, and most importantly, how can a judge who has committed perjury hold a perjurer accountable?


Must read Profile

Lachlan Murdoch takes control of Fox Corp. But how will he deal with President Trump?

President Trump has never called Lachlan Murdoch.

The 47-year-old media scion, best known for being Rupert Murdoch’s son, is finally inheriting the mantle of chief executive of the family business. But while Trump and Rupert speak regularly, the president has not picked up the phone and dialed Lachlan.

Lachlan’s emergence as leader of Fox Corp. following the close of the Murdochs’ $71.3 billion sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney, puts him on new, inherently political terrain that will test his talents as an executive and invite inevitable comparisons with his father.

Decades ago he was promised the mantle at Fox, but the company he will run is not what anyone expected, and disappointments have lined his path to this moment. Not only is Lachlan more distant from the White House than his hard-charging father, he will oversee a much smaller company — parent to Fox News, Fox Sports, Fox Entertainment and Fox TV Stations.


Whether or not T demonstrated obstruction of justice in firing Comey, this opinion piece does not address it. Comey wants to see that Mueller’s work is not impeded and that the process has been clear.

James Comey: What I Want From the Mueller Report

I am rooting for a demonstration to the world that the United States justice system works

I do have one hope that I should confess. I hope that Mr. Trump is not impeached and removed from office before the end of his term. I don’t mean that Congress shouldn’t move ahead with the process of impeachment governed by our Constitution, if Congress thinks the provable facts are there. I just hope it doesn’t. Because if Mr. Trump were removed from office by Congress, a significant portion of this country would see this as a coup, and it would drive those people farther from the common center of American life, more deeply fracturing our country.

Critics of Mr. Trump should hope for something much harder to distort, or to nurse as a grievance, than an impeachment. We need a resounding election result in 2020, where Americans of all stripes, divided as they may be about important policy issues — immigration, guns, abortion, climate change, regulation, taxes — take a moment from their busy lives to show that they are united by something even more important: the belief that the president of the United States cannot be a chronic liar who repeatedly attacks the rule of law. Then we can get back to policy disagreements.

I just hope we are up to it.


This opinion piece by Robert Reich*, may reflect a lot of our views now here at WTF. The damage has been done already, by seeing the upheaval in norms and the fracturing of institutions we hold dear, ex. Rule of Law, role of the press, belief in the Presidency.

It can not be stressed enough as Obama had put it to Ben Rhodes **

"“But,” he added, “we’re about to find out how resilient our institutions are, at home and around the world.”

The Guardian Op-Ed

The real danger is that as attention inevitably turns to the 2020 campaign, controversy over the Mueller report will obscure the far more basic issues of Trump’s competence and character.

An American president is not just the chief executive of the United States, and the office he (eventually she) holds is not just a bully pulpit to advance policy ideas. He is also a moral leader, and the office is a moral pulpit invested with meaning about the common good.

  • Robert Bernard Reich is an American political commentator, professor, and author. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. He was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He was a member of President-elect Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board. WIKI

** Review of Ben Rhodes book/WaPo

After Trump’s victory, Obama tried to deconstruct what happened. “We had it all teed up,” he told Rhodes, noting that unemployment was low, gas prices had come down, millions of formerly uninsured people had health coverage. He then spoke of a New York Times column he read asserting that liberals had underestimated the importance of identity to voters. “Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe,” Obama said. Rhodes pushed back, arguing that young people around the world are more tolerant. “They get it,” he said, adding, “Young people didn’t vote for Trump, just like young people in the UK didn’t vote for Brexit.”

Obama conceded that Rhodes might be right. “But,” he added, “we’re about to find out how resilient our institutions are, at home and around the world.” I suppose it’s good to know that in private Obama was as worried as the rest of us. It just doesn’t make me feel any safer.


It’s like he read my mind! I have tremendous respect for Reich and hope that some day soon we can bring professionals of his caliber back into the White House.

A line that really struck me with me with its sad truth:

Trump undermined core values of our democracy.


When Barr hands over to T a win, which on the face of it appears to be No Collusion only…but the kicker is the No Exoneration, which should stop him in his tracks. (#WishfulThinking) T takes this as his 2020 battle cry…


NYTimes: No Collusion, No Exoneration

According to Mr. Barr’s four-page summary, Mr. Mueller and his team were unable to establish that anyone connected to the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government when it interfered to help Mr. Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign.

This should provide some relief to all Americans who have harbored fears that a presidential candidate was conspiring with Vladimir Putin to subvert American democracy. Mr. Mueller — who never once responded to the shameless stream of insults Mr. Trump has hurled at him over the last two years — is as careful and thorough an investigator as there is. His investigation lasted almost two years, issued more than 2,800 subpoenas and roughly 500 search warrants and heard from a similar number of witnesses. If he couldn’t find any links, it’s doubtful anyone could.

What this outcome is not, however, is a “Complete and Total EXONERATION,” as Mr. Trump unsurprisingly spun it. Mr. Mueller explicitly declined to exonerate the president on the matter of obstruction of justice — a crime that constituted one of the articles of impeachment for both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. After examining Mr. Trump’s actions and weighing “difficult issues” of law and fact, Mr. Mueller punted. “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him,” the report states.


George Conway III, the husband of you-know-who comes out swinging at DT…Not fit for office.

So it should have come as no surprise that the obstruction case was difficult, and inconclusive. But Barr’s letter revealed something unexpected about the obstruction issue: that Mueller said his “report does not conclude that the President committed a crime” but that “it also does not exonerate him.” The report does not exonerate the president? That’s a stunning thing for a prosecutor to say. Mueller didn’t have to say that. Indeed, making that very point, the president’s outside counsel, Rudolph W. Giuliani, called the statement a “cheap shot.”

But Mueller isn’t prone to cheap shots; he plays by the rules, every step of the way. If his report doesn’t exonerate the president, there must be something pretty damning in it about him, even if it might not suffice to prove a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. And in saying that the report “catalogu[ed] the President’s actions, many of which took place in public view,” Barr’s letter makes clear that the report also catalogues actions taken privately that shed light on possible obstruction, actions that the American people and Congress yet know nothing about.

At the same time, and equally remarkably, Mueller, according to Barr, said he “ultimately determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment” regarding obstruction. Reading that statement together with the no-exoneration statement, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Mueller wrote his report to allow the American people and Congress to decide what to make of the facts. And that is what should — must — happen now.

But whether the Mueller report ever sees the light of day, there is one charge that can be resolved now. Americans should expect far more from a president than merely that he not be provably a criminal. They should expect a president to comport himself in accordance with the high duties of his office. As all presidents must, Trump swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, and to faithfully execute his office and the laws in accordance with the Constitution. That oath requires putting the national interests above his personal interests.

Yet virtually from the moment he took office, in his response to the Russia investigation, Trump has done precisely the opposite: Relentlessly attacked an attorney general, Mueller, the Justice Department — including suggesting that his own deputy attorney general should go to jail. Lied, to the point that his own lawyers wouldn’t dare let him speak to Mueller, lest he commit a crime. Been more concerned about touting his supposedly historic election victory than confronting an attack on our democracy by a hostile foreign power.

If the charge were unfitness for office, the verdict would already be in: guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.