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08/02/22 06:49 PM #16130    

 

Robert Hall

Margaret Sullivan's commentary today:

The symbiotic mutually advantageous bond between Rupert Murdoch's media empire and Donald Trump has often been described as a romance or a love fest.

Now that the relationship looks as if it may be headed to divorce court, let's remember what really matters in any decision to split up: money and power.

And let's remember what doesn't matter one whit:  loyalty.

There's no such thing on either side of this equation.  In fact, I'd argue that neither side is capable of it.

Trump, after all, is the president who seemed to think the vicious calls of the mob on January 6, 2021, to hang his ever faithful vice president Mike Pence were a pretty reasonable idea.

And he's the same guy who mysteriously seems to forget close associates as soon as they cause him any trouble.  After White House aide Cassidy Hutchison--a frequent presence in his meetings whose workstation was mere steps away from the Oval Office--offered devastating testimony to the January 6 select committee in June, Trump suffered the usual amnesia: "I hardly know who this person, Cassidy Hutchison, is, other than I heard very negative things about her (a total phony and 'leaker')..."

Semper Fidelis, in other words, isn't really Trump's strong suit.  More appropriate is what legendary Chicago columnist Mike Royko suggested as a motto for his city where city officials often had their hands in the till:  Ubi est mea? (Where's mine?)

As for the Murdochs, cold hard pragmatism will rule the day.  If Trump continues to serve the media empire's purposes as he has been doing so effectively for the past six years--bringing money in the form of ratings and viewership and benefitting Murdoch's chosen political party--he'll remain in favor.

If not, then he'll be tossed overboard without an iota of regret, at least not by the top leadership:  Rupert Murdoch and his increasingly important son, Lachlan.

Whether that will actually happen is not entirely clear.  The signs are still a little murky and certainly open to interpretation.

On the one hand, the opinion pages of two Murdoch newspapaers--the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post-- have turned on Trump recently, both offering scathing editorials that blasted him for his role on January 6, 2021, particularly his utter lack of leadership in calling off the dangerouse mob.  And, far more important than any newspaper editorial, his most valuable media ally, Fox News, has skipped much of the live coverage of the former president's speeches and rallies while not interviewing him live for months.

Worse, the person emerging as his chief rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has clearly caught the cable network's eye.

But there's still plenty of sycophancy on display.  Just days ago, the talking heads of "Fox & Friends"--perhaps chastened by Trump's raging that they had gone to the "dark side" after they reported some unfavorable poll numbers--once again stroked his fragile but oversize ego.  Brian Kilmeade called him the "greatest golfing president ever," and Ainsley Earhardt backed that up with one admiring exclamation: "Athletic!"

Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson showed up at Trump's Saudi-funded golf tournament over the weekend in Bedminster, N.J. and yukked it up with the former president over an anti-Biden chant from the crowd.

The Murdochs, it seems clear, are waiting to see which way the wind blows.

Yes, they are having their doubts about Trump as the right horse to back, but most of all, they desperately want to hang onto the vast base of MAGA voters (and viewers) who haven't quite made their minds up about moving on.

"Appearing loyal to Trump made them money, and the minute it stops making them money, they will stop doing it." a former Fox News commentator was qoted in a weekend story from my colleagues Sarah Ellison and Jeremy Barr.  The elder Murdoch may be personally disgusted, or at least put off, by Trump's malfeasance as it has been revealed in the House hearings; that distaste is probably what's being reflected in the Post and Journal editorials.

But we're not there yet.  And lofty ideals will have nothing to do with what ultimately happens.  Pure pragmatism will rule the day.

Despite his occasional fits of pique, Trump will never really turn on Fox.  After all, his social media platform, Truth Social, is no substitute for the constant blast of support that he can get from the most popular cable network in the land and from its primetime stars.  And the television alternatives he once touted, such as One America News and Newsmax, have not gotten the job done.

But the soulless expediency runs in both directions.  If Trump manages to snag the Republican nomination in 2024--very far from impossible despite his falling star--Fox will be right there by his side with pompoms and megaphone at the ready.

Not because of personal affection. Not because of stalwart loyalty.  But because that will be the best bet for maintaining what really matters.


08/03/22 05:46 AM #16131    

 

Jack Mallory

Robert, the phrase, referring to Trump, "stroked his fragile but oversize ego" is far too obscene to appear in a family-friendly forum! 

*******

Even more than Trump, these days, the appearance in the news of the InfoWars lie-monger Alex Jones forces me to avert my eyes from reality. Of all the members of the far-right lunatic cabal he is the worst, someone whose lies in return for power and wealth work to destroy lives already shattered by child-murdering violence. The racist anti-Semite, to whom Trump said when appearing on his show, "Your reputation is amazing. I will not let you down,” demeans the human species by claiming membership in it.

To regain my respect for humanity I turn my eyes to a more hopeful example of humanity and human endeavor--the scientists who work harder to reveal reality, in all its splendor, than those like Jones and Trump can work to pervert the truth. These days the accomplishments of the Webb telescope and its designers bring a beautiful vision of truth to our eyes.

 


08/03/22 12:38 PM #16132    

 

Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Beautiful picture Jack. Love joanie
And Robert thanks for posting that article by Sullivan. It seems right on about Murdoch the relationship with Trump. It's probably still wait and see....so nice to see some negatives for Trump with the NY Post and Wall Street Journal, but the thought of them all raising up Desantis, a bad dude but a smarter one, who can also cause a lot of damage is upsetting. .

08/03/22 08:39 PM #16133    

 

Stephen Hatchett

David, good to hear from you.  I'm almost next door by modern standards, living in the hils north of Livermore.  If you and your wife are into hiking in the East bay Regiona Parks, or kayaking somewhere, give us a buzz at (925) 640-0258.

One thing this forum does, over and over for me, is send me off reflecting on something, maybe a seemingly little thing, someone mentions. Like learning "disability".  I'd like to hear more from you, because you obviously overcame something.  I think that all too often a "disability" is a name given to "not like most other folks".  Example:  The senior captain in my little volunteer fire station is dyslexic.  When he draws a map on the board for and after-action discussion, he puts North anywhere he wants to. It doesn't matter to him, but it does to the rest of us.  When I've been out with him comparing Google Earth photos of groups of residenes in our area to the actual lay of the land (to see if something like a new water tank, propane tank, or other fire-relevant thing has changed), he does not have to orient the Google Earth photos to the actual landscape.  He can put North on the photo in any direction.  No problem for him -- big problem for me.   He was a leading engineer at the Livermore Lab in setting up underground nuclear tests.  Not a "disabilitly" at all for him, only a limitation on the rest of us.   Humans think they're so effing smart!.  When we finally encounter ET's, I wonder if we'll be smart enough to even have a clue.  Maybe we already have. 

Diversity of minds sure seems to be a huge plus in any big endeavor like the Webb telescope! I hope many of you caught the NOVA program about it.  That pic Jack just posted probably has more info in it than I got as a grad student in astrophysics.  The generation that gets to play with Webb data and use their diversity of minds to tease  the good stuff out -- is going to have a BALL! 

And is there anyone here, that doesnt kinda think of his-or-herself as a late bloomer?  (Maybe we should call ourselves the "Fall Asters") 


08/04/22 12:41 PM #16134    

 

Jay Shackford

 

Gotta Love Kansas

By Dead Center Shacks

Kissing Saudi Ass – “Nobody has gotten to the bottom of the 9/11 attacks.” So says Donald Trump when asked about the protesters outside his Bedminster (NJ) Golf Club located 50 miles from the World Trade Center at the beginning of his Saudi-backed-and-funded LIV golf tournament last week. Of course, we could give Old Bone Spurs a copy of “The 9/11 Commission Report,” which noted that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals and that both the CIA and FBI provided strong evidence to the commission linking the Saudis with Osama Bin Ladin and his band of terrorists. 

Of course, that would not do much to clarify the situation since Trump, in his own words, is the smartest President ever, knows everything about everything and has never read a book, much less a 600-page government report commissioned by then President George W. Bush.  Or, as many have noted, the MBS-led Saudi government has a terrible record on human rights, including the bone-saw killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 – a killing that apparently was ignored and swept under the rug during Trump’s term in office. 

Kicking al-Qaeda Ass – About the same time last week, President Joe Biden ordered a successful drone strike in Kabul against al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who was the brains behind the 9/11 attacks and Osama bin Laden’s deputy in 2001.  For our current President, Joe Biden is clearly motivated by our national security interests; for Trump, it is all about what’s good for Donald J. Trump.  If you doubt that, add up all the Saudi money the Trump family has collected over the years, including the value of the hundreds of condominiums sold to Saudi nationals as well as the billions of Saudi dollars given to Jared Kushner’s new equity fund in the final days of the Trump Administration.

The Gender Gap -- Even before the pandemic struck, young women were winning the race to a successful adulthood. In 2019, young women accounted for 60% of the first-year enrollees at U.S. colleges and universities.   That means young men accounted for only 40% of the freshmen class.   Women accounted for 57% of all undergraduate students in 2019. That, in my view, is not good. Men are falling farther and farther behind. Now, medical science tells us that young girls mature intellectually faster than their male counterparts, which might account for part of the gap.  My guess is that girls generally weathered the pandemic better than boys. But a 10% gap is a big, gaping hole to make up.  Any ideas on why this is happening?  Perhaps we should delay college for everyone, requiring two years of national service for both young men and women after high school.  At 20 or 21, I think we would have a much more level playing field.  

Gotta Love Kansas – Looking for a conservative, red state in middle America, you can’t get any redder than Kansas.  Yes sir, Kansans voted Republican in every presidential election since Ike was elected in 1952 and the state has not had a Democratic U.S. Senator since the Great Depression. That’s why Tuesday’s primary vote to uphold abortion rights in Kansas is so important to the upcoming November elections. Gotta feeling that women – Republicans as well as Democrats – do not particularly like being told by a bunch of old men how to care for or medically treat their bodies.  Tuesday’s vote also shows how “out of touch” or, should we say, “out of mind” in an explosive sort of way our U.S. Supreme Court is with the general U.S. population.  Politically speaking, it is always tougher to “take away” something that has been on the books for 49 years than to grant a new "constitutional right"  that has never been tested.  The Ginni Thomas-backed decision overturning Roe v. Wade could very well be the most decisive issue in the upcoming November elections and certainly, as we saw in Kansas, the issue that results in a record turnout.   

 

 

 


08/06/22 11:43 AM #16135    

 

Stephen Hatchett

Jay, your thoughts on the "Gender Gap" set off all kinds of reflections and thoughts and connections in my head.  When I brought it up with a couple of college fraternity brothers ( a PhD economist and a lawyer, whom I've kept in touch with for lo almost 60 years) on Zoom call,  that 60/40 ratio and what it might mean generated all sorts of ideas.  I've got a full page of notes.  What we/I really need before posting stuff here is the source(s) so we/I can read the details.  Stuff like what was the girl/boy ratio of college applicants? Are community colleges included?  What did college costs have to do with it?  What did college acceptance/rejection committees say about their criteria?  Just reading the Wikipedia article on "maturity (psychological)" has been enlightening to me.  Seems to me there is a heck of a lot to talk about on the "maturity and gender" subject -- in this forum in particular.


08/06/22 12:14 PM #16136    

 

Jay Shackford

David Axelrod on Biden, Karl Rove and What He’d Ask Trump

By The New York Times

In a recent conversation over a Reuben and matzo ball soup, the strategist behind Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns veered from raconteur to philosopher to armchair psychologist to pundit.

Long before David Axelrod became a national figure as Barack Obama’s political guru and spinmeister — the bard of the future president’s pitch to voters on the campaign trail, and his “message maven” once in the White House — he was a working journalist in Chicago.

He loved slinging back Schlitzes and downing “cheezeborgers” with fellow scribes like Mike Royko at the Billy Goat Tavern, a fabled local reporter haunt beneath The Chicago Tribune’s once-buzzing headquarters along Michigan Avenue, or meeting sources for matzo ball soup and corned beef sandwiches at Manny’s Delicatessen, just a few minutes away via Lower Wacker Drive.

Axelrod started out as a cub reporter on the night shift at The Trib, where he eventually became a political writer before deciding to join the fray himself.

He lived for the thrill of minor journalistic triumphs, like the time he sweet-talked his way into the wedding of a local power couple by pleading with the receptionist that his editor might fire him if he didn’t get eyes on the bride and groom. Escorted out by the Chicago police, he returned to his colleagues outside the perimeter as a conquering hero, arms raised in the air like a Roman emperor fresh from conquering Gaul.

And he’s become a varnish-less truth-teller to his fellow Democrats, irking them at times by contradicting the party line — most recently, for instance, by noting that President Biden will be 81 years old on Election Day in 2024, and that voters might be looking for someone new by then.

As a senior aide in the Obama White House, Axelrod served up close with Biden for many years. He admires what he says are the former vice president’s sharp political instincts and lauded his accomplishments.

“I mean, the guy purged the country of Trump and under really, really difficult circumstances, managed to achieve legislative things that Obama didn’t achieve,” Axelrod said. But, he added: “The issue isn’t so much political as actuarial. And that is something that he’s going to need to confront.”

This week, Axelrod is celebrating the 500th episode of his podcast, “The Axe Files,” with a conversation with the R&B singer John Legend. Rare in an age of televised shoutfests and supplement-powered podcasts, his show is a laid-back, menschy listen that seeks to get guests “off their lines and into their lives,” as he puts it.

“I didn’t even know what a podcast was when I started,” he said.

Over its seven years in existence, Axelrod has booked luminaries like Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, and even the Olympians Megan Rapinoe and Michael Phelps.

He lives by the journalistic maxim, as he explained it, that “if you probe people’s stories, it’s harder to hate.” To that end, he’s also broken proverbial bread with a stream of former adversaries, including John Bolton, Liz Cheney, Kellyanne Conway, Lindsey Graham and Karl Rove.

Often, he finds ways to connect across the political divide, as when he discovered that he and Rove, a rarely humanized G.O.P. operative protected by what Axelrod described as “hard bark,” shared a common tragedy — a parent who died by suicide while they were young men.

“Sometimes you talk to people who you think you don’t admire, right?” he said. “And then, there are elements of them that you learn that you do.”

Axelrod has even considered how he would tackle an interview with the most vexing subject of all: Donald Trump.

“There are so many interesting questions to ask that have nothing to do with Jan. 6,” he mused.

For instance, Axelrod said he would ask Trump to react to something the former president’s father, the hard-nosed real estate developer Fred Trump, once said: There are two kinds of people in this world. There are killers, and there are losers.

“I would try and find out how he processed all of that,” Axelrod said, before returning to the difficulty of how, exactly, to frame such a conversation given Trump’s attempt to overthrow a duly elected president. “But then people would say, ‘Well, geez, how could you sit down with him and not ask those questions?’ So it’s complicated.”

Amid a two-hour conversation at Manny’s, Axelrod veered from raconteur to philosopher to armchair psychologist to pundit.

He also offered up his analysis of the midterm elections, which he said might be trending Democrats’ way after a rough couple of months.

“You know, you could not have, in many ways, a more hospitable environment than the Republicans have this year,” he said, noting voters’ worries about inflation and the president’s low approval ratings.

Axelrod said that a “confluence” of factors — the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade; the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Highland Park, Ill.; and the Jan. 6 hearings in Congress — had come together to leave many voters believing that Republicans are too extreme.

“The only thing that might save Democrats,” he said, “is Republicans, and they’re trying their damnedest to do it.”

Here are some highlights, edited for length and clarity, of Axelrod’s insights on his interview subjects:

Sanders was Axelrod’s first podcast interview. It was 2015, when the Vermont senator was rising to national prominence and was “very much the man of the moment” on college campuses, Axelrod said.

Axelrod recounted how Sanders initially refused to get into the Mercedes Sprinter van that the institute had rented to pick him up and bring him to a live event at the University of Chicago, from which the senator graduated in 1964.

“So Bernie takes one look at this and says: ‘I’m not going to ride in that. I’m not going to get in that thing,’” Axelrod said. “And so we had a negotiation on the curbside at O’Hare. And we basically cut a deal that we would drop them off two blocks from the event so that nobody would see him get out of this Mercedes.”

“He and I have this thing in common: We both lost parents to suicide. When people have struggles like that, I try to talk about them about it, in part because if people are listening who are having those struggles, or have lost someone, they understand that they’re not alone. Karl has a very hard bark and a reputation for that. But I see him differently. Because of that, we actually have gone on and done things together on suicide prevention.”

“The father abandoned the family when she was 3. Turns out he had another family, and he moved in with that other family and had a child just about the same age. So he leaves her and her mother and moves in with another woman and another kid who is a contemporary of hers and lives two towns down. She doesn’t see him again until she’s 12.

“She was resistant to delving too deeply into it. But finally, she said, ‘You know, I do remember coming home from school one day crying hysterically, because I was one of only two kids in school who didn’t have a father.’ The other person’s father was lost in Vietnam.”

“He went through a lot, as he said — a deep, deep, deep depression. And I was interested in talking to him about how he worked his way through it. But it was sensitive, you know, because I didn’t want to lend any credence to those who would say you’re turning him into a victim — all that stuff — but he’s a human being.

“He did part of his set at the Institute of Politics. He was great. He took questions, and someone asked him, ‘Who is the funniest senator, apart from you?’

“And he said, ‘Lindsey Graham,’ and everybody groaned.

“And Franken goes on: ‘No, no, Lindsey is very, very funny. So I’ll give you an example. I went up to him one day before he made his big shift. And I said, “Lindsey, if I was in South Carolina, I’d vote for you.” And before I could finish the sentence, Lindsey said, “And that’s my problem.”’”

Axelrod has sought, more than once and through multiple pathways, to entice Biden to sit with him for an interview. No luck so far.

“I’ve tried for years to get him on the podcast,” he said. “I didn’t want to talk to him about politics. With Biden, I wanted to talk to him about the whole challenge of growing up with a stutter and how that shaped him.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

08/06/22 12:29 PM #16137    

 

Jay Shackford

(Editor’s note: Stephen – below are more recent stats than the ones I used in my post.  Bests….Jay)

Women Outnumber Men In US Colleges - Nearly 60% Of Students In 2020/21 Were Women

United States

North America

Higher Education News

by Erudera News

Sep 10, 2021

Women students now represent the majority of the student population at colleges in the United States, according to spring 2021 enrollment estimates from the nonprofit organization, the National Student Clearinghouse.

Data show that 59.5 percent of college students in the United States were women in spring 2021, while 40.5 percent were men. Overall, US universities and colleges saw 1.5 million fewer students compared to five years ago, with men decreasing by 71 percent.

While there were 200,000 fewer women students between 2021 and 2020, statistics show that the number of men students has in particular drastically dropped, with 400,000 fewer men students recorded in 2021 compared to a year earlier.

Following the study findings, college enrollment consultant, Jennifer Delahunty, described the efforts to correct the balance as “higher education’s dirty little secret, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“This trend is especially visible in the community college sector, with male enrollment dropping by 14.4 percent compared to a 6 percent decline in female enrollment. Also, the increase of 44,000 female students (+1%) is contrasted with a drop of 90,000 male students (-2.7%) in the public four-year institution sector,” the report by the National Student Clearinghouse reads.

Moreover, data from the National Student Clearinghouse pointed out that a total of 3,805,978 women applied to college for the 2021/22 academic year compared to only 2,815,810 men applicants.

The report further reveals that over the past five years, colleges have seen a decrease in student enrollments, but a more notable decrease has been marked this year, with male enrollments decreasing from 7.2 million students in spring 2020 to 6.8 million in spring 2021, a 5.5 percent drop, whereas number of women enrolled at colleges dropped from 10.2 million to 10 million within the same period.

Men students at US colleges declined from 42 percent of all enrollments in spring 2019 to 41,4 percent in 2020, and to 40.5 percent in 2021. On the other hand, women students who in 2019 accounted for 58 percent of the student body, increased to 58.6 in 2020 and finally reached the highest rate in 2021, accounting for 59.5 percent.

The Executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse, Douglas Shapiro, told the Wall Street Journal that if this trend continues in the upcoming years, two women will get a college degree for every man. 

Similarly, within the European Union, more young men left education and training early than women, whereas the number of men leaving school early in 2019 was also the same as in 2020, Eurostat data revealed.

While presenting its data on female leadership of its 850 members, the European University Association (EUA) revealed that there had been a 70 percent increase of women rectors worldwide since 2014; nevertheless, women continue to be underrepresented at universities in many countries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


08/07/22 09:53 AM #16138    

 

John Smeby

I would like to recognize the veterns (U.S. military) for thier heroic effort on the battlefield on National Purple Heart Day, especially those brothers/sisters that are not with us today. May you please take a moment and thank them for their service to our country.


08/07/22 11:16 AM #16139    

 

Robert Hall

You're on my Purple Heart list John.

08/07/22 11:30 AM #16140    

 

Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Hi John, thinking of you and others today. Love, Joanie ❤️

08/07/22 03:41 PM #16141    

 

Stephen Hatchett

You got it John.  Most of the veterans I've been privilieged to know were from WWII -- all gone now.  Wounded is so many ways, yet who just carried on -- showing me and teaching me things I don't even know I know.  All decidedly non-violent.

 


08/07/22 04:28 PM #16142    

 

Jack Mallory

John rightly notes that, like all days, today is a good day to honor those wounded in our wars. I just ran across this suggestion from   a Marine Corps vet of multiple tours in Afghanistan for a memorial to all those wars:
 

“. . . maybe what would be more appropriate instead of erecting all these memorials upward, maybe we should dig downward, kind of like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

“And I imagined a war memorial that would look almost like the sloping granite rock, sort of descending downward conically like something from Dante, and we would get rid of all the memorials to each specific war and we would just have one American War Memorial.

“It would begin with the names, the first being Crispus Attucks, who was killed at the Boston Massacre. And we would just list them all chronologically digging ourselves deeper and deeper and deeper. So we have more than a million war dead at this point in our country's history. And every time we fund a new war, we just add the names going down and down into the earth. And then, in my imagination of this war memorial, when you got to the very last name, there would be a desk and a pen. And Congress would pass a law that before any troop deployment, the president — he or she — would have to come down to the war memorial and that pen would be the only pen that could be used to sign that troop deployments.

“They would have to walk by all of the war dead before they would need to do that. And then we wouldn't have to have any more debates about war memorials — we would just know what we did every time we fought a war, we'd just add the names.”

https://www.npr.org/2022/08/06/1115666703/afghanistan-marine-war-exit-departure-united-states

 


08/08/22 11:19 AM #16143    

 

Jack Mallory

I apologize, I've been remiss in my duty to post very inflammatory, biased and un-American nature photos. 
 

 

 

Bolshevik beaver, heretical heron, and leftist loon. 
 


08/08/22 11:37 AM #16144    

 

Jay Shackford

 

OPINION/THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

MAUREEN DOWD

Hey, Joe, Don’t Give It a Go

Aug. 6, 2022

WASHINGTON — Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a cautionary tale.

She missed the moment to leave the stage, ignoring friendly nudges from Democrats and entreaties from Obama allies. She fell in love with her late-in-life image as a hip cultural icon: “Notorious R.B.G.,” the octogenarian cancer survivor who could hold 30-second planks. She thought she was the indispensable person, and that ended in disaster. Her death opened the door to the most conservative court in nearly a century. Her successor, a religious zealot straight out of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is erasing Justice Ginsburg’s achievements on women’s rights.

The timing of your exit can determine your place in the history books.

This is something Joe Biden should keep in mind as he is riding the crest of success. His inner circle, irritated by stories about concerns over his age and unpopularity, will say this winning streak gives Biden the impetus to run again.

The opposite is true. It should give him the confidence to leave, secure in the knowledge that he has made his mark.

With the help of Chuck and Nancy, President Biden has had a cascade of legislative accomplishments on tech manufacturing, guns, infrastructure — and hopefully soon, climate and prescription drugs — that validate his promises when he ran. These are genuine achievements that Democrats have been chasing for decades, and they will affect generations to come. On Monday, from the balcony off the Blue Room, he crowed about the drone-killing of the evil Ayman al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s top leader, who helped plan the 9/11 massacres. On Friday, he came out again to brag about surprising job numbers.

Defying all expectations, the president has changed the narrative. Before, the riff was that he was too old school and reliant on his cross-party relationships in the Senate. Now old school is cool. The old dude in the aviators has shown he can get things done, often with bipartisan support.

But this is the moment for Biden to decide if all of this is fuel for a re-election campaign, when he will be 81 (82 on Inauguration Day), or a legacy on which to rest.

He could leave on a high, knowing that he has delivered on his promises for progress and restored decency to the White House. He did serve as a balm to the bombastic Donald Trump. Over the next two years he could get more of what he wants and then step aside. It would be self-effacing and patriotic, a stark contrast to the self-absorbed and treasonous Trump.

He offered himself up as an escape from Trump and Trumpism, a way to help us get our bearings after the thuggish and hallucinatory reign of a con man. Then he and his team got carried away and began unrealistically casting him as an F.D.R. with a grand vision to remake the social contract. Biden’s mission was not to be a visionary but to be a calming force for a country desperately in need of calming, and a bridge to the next generation. So he’s a logical one-termer, and that keeps him true to his high-minded point: What does the country really need?

The country really needs to dodge a comeback by Trump or the rise of the odious Ron DeSantis. There is a growing sense in the Democratic Party and in America that this will require new blood. If the president made his plans clear now, it would give Democrats a chance to sort through their meh field and leave time for a fresh, inspiring candidate to emerge.

It would also take steam out of what are certain to be Republican attempts to impeach him should they regain the House and make him less of a target for their nasty attacks on his age and abilities. The next two years could be hellish, with Republicans tearing Biden down and refusing to do anything that could be seen as benefiting him.

Biden’s advisers think if you just ignore the age question, it will go away. But it is already a hot topic in focus groups and an undercurrent in Democratic circles, as lawmakers are pressed to answer whether they think Biden should run again or not. (Axios has started a running tally.)

These are dangerous times — with inflation hurting us, weather killing us, the Ukraine war grinding, China tensions boiling, women’s rights on the line, and election deniers at CPAC, where Viktor Orbán spews fascist bile to a wildly enthusiastic audience. It might be best to have a president unshackled from the usual political restraints. 

 

 

 

 

08/08/22 01:46 PM #16145    

 

Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Jay, I don't agree with Maureen Dawd. With RBG, it was different as the timing affected whether a reasonable Supreme Court Justice could be appointed as McConnell was ready to find any excuse to put right wing idealogues on the court. As for Biden. I think the public is quick to blame him for rising gas prices, inflation. and lots of other things. However with the likely passage of this inflation reduction climate prescription drug bill. a lot of good things will happen. Gas prices are already coming down, and things in the bill that are popular will start to happen. The jobs numbers were higher than expected tamping down fears of a recession. Under Biden the recent terrorist was killed. I don't feel age should be an issue. You have someone handling all the heavy tasks of running the country well...he successfully gathered and unified NATO against Russia on behalf of Ukraine. He took out the terrorist who masterminded 9/11, helped Americans navigate the pandemic, came out strongly against the Supreme Court taking away a constitutional right from women. He really has valuable experience. He seems healthy and if something should happen hopefully he would have a good VP choice in place. If Trump is the nominee Biden could beat him a second time. The Democratic base is even more fired up due to the Roe v Wade decision and desires for stronger handgun safety like banning assault weapons. The other side is in lock step mostly with Trump.
I think Biden is right for the job to continue what he started. Though his approval ratings are low, I think they will rise and the party will rally behind him if he is the nominee to continue the trajectory we are on to fight for Democracy and cleaner air and help for the poor and middle class and gun safety, voters rights, etc. Love, Joanie

08/08/22 03:29 PM #16146    

 

Jack Mallory

Thanks for posting the Dowd piece, Jay. I hadn't read it. Much of what Joanie points out about Biden's accomplishments is undeniably true, but I tend to agree with Dowd's perspective:

"But this is the moment for Biden to decide if all of this is fuel for a re-election campaign, when he will be 81 (82 on Inauguration Day), or a legacy on which to rest.

"He could leave on a high, knowing that he has delivered on his promises for progress and restored decency to the White House. He did serve as a balm to the bombastic Donald Trump. Over the next two years he could get more of what he wants and then step aside. It would be self-effacing and patriotic, a stark contrast to the self-absorbed and treasonous Trump."
 

And speaking of a self-absorbed Trump, John's righteous words honoring Purple Heart Day are very much apropos of some of the text in the about to be released The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021.

"In the summer of 2017, the book excerpt reveals, Mr. Trump returned from viewing the Bastille Day parade in Paris and told Mr. Kelly that he wanted one of his own. But the president told Mr. Kelly: 'Look, I don’t want any wounded guys in the parade. This doesn’t look good for me,' the authors write.

“'Kelly could not believe what he was hearing,' the excerpt continues. 'Those are the heroes,’ he told Trump. ‘In our society, there’s only one group of people who are more heroic than they are — and they are buried over in Arlington.’ Mr. Trump answered: 'I don’t want them. It doesn’t look good for me,' according to the authors." https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/08/us/politics/trump-book-mark-milley.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share


So much for honoring the wounded. 


08/08/22 04:43 PM #16147    

 

Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

I guess I am in the minority but I don't like the concept of sending the old out to pasture when they are still vital. That's just me. I think Biden's experience is vast and he still can gather Independents since he isn't a raging liberal. I think he has MASTERFUllY put together the NATO alliance against Russia. This bill that just got thru is a big deal on climate, drug prices,some gun safety laws.. He got infrastructure in and the recovery act, etc. Love joanie, who thinks we should let Biden keep up the good work!!!!!

08/08/22 04:45 PM #16148    

 

Jay Shackford

If you have time, read the column by Susan Glasser and Peter Baker (married couple) titled "Inside the War Between Trump and his Generals" in this week's New Yorker.  They coauthored the book , "The Great Divider."  It's a great promo for their book. If you go to thenewyorker.com, I believe you get a couple of columns/articles free every month.  Janie, it's ok to disagree.  But my view is that we should have a mandatory retirement age of 70  for everyone holding an elective office.  That rule should also apply to the Supreme Court as well.  That would wipe out half of Congress.  Bests....Jay 


08/08/22 05:04 PM #16149    

 

Jack Mallory

I'm still "vital," Joanie, vital enough to know I'm not as vital as I once was! Maybe you all are still sharper than I am, but come on--making decisions crucial to our democracy and the well-being of the world? 

Biden's got two more years to further his programs, regardless of his decision about running again. And think of the inevitable brutality of the 2024 elections--let's encourage Joe to live his final years in peace, let someone else fight the good fight against Trump or whoever! 
 

Jay--that's the book excerpted in my previous post. Looks good, but I'm not sure I'm up for a rehash of the Trump years at the same time we're prehashing the upcoming elections!

This is the book I got the suggestion for the War Memorial from:


 


08/08/22 05:11 PM #16150    

 

Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Why do that Jay, Nancy Pelosi who has been so skilled being speaker, Ed Markey, who is a great fighter for the environment and the former Supreme Court Justices like RBG and Justice Breyer, and the former justice John Paul Stevens would all be out.. They contributed greatly and were terrific in their older ages. RBG said she would step down if she couldn't do the job and she did at the end of her life. Tho I didn't always agree with John McCain, he had integrity and was over 70. I miss hm. There are plenty of younger ones by your age limit that could still be in their offices like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. Let's stop focusing on age but more on are they effectively doing the job and contributing.. love Joanie

08/08/22 05:56 PM #16151    

 

Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

I see your point Jack. I still think though that many older folks still have what it takes to be effective and contribute greatly past age 70. Love, Joanie

08/08/22 06:00 PM #16152    

 

Jay Shackford

Okay, 75 and out.....


08/08/22 06:14 PM #16153    

 

Joanie Bender (Grosfeld)

Still too young. ... Maybe 95 but not sure if that is too young. Love, Joanie

08/09/22 07:00 AM #16154    

 

Helen Lambie (Goldstein)


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