Showing posts with label United States. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United States. Show all posts

Friday, January 19, 2024

19: New Hampshire

On the Ballot in Iowa: Fear. Anxiety. Hopelessness. As Monday’s caucuses approach, voters casually throw around the prospect of World War III and civil unrest, anxious of divisions they fear are tearing the country apart. ......... mingle at campaign events and casually talk of the prospect of World War III, civil unrest and a nation coming apart at the seams. ........ Now, in the first presidential election since the siege on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, those anxieties have metastasized into a grimmer, more existential dread about the very foundations of the American experiment. ......... “You get the feeling in Iowa right now that we’re sleepwalking into a nightmare and there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Doug Gross, a Republican lawyer who has been involved in Iowa politics for nearly four decades, ran for governor in 2002 and plans to support Nikki Haley in the state’s caucuses on Monday. “In Iowa, life isn’t lived in extremes, except the weather, and yet they still feel this dramatic sense of inevitable doom.” ....... This presidential race, he said, is “a moment that is different than any election in my lifetime.” .......... Fearful of the possibility of political violence, Mr. Binns is weighing going to Brazil in November 2024. ........ The result is a disorienting frenzy of facts and falsehoods swirling around issues once considered sacrosanct in public life. Recent polling shows Americans have a gloomier view of the future and express a new openness to political violence. ........ As politicians, commentators and voters grasp for historical analogies, one of the darkest chapters of American history keeps being evoked: the period leading to the Civil War. Some see a parallel in the clash of two Americas — not North and South now, but Red and Blue. ........... Inflation has fallen, unemployment has returned to a prepandemic level, and layoffs remain near record lows. The Federal Reserve plans to cut interest rates several times in the coming year. ............ He was shocked by how divisive school-board elections had become in his small town of Mount Vernon, Iowa. ........ Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump appear to be heading toward a rematch election, despite polling showing that both men remain deeply unpopular among large swaths of Americans.

What Makes Nikki Haley Tougher Than the Rest Several years ago it occurred to me that in every administration I had covered to that point — from Reagan through Obama — the White House staff seemed to fear the first lady more than they feared the commander in chief. ........ Donald Trump was tough, mean and self-pitying (a nifty combination). President Biden is tougher than he looks. And the woman who is now Trump’s chief challenger, Nikki Haley, is one of the toughest politicians in America — by which I mean confrontational, willing to hammer her foes. ........ She once described her childhood as “survival mode.” ....... Haley entered politics as a Tea Party maverick. ...... the Tea Party was female-led, and most of its supporters were right-wing women who, among other things, wanted to take on the Republican old boys network. Women like Haley and Sarah Palin presented themselves as whistle-blowers, taking down corruption. ........ What ensued was classic South Carolina politics. A mailer went out attacking her and referring to her by her birth name, Nimrata Randhawa. A whisper campaign suggested she was Buddhist or Hindu. (In fact, she is a Christian who attends a Methodist church). ....... One of her great successes as governor was relentlessly lobbying corporations to build their plants in South Carolina. When she left office, the state had 400,000 more jobs than when she entered. ......... All U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations defend Israel, but Haley made it the centerpiece of her job. She waded into a famously anti-Israel institution with fists raised. She was one of the people who made the Trump administration so supportive of the Jewish state. When close allies like Britain and France voted for a resolution condemning the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, she did not invite their representatives to a U.S. Mission reception, which is practically war in U.N. terms. .......... When nine parishioners at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston were gunned down by a white supremacist in 2015, she was vulnerable and grieving in public and private. She went to all of the funerals. Her friends worried she was losing a dangerous amount of weight. Mobilized by sadness and anger, she helped persuade more than two-thirds of both houses of the legislature to remove the Confederate flag from the State Capitol grounds, which was an astounding act of political craftsmanship and moral fortitude that even her detractors admire. ........ if she’s often tough as nails, she has generally been tough as tulips about Donald Trump .......... A woman “will need to prize her tenderness and be able to display it at appropriate times in order to prevent toughness from gaining total authority and to avoid becoming a mirror image of those men who value power above life, and control over love.” .......... Neither Trump nor Haley sits around reading Adam Smith and Edmund Burke. Neither Trump nor Haley has what you would call fully developed philosophies. Neither is conventionally partisan; both made their bones attacking the G.O.P. establishment, not working their way up within it. ......... Trump and the woman who is now his leading challenger are different versions of a bare-knuckled ethos, and if you look at their records, it’s pretty clear that Haley is actually more effectively tough than Trump. She’s confrontational in pursuit of policy, whereas he is confrontational in pursuit of ratings. She’s a doer; his attention span isn’t long enough to make him an effective executive. If Republicans want someone who will execute their agenda, they should go with her. .......... The connection between working-class voters and a shady real estate billionaire is a complex psychological phenomenon that historians will have to unpack. But it’s a bond no amount of Nikki Haley toughness can break.

The Things We Disagree On About Gaza
Trump Is Playing With Fire

The Most Durable Force in American Politics: Trump’s Ties to His Voters If Donald Trump’s rivals want to stop his rise, they’ll need to break his bond with his supporters. They didn’t come close in Iowa......... For eight years, he has nurtured a relationship with his supporters with little precedent in politics. He validates them, he entertains them, he speaks for them and he uses them for his political and legal advantage. ......... Republicans lost control of the presidency, the Senate and the House during his four years in office. He failed to deliver the red wave of victories he promised in the 2022 midterms. He has been charged with 91 felonies in four criminal cases this past year. ........ many Iowa Republicans made clear they don’t judge him. They adore him. ......... “Trump is not a candidate, he’s the leader of a national movement,” said Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker who has advised Mr. Trump. “No one has come to grips with what’s it like to take on the champion of a movement. That’s why even as all these legal issues pile up, it just infuriates his movement and increases their anger unbelievably.” ........ Roughly half of Iowa Republicans voted for one of Mr. Trump’s rivals, including about 20 percent who backed Mr. DeSantis, who finished in second, with Ms. Haley close behind. ......... As the Republican nominating contest moves to New Hampshire next week, one poll this month showed Ms. Haley within striking distance of Mr. Trump. The state’s voters tend to be more moderate and less religious, suggesting an opening for her. ........ MAGA Nation rivals the Queen’s Guard when it comes to standing at the ready to defend their sovereign ....... Perhaps most significantly, he has rallied their support amid unprecedented legal troubles in part by describing the prosecution of him as an attempt to silence them. ........ “You and I have been in this battle side-by-side, together — and we have been taking on the entire corrupt system in Washington like no one has ever done before,” Mr. Trump told Iowa supporters at a rally on Sunday, adding that the political establishment and global elites “are at war with us — we have to fight.” .......... nothing short of a political magic act: The billionaire son of a multimillionaire has become the voice for working-class Americans. .............

“He’s a blue-collar billionaire.”

Putin Is Making His Plans Brutally Clear In 2023 there were more than 6,000 air alerts in Ukraine. Last month alone, Russia launched some 624 drones carrying explosives .......... On Dec. 29, more than 120 Russian missiles and drones targeted towns across the country, killing 44 people. It was the deadliest attack on civilians in Kyiv since the beginning of the war. ......... Russia’s strikes increased as attempts to authorize more funding for Ukraine stalled in the U.S. Congress and in Europe. Since the fall, Kyiv’s western allies have reportedly been quietly pushing for negotiations to end the war. By the end of December, Vladimir Putin was also reportedly signaling that he, too, was ready to make a deal. ......... From Kyiv it’s clear that Mr. Putin is not preparing to offer anything that Ukrainians could agree to — and he knows it. His plans are occupation, devastation and destruction. ....... On Jan. 2 Russia launched 35 kamikaze drones, some 60 cruise missiles and 10 hypersonic Kinzhal missiles — which Russia has claimed are impossible to shoot down — on Kyiv. ........ Last year, Russia started attacking more often in January and February, when the temperature went down. It used drones to target the power grid, weaponizing the cold against civilians. People had to use generators, and power cuts were frequent. This year, the power grid is less vulnerable, and people have needed generators less.

Trump Is Playing With Fire
Don’t Turn Away From the Charges of Genocide Against Israel
The Greatest Threat Posed by Trump Swatting — a grotesque tactic in which the police are called to respond to a nonexistent crime or threat at someone’s home — is a shockingly dangerous act that can threaten the victim’s life and property. The police will often descend in force on the home, anticipating a possible violent confrontation........ The result is a religious movement steeped in fanaticism but stripped of virtue. The fruit of the spirit described in Galatians in the New Testament — “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” — is absent from MAGA Christianity, replaced by the very “works of the flesh” the same passage warned against, including “hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions” and “factions.” ......... “vice signaling,” to describe how Trump’s core supporters convey their tribal allegiance. They’re often deliberately rude, transgressive or otherwise unpleasant, just to demonstrate how little they care about conventional moral norms. ....... Absent public virtue, a republic can fall. ...... if he wins again, the equation will change and history may record that he was not the culmination of a short-lived reactionary moment, but rather the harbinger of a greater darkness to come.

Trumpism Is Devouring the Evangelical Movement
Trump’s Landslide Victory in Iowa
Voters Look Past Legal Problems to Give Trump a Big Victory The possibility of a two-person race remains elusive for Trump foes, who fear a split field will ease his path to the nomination.

A Republican Pollster on Trump’s Undimmed Appeal Kristen Soltis Anderson unpacks why Republican voters want stability — and how Trump represents it.

Why Nikki Haley Can’t Win Mr. Trump by contrast often speaks from a place of unfiltered rage...... a conventional politician, even one who can brag about polls showing she’d beat Joe Biden by a wider margin than the former president would.
A Republican Pollster on Trump’s Undimmed Appeal Kristen Soltis Anderson unpacks why Republican voters want stability — and how Trump represents it.
We Are in a Big Covid Wave. But Just How Big? Wastewater data has become perhaps the best metric to track the spread of the virus in the U.S., but it’s an imperfect tool.
Israel Unearths More of a Subterranean Fortress Under Gaza The Israeli military has been surprised by the extent, depth and quality of the tunnel network beneath Gaza.

The G.O.P.’s ‘Nasty’ New Religion
History Argues for Disqualifying Trump

Letting Trump Off the Hook Will Change the Shape of History
China’s Economy Is in Serious Trouble
Why Jan. 6 Wasn’t an Insurrection bad leadership. President Xi Jinping is starting to look like a poor economic manager, whose propensity for arbitrary interventions — which is something autocrats tend to do — has stifled private initiative. .......... To outside observers, what China must do seems straightforward: end financial repression and allow more of the economy’s income to flow through to households, and strengthen the social safety net so that consumers don’t feel the need to hoard cash. And as it does this it can ramp down its unsustainable investment spending........ But there are powerful players, especially state-owned enterprises, that benefit from financial repression. And when it comes to strengthening the safety net, the leader of this supposedly communist regime sounds a bit like the governor of Mississippi, denouncing “welfarism” that creates “lazy people.” ......... Scariest of all, will it try to distract from domestic difficulties by engaging in military adventurism?

Saturday, January 13, 2024

13: Trump

‘Frozen Garlic!’ Taiwan Likes Its Democracy Loud and Proud At the island’s election rallies, warming up the crowd for candidates is crucial. “You have to light a fire in their hearts,” one host says.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

11: Trump

And Then There Were Two: ‘So Yappy, So Nyah-Nyah-Nyah, So Smarmy’ And there was his strange decision to accuse his opponent on the stage of “ballistic podiatry” rather than just say she shot herself in the foot......... DeSantis and Haley need to win many, many votes from Republicans who currently support Trump. Instead, the candidates spent most of the night tearing each other apart. ........ I’ve been to numerous DeSantis caucus events in Iowa, and he is better on the ground talking with Iowans than he comes across on television — looser, more comfortable and less stilted. You could hear that in the positive responses he received from the studio audience. That said, he came across as stale, disgruntled and small. His knowledge of issues seemed shallow and his foreign policy weak-kneed. A man this petty and cruel shouldn’t be anywhere near the Oval Office, especially behind the desk. We’ve already tried that.

The Case for Trump … by Someone Who Wants Him to Lose Barring a political miracle or an act of God, it is overwhelmingly likely that Donald Trump will again be the Republican Party’s nominee for president. Assuming the Democratic nominee in the fall is Joe Biden, polls show Trump with a better-than-even chance of returning to the White House next year. ...... Too many people — especially progressives — fail to think deeply about the enduring sources of his appeal ....... Arguably the single most important geopolitical fact of the century is the mass migration of people from south to north and east to west, causing tectonic demographic, cultural, economic, and ultimately political shifts. Trump understood this from the start of his presidential candidacy in 2015, the same year Europe was overwhelmed by a largely uncontrolled migration from the Middle East and Africa. As he said the following year, “A nation without borders is not a nation at all. ............. enforcing control at the border — whether through a wall, a fence, or some other mechanism — isn’t racism. It’s a basic requirement of statehood and peoplehood, which any nation has an obligation to protect and cherish. ........... Only now, as the consequences of Biden’s lackadaisical approach to mass migration have become depressingly obvious on the sidewalks and in the shelters and public schools of liberal cities like New York and Chicago, are Trump’s opponents on this issue beginning to see the point. ........... A job market is structured by rules and regulations, not just an endless supply of desperate laborers prepared to work longer for less. ............ when liberal elites insist that things are going well while overwhelming majorities of Americans say they are not, Trump’s unflattering view captured the mood of the country. .......... persistently sluggish economic growth and a plunging labor-force participation rate that had never recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. ........ There was a rising death rate among middle-aged white people and declining life expectancy at birth, in part because of sharply rising deaths from suicide, alcoholism or drug addiction. More than 12 percent of all adult males had a felony conviction on their record, leaving them in the shadowlands of American life. And there was a palpable sense of economic decline, with fewer and fewer younger Americans having any hope of matching their parents’ incomes at the same stages of life. ............. Labor-force participation remains essentially where it was in the last days of the Obama administration. Deaths of despair keep rising. The cost of living has risen sharply, and while the price of ordinary goods may finally be coming down, rents haven’t. Only 36 percent of voters think the American dream still holds true ........... If anything, Trump’s thesis may be truer today than it was the first time he ran on it. .......... “If you’re a public-health person and you’re trying to make a decision, you have this very narrow view of what the right decision is, and that is something that will save a life,” the former National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins acknowledged last month. “You attach zero value to whether this actually totally disrupts people’s lives, ruins the economy, and has many kids kept out of school in a way they never quite recovered.” ............. What about the threat Trump poses to the very foundations of our democracy? All disqualifying — in my view. .......... why so many voters are unimpressed about the “end of democracy” argument. ............ Prominent Democrats also denied the legitimacy of George W. Bush’s two elections ......... Many rank-and-file Republicans regard the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol as a disgrace and the lowest point of Trump’s presidency. But they also believe that it wasn’t so much an insurrection as it was an ugly temper tantrum by Trump and his most rabid supporters, which never had a chance of succeeding. .......... An American version of Vladimir Putin he simply is not. ........... the 2024 election will not hinge on questions of democracy but of delivery: Which candidate will do more for voters? That will turn on perceptions of which candidate did more for voters when they were in office. Biden’s supporters are convinced that the president has a good story to tell. But they also think that Trump has no story at all — only a pack of self-aggrandizing lies. That’s liberal self-delusion. ........... Excluding the pandemic, a once-in-a-century event that would have knocked almost any sitting president sideways, Americans have reasons to remember the Trump years as good ones — and good in a way that completely defied expert predictions of doom. Wages outpaced inflation, something they have just begun to do under Biden .......... Unemployment fell to 50-year lows (as it has been under Biden); stocks boomed; inflation and interest rates were low. ....... He appealed to Americans who operated in the economy of things — builders, manufacturers, energy producers, food services and the like — rather than in the economy of words — lawyers, academics, journalists, civil servants. ............ he shared the law-and-order instincts of normal Americans, including respect for the police, something the left seemed to care about on Jan. 6 but was notably less concerned about during the months of rioting, violence and semi-anarchy that followed George Floyd’s murder. ........... Does the world feel safer under Biden — with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Hamas’s and Hezbollah’s assault on Israel, Houthi attacks on shipping in international waters, the Chinese open threat to invade Taiwan — than it did under Trump? Trump may have generated a lot of noise, but his crazy talk and air of unpredictability seemed to keep America’s adversaries on their guard and off balance in a way that Biden’s instinctive caution and feeble manner simply does not. ............. Ordinary voters care typically about results. What many care less about is Trump’s purported offensiveness. .......... brokenness has become the defining feature of much of American life: broken families, broken public schools, broken small towns and inner cities, broken universities, broken health care, broken media, broken churches, broken borders, broken government. At best, they have become shells of their former selves. And there’s a palpable sense that the autopilot that America’s institutions and their leaders are on — brain-dead and smug — can’t continue. .......... It shouldn’t seem strange to Trump’s opponents that a man whom we regard as an agent of chaos should be seen by his supporters as precisely the man who can sweep the decks clean. I happen to think that’s exactly wrong — you don’t mend damaged systems by breaking them even further. Repair and restoration is almost always better than reaction or revolution. But I don’t see Trump’s opponents making headway against him until they at least acknowledge the legitimacy and power of the fundamental complaint. If you’re saying it’s “Morning in America” when 77 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, you’re preaching to the wrong choir — and the wrong country.

One of Trump’s Oldest Tactics in Business and Politics: I’m Rubber. You’re Glue. Whenever Donald Trump is accused of something, he responds by accusing his opponent of that exact thing. The idea is less to argue that Mr. Trump is clean than to suggest that everyone else is dirty.

11 : Nikki Haley

Monday, November 20, 2023

20: China

In Talks With Biden, Xi Seeks to Assure and Assert at the Same Time China’s depiction of Xi Jinping’s U.S. visit reflected his sometimes-contradictory priorities: to project both strength and a willingness to engage with Washington.

Monday, October 02, 2023

2: Vivek Ramaswamy

I started paying attention to this guy only recently. I think he is a serious candidate, and he does have a shot.

Sunday, October 01, 2023

1: Vivek Ramaswamy

Rupert Murdoch Turned Passion and Grievance Into Money and Power The retiring Fox leader built a noise-and-propaganda machine by giving his people what they wanted — and sometimes by teaching them what to want.

‘Germany 1923’: When Democracy Held Nazism at Bay In his latest book, the German historian Volker Ullrich describes a nation buffeted by poverty, hyperinflation and political extremism, but managing — for the moment — to thwart Hitler’s ascent......... the psychological and political effects of hyperinflation were profound. Reality seemed to be breaking down. Suffering deepened, along with inequality. Industrialists and those with access to foreign currency got richer, while swaths of the middle class had to barter family heirlooms in exchange for food. Germans turned on one another. Conspiracy theories proliferated. Foreigners and Jews were targeted. Old people who had to live on worthless pensions resented the young; the young, in turn, resented the old for owning homes purchased when the value of money stayed put long enough so that saving some was possible. ......... The government also issued a new currency — Rentenmarks, each of which was worth a trillion marks — and announced a fixed exchange rate at 4.2 trillion marks to the dollar. ........... trust in Rentenmarks took. “When you offered them in payment for the first time, you waited in suspense to see what would happen,” recalled the historian Sebastian Haffner. “They were actually accepted, and you were handed your goods — goods worth a billion marks. The same thing happened the next day and the day after. Incredible.” ............ When Hitler and the other putschist conspirators were put on trial, he used the courtroom to grandstand and rail against the Weimar Republic. In prison, he spent “a few quite comfortable months” biding his time and writing “Mein Kampf.” He also learned something from his failed uprising. “If he wanted to take power,” Ullrich explains, “he needed to follow a different path: not that of a putsch but of ostensible legality in concert with conservative economic, military and administrative elites.” ........... Conservatives believed that they could invite Hitler into their governing coalition and benefit accordingly. Such opportunism was breathtakingly cynical — and horrifically naïve. As Ullrich puts it at the end of his book, “The notion that they could harness the Nazi leader for their own reactionary interests and control the dynamic of his movement would be revealed as a tragic illusion.”

How Benjamin Netanyahu Pushed Israel Into Chaos The nation’s current crisis can be traced back, in ways large and small, to the outsize personality of its longest-serving prime minister. ................ Israel has no written constitution. Its Parliament is largely toothless as a check on power: The governing coalition has the majority and the means to impose its decisions there. Now it was proposing to neutralize the only curb to executive overreach: the country’s Supreme Court. ....... The energy and breadth of the protest movement has been staggering. To see this human wave surge through blocked highways shouting “Democracy!” is to glimpse Israeli society in all its variety: There are white-coat groups (doctors) and black robes (lawyers), Brothers and Sisters in Arms (military reservists), Handmaids (women’s groups), students, teachers, young people, academics, anti-occupation activists, “religious Zionist democrats,” high-tech workers and civil servants.......... “If it were up to Bibi, the overhaul would simply disappear ............ “Netanyahu has become a puppet on a string of messianic extremists.” .......... Netanyahu has pushed Israel to the brink, gradually and then suddenly. .......... These days, his gait is halting; his shoulders are hunched. His eyes sag. Try as his aides might, they have no way to spin this: The man looks exhausted. ............. Netanyahu is “in a Job-like state” ............. His coalition members embarrass him on a daily basis. .......... “He can’t travel to the White House, and it’s killing him.” .......... His status is such that his personal base of supporters is far greater than that of his party. ............. a once-in-a-generation leader, suave and polished, speaking a refined American English, and also a bare-knuckled sabra who has shown no qualms about taking on Barack Obama, the Palestinian leadership and the U. N. Security Council. ........... One of Netanyahu’s main achievements in office has been overseeing Israel’s transformation into a country with one of the highest per-capita investments in start-ups in the world; a second has been forging relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. ............ Admirers credit Netanyahu with “changing the paradigm” around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict .......... the Abraham Accords, are the diplomatic end result of an arms deal in which Israel would provide nearly all signatories with licenses to its powerful cybersurveillance technology Pegasus .......... The Likud electorate has historically been the Mizrahi (Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent), the religiously observant, the noncollege-educated and the poor. But it has expanded to include Israelis who support his conservative economic agenda and others who cite his reluctance to go to needless wars and his international connections ........... Netanyahu has refashioned Likud from a hawkish yet liberal party into a populist party wholly in his thrall. ......... Under Netanyahu, the Israeli left has not only diminished but is regarded by much of Israeli society as illegitimate: not Jewish enough, not patriotic enough. .............. If the various components of the judicial overhaul pass, Israeli democracy will be in peril: The courts will be powerless, a government-appointed authority will be tasked with overseeing broadcast media, a parallel system will be set up for the ultra-Orthodox, who will be exempt from military conscription and whose children will receive only minimal education in core subjects such as math and science. The experiment of finding a balance between the Jewish and the democratic aspects of the state will be tipped toward the former. .............. a leader who has fallen prey to the idea that, in the words of his wife, “Without Bibi the country is lost.” .......... In “Bibi: My Story,” his 2022 memoir, which he wrote longhand in English, Netanyahu underplays his privilege: military service in the elite Matkal Unit; university studies at M.I.T.; a job at the prestigious Boston Consulting Group. “I had taken all these decisions with an attitude of ‘What the hell, let’s give it a try and see what happens,’” he writes. .............. Iddo, his younger brother, was on the line from Jerusalem. Yoni, their older brother, had been killed in the raid. ............. “Netanyahu presents this impressive combination of a strongman who’s also a victim,” Barnea says. It’s a paradox typical of right-wing leaders in the West ............ The night in 1976 when he heard of Yoni’s death, Bibi drove seven hours to Ithaca, N.Y., to break the news to his parents. Benzion greeted him with a surprised smile, but “when he saw my face, he instantly understood,” Netanyahu writes in his memoir. “He let out a terrible cry like a wounded animal.” The Netanyahu family founded a think tank in Yoni’s name, the Jonathan Institute, for the study of terrorism. The institute would lend Netanyahu gravitas and connections; it would also help start his political career. People who knew Netanyahu at the time say that were it not for Yoni’s death, they doubt whether he or his parents would even have returned to live in Israel. ................ “It is not the Jews who usurp the land from the Arabs, but the Arabs who usurp the land from the Jews,” he writes in his memoir, adding, “The Jews are the original natives, the Arabs the colonialists.” ........... In 1984, Netanyahu was named as Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, and he later threw himself into defending the right-wing policies of Yitzhak Shamir, the prime minister, with gusto and skill. He became a fixture on “Nightline” and U.S. news, learning to present his best side to the camera: the one that hid the scar on his lip (a result of a childhood game involving an electric socket). During one memorable appearance, at the height of the gulf war, air-raid sirens sounded while he was on the air from Jerusalem. Rather than cut the interview short, Netanyahu — ever attuned to ratings — suggested that they keep rolling with gas masks on. Larry King told Vanity Fair that women used to stop by the studio to inquire about his dashing guest from Israel............ “He was a person who walked around without a wallet.” ............... He showed little reverence for party seniority. “His innovation was that he moved from the outside in .............. and he tells me: ‘Listen, there are only two people who can run this country. Me and you. Let’s make a deal. I don’t need more than one term. I’ll take a term, and you take a term.’ .............. A few days later, Olmert says, he recounted that conversation to Meridor. Meridor told Olmert: “He told me that there were only two people who could run this country. Him and me.” Later, Olmert ran into Benny Begin, who said: “He told me that it was him and me.” .............. Netanyahu presented himself as a bellicose alternative to the left-wing government’s concessions. He installed himself at the sites of the attacks, lambasting Rabin. ......... For the left, there was no recovering from the bloodied circumstances that brought about his rule. ............. an exasperated Bill Clinton came out of their first meeting in 1996 fuming to aides: “Who the [expletive] does he think he is? Who’s the [expletive] superpower here?” Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, used to describe Netanyahu unfavorably as an “Israeli Newt Gingrich” and felt condescended to, Miller, who worked for her, has written. In 2011, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France was caught on mic complaining to President Barack Obama, “I cannot bear Netanyahu, he’s a liar.” Obama responded, “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you.” ................. “Bibi,” he recalled Obama saying. “I meant what I said. I expect you to immediately freeze all construction in the areas beyond the 1967 borders. Not one brick!” .............. “Iran is the big issue for him. His thinking is, Everything else I have to navigate to thwart that danger; if I’m not here, then I can’t deal with this big issue. Saudi Arabia is also very big for him right now. Principles are big issues, and the rest is pragmatism.” ............. At least three former Mossad chiefs have called Netanyahu’s actions on Iran dangerous. ................ Iran now has enough enriched uranium to produce “several” bombs, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency warned earlier this year. Iran’s enrichment is “100 percent the result of the U.S. pulling out of the agreement,” Tamir Hayman, a former Israel military intelligence chief and the managing director of the Institute for National Security Studies, told me. Hayman called the pullout from the deal a “grave mistake,” adding, “We retreated from Plan A without having a Plan B in place.” .............. “He began with a worldview that said, ‘I’m the best leader for Israel at this time,’” Elkin says. “Slowly it morphed into a worldview that said, ‘The worst thing that can happen to Israel is if I stop leading it, and therefore my survival justifies anything.’ From there, you quickly reach a worldview of ‘The state is me.’ He believes in it wholeheartedly.” .............. He met Sara Ben-Artzi in 1988 on a layover at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. She was 30 and a flight attendant; he was 39 and Israel’s deputy foreign minister. ............ The state prosecution claims that from 2011 to 2016, Netanyahu accepted a steady supply of cigars, cases of Champagne and jewelry from Arnon Milchan, an Israeli film producer in Hollywood, and James Packer, an Australian billionaire. In exchange for these presents, estimated to have been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, the prosecution says that Netanyahu lobbied U.S. officials to help Milchan renew his U.S. visa and tried to lighten his tax burden in Israel. .......... A former Netanyahu spokesman who turned state witness in 2018 told prosecutors that he had learned of “a method, let’s say, in which, on every visit abroad, the Netanyahu family was attached to a walking credit card on two legs” — meaning to local benefactors. ............... He said, ‘If I don’t call an election now, I won’t get to nominate the next state prosecutor.’ He was willing to risk everything just to save his own skin.” ............ Long before the invention of Trumpism, there was Bibism. ............ With Trump, in general, “Netanyahu got everything he wanted,” Amit Segal, a political reporter for Channel 12, told me in 2021. Israel got a pass on settlement construction in the West Bank and signed normalization accords with four Arab states; the United States withdrew from the Iran agreement and moved its embassy to Jerusalem. “Our years together were the best ever for the Israeli-American alliance,” Netanyahu writes in his memoir. .............. In recent years, he has shunned Israeli mainstream media, opting instead for Facebook Live videos and frequent “exclusive” interviews with Channel 14, a media outlet that he has personally helped elevate into one of the most-watched news programs in the country. ............ In July, as the judicial overhaul resurfaced, Netanyahu fainted. Several days later, he was fitted with a pacemaker. ........... For years, liberal Israelis were afraid that a right-wing coalition would come along and annex West Bank settlements. “Then came the twist,” the author Etgar Keret wrote earlier this year. “Instead, the settlers annexed the country.”

Want to Attend an Indian Wedding? Now You Can Pay To. Join My Wedding allows tourists to purchase tickets to Indian weddings. Some say it’s resulted in meaningful cultural exchange. Others believe selling the experience can be cultural fetishism.......... “Indian weddings are world famous,” she said, pointing to Bollywood as what drew her attention to them. “It’s like a music festival,” she said. .......... “Every cultural element is right there at a wedding,” she said. “If I had just one day in any country in the world, I would want to just go to a wedding.” ............. Around 250 people attended Yamini and Aditya Sharma’s opulent wedding in January, which took place at a venue in Jaipur called R Chandra’s Palace. The entire wedding cost about 30 million rupees, said Mr. Sharma, 27, who runs a construction equipment business, which is roughly equivalent to $360,000 ............... “A non-Indian, particularly white person, attending one’s wedding is seen as a status symbol,” she added. “It communicates that the couple or their family have social networks beyond their country and by that token, demonstrates a sort of cosmopolitanism and ‘success.’” ............... “I’m never the only white person in a room,” Ms. Lord said. “That’s only happened to me maybe twice in my entire life.” .......... When it came to food, there were moments where other guests “would laugh at me and be like, ‘No, you can’t dip that in there.’ And I’m like, ‘It tastes good, try it,’” Ms. Lord said. “It felt like if someone came here and put ketchup and applesauce on their hot dog.” ........... “We tried to buy saris, but when we were in our rooms trying to put them on, we couldn’t make it work. It’s a bit complicated. So we wore flowy skirts and pants that had some decorative, Indian-style embellishments.” ............. In interviews, some travelers referred to traditional clothing as “costumes” and religious ceremonies as “Bollywood performances.” ............. “it’s a very big country, and weddings aren’t held in the same way everywhere.” She added, “For example, where I’m from in Bengal, people typically don’t dance in their weddings, and yet now you have a standard model of what an Indian wedding is, and it looks very much like watching Bollywood.”

The Magic Number: 32 Hours a Week The autoworkers picketing factories across America aren’t just seeking higher pay. They are also, audaciously, demanding the end of the standard 40-hour workweek. They want a full week’s pay for working 32 hours across four days. And we'll all benefit if they succeed........ Though the 40-hour week may feel like an immutable law of nature, it’s barely a century old. ......... American workers fought to establish the eight-hour workday around the turn of the last century, campaigning on the catchy slogan, “Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what you will.” But the workweek then was six days long for almost everyone. .......... It took until 1940 for Congress to legislate a 40-hour week. The law said that hourly employees who worked longer got overtime pay. .......... In a famous 1930 essay, the British economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by 2030, people would work only 15 hours a week because technological progress would reduce the amount of labor required to meet people’s wants and needs.

Corruption Is an Existential Threat to Ukraine, and Ukrainians Know It The Maidan revolution, which sent a pro-Russian president packing, wasn’t just about freeing Ukraine from Russian influence. It was also about breaking the stranglehold of oligarchs who — as in so many former Soviet republics — controlled everything from television stations to the politicians on ballots. The fight against corruption amounts to a second front in Ukraine’s war against Russia. ...........

it is still ranked the second most corrupt country in Europe, after Russia

........... Since the February 2022 Russian invasion, a host of characters — from arms dealers to suppliers of soldiers’ meals — has stood to reap big profits, creating vested interests in prolonging the conflict. ......... Ukrainians consider corruption the country’s second-most-serious problem, behind only the Russian invasion ............ Ukrainians are starting to resist corruption with the same can-do spirit that repelled the Russian invasion. ............ the Ukrainian Defense Ministry paying huge markups for supplies — 46 cents for eggs that should have cost five cents, $86 for winter coats that were worth just $29. ............... We didn’t fail in Afghanistan because we couldn’t stop corruption. We failed because we didn’t foster Afghan institutions that could withstand a U.S. withdrawal. Americans were so worried about stamping out corruption that they micromanaged everything, creating a shadow government — staffed by temporary, highly paid consultants that answered to Washington. They wrote beautiful reports but weren’t accountable to the people who mattered most: Afghans. ............ It would have been better to spend far less money in Afghanistan but in a way that empowered local leaders. Instead, we spent more than a trillion dollars on a war that ended disastrously. Does it matter that we had a special inspector general perfectly documenting the disaster? ..................... donor countries should work with local Ukrainian government entities to rebuild the country instead of using “vast armies” of foreign contractors and nongovernmental organizations.

Amazon Is the Apex Predator of Our Platform Era The Congress of 1890, which passed the first of those laws, could never have imagined the world we now inhabit. ........... Today’s tech barons at huge platforms like Amazon, Google and Meta can deploy anticompetitive, deceptive and unfair tactics with the agility and speed of a digital system. As in any shell game, the quickness of the hand deceives the eye. ........... Amazon is the apex predator of our platform era. Having first subsidized end-users, and then offered favorable terms to business customers, Amazon was able to exploit its digital flexibility to lock both in and raid them for an ever-increasing share of the value they created. ............. Amazon has become a vestigial place, a retail colossus barely hindered by either competition or regulation, where prices go up as quality goes down, and the undifferentiated slurry of products from obscure brands is wreathed in inauthentic reviews. ............. It became progressively harder not to shop there. ........... The more locked in we were, the less Amazon needed to offer us. ........... the company began to allow retailers to buy their way to the top of listings, and by 2021, ads generated $31 billion in revenue. ............ Its warehouse workers urinate in bottles to keep up with impossibly high fulfillment demands; its drivers are forced to defecate in bags. Amazon pioneered the “megacycle,” a 10.5-hour, mandatory graveyard shift at its warehouses, as well as a new kind of arm’s-length quasi entrepreneur who borrows small fortunes and hires legions of drivers kitted out in Amazon livery, only to be stuck with the bill for all those delivery vans ............ Now we are at the final stage of monopolistic decay. The nation’s dominant online retail marketplace not only claws away much of its sellers’ revenues but also now penalizes them if they sell their products for lower prices at other retail outlets (including at its archrivals Target and Walmart). Amazon gets the American consumer coming and going, providing worse goods at higher prices while receiving vast sums in subsidies from state and local governments. ............

Monday, November 14, 2022

14: China

अनिल झा मेरै प्रस्तावमा धनुषा आउनुभएको हो : निधि
अनिल भर्सेस जुलीमा विमलेन्द्र फ्याक्टर !
मेरा लागि विमलेन्द्रजी रातदिन खटिरहनुभएको छ : अनिल झा
मेरा प्रतिस्पर्धी छैनन्, मै चुनाव जित्छु : जुली महतो

Thursday, November 10, 2022

10: US

Wesley Hunt
Donald Trump Was the Midterm’s Biggest Loser
Russia’s Retreat From Kherson Brings Ukraine One Step Closer to Victory Ukraine has a very clear understanding of what victory will entail....... Ukraine’s victory will require defeating the Russian Army on Ukrainian territory, including in Crimea. Ukraine’s recent advances prove that this is not a distant dream anymore. Russia struggles to control the 800-mile front line that stretches from the Black Sea coast to the northeastern mining cities of Luhansk Oblast. In September, better-trained, well-equipped and highly motivated Ukrainian troops regained the strategic initiative........ To prevail, Kyiv has fought smart, causing the front line to crumble by attacking deep behind enemy lines. U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket launchers have enabled this strategy. ........ Ukrainian victory without reclamation of Crimea is no Ukrainian victory. ....... For the war to end, a power transfer must happen in the Kremlin. ........ Losing a war is lethal to any dictator.

After Near Wipeout in Election, Israeli Left Wonders: What Now? Support for Israel’s left collapsed against Benjamin Netanyahu and his far-right alliance in last week’s election. To regain relevance, the left’s leaders say they need to change — but disagree on how. ....... Israel’s Jewish-led left-leaning parties, long the standard-bearers for negotiations with the Palestinians, suffered a near wipeout in the elections, accelerating a long-term decline that has kept them from the prime minister’s office for more than two decades. ........ The Labor Party, which once dominated Israeli politics with its brand of social democracy and secularism, barely scraped into Parliament, winning just four seats. Meretz, a champion of the peace movement, dropped out of Parliament entirely. Yesh Atid, the centrist party led by the departing prime minister, Yair Lapid, who forged a coalition with leftists to form the last government, scooped up several new seats. But Mr. Lapid’s wider alliance was defeated because of the broader collapse of parties on the left. ........ Veterans of both Meretz and Labor have called for the two groups to merge into a single party with a clear goal and message, welcoming not only Jews but also large numbers of Arabs. Israel’s Arab minority forms about a fifth of the country’s nine million citizens, but they typically vote for Arab-led parties. ........ Arab politicians typically want to downplay Israel’s Jewish character, while the Zionist left, by definition, seeks to maintain it. Even in the aftermath of last week’s game-changing election, few are ready to compromise.

What Republicans Are Saying About Tuesday Night The midterms’ results showed the limits of “Team Crazy,” in the words of Representative Peter Meijer — one of many harsh judgments coursing through a demoralized Republican Party.

Path to 218: Tracking the Remaining House Races
Poor Countries Need Climate Funding. These Plans Could Unlock Trillions. As global warming delivers cascading weather disasters, leaders at U.N. climate talks say it’s time to radically overhaul the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. ......... The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were created 80 years ago to rebuild countries devastated by World War II and to stabilize the global economy. But an expanding group of world leaders now say the two powerful institutions need a 21st century overhaul to handle a new destructive force: global warming........ If implemented, the reforms being considered would make significantly more money available to developing nations to mitigate the effects of climate change, deploy those funds faster, offer struggling countries lower interest rates and allow them to pause debt payments after major disasters. Supporters say the changes would also enable the institutions to attract trillions of dollars in private capital to help nations prepare for climate disasters and transition to wind, solar and other clean energy. ........ Bridgetown Initiative, put forward this summer by Mia Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, a heavily indebted Caribbean nation that is highly vulnerable to climate disasters. Ms. Mottley began her campaign at last year’s climate summit in Glasgow by calling attention to the plight of poor and small island nations. ........ the bank’s “current model” was “no longer appropriate in this time of global crises.” ........ more than $1 trillion in new funding ....... reform of the bank and the fund is being seen as the most immediate and practical way to help the developing world face the severe threats posed by increasing floods, fires, heat and drought. ..........

“It’s not right that some countries can borrow at 3 percent and others at 14, 15.”

A Compromise on Immigration Is Possible. This Bill Could Make It Happen. immigration imposes significant short-term costs on local governments but that the children of immigrants “are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the U.S. population.” Immigration, in other words, is an investment in America’s future, but someone still needs to cover the upfront costs. ..... Winning broader support will require more compromise and courage. But regardless of the results of the midterm elections, Congress has a real opportunity to begin the critical work of fixing the nation’s immigration system by overhauling the asylum process.

Amazon has lost a record $1T in value
Bitcoin sinks on FTX collapse