Sunday, March 4, 2018
Once again having to cut this short because I'm running out of time.
Didn't even watch the Oscars tonight, as I tried to gather these links.
Nothing terribly new below if you've been reading all along, although
the Putnam/Skocpol article might help, as well as Yglesias' near-weekly
posts on Republican voting setbacks. I suppose one thing that slowed me
down is that this has been an above-average week for palace intrigue,
even given renormalization after that's been the case for about 50 weeks
in the last year-plus-a-month.
Some scattered links this week:
Matthew Yglesias: The 4 stories that mattered this week in Washington,
explained: Tariffs on steel; Trump went rogue on guns; Hope Hicks
is quitting; Jared Kushner is under fire.
Other Yglesias stories:
Jeff Sessions's dinner with Rod Rosenstein and Noel Francisco, explained.
A telling anecdote about Trump and the opioid abuse crisis: Trump
is appointing Jim Carroll to run the Office of National Drug Control
Policy, evidently because John Kelly didn't like having Carroll as his
deputy chief of staff.
Trump's corruption deserves to be a central issue in the 2018 midterms.
Well, it will be. The only real question is whether Democrats manage to
tar the entire Republican Party with the corruption so evident in the
Trump family. Right now this seems doable, given the prominent role of
big money donors in the Trump administration and the stranglehold over
Trump's agenda held by congressional Republicans, especially Paul Ryan
and Mitch McConnell.
Democrats just flipped 2 state legislative seats in Connecticut and New
Hampshire. I still think that the main reason Democrats have done
so well in interim elections is that the extent of the 2016 fiasco has
motivated stronger and more energetic Democrats to run for office. I
don't think we've seen much of an ideological shift thus far, and we
may not for some time, as we gradually sink into the depths of disaster
Republican rule is causing. Still, it won't take much more than a shift
of enthusiasm to tilt generic elections to the Democrats, and that
seems almost certain. Still, Republicans will have lots of money for
the 2018 elections, and will pull out all stops in their efforts to
whip up anti-Democrat hysteria. The question is how many times can
you cry wolf before people realize that the wolf is you?
Eric Holthaus: Nor'easters are now just as dangerous as hurricanes.
I haven't followed the news close enough to know how these pre-storm
threats have held up.
Eric Lipton/Lisa Friedman: Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears
Ears Monument, Emails Show. Previously I figured it was mostly about
uranium mining, but I guess there's more to it. Still, both fall under
the general rubric of corruption, as in political officials doing favors
that benefit big campaign donors.
German Lopez: A new, huge review of gun research has bad news for the
NRA: Nearly 39,000 people were killed by guns in 2016, yet the NRA
has managed to keep the federal government from sponsoring any research
into gun deaths, resulting in "a confusing empirical environment." RAND
Corporation has been looking into this, and have released the report
Lopez refers to. By the way, after Trump went off script on guns,
he's evidently been brought back to heel:
Trump met with the NRA -- and now we're back to not knowing what he wants
on guns. By the way, when Trump said, "Take the guns first, go through
due process second," it sounded to me more an attack on due process than
Andrew Prokop: Jared Kushner's many, many scandals, explained.
The white albatross mortgage on 666 Fifth Avenue is obviously the
top of Kushner's worry list, which makes you wonder why a businessman
in so much hot water would go pff imtp public service unless he thought
there was a lucrative business angle there. At the same time, note:
Caitlin MacNeal: NYT: Trump Has Asked John Kelly to Push Ivanka Trump,
Kushner Out of WH. Of course, not everything the New York Times
reports is fake news, but this is especially suspicious. Prokop also
This week's wild Trump White House chaos, explained, with more
on Hope Hicks' resignation and various rumors that "Kushner, McMaster,
Cohn, and Sessions are said to be on the ropes." Alex Ward delves
further into the Sessions affair:
The angry past 24 hours in Trump's fight with his own attorney general,
Lara Putnam/Theda Skocpol: Middle America Reboots Democracy: "We
spent months talking with anti-Trump forces -- and they're not who
pundits say they are." Skocpol wrote an early book on the Tea Party
movement and is quick to note that grass roots anti-Trump organizing
is not some sort of "left-wing Tea Party." They also note how little
the Democratic Party "professionals" grasp about what's going on,
and what's producing dramatic results.
Emily Stewart: All of West Virginia's teachers have been on strike for
over a week. West Virginia has trended Republican recently, taking
a very hard turn against Obama, so this comes as a surprise, but also
Avery Anapol: Oklahoma teachers planning statewide strike.
Stewart is evidently a staff writer at Vox. She had a busy week:
Trump's trade war will hurt everyone -- the only question is how
much: interview with Michael Froman, who was US Trade Representative
under Obama (which means he negotiated the TPP, which Trump, Sanders,
and ultimately Clinton opposed; indeed, he continues to defend TPP here);
Trump says China's Xi is "president for life" -- and maybe America
should try it ("probably a joke");
During a chaotic week in the White House, Trump quietly ramped up
his 2020 reelection campaign. The most important of these is
probably the one on the launch of Trump's 2020 campaign. In past
times, the main reason for starting a campaign early was to make
up for lack of name recognition, but that's obviously not Trump's
problem. Even then, it was rare to do so formally until after the
mid-term elections. That really only leaves one reason for Trump
to get such an early start: campaigns can collect money, so his
provides a way for supporters to stand up and be counted, while
allowing Trump to hire full-time propagandists and stage events,
something he seems to enjoy much more than actually fulfilling
the everyday duties of being president.
However, tariffs and trade have gotten a lot more attention; e.g.:
Zeeshan Aleem: Trump's trade tweets prove one thing: he doesn't
Alexia Fernandez Campbell: Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs have
angered nearly every US industry. Note that the stock market
fell 600 points the day after the announcement. Also note that
Trump buddy (and fellow billionaire) Carl Icahn somehow got out
in front of the stock crash -- see
Cristina Cabrera: Ex-Trump Advisor Sold Steel-Linked Stocks Before
POTUS Announced Tariffs. In case you're wondering about that "Ex-":
A longtime friend to Trump, Icahn served as a "special advisor" to the
President before resigning in August 2017 ahead of an incoming
New Yorker story that outlined his attempts to use his position to
help his investments.