Sunday, June 2, 2019
No time for an intro, but let's credit Bernie Sanders for this tweet:
Soon we will send soldiers to Afghanistan who weren't even born yet
on September 11, 2001.
We've spent $5 trillion dollars on wars since 9/11.
And now some of the same people that got us into Iraq are trying
to start a war with Iran.
We must end our endless wars.
Some scattered links this week:
Alexia Fernández Campbell:
Mexican president to Trump: tariffs and coercion won't work.
A major coal company went bust. Its bankruptcy filing shows that it was
funding climate change denialism.
Saudi Arabia first: "The president is helping a repressive monarchy
wage war in open defiance of Congress. That's grounds for
What to do when you're a country in crisis: Review of Jared Diamond's
new book, Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis. Critiques
Diamond for imposing his "framework" on his historical cases, and goes
deep on fact checking -- some for sure, others pissier (like complaints
about using "unanimous" where unanimity is statistically impossible). I
recently wrote a Book Roundup blurb on Diamond's book, positing a similar
critique but not having read the book, not distracted by trivia.
Giridharadas ends by offering Jill Lepore's These Truths as a
contrast, but I did read that book, and noted a handful of egregious
factual errors there, as well.
Dahr Jamail/Barbara Cecil:
What would it mean to deeply accept that we're in planetary crisis?
David D Kirkpatrick:
The most powerful Arab ruler isn't M.B.S. It's M.B.Z.: Mohammed bin
Zayed, crown prince of United Arab Emirates. Related: David Hearst:
Abu Dhabi is trapped in a nightmare of its own making.
How Nancy Pelosi's tactics affirm the Trumpian style of politics.
"Trump will be gone someday, but the possibilities that Trumpism has
created will remain." This strikes me as wrong. To have any degree of
effectiveness, Pelosi has had to figure out how to stand her ground
against Trump's bullying. Adjusting to Trump's reality doesn't imply
accepting it as the new norm.
Republicans' successful campaign to protect Trump from Mueller's report
in one quote.
Bannon described Trump Organization as 'criminal enterprise,' Michael Wolff
More than 200 tornadoes devastated the Midwest over 13 days. Why?
One subtitle isn't very convincing: "Storm damages are getting worse,
but climate change isn't too much of a factor." Below it confirms my
suspicion that "Tornado Alley . . . is shifting east" in what appears
to be a long-term shift.
Bill Barr's Trump-toadying lickspittle ways, explained.
Bernie Sanders's most socialist idea yet, explained: "He wants to
mandate employee ownership of big companies." Also: Eric Levitz:
In appeal to moderates, Sanders calls for worker-ownership of means of
production. I've long felt that employee ownership of companies is
much preferable, both for workers and the public, to labor unions. I've
seen firsthand how giving employees an ownership stake makes their work
more productive and satisfying. Anything else generates class conflict,
often degenerating into a zero-sum contest. Of course, I support labor
unions, as they provide countervailing power against the arrogance and
abuse of unfettered management: strong unions help their workers, of
course, but they also strengthen the economy and reinforce/revitalize
We found the guy behind the viral 'drunk Pelosi' video.
Emily S Rueb:
'Freedom Gas,' the next American export.
Trump thinks the courts might save him from impeachment. It doesn't work
Troika fever: Key American allies in the Middle East are the real
This is what a real conservative looks like in 2019: In self-serving
praise of Robert Mueller and Justin Amash. Defines conservatism as "a
philosophy of limited, constitutional government, individual rights, trust
in tradition, love of country, prudence in foreign policy and restraint
at home." That's actually closer to classic liberalism: just town down the
reflexive jingoism, and allow for the possibility of progress -- e.g.,
extending individual rights to more (potentially all) people. The more
consistent core creed of self-annointed conservatives is their belief in
a natural social/political/economic hierarchy which places some people
above others. As democratic principles spread, conservatives have had
to hide their true agenda behind faux populism -- appeals to tradition,
to pride, and to prejudice -- which have often led them to embrace some
pretty unsavory politicians. Trump won them over by offering them the
only thing that matters to them: the spoils of winning.
Julian Assange must never be extradited.
Trump could save his presidency the way Bill Clinton did: Clever
Getting things done may be Trump's best hope of survival -- as the last
president who found himself in the impeachment crosshairs demonstrated.
In 1998, as Bill Clinton's presidency became engulfed in scandal
surrounding his affair with a White House intern, his mastery of what
was then called "compartmentalization" was tested. Day in and day out,
Clinton made sure Americans saw a functioning presidency. . . .
He could not prevent the investigation from going forward, or Congress
from trying to remove him from office. In December 1998, the House voted
two articles of impeachment against him, for perjury and for obstruction
But that very week, Clinton's job approval in the Gallup poll reached
73 percent -- not only the highest of his presidency, but among the best
recorded by any chief executive since the mid-1960s. By then, it had
become clear that the charges against him would not stick in the Senate,
which just under eight weeks later acquitted him.
By doing his job, Clinton saved his presidency.
Even in this polarized environment, there are still opportunities for
Trump to do the same.
Still, partisan asymmetry matters more than competency or popularity.
There was never any chance that Clinton would lose enough Democrats in
the Senate to be convicted there, and Trump is if anything in a stronger
position in the Senate now. His real problem is that his approval numbers
have never topped 43% since the election (compare to Clinton's 73%).
Maybe if Clinton was that low, he'd have something to worry about, but
Republicans are used to being unpopular, and most of what Trump is
unpopular for these days is being a hardcore Republican.
In Japan, Trump broke a cardinal rule of being America's president.
The 9 least popular Democrats running for president, briefly explained:
"The Laggard Nine," aka "the Sub-2 Percent Club"): Jay Inslee, Steve Bullock,
John Delaney, Eric Swalwell, Bill de Blasio, Tim Ryan, Michael Bennet, Seth
Moulton, Marianne Williamson.
Trump's new plan to tax Mexican imports, explained.
Robert Mueller should testify before Congress.
Joe Biden's low-key campaigning schedule, explained.