Sunday, August 11, 2019
Again, spent a little over two days collecting what seems to be a
bottomless series of links that show various aspects of the same basic
fact: that Donald Trump is like all other conservatives in the sense
that he believes some people (like himself) are innately superior to
other people, and that the political system should be rigged to favor
superior people over inferior ones, but even among conservatives, as
an individual he is exceptionally ignorant, abusive, vain, and corrupt.
Most weeks I take pains to remind you that what's wrong with him is
just a reflection of his political beliefs, and we need to focus on
the broader right-wing and not just on him. Still, this week he was
such a flaming asshole that it's hard to get beyond the horror and
disgust he reeks of.
Some scattered links this week:
Trump is not a racist. His voters aren't either. Nothing here
convinces me of the title, and I doubt that's even the author's intent.
Rather, he's saying that Trump and many of his voters don't think of
themselves as racists, but the more they're called racists, the more
likely they are to start identifying that way. I can see the logic
here, even relate it to a personal incident. I had a boss once who
complained that I had a "bad attitude" and, well, my attitude got
much more pronounced after that. Still, we have a fair amount of
empirical experience with calling Trump and Republicans racist, and
thus far their response is almost always to deny rather than embrace
it. Sure, they get upset and irritated, and some try to turn the
tables and paint themselves as victims of racists, but as long as
they're defensive they aren't that much of a threat. Moreover, the
real problem with racism isn't that some people identify as racists.
It's that lots more people practice racism, often without giving
it much thought. Those people need to know that they're going to
get called out on their racism when it's evident -- something that
even the President hasn't been immune to lately. For more on Trump's
history of being called racist, see Philip Rucker/Ashley Parker:
The brand label that stokes Trump's fury: 'Racist, racist, racist.'
The Trump boycotts pose a grave danger to the Equinox and SoulCycle
businesses. Also: Alex Abad-Santos:
SoulCycle instructors are as mad about its investor's Trump fundraises
as its riders are; Lizzie Widdicombe:
Equinox members take a stand against Trump (sort of);
Billionaire Trump supporter Stephen Ross can't have it both ways.
The global machine behind the rise of far-right nationalism.
Julie Bosman/Kate Taylor/Tim Arango:
A common trait among mass killers: hatred toward women.
Why we should let more foreign doctors practice in America.
Norway mosque attack suspect 'inspired by Christchurch and El Paso
CBP chief forced to explain why ICE raids haven't targeted Trump's
Alexia Fernández Campbell:
The sleight of hand at the heart of Trump's appeal.
On "humanitarian intervention".
'Only in the Panhandle': Trump chuckles when audience member suggests
Pushing out the border: How the US is waging a global war on migration.
Chas Danner/Margaret Hartmann:
Everything we know about Jeffrey Epstein's death: A news blip I would
barely have noticed until I needed somewhere to hang the extra links:
Brady Dennis/Andrew Freedman:
Here's how the hottest month in recorded history unfolded around the
EJ Dionne Jr:
On guns and white nationalism, one side is right and one is wrong.
Climate change isn't an intangible future risk. It's here now, and it's
Are we headed for another expensive nuclear arms race? Could be.
Main problem with this "logic" is that the fix is already in: the
intent to spend more than a trillion dollars to stockpile new bombs,
regardless of whether anyone else shows up for the race.
Helena Bottemiller Evich:
'It feels like something out of a bad sci-fi movie': "A top climate
scientist [Lewis Ziska] quit USDA, following others who say Trump has
Mary Fitzgerald/Claire Provost:
The American dark money behind Europe's far right.
A recent openDemocracy investigation found that America's Christian
right spent at least $50 million of "dark money" to fund campaigns and
advocacy in Europe over the past decade. (By the measures of US political
financing, this may not seem like a vast sum, but by European standards
it's formidable. The total spend on the 2014 European elections, for
example, by all of Ireland's political parties combined was just $3 million.)
Ben Freeman/Nia Harris/Cassandra Stimpson:
The military-industrial jobs scam: $750 billion for the Pentagon,
a record haul, but the "stubborn truth" is that more money begets fewer
jobs. Also at TomDispatch:
Can journalism be saved from the tech giants? There's a problem
here -- advertising revenues that previously supported newspapers and
magazines have been sucked up by Google and Facebook, undermining the
business viability of a free press -- but I don't see this "solution"
as helping much. The proposal is to allow content-providers to band
together to negotiate better terms with the tech giants. Seems to me
that the real problems are deeper than revenue distribution, starting
with the very model of depending on advertising to support journalism.
We're actually going through a period where the marginal distribution
cost of journalism has dropped to virtually nothing, which should make
it cost-effective to dramatically expand production, but we're stuck
with a business model (advertising + subscriptions) that drags both
consumers and content-producers into a death spiral. The obvious way
out of this is to free distribution while finding some other way to
pay for content creation. In the long run, that way needs to be public
funding, the trick being to come up with schemes that are responsive
to diverse consumers, that are professional, and that are fair and as
free as possible of corruption. That's a tough sell in a period when
virtually everything is politicized, but we've tried commercializing
everything, and have the present political mess to show for it.
Trump's executive order on social media bias is a distraction: "Trump
is reportedly drafting an executive order on tech bias against conservatives,
even though there's no proof this bias exists."
Joe Biden accidentally said "poor kids" are just as bright as "white
kids": "The former vice president immediately corrected himself
to say "wealthy kids." Or, as Jim Newell put it:
In Iowa, Joe Biden's mouth keeps getting away from his brain; also
Joe Biden gaffes his way through Iowa.
The Dayton, Ohio, shooter reportedly kept a "rape list" of potential
Joan E Greve:
New York Times changes front-page Trump headline after backlash.
On Trump's Monday teleprompted speech, original headline read "Trump
urges unity vs. racism." Later changed to "Assailing hate but not
guns." Trump objected to the change: Allyson Chiu:
Trump lashes out after New York Times amends 'bad' headline about
his response to mass shootings. Both articles have scans of
both cover pages, and various tweets. As Jamil Smith put it: "This
is the 'Dewey Defeats Truman' of racism." For more: Aaron Blake:
Why the New York Times's Trump headline was so bad.
The meaning of Israel's massive housing demolitions in East Jerusalem.
These 7 prominent conservatives have nothing i common with white supremacists,
nothing at all: What we used to call "satire." FYI: Ben Shapiro,
Tucker Carlson, Donald J Trump, Stephen Miller, Laura Ingraham, Candace
Owens, John Cornyn.
Trump's new arms race makes the Cold War era look rational and restrained.
"The secretary of defense is keen to test a type of missile that no one
has requested for more than 30 years, without knowing where it would be
stationed or why it's particularly needed."
Is beating Trump the best Democrats can hope to achieve in 2020?:
I don't mind some prudent skepticism, but this guy is trying hard to
be a major killjoy. People, especially Democrats, need to understand
that the difference between even the minimal Democratic agenda and
Trump/Republicans is something that matters a lot, and they have to
get serious about implementing that agenda. That means: first of all
they have to win big, they have to make aggressive use of the power
they gain, and they have to make the Republicans the shadow government
of the super-rich own their failures, so they can build and run again
and again until they succeed. The Democratic candidate should be the
one who makes the strongest case for doing all that, as opposed to
someone who's just marginally better than Trump.
Nadler makes it clear House is already in 'impeachment proceedings'.
Related: Quinta Jurecic:
Impeachment, but without the moral clarity.
The Trump administration adds even more sanctions to try to push out
Leaked FBI documents reveal Bureau's priorities under Trump.
In new interview, Bill Barr sees Dirty Harry, Death Wish as justice done
China tries to teach Trump economics: "If you want to understand the
developing trade war with China, the first thing you need to realize is
that nothing Donald Trump is doing makes sense."
Tariff tantrums and recession risks: "If the bond market is any
indication, Donald Trump's escalating belligerence on trade is creating
seriously increased risks of recession."
Trump's China shock.
Trump, tax cuts and terrorism: "Why do Republicans enable right-wing
extremism?" I would say it's because they've found a successful political
strategy in provoking strong, irrational responses from their base, and
they have few if any scruples about anyone acting on those impulses. Race
is just one of those nerve points, but it's been successfully exploited
by Nixon (his "Southern strategy"), Reagan ("welfare queens"), Bush I
("Willie Horton"), and no one's hit it harder than Trump. It's not the
only one, but when you play it and follow with guns and war and general
contempt for law and civility, it's not hard to figure out what happens
But racism isn't what drives the Republican establishment, and my guess
is that a majority of the party's elected officials find it a little bit
repugnant -- just not repugnant enough to induce them to repudiate its
political exploitation. And their exploitation of racism has led them
inexorably to where they are today: de facto enablers of a wave of white
How San Francisco's wealthiest families launched Kamala Harris.
Nearly all of Mexico's gun violence is committed with illegal firearms
coming from US, officials say.
To learn about the far right, start with the 'manosphere': "The sexist
world has become a recruiting ground for potential mass shooters."
The only way to stop the catastrophe of a no-deal Brexit? Revoke article
Ferguson changed how America talks about police violence. 5 years later,
not much else has changed.
How economists' faith in markets broke America: Review of Nicholas
Lemann's Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of
the American Dream, and Binyamin Appelbaum's The Economist's
Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society.
Stop blaming mental illness for mass shootings: "It's about the
A worried nation wonders: How can we keep Wayne LaPierre safe?
The longtime head of the National Rifle Association, it turns out, is
worried sick about his personal safety in this gun culture.
After the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, he and his wife bravely waited
out the uproar on the
pink-sand beaches of the Bahamas, part of $542,000 in private jet
trips and personal items the NRA bought for him. And now, thanks to some
delightful reporting by my Post colleagues Carol D. Leonnig and Beth
Reinhard, we know that last year's Parkland massacre left LaPierre so
fearful for his personal safety that he tried to have the NRA buy him
a $6 million French-chateau-style mansion with nine bathrooms in a gated
Dallas-area golf course community.
He told associates he was worried about his safety and thought his
Virginia home was too easy for potential attackers to find.
Ultimately, the financially stressed NRA didn't buy LaPierre the
mansion. That's too bad, because, as the saying goes: "The only thing
that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a French chateau."
Trump says Google is biased against conservatives. Here's how search
actually works. One thing that remains unmentionable here is whether
or to what extent advertisers influence Google search results. That's
certainly my impression as a long-time user.
The 'warspeak' permeating everyday language puts us all in the
Beto O'Rourke is doing what Donald Trump is simply incapable of:
"The Texan is demonstrating real leadership in the wake of a horrific
mass shooting by unequivocally condemning racism." I'm less impressed.
I've seen his expletive-filled clip responding to "What can Donald
Trump do?" several times, and while he's fumbling on, the only answer
I can think of is "resign."
Trump's sudden push for a possibly doomed background check bill,
Trump's speech was like a hostage video.
Florida white supremacist arrested for threatening shooting at Walmart,
police say. Also: Tom Winter/Dennis Romero:
FBI arrests Las Vegas man who allegedly wanted to shoot Jews, LGBTQ bar
The truth about anti-white discrimination: "Many white Americans feel
that discrimination against whites is on the rise. Experiments suggests
otherwise." By the way, I took a semester of psych during my brief tenure
in high school, and learned a few things there. One key concept was
projection: the tendency people have to impute their own beliefs and
feelings to other people. We see projection everywhere. Especially we
see white racists assuming that non-whites are racist against them. In
50 years since then, I've seen non-whites who were wary and cautious
and sometimes even bitter, but I've never seen any say or do the sort
of things I've seen white racists do hundreds of times.
Jeremy W Peters/Michael M Brynbaum/Keith Collins/Rich Harris/Rumsey Taylor:
How the El Paso killer echoed the incendiary words of conservative media
Elderly Washington couple dies in murder-suicide blamed on worries over
medical bills: Another shooting guns weren't responsible for.
FBI agents are reluctant to pursue white nationalist extremists because
they don't want to target Trump's base, former counterterrorism official
Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok are both suing the Justice Department:
"The two former FBI officials filed separate lawsuits this week, alleging
improper political retaliation."
The polls are in, and here's who won the second Democratic debate:
The most interesting of the polls was one by
HuffPost/YouGov, which offered separate percentages for whether the
debate performance improved or worsened opinion on the candidate. The
difference produce a net change: Warren (+44), Buttigieg (+24), Booker
(+20), Castro (+17), Yang (+13), Sanders (+12), Klobuchar (+8), Gillibrand
(+7), Inslee (+4), Gabbard (+3), Biden (+2), Bennet and O'Rourke (-4),
Harris (-5), Bullock and Williamson (-6), de Blasio (-14), Hickenlooper
(-15), Ryan (-17), Delaney (-30). Compare this to last week's pundit
rankings, which accorded wins to Biden (for not doing as poorly as last
time) and Delaney (for talking a lot even though no one much liked what
he had to say).
Democrats' confusing debate over an "impeachment inquiry," explained.
Democratic candidates grasp the moral seriousness of this moment.
The 'white replacement theory' motivates alt-right killers the world
Somini Sengupta/Welyl Cal:
A quarter of humanity faces looming water crises. This strikes me
as an even more acute threat to humankind than climate change, not that
the latter doesn't have something to do with it. Also: Christopher
Climate change threatens the world's food supply, United Nations warns.
Also by Sengupta:
Earth's food supply is under threat. These fixes would go a long way.
'Ruthless': How it feels when the Trump administration guts your agency.
Expanding fight against Iran, Israel opens new military front in Iraq.
Ali H Soufan:
I spent 25 years fighting jihadis. White supremacists aren't so different.
Long after Hiroshima: Last week marked 74 years since the people
charged with "thinking about the unthinkable" cavalierly went ahead
and just did it. Maybe the bigger number next year will motivate some
attention, like the 75th anniversary of D-Day (although it's harder
to spin Hiroshima as a day to celebrate American chauvinism). Maybe
the scuttling of arms control treaties and the trillion dollar scam
to "renovate" America's nuclear bomb arsenal will bring out some
Who's afraid of Tulsi Gabbard?.
Here are the Democratic presidential candidates with the most donations
from billionaires: Buttigieg (23), Booker (18), Harris (17), Bennet
(15), Biden (13), Hickenlooper (11), O'Rourke (9), Klobuchar (8), Inslee
(5), Gillibrand (4), Delaney (3). Warren has 2, tied with Bullock. Sanders
has 0 (tied with Castro, De Blasio, and Ryan). One each for Gabbard, Yang,
and Williamson. Not listed is Tom Steyer, who like Donald Trump is his
own billionaire. (See: Jessica Piper:
Billionaire Tom Steyer spends more than $7 million on ads in first
Trump could renounce white nationalism -- but he can't pretend he
cares. Personally, I couldn't care less whether "a president
can offer comfort at times like these." I think it's stupid and
wasteful for the president to scurry around to disaster zones --
in fact, that it causes more problems than it solves. Of course,
it's even worse with a guy who's stupid, arrogant, and incapable
of empathy. Embarrassing is the word -- one that applies to Trump
literally every day.
Trump's Twitter rant about the Federal Reserve and the dollar,
Billionaire Trump donor explains he's in it for the tax cuts, not the
Trump's designation of China as a currency manipulator, explained.
As is typically the case with Trump administration moves, it's not
entirely clear what the administration is trying to accomplish here,
in part because the administration doesn't do briefings in a well-organized
way and in part because various players in the administration are often
not on the same page. . . . And in this particular case, it's extremely
unlikely the IMF will do anything, because China is not, in fact,
manipulating its currency in any traditional sense. It's essentially a
policy of the US government stamping its feet while it figures out what
it wants to do next.
Joe Biden's rivals should attack him with some "Republican talking
points": Obviously, not the one about Biden being too far to the
left, but: "Joe Biden is old"; "Joe Biden is very establishment";
"the Biden family has made money off of politics."
Video games don't cause violent crime: "Research indicates that,
if anything, it's the opposite."
Biden is doubling down on Iraq War lies.
Not news, but let me note in passing a few more historical links on
intellectuals who had some influence on me:
Ask a question, or send a comment.