May 23, 2019

Trump Unleashed

“There’s a certain rhythm to Donald Trump’s presidency over the past two years. First he does something even more egregious than usual, like defend violent white nationalists or side with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Then he hunkers down for the barrage of public criticism. The wave crests, and things return to normal, or at least some new version of it. Those episodes are occasionally described as “Peak Trump”—when the chaos and self-destructiveness of his presidency reaches its apex.

But now that the Russia investigation is over, ending the most immediate threat to his presidency, his behavior thus far may appear restrained in hindsight. In recent weeks, he’s shown himself willing to take even more adventurous steps to secure what he wants. Whether he’s categorically refusing to comply with congressional oversight, urging border agents to ignore judges, or reportedly offering pardons to immigration officials who defy the courts, Trump seems more eager than ever to test the electric fences of American democracy.

His predilections will take root in more favorable soil than ever. Attorney General Bill Barr has made clear over the past few weeks that he will be the loyal functionary whom Trump has long sought to install atop the Justice Department. White House advisor Stephen Miller oversaw a similar purge of the Department of Homeland Security last month, ousting Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other top officials in favor of more hardline figures who could execute the president’s legally dubious vision for border security. And with the threat of special counsel Robert Mueller now receding, even Trump’s personal lawyers are eager for a Thermidorian response.”

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"With many other countries already studying the Asian playbook, the United States and Europe could benefit from doing the same."

"Trump's cursing is one of the most straightforward parts of his appeal... Trump is not the only politician whose profanity has stood him in good stead."

"‘If we get all of this because Netanyahu wants to make Trump happy, that’s fine with us,’ says local council rep in Golan Heights as plans ramp up for ‘new’ neighborhood honoring U.S. president..."

"...there is something worth paying attention to in this latest petition from fans keen to have a creative work made the way that they want it. The comments on the petition are instructive."

"The sunny job numbers and steady growth hide the fact that most people think the economy works only for people in power."

"Like many other Americans, I now wear AirPods all day at my desk to combat the awful tyranny of the open office. Since they don’t cancel noise, they provide me with writing music..."

"The logic of attributing mental states to nonhuman animals is complicated. We cannot use deductive inference, because there are no general rules..."

"As the canon of English literature slowly, gradually opens itself up to books by women and authors of color, Modern Library and Penguin Classics have just launched two new series..."

"Egalitarian couples assume their progressive ideology will carry the day. Sociologists know that it doesn’t.... sharing child care is associated with valuing gender equality..."

"Business Booms for Sephardic Food: Women are leading the way as small businesses bring traditional recipes to the commercial marketplace..."

"With most animal populations, the niches that encase the populations are of constant size. Animal societies growing in a given niche have dynamics neatly fitted by equations with a constant limit or ceiling."

"Now some 200,000 Jews live in Germany, a nation of 82 million people, and many are increasingly fearful.... 85 percent of respondents in Germany characterized anti-Semitism as a “very big” or “fairly big” problem..."