The Elites vs. Populism and Demagogues
January 28, 2020
“Success comes from keeping the ears open and the mouth closed” and “A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds.”
“Hamilton’s besetting fear was that American democracy would be spoiled by demagogues who would mouth populist shibboleths to conceal their despotism.”
– Ron Chernow
Will Senate Republicans Hold President Trump Accountable?
Call him a disgruntled former employee. Say he’s only out to sell his book. Deny in capital letters the conversation he said happened NEVER happened. But John Bolton’s revelation in his upcoming book — due out in March — is a game changer for President Trump’s impeachment defense.
Trump’s lawyers were JUST arguing on Saturday there was no direct evidence — no witness had come forward to say — the president had explicitly linked withholding aid to Ukraine to investigations of his political rivals.
But there it was, in the manuscript Bolton sent to the National Security Council for standard pre-publication review — on December 30. The New York Times was first to report the bombshell news Sunday night that Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, had written that Trump told him in August he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in congressionally approved security assistance to Ukraine until its government announced investigations of Joe Biden, who was leading the pack of 2020 Democratic candidates at the time.
Trump has continued to ban any administration witnesses from testifying, or documents to be provided, while his lawyers have continued to argue there isn’t enough evidence to convict him of impeachable misdeeds. And until now it was a pretty sure bet Senate Republicans would have voted down Democrats’ request to call witnesses, although Bolton has been clear he wants to testify. This revelation changes the dynamic surrounding Leader McConnell’s carefully crafted slam dunk dismissal. Because now, if the trial ends without calling Bolton to testify, it looks even more like GOP senators are aiding the White House in a cover up.
- White House works to contain damage from allegations in forthcoming Bolton book (WaPo, $)
- The Last Time Democracy Almost Died: Learning from the upheaval of the nineteen-thirties. (The New Yorker, $)
- Mid-Impeachment, Trump Is Planning His Post-Impeachment Victory Lap (Vanity Fair)
Handout via Getty Images
All’s Fair In War And War
- Just days ago Russia, Turkey and a dozen other international powers met at a gathering hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The group called for a cease-fire and an arms embargo in Libya’s long civil war, and committed to end their own interference on the ground to give Libyans space for a political reconciliation. Barely a week later, both fighting and foreign shipments of arms have resumed. “Battles are raging on all front lines,” said a spokesman for the military forces based in eastern Libya.
- The UN had warned Friday of “continued blatant violations of the arms embargo” by unnamed foreign powers. The oil and gas-rich North African nation has struggled for nine years to shake off the chaos that ensued following an Arab Spring revolt that ended the four-decade rule of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
- The mayhem has also turned the country’s long Mediterranean coastline into a departure point for tens of thousands of Europe-bound migrants. (NYT)
- Libya conflict: Haftar forces threaten to target civilian planes (BBC)
Eh, I: Canadian Intelligence
- Canada is cashing in on the battle for global tech talent. Toronto saw the biggest growth in technology jobs of any North American city over the past five years, outpacing San Francisco, New York and Seattle; Vancouver also made the top five. And one of the biggest reasons is US immigration policy.
- Under the Trump administration, highly-skilled workers are getting rejected at a higher rate than ever before; it has also blocked entrepreneurs from some majority-Muslim countries altogether under the travel ban, which it’s moving to expand to more countries.
- Meanwhile Canada has been making it easier for tech workers to immigrate there. A new streamlined visa has brought in more than 40,000 tech workers from around the world in the past two years alone. US immigration officials say protecting American jobs is their priority although tech companies complain that they can’t find enough qualified candidates to fill all their open jobs. (NPR)
Additional World News
- Coronavirus: Death toll climbs to 106 as China tightens measures (BBC) & Coronavirus: Companies tell workers ‘stay at home’ (BBC)
- Zimbabwe urged to prioritise children as record poverty causes food shortages (Guardian)
- How Putin Outfoxed Trump in Venezuela (WSJ, $)
- How Russia is making forays into wider Internet censorship (WaPo, $)
- Boris Johnson hints at compromise over Huawei and 5G (Guardian)
- Chinese diasporas stockpile surgical masks, fret over infection (BBC)
- We don’t know about you, but we didn’t realize up until recently just how many useless things we carried in our wallet. A 3 out of 5 punch card for a coffee place we haven’t been to in years, 3 expired coupons, business cards we’ll never call, etc etc etc. As a result, our wallet mushroomed in size and became a hulking mess in our pockets. Enter: the Ridge Wallet.
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- The Ridge now sits in the pockets of over 1 million people and has been called “the closest to perfection wallets are ever going to get.” Shop now for free shipping, free returns, and a lifetime warranty on every wallet.
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Who Make At Least $30k A Year
- The Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote has approved one of President Trump’s hardline immigration policies. On Monday the conservative majority allowed the administration to implement a rule denying legal permanent residency — a “green card” — to certain immigrants deemed likely to need government assistance in the future. Under Trump’s policy, immigration officers would consider factors such as age, educational level and English proficiency to decide whether an immigrant would likely become a “public charge” who would receive government benefits such as the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor.
- A lower court’s injunction blocking the policy was lifted, while litigation over its legality continues. The rule has been criticized by immigrant rights advocates as a “wealth test” that would disproportionately keep out non-white immigrants.
- Last November the conservatives on the court, including Chief Justice John Roberts and two Trump appointees, signaled support for Trump’s bid to kill the program protecting hundreds of thousands of immigrants called “Dreamers” who were brought to the US illegally as children. A ruling is expected in June. (Reuters)
Ensure Your Insurance Insures
- According to a recent poll on income inequality, more than one-third of adults across all income groups say that in the past year, they or a household member were told their health insurance plan would not cover a drug they need that was prescribed by their doctor, and nearly half these people say they simply don’t fill the prescription. 49 percent of lower-income adults reported having had this happen to them, compared with 41 percent of the highest-income adults and 32 percent of middle-income adults.
- “What you see is insurers are not paying for some drugs that physicians are recommending and that patients think they need,” said the Harvard professor of health policy and political analysis who directed the poll. When that happens, most of the highest earners paid for the medication themselves. On the other hand, the professor says: “Half of the people who are lower or middle class are not getting [their prescribed drugs] because they can’t afford to go out and pay for it themselves.” Denials of drug coverage can be appealed, but often people either don’t know this, or the process is just too cumbersome.
- Bottom line, the professor says, “it’s just not fair. The idea that to save money everyone has to make ‘tough choices’ is just not true. The tough choices really don’t affect the most wealthy people in the United States; they just affect people who are lower and middle income.” (NPR)
Additional USA News
- British man dies in US immigration detention in Florida (Guardian)
- Bernie Sanders and His Internet Army (NYT, $)
- Bloomberg and Trump Crossed Paths in New York. Now They’re Bitter Rivals. (NYT, $) & Mike Bloomberg trolls Trump in TV ads across battleground states (CBS)
- Tears for the Magnificent and Shrinking Everglades, a ‘River of Grass’ (NYT, $)
- Legalizing Marijuana in New York Regains Attention Among Lawmakers (WSJ, $)
- Obama warned Trump was ‘fascist’ in 2016, according to Hillary film (Guardian) & Is Trumpism a cult? (Vox)
- ‘Satanic wombs’: the outlandish world of Trump’s spiritual adviser (Guardian)
- ‘I don’t have anywhere else to go’: why tenants fear renovation of neglected public housing (Guardian)
- Maternity leave: US policy is worst on list of the world’s richest countries (Guardian)
Take 10mg Of Optimism And Call Me In The Beautiful Morning
- “It’s never too early and it’s never too late to foster optimism.” New reports and long-term studies by psychologists are showing that optimism has been linked with lowered risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other chronic ailments.
- The studies showed that optimists were more likely to take good care of their health – whether it be through good habits such as exercise and healthy eating or avoiding bad habits such as smoking.
- Other factors in overall health of optimists compared to pessimists is their body’s reaction to stress and stressors. Optimists deal with stress much more handedly, whereas pessimists tend to “bathe their bodies in damaging stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine all day long.” Pessimism is also on the way to depression, which has been noted as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
- Researchers on the case have suggested training the brain to think more positively, “gradually building a ‘muscle’ of positive thinking.” (NYT, $)
- One ping after another: why everyone needs a notification detox (Guardian)
- Leaked Documents Expose the Secretive Market for Your Web Browsing Data (Vice)
- The truth about hydration: should you drink eight glasses of water a day? (Guardian)
- How your Twitter feed could help find your dream job (BBC)
- Apple’s iPad changed the tablet game 10 years ago today (The Verge) & The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10 (Daring Fireball)
- How can we be better ancestors to future generations? (BBC)
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