Tag: Politics

Jared Kushner White House Memoir – NYTIMES Review

“Breaking History” is an earnest and soulless — Kushner looks like a mannequin, and he writes like one — and peculiarly selective appraisal of Donald J. Trump’s term in office. Kushner almost entirely ignores the chaos, the alienation of allies, the breaking of laws and norms, the flirtations with dictators, the comprehensive loss of America’s moral leadership, and so on, ad infinitum, to speak about his boyish tinkering (the “mechanic”) with issues he was interested in.

This book is like a tour of a once majestic 18th-century wooden house, now burned to its foundations, that focuses solely on, and rejoices in, what’s left amid the ashes: the two singed bathtubs, the gravel driveway and the mailbox. Kushner’s fealty to Trump remains absolute. Reading this book reminded me of watching a cat lick a dog’s eye goo.

Jared Kushner’s ‘Breaking History’ Is a Soulless and Very Selective Memoir
In this lengthy book, Kushner recounts the time he spent in the White House during his father-in-law’s term.
Dwight Garner

Anti War Perspective from Russia – New York Times Opinion Piece

Russian has become the language of fear. My parents avoid discussing politics over the phone; they’re not alone. Since the Kremlin has strangled freedom of speech, most Russians I know are afraid to publicly express their opinions. They’ve gone back to Soviet-era’ kitchen conversations to share their views on politics.

We have seen the Kremlin crack down violently on protests about elections and political prisoners like Aleksei A. Navalny. On the day Putin launched his full-scale assault on Ukraine, the government issued a statement warning that Russians who protest could face prosecution.

I was heartened, and scared, to see that the warning did not stop Russians from turning out in force that same day. Protests took place across Russia, from Moscow to St. Petersburg to Khabarovsk. Signs bore messages like “No War” and “Do you see evil and keep silent? Partner in crime!” Nearly 1,800 people were arrested.

This War Is Not in My Name
By Irina Kuznetsova
Dr. Kuznetsova emigrated from Russia to Britain in 2014. She is an associate professor of human geography at the University of Birmingham.

Liz Cheney vs Her Gutless Colleagues

“And it’s very important, if you look at what’s happening today in my party, the Republican party, rather than reject what happened on (January) 6th, reject the lies about the election and make clear that a president who engaged in those activities can never be president again, unfortunately too many in my own party are embracing that former president, are looking the other way, are minimizing the danger. That’s how democracies die, and we simply cannot let that happen.”

Liz Cheney says too many in GOP are ‘looking the other way’ on Jan. 6: ‘That’s how democracies die’
The Wyoming congresswoman says media and members of her party who try to downplay the attack on Jan. 6 “ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

Ms. Cheney was the only Republican leader telling Mr. Trump to move on from the election. A year later, while many in her party have backed down from their criticisms of the former president’s actions, she has remained steadfast — a conviction that has cost her leadership position.

In the second part of our look at the legacy of the Capitol riot, we speak to Ms. Cheney about that day and its aftermath, her work with the Jan. 6 commission and the future of the Republican Party.

The Daily

Flatulent Rudy Guiliani – Fart, Farting Problem

Rudy Giuliani came once, but no one wanted him back. His phone rang constantly, and he couldn’t shut it off. He shuffled endless pieces of paper without being able to find what he was looking for. He couldn’t work his iPad to bring up what he wanted to show, reliably stalling meetings. And he went down rabbit holes—they could get Hunter Biden, if they could just find the guy who signed the forms to get Hunter the waiver to get into the military. And he passed gas, constantly.

The room had not been cleaned since Election Day, eleven days before. Refuse filled the trash cans and overflowed onto the floor. There was a heavy sour or rotting smell—in the trash was a week-old Buffalo chicken sandwich—mixed with Giuliani’s reliable farting.

Everyone sheepishly held to the president’s preference that the virus be mostly unacknowledged, masks eschewed and superspreader events overlooked, but there was, nevertheless, even without a formal tracking program in the White House, a reflex to blame each infection on someone, as the president had continued, at the least opportunity, to blame his own case of it on Chris Christie.

Now, in fact, the president was worried that the press was going to leave the impression that Giuliani had gotten the virus from him. “They blame me for everybody getting it,” he pronounced, looking for sympathy.

Then Jenna Ellis got it two days later (the West Wing joke being that she got it from a Giuliani fart).

Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency
Wolff, Michael

Politics as Sport – Metaphor

When any political movement loses all sense of self and has no unifying theory of government, it ceases to function as a collective rooted in thought and becomes more like fans of a sports team. Asking the Republican Party today to agree on a definition of conservatism is like asking New York Giants fans to have a consensus opinion on the Law of the Sea Treaty. It’s not just that no one knows anything about the subject; they don’t remotely care. All Republicans want to do is beat the team playing the Giants. They aren’t voters using active intelligence or participants in a civil democracy; they are fans. Their role is to cheer and fund their team and trash-talk whatever team is on the other side. This removes any of the seeming contradiction of having spent years supporting principles like free trade and personal responsibility to suddenly stop and support the opposite. Think of those principles like players on a team. You cheered for them when they were on your team, but then management fired them or traded them to another team, so of course you aren’t for them anymore. If your team suddenly decides to focus on running instead of passing, no fan cares—as long as the team wins.

Stevens, Stuart. It Was All a Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump

You’ll never understand how politics works if you don’t understand Anna Nicole Smith

After a lecture, David Rieff, perhaps America’s most important writer on humanitarian issues, made this surprising comment: “You’ll never understand how politics works if you don’t understand Anna Nicole Smith.” What could Anna Nicole Smith have to do with politics—or brain scans, for that matter? Abundant clues to the answer could be found on any TV channel that night. There were viewers calling in, recounting their emotional responses to Anna Nicole’s life and death. Most of them were women, mourning her, idolizing her. To others, she was a gold digger, an empty-headed celebrity, a celebrity only because she was a celebrity. Her life and death resonated so profoundly with so many people because she exemplified a remarkable variety of narratives. Those narratives exist outside the body – in our culture – and inside the body – in the very building blocks of our brains. David Rieff was completely right—understanding the importance of Anna Nicole Smith will help us understand politics.

Lakoff, George. The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist’s Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics