Category Archives: Morning tease

The Monday Morning Teaser

We’re in a particularly strange part of the news cycle: The Mueller Report is finished, but we don’t really know what it says yet. We have a four-page summary by Attorney General Barr, which came out yesterday, but does not completely answer our questions. Barr says he’ll release as much as he can of the rest of the report, after he has combed it to protect the integrity of the grand-jury process. We’ll see if that happens, how long it takes, and whether Barr decides to err on the side of transparency or hide as much as he can get away with.

In the meantime, we have the summary to digest: no further indictments or sealed indictments, a conclusion that Trump was not a conspirator in the Russian effort to make him president, and a decision by Barr that evidence of obstruction of justice (which Mueller collected, but did not make a recommendation about) does not rise to a level that is worth pursuing in an indictment.

I’ll talk about that in one short featured post, which should be out before 9 EDT. The other featured post will be more light-hearted: “Confronting Season-Change Denial”, which makes an analogy between arguments about climate change and the difficulty New Englanders have convincing each other that spring has really come, with summer to follow. That should be out before 11.

The weekly summary will cover developments in the 2020 race, New Zealand’s fast reaction to the mosque shootings, Trump’s strange obsession with John McCain, the World Happiness Report, and a few other things, before concluding with a marvelous graphic presentation of how the world’s largest cities change through time.

The Monday Morning Teaser

When terrorists publish manifestos, I don’t usually read them. They tend to be long, and the people who do read them tell they are rambling and incoherent. But I did read the manifesto of the white nationalist who killed all those Muslims in Christchurch, and I think it’s worth your attention. What struck me is that it actually is coherent: a fairly small number of bad beliefs lead logically to a whole bunch of bad results. What’s more, that ideology links a large number of pathological views that liberals like me often address in whack-a-mole fashion. I think we need to consider white nationalist ideology as an underground stream that unites much of the Trumpist agenda.

With that in mind, in today’s featured post I’ll attempt a deep reading of the Christchurch shooter’s manifesto. There’s still a lot of work to do on that yet, including picking a title, so it may not be out until around 11 EDT. The weekly summary also has a lot to cover — the college admissions scandal, Congress’ rejection of Trump’s emergency, and a few other things — so it may not be out before 1.

The Monday Morning Teaser

It didn’t get a lot of attention on my social-media feeds, but this week Republican Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Joe Manchin co-wrote an op-ed about climate change that appeared in the Washington Post. It’s frustratingly timid and vague, but this appears to be where the center of the Senate is on the issue. So I decided it’s worth looking at in detail. That’ll be today’s featured post, “Where is Congress’ Center on Climate Change?”. It should be out before 9 EST.

The weekly summary has a lot to cover: Democrats launching investigations, Manafort’s light sentence, a string of economic reports that point to a slowing economy, and a variety of other stuff. That should appear around noon.

The Monday Morning Teaser

It has been an eventful two weeks: Michael Cohen’s testimony, Congress moving towards denouncing Trump’s national emergency declaration, the Trump/Kim summit blowing up, more Democratic 2020 candidates, and a bunch of other stuff.

I’ve been resisting making detailed comments about the Democratic presidential candidates until the campaign gets more seriously underway. (The first debate is in June.) When there are 20 or so candidates, who differ more in emphasis than in goals, I think it’s a mistake to identify yourself with one too soon. (Unless, of course, you’re a professional who needs to sign on with a campaign.)

The main goal, in my mind, is to get Trump out. If we do that, I’ll be happy, whether the 46th president comes billed as a socialist or a moderate. I would encourage everybody to avoid painting themselves into an “If the nominee isn’t my candidate, I don’t care whether Trump wins” corner. If Democrats picked their candidate by tossing the names of all their elected officials into a hat and drawing one at random, I would care deeply about that candidate winning.

With that in mind, this week’s featured post, “Before We Even Think about Candidates for 2020”, looks at how Trump plans to win, and how that should influence Democrats’ counter-strategy. That should be out by, say, 10 EST. I’m targeting the weekly summary for around noon.

The Monday Morning Teaser

The long-awaited constitutional crisis looks like it might finally be here. Trump’s specious declaration of a national emergency threatens to reverse Congress’ decision not to fund his wall. If this stands, the Republic will be fundamentally changed.

Power has been gradually shifting from the legislative to the executive branch of government since the New Deal, but the one power Congress has retained is the power of the purse. If presidents can now declare a national emergency on any pretext, and redirect money Congress has appropriated for other purposes, then the power of the purse is now a shared power, and Congress has been greatly diminished.

I’ll discuss this in more detail in “One Fishy Emergency”, which should be out soon. That will be followed by a less timely piece, “I See Color”, which is my response to Howard Schultz’ claim that “I didn’t see color as a young boy and I honestly don’t see color now.” That should be out around 10 EST.

The weekly summary will collect some further odds and ends around Trump’s bizarre national-emergency speech, then discuss Rep. Omar’s apology for raising an old anti-Semitic trope (and the bad-faith denunciations of her from people who routinely do far worse), a first-person account of a late-term abortion, Mark Kelly’s amazing campaign-rollout video, Amazon backing out of New York, and a few other things, before closing with a story about one of the most poorly conceived crimes ever. Probably that’s out before noon.

The Monday Morning Teaser

This week had a number of stories that need a few paragraphs of explanation, but which didn’t inspire me to write a longer piece. So my current plan is not to have a featured post this week. Instead, the weekly summary will be extra long. It’s possible some note from the summary will grow in the telling, so that I’ll pull it out into its own article, but so far that’s not happening.

Anyway, I project the summary coming out about 11 EST.

The Monday Morning Teaser

The news that I found most amazing this week was the drama of the intelligence chiefs. Tuesday, the heads of the major US intelligence agencies testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, and directly contradicted many statements by their boss, President Trump. Wednesday, Trump angrily tweeted about how “naive” and “wrong” they were. But by Thursday he was happy again, having convinced himself that the media made up the whole conflict. The hearing had been televised live and the video is still available online, but never mind that. Who are you going to believe: Trump or your lying eyes?

I’ll discuss that in the featured post “Another Week in the Post-Truth Administration”. It should be out shortly.

The weekly summary covers the budget negotiations (mainly by urging you to ignore what everyone else is saying about them), this week’s extreme weather, Governor Northam’s photo, what national emergency declarations are really for, Venezuela, and a few other things. Then I’ll close with video about a strange whistle-language that is still used in the mountains of Turkey. That should be out before noon.

The Monday Morning Teaser

After looking like it would never end, the government shutdown suddenly ended. I’m planning two featured posts about that. The first is newsy. It collects how the shutdown ended, and what’s likely to happen next. (I will be amazed if the government shuts down again in three weeks. If it does, I expect Trump’s support in the Senate to crumble very quickly.) That’s nearly done and should be out before 9 EST.

The second is more of an opinion piece about how these extortionist tactics need to end. The Founders pictured Congress working as their own Constitutional Convention had worked: by compromise, where you assemble majority support by giving a lot of people part of what they want. For the last ten years, though, Republicans have recognized extortion as a legitimate tactic: If they don’t get what they want, they’ll do something nobody wants, like shut down the government or let it hit the debt limit. The point of those tactics has been to try to push through something that doesn’t have majority support, like repealing ObamaCare or building a wall.

I don’t think there’s any way to make such tactics illegal, though ideas for preventing future shutdowns are floating around. But we need to restore the idea that they’re illegitimate; the public needs to understand that anybody who proposes such a thing is fundamentally opposed to American democracy.

I hope to get that post out by 11. The weekly summary also has Roger Stone’s indictment to talk about, as well as the peace framework for Afghanistan, the UK’s continuing Brexit crisis, proposals for new taxes on the rich, and a few other things. Let’s imagine getting that posted between noon and 1.

The Monday Morning Teaser

For a day there, it looked like impeachment would start sooner rather than later: Buzzfeed reported that Trump had directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress, which is pretty close to what Nixon was impeached for. Then the Special Counsel’s Office put out a cryptic denial, leaving everybody uncertain about what it all meant. Was the Buzzfeed report mostly true, but with some minor inaccuracies? Was it a complete hoax? Who could say?

Maximal uncertainty was probably what the SCO was shooting for, and they achieved it. I’ll try to sort out the divergent tea-leaf readings in the featured post, “The Scoop That Wasn’t”. I’ll try to get that out by 10:30 EST, but if it slips it will probably slip all the way to noon.

In the weekly summary, there’s shutdown news, but nothing that heralds a solution. Brexit continues to flounder; as I said a few weeks ago, all possible conclusions seem unlikely. (I’m reminded of a pregame show where a commentator joked, “I don’t think either of these teams can win this game.”) I can’t help commenting on the MAGA-hat-wearing teens who harassed the Native American elder on the Capitol Mall. An inspector general says the GSA screwed up when it overlooked the constitutional issues in Trump’s ownership of the Trump International Hotel. And that Gillette ad. And I’m in the deep-freeze here in New England, so I’ll be looking for a closing that makes winter seem funny. That’s probably out by 1.

The Monday Morning Teaser

I’m tempted to repost last week’s weekly summary and see if anyone notices. The government is still in partial shutdown. Trump is still lying about the Wall and posturing rather than negotiating. Democrats are waiting for him to get real, while simultaneously waiting for Mitch McConnell to remember that he still has a job. If you didn’t watch the news this week, you didn’t miss much, at least not on that story.

The Trump/Russia story got a little racier. At the time of Mueller’s appointment, the FBI was investigating whether or not Trump is a Russian asset. That probe got folded into Mueller’s investigation. Also, Trump has been unusually secretive about his conversations with Putin. And Paul Manafort was sending internal Trump-campaign polling data to Putin allies. But there’s nothing to see here; it’s all a witch hunt.

Meanwhile, Democrats keep lining up to run against Trump in 2020. And the media seems to have learned nothing from the way Trump manipulated them in 2016: They’re still covering his insults as headline news, and crowding out actual substantive information about potential challengers. They’re also doing their best to rev up Democrats-are-fighting-each-other stories, which are easier to cover than Democrats-are-trying-to-govern stories.

But this week’s featured article is more personal than that. My wife is a survivor of two different cancers, and takes a very expensive drug to keep one of them from coming back. That’s given us a window into both the good and bad sides of American health care and health insurance, including an incredible (to me, at least) development this month, as she starts Medicare Part D coverage. I’ll write that up in “My Wife’s Expensive Cancer Drug”, which should come out around 11 EST.

Expect the weekly summary around noon. Or go back and read last week’s.