Archive:

July 2018, Part 1

Jim Miller on Politics




Pseudo-Random Thoughts



Golfers Will Understand this cartoon.
- 10:11 AM, 8 July 2018   [link]


Worth Reading:  Anne Applebaum's column, "Trump is hinting at concessions to Putin.  So what do we get back?".
But the expression “new Yalta” has been kicking around ever since this administration arrived in Washington.  It’s an idea the Russians like enormously, because it implies that they are once again a superpower, once again America’s equal, once again sitting down at the table to divide up the world.  For Putin, it’s a key part of his domestic strategy:  As a leader without the legitimacy conferred by democracy, he needs to constantly prove to his countrymen that he deserves to rule.  For the United States, the advantages are much murkier.  Rumors of what kind of deal might be on the table are proliferating nevertheless.
(Links omitted.)

As I have confessed, I do not understand Trump's one-sided love affair with Putin.  (And I don't get any pleasure from learning that H. R. McMaster doesn't understand it either.)

The love affair feeds suspicions about his connections with Russia during the presidential campaign, costs Trump popular support, causes almost everyone within his administration to doubt his judgement, troubles most of our allies, and makes Trump look like a fool.

Still, Trump persists.
- 5:43 PM, 7 July 2018   [link]


"What Politicos Are Reading This Summer"  The lists in this Politico article were disappointing — with two exceptions.

David Petraeus:
As the second longest economic expansion in U.S. history begins to exhibit some late-cycle features, I am rereading Michael Lewis’ The Big Short and Gregory Zuckerman’s The Greatest Trade Ever to revisit the factors that led to the Great Recession; . . .
Those choices make me wonder if Petraeus is thinking about getting back into politics.

Newt Gingrich:
Favorite recent book: Stephen Brusatte’s The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World.  An amazingly readable and fun tour of the current state of dinosaur studies and how much we are learning.  Much more fun than the current mess in our political system.
(The book)

I would like to think that others they didn't ask, for instance Karl Rove, are doing some serious reading this summer.
- 3:53 PM, 7 July 2018   [link]


Naturally, I Have Been Cheering For Every Team Playing Russia In The World Cup:  And today little Croatia (population about 4 million) came through.

Bonus:  Croatia has been a member of NATO since 2009.

(Incidentally, the Russian team has at least one ringer, a Brazilian who became a Russian citizen within the last few years.)
- 2:39 PM, 7 July 2018   [link]


Alice Roosevelt Longworth Understood Her Father's need for attention.
My father always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening.
That may be a bit cruel, but it does explain much about Teddy Roosevelt.

(I have seen other versions of this quote, and seen it attributed to other Roosevelt children.  I haven't seen any mistakes at BrainyQuote in the past, and so am inclined to trust them to be accurate on this one.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth)
- 10:28 AM, 7 July 2018   [link]


Another Trump Tax Increase:  Because, after all, tariffs are taxes.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth Understood Her Father's need for attention.
My father always wanted to be the corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening.
That may be a bit cruel, but it does explain much about Teddy Roosevelt.

(I have seen other versions of this quote, and seen it attributed to other Roosevelt children.  I haven't seen any mistakes at BrainyQuote in the past, and so am inclined to trust them to be accurate on this one.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth)
- 10:28 AM, 7 July 2018   [link]


Taxes that usually are paid, in the end, by the consumer.  Trump's tariff on aluminum, for instance, will mean that a six-pack of beer will cost more here in the United States.

(For the record:  For years I have believed that the United States should do more to fight China's unfair, and often illegal, attacks on our industries.  But it is incredibly stupid to simultaneously pick trade fights with nations that should be our allies against China.)
- 11:21 AM, 6 July 2018   [link]


This Week's Collection Of Cartoons from Politico.

My favorites:  Robert Rogers' 4th, KAL's Putin and Kim, and Michael Ramirez's Justice Kennedy.
- 10:28 AM, 6 July 2018   [link]


Watching Scott Pruitt's EPA Career Was Like Watching A Driver Careen Down A Busy Interstate, side-swiping semis, ignoring police cars, and breaking traffic law after traffic law.  You knew that it would end in a crash.

What was surprising, then astonishing, and finally astounding was how long he was able to keep going, with stories of his ethical lapses appearing almost daily.

He's a smart man, he is an experienced politician, and he had seen what happened to Tom Price, all of which makes it even more astounding.

You can't even give him credit for being an effective kamikaze, since he didn't take any of his political opponents with him.

Obviously, Trump made a serious mistake appointing Pruitt to that position, given Pruitt's character flaws.  It's a mistake I don't think a President Bush, Romney, or Kasich would have made.
- 3:16 PM, 5 July 2018   [link]


Novichok Again:  This time, it probably was not a deliberate attack.
The couple poisoned by Novichok were exposed to the substance after handling a contaminated item, police say.

Charlie Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44, collapsed at a house in Amesbury, Wiltshire, on Saturday and remain critically ill.
. . .
BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera said that because the highest concentration of Novichok was found on the couple's hands, police believe the item they handled could be a container or receptacle that was used to carry the nerve agent.

He said the most likely hypothesis is that the Novichok was left over from an item discarded after the attack on the Skripals.
The location is just a few miles from the attack on the Skripals.
- 1:19 PM, 5 July 2018   [link]


Too Funny not to share.
- 8:51 AM, 5 July 2018   [link]


This Cartoon May Tell Us Something about romance in Manhattan.

(I don't particularly like it, but I do find it . . . interesting.)
- 8:13 AM, 5 July 2018   [link]


Happy 4th Of July!  And thank you to those who make it possible.

Veterans of Foreign Wars at Kirkland 4th of July, 2015

The picture is from the 2015 Kirkland 4th of July parade, which traditionally (and appropriately) begins with a veterans group.
- 4:50 PM, 4 July 2018   [link]


In Preparing For This 4th of July, I re-read Lincoln's Second Inaugural.
- 4:38 PM, 3 July 2018   [link]


Our Schools Could Be Doing A Better Job Of Teaching Geography:  Then we wouldn't see mistakes like this one:
In a cold room at Temple University, in landlocked Philadelphia, finger-size fragments of coral bathe in four small tanks of seawater.
Which I found a week ago in this New York Times article.  (I assume it's been corrected by now, but haven't checked.)

As every American should know, Philadelphia has been a seaport since its founding.
- 3:59 PM, 3 July 2018   [link]


The Kindest Way To Interpret This Claim is to assume that he was joking.

Though that isn't a subject a president should joke about.
- 9:04 AM, 3 July 2018   [link]


The Current "Pepper . . . And Salt" made me smile.
- 8:49 AM, 3 July 2018   [link]


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is A "Girl From The Bronx" In The Same Way Bill Clinton Is The "Man From Hope"  The facts on Ocasio-Cortez.
The hardscrabble biography of Democrat Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been called into question after the revelation that she grew up mostly in wealthy Westchester County.

Though Ocasio-Cortez, 28, was born in and currently lives in the Bronx, county land records show her late father Sergio Cortez-Roman bought a quaint three-bedroom in Yorktown Heights, New York in 1991, when she was about two.
Which is about how old Bill Clinton was when his mother moved him from Hope to Hot Springs, a small city with a big city's history of corruption.

Their campaign biographies, when they came on the national scene, were — to put it gently — misleading.
- 4:43 PM, 2 July 2018   [link]


Crude, But Too Funny not to share.

(Could that be deliberate?  I'd say that's possible, but unlikely.   But I can believe that some Trump staffer has a crude sense of humor.)
- 9:46 AM, 2 July 2018   [link]


This Cartoon may soon be topical.
- 9:25 AM, 2 July 2018   [link]


Happy Birthday!  To our Canadian friends, who are celebrating Canada Day.  (Which they used to call "Dominion Day".)

Canadian flag

Since Canada was founded in 1867, this is their 151st.  The man most responsible for that founding was Canada's first Prime Minister, John Macdonald.

Recycled, with some changes, from 2008.

(Picture notes:  This flag appears every Canada Day, a few blocks from where I live, along with the American flag, which you can just see behind it.  In 2008, I finally met the couple that own the flags.  He's American; she's Canadian.  And the two seem to be getting along very well, which may be a lesson for our two nations.)
- 4:39 PM, 1 July 2018   [link]


Should We Believe the handshake?

Or the intelligence agencies?
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded North Korea is attempting to secretly make more nuclear fuel suitable for weapons despite the Singapore Summit earlier this month.  The conclusions appear in an intelligence assessment which was first reported Friday by NBC News:
We don't have to believe either, but experience should lead us to conclude that the odds favor the intelligence agencies — but I don't think Trump would agree with me on that.

(Incidentally, what Trump calls "War Games", most military experts now call "military exercises".  The exercises do not cost much extra money, since our troops do have to train, in those exercises, or elsewhere.)
- 3:09 PM, 1 July 2018   [link]


If You Like The Poem, you will probably like the cartoon.

(The poem)
- 1:40 PM, 1 July 2018   [link]