The Manchurian president

Damn, news moves fast these days, and it seems like we’ve already moved on from Trump’s disastrous G7 meeting.  But, damn, was this really awful and sadly indicative of Trump’s horrible folly in our relations with other countries.  Meant to post this great Josh Marshall take last week, but just because the rest of the news moved on, doesn’t mean I have to.  I think the line I embolden below is especially true and especially telling:

The last twenty four hours of attacks on our closest allies capped by President Trump’s seemingly out of the blue demand to bring Russia back into the G-7 (making it again the G-8 which it was for most of the post-Cold War era until Russia was expelled over the annexation of Crimea) simply brings the matter into a newly sharp relief. If candidate Trump and President Putin had made a corrupt bargain which obligated President Trump to destabilize all U.S. security and trade alliances (especially NATO, which has been Russia’s primary strategic goal for 70 years) and advance the strategic interests of Russia, there’s really nothing more remotely realistic he could have done to accomplish that than what he has in fact done… [emphases mine]

Back to the main point. We have a President who clearly got a great deal of assistance from Russia in getting elected. We can argue about how important it was to his victory. But the reality of the help is not in any real dispute. His campaign at a minimum had numerous highly suspicious contacts with people either in the Russian government or acting on behalf of the Russian government while that was happening. That is a very generous interpretation. He’s doing all the stuff he’d have been asked to do if such a corrupt bargain had been made. At a certain point – and I’d say we’re clearly at or past that point – it really doesn’t matter whether we can prove such a bargain was made. I’m not even sure it matters whether it was explicit or even happened. The bank robber helped the teller get the job and now the teller just won’t seem to lock the safe or even turn on the alarm. We can debate forever whether the teller is just absent-minded or has some odd philosophical aversion toward locks. The debate may be unresolvable. It truly doesn’t matter.

If you don’t get the reference in the title of this post, there’s a classic movie you need to watch.

The moral divide

Galllup has been posting a lot of cool stuff from their recent “Values and Beliefs” survey.  This chart compares what liberals and conservatives consider “moral.”  Biggest difference– abortion.  Interesting to see how this seems tied into attitudes about sexuality as “sex between teenagers” and pornography also have notably large gaps (though almost everybody is good with birth control).  Also, pretty much nobody is a fan of extra-marital affairs.

Bar graphs: Moral acceptability of social issues among social liberals and social conservatives, 2018. Greatest difference is on abortion.


How the Trump tax cuts have helped his blue collar supporters

They haven’t, of course.


 It’s legit to note that wages for ordinary folks have turned down since Republicans passed their tax cut, which was sold not as a windfall for corporations and the rich, but as snake-oil that would supercharge the ordinary family’s paycheck. That was a flat-out lie. [emphasis mine] At the same time, we should keep our eyes on the ball: the real disgrace here is that the wages of blue-collar workers have been stagnant for decades. Over the past 40 years, under both Democrats and Republicans, blue-collar earnings have gone up just a bit more than half a percent per year while the incomes of the rich have skyrocketed. That needs to stop.

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