My grandad was an aircraft engineer, let me fly this plane

Okay, not exactly sure what my granddad did– wish I had learned more when he was alive– but my dad used to always talk about him working on WWII aircraft (B25 Mitchell, in particular, if I recall correctly).  By Trumpian logic, I should be able to fly a plane.  How this guy’s brain works is just crazy.  Anyway, here he is on how he knows best on climate change:

Mr. Trump told Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” he isn’t sure climate change is manmade, but “something’s changing and it’ll change back again.” Pressed about those comments in an interview with the AP, the president said he wants clean air and water, but doesn’t want to “sacrifice the economic well-being of our country for something that nobody really knows.”

“And you have scientists on both sides of the issue. And I agree the climate changes, but it goes back and forth, back and forth. So we’ll see,” the president said.

Despite the president’s protestations, there is little dispute among climate scientists around the world, who warn that climate change could be nearing a point where trends cannot be reversed. Earlier this month, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a major report warning that the planet would face catastrophe in the near future if the phenomenon is not addressed.

When the AP brought up the consensus of scientists, however, the president responded by saying that other scientists agreed with him. 

“No, no. Some say that and some say differently,” Mr. Trump said. “I mean, you have scientists on both sides of it. My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years, Dr. John Trump. And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.” [emphasis mine]

Well, damn, who needs scientific consensus when your uncle was an engineering professor.

And meanwhile, of course, Trump is using his “natural instinct” to do everything he can to gut regulations that might actually help with the climate.

Advertisements

Quick hits (part II)

1) Atlantic with a nice summary of scientific findings on the impact of siblings.  Some good; some bad.

2) I love this idea of letting the size of the Supreme Court fluctuate and saying that each president gets two and only two appointments per term.  This could be done by simply passing a law and is so much more fair than our current system which is overly senstive to surprise deaths, retirements, etc.

3) Time cover story on how Trumpism will outlast Trump.

4) Political Scientist Hans Noel takes on the wrongness of the Senate:

But of course, the fact that the Constitution does something isn’t the same as that something being good. We continue to debate the Constitution itselfand specifically the disproportional Senate. If our intuition tells us that there’s something wrong when a minority has that much power, we should pay attention. The Senate’s equal representation of states — not people — should be discussed on its merits.

I don’t think it stands up…

We have come a long way since the founding. Political scientist Daniel J. Hopkins, in his new book, The Increasingly United States, traces how America has gone from “all politics is local” to a world in which national issues dominate even local conflicts.

Hopkins devotes an entire chapter to the question of whether people think of themselves as Americans or as citizens of their states. Across a wide range of measures, he shows that Americans see themselves as Americans first, citizens of their states second. As he puts it: “Compared to their attachment to the nation as a whole, their place-based attachment is markedly weaker. What is more, the content of state-level identities is typically divorced from politics.”

That finding doesn’t mesh well with the idea of people being represented in government through their states. And citizens, politicians and parties have all long realized that. Political strategies for all national offices involve coordination across geography. If you live in a deep red state, you can donate to a candidate running in a purple one. If your district is safe for the Democrats, you can travel to canvass for a candidate in a swing district.

It is illegal for foreign nationals to contribute money to a US electoral campaign. It is neither illegal nor uncommon for citizens to contribute to electoral campaigns in other states. Some candidates receive sizable portions of their resources from out of their own state.

When Americans are hacking the Constitution to get around the geographic nature of our representation, that should be a red flag.

5) Thomas Edsall on Democrats’ shift to the left:

The dominant role of well-educated, relatively upscale white Democrats in moving the party to the left reflects the declining role of the working class in shaping the party’s ideology…

Politically speaking, there are clear pluses and minuses to this trend.

On the positive side for Democrats, more educated whites are expected to play a key role in the party’s efforts to retake control of the House, especially in suburban districts. Women, in particular, have shifted by the millions toward favoring Democratic congressional candidates.

In 2014, women voted for Democratic congressional candidates, according to exit polls, by a 4-point margin; the Oct. 2 2018 Quinnipiac poll shows women supporting Democratic candidates by 18 points. Women this year are also the most active constituency driving Democratic mobilization.

On the negative side, conservatives are already seeking to capitalize on the ideological shift. President Trump has taken to portraying his critics as “an angry left-wing mob.” This headline in the right-leaning Investor’s Business Daily nicely catches the spirit of this effort: “It’s Official: Democrats Are the Extremists Today.”

According to Gallup, the leftward shift among Democrats is more pronounced on social issues involving race, gender and sexual identity than it is on economic matters.

In a detailed analysis, Gallup found that the lion’s share of the increase in support for socially liberal positions

has occurred among non-Hispanic whites. Whereas just 39 percent of white Democrats said they were liberal on social issues back in 2001-2005, that has risen to 61 percent since 2015-2017. By contrast, blacks’ views have hardly changed: 34 percent in the 2001-2005 period vs. 37 percent in 2015-2017.

In addition, according to Gallup, social liberalism grew substantially more among Democratic women than it did among men and more among college-educated Democrats than among those without degrees.

6) I don’t care for this WP story about Republicans rhetorical embrace of protecting people with pre-existing health conditions, “Growing number of Republicans sounding a lot like Democrats ahead of elections.”  It’s talk!!!  Real journalists should not pretend it is anything otherwise.

7) Jon Cohn characterizes it more accurately, “Republicans Are Still Rewriting History On Pre-Existing Conditions.”

8) Bad week for Elizabeth Warren, but I somehow just came across Chait’s September take on her.  He’s bullish:

Warren has taken the opposite tack, defending her agenda as a plan to save capitalism from its excesses. She has called herself “a capitalist to my bones” (or, at other times, her “ankles.”) “There are so many people right now who argue against these reforms and other reforms, who claim they are pro-business,” she told Franklin Foer, “They’re not. They’re pro-monopoly. They’re pro–concentration of power, which crushes competition.” It is also notable that Warren has directed some of the messaging for her early moves at economic liberals like Foer and Vox’s Matthew Yglesias, who would have a more skeptical view of Sanders-style socialism. She even touted her plans in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Warren is shrewdly co-opting that appeal to openness and authenticity, and the importance liberal voters place on appearing to have nothing to hide…

Warren is running on a progressive platform that, if enacted, would sharply curtail political and economic inequality. But unlike Sanders, she is building a profile designed to compete for swing voters also, rather than solely to inspire progressive activists. The distinction can be seen in her rhetoric, policy substance, and choice of emphasis. [emphasis mine]

9) Julia Louis-Dreyfuss‘ comedic brilliance.

10) I do buy so much stuff I never intended to when I go to Ikea.  Here’s why.

11) Max Boot, “Trump has given every despot on the planet a license to kill.”

Now President Trump gives every indication that, far from fighting for freedom, he would rather fight against it. This is the president who said it’s “great” that Xi is declaring himself ruler for life, praised Duterte for the “unbelievable job” he was doing “on the drug problem,” congratulatedRecep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a rigged referendum that spelled the death of Turkish democracy and declared his “love” for Kim Jong Un of North Korea. When confronted by Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” about Kim’s catalogue of crime — “repression, gulags, starvation” — Trump was dismissive. “I get along with him really well,” Trump said. “I have a good energy with him.” He was equally blasé when Stahl asked him about reports that Putin is involved in “assassinations” and “poisonings.” He probably is, Trump conceded — but “it’s not in our country,” so who cares? Britain can deal with Russian hit teams on its own.

Now President Trump gives every indication that, far from fighting for freedom, he would rather fight against it. This is the president who said it’s “great” that Xi is declaring himself ruler for life, praised Duterte for the “unbelievable job” he was doing “on the drug problem,” congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdogan for winning a rigged referendum that spelled the death of Turkish democracy and declared his “love” for Kim Jong Un of North Korea. When confronted by Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” about Kim’s catalogue of crime — “repression, gulags, starvation” — Trump was dismissive. “I get along with him really well,” Trump said. “I have a good energy with him.” He was equally blasé when Stahl asked him about reports that Putin is involved in “assassinations” and “poisonings.” He probably is, Trump conceded — but “it’s not in our country,” so who cares? Britain can deal with Russian hit teams on its own.

The only thing that matters to this intensely solipsistic president is how other rulers treat him; how they treat their own people or even their neighbors is irrelevant.

Thus, it is hardly surprising that Trump has shown so little outrage about the fate of Khashoggi, an American resident and a columnist for an American newspaper who was reportedly murdered in a NATO country. Trump’s threat of “severe punishment” is undercut by his willingness to accept at face value Saudi denials of complicity — just as he accepted Putin’s denial of hacking the Democratic Party. Trump even speculates, echoing a possible Saudi cover story designed to protect the crown prince, that “rogue killers” could be responsible. How long before he claims that Khashoggi could have been killed by a 400-pound couch potato who somehow waddled into the heavily guarded Saudi Consulate?

If the Saudis carried out this grisly crime with high-level authorization, as the evidence would indicate, they did so at least in part because they anticipated that the American president wouldn’t care about the disappearance of another “enemy of the people.” Other dictatorships are equally emboldened by America’s abdication of authority. This is a good time to be a dictator — and a dangerous time to be a dissident. Trump has given every despot on the planet a license to kill without worrying about the U.S. reaction. Because, in all likelihood, there will be none.

12) The opioid overdose obituary that went viral.

13) The basis of the U.S.- Saudi relationship has roots in the Cold War and US dependence on Saudi oil.  Those situations are now history.  Yglesias on time to re-think the relationship.

14) Best use ever of this meme.

 

%d bloggers like this: