What I’m Reading – January 29, 2017

  • Photos From the Protest at JFK Airport | Slate 012917
    On Saturday in New York, demonstrators converged at JFK International Airport to protest Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The crowd outside Terminal 4 of JFK chanted, “Let them in!” and “Refugees in, racists out!” Around dinner time, as the cold and wind kicked up, people began passing out handwarmers and pizza. On one of the worst days in recent memory, the people massed outside JFK showed the best side of New York City and affirmed my belief in the value of nonviolent public demonstration. Below is a selection of the photographs I took on Saturday night.—Lisa Larson-Walker
  • Trump’s Refugee Bonfire – WSJ 012917
    A blunderbuss order sows confusion and a defeat in court”: “President Trump seems determined to conduct a shock and awe campaign to fulfill his campaign promises as quickly as possible, while dealing with the consequences later. This may work for a pipeline approval, but the bonfire over his executive order on refugees shows that government by deliberate disruption can blow up in damaging ways. Mr. Trump campaigned on a promise of ‘extreme vetting’ for refugees from countries with a history of terrorism, and his focus on protecting Americans has popular support. But his refugee ban is so blunderbuss and broad, and so poorly explained and prepared for, that it has produced confusion and fear at airports, an immediate legal defeat, and political fury at home and abroad. Governing is more complicated than a campaign rally. …
    “Mr. Trump is right that the government needs shaking up, but the danger of moving too fast without careful preparation and competent execution is that he is building up formidable political forces in opposition. The danger isn’t so much that any single change could be swept away by bipartisan opposition, but that he will alienate the friends and allies at home and abroad he needs to succeed. Political disruption has its uses but not if it consumes your Presidency in the process.”
  • Politico Playbook 013017
    THE HARD PART FOR TRUMP — Opposition mounts as Congress returns to Washington — THE JUICE: Inside the Koch Brothers retreat — FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: DCCC raises 3 million in Jan. – POLITICO
  • Why Evangelicals Are Speaking Out Against Betsy DeVos – POLITICO Magazine 013017
    Laura Turner: Secondly, and perhaps more importantly to the evangelicals who oppose DeVos, is a sense that her educational philosophy leaves out the people Jesus called “the least of these.” This was the subject of a petition released by The Expectations Project, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C., advocacy group that encourages faith communities to get involved with low-income public school students. The petition is not directed at removing DeVos but enjoining her to “give moral priority” to the principle of caring for the most vulnerable children in the country’s education system, meaning under-resourced public school kids. “We have to ensure that all of God’s kids, particularly those who have been historically marginalized, have good schools,” the group’s founder, Nicole Baker Fulgham, told me. She is concerned that, if confirmed, DeVos could enact policies to a boost to students whose parents can afford private school, while holding poorer students behind. “As a person of faith, it’s impossible for me to believe that God only gave potential to certain groups of kids from certain cultures or whose parents had X amount of money,” Baker Fulgham says. “He gave potential to every person he created.”
    The most vulnerable children also include those with disabilities—a group to whom evangelicals have long paid special attention. Some evangelicals are concerned that DeVos’ strong advocacy for school choice will diminish the resources available to kids who, under IDEA, are guaranteed a “free and appropriate education.” Taking money that would otherwise go to a public school and giving it to a family in the form of a voucher would mean that those public schools, which are frequently already under-resourced, have fewer and fewer options to offer IDEA students.
  • Eliot A. Cohen Responds to Donald Trump’s First Week – The Atlantic 012917
    ELIOT A. COHEN: “Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity — substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. … For the community of conservative thinkers and experts, and more importantly, conservative politicians, this is a testing time. Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.”
  • The Judicial Branch Grabs Back | Slate 012917
    Dahlia Lithwick: For those of you scoring at home, that’s four female judges and one male judge pushing back in a 12-hour span. Those four women aren’t pushing back because of their gender. It’s hard to imagine any judge reading this executive order, which was seemingly reviewed by Lionel Hutz at a bar in Springfield, without enjoining it. But it seems wonderfully fitting, just a week after the Women’s March on Washington, that the fight against Trump will be taken up by female lawyers, advocates, and jurists, and that they’ll be fighting alongside men.
  • President Trump’s First Defeat – POLITICO Magazine 012927
    Blake Hounshell: The immigration order creates an international mess—and a political embarrassment.
  • The Commander Stumbles Slate 012817
    Fred Kaplan: Many assumed that when the White House didn’t include a mention of Jews or anti-Semitism in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that it amounted to a mistake from a new administration. The Guardian, for example, noted that “the oversight by the White House comes as the Trump administration is still adjusting to the transition of power.” Not quite. Turns out, it was very much intentional.
    So, why did the White House fail to mention Jews in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement? “Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN.
  • Not the New Normal: How the Media Should Cover the Trump Presidency
    Join Slate for a conversation with top editors in New York about how the news media can and should proceed to cover the Trump presidency. The panel will discuss strategies they are implementing at their outlets, and how journalists and media companies at large can play a bigger role in making sure that fact prevails over fiction in the coming months and years.
    Profits from this event will benefit the Committee to Protect Journalists.
    Jacob Weisberg, Chairman of The Slate Group and host/creator of Trumpcast,
    and Julia Turner, Editor-in-Chief of Slate, will join in conversation with:
    Borja Echevarría, VP and Editor in Chief, Univision Digital
    David Remnick, Editor, The New Yorker
    Lydia Polgreen, Huffington Post
    CNN’s Brian Stelter will moderate
    NYU’s Jay Rosen will offer introductory remarks
  • Trumpcast
  • How can the media outwit President Trump? | Trumpcast 012727
    Jacob Weisberg talks to the press critic Jay Rosen about developing a strategy for journalists to cover the Trump administration.
  • In Venezuela, we couldn’t stop Chávez. Don’t make the same mistakes we did. – The Washington Post 012717
    Andrés Miguel Rondón : Donald Trump is an avowed capitalist; Hugo Chávez was a socialist with communist dreams. One builds skyscrapers, the other expropriated them. But politics is only one-half policy: The other, darker half is rhetoric. Sometimes the rhetoric takes over. Such has been our lot in Venezuela for the past two decades — and such is yours now, Americans. Because in one regard, Trump and Chávez are identical. They are both masters of populism.
    The recipe for populism is universal. Find a wound common to many, find someone to blame for it, and make up a good story to tell. Mix it all together. Tell the wounded you know how they feel. That you found the bad guys. Label them: the minorities, the politicians, the businessmen. Caricature them. As vermin, evil masterminds, haters and losers, you name it. Then paint yourself as the savior. Capture the people’s imagination. Forget about policies and plans, just enrapture them with a tale. One that starts with anger and ends in vengeance. A vengeance they can participate in.
    That’s how it becomes a movement. There’s something soothing in all that anger. Populism is built on the irresistible allure of simplicity. The narcotic of the simple answer to an intractable question. The problem is now made simple.
    The problem is you.
  • Trump Didn’t Mention Jews in Holocaust Statement Because Others “Suffered” Too | Slate 012817
    Many assumed that when the White House didn’t include a mention of Jews or anti-Semitism in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that it amounted to a mistake from a new administration. The Guardian, for example, noted that “the oversight by the White House comes as the Trump administration is still adjusting to the transition of power.” Not quite. Turns out, it was very much intentional.
    So, why did the White House fail to mention Jews in its Holocaust Remembrance Day statement? “Despite what the media reports, we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all of those who suffered,” administration spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNN.
  • Trump and Putin connect over Middle East and repairing relationship – POLITICO 012817
    President Donald Trump had a “positive call” with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, during which the two promised to cooperate on destroying ISIS in Syrian and repair U.S. and Russian relations.
    The discussion was part of a diplomatic effort to connect over the phone with foreign leaders from countries including Japan, Germany, France and Australia.
  • The Lawyers Showed Up | Slate 012817
    Dahlia Lithwick: For weeks, we have been wondering about the lawyers. What suits would they file? Would they have standing? Could they have any impact? Saturday, the lawyers showed up. Bigly. And happily, for America, the courts are still independent, and largely allergic to “alternative facts.” This is a country where the law matters and the Constitution endures. And it’s also a country in which hordes of lawyers just showed up at airports to defend detained travelers ensnared under Donald Trump’s lawless and unconstitutional Muslim ban.
  • 9 Trump moments over lunch with Theresa May – POLITICO
    Fresh from public displays of affection at their joint press conference early Friday afternoon, Donald Trump and Theresa May retired to the White House state banqueting room for lunch. Then it got really interesting.
    The defining image of the pair, walking hand-in-hand like the odd couple of world politics, came as they strolled along the White House colonnade on their way for grub — an all-American menu of blue cheese salad and beef ribs. [photo: President Trump Meets With British PM Theresa May At The White House: British Prime Minister Theresa May with U.S. President Donald Trump walk along The Colonnade at The White House | Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]
  • The Perils of Calling Trump a Liar  – POLITICO Magazine
  • The Atomic Origins of Climate Science – The New Yorker
  • The twilight of the liberal world order | Brookings Institution
    If history is any guide, the next four years are the critical inflection point. The rest of the world will take its cue from the early actions of the new administration. If the next president governs as he ran, which is to say if he pursues a course designed to secure only America’s narrow interests; focuses chiefly on international terrorism—the least of the challenges to the present world order; accommodates the ambitions of the great powers; ceases to regard international economic policy in terms of global order but only in terms of America’s bottom line narrowly construed; and generally ceases to place a high priority on reassuring allies and partners in the world’s principal strategic theaters—then the collapse of the world order, with all that entails, may not be far off.
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