Paul Krugman: Building a Wall of Ignorance (NY Times)
A Mexican standoff that epitomizes Trumpism.
Josh Marshall: Just Hate (TPM)
For all the talk about ‘populism’, what really imbues this White House is nationalism. But not just nationalism in a general sense which can have positive, communitarian aspects. It is a hateful and aggressive nationalism based on zero-sum relationships and a thirst for domination and violence. These are dangerous people.
Trump could right his ship. He could try to govern as the president of all the people and not merely of the most inflamed part of his own constituency. And he could learn on the job how to execute his own policies and orders, work with Congress on legislation, and protect America’s interests overseas against real rather than imagined enemies. But the evidence from Trump’s first week in office is utterly discouraging. He doesn’t appear up to the job — either morally or professionally.
These three men – the leaders in each House and the former Chairman of the RNC – are the establishment in every sense. They are 100% on board. I will say this does not surprise me. But as I’ve said in other contexts, if I were a Republican, I would be very concerned. And I don’t mean in some moral sense. I mean in the most pragmatic, cynical political sense. They are cheerleading every transgression. They are owning it in its entirety.
Paul Krugman: The Macroeconomics of Reality-TV Populism (NY Times Blog)
Why, then, does anyone consider [Trump] a “populist”? It’s basically all about affect, about coming across as someone who’ll stand up to snooty liberal elitists (and of course validate salt-of-the-earth, working-class racism.) Maybe some protectionism; but there’s no hint that his economic program will look anything like populism abroad.
His disdain for the norms of democracy makes it hard to understand the US president – but he has precedents in emperors such as Commodus, Nero and Tiberius.
If torture, as many of the ancients realised, produces unreliable information (or, just as bad, a mixture of reliable and unreliable information that you cannot tell apart) then it is likely to put the lives of those innocent US/UK citizens at risk, not save them. It sends the authorities scuttling off to pursue the wrong people, while taking their eyes off the ones who are planning something. It directs the limited resources we have (and however much cash you invest, they always will be limited) to the wrong targets.
Scrutiny by NHS clinical commissioning groups is causing exasperating holdups for desperate patients. It really is getting a bit scary now
This tweet by The Colbert Report and ex-Onion writer Dan Guterman: “@barackobama when do u get back from vacation no reason everything is good just curious”.