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Showing posts from September, 2018

U.S. on trial for responsibility for climate change: 'Juliana v. United States'

On Oct. 29, "a judge in Oregon will begin hearing a case brought against the United States government on behalf of 21 young people, supported by the non-profit organization Our Children’s Trust, who allege that the authorities’ active contributions to the climate crisis violate their constitutional rights," as Peter Singer wrote for Project Syndicate in 2018.Singer said:"The first climate litigation to win a positive decision was Urgenda Foundation v. The State of Netherlands, in which a Dutch court ruled, in 2015, that the government must ensure that the country’s emissions are cut by one quarter within five years. In response, the Dutch government did step up its actions to reduce emissions, but it also appealed the judgment. In October, The Hague Court of Appeals will deliver its verdict on that appeal.Important as Urgenda has been, Juliana v. United States is by far the most significant climate case to date.* * *If we take the view that every person on this planet i…

Evangelicals disappointed in Trump's character

President Trump is perhaps the least demonstrably Christian U.S. president ever. When he and First Lady Melania Trump attended the funeral service for George H. W. Bush on Dec. 5, 2018, they did not recite the Apostle's Creed that was printed in the program. Seated next to them, Barack and Michelle Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton recited the prayer.But how do contemporary Christians perceive him?It can be tricky to pin down what evangelicals think of Trump, in part because it's an impermanent demographic based on self-identification.It is well known that 81% of self-identified white evangelicals told exit pollsters they voted for Trump in 2016. However, as Napp Nazworth points out, this self-identified group may not correlate to the people who actually attend church or the people who don't vote. There may be many churchgoing Americans who aren't active voters but nevertheless don't like Trump. The most often cited number when it comes to evangelical support fo…

Highlights of Bob Woodward's two Trump books: 'Fear' and 'Rage'

This blog post looks at Bob Woodward's two most recent books. It was originally devoted to Fear and has been updated with Rage. Please also see the 2020 Books Are Our Superpower article about these books.In his book Fear, Bob Woodward's interviews with White House insiders fill in the backstory to many publicly embarrassing moments of the Trump presidency. The title, Fear, refers to Trump's concept of what "real power" is. He also believes, however, that personal rapport matters more than strategy. Thus, Trump acknowledges that China is an "economic aggressor" and President Xi may be "using" President Trump to meet some agenda, but Trump nevertheless feels that he is powerful in this situation insofar as he feels he has a friendship with Xi. According to Steve Bannon, however, Trump did not have any "genuine friends."MilitaryAfghanistanAs the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 were traced to Afghanistan, U.S. policy for the past 17 years has …

Another jab at 'identity politics': The anti-democratic sentence at the end of the Sept. 5, 2018 anonymous op-ed

Pundits had much to say about a Sept. 5, 2018 op-ed published by the New York Times and written by a Trump administration insider whose name the Times is protecting. The op-ed writer styled himself (I presume it is a man, for reasons that will appear below) as someone who resists Trump's agenda by quietly sabotaging his boss from within the system. Most responses tended to critique whether this is really resisting or just enabling.This sentence in the op-ed drew particular attention: "There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more." Not everyone admires these Republican policies, after all. The same day the op-ed was published, Eric Levitz complained in New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer that this anonymous official apparently believes "that making it easier for payday lenders to scam the working poor, lowering the corporate…

Responses to the anonymous White House insider who wrote the NYT op-ed published 5 Sept 2018

Sept. 5On Sept. 5, 2018, an anonymous senior official in the Trump administration published an op-ed in the New York Times confessing that "many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. I would know. I am one of them.""From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.* * *It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening." The anonymous writer also said: "The root of the problem …