The House of Representatives has passed an important resolution calling on the U.S. to end support for the Saudi/United Arab Emirates war in Yemen. Congratulations to Rep. Ro Khanna, who has waged this fight for almost two years. (Self-promotional aside: He says he introduced the bill after he read one of my 2017 columns on Yemen. I have the best readers!) I hope the Saudis and Emiratis will get the message and end this tragic war, for which there is no military solution.
One of my concerns is that the opposite will happen: The Saudis might try to embroil the U.S. in a war with Iran,
- partly to bring Riyadh and Washington closer together,
- partly to distract from Saudi problems, and
- partly to teach the Iranians a lesson.
There are plenty of Iranian, Saudi and American ships in the Gulf and hotheads on each side, so it would be easy to have a murky accident that both sides mishandle and then escalate. The crown prince already tried to boost his fortunes by starting one war, with Yemen, and it is conceivable he’ll try to do the same again
President Trump and his staff have often criticized The New York Times and other news organizations for bias, arguing that we should just report what the president says without trying to analyze whether it’s true or is consistent with other things he has said. I think in fact that we should do the opposite: Where we in the media have screwed up the worst, I believe, is in cases like the run-up to the Iraq War, where we were more lap dogs than watch dogs. My colleague David Sanger (whom I met in our freshman year of college and who was the best man at my wedding), has written an eloquent essay explaining why we point out inaccuracies and inconsistencies even though we know the White House will object. His key phrase: “We’re not stenographers.”
Speaking of journalism, it is horrifying to see the way a New York hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, has systematically purchased and pillaged newspapers around the country, squeezing them for a final bit of revenue as it destroys them. Alden represents the worst of capitalism, targeting a public good and systematically trying to destroy it (often for the underlying real estate that newspapers own). Led by Randall D. Smith, R. Joseph Fuchs and Heath Freeman, the company is now trying to acquire newspapers around the country owned by Gannett, presumably so that it can rip them apart as well. I hope for the sake of newspapers around America, Gannett shareholders resist these barbarians at the gate.
It has been a year since the Parkland, Fla., massacre claimed 17 lives, and we remain as vulnerable as ever to shootings — in a way that Canadians and Europeans are not. I originally wrote a piece in 2017 about modest, sensible steps we could take to reduce the carnage, and I’m recirculating it now because it remains tragically relevant. In addition, check out this satirical Times video about when the right time is for politicians to act on gun control.
It’s the Guns
The outrage after Parkland set off a moral reckoning and awakening—there’s a simple explanation for school shootings.
.. Americans of high-school age are 82 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than 15- to 19-year-olds in the rest of the developed world.
This stark discrepancy is often treated as a baffling fact, requiring some counterintuitive explanation. After today’s massacre in Texas, the state’s lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, suggested that the problem may be that high schools have too many doors. “Had there been one single entrance possibly for every student, maybe [the shooter] would have been stopped.”
.. At other moments, we’re told that the problem is that we need to do a better job guessing which troubled teens may prove murderous at some point in the future, or dealing with the excesses of masculinity, or possibly the crisis of meaning and identity in the secularizing modern world. As always, though, there is a simpler and more powerful explanation of why there has been no similar school shooting in Germany since 2009; or in Canada since 2007; none in the United Kingdom since 1996—while conversely, more young Americans have died in school shootings in 2018 than in all the nation’s combat operations all over the world... Back in 2012, Nate Silver observed: “Whether someone owns a gun is a more powerful predictor of a person’s political party than her gender, whether she identifies as gay or lesbian, whether she is Hispanic, whether she lives in the South, or a number of other demographic characteristics.”.. More than 70 percent of Trump voters in 2016 described guns as “very important” to their vote, versus only 40 percent who described abortion as “very important” to their vote and only 25 percent who felt that way about gay rights... Only 30 percent of Americans own guns... The most important success of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, for example, was not to change laws (although they changed some), but to change hearts: to persuade Americans that drunk driving was not funny, not charming, and not acceptable.American gun culture in the 2010s is as blithely irresponsible as American alcohol culture in the 1960s.
.. Only 66 percent of gun owners think it essential to keep guns locked up when not in use. (Ninety percent of non-gun-owners think so.) Only 45 percent of them actually do it.
Rush on Fox News Sunday
Interview with Fox News with Chris Wallace
Rush would grant citizenship to a large number of people if those people would not be able to vote for 15-20 years
I haven’t had one caller complain about this budget-busting bill.
It is deficit-building, but I don’t think the deficit will be as bad as predicted.
Marco Rubio Must Be Destroyed
Since the Parkland shootings in Florida, Senator Marco Rubio has done many of the things liberals say they are desperate, desperate for decent Republicans to do. He has changed his position on gun control, expressing support for new restrictions: age limits on gun purchases, new background check rules, possibly magazine restrictions. He has co-sponsored legislation encouraging states to issue restraining orders that temporarily would strip people deemed dangerous of their guns.
.. March for Our Lives the students wore price tagsaround their neck, $1.05 each — the amount of money Rubio’s campaigns have received from the N.R.A. divided by the number of students in Florida schools. David Hogg, one of their leaders, began his speech with the price tag line, and told a CNN interviewer that if anything he feels that their attacks on the Florida senator haven’t been provocative enough.
.. Republican majorities were forged by anger and a kind of smash-mouth politics, it’s incumbent upon liberals to give no quarter in return, and to treat any sudden conciliation from a prominent figure like the Florida senator not as an opportunity for deal making but as a welcome sign of weakness that should inspire further fierce attack.
.. The problem, then, is relying on the bipartisan impulses of few Republican politicians when what you need is a broader climate change. The path to that change requires first putting the fear of God (or, if you prefer, the fear of the Arc of History) into vulnerable Republican lawmakers, and then making them unpopular enough that you can simply beat them.
.. he’s precisely the kind of Republican who needs to be defeated to build a Democratic supermajority.
.. the chance to make him the face of G.O.P. intransigence on gun control
.. The deeper logic here is that the only plausible mission for Democrats after the Trumpian takeover of the G.O.P. is a kind of Carthaginian peace: Delenda
.. it seems to me that once conservatism surrendered to Donald Trump, arguments about corrosion became a bit irrelevant.
.. the president that the Florida senator endorsed is as consistently ad hominem as the young school shooting survivors with rather less excuse.
.. one reason that the Dreamer amnesty was an executive decision that Donald Trump could simply reverse, landing us in our current immigration stalemate, was that the Obama White House deliberately chose to make it one, pre-empting an effort by, yes, Marco Rubio to craft bipartisan legislation.
.. Don’t let Republicans disguise their anti-immigrant views with modest bipartisan maneuvers, create a clear contrast so that voters will reward you even if doing so requires pushing certain constitutional limits on your power.
.. if anything Obama’s executive action contributed to Trump’s victory by helping to radicalize conservative voters
.. Marco Rubio who made an extended effort to move the bill in a more middle-class-friendly direction by adding and then enlarging a child tax credit. The push was opposed by many of his Republican colleagues, but for a time Rubio thought that he could get an amendment in with Senate Democrat support.
.. having watched the Trump G.O.P. hold power with a largely negative agenda and an ugly rhetorical style, I can certainly believe that a no-quarter liberalism will gain power eventually in its turn.