April 2, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 6:18 PM


Is President Donald Trump the Biggest White House Leaker? (Davis Richardson, 04/02/18, NY Observer)

"Trump phones Maggie Haberman of The New York Times directly, as well as Philip Rucker of The Washington Post, and Jonathan Swan of Axios, feeding them stories attributed to 'a senior White House official,' creating the impression that [the] White House leaks even more than it already does," wrote reporter Ronald Kessler in The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game.

Published on Monday, Kessler's book provides insight into how Trump manipulates media, and for what end. Despite an antagonistic relationship with The New York Times, the president reportedly courts positive coverage from reporter Maggie Haberman.

Posted by orrinj at 5:56 PM


The Virtue of Original Sin Liberalism (E. J. Dionne Jr., April 1, 2018, Commonweal)

[E]xtreme optimism about human nature is not, in fact, central to the liberal creed. On the contrary, especially since the 1930s and 1940s, liberals have been acutely aware of our fallen nature and our capacity for evil. The Holocaust, the Gulag, the destructiveness of nuclear weapons and the staggering death toll of World War II made thoroughly sunny perspectives about human goodness obsolete. The horrors in this period gave birth to a different kind of liberalism, distilled in the thinking of the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. [...]

An Original Sin Liberal might go on to challenge conservatives who claim to be very conscious of human fallibility and our capacity for selfishness. Why do they so often oppose laws reducing the likelihood that individuals and companies will despoil the environment or take advantage of their employees?

A noble but guarded attitude toward human nature is prominent in James Madison's thinking, leading him to see the politics of a democratic republic as entailing an ongoing search for balance.

On the one hand, we need to pass laws because we know that men and women are not angels. But this also means that we should be wary of placing too much power in government, since it is run by flawed human beings who can be guilty of overreach. Many of our arguments involve not irreconcilable values but different assessments of where this balance should tilt at a given time on a given issue.

Our theology shielded us from the utopian/dystopian thinking of the Left and Right, who destroyed so much of Europe.
Posted by orrinj at 2:01 PM


Foreign Ministry says it handled Gaza well. Michael Oren couldn't disagree more (Raphael Ahren, 4/02/18, Times of Israel)

Michael Oren, for one, the deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Office who is responsible for diplomacy, said Israel was patently unprepared for the crisis on the diplomatic and media battlefield, and that the word he was getting from abroad was that the Israeli narrative is losing "big time" to the Palestinian narrative.

...Anglospheric powers always lose when they stand opposed.

Posted by orrinj at 1:02 PM


What a Country: Immigrants Serve US Military Well (Alan Dowd, April 2, 2018, Providence)

Guor Maker has led a remarkable life. He survived slavery and a brutal civil war in Sudan that claimed 28 members of his family, fled to a better life in America, graduated from college, and competed in two Olympics as a marathon runner. He even served as flag-bearer for South Sudan's first-ever Olympic team in the Rio Games. Today, he wears the flag of his new country and serves it in an even more important role, as an airman in the United States Air Force. In an era where old debates over immigration are resurfacing, Maker's only-in-America story is a reminder of how important immigrants are to this nation--and how much they sacrifice to serve and defend their new home.

Few Americans realize that 65,000 immigrants serve in the US military today. That number includes some 18,700 troops who hold green cards (in other words, legal permanent residents who are not yet naturalized citizens). According to the Pentagon, about 5,000 such residents enlist each year.

Since late 2001 when President George W. Bush implemented a new naturalization process for immigrant servicemembers, more than 109,300 US troops have been naturalized, according to the most up-to-date statistics from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). More than 11,000 of those military personnel became citizens during naturalization ceremonies in war zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq; in hot spots such as Jordan and Libya; in front-line posts such as Bahrain, Guantanamo Bay, Djibouti, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

Immigrant military personnel are eligible for naturalization if they have "served honorably in the US Armed Forces for at least one year, obtained lawful permanent resident status and filed an application while still in the service or within six months of separation," USCIS explains.

Military service as a pathway to citizenship is not a new phenomenon. If anything, America's military was more immigrant-dependent in the past than it is today.

Posted by orrinj at 4:09 AM


Trump Opts Out Of Passover Seder For Second Year  (Nicole Goodkind, 4/02/18, Newsweek

President Donald Trump opted out of participating in a White House Seder to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover for the second year in a row.

The president broke with tradition set by his predecessor, Barack Obama, who hosted a Seder in the White House for all eight years of his presidency.

It's a holiday that celebrates immigration....

Posted by orrinj at 4:06 AM


'A Bit of Divine Justice': Trump Vowed to Change Libel Law. But Not Like This. (ADAM LIPTAK APRIL 2, 2018, NY Times)

When Donald J. Trump was running for president, he promised to "open up our libel laws." No one quite knew what he meant.

Last month, Mr. Trump started to make good on his campaign pledge. But he did so inadvertently -- as a libel defendant on the losing side of a decision that will help victims of sexual misconduct sue when they are called liars.

"The irony is glaring," said Roy Gutterman, who teaches communications law and journalism at Syracuse University.

We're in for a lot of new legal precedents as he circles the drain.