Obituary for a Failed Presidency

Obituary for a Failed Presidency | The New Yorker:

…the stalking menace of these past few years. As Trump became more powerful and less constrained by successive waves of White House advisers, he was correspondingly more and more outrageous, untruthful, and unmoored from reality. His sense of grievance and victimization escalated; so, too, did his threats, name-calling, and public provocations. He fired the F.B.I. director, a Secretary of State, an Attorney General, a Defense Secretary, three White House chiefs of staff, and two—or three, depending on whose account you believe—national-security advisers. He pardoned war criminals and boasted of complete and total vindication in the Mueller investigation, even though it offered no such thing. He forced the longest government shutdown in history when Congress would not fund his border wall—all while continuing to claim that Mexico would pay for it.

Dying in a Leadership Vacuum

Who to trust?

New England Journal of Medicine

The New England Journal of Medicine for the first time in 208 years steps into politics with an editorial signed by all of the journal’s editors:

With no good options to combat a novel pathogen, countries were forced to make hard choices about how to respond. Here in the United States, our leaders have failed that test. They have taken a crisis and turned it into a tragedy.

When it comes to the response to the largest public health crisis of our time, our current political leaders have demonstrated that they are dangerously incompetent. We should not abet them and enable the deaths of thousands more Americans by allowing them to keep their jobs.

Scientific American

This follows Scientific America endorsing someone for President for the first time in it’s 187 years:

The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment.

The Confederacy Wasn’t What You Think

From The Atlantic The Confederacy Wasn’t What You Think describes the Confederate Stats of America as nothing to do with states rights and everything to do with slavery and embraced centralized authority:

It purged the original of euphemisms, using the term slaves instead of other persons in its three-fifths and fugitive-slave clauses. It bound the Congress and territorial governments to recognize and protect “the institution of negro slavery.” But the centerpiece of the Confederate constitution—the words that upend any attempt to cast it simply as a copy of the original—was a wholly new clause that prohibited the government from ever changing the law of slavery: “No … law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.” It also moved to limit democracy by explicitly confining the right to vote to white men.

I always remind myself that they seceded before Lincoln became president.

No justice

In a slate article discussing Amy Cooper’s threat to call police is a good summary:

Amy didn’t call the cops because she was scared of Christian the birder. That much is obvious from the video. She called them to prevail in a power struggle with a black man who dared to challenge her authority to do as she wished in public.

The media has been saturated with images of similar entitlement and rage in recent weeks, as throngs of predominantly white Americans protest COVID-19 business closures and demand their states resume business as usual, knowing that black lives disproportionately hang in the balance. These white protesters, who know they have the privilege to be armed and intimidating without facing police violence, are rejecting a shared responsibility for safe public spaces. Christian Cooper’s offense was to insist that Amy Cooper, too, had a responsibility to protect a shared public space. Amy’s response demonstrated that public safety is not shared by all

Espionage or Journalism? After the Snowden NSA Leaks – The Atlantic

From The Atlantic Espionage or Journalism? After the Snowden NSA Leaks is it paranoia if they really are after you?

Soltani and I used laptops from which we’d removed the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hardware, and disconnected the batteries. If a stranger appeared at the door, we merely had to tug on the quick-release power cables to switch off and re-encrypt the machines instantly. We stored the laptops in the vault and kept encryption keys on hardware, itself encrypted, that we took away with us each time we left the room, even for bathroom breaks. We sealed the USB ports. I disconnected and locked up the internet-router switch in my New York office every night. I dabbed epoxy and glitter on the screws along the bottom of all my machines, to help detect tampering in my absence. (The glitter dries in unique, random patterns.

In Trump’s own words

A Dana Milbank column at The Washington Post is to funny and to sad to bear

A Trump fireside chat — in his own (unfortunate) words

This blindsided the world! Who could have ever predicted a thing like this? This was something that nobody has ever thought could happen to this country.

I’ve always known this is a real, this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic. I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously.

It’s a constant stream of contradictions and incoherence.

Walmart, opioids, and Trump administration

Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.:

Opioids dispensed by Walmart pharmacies in Texas had killed customers who had overdosed. The pharmacists who dispensed those opioids had told the company they didn’t want to fill the prescriptions because they were coming from doctors who were running pill mills. They pleaded for help and guidance from Walmart’s corporate office.



Investigators had obtained records of similar cries for help from Walmart pharmacists all over the country: from Maine, North Carolina, Kansas and Washington, and other states. They reported hundreds of thousands of suspicious or inappropriate opioid prescriptions.



Before the Texas prosecutors could file their case, however, Walmart escalated concerns to high-ranking officials at the DOJ, who then intervened. Brown was ordered to stand down. On Aug. 31, 2018, Trump officials officially informed Walmart that the DOJ would decline to prosecute the company

Atomic Labs Across the U.S. Race to Stop Iran

Interesting article in the NY Times about how scientists in nuclear research labs in the US aided the negotiations with Iran

It was over one of those dinners in Vienna last summer that several of the experts began wondering how they might find a face-saving way for Iran to convert its deep-underground enrichment plant at Fordo, a covert site exposed by the United States five years ago, into a research center. That would enable Iran to say the site was still open, and the United States could declare it was no longer a threat.“The question was what kind of experiment you can do deep underground,” recalled a participant in the dinner.

Source: Atomic Labs Across the U.S. Race to Stop Iran – NYTimes.com