Praise for a Strongman

Monday, May 1, 2017Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.14.03 PM

Good Monday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • In a “very friendly conversation,” President Trump invited President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines to visit the White House. The administration is bracing for an avalanche of criticism over Mr. Trump’s embrace of Mr. Duterte, an authoritarian leader who has been accused of ordering extrajudicial killings.
  • Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan agreement to fund the government through September, effectively ending suspense about the possibility of government shutdown.
  • The president’s threat to pull the United States out of the North American Free Trade Agreement would hurt the very workers he says he aims to help.
  • With a new deal in Florida, the Trump administration appears to have scrapped a tool the Obama administration used to encourage states to expand Medicaid coverage.
  • Even as Mr. Trump heckled the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner at a rally in Pennsylvania, guests said the often-frivolous dinner felt oddly profound.
  • A vast array of Democratic leaders, divided by generations but uniformly emboldened by Mr. Trump’s perceived vulnerability, have begun taking steps toward seeking the White House in an election that is still three and a half years away.
— The First Draft Team

Under the Trump Tax Plan, We Might All Want to Become Corporations


Minh Uong/The New York Times

Corporations are people, Mitt Romney once told us. But if the Trump administration’s tax plan were to become law, in the future a whole lot of people may just become corporations.
That’s because of a huge loophole implied by the broad tax ideas the administration recently released. Unless revised in actual legislation, the plan would give millions of Americans the opportunity to cut their taxes by essentially turning themselves into small business entities.
This mind-bending curiosity of the tax code could undermine the very idea of a job as we know it — or, arguably, accelerate a shift that has been underway for years.
Read more »

As Trump Assails the Media, Washington Finds the Will to Party


The Hollywood cool factor of the Obama years was all but gone, but people came out to celebrate the press and the weekend’s other hero, Samantha Bee.

Fact Check: Trump’s Account of His First 100 Days in Office


At a rally in Pennsylvania, the president repeated familiar falsehoods about the economy, jobs, fighter jets and the news media.

Sebastian Gorka Is Likely to Be Out of White House Role, Officials Say


Mr. Gorka, an adviser on national security who has attracted criticism for his links to far-right groups and his hard-line views on Islam, is to take on another administration role.

Samantha Bee Toasts Journalism and Mocks Trump


The comedian’s “Not The White House Correspondents’ Dinner” was both an alternative to the dinner itself, and to a rally in Pennsylvania that Trump held instead of attending the dinner.

Thousand March in Protest of Trump’s Environmental Agenda


On the president’s 100th day in office, demonstrators descended on Washington in an attempt to drown out the administration’s climate change deniers.

Trump Savages News Media at Rally to Mark His 100th Day


The president returned to the populist themes of his campaign with a Pennsylvania rally held in lieu of attending the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
• Peter Van Buren in The American Conservative:
“While public institutions do have an obligation to public safety, that obligation must be balanced against the public’s greater right to engage with free speech.”
Peter Van Buren charts a history of free speech cases that involve the “Heckler’s Veto,” a term in First Amendment law for government suppression of speech in anticipation of violence. Mr. Van Buren points out that courts have routinely rejected the so-called veto and advised that it is the government’s responsibility to curb potential violent actors rather than sacrifice the free speech of those they are protesting. Recent actions by the University of California, Berkeley, and New York University, he argues, betray this legal precept. Read more »
From the Left
• Aaron R. Hanlon in New Republic:
“No-platforming may look like censorship from certain angles, but from others it’s a consequence of a challenging, never-ending process occurring at virtually all levels of the university: deciding what educational material to present to our students and what to leave out.”
Aaron R. Hanlon is an assistant professor at Colby College and well positioned to write about the “unglamorous process by which speakers get invited.” Understanding the process is crucial to understanding the politics of campus free speech debates, he writes, because invitations to controversial speakers are often extended before a campuswide debate takes place. Savvy campus groups recognize that an invitation alone can transform legitimate conversations about campus values into conversations about free speech and “safe spaces.” Read more »
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