Shock and Awe

Tuesday, September 19, 2017Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 8.05.27 AM

Good Tuesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel in the Russia election meddling investigation, has aggressively used warrants and subpoenas for the Russia investigation, amounting to what some have called shock-and-awe tactics. He appears to be taking a broad view of his mandate, and is examining any financial entanglement between Russia and President Trump or his associates.
  • Just when the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act appeared to be dead, a last-ditch push could be nearing a showdown in the Senate.
  • “We pledge to be partners in your work,” the America First president told a room full of world leaders at the United Nations in New York. He urged efforts to revamp the global organization and hinted he might quit the Iran nuclear deal.
  • Trump administration officials, under pressure to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States, rejected a study that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenue over the past decade than they cost.
  • After the former White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, poked fun at himself at the Emmys, we asked him if he regretted his briefing on the crowd size at the presidential inauguration. Of course I do, he said.
— The First Draft Team
The New Health Care

The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick?


Case Jernigan

“Medicare for all,” or “single-payer,” is becoming a rallying cry for Democrats.
This is often accompanied by calls to match the health care coverage of “the rest of the world.” But this overlooks a crucial fact: The “rest of the world” is not all alike.
The commonality is universal coverage, but wealthy nations have taken varying approaches to it, some relying heavily on the government (as with single-payer); some relying more on private insurers; others in between.
Experts don’t agree on which is best; a lot depends on perspective. But we thought it would be fun to stage a small tournament.
We selected eight countries, representing a range of health care systems, and established a bracket by randomly assigning seeds.
Play along »
The international arrivals area at Terminal E at Boston Logan International Airport. In some countries, hundreds line up daily outside American embassies and consulates to apply for visas.

State Department Tightens Rules for Visas to U.S.


If applicants do something they failed to mention in their application in their first three months in the United States, it would jeopardize their status.

Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in Manhattan last month.

Donald Trump Jr. Gives Up Secret Service Protection, Seeking Privacy


The president’s eldest son, an avid camper and hunter, will be free of a contingent of agents accompanying him at all times.

Senator John McCain of Arizona at the Capitol on Monday. He successfully appealed for Senate passage of a $700 billion defense bill.

Senate Passes $700 Billion Pentagon Bill, More Money Than Trump Sought


The Senate and House will have to reconcile versions of the bill that differ over whether to create a Space Corps to manage satellite and other space-related programs.

President Trump and President Emanuel Macron of France met at the Palace Hotel in New York on Monday.

Trump Envisions a Parade Showing Off American Military Might


At a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron of France at the United Nations, Mr. Trump said he got the idea after watching the Bastille Day parade.

Houthis protested a Saudi-led coalition airstrike that hit a hospital in Sana, Yemen, in August 2016.

Iran Is Smuggling Increasingly Potent Weapons Into Yemen, U.S. Admiral Says


The outgoing top Navy admiral in the Middle East said that Iran is helping worsen the conflict in Yemen by giving rebels more precise missiles to fire deeper into Saudi Arabia.

A television broadcast in South Korea last week reporting a North Korean missile launch.

Mattis Leaves the Door Open to Military Options in North Korea


The defense secretary also said the United States had not shot down any missiles so far because they did not directly threaten American territory or allies.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “Veep” was among the many winners who mocked President Trump on stage.

Emmy Winners Took a Topical, and Political, Route to the Prize


From “Saturday Night Live” to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” shows with a political — and anti-Trump — viewpoint ruled the day at the Emmy Awards.

Bill O’Reilly on his Fox News show in 2015. “Killing England: The Brutal Struggle for American Independence,” is the first release in Mr. O’Reilly’s popular history series since Fox fired him.

Will Bill O’Reilly’s Latest ‘Killing’ Book Climb the Charts?


The disgraced TV host is still churning out history books, but without his perch at Fox, can he sell them?

From left, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, Mexico’s economy secretary, and Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, held the second round of negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement in Mexico City this month.

Push for Nafta Overhaul May Fall Short, U.S. Negotiator Says


A tight timeline and ambitious goals leave the Trump administration with a narrow path to success in talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Gov. Jerry Brown of California at a conference on electric vehicles in Beijing in June. He is one of several United States governors pledging to work with world leaders on climate change, whatever the federal government decides to do.

U.S. Governors at U.N. Assembly: ‘You Have Allies’ on Climate Change


As world leaders gather at the United Nations for the world body’s annual General Assembly, a group of American state governors is taking an increasingly high-profile role on climate change.

Donald J. Trump with President Barack Obama at the White House in November, soon after the presidential election. For years, Mr. Trump promoted the false claim that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States.

How to Fight ‘Fake News’ (Warning: It Isn’t Easy)


With falsehoods rampant online, new research offers guidance on how to defend the truth.

The Latest Health Care Repeal Plan Would Give States Sweeping Discretion


A comparison of the latest bill released by Senate Republicans with the Affordable Care Act.

Whites Have Huge Wealth Edge Over Blacks (but Don’t Know It)


Americans, and higher-income whites in particular, vastly overestimate progress toward economic equality between blacks and whites.

Gary D. Cohn, the White House economic adviser, reaffirmed to a number of foreign ministers on Monday the United States’ intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

Trump Adviser Tells Ministers U.S. Will Leave Paris Climate Accord


Gary D. Cohn, the White House economic adviser, said at the United Nations that the Trump administration would pull out of the Paris deal unless it was revised.

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
Joseph Bottum in The Washington Free Beacon:
“Hillary Clinton lost in good part because she speaks and thinks, she moves and has her being, in a world of clichés.”
Mrs. Clinton’s book, Mr. Bottum writes in his review, reflects her biggest weakness as a candidate: self-consciousness coupled with a lack of self-reflection. “However uncomfortable she is in her own skin,” he writes, “she’s locked inside that skin, and all her attempts at self-reflection, self-criticism, and self-awareness prove little more than clichéd repetitions of the kinds of things people are supposed to say when engaging in those activities.” What’s worse, in his estimation, is that “most of the book is just plain dull.” Read more »
From the Left
Rebecca Traister in The Cut:
“And those who continue to insist on hearing Clinton’s reasoned rage as a means to deflect blame are missing perhaps the object of her most blistering ire: herself.”
Ms. Traister, who sat down with Mrs. Clinton for one of the first post-election profiles of the Democratic candidate, celebrates the anger expressed in the book. There’s nothing Americans find “more repellent in women than anger,” and Mrs. Clinton spends much of her book chronicling “how hard she’s worked to suppress her passions.” According to Ms. Traister, the book could and should “serve as a useful model” to other female politicians to channel and express their righteous fury. Read more »
More selections »