But the European pillar of this community of democracies has never been more under assault — so much so that for the first time I wonder if this European pillar will actually crumble.
From Italy you can see all the lines of attack: Donald Trump coming from the West, Vladimir Putin from the East and environmental and political disorder from the south — from Africa and the Middle East, where the reckless 2011 French-British-U.S. decision to topple Libyan strongman Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and not stay on to help build a new order in his place, now haunts Italy.
Toppling Qaddafi without building a new order may go down as the single dumbest action the NATO alliance ever took.
It took the lid off Africa, leading to some 600,000 asylum seekers and illegal migrants flocking to Italy’s shores in recent years, with 300,000 staying there and the rest filtering into other E.U. countries. This has created wrangles within the bloc over who should absorb how many migrants and has spawned nationalist-populist backlashes in almost every E.U. country.
“A special election this near to the November midterms isn’t solely or even primarily about who won and lost. It’s about which candidate — and thus which party — beat the spread. It’s a crystal ball with a glimpse of the future, beyond the battle at hand and the patch of the country in which it took place.
And the vision presented by Ohio’s 12th District on Tuesday night should give Democrats considerable joy.True, the race was too close to call Wednesday morning, and the Republican, Troy Balderson, had a definite edge over the Democrat, Danny O’Connor, in the vote count. But even if O’Connor loses, Democrats will move on from this contest with formidable energy and every reason to believe that Donald Trump is vulnerable, that Republicans are spooked and that the Democratic Party is poised to pick up the 23 seats it needs to reclaim the House majority.
This should have been a Republican cakewalk. The district hadn’t been represented by a Democrat in more than three decades. The Republican incumbent, whose retirement is why the special election was necessary, won in 2016 by more than 35 points. In that same year’s presidential election, Trump won the district by 11.”
By Steve Negus
Aug. 7, 2018
INTO THE HANDS OF THE SOLDIERS
Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East
By David D. Kirkpatrick
370 pp. Viking. $28.
People versus power: This is how most of us remember Egypt’s 2011-13 upheavals. Crowds fight the police under clouds of tear gas on a Nile bridge, bringing down the dictator Hosni Mubarak. Later, they rise to challenge his replacement, the Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi, but are ultimately betrayed and crushed by a revived military regime. Such dramatic street clashes feature heavily in works like the documentary “The Square,” telling a story in which the protagonist is the Egyptian street — or more specifically, the left-leaning activist networks with the most talent in organizing demonstrations. Their courage may have failed to create a democracy, the story goes, but it was only because the forces of reaction were too cunning and too ruthless.
David D. Kirkpatrick’s engrossing account of his time as the New York Times Cairo bureau chief covering the Egyptian revolution, “Into the Hands of the Soldiers,” is a less uplifting but more instructive tale. He brings two new contributions to his retelling. One is The Times’s extraordinary access to decision makers. Kirkpatrick gives an unmatched blow-by-blow of the Obama administration’s Egypt diplomacy, with the Americans’ mixed signals undercutting its impact. Of greater general interest in understanding the final outcome are Kirkpatrick’s extensive interviews with Egyptian officials and with Morsi’s aides. Kirkpatrick’s other key contribution is his willingness to plunge into the messy, sprawling street violence, and show how each side could perceive itself a victim and step up its own provocative tactics in response.
“Facebook, Spotify and Google’s YouTube site, which removed some Infowars content last week, followed with stronger measures on Monday. Facebook removed four pages belonging to Mr. Jones, including one with nearly 1.7 million followers as of last month, for violating its policies by “glorifying violence” and “using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants.” Facebook said the violations did not relate to “false news.”
YouTube terminated Mr. Jones’s channel, which had more than 2.4 million subscribers and billions of views on its videos, for repeatedly violating its policies, including its prohibition on hate speech. Spotify cited its own prohibition on hate speech as the reason for removing a podcast by Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones and Infowars are leaders in using the internet to spread right-wing conspiracy theories, an effort that was aided after Donald J. Trump appeared on Mr. Jones’s show during the 2016 presidential campaign and praised Mr. Jones’s reputation as “amazing.” Mr. Jones has repeatedly claimed that the government staged the Oklahoma City bombing, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and numerous other mass shootings and tragedies.”
Rising from the ashes of designer Henrik Fisker’s failed car company, the first units of the 2018 Karma Revero hybrid electric luxury super cars rolled off the Moreno Valley factory floor and onto Southern California roadways this week.
Ten went to dealer showrooms around the U.S. and Canada, where company officers hope they will inspire buyers.
Another 10 went to Laguna Beach, where on Monday they made their test-drive debuts before an avidly curious motoring press.
The Karma Revero is the new company’s first vehicle. Built largely from the platform Fisker envisioned before his company crashed and burned after producing a 2012 model year Fisker Karma, the new car is sleek, speedy and almost silent.
Sitting low, its wheels crouched beneath sinuous, strong shoulder and hip lines, the Revero’s silhouette may call to mind an Aston Martin Rapide, Jaguar F-Type, or Ferrari California T.
“Message to those in the news media who keep calling Donald Trump a “populist”: I do not think that word means what you think it means.
It’s true that Trump still, on occasion, poses as someone who champions the interests of ordinary working Americans against those of the elite. And I guess there’s a sense in which his embrace of white nationalism gives voice to ordinary Americans who share his racism but have felt unable to air their prejudice in public.
But he’s been in office for a year and a half, time enough to be judged on what he does, not what he says. And his administration has been relentlessly anti-worker on every front. Trump is about as populist as he is godly — that is, not at all.
Start with tax policy, where Trump’s major legislative achievement is a tax cut that mainly benefits corporations — whose tax payments have fallen off a cliff — and has done nothing at all to raise wages. The tax plan does so little for ordinary Americans that Republicans have stopped campaigning on it. Yet the administration is floating the (probably illegal) idea of using executive action to cut taxes on the rich by an extra $100 billion.”
DL: Yes, Thank you. And here is a top comment I recommended:
Big IslandAug. 2
The term “Populist” was never, and will never be, accurate in describing him.
The word “demagogue” is the shoe that fits.
“a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument”
Reply 738 Recommended
A month ago, ThinkProgress published an essay by Ian Millhiser with the title “Clarence Thomas Is the Most Important Legal Thinker in America.” I did a double take. How could the estimable Mr. Millhiser sign his name to such an exaggerated claim? But his argument was not that Justice Thomas, who recently turned 70, is winning victories today, but that he is paving the way for victories down the road — and perhaps not all that far down the road. Observing that 20 percent of Trump-appointed appeals court judges are Justice Thomas’s former law clerks, Mr. Millhiser wrote, “Thomas lost the war for the present, but he is the future of legal conservatism.”So no, the court’s future is not already here, not yet. Those of us on the progressive side of the street are unlikely to look back on Justice Kennedy’s final term with nostalgia. But soon enough, we may decide that it was the best we’re going to see for a long time.Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter.Linda Greenhouse, the winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize, writes on alternate Thursdays about the Supreme Court and the law. She reported on the Supreme Court for The Times from 1978 to 2008, and is the author of several books.
Let me first state that I actually like Mark Zuckerberg and have since the day I met him more than a dozen years ago.
But let me also say that he and Facebook, the huge social network that he started in college, have been working humanity’s last nerve for far too long now.
Every week, it’s something, and that something is never good.
This week, it was the revelation that the Russians — or, more precisely, a group of geek thugs who are acting the exact same way that a group of Russians acted when they messed with the 2016 United States elections on Facebook — are still skulking around the platform and making trouble for the midterms.
This comes as no surprise to anyone at this point, except for maybe President Trump. I suppose we should be grateful that this time it was Facebook’s management that revealed the news, in a departure from the company’s previous stance of stubbornly resisting pressure from the government and the media to be more transparent. (Over the past months, it has copped to trouble in Brazil, Mexico and Russia, which is a good sign, although a report on Sunday from Britain’s Parliament rebuked the company for being “unwilling or unable to give full answers to the committee’s questions.”)
By Jack Nicas
Aug. 2, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO — In 1997, Apple was on the ropes. The Silicon Valley pioneer was being decimated by Microsoft and its many partners in the personal-computer market. It had just cut a third of its work force, and it was about 90 days from going broke, Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, later said.
On Thursday, Apple became worth more than $1 trillion when its shares briefly climbed to $207.05, two days after the company announced the latest in a series of remarkably profitable quarters.
Apple’s ascent from the brink of bankruptcy to the world’s most valuable company has been a business tour de force, marked by rapid innovation, a series of smash-hit products and the creation of a sophisticated, globe-spanning supply chain that keeps costs down while producing enormous volumes of cutting-edge devices.
That ascent has also been marked by controversy and tragedy. Apple’s aggressive use of outside manufacturers in China, for example, has led to criticism that it is taking advantage of poorly paid workers in other countries and robbing Americans of good manufacturing jobs.
David Lindsay: An amazing story. However, there is an underside, revealed by the following comment I recommended:
By Wallace Ravven
July 30, 2018
More than a century ago, zoologist Joseph Grinnell launched a pioneering survey of animal life in California, a decades-long quest — at first by Model T or, failing that, mule — to all corners and habitats of the state, from Death Valley to the High Sierra.
Ultimately Grinnell, founding director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues produced one of the richest ecological records in the world: 74,000 pages of meticulously detailed field notes, recording the numbers, habits and habitats of all vertebrate species that the team encountered.
In 2003, museum scientists decided to retrace Grinnell’s steps throughout the state to learn what changes a century had wrought. And that’s why Morgan Tingley, then an ecology graduate student at the university, found himself trekking through the Sierra for four summers.
Dr. Tingley wanted to know how birds had fared since Grinnell last took a census. Years later, the answer turned out to be a bit of a shock.
Of 32,000 birds recorded in California mountain ranges in the old and new surveys — from thumb-sized Calliope hummingbirds to the spectacular pileated woodpecker — Dr. Tingley and his colleagues discovered that most species now nest about a week earlier than they did 70 to 100 years ago.