Donald Trump, in the peroration of a prepared speech to CPAC:
We are Americans, and the future belongs to us.
Trump may have been careless, but for Bannon, a trollish dog-whistle fits better. This song from Cabaret is pretty famous:
From the starting-point of 1932 the future did not work out too well for 12-year-old Hitlerjugend enthusiasts like the blond boy soloist. Membership became compulsory from 1936, and you can’t infer from membership that Josef Ratzinger or Günter Grass were true believers. Grass has admitted he was, and applied for the U-Boat service at 17. Luckily for him, Grass was turned down, and had to make do with a slightly less risky SS Panzer division, where he was lucky again to be merely wounded.
The next 10 years went pretty well for the Nazi cause – but they were followed by three years of unmitigated disaster and slaughter for Germans. One under-recognized reason for the complete reversal in German political culture after 1945 was the very high and selective death toll among convinced Nazis. They tended to volunteer for high-risk services like the Luftwaffe, the U-Boats, and front-line Waffen SS units. Of the 41,900 serving German submariners in WWII, 28,000 died: almost exactly two-thirds. The 12th SS “Hitlerjugend” Panzer Division arrived in Normandy in June 1944 with 20,540 men, soon commanded by the fanatical and ruthless Kurt Meyer. On August 22, at the end of the Normandy battle, his division was down to 300 men. SS units didn’t generate many POWs, especially on the Eastern front.
The Nazi gamble on world domination was of course crazy from the outset. At least Donald Trump can look back at several historical moments of true American hegemony: 1919, 1945, and 1991. These partly reflected American economic and technical strength, but also and to a considerable extent the collapse of its adversaries and the exhaustion of its allies. Murphy’s Law struck everybody else, a stroke of geopolitical luck. 2017 is peacetime. There is nothing in sight to prevent the inevitable relative decline of the USA. China and India are much more populous, much poorer, and therefore growing faster.
Since 1945, and indeed before (as at Bretton Woods), American statesmen have sought to embed American values and interests in the world institutional order. It has been the only rational strategy for an outnumbered imperialist. Trump and Bannon despise this order and are are doing their worst to sabotage it by macho posturing, waving the bloody flag, and beating the tin drum of nationalism. The result is certain to accelerate, rather than delay, the inevitable readjustment.
The future won’t be American. It can still be a world in which Americans can be safe, respected and prosperous. The chances of this happy ending are shrinking ever day Trump stays in power.
Efforts to repeal ACA have run into real political trouble. Even in Arkansas and other conservative states, angry town hall crowds are berating Republican legislators over the issue. President Trump’s poll numbers are sinking. For the first time, the majority of Americans express support for ACA, too. Efforts to roll back ACA’s Medicaid expansion have proved particularly difficult. Democratic and Republican Governors oppose the idea. So do many other key constituencies.
The politics changed after November 8 because the real choices are starkly before us: If ACA is repealed, what will actually happen to millions of vulnerable Americans who rely on ACA for essential health care and coverage?
Facing these stark questions, some conservatives bluntly maintain that we should snatch health coverage from millions of people. The brutality of such arguments makes them politically self-immolating. So the search is on for kinder and gentler talking points against the ACA. In a creative bit of political jujitsu, conservatives argue that Obamacare itself harms the vulnerable, and that we must repeal ACA to really help the most deserving.
A particularly brazen argument is now making the rounds. On this account, ACA’s Medicaid expansion for able-bodied poor people harms the most vulnerable by siphoning away state funds that would otherwise finance disability services. If you aren’t steeped in Medicaid or disability policy, this argument sounds plausible.
I consider the realities here, at healthinsurance.org.
A number of police officers throughout the country have used excessive and sometimes deadly force in instances that were absolutely unjustified, including some egregious cases in Chicago, the city I know best. Many of these would not have been known about or dealt with properly had it not been for police and citizen cameras. These situations have led to far-reaching changes in police policies regarding the use of deadly force.
Along with these changes, there has been a charge that police departments in many cities over-police minority communities. This charge is accompanied by statistics that show that more police stops occur in minority communities than other, whiter communities; that is, if we divide the number of stops by the number of residents, it is higher for minority communities than for white communities.
But the racial composition is only one variable that can describe a community; there are others. Consider the fact that, in most cities, the areas with the greatest crime rates are populated with minorities. In Chicago there are two high-crime areas: the rest of the city is relatively safe. These two areas are characterized by a high rate of calls for police service, high crime rates and (non-police) shooting and homicide rates, high poverty, high truancy rates, etc. These areas have proportionately the highest number of police stops and are generally more dangerous, both for police and for the overwhelming majority of the citizens in those areas that do not commit crime.
The police did not create those problems in these communities. They were generated by decades of policies both active (redlining and other discriminatory strategies) and passive (neglect by municipal agencies), by decisions made well above the police officers’ pay grade. That some police officers are prejudiced is hardly unexpected, since they grew up under these policies.
But looking only at a community’s racial composition to infer police bias truly obscures the picture. We should compile community-level statistics with different denominators: police stops per number of violent crimes, per number of gunfire incidents, per number of confiscated weapons. That is, to understand the behavior of police, focus on what usually does, and should, drive their behavior.
No one can or should condone the use of excessive (and lethal) force by the police, in these or other communities; however, the focus on more policing of these communities is probably as it should be. Residents of those communities are the ones who are victimized the most, and the over 95 percent of them who are not criminals deserve protection.
As Keith Humphreys pointed out in the comments below, the police are more present in high-crime, low-income communities, but in Chicago, where they have been criticized by the ACLU and DOJ, they seem to have gone fetal, with much less proactive policing. One of the consequence of that stance is doubtless the increase in homicides, which included seven persons killed last Wednesday. And here’s another consequence: http://www.copinthehood.com/2016/10/chicago-cop-murders-unarmed-man.html
Kenneth Arrow just passed away at age 95. He founded modern health economics, social choice theory, and so much beside. His doctoral dissertation proved the famous Arrow Impossibility theorem. His career didn’t let up until virtually his dying day.
I won’t try to summarize Arrow’s Nobel-Prize-winning career. Fortunately, the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law published a 2001 special issue that considered his contributions to health policy. It is a just great, great read by some of the best in the business–Mark Peterson, Uwe Reinhardt, Mark Pauly, Mike Chernew, Frank Sloan, and many others–with a terrific response these essays by Arrow himself. Check it out. It is a lovely read.
Professor Arrow was an active participant in Stanford seminars well into his tenth decade. He combined the highest mathematical virtuosity with a passion for social justice and a real curiosity about societies and institutions. I never had too many dealings with him. We did occasionally cross paths on political matters related to health reform. I found this 2016 email especially charming given the source. The man contributed more after age 80 than I’m likely to do over my entire career.
Business Insider interviews Mark Kleiman: Here’s how Sessions could shut down the legal marijuana industry overnight. Pro-pot lawmakers to join forces, launch cannabis caucus. Congress’ cannabis caucus ready to ‘bump heads’ with Sessions. $46 Billion: Marijuana’s most promising and perilous number. Cannabis stock index grew 236% in 2016.
Inside ‘pot alley’ as California gears up for legal weed. New law puts 3,000 California cannabis cultivators in jeopardy. California Assemblyman challenges feds on cannabis, sponsors legislation forbidding co-operation with enforcement.
Arizona group readies filing for recreational cannabis legalization initiative. Legal pot will present many challenges for Nevada. New Washington bill would repeal marijuana legalization, bring back prohibition. As Colorado claims marijuana legalization benefits, questions arise over costs. Can decriminalizing marijuana improve public safety in Texas? Guam community weighs in on pot legalization bill.
Committee focused on changing Massachusetts marijuana law has been formed.
Maine lawmakers review marijuana policies adopted by other states. Retail pot sales still 12 months off as marijuana now legal in Maine. It may be legal to grow marijuana in Maine, but it’s not easy to get gardening advice.
On February 19, 1942, Franklin Roosevelt reached the moral low point of his presidency, signing Executive Order 9066. This authorized the internment of Japanese Americans in flagrant violation of the Constitution and our best national values.
Public hysteria to expel or deport Japanese-Americans rested on racial paranoia and resentment partly rooted in the competitive success of Japanese Americans in California and other western states. Yeah, Jewish readers would find much of the popular discourse–not to mention various sundry details regarding neighbors’ theft of property belonging to interned families–rather chilling in its familiarity. An amazing exhibit at the Japanese American national museum details much of this history. It is worth a visit.
President Trump is the most comprehensively unworthy man to occupy the Oval Office in modern American history. Yet far better men perpetrated worse injustices than we have seen thus far in the Trump administration. As Keith rightly notes in the first comment below, Earl Warren and many others supported the Japanese internment. Most other Americans acquiesced with their silence. Hopefully, our society and basic institutions learned from these experiences and failures, and will step up to resist contemporary injustices.
Dorothea Lange’s censored pictures of the Japanese-American internment, available through the Library of Congress, provide a heartbreaking reminder. For more information, check out Linda Gordon’s Impounded Dorothea Lange & the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment.
Wide-ranging discussion with Josh Barro of Business Insider. I failed to mention the role of alcohol in suicide, but otherwise performed adequately. Barro is a first-rate interviewer.
Richard Frank and I have a piece on the fentanyl threat to public health in the current New England Journal of Medicine. I am still stunned by the incredible percentage of current opiate OD deaths that involve fentanyl and related substances.
Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, poses an increasing public health threat. Low production costs encourage suppliers to “cut” heroin with the drug, particularly white powder heroin sold in the eastern United States. Fentanyl also appears as a prevalent active ingredient in counterfeit OxyContin (oxycodone) tablets. The result is that fentanyl plays a major role in rising mortality due to heroin or opioid overdose. It poses a serious overdose risk because it can rapidly suppress respiration and cause death more quickly than do other opioids
Are California cities’ new marijuana laws about safety, or blocking Proposition 64? Los Angeles may finally get cannabis right, and help minorities get a stake in the industry. Local marijuana producers in limbo as San Diego weighs legalization. Lawsuits challenge San Bernardino marijuana law.
Colorado governor offers advice to California on taxing legal marijuana. Legal pot sales top $1 billion in Washington and Colorado. Washington will fight Sessions, Trump over legal pot, Gov. Inslee says.
What happens if you bring pot to Logan? High expectations for Massachusetts marijuana industry. Massachusetts legislature looks to gut pot law. Legal marijuana will help Connecticut economy. As Rhode Island mulls pot legalization, lobbyist battle lines are forming.
Time to legalize pot in Hawaii? Are DC weed delivery services legal? New Jersey lawmakers will vote on legalizing marijuana. Poll shows support for legalizing recreational marijuana in Michigan. Cuomo unconvinced on New York pot legalization. New Mexico bill to legalize marijuana stalls in committee.
Republican Dana Rohrabacher introduces bill to end federal marijuana prohibition in legal states.
Taxing legal marijuana: A hazy issue for municipal bankruptcy. This technology could be a game-changer for the marijuana industry. Marijuana prices are plunging, and you’re not going to be happy with the reason why. BudCoin: Can cryptocurrency solve marijuana’s banking crisis? Court sides with drug legalization group in speech dispute.