The polarizing and exhausting mess that is Brexit
Well, first up, “This mess,” as Caille Millner puts it. BBC News has the latest as May’s government survives no confidence vote by 325 to 306. And next, “On Brexit and the delusions of the British ruling class. Pankaj Mishra picks up a hammer and knocks a series of nails into place,” says Aditya Chakrabortty, who links to Pankaj Mishra’s op-ed in The New York Times on The Malign Incompetence of the British Ruling Class.
The author of “Age of Anger: A History of the Present” writes, “With Brexit, the chumocrats who drew borders from India to Ireland are getting a taste of their own medicine.” Tweets Guy Raz, “the gifted writer, Pankaj Mishra's ability to pull disparate ideas and historical observations from his vast mental archive is astounding. This is worth reading.” Jannie Momberg says it’s “The best thing you'll read today…”
Meanwhile, “How do you turn the polarizing and exhausting mess that is Brexit into a riveting drama? @sophieGG spoke with @mrJamesGraham about how he pulled it off with ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War.” For that, Yasmeen Serhan links to HBO’s ‘Brexit’: James Graham Wrote History in Real Time, by Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic, who says she “Really enjoyed speaking with @mrJamesGraham about how he managed to make Brexit entertaining.”
Evil and stupid, but especially evil
Here in the U.S., things are going swimmingly. For example, Tracy Jan tells us, “The woman widely recognized as the most competent political leader at HUD is leaving the agency tomorrow. Sources say she grew frustrated by her ‘Sisyphean undertaking,’ battling the Trump administration on fair housing & disaster funding for Puerto Rico.” She links to her story in The Washington Post with Arelis R. Hernandez, Josh Dawsey and Damian Paletta about Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude’s resignation, After butting heads with Trump administration, top HUD official departs agency. Many are highlighting this part: “Trump told then-White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and then-Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney that he did not want a single dollar going to Puerto Rico...Instead, he wanted more of the money to go to Texas and Florida.” Tweets Adam Weinstein, “This is evil and stupid, but especially evil.”
Over In a West Wing in Transition, Trump Tries to Stand Firm on the Shutdown, write Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni of The New York Times, but Nate Silver alerts us to “A fairly reliable heuristic: The more power Jared Kushner has over White House decisions, the dumber those decisions are.” Adds Gregg Carlstrom, “Jared Kushner is positioning himself as the guy who can broker a deal to end the shutdown, which means we should expect the government to remain closed until at least 2021.” Philip Bump calls it “The Art of the Why Can’t We Get a Deal.” Wajahat Ali has a suggestion: “What does President Coulter advise, @realDonaldTrump?”
The West Wing’s not the only place where people are on edge. Barbara Starr of CNN reports that Trump is fraying nerves inside the Pentagon. “In private conversations over the past month, many of them unsolicited, more than a dozen key military officers, enlisted personnel and senior civilians have expressed worry and concern to CNN,” she writes. Tweets Grant Stern, “This is why the FBI correctly judged Trump to be a national security threat. The Pentagon wonders if his unplanned statements are leading to yesterday’s ISIS attack that killed American soldiers overseas.”
Straight up lied
In other Pentagon news, Loren DeJonge Schulman says, “DOD semantics on their involvement in security cooperation activities have always been potentially problematic. What's worse is a lot of the time I don't think they even realize why it's problematic.” She links to the exclusive by Nick Turse of Yahoo News, Despite denials, documents reveal U.S. training UAE forces for combat in Yemen. In other words, “Mattis’ Pentagon just straight up lied to the American people about US involvement in the bombing of Yemen,” tweets Christopher Hayes.
This story gets wilder in almost every paragraph
Steve Inskeep is referring to the new report by Michael Rothfeld, Rob Barry and Joe Palazzolo of The Wall Street Journal, which reveals that Michael Cohen Hired an IT Firm to Rig Early CNBC, Drudge Polls to Favor Trump. “Behind the scenes, Michael Cohen hired RedFinch Solutions, then allegedly stiffed it—and his boss,” they write. The Walmart bag of money was a little short, sure, but he did throw in a used boxing glove, so...
As Matthew Garrahan notes there’s “An intro for the ages on this WSJ story about Michael Cohen and the IT company he hired to game dodgy polls for Trump.” Also, as Ed Bott highlights, “The @WomenForCohen account, created in May 2016 and run by a female friend of Mr. Gauger, described Mr. Cohen as a ‘sex symbol,’ praised his looks and character, and promoted his appearances and statements boosting Mr. Trump’s candidacy.” That’s right, “Michael Cohen, sex symbol,” tweets Jim Roberts.
The history and the urgency of this moment
Domenico Montanaro of NPR reports that Trump’s Approval Rating Is Down, Has Slipped With His Base, according to the new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, and “Just 30 percent of registered voters said they will definitely vote for Trump in 2020, while 57 percent said they will definitely vote against him.”
But why wait until 2020, when you could Impeach Trump Now, as Yoni Appelbaum advocates in his March cover story for The Atlantic. “Impeachable? Let @TheAtlantic count the ways,” tweets David Beard. Adds Adrienne LaFrance, “There is no one else who can contextualize both the history and the urgency of this moment. This just-published @YAppelbaum cover story is a big deal.” David A. Graham says, “.@YAppelbaum’s case for impeachment is a magisterial, historically rooted brief that doesn't follow the standard lines of argument we've become accustomed to.”
For what it’s worth, David Frum notes, “Nobody planned that @TheAtlantic would drop @YAppelbaum’s article ‘IMPEACH’ on morning after Trump’s personal lawyer admitted ‘OK maybe quite a lot of collusion’ - but so it happened.”
About that. Admittedly, this hasn’t been easy to keep up with, but Aaron Blake of The Washington Post has compiled a helpful tweet of “Trump team’s collusion denials: 1) No contact 3) Contacts not *planned* 4) Okay planned, but not re: campaign 5) Okay, but not meaningful or used 6) Collusion is not a crime 7) Can't collude if you don't know Putin 8) Repeat 6 9) Maybe *someone* colluded.” Talk about “let me count the ways.” For details, he links to his new analysis in The Washington Post, Rudy Giuliani just contradicted nearly all the Trump team’s past collusion denials.
In the meantime, ‘She wields the knife’: Pelosi moves to belittle and undercut Trump in shutdown fight, write Paul Kane, Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post. Tweets Dawsey, “Trump has told others he sees Pelosi as a force against impeachment & a savvy operator. He has made a calculated effort not to attack her. But how much longer can that last?”
What a fun week in The Media
Emily Heil and Paul Farhi of The Washington Post set the record straight on the fake editions of The Washington Post handed out at multiple locations in D.C. “Literally #fakenews,” as Karen Tumulty tweets.
Lukas Alpert and Cara Lombardo of The Wall Street Journal have the scoop that Tribune Publishing Recently Tried to Rekindle Merger Talks With Gannett. As Alex Coolidge tweets, “The plotting thickens.” “Looks like that Tribune-Gannett merger might happen after all, thanks to a NY hedge fund,” adds Jon Chesto.
Which might be the only positive potential result from that NY hedge fund’s actions. At Gannett’s USA Today, Gus Garcia-Roberts, Nick Penzenstadler, Mike Snider and Kevin McCoy write, Hedge fund’s ambition to dominate newspaper industry raises fear of a local news ‘death spiral.’ Or as Mike Wilson describes it, “Field mouse describes circling hawk about to eat it,” They quote former Denver Post reporter Brian Eason, who says he believes newspapers aren’t just “dying from natural causes. Greed is killing them.”
Keith Kelly of the New York Post brings us more depressing news: Storied Jewish publication The Forward is ending its 121-year print run and cutting 40% of its editorial staff, including its editor-in-chief and executive editor. “So incredibly sad. I can't believe it. @jdforward taught me so much in my short time there. Editors and reporters poured so much time and attention into every word,” tweets Joy Resmovits. Adds Naomi Zeveloff, “This is a such a loss for American media. @jdforward was one of the only Jewish outlets doing accountability reporting. Thinking of my former colleagues there, who taught me how to be a journalist and so much more.”
Meanwhile, Here Are the Media Chuds Joining Fake Gawker, as Laura Wagner of Splinter News reports. Michael Epstein explains: “Remember when Trump started announcing appointments and every one was a bad faith candidate threatening to gut their departments from the inside? This looks surprisingly similar.” And to find out why Molly Osberg is tweeting, “what a fun week in The Media,” well, there’s this. Also, as Adam Serwer says, “I do bad tweets but these are some bad tweets!” To repeat, “Those are some bad tweets!!!!!!!!!” notes Brendan O’Connor. Julia Reinstein thinks, “it is.....pretty odd imo that splinter is framing this as ‘lol media chuds’ rather than being like, hey, the head of new gawker did a bunch of racist tweets and we found them. that’s your headline!”
For a little palate cleanser, turn to The Onion: Fox News Debuts Premium Channel For 24-Hour Coverage Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Farewell to a capitalist with a soul
Here’s one you definitely need take the time out to read today. John Bogle, who founded Vanguard and revolutionized retirement savings, has died at 89, and Art Carey and Erin E. Arvedlund of The Philadelphia Inquirer have put together not just an obituary but a terrific profile of the man who “was a capitalist with a soul.” They quote Oregon investment manager and author William Bernstein, who told them, “He basically chose to forgo an enormous fortune to do something right for millions of people. I don’t know any other story like it in American business history.”
The piece also includes such tidbits as, “Mr. Bogle had his first heart attack in 1960, when he was only 30, and his heart stopped numerous times thereafter. When he was 37, his doctor advised him to retire. Mr. Bogle’s response was to switch doctors.” As Ian Cowie tweets, it’s a “Fine example of American journalism (it’s long!), John #Bogle obituary reminds us #Vanguard name came from Nelson’s flagship at Aboukir Bay, Battle of the Nile, 1798. What a man.” Tim Kiladze calls it a “Proper obit for such a legend.”
- Brace yourself as Mallory Simon and Sara Sidner of CNN take us Inside the GM plant where nooses and ‘whites-only’ signs intimidated workers (124,000+ shares). Tweets Rebecca Bingham (McCormick), “Everyone deserves to live and work in an environment free from fear, intimidation, threats and violence. Period. Hate speech is not the same as free speech. @GM needs to feel some financial pain for this one.”
- Zach Carter points out that “This is not what a well-run institution looks like,” while Christopher Hooks says, “this is like a casserole of badness.” Ryan Grim and Clio Chang of The Intercept report, Amid Internal Investigation Over Leaks to Media, the Center for American Progress Fires Two Staffers.
- Dan Strumpf, Nicole Hong and Aruna Viswanatha of The Wall Street Journal report that Federal Prosecutors Are Pursuing a Criminal Case Against Huawei for Alleged Theft of Trade Secrets.
- For the new cover of Bloomberg Businessweek, Peter Coy and Katia Dmitrieva explain why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is the Darling of the Left, Nightmare of the Right. Tweets Anna Edney, “I love a good policy story @petercoy @katiadmi delve into some of @AOC's ideas.”
- At The Seattle Times, Vernal Coleman and Mike Rosenberg have the details as Microsoft pledges $500 million to tackle housing crisis in Seattle, Eastside. Karen Weise covers the story at The New York Times, Microsoft Is Pledging $500 Million for Affordable Housing in the Seattle Area. As Ron Lieber says, “Your move, Amazon.”
- If you panicked like we did when you saw Betty White’s name trending, don’t worry: It’s her birthday! Happy 97th, Betty. CBS News has rounded up some favorites from Betty White Through the Years.