Monday, July 31, 2017

Behold the Trump boomerang effect

Fred Hiatt
Editorial Page Editor
The Washington Post

July 30 2017

Did your head spin when Utah’s Orrin Hatch, a true conservative and the Senate’s longest-serving Republican, emerged last week as the most eloquent spokesman for transgender rights? Credit the Trump boomerang effect.

Much has been said about White House dysfunction and how little President Trump has accomplished in his first six months. But that’s not the whole story: In Washington and around the world, in some surprising ways, things are happening — but they are precisely the opposite of what Trump wanted and predicted when he was sworn in.

The story of how a worm turned... into a bringer of medical miracles

July 31, 2017

PLOEMEUR (France) — For centuries, the only use humans found for the lugworm — dark pink, slimy and inedible — was on the end of a fish hook.

But the invertebrates’ unappreciated status is about to change.

Their blood, say French researchers, has an extraordinary ability to load up with life-giving oxygen.

Harnessing it for human needs could transform medicine, providing a blood substitute that could save lives, speed recovery after surgery and help transplant patients, they say.

“The haemoglobin of the lugworm can transport 40 times more oxygen from the lungs to tissues than human haemoglobin,” says Dr Gregory Raymond, a biologist at Aquastream, a fish-farming facility on the Brittany coastline.

“It also has the advantage of being compatible with all blood types.”

Trump is something the nation did not know it needed

George F. Will
Opinion writer
July 28 2017

Looking, as prudent people are disinclined to do, on the bright side, there are a few vagrant reasons for cheerfulness, beginning with this: Summer love is sprouting like dandelions. To the list of history’s sublime romances — Abelard and Heloise, Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy — add the torrid affair between Anthony Scaramucci and President Trump. The former’s sizzling swoon for the latter is the most remarkable public display of hormonal heat since — here a melancholy thought intrudes — Jeff Sessions tumbled into love with Trump. Long ago. Last year.

Sessions serves at the pleasure of the president, who does not seem pleased. Still, sympathy for Sessions is in order: What is he to do? If dignity concerned him, he would resign; but if it did, he would not occupy a Trump-bestowed office from which to resign. Such are the conundrums of current politics. Concerning which, there is excessive gloom.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Trump is killing the Republican Party

By Joe Scarborough

Washington Post

July 16, 2017

I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left its senses. The political movement that once stood athwart history resisting bloated government and military adventurism has been reduced to an amalgam of talk-radio resentments. President Trump’s Republicans have devolved into a party without a cause, dominated by a leader hopelessly ill-informed about the basics of conservatism, U.S. history and the Constitution.

America’s first Republican president reportedly said , “Nearly all men can stand adversity. But if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” The current Republican president and the party he controls were granted monopoly power over Washington in November and already find themselves spectacularly failing Abraham Lincoln’s character exam.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

This is what foreign spies see when they read President Trump’s tweets

Nada Bakos

June 23

Nada Bakos was formerly a CIA analyst and targeting officer. She is the author of the forthcoming book “The Targeter: My Life in the CIA.”

The Washington Post

Every time President Trump tweets, journalists and Twitter followers attempt to analyze what he means. Intelligence agencies around the world do, too: They’re trying to determine what vulnerabilities the president of the United States may have. And he’s giving them a lot to work with.

Trump’s Twitter feed is a gold mine for every foreign intelligence agency. Usually, intelligence officers’ efforts to collect information on world leaders are methodical, painstaking and often covert. CIA operatives have risked their lives to learn about foreign leaders so the United States could devise strategies to counter our adversaries. With Trump, though, secret operations are not necessary to understand what’s on his mind: The president’s unfiltered thoughts are available night and day, broadcast to his 32.7 million Twitter followers immediately and without much obvious mediation by diplomats, strategists or handlers.

Intelligence agencies try to answer these main questions when looking at a rival head of state: Who is he as a person? What type of leader is he? How does that compare to what he strives to be or presents himself as? What can we expect from him? And how can we use this insight to our advantage?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Is it inequality of income we care about — or inequality of opportunity?

By Steven Pearlstein

July 1

The Washington Post

Inequality may well be the issue of our time. But is it inequality of income we care about, or inequality of opportunity? And what is opportunity — the opportunity to do better than our parents, or better than ourselves at an earlier age, or does it mean doing better relative to everyone else? Can some of us get wealthier without making others poorer? Would inequality recede if we just had more economic growth?

These questions animate two new books. One is “Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That is a Problem and What To do About It,” by Richard Reeves, a British-born philosopher by training, politician by instinct and a Brookings Institution social scientist by trade. (Richard is also a friend). The other, “The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live and Die,” is by Keith Payne, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina. Both books are authoritative, thought provoking, accessible and well worth a spot on your summer reading list.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Once a model city, Hong Kong is in trouble

Keith Bradsher

June 30, 2017

HONG KONG — When Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule two decades ago, the city was seen as a model of what China might one day become: prosperous, modern, international, with the broad protections of the rule of law.

There was anxiety about how such a place could survive in authoritarian China. But even after Beijing began encroaching on this former British colony’s freedoms, its reputation as one of the best-managed cities in Asia endured.

The trains ran on time. Crime and taxes were low. The skyline dazzled with ever taller buildings.

Those are still true. Yet as the 20th anniversary of the handover approaches this weekend, that perception of Hong Kong as something special — a vibrant crossroads of East and West that China might want to emulate — is fading fast.