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Brexit, Trump and a generation of incompetents
It’s useful here to recall the contrast — often drawn in the US in the 1990s — between the “greatest generation” who fought the second world war, and the baby boomers. From the 1940s until the 1990s, most politicians in both countries were men who had fought a world war. That experience shaped them. Harold Macmillan, British prime minister from 1957 to 1963, had been wounded five times in the first world war. Once, after being hit in the knee and pelvis, he lay in a shell hole for 12 hours, medicating himself with morphine, playing dead when Germans came near, and reading Aeschylus in the original Greek, writes Richard Davenport-Hines in An English Affair.

Macmillan reflected much later that posh o􀀶cers such as himself, leading working-class troops, “learnt for the first time how to … feel at home with a whole class with whom we could not have come into contact in any other way”.
It’s often said that today’s politicians have no experience outside politics, but they do. Bush Jr ran a baseball club, Boris Johnson wrote funny columns, and Trump played a successful businessman on television. Along the way they learnt a skill their predecessors mostly lacked: performing on mass media.

Then came populism, which validated amateurism. No need for “experts” — anyone could do the job. Thoughtful people who couldn’t bellow simplifications on TV drifted out of politics.
by:SimonKuper  from:FinancialTimes  DonaldTrump  BorisJohnson  GeorgeWBush  politics  BabyBoomers  HaroldMacmillan  geo:UnitedKingdom  geo:UnitedStates  Brexit  incompetence 
yesterday by owenblacker
Will Trump's lows ever hit rock bottom?
A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.

This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions. Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt.

Donald Trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful. His sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on common values and the consent of the governed.
by:USATodayEditorialBoard  from:USAToday  DonaldTrump  geo:UnitedStates  politics  racism  misogyny  incompetence  democracy 
3 days ago by owenblacker
The Vanishing 'Values Voter'
For decades, the belief that private morality was essential to assessing the worthiness of politicians and public figures was an animating ideal at the core of the Christian right’s credo. As with most ideals, the movement did not always live up to its own standards. So-called “values voters” pursued a polarizing, multi-faceted agenda that was often tangled up in prejudice and partisanship. They fiercely defended Clarence Thomas when he was accused of sexually harassing Anita Hill, for example, and then excoriated Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

As recently as 2011, a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that only 30 percent of white evangelicals believed “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” But by the time Donald Trump was running for president in 2016, that number had risen sharply to 72 percent. White evangelicals are now more tolerant of immoral behavior by elected officials than the average American.

Character still counts, in other words, but its market value has plummeted.
RoyMoore  DonaldTrump  republicans  politics  McKayCoppins 
3 days ago by jbertsche
A Clash Between Two Visions of the Republican Party in Alabama
“There’s a time and season for everything,” Bannon said in a speech at the Values Voters Summit in October, “and right now it’s a season of war against the GOP establishment.”

Under normal circumstances, Republicans might have dismissed this bit of posturing as little more than made-for-cable bravado. But Bannon’s success in aiding Moore, a right-wing ex-judge with a long history of incendiary stunts and retrograde views, to the Republican nomination had unnerved party leaders. The alarm only grew when Moore—facing credible allegations of sexual abuse and assault—defiantly refused to exit the race, and pledged to fight on without the support of the institutional GOP. Eventually, Moore won back the endorsements of President Trump and the Republican National Committee, even as the rest of the party establishment—most notably the National Republican Senate Committee—continued to maintain its distance.
RoyMoore  DonaldTrump  republicans  politics  McKayCoppins 
3 days ago by jbertsche
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 'Trump is where he is because of his appeal to racism' | Sport | The Guardian
The basketball legend and social activist who counted Ali and King among his contemporaries discusses Colin Kaepernick, LaVar Ball and Trump’s America
KareemAbdulJabbar  basketball  racism  race  activism  MuhammadAli  DonaldTrump  ColinKaepernick  MartinLutherKing  interview  Guardian  2017 
4 days ago by inspiral
This is how nuclear war with North Korea would unfold
Jeffrey Lewis is a scholar at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

No one wants to fight a nuclear war. Not in North Korea, not in South Korea and not in the United States. And yet leaders in all three countries know that such a war may yet come — if not by choice then by mistake. The world survived tense moments on the Korean Peninsula in 1969 , 1994 and 2010. Each time, the parties walked to the edge of danger, peered into the abyss, then stepped back. But what if one of them stumbled, slipped over the edge and, grasping for life, dragged the others down into the darkness?

This is how that might happen, based on public statements, intelligence reports and blast-zone maps.
by:JeffreyLewis  from:TheWashingtonPost  geo:UnitedStates  geo:Korea  geo:SouthKorea  geo:NorthKorea  geo:Japan  NuclearWar  DonaldTrump 
4 days ago by owenblacker

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