Weekly Review — December 15, 2016, 1:26 pm

Weekly Review

Donald Trump appoints a man suing the EPA to lead the EPA, members of the KKK say they aren’t white supremacists, and police fake an incident of police brutality

WeeklyReviewJK-captionU.S. president-elect Donald Trump, a former reality-television star who once tweeted that he never saw “a thin person drinking Diet Coke,” announced that his choice for secretary of labor would be Andrew Puzder, who during his time as CEO of the company that owns fast-food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. helped revitalize the brand with ads of semi-nude women eating hamburgers.[1][2] Trump, who once also tweeted that climate change was a hoax perpetrated by “the Chinese,” appointed as head of the EPA Scott Pruitt, the attorney general of Oklahoma, who is currently suing the agency.[3][4] Trump announced his choice for secretary of state was Rex Tillerson, who is the CEO of ExxonMobil and has received the Order of Friendship from Russia.[5] The president elect, who asked Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email in July, said that the C.I.A.’s finding that Russia influenced the election in his favor was “ridiculous.”[6] It was announced that a North Carolina man would face federal charges after he fired an AR-15 assault rifle inside a pizza restaurant while investigating a conspiracy theory about child trafficking, which was supposedly based on the emails that the CIA concluded Russia had stolen from Clinton aide John Podesta.[7] “Until #Pizzagate is proven false, it’ll remain a story,” tweeted Michael G. Flynn, the son of Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s choice for national-security adviser, who previously tweeted a fake news story accusing Clinton of being connected to a similar child sex-trafficking scheme.[8][9] Pizza places in New York and Washington, D.C., received threats of violence, and Pope Francis compared the spreading of fake news to “the sickness of coprophilia,” the condition of being aroused by feces.[10][11]

The United Nations announced that air strikes by the Syrian government on civilians “most likely constitutes war crimes,” and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said Trump could be his “natural ally.”[12][13] A senior Afghan official accused a former warlord who now holds the title of first vice president of kidnapping and sexually assaulting him, and it was reported that an anti-kidnapping expert has been missing for eight years, since he was kidnapped in Mexico.[14][15] Peru launched its first nightly news broadcast in Quechua, the language of the Inca empire, and a judge in New Jersey ordered a newspaper not to cover a criminal case involving a five-year-old boy who brought drugs to school.[16][17] The Los Angeles city attorney announced that he had filed lawsuits seeking to evict members of a white-supremacist gang, and members of the Ku Klux Klan, whose official rulebook states that the group “shall ever be true in the faithful maintenance of White Supremacy,” told reporters they were not white supremacists.[18][19] It was reported that an Australian man was released from prison after the start of a seven-year sentence he received for withdrawing $1.3 million from his bank, which had accidentally granted him unlimited overdraft privileges, and spending it on cocaine, prostitutes, and a speedboat.[20] A man in Illinois modified a child’s Power Wheels car with a 160cc Honda engine, making it capable of traveling at 40 miles per hour, and a complaint was filed with the Federal Trade Commission over a company whose toys record children speaking and send the information to a defense contractor.[21][22]

A woman in Tampa, Florida, was charged with transmitting threats in interstate commerce after she sent messages such as “You gonna die” to the parent of one of the 20 children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook elementary-school shooting, which she believed was a hoax created by the Obama Administration to promote gun control; police in Oklahoma seized weapons and ammunition from the home of a 13-year-old student accused of plotting a school shooting; and police in Mobile, Alabama, faked an incident of police brutality as part of a man’s wedding proposal, pulling the man over and drawing inactive tasers on him, before allowing the man to reach into his pocket and pull out a ring for his crying girlfriend. “I felt like that was the perfect setup to do something like that,” said the man, “and bring everybody together.”[23][24][25] It was reported that 99 police officers quit in Dallas in the last 10 weeks, as did the entire police department in Bunker Hill, Indiana.[26][27] In Evansville, Indiana, the county prosecutor announced that a group of suspended officers who beat a handcuffed suspect for three minutes will not be charged with any crimes; in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, a police officer who reportedly shut off his body camera while allegedly choking a suspect in a hospital bed was placed back on duty; and the family of a 73-year-old California man suffering from dementia who was shot and killed in his driveway by police said the man was unarmed and holding a crucifix.[28][29][30] In the Philippines, where police have killed nearly 6,000 people suspected of drug involvement since July, President Rodrigo Duterte told a group of business leaders that, when he was the mayor of the southern city of Davao, he would drive around the city on a motorcycle and personally execute suspects. “Just to show the guys,” he said, “if I can do it, why can’t you?”[31]

Share
Single Page

More from Joe Kloc:

Weekly Review April 4, 2018, 5:16 pm

Weekly Review

Departments of Justice

Weekly Review February 28, 2018, 12:01 pm

Weekly Review

Magic bullets

Weekly Review February 20, 2018, 6:13 pm

Weekly Review

Infrastructure week

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2018

Walk Away

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Perfectly Respectable Lady

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Driven to Distraction

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dinner Party

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Exiled

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Church and State

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Exiled·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

It has become something of a commonplace to say that Mike Pence belongs to another era. He is a politician whom the New York Times has called a “throwback,” a “conservative proudly out of sync with his times,” and a “dangerous anachronism,” a man whose social policies and outspoken Christian faith are so redolent of the previous century’s culture wars that he appeared to have no future until, in the words of one journalist, he was plucked “off the political garbage heap” by Donald Trump and given new life. Pence’s rise to the vice presidency was not merely a personal advancement; it marked the return of religion and ideology to American politics at a time when the titles of political analyses were proclaiming the Twilight of Social Conservatism (2015) and the End of White Christian America (2016). It revealed the furious persistence of the religious right, an entity whose final demise was for so long considered imminent that even as white evangelicals came out in droves to support the Trump-Pence ticket, their enthusiasm was dismissed, in the Washington Post, as the movement’s “last spastic breath.”

Illustration by Andrew Zbihlyj
Article
Church and State·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Just after dawn in Lhamo, a small town on the northeastern corner of the Tibetan Plateau, horns summon the monks of Serti Monastery to prayer. Juniper incense smolders in the temple’s courtyard as monks begin arriving in huddled groups. Some walk the kora, a clockwise circumambulation around the building. Others hustle toward the main door, which sits just inside a porch decorated in bright thangka paintings. A pile of fur boots accumulates outside. When the last monks have arrived, the horn blowers leaning out of the second-floor windows retire indoors.

When I visited Lhamo in 2015, most monks at Serti attended the morning prayers, but not Ngawang Chötar, the vice president of the monastery’s management committee, or siguanhui. Instead, he could usually be found doing business somewhere on Lhamo’s main street. Like all Tibetan monks, he sports a buzz cut, and his gait, weighed down by dark crimson robes, resembles a penguin’s shuffle. When he forgets the password to his account on WeChat, China’s popular messaging service—a frequent occurrence—he waits for the town’s cell phone repairman at his favorite restaurant, piling the shells of sunflower seeds into a tidy mound.

Illustration by Simon Pemberton
Article
The Pictures·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

As he approached his death in 1987, the photographer Peter Hujar was all but unknown, with a murky reputation and a tiny, if elite, cult following. Slowly circling down what was then the hopeless spiral of ­AIDS, Peter had ceaselessly debated one decision, which he reached only with difficulty, and only when the end drew near. He was in a hospital bed when he made his will that summer, naming me the executor of his entire artistic estate—and also its sole owner.

The move transformed my life and induced a seething fury in lots of decent people. I can see why. Peter did not make me his heir for any of the usual reasons. I was a good and trusted friend, but he had scads of those. I was not the first person he considered for the job, nor was I the most qualified. In fact, I was a rank amateur, and my understanding of his art was limited. I knew his photographs were stunning, often upsetting, unpredictably beautiful, distinctively his. I also knew they were under­rated and neglected. But I did not then really grasp his achievement.

Photograph by Peter Hujar
Article
Drinking Problems·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The friendly waitress at the Pretty Prairie Steak House delivers tumblers of tap water as soon as diners take their seats. Across Main Street, the Wagon Wheel Café offers the same courtesy. Customers may also order coffee or iced tea, but it all starts at the same tap, and everyone is fine with that. This blasé attitude about drinking water surprised me: everyone in this little farm town in Reno County, Kansas, knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that the liquid flowing from the municipal water tower was highly contaminated with nitrate, a chemical compound derived from fertilizer and connected to thyroid problems and various cancers. At the time I visited Pretty Prairie, last fall, nitrate levels there were more than double the federal standard for safe drinking water.

Illustration by Jen Renninger.
Article
Nothing But·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The truth—that thing I thought I was telling.—John Ashbery To start with the facts: the chapter in my book White Sands called “Pilgrimage” is about a visit to the house where the philosopher Theodor Adorno lived in Los Angeles during the Second World War. It takes its title from the story of that name by Susan Sontag (recently republished in Debriefing: Collected Stories) about a visit she and her friend Merrill made to the house of Adorno’s fellow German exile Thomas Mann in the Pacific Palisades, in 1947, when she was fourteen. It seemed strange that the story was originally …
Photograph by Augusta Wood

Percentage of US college students who have a better opinion of conservatives after their first year:

50

Plastic surgeons warned that people misled by wide-angle distortion in selfies were seeking nose jobs.

Trump fires missiles at Syria, a former FBI director likens Trump to a Mafia boss, and New Yorkers mistake a racoon for a tiger.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today