Weekly Review — May 11, 2017, 2:22 pm

Weekly Review

The House passes Trumpcare, Trump fires the director of the FBI, and Sean Spicer hides in the bushes

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who said in 2009 that he didn’t “think we should pass bills” when “we don’t know what they cost,” brought to a vote the American Health Care Act, the cost of which has yet to be determined by the Congressional Budget Office.[1][2] Ryan said that passing the bill was Republicans “keeping our promises,” and then deleted from his website a statement that Americans should never be “charged more for a preexisting condition.”[3][4] South Carolina representative Mark Sanford said he did not read the bill, but voted for it; Virginia representative Tom Garrett said he did not read “the whole bill,” but voted for it; New York representative Chris Collins said that he “wouldn’t be telling the truth” if he said he “read every word” of the bill, but voted for it; Florida representative Mario Diaz-Balart said he did not like the “highly imperfect” bill, but voted for it so he could “stay involved”; and 15 Republican representatives who initially did not support the A.H.C.A. reportedly received a total of $37,500 in new campaign contributions from the medical industry and then voted for the bill, which passed with a margin of four votes.[5][6][7][8] President Donald Trump, who said in 1999 that he “believed in universal health care” and said in 2000 that he wanted a “comprehensive health-care program” funded by “an increase in corporate taxes,” called the A.H.C.A., which would cause an estimated 24 million Americans to lose their insurance and would provide hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts to households making more than $250,000 annually, “a great plan,” and then told Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull that Australia, which has universal coverage, had “better health care” than the United States. “I’m president,” said Trump. “Can you believe it?”[9][10][11][12][13] Idaho representative Raúl Labrador told a town-hall audience that “nobody dies because they don’t have access to health care,” Alabama representative Mo Brooks said the bill would save money for those who “keep their bodies healthy,” and it was reported that Trump has a call button in the Oval Office that he uses to order Coca-Cola.[14][15][16] Trump visited Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey, where he has filed plans to build a mausoleum for himself, and it was reported that he has spent 36 days as president visiting his own properties, including his private club in Palm Beach, Florida, where the Secret Service has paid his club at least $35,000 for golf-cart rentals, and his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, which bears a plaque marking the site of a Civil War battle called the “River of Blood,” which never occurred.[17][18][19][20][21] It was reported that Trump’s son Eric once told a journalist while golfing that the Trump Organization doesn’t “rely on American banks” because it has “all the funding we need out of Russia”; the Senate requested all records of Russian communication from Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who was once referred to as an “idiot” by Russian operatives attempting to recruit him as a spy; and Page responded to the request with a 4,000-word letter in which he quoted Maya Angelou, alluded to a scene from the movie The Big Short, and called former acting attorney general Sally Yates a “de facto anarchist.”[22][23][24][25][26] Trump tweeted that “the Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax”; FBI director James Comey asked the Department of Justice for a budget increase to expand the bureau’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia; Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had said he would recuse himself from the investigation after it was reported that he had made false claims to Congress about meeting with Russian officials during the campaign, wrote a letter to Trump recommending Comey be fired; and Trump, who reportedly screams at his television during news segments about the Russia probe, fired Comey.[27][28][29][30][31][32] “We have nothing to do with that,” Russian president Vladimir Putin said, without being asked.[33] Press Secretary Sean Spicer hid among the bushes outside the White House.[34]

Sign up and get the Weekly Review delivered to your inbox. Help support our ongoing coverage of Donald Trump by subscribing to Harper’s Magazine today!

Share
Single Page

More from Joe Kloc:

Weekly Review May 9, 2018, 4:25 pm

Weekly Review

Essential consultants

Weekly Review May 2, 2018, 3:40 pm

Weekly Review

The Count and the Candyman

Weekly Review April 4, 2018, 5:16 pm

Weekly Review

Departments of Justice

Get access to 168 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2018

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Gatekeepers·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Toward the end of the Obama presidency, the work of James Baldwin began to enjoy a renaissance that was both much overdue and comfortless. Baldwin stands as one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century, and any celebration of his work is more than welcome. But it was less a reveling than a panic. The eight years of the first black president were giving way to some of the most blatant and vitriolic displays of racism in decades, while the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and others too numerous to list sparked a movement in defense of black lives. In Baldwin, people found a voice from the past so relevant that he seemed prophetic.

More than any other writer, Baldwin has become the model for black public-intellectual work. The role of the public intellectual is to proffer new ideas, encourage deep thinking, challenge norms, and model forms of debate that enrich our discourse. For black intellectuals, that work has revolved around the persistence of white supremacy. Black abolitionists, ministers, and poets theorized freedom and exposed the hypocrisy of American democracy throughout the period of slavery. After emancipation, black colleges began training generations of scholars, writers, and artists who broadened black intellectual life. They helped build movements toward racial justice during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, whether through pathbreaking journalism, research, or activism.

Bloom, acrylic, ink, wood, and fabric on canvas, by David Shrobe © The artist. Courtesy Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco
Article
The Vanishing·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On a Friday afternoon in the fall of 2017, a few months after the liberation of Mosul from the Islamic State, a group of neighbors gathered at Mar Mattai, a monastery founded in the fourth century. They unloaded baskets of food, and arranged themselves around a long table in a courtyard. A woman named Niser spread out a tablecloth and put down a plate of dolmas. “It’s a way of celebrating that we still exist,” she told me. More people were arriving—children, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and distant relations—members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the world who had not seen one another for three years.

Overlooking the village of Mergey from the old section of the Mar Mattai Monastery, Mount Maqlub, Iraq. All photographs from Iraq (October 2017) and Jerusalem (March 2018) by Nicole Tung (Detail)
Article
Investigating Hate·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Around three in the morning on a cold December Sunday, brothers José and Romel Sucuzhañay began to walk home from a bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It was a cloudy night, only a few degrees above freezing, and the houses and stores lining their route wore impassive, nighttime guises—shades drawn, metal grates locked down. Romel had only recently arrived from Ecuador. José, a thirty-­one-year-old father of two, ran a successful real estate agency in the neighborhood. The two had spent the evening eating and drinking at a quinceañera at St. Brigid Church, and afterward, they stopped at a local bar called Christopher’s Palace. They were feeling the alcohol as they headed back to José’s apartment. When they realized that José had left his coat behind in the bar, Romel took off his jacket and draped it around his younger brother’s shoulders. They continued to walk up Bushwick Avenue, swaying a bit, arms around each other for warmth and ballast.

As they approached the corner of Kossuth Place and Bushwick Avenue, a red SUV stopped at the traffic light. “Check out those faggots!” the driver yelled out the window. José may have said something in reply. Very rapidly, a man jumped out of the passenger side door and smashed José on the head with a bottle, dropping him to the ground. He then turned to attack Romel. As Romel fled from the man down Kossuth, the driver exited the car, grabbed an aluminum baseball bat out of the vehicle, and began to beat José until someone emerged from the back seat and called him off. The driver was walking away when he saw some movement from José, a twitch of his hand or his leg sliding across the pavement—trying to rise, perhaps—and he strode back, straddled him, and raised the bat high in the air. He brought it down on José’s head, again and again, as if he were chopping wood.

Illustration by Shonagh Rae (Detail)
Article
Preservation Acts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

After eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, Bergis Jules found himself worrying not only over the horrors of the present, but also over how little of the present was likely to be preserved for the future. The best reporting on the aftermath in Ferguson was being produced by activists on Twitter, a notoriously ephemeral medium. Jules, then an archivist at the University of California, Riverside, had the impulse to start saving tweets, but wasn’t sure how. “That whole weekend, watching things unfold, I thought, ‘This is a really amazing historical moment; we should think about capturing it,’ but I was just talking to myself,” he says. The following week, attending a Society of American Archivists conference in Washington, D.C., he voiced his fears en route to drinks at the hotel bar. He caught the ear of Ed Summers, a developer who just so happened to be the author of a Twitter archiving tool—and who promptly programmed it to va­cuum up #Ferguson tweets. Within two weeks, he had amassed more than 13 million.

Three weeks after the shooting, Summers blogged about the archive, which he and Jules were considering making public. Shortly thereafter, they received an inquiry from a data-mining company. When they pulled up the firm’s website, they read that its clients included the Department of Defense and, ominously, “the intelligence community.” What did the company want with the data? And what were the ethical implications of handing it over—perhaps indirectly to law enforcement—when the protesters’ tweets would otherwise evade collection? Using Twitter’s Application Programming Interface (API), the code that developers use to call up Twitter data, anyone can sift through tweets that were posted in the past week, but older posts disappear from the API’s search function, even if they still exist out on the web. The data-mining company was too late to nab a swath of the #Ferguson tweets. (Twitter has since unveiled a “premium” API that allows access to older data, for a substantial fee.) Newly mindful of the risks, Jules and Summers waited almost a year to publish their cache.

Illustration by Hanna Barczyk

Estimated number of times in the Fall of 1990 that George Bush told a joke about his dog asking for a wine list with her Alpo:

10

French researchers reported that 52 percent of young women exposed to Francis Cabrel’s ballad “Je l’aime à mourir” gave their phone numbers to an average-looking young man who hit on them, whereas only 28 percent of those exposed to Vincent Delerm’s “L’heure du thé” did so.

Migrant children were teargassed; carbon dioxide levels have reached three to five million year high; missionary killed by remote tribe

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Happiness Is a Worn Gun

By

Illustration by Stan Fellows

Illustration by Stan Fellows

“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

Subscribe Today