Weekly Review — June 16, 2017, 5:27 pm

Weekly Review

The Russia probe continues

U.S. President and Celebrity Apprentice executive producer Donald Trump, whose campaign speeches encouraged supporters to “knock the crap” out of Democrats, whose butler said former president Barack Obama should be “hung,” and whose campaign advisor said his former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton should be “put in the firing line and shot,” stated in response to the shooting of Republican representative Steve Scalise that Americans are “strongest” when they are “unified”; and then tweeted that the Democratic party should be investigated for its ties to Russia.[1][2][3][4] Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general and former campaign surrogate, told Congress he did not “believe” he had any contact with agents of Russian companies during Trump’s presidential run, and a lobbyist for a state-run Russian energy company said Sessions had hosted him for dinner on two occasions during the campaign.[5][6] Former FBI director James Comey testified that prior to being fired by Trump he had not been investigating the president directly for his campaign’s ties to Russia, and Trump said that he was “100 percent” willing to testify before Congress; and it was later reported that special counsel Robert Mueller had opened an investigation into Trump for firing Comey, and the White House said Trump was not willing to testify before Congress.[7][8][9][10] Trump tweeted that the Russia probe is a “witch hunt” being led by his own deputy attorney general, and it was reported that Mueller had begun investigating Trump associates for money laundering and that the charity foundation of Trump’s son Eric paid the Trump Organization more than $1 million for the use of a Trump golf course, which Eric had previously said had not charged the charity.[11][12][13] Eric, who said it wasn’t inappropriate that he still discussed Trump Organization profit reports with his father, said that his father had “zero conflicts of interest”; and Trump selected Eric’s wedding planner to run the multibillion-dollar federal housing department in New York.[14][15] Trump’s daughter Ivanka published photos of her condo depicting an art collection that was not disclosed to the federal government by her husband, Jared Kushner, who is a senior advisor to Trump and whose former real-estate company reportedly offered potential Chinese investors green cards in exchange for financing a New Jersey housing development.[16][17] Five members of Congress from Oregon joined a lawsuit alleging that Trump has illegally received money from foreign governments, citing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ownership of a floor of Trump World Tower, the United Arab Emirates’ leasing of space in Trump Tower, and foreign diplomats’ booking of rooms at Trump International Hotel, which is located five blocks from the White House.[18] Mueller hired 13 lawyers to assist him in his probe of the Trump administration, Vice President Mike Pence hired a lawyer, and the personal lawyer for Trump, a former casino owner who was once sued for non-payment by lawyers who had defended him against claims that he hadn’t paid his workers, hired a lawyer.[19][20][21][22]

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Destroyer of Worlds·

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In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
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The Ambassador Bridge arcs over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada. Driving in from the Canadian side, where I grew up, is like viewing a panorama of the Motor City’s rise and fall, visible on either side of the bridge’s turquoise steel stanchions. On the right are the tubular glass towers of the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, and Michigan Central Station, the rail terminal that closed in 1988. On the left is a rusted industrial corridor — fuel tanks, docks, abandoned warehouses. I have taken this route all my life, but one morning this spring, I crossed for the first time in a truck.

Illustration by Richard Mia
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But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
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To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

“Horse 1,” by Nine Francois. Courtesy the artist and AgavePrint, Austin, Texas
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What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

Tostão, No. 9, and Pelé, No. 10, celebrate Carlos Alberto’s final goal for Brazil in the World Cup final against Italy on June 21, 1970, Mexico City © Heidtmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

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The case was assigned to a Trump-appointed judge, who ruled that, despite the 2010 legislation, the acting director was Mulvaney, who received about $475,000 in contributions from the financial, insurance, and real estate industries during his 2016 congressional campaign, including $9,200 from JPMorgan Chase, which was fined $4.6 million by the CFPB for failing to provide consumers with information about checking account denials.

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