Weekly Review — June 27, 2017, 11:56 am

Weekly Review

Senate Republicans release their health-care-reform bill, Steve Bannon says Sean Spicer “got fatter,” and geologists warn of a 92-year-old earthquake

Italy’s highest court ruled that keeping lobsters on ice before they are boiled alive inflicts unjustifiable suffering, and Republican senators released their secretly drafted health-care-reform bill, which the Congressional Budget Office estimated would cause 22 million Americans to lose their health insurance in the next decade and allow insurance companies to charge their oldest customers five times more than their youngest.[1][2] White House press secretary Sean Spicer, Department of Health and Human Services director Tom Price, and Republican senator Pat Toomey each said the bill would not affect Americans currently on Medicaid, and it was reported that the bill would cut Medicaid spending by almost $800 billion over ten years.[4][5][6] White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said that “able-bodied” adults should find jobs if they lose their coverage, and senior White House adviser Steve Bannon said Spicer, who was reported to be searching for candidates to take his job, “got fatter.”[7][8][9] President Donald Trump, who once sold multivitamins that he claimed were tailored to customers based on the chemical profile of their urine, said that Americans were “not standing on the rooftop screaming” over the health-care bill, and police pulled a disabled woman from her wheelchair outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office as she screamed, “No cuts to Medicaid!”[10][11][12] McConnell refused to meet about the health-care bill with the March of Dimes, a charity organization that once funded his own treatment for polio, and a woman in Australia bit a waiter whom she had failed to pay.[13][14] A poll found that 16 percent of Americans approve of the G.O.P. health-care bill passed by the House of Representatives, and a study found that seven percent of American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.[15][16] It was estimated that farmers in Santa Barbara, California, plowed under $13 million in crops last year because of a shortage of laborers from Mexico; that a deal Trump had negotiated to save the jobs of workers at an Indiana air-conditioning plant would not prevent about 600 employees from being laid off; and that Trump was once sold an undeveloped quarter-acre plot of Florida swampland by a lingerie photographer.[17][18][19] A Czech nuclear power plant held a bikini contest in a cooling tower to select its next intern, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, who when he was appointed by Trump to oversee the U.S. nuclear arsenal thought that his agency regulated the oil and gas industries, said that climate change was most likely caused by the ocean.[20][21][22] Fishermen in the Bering Sea reported that loud noises no longer scare away killer whales, which have begun hunting them; and Trump admitted that he did not have incriminating audio recordings of conversations with former FBI director James Comey, who had been investigating his administration’s ties to Russia.[23][24] Bill Clinton warned that drug use would “eat us all alive,” and a man in Australia was presumed dead after smoking meth and attempting sex with a crocodile.[25][26] The New Hampshire Senate accidentally passed a bill allowing pregnant women to commit murder, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that ethnic slurs can be trademarked, and Trump appointed as head of the Office of Indian Energy William Bradford, a lawyer who has previously said that former president Barack Obama is a “Kenyan creampuff,” that “it was necessary” for the United States to intern Japanese Americans during World War II, and that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a “self-hating Jew.”[27][28][29][30] A group of white nationalists waved Confederate flags during a rally at the Lincoln Memorial, and seismologists in California mistakenly sent out a warning for a 6.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred in 1925. “The quake,” said a geophysicist, “did happen.”[31][32]

Sign up to have the Weekly Review delivered to your inbox.

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 $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2019

Without a Trace

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

What China Threat?

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Going to Extremes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Tell Me How This Ends”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
What China Threat?·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Within about fifteen years, China’s economy will surpass America’s and become the largest in the world. As this moment approaches, meanwhile, a consensus has formed in Washington that China poses a significant threat to American interests and well-­being. General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), has said that “China probably poses the greatest threat to our nation by about 2025.” The summary of America’s 2018 National Defense Strategy claims that China and Russia are “revisionist powers” seeking to “shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model—gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.” Christopher Wray, the FBI director, has said, “One of the things we’re trying to do is view the China threat as not just a whole-­of-­government threat, but a whole-­of-­society threat . . . and I think it’s going to take a whole-­of-­society response by us.” So widespread is this notion that when Donald Trump launched his trade war against China, in January 2018, he received support even from moderate figures such as Democratic senator Chuck Schumer.

Shanghai Broadcasting Building, by Cui Jie (detail) © The artist. Courtesy private collection
Article
Without a Trace·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In December 2015, a twenty-­two-year-­old man named Masood Hotak left his home in Kabul, Afghanistan, and set out for Europe. For several weeks, he made his way through the mountains of Iran and the rolling plateaus of Turkey. When he reached the city of Izmir, on the Turkish coast, Masood sent a text message to his elder brother Javed, saying he was preparing to board a boat to Greece. Since the start of the journey, Javed, who was living in England, had been keeping tabs on his younger brother’s progress. As Masood got closer to the sea, Javed had felt increasingly anxious. Winter weather on the Aegean was unpredictable, and the ramshackle crafts used by the smugglers often sank. Javed had even suggested Masood take the longer, overland route, through Bulgaria, but his brother had dismissed the plan as excessively cautious.

Finally, on January 3, 2016, to Javed’s immense relief, Masood sent a series of celebratory Facebook messages announcing his arrival in Europe. “I reached Greece bro,” he wrote. “Safe. Even my shoes didn’t get wet.” Masood reported that his boat had come ashore on the island of Samos. In a few days, he planned to take a ferry to the Greek mainland, after which he would proceed across the European continent to Germany.

But then, silence. Masood stopped writing. At first, Javed was unworried. His brother, he assumed, was in the island’s detention facility, waiting to be sent to Athens with hundreds of other migrants. Days turned into weeks. Every time Javed tried Masood’s phone, the call went straight to voicemail. After a month passed with no word, it dawned on Javed that his brother was missing.

A screenshot of a December 2015 Facebook post by Masood Hotak (left), in Istanbul
Article
Going to Extremes·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When Philip Benight awoke on January 26, 2017, he saw a bright glow. “Son of a bitch, there is a light,” he thought. He hoped it meant he had died. His mind turned to his wife, Becky: “Where are you?” he thought. “We have to go to the light.” He hoped Becky had died, too. Then he lost consciousness. When he opened his eyes again, Philip realized he wasn’t seeing heaven but overhead fluorescents at Lancaster General Hospital. He was on a hospital bed, with his arms restrained and a tube down his throat, surrounded by staff telling him to relax. He passed out again. The next time he came to, his arms and legs were free, but a drugged heaviness made it hard to move. A nurse told him that his wife was at another hospital—“for her safety”—even though she was also at Lancaster General. Soon after, two police officers arrived. They wanted to know why Becky was in a coma.

Three days earlier, Philip, who was sixty, tall and lanky, with owlish glasses and mustache, had picked up his wife from an HCR ­ManorCare nursing home. Becky had been admitted to the facility recently at the age of seventy-­two after yet another series of strokes. They drove to Darrenkamp’s grocery store and Philip bought their dinner, a special turkey sandwich for Becky, with the meat shaved extra thin. They ate in the car. Then, like every other night, they got ice cream from Burger King and drove to their home in Conestoga, a sparse hamlet in southern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Philip parked in the driveway, and they sat in the car looking out at the fields that roll down to the Susquehanna River.

They listened to the radio until there was nothing more to do. Philip went into the house and retrieved a container of Kraft vanilla pudding, which he’d mixed with all the drugs he could find in the house—Valium, Klonopin, Percocet, and so on. He opened the passenger-­side door and knelt beside Becky. He held a spoon, and she guided it to her mouth. When Becky had eaten all the pudding, he got back into the driver’s seat and swallowed a handful of pills. Philip asked her how the pudding tasted. “Like freedom,” she said. As they lost consciousness, the winter chill seeped into their clothes and skin.

Illustration by Leigh Wells (detail)
Article
“Tell Me How This Ends”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

America in the Middle East: learning curves are for pussies.
—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, June 2, 2015

In January 2017, following Donald Trump’s inauguration, his national security staffers entered their White House offices for the first time. One told me that when he searched for the previous administration’s Middle East policy files, the cupboard was bare. “There wasn’t an overarching strategy document for anywhere in the Middle East,” the senior official, who insisted on anonymity, told me in a coffee shop near the White House. “Not even on the ISIS campaign, so there wasn’t a cross-governmental game plan.”

Syrian Arab Red Crescent vehicles in eastern Ghouta, March 24, 2018 (detail) © Anas Alkharboutli/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Amount Arizona’s Red Feather Lodge offered to pay to reopen the Grand Canyon during the 2013 government shutdown:

$25,000

In England, a flutist stole 299 rare bird skins from an ornithology museum in order to pay for a new flute.

The 70th governor of Ohio was sworn in on nine Bibles, which were held by his wife.

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