Weekly Review — September 25, 2018, 12:27 pm

Weekly Review

Brett Kavanaugh’s calendars; Stormy Daniels describes sex with Trump; China sponsors content in the Des Moines Register

Brett Kavanaugh will submit calendar pages from June, July, and August of 1982 to the Senate Judiciary Committee in order to demonstrate that he could not have attacked Christine Blasey Ford, who went into hiding after receiving death threats, because he was either out of town or at the beach with his parents.1 2 Deborah Ramirez has gone public with her allegation of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh, which occurred sometime during the 1983–1984 school year at Yale; Kavanaugh, whose female law clerk interviewees were coached by the Yale professor Amy Chua to dress in an “outgoing” and “model-like” manner, has denied Ramirez’s allegation.3 4 Michael Avenatti, an attorney and professional race-car driver, has claimed he has evidence that “Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge and others would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol/drugs in order to allow a ‘train’ of men to subsequently gang rape them,” and says he is representing a third accuser.5 6 7 Excerpts from a book written by Stormy Daniels, who retained Avenatti’s services to invalidate a non-disclosure agreement about the affair she had with Donald Trump, were released, and they include descriptions of the president’s genitalia and phone calls.8 “It may have been the least impressive sex I’d ever had, but clearly, he didn’t share that opinion,” writes Daniels. Trump, who has continued to support Kavanaugh, denies having a relationship with Daniels, and claimed “I don’t have an attorney general. It’s very sad,” visited areas affected by Hurricane Florence, telling one man who had a yacht wash onto his deck, “At least you got a nice boat out of the deal.”9 10 11 At least 110 hog-waste lagoons in North Carolina have overflowed because of the hurricane.12

An Indian naval commander who was competing in a nonstop, 30,000-mile solo yachting race without the benefit of modern technology was rescued after his boat hit a storm, an Indonesian teenager was rescued after being lost at sea for 49 days when his rompong, a floating fishing hut anchored to the ocean floor, broke free, and archeologists believe they have discovered the wreck of Captain Cook’s HMS Endeavor off Newport, Rhode Island.13 14 15 Scientists have proposed towing icebergs to South Africa to deal with the country’s extreme and persistent water shortages, and rising sea levels are threatening endangered birds that live in coastal areas.16 17 Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services denied a request by the owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound to administer marijuana to lobsters before they are boiled; Coca-Cola is in talks with Aurora Cannabis, a Canadian marijuana producer, to create drinks with CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis; the state of California decriminalized the selling of street food in the hopes of reducing deportations.18 19 20 The Department of Homeland Security proposed a new regulation that will reject applications for immigrant admissions and green cards based on the likelihood the applicants will use or have already used public benefits like food stamps or Medicaid, and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, continued US support for the Saudi war in Yemen after being warned by the head of the State Department’s legislative affairs team, a former Raytheon lobbyist, that a cutoff could imperil $2 billion in weapons sales.21 22 Italy’s government has adopted a security decree that will suspend asylum protections for migrants who are considered “socially dangerous” and loosened requirements on child immunization; in Florence, an artist hit Marina Abramovic over the head with a portrait of herself.23 24 25

Two city officials in Bogotá have been jailed for threatening teachers with termination if they did not vote for far-right politicians.26 Melania Trump’s communications director received a warning of a potential Hatch Act violation for tweeting a photo from a 2015 Trump campaign rally with the hashtag “MAGA,” and a cop in Detroit was fired for posting a photo of himself in uniform with the caption “Another night to Rangel up these zoo animals” on Snapchat.27 28 Thirty-one people were shot over the weekend in Chicago.29 A state-run Chinese newspaper ran a four-page spread in the Sunday edition of the Des Moines Register criticizing President Trump’s soybean trade tariffs as “the fruit of a president’s folly” and cited a book about President Xi Jinping’s “fun days in Iowa.”30 A psychic in Maryland who asked clients to give her large cash payments so that she could place the money in front of an altar to ward off evil spirits and faked clairvoyant abilities by spoofing phone numbers was sentenced to six years in prison.31 Investigators determined that a string of cat murders dating back to 2015 in Croydon, England, was perpetrated by foxes.32Violet Lucca

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Donald Trump’s presidency signals a profound but inchoate realignment of American politics. On the one hand, his administration may represent the consolidation of minority control by a Republican-dominated Senate under the leadership of a president who came to office after losing the popular vote by almost 3 million ballots. Such an imbalance of power could lead to a second civil war—indeed, the nation’s first and only great fraternal conflagration was sparked off in part for precisely this reason. On the other hand, Trump’s reign may be merely an interregnum, in which the old white power structure of the Republican Party is dying and a new oppositional coalition struggles to be born.

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Over the past three years, the city of South Tucson, Arizona, a largely Latino enclave nestled inside metropolitan Tucson, came close to abolishing its fire and police departments. It did sell off the library and cut back fire-truck crews from four to three people—whereupon two thirds of the fire department quit—and slashed the police force to just sixteen employees. “We’re a small city, just one square mile, surrounded by a larger city,” the finance director, Lourdes Aguirre, explained to me. “We have small-town dollars and big-city problems.”

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When I saw Ted Cruz speak, in early August, it was at Underwood’s Cafeteria in Brownwood. He was on a weeklong swing through rural central Texas, hitting small towns and military bases that ensured him friendly, if not always entirely enthusiastic, crowds. In Brownwood, some in the audience of two hundred were still nibbling on peach cobbler as Cruz began with an anecdote about his win in a charity basketball game against ABC’s late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. They rewarded him with smug chuckles when he pointed out that “Hollywood celebrities” would be hurting over the defeat “for the next fifty years.” His pitch for votes was still an off-the-rack Tea Party platform, complete with warnings about the menace of creeping progressivism, delivered at a slightly mechanical pace but with lots of punch. The woman next to me remarked, “This is the fire in the gut! Like he had the first time!” referring to Cruz’s successful long-shot run in the 2011 Texas Republican Senate primary. And it’s true—the speech was exactly like one Cruz would have delivered in 2011, right down to one specific detail: he never mentioned Donald Trump by name.

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H

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