Weekly Review — November 6, 2018, 1:08 pm

Weekly Review

Pittsburgh protesters forced Trump’s motorcade to take a detour; “Whitey” Bulger murdered in prison; Kentucky Fried Chicken paid the family of a child named after Colonel Sanders

A  self-described misogynist who had been arrested several times for grabbing women on the Florida State University campus shot and killed two people at a Tallahassee, Florida, yoga studio; a 16-year-old in Matthews, North Carolina, shot and killed a classmate in response to bullying; and an 11-year-old boy in Litchfield Park, Arizona, fatally shot his grandmother after she had told him to clean his room, and then turned the gun on himself.1 2 3 4 Clarifying when he called for troops being deployed to the US–Mexico border to “consider it a rifle” if a migrant throws a rock, President Donald Trump said, “That doesn’t mean shoot them”; the Nigerian Army tweeted the former speech as justification for firing upon one thousand Islamic Shiite activists who had been marching in Abuja and threw rocks at soldiers.5 6 On the same day that an estimated two thousand protesters in Pittsburgh forced his motorcade to take a detour, Trump announced a planned executive order that would attempt to end birthright citizenship.7 8 Donald Trump Jr. criticized “the Democrats” for not disavowing Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, who has made anti-Semitic statements and who praised Trump Jr.’s father during his campaign in 2016.9 

The son of a truck driver murdered by the former gangster and FBI informant James “Whitey” Bulger said he hoped to put money in the canteen account of Freddy Geas, a 51-year-old serving a life sentence in a high-security federal prison in West Virginia, who “hated rats” and is suspected of killing the 89-year-old Bulger.10 “I think it’s justice,” said the son. In Illinois, a judge ruled that the state prison system is still not caring properly for the mentally ill after a settlement agreement made in 2016; in Georgia, it was reported that female guards in state prisons are persistently sexually harassed by their co-workers and by inmates; in North Carolina, it was revealed that inmates were regularly ordered to fight other prisoners by sheriff’s office employees.11 12 13 “Let’s rock,” said the first man executed by electrocution in Tennessee since 2007.14 The US re-imposed sanctions on Iran that were lifted after the 2015 nuclear deal, a move that was praised by Benjamin Netanyahu, who also stated that “blocking Iran is uttermost on our agenda for security, not merely for Israel but, I believe, for Europe and the world as well,” and that Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was “horrendous and it should be duly dealt with. Yet at the same time I say it, it is very important for the stability of the world, for the region and for the world, that Saudi Arabia remain stable.”15 16 In one of the largest cases of financial fraud in history, Goldman Sachs bankers were charged with bribing Malaysian officials with more than $2.7 billion, taking $4.1 million in gold jewelry “for the wife of Malaysian Official #1,” and siphoning off funds for their personal use, including the buying of yachts and the funding of the film The Wolf of Wall Street.17 The president of Turkmenistan, a former dentist who succeeded the previous lifetime president in 2007, lifted a gold weight-lifting bar before his applauding cabinet, shortly before the start of the International Weightlifting Federation World Championships in the capital, Ashgabat.18 There is an ongoing constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka.19

The Brazilian federal judge who spearheaded the Car Wash corruption investigations that led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and imprisonment of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has accepted a position in Jair Bolsonaro’s new government.20 Researchers estimated that humanity has destroyed as much as 60 percent of the world’s animal population since 1970, and a study found that oceans have retained 60 percent more heat each year than was previously thought.21 22 The Department of Veterans Affairs said that it will not stop health research experiments that involve killing dogs, and Kentucky Fried Chicken gave $11,000 to the family of a child named after Colonel Sanders.23 24 In Kansas City, Missouri, a man fell asleep while loading bags into a Boeing 737; when the flight landed an hour later in Chicago, he told the police he had been drunk.25Jacob Rosenberg

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Weekly Review January 15, 2019, 1:47 pm

Weekly Review

In Wichita Falls, Texas, a woman was banned from Walmart after drinking wine from a Pringles can while riding an electric shopping cart; she had been riding the cart for two and a half hours.

Podcast January 10, 2019, 3:11 pm

Machine Politics

Rather than creating a more equal society, the internet has given rise to a new age of authoritarianism

Weekly Review January 8, 2019, 1:49 pm

Weekly Review

Jair Bolsonaro eliminated Brazil’s Labor Ministry; a coup failed in Gabon; “yellow vest” protesters walled up a member of Parliament’s garage

Get access to 168 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2019

Going to Extremes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Tell Me How This Ends”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Without a Trace

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

What China Threat?

= 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

Chance on any given day that the only “vegetables” served in a U.S. public school are potatoes:

1 in 2

Horticultural scientists reported progress in testing strawberries to be grown in spaceships. “The idea is to supplement the human diet with something people can look forward to,” said one of the scientists. “Fresh berries can certainly do that.”

In Wichita Falls, Texas, a woman was banned from Walmart after drinking wine from a Pringles can while riding an electric shopping cart; she had been riding the cart for two and a half hours.

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