Weekly Review — October 22, 2019, 10:02 am

Weekly Review

Arguments over where to hold the G-7 without breaking the emoluments clause; retracting an admission of quid pro quo with Ukraine; Justin Trudeau won reelection

On Thursday, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, announced that the G7 would be held at the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Florida, argued that this would not be a violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, and emphasized that the Doral was “far and away, far and away, the best facility to host this conference”; Mulvaney also stated that the United States withheld aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of the Democrats and the D.N.C. server during the 2016 election.1 Following widespread criticism, the president, who had earlier nominated the author of The Illuminati Handbook to a federal education board, announced that his administration would begin looking for a new location for the G7, and on Sunday, Mulvaney argued that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine.2 3 4 5 In Santa Monica, California, a man in a MAGA hat violated his parole by spraying bear repellant on anti-Trump protesters, and at a town hall in Ontario, protesters wearing blackface demonstrated against Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.6 7 Trudeau, who appeared in a made-for-TV movie about World War I as a soldier who delivers the line, “The core commander said he would not be surprised if I were prime minister someday,” won reelection while his party lost its majority.8 9 Venezuela—where more than 500 people were disappeared by the police in 2017—and Brazil—where more than 140 journalists were threatened or physically attacked for covering the country’s presidential election—won seats on the U.N. Human Rights Council.10 11 12

Donald Trump dismissed Turkey’s attacks on Syrian territory held by Kurds, saying, “It’s not between Turkey and the United States, like a lot of stupid people would like us to—would like you to believe”; later, a letter Trump wrote to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which threatened the destruction of Turkey’s economy if the country did not reach a deal with the Syrian Democratic Forces, was made public.13 14 In Ankara, Vice President Mike Pence negotiated a five-day ceasefire with Erdogan that would allow the Syrian Democratic Forces and civilians to safely withdraw from northeastern Syria.15 On Saturday, as both sides accused the other of violating the peace, Erdogan threatened to “start where we left off and continue to crush the terrorists’ heads” if the S.D.F. hadn’t withdrawn by Tuesday evening.16 The leader of South Sudan’s opposition, who had fled the country on foot in 2016 after a power-sharing agreement collapsed, asked for a three-month extension for creating a new coalition government; the deadline was not extended.17 Nationwide protests in Lebanon were triggered after the government proposed a tax on WhatsApp messages.18 Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the chief of the Hong Kong police visited the Kowloon Mosque and apologized to Muslim leaders after a water cannon sprayed the religious site and bystanders while police targeted pro-democracy protesters.19 The first person awarded the title of royal consort in Thailand had her title removed for trying to “elevate herself to the same state as the queen” and “disloyalty.”20

A man in Salt Lake City was charged with stalking, burglary, and forgery after he broke into a home and changed the locks on the doors after the owner refused to sell it to him for $90,000.21 A Colorado woman was arrested for attempting to mail three fetuses from the 1920s to the United Kingdom in a package labeled “school teaching aids and T-shirts.”22 In Oklahoma, a man who had pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with the intention to distribute had his 15-year sentence dismissed after it was discovered that the white powder he was carrying when he was arrested was powdered milk, and in Illinois, a man whose name is tattooed on his neck was charged with obstructing justice after giving a fake name to the police.23 24 A security guard at a high school was fired after he told a student to stop calling him the N-word, and an off-duty police officer was put on administrative leave after he pulled a gun on a teenage boy who was skateboarding.25 26 The ninth person sentenced to prison in the Operation Varsity Blues case, a jewelry-business owner who had paid $15,000 for her son’s ACT score and falsely claimed that he was of African-American and Latinx descent, was given three weeks in prison.27 A cat that had been used to smuggle drugs into a Russian prison and that was considered evidence in a subsequent trial ran away after its cage was opened and a group of dogs entered.28 In Bagley, Iowa, a family’s basement was flooded with nearly five inches of animal blood.29—Violet Lucca

Share
Single Page

More from Harper’s Magazine:

Podcast January 16, 2020, 11:24 am

Trumpism After Trump

More than four more years? A look at the philosophy and die-hard adherents of National Conservatism

Weekly Review January 14, 2020, 11:20 am

Weekly Review

The Iranian military admitted it shot down a passenger plane; a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Puerto Rico; 10,000 feral camels were shot in Australia

Podcast January 9, 2020, 3:00 pm

Oceans Apart

The Comoro Islands are a microcosm of the global climate crisis to come

Get access to 169 years of
Harper’s for only $23.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

February 2020

Trumpism After Trump

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“My Gang Is Jesus”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Cancer Chair

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Birds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Skinning Tree

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Interpretation of Dreams

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dearest Lizzie

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Trumpism After Trump·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The city was not beautiful; no one made that claim for it. At the height of summer, people in suits, shellacked by the sun, moved like harassed insects to avoid the concentrated light. There was a civil war–like fracture in America—the president had said so—but little of it showed in the capital. Everyone was polite and smooth in their exchanges. The corridor between Dupont Circle and Georgetown was like the dream of Yugoslav planners: long blocks of uniform earth-toned buildings that made the classical edifices of the Hill seem the residue of ancestors straining for pedigree. Bunting, starched and perfectly ruffled in red-white-and-blue fans, hung everywhere—from air conditioners, from gutters, from statues of dead revolutionaries. Coming from Berlin, where the manual laborers are white, I felt as though I was entering the heart of a caste civilization. Untouchables in hard hats drilled into sidewalks, carried pylons, and ate lunch from metal boxes, while waiters in restaurants complimented old respectable bobbing heads on how well they were progressing with their rib eyes and iceberg wedges.

I had come to Washington to witness either the birth of an ideology or what may turn out to be the passing of a kidney stone through the Republican Party. There was a new movement afoot: National Conservatives, they called themselves, and they were gathering here, at the Ritz-Carlton, at 22nd Street and M. Disparate tribes had posted up for the potlatch: reformacons, blood-and-soilers, curious liberal nationalists, “Austrians,” repentant neocons, evangelical Christians, corporate raiders, cattle ranchers, Silicon Valley dissidents, Buckleyites, Straussians, Orthodox Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Tories, dark-web spiders, tradcons, Lone Conservatives, Fed-Socs, Young Republicans, Reaganites in amber. Most straddled more than one category.

Article
The Cancer Chair·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The second-worst thing about cancer chairs is that they are attached to televisions. Someone somewhere is always at war with silence. It’s impossible to read, so I answer email, or watch some cop drama on my computer, or, if it seems unavoidable, explore the lives of my nurses. A trip to Cozumel with old girlfriends, a costume party with political overtones, an advanced degree on the internet: they’re all the same, these lives, which is to say that the nurses tell me nothing, perhaps because amid the din and pain it’s impossible to say anything of substance, or perhaps because they know that nothing is precisely what we both expect. It’s the very currency of the place. Perhaps they are being excruciatingly candid.

There is a cancer camaraderie I’ve never felt. That I find inimical, in fact. Along with the official optimism that percolates out of pamphlets, the milestone celebrations that seem aimed at children, the lemonade people squeeze out of their tumors. My stoniness has not always served me well. Among the cancer staff, there is special affection for the jocular sufferer, the one who makes light of lousy bowel movements and extols the spiritual tonic of neuropathy. And why not? Spend your waking life in hell, and you too might cherish the soul who’d learned to praise the flames. I can’t do it. I’m not chipper by nature, and just hearing the word cancer makes me feel like I’m wearing a welder’s mask.

Article
“My Gang Is Jesus”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

When Demétrio Martins was ready to preach, he pushed a joystick that angled the seat of his wheelchair forward, slowly lifting him to a standing position. Restraints held his body upright. His atrophied right arm lay on an armrest, and with his left hand, he put a microphone to his lips. “Proverbs, chapter fourteen, verse twelve,” he said. “ ‘There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is . . .’ ”

The congregation finished: “ ‘Death.’ ”

The Assembly of God True Grapevine was little more than a fluorescent-lit room wedged between a bar and an empty lot in Jacaré, a poor neighborhood on Rio de Janeiro’s north side. A few dozen people sat in the rows of plastic lawn chairs that served as pews, while shuddering wall fans circulated hot air. The congregation was largely female; of the few men in attendance, most wore collared shirts and old leather shoes. Now and then, Martins veered from Portuguese into celestial tongues. People rose from their seats, thrust their hands into the air, and shouted, “Hallelujah!”

Article
The Birds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

On December 7, 2016, a drone departed from an Amazon warehouse in the United Kingdom, ascended to an altitude of four hundred feet, and flew to a nearby farm. There it glided down to the front lawn and released from its clutches a small box containing an Amazon streaming device and a bag of popcorn. This was the first successful flight of Prime Air, Amazon’s drone delivery program. If instituted as a regular service, it would slash the costs of “last-mile delivery,” the shortest and most expensive leg of a package’s journey from warehouse to doorstep. Drones don’t get into fender benders, don’t hit rush-hour traffic, and don’t need humans to accompany them, all of which, Amazon says, could enable it to offer thirty-minute delivery for up to 90 percent of domestic shipments while also reducing carbon emissions. After years of testing, Amazon wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration last summer to ask for permission to conduct limited commercial deliveries with its drones, attaching this diagram to show how the system would work. (Amazon insisted that we note that the diagram is not to scale.) Amazon is not the only company working toward such an automated future—­UPS, FedEx, Uber, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, have similar programs—­but its plans offer the most detailed vision of what seems to be an impending reality, one in which parce­l-toting drones are a constant presence in the sky, doing much more than just delivering popcorn.

Article
The Skinning Tree·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Every year in Lusk, Wyoming, during the second week of July, locals gather to reenact a day in 1849 when members of a nearby band of Sioux are said to have skinned a white man alive. None of the actors are Native American. The white participants dress up like Indians and redden their skin with body paint made from iron ore.

The town prepares all year, and the performance, The Legend of Rawhide, has a cast and crew of hundreds, almost all local volunteers, including elementary school children. There are six generations of Rawhide actors in one family; three or four generations seems to be the average. The show is performed twice, on Friday and Saturday night.

The plot is based on an event that, as local legend has it, occurred fifteen miles south of Lusk, in Rawhide Buttes. It goes like this: Clyde Pickett is traveling with a wagon train to California. He tells the other Pioneers: “The only good Injun’s a dead Injun.” Clyde loves Kate Farley, and to impress her, he shoots the first Indian he sees, who happens to be an Indian Princess. The Indians approach the Pioneers and ask that the murderer give himself up. Clyde won’t admit he did it. The Indians attack the wagon train and, eventually, Clyde surrenders. The Indians tie Clyde to the Skinning Tree and flay him alive. Later, Kate retrieves her dead lover’s body and the wagon train continues west.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

A decorated veteran of the American wars in Vietnam and Iraq had his prosthetic limbs repossessed from his home in Mississippi when the VA declined to pay for them.

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Jesus Plus Nothing

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

Subscribe Today