Kuttner on TAP

Notre Dame: God must be very angry at Her children

I am neither a Catholic nor any sort of believer, but my first reaction to seeing Notre Dame in flames, oddly, was that God must be very disappointed in us, Her children. This is doubly weird, since the God I imagined was a vindictive Old Testament God, banishing Adam and Eve, turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, or drowning the Egyptians—but of course Notre Dame is supremely a New Testament creation. Why might God be angry? The [...]

By |2019-04-16T15:12:09-04:00April 16th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Can the Deep State Contain Trump?

For Trump’s first couple of years, we consoled ourselves by believing that Trump was a kind of Gulliver figure, an overgrown child restrained by the adults of the deep state. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was a sort of serious person who resisted Trump’s worst impulses. The generals at the Department of Defense and the National Security Council were bulwarks against Trump’s nuttier impulses. The attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was the worst kind of racist but a [...]

By |2019-04-12T16:32:01-04:00April 12th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump’s Huddled Masses and the Politics of 2020

Here’s a hard question for progressive advocates of refugee rights. Did Trump just get perversely lucky? Until a few months ago, critics of Trump’s wall, his caravan obsession, and his claim of an invasion had a foolproof rejoinder. His story was a fantasy. Immigration from Mexico was notably down over the past several years. Now, however, border crossings from refugees are way up. And Trump’s story of what draws refugees from Central America is not entirely wrong. They’ve heard [...]

By |2019-04-10T20:36:08-04:00April 10th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Trump Paints Himself into Yet Another Corner

With great fanfare, Trump went through the motions of carrying out a campaign promise when he negotiated a revised NAFTA. Supposedly, this would be better for the United States, and would appeal to the same blue-collar workers who deserted the Democrats to support Trump in 2016. It might even peel off some union support. But the devil turned out to be in the details. While some the provisions of the so-called U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) deal looked good, including the one [...]

By |2019-04-08T20:36:42-04:00April 8th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Britain’s Unlikely Grand Coalition (Don’t Mention the War)

What on Earth are we to make of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest Hail Mary pass—her attempt to work with her arch-enemy, Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, to save the British economy from crashing out of the EU, and possibly to save her own neck? The Brits, unlike the Germans and other continentals, tend to avoid grand coalitions. The U.K. has had only one such successful coalition, Winston Churchill’s wartime government, which included Labour leader Clement Attlee as [...]

By |2019-04-05T15:38:07-04:00April 5th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Orwell Watch: “Redacted.”

When the government censors a document, reporters and editors should stop using the evasive, exclusive word, redacted. They should use the right word: censored. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "redacted" has been around since the 15th century. Its proper meaning is “edited, or prepared for publication.” But in the past couple of decades, government bodies have used “redacted” to mean defensible censorship, and the press has played along all too willingly. Of course, “redactions” are often far from defensible or [...]

By |2019-04-03T16:10:37-04:00April 3rd, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Expect Trump To Be Back on the Defensive Soon

Some commentators contend that Mueller’s non-finding of criminal wrongdoing on Trump’s part paradoxically “did Democrats a favor.” In this view, the door is now closed on further investigations of Trump’s misdeeds, and Dems can now focus on the 2020 election, the surest way of removing Trump. This theory is nonsense. Trump’s misuse of office has to be a major issue in 2020. And the aftermath of Mueller’s report is far from over. Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary is a [...]

By |2019-03-29T14:47:12-04:00March 29th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Connecting the Dots in the Catastrophe that is Europe

There is a direct connection between the three core elements of Europe’s deepening calamity. Those would be (a) the failure of the EU leadership to prevent the Greek financial crisis from crippling the EU economy as a whole; (b) the popular backlash in a worsening economy against refugees; and (c) the rise of the far right - not to mention, in the case of Britain, the interminable mess that is Brexit. What connects all three is the utter failure [...]

By |2019-03-27T22:50:08-04:00March 27th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Mueller Punts to Congress

By leaving open the question of whether Donald Trump obstructed justice, Robert Mueller fairly begs Congress to pursue it. We may or may not learn from the full text of Mueller’s report why he chose neither to charge Trump nor to exonerate him. It would be useful to know, but either way the duty now falls to Congress. The Constitution states that a president can prosecuted for crimes after he leaves office, but uses impeachment as the sole remedy [...]

By |2019-03-25T16:09:16-04:00March 25th, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

Will Democrats Snatch Defeat Out of the Jaws of Victory?

So let’s see. We have two old white guys, one of them still the darling of the party’s young left and the other standing for what remains of the party’s center. Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, is in many ways a far more creative radical than Sanders, but if he has a lock on the hearts of the lefties, Warren will have trouble gaining traction. Call me an ageist, but in my view 78 is just too old to run for president. This [...]

By |2019-03-21T22:00:44-04:00March 21st, 2019|Kuttner on TAP|1 Comment