Sunday, March 12, 2017

Week 64: "This is for Preet Bharara!"

Dear Readers,

The election may have been four months ago, but there’s still a ton of political news. Reminder that newsletters and more are always available at

Goodbye, Preet

Longtime US Attorney (and Obama appointee) Preet Bharara was fired by Donald Trump this week, after being told a few months ago that he wasn’t going to be. Bharara is notable for “draining the swamp”, as our president would say, taking on corruption on both sides of the aisle. He is most famous for conducting the trials against New York state legislators Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, who were both forced to resign because of their corruption, as well as leading investigations of corruption against Governor Cuomo. Preet’s list of trials is endless, but it’s safe to say that everyone will be missing him. He’s also a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen, and the feeling seems to be mutual.

Steve King is a Terrible Person, Part 2,000,000

Noted Iowa caucus kingmaker and Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King, who is also well known for controversial statements on race, is back at it this week with a fantastically awful statement: “Wilders [a candidate in the Dutch election, which I’ll get to later] understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies.” This was paired with a retweet from a xenophobic right-wing account, “Voice of Europe.”
I won’t bother with the left-wing response, but here’s the response from hawkish right-winger Bill Kristol, "Is it worth making the obvious point that what American history has been about is 'restoring' ourselves with 'somebody else's babies?'"

The Jobs Report - Obama’s Last Victory, Attributed to Trump

The unemployment rate dropped from 4.8% to 4.7%, with 235,000 new jobs added, much more than expected (though 40k less than in January). Trump was quick to take victory, even though he had no right to. This is still the Obama economy, and Trump has yet to add any remotely significant economic policies. Notably, the Fed seem to be planning to increase the interest rate back up to 1%, the highest it’s been since the recession.

Long-Distance Travel

In an exposing piece from Politico about the Trump presidency, we’ve begun to learn some disturbing things about Trump’s residence in the White House. “Trump ventures out mostly when he trusts the venue—a military base or a political rally. He complains about having to walk great distances inside the White House to attend meetings. He eats steaks well-done with ketchup. He munches on Lay’s.” Hmmm... a bad diet and desire to not walk around very much? The president doesn’t seem to be the healthiest guy in the world right about now, and some of this information is a little bit worrying.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands

The current polls for the Dutch parliamentary election, which is this Wednesday, shows Mark Rutte’s center-right VVD (currently leading the government), neck and neck with Geert Wilders’ far-right, nationalist PVV. The D66, a pro-democracy progressive party, and the CDA, a centrist Christian party, should also get a fair amount of seats. This chaotic election could see over a dozen parties win seats, and the coalition-forming period could be chaotic and could conceivably lead to another victory for the anti-EU right, with Wilders having a shot at becoming Prime Minister. We’ll see what happens...

Thanks for reading! Feel free to reply, comment, whatever.

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