Best columns: The U.S.
Best U.S. columns
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump relentlessly criticized Hillary Clinton for “jeopardizing national security” by using a private email server, said Philip Bump. But now that he’s president, his “attitude toward security seems a bit more lax.” When Trump received word about North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile last weekend, the president was in a crowded dining room at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The two leaders continued their conversation right at their table in a room full of other diners, as a singer crooned in the background. At one point, aides used the camera lights on their cellphones to light up documents on the table— a mind-boggling security breach, since foreign hackers can easily turn on cellphone cameras and microphones to snoop. Trump seemed to be making calls during the crisis on his old, insecure Android phone, which experts say would be extremely easy to hack. To top it all off, one of Trump’s paying guests later posted on Facebook a photo of himself posing with the presidential aide who carries the “nuclear football” used to authorize an attack when the president is away from the White House. How’s that for sound security procedures?
How to save the white working class
If we want to help the white working class, said Kevin Williamson, we have to persuade them to leave dying rural communities in Appalachia and the Rust Belt “and seek better lives for themselves elsewhere.” This idea offends “some of my friends on the Right,” because of a sentimental nostalgia for the virtues of small-town America. But it was only by moving out of crumbling inner cities and escaping their awful schools and social chaos that “the ambitious poor” created the black and Hispanic middle classes. “Mobility works.” Despite what protectionists tell you, no federal policy can bring back factories and revive manufacturing in small-town America. No company will heavily invest to build factories in blighted communities with few skilled workers. “If the work is not coming to the people, then the people have to come to the work.” How can government help? Republicans should adopt policies that encourage the creation of affordable housing in and around thriving cities; more immediately, they should use tax credits and unemployment benefits to “pay people to move” to where the jobs are. We can’t revive devastated small towns, but we can try to make sure that for those who want better lives, “geography is not destiny.”
The biggest threat to American lives
The New York Times
In his all-cap tweets, President Trump is insisting that the biggest threat Americans face is Muslim immigrants, said Nicholas Kristof. But since 1975, “terrorists born in the seven nations in Trump’s travel ban killed zero people in America.” And since 9/11, Islamic terrorists have killed a total of 123 people on U.S. soil. That’s tragic, but as a matter of perspective, consider this: Over the past four decades, guns have claimed 1.34 million American lives—about as many as in all wars in U.S. history. Every year on average, more Americans die falling off ladders, or slipping in bathtubs, or falling downstairs, than are killed by terrorists. Yet while Trump is “berserk” on the risks posed by a small number of Syrian refugees, he wants to relax sensible laws on a far greater threat: firearms. The president has vowed to get rid of gun-free zones in schools, and has suggested Americans should carry weapons so they can be ready to shoot back at terrorists. If he paid any attention to reality, he’d know that far more Americans are killed by armed husbands than terrorists. Loosening our already lax gun laws while banning Muslims will only result in “more school shootings, more shattered families, and more lives lost.”
“Putin’s Russia is our adversary and moral opposite. It is committed to the destruction of the postwar, rule-based world order built on American leadership and the primacy of our political and economic values. There is no placating Putin. There is no transforming him from a gangster to a responsible statesman. Previous administrations have tried and failed not because they didn’t try hard enough, but because Putin wants no part of it. He rejects our values and our vision of a free, stable, peaceful, prosperous international order.”
Sen. John McCain in USA Today